Dancy Flammarion is just your normal, average, everyday type of girl. Sort of. She is young – only sixteen – cute, personable and has her whole life ahead of her. She is also an albino. And she hunts monsters. Maybe not so normal, but normal enough.
As our story opens, she is on the road and after being so for so long; she is tired and decides to rest at a bus stop, hoping that the bus still runs in her post-innocent world. While she waits she meets a raven who talks as well as a girl who smells funny. That smell, as pungent as it is, soon makes its reason known for the girl is a werewolf and therefore a monster – the very thing that Dancy kills. Suffice it to say, a killing does indeed take place and only leads to more trouble, none of it involving a bus out of town.
Caitlin R. Kiernan has always written good books, whether for Vertigo or as prose for various publishers. She has a good handle on our young and scarred heroine striking that perfect balance between growing up too quickly and still having to learn some things about life. Dancy is a very intriguing character, with an even more interesting name, and even though we do not get to know everything there is to know about her in the series, we learn enough to be empathetic towards her and root for her during the course of the book.
Steve Lieber, always the epitome of excellence when he is on a book, lends his pencils to the series and the results could not have been better. Under Lieber’s hand, Dancy can appear both strong and fragile simultaneously, giving credence to what Kiernan has created in her. The book is appropriately moody and the atmosphere just dark enough without being overly so and Lieber makes it all come to life on the page underneath beautiful covers by Greg Ruth.
Whether you want to term this book fantasy, dark fantasy or simply horror, the story delivers on all counts. The diatribe between the raven and Dancy is always entertaining and the action sequences between her and the werewolves are exciting. The ghost of the wolf girl is a great character and adds another nice dimension to the book so it is not simply focused upon a single character. Kiernan does great work and here is hoping that Dark Horse and company bring Alabaster back for another run.
4.5 out of 5