Thursday, July 23, 2015

Accidentally Demonic (Accidentals #4) by Dakota Cassidy

When Casey Schwartz wakes up in jail, with no idea how she got there, she's forced to call her sister Wanda to bail her out. Having avoiding her sister for years due to shame about her job, this is not a call Casey is looking forward to making.  Little does Casey know that calling Wanda for help is actually the easiest thing she will experience over the next few days.  It's not long before it becomes clear that something supernatural has happened to Casey.  When she starts levitating and throwing fireballs, Wanda and her friends are at an absolute loss as to what Casey could possibly be now. 

Enter the unhappily mated vampire and former viking Clayton Gunnerersson.  In Clay's effort to end his mating with Hildegard, he has managed to get a sample of her blood. Unfortunately, Clay accidentally spills it on Casey, turning her into a demon.  Clay now has to take responsibility for his mistake and help Casey adjust to her new life.  

Casey doesn't take to being a demon very well and the issues only compound when she learns that a Clay's mate is determined to kill her and if that were not enough, it seems that Casey might just have to spend an eternity in hell. 

Generally speaking, I don't mind most of the characters in this series to date but I am absolutely done with Nina.  Every time she appears, it's so difficult to keep reading and not simply put the book down in frustration.  Nina seems constantly angry when she is not with her mate and is constantly picking arguments, making threats and swearing.  In terms of the swearing, I'm not some wilting innocent who shrivels at the word fuck but reading as Nina tries to use as many versions of the word as  possible becomes tiresome.  If that were not enough, something about Casey's demonic nature causes her to constantly attack Nina, which leads to more if Nina's acting out and consequently most of the opening chapters of Accidentally Demonic reads like 12 year old girls snapping at each other on the playground.  As a grown ass woman, I definitely could have done with that. 

As a protagonist, Casey really didn't make much sense to me.  When Casey learns that the reason Clay has not killed himself to end his forced mating with Hildegard is because Hildegard has control of Clay's daughter Naomi, Casey immediately goes into sacrificial mode.  Here's the issue: Casey has never even met Naomi, who apparently has the mental age of 15, though she is actually centuries old.  This simply doesn't make sense.  How is it that Clay is actually hundreds of years old and his daughter is only 15? I don't buy the idea that Casey is sacrificing herself for a kid, nor do I accept that Casey actually sees Naomi as 15, when the supposed young woman in question has been alive for centuries. To be clear, Casey is willing to spend an eternity in hell, married to a demon she doesn't know to save Naomi.  Clearly this is a woman who doesn't believe in self care.

Other than the fact that Clay is hot, what reason do we have for Casey falling in love with him? Yes, there's the woo woo reason of Casey taking on Hildegard's traits because Clay spilled Hildegarde's blood on her but it all reads like the device that it is.  To be clear, from the very start of the story, Clay lied to Casey.  Thanks to Clay's actions, Casey has become a demon, the letter L, which appeared on her ass is a result of Lucifer staking his claim on Casey. If that were not enough, Clay is extremely over protective and we are supposed to think that this is cute or endearing but I find it controlling and even manipulative.

As you can see, Accidentally Demonic has so much going for it. The majority of characters in this novel are female and it is therefore ironic that Accidentally Demonic is absolutely dripping in slut shaming and anti woman language.  Can we please just stop calling woman sluts, whores and bitches?  Would it really be so hard?   It simply made me dislike these woman a lot.  

The anti woman language and slut shaming is pretty noxious but even that takes second place to the outright ableism.  Hildegarde killed her sister, bonded her niece to her and forced mating on Clay and so naturally, she is "crazy", a "tard" and "schizophrenic". Mental illness is constantly associated with violence,  and evil in Accidentally Demonic.  

Speaking of Hildegard, I would be remiss if I don't throw in some commentary on our antagonist.  Everything she has done over the centuries is because she believes that her long dead sister stole Clay from her.  Clay's blood has the added bonus of allowing her to stay on the earthly plane and so combined her absolute obsession with Clay, Hildegard is determined to force him by her side.   It means that the big show down is between Hildegard and Casey for who will have the right to be with Clay.  I'm surprised a character didn't sit Hildegarde down and explains, "honey, he's just not that into you. " Can you believe this cliche shit was written in 2011?  Come the hell on, two women fighting over the same man and of course the evil one is a mentally ill, violent bitch.  Thanks for that Dakota Cassidy.

There was clearly one character of colour in this book - The Tallyman.  I am assuming from his speech patterns and dreadlocks that he started off as a Jamaican man before becoming a demon.  He's pretty much a walking stereotype but at least he is smart enough to be pulling the strings behind the scenes.  Thus far,  Accidentals has a dearth of characters of colour.  The few who have appeared have been side characters at best and added nothing to the story, so I suppose the Tallyman is the smallest step in the right direction.  Given that this book takes place in N.Y.C., there should have been so much more inclusion.  Where are all the POC and GLBT people?  

This is only book four in the Accidentals series and already the series is beginning to be very repetitive.  A supernatural accidentally turns a human into something supernatural, this is followed by an awkward adjustment period, then a moment of lust between the new supernatural and the male love interest, to tide us over until she solves some problem that her love interest has not been able to deal with for centuries and then finally, the big HEA.  Cassidy takes care to include protagonists from other stories so that we can keep up with their lives.  Unfortunately, this means that Nina keeps making an appearance.  At this point, Cassidy needs to come up with a new hook and perhaps mix her protagonists up just a little bit.  If at book four, I already feel like I've read elements of the story repeatedly, it's a sign of a problem.