A few years ago I picked up my first Lucy Snyder book: Spellbent. It just so happened to be the first book in the Jessie Shimmer series. The heroine (Jessie Shimmer, duh) starts out as your everyday college dropout packed into a cute body, but quickly transforms into a determined woman. She is far from perfect and remains so throughout the first three books of the series. How imperfect? Well in the first book her eye is burned out leaving her face disfigured and her hand is bitten off. There is a cure for the disfigurements if they are addressed immediately. Jessie’s are not. What does that mean? She attacks problems without the aid of a human eye or hand. She is a disabled, urban fantasy heroine whom many of the characters still find sexy and attractive.
The Jessie Shimmer series is not a romance or for lack of better word “soft” urban fantasy. The book is hardcore. There are moments while I read each book that I wanted to scrub my mind with bleach. Even now–days after finishing book three–I still picture a gruesome image as the villain makes good on her promise to the heroine. It is violent and disgusting goodness that I couldn’t set down. (I haven’t watched the Saw movies, but that type of graphic horror.) It is NOT for the weak stomached or those who will dissect it looking for the hidden message. It is entertainment.
I haven’t read many posts about Lucy Snyder, which surprises me. Maybe it shouldn’t since I read Spellbent when it was released and didn’t pick up Shotgun Sorceress or Switchblade Goddess until a week or so ago. In a way I’m glad I waited. (Y’all know I have a problem with waiting for books to be released.) However, I’m slightly confused at the lack of blog posts about this series. Are readers put off by the down and dirty secrets and scenes? What do readers think about the heroine’s limitations?
Snyder has a gift for creating disturbing scenarios and setting them in an urban fantasy world. She has created a woman who has grown so much and paired her with a man who has slowly grown on me. In book one, I thought he was rather self-centered; not that we got much time with him. By the end of book two, I found him to be damaged but salvageable. At the end of Switchblade Goddess I knew he was the perfect man for Jessie. He is far from perfect, but he recognized his faults and the things he had done wrong in his relationship with Jessie, told her about them without her pointing them out to him first and promised to do better. I believe him. While their relationship is never front and center as the main issue, it does burn slowly on the back burner almost to the point where I wanted to scream at Jessie to do something.
Snyder’s Jessie Shimmer series is not a feel good series. I never put down any of the books happy. I put them down grossed out and haunted by the vivid imagery of torturous scenes, but I never considered setting the books down and walking away. I wish I could wash away many of the images, so I could stop thinking about the books as “the book where this guy did this” or “the book with the electric drill.” Gosh, I’m grossing myself out thinking about it. The series is urban fantasy meet horror, featuring a heroine who often got lucky by not dying. What I’d really like to know is if you’ve read any of Lucy Snyder’s books and what you think about them.
Shout out to Dan Dos Santos! The cover art is excellent. I’ve bought all three of the books in paper form strictly to have access to the gorgeous covers.