Dark Currents: Agent of Hel By Jacqueline Carey

Dec 14, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Fantasy & Fangs, Sharon Tucker

by Sharon Tucker

Details on how to win a copy of Dark Currents at the end of this review.

Pemkowet, Michigan may boast a modest population of 3000 residents (excluding tourists during the season), but this scenic resort town is also home to a diverse society living under the radar.

Readers may already be familiar with Jacqueline Carey’s lush, disturbing Kushiel books, but in Dark Currents: Agent of Hel, Carey has left Terre d’ Ange and turns to our own twenty-first century. Here she has tapped the rich tradition of Norse mythology. We see a new incarnation of Yggdrasill the Great Tree, meet the goddess Hel, and–oh yes, we have an ice giant. (Having a passing familiarity with Thor puts you ahead of the game here, but Carey has a twist all her own on the legend.) Pemkowet’s population includes familiar magical creatures as well, although you may not know what norns, ghouls, and nixies are all about. I didn’t and ghouls in particular. Intrigued readers will want to know all about Carey’s creatures’ origins.

Dark Currents finds our twenty-something protagonist, Daisy Johansson, accepting the dubious honor mentioned in Carey’s title, qualifying for the honor due to her own pedigree. Daisy is Hel’s liaison between the worlds of the Eldritch and that of the mundanes. We soon see that the town’s traditionally religious citizens are rallying against Pemkowet’s major tourist attraction–paranormal sightings. To this add confusion in love, a murder to be solved, eldritch abuse and a protagonist reduced to saying “Gaagh” when exasperated. The results are a fun read!

Carey’s writing style in this new series is fresh and authentic. Daisy sounds like a twenty- something throughout the novel and her concerns are those of a young woman not lacking in experience, but one learning how to trust her judgment and control the power she has inherited. She doesn’t learn life-changing lessons in this first adventure, but instead gains experience that may be of use in the future. She will not stun the reader with her acumen, but few of us have acumen in our twenties.

Fans of the genre will welcome Carey’s foray into urban fantasy, but if readers are thinking to encounter a world like that of Kushiel in this novel, they are mistaken. In Dark Currents, the contrast between the world we mundanes know and the worlds Daisy Johansson inhabits is the point of the exercise. Daisy’s assignment is to liaise, but little is ever that simple. Pemkowet could be any quaint mid-western town on the surface. Trouble is that the town also has a sparkly, treacherous underside: Carey’s fairies will BITE!

To enter to win a copy of Dark Currents, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Currents,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 21, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.

Sharon Tucker is former faculty at the University of Memphis in Memphis TN, and now enjoys evening supervising in that campus library. Having forsworn TV except for online viewing and her own movies, she reads an average of 3 to 4 books per week and has her first novel—a mystery, of course—well underway.


  1. Would love to win a copy.

  2. Nice review. 🙂

  3. Sounds promising!

  4. A good review.

  5. Sounds like a good read 🙂

  6. I’d love to win a copy of this book.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.