Half Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older

Half CoverTitleHalf-Resurrection Blues
AuthorDaniel José Older
SeriesBone Street Rumba Book 1
Publish Date:  January 6, 2015 by Roc Books
Genre:  Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionCarlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death. 

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.

But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

I finished Half-Resurrection Blues, and I’m very upset. It didn’t even have an ending that would encourage me to read the next book.

What was wrong with the ending?

Sasha’s pregnant, which has got to be a miracle, and she leaves him. It just… ends. Sure, there was a resolution to the bad guy, but it was rather anticlimactic. I really thought, for a first book, there should have been a zippier ending that would lead to me wanting to pick up the next book. 

Well, it certainly isn’t a romance book that’s required to have a happily-ever-after. It’s much more of a gritty urban fantasy. Did you like the characters, though? The story?

I liked the story. I liked the characters, except I was expecting a little more depth with Sasha. I mean, if she’s pregnant with Carlos’ child, shouldn’t we at least care about her a little? I liked the twists in the story, but it seemed like I skipped parts when I really didn’t. I had to go back a couple of pages more than once to figure out what was going on and when was it going on. It confused me. I especially liked Riley and Carlos. I could see them in my head as plain as day. Sasha and the rest got murky. I got lost.

I have to agree with you that I got a little lost, and a lot wasn’t fleshed out. I’d read some great reviews about this author’s writing, so I was a little sad there wasn’t more depth to the story.

I feel like I’m really being critical. I’m not normally that nit-picky, but I’m being honest. I felt kind of let down at the end. You know I don’t like sad endings. I can go to my day job and get plenty of sad endings.

Well, the series isn’t over. There’s a very good chance that Sasha will come back, the baby will be fine, and they’ll get their happily-ever-after.

One can hope. I love my happily-ever-afters!


Nervous Nellie says…

Main Characters: ♥♥♥ Carlos Delacruz is a man who was found by a ghost.  Carlos was dead… but not. Riley, Agent Washington to some, never sticks his nose anywhere other than the job at hand… except this one time. He discovered Carlos and took him to a ‘house’ ghost who healed him. Riley gave Carlos his name because Carlos could not remember any of his life. When Carlos healed enough to resemble something useful, the Council of the Dead made Carlos an offer he didn’t want to refuse. The Council of The Dead made Carlos an assassin, and he really liked his job. They also told him he was the only one of his kind. It was not made clear whether he was a good guy in life or a bad guy. Not much was ever really revealed and therein lies the problem. If I could have been able to distinguish what kind of man he was – whether it be a gangster, drug runner or maybe even an undercover cop, then that would have helped my progress in the development of the character in my head. As it was, I felt like a fish out of water throughout the story.

Other Characters: ♥♥♥ Riley Washington starts out as a secondary character — one who I felt was not really intended to be in the spotlight much, but as the story went on, he was featured more. Sasha, Carlos’s love interest, was very blurry. I couldn’t get much from her description, and that made her personality seem cold and unlikable.

World: ♥♥♥ The world was interesting. I would have liked it a lot more if the characters were a little more put together. The creatures that inhabited this world were more of nightmares than anything that would bring about a happily ever after. It felt like I was blind trying to feel my way through the whole story.

Story: ♥♥♥ I liked the concept of the story. I liked that Carlos had a love interest, but I would have liked it more if she would have been more solid. She seemed like an unknown subject most of the time. No idea where she was, who she was, what she was or why she was there. The story became clearer towards the ending when Carlos finally got a clue, but the ending was less than satisfying. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, though there was unfinished business that could get solved in the next book.

Overall: ♥♥♥ I will look into the next book if it’s published. I want to find out if Sasha and Carlos really get together or not, but that’s my only motivation. If Carlos becomes a more kick-ass agent, then we’ll see, but right at this point, I am not inclined to put it on my ‘to watch’ list for when the next book comes out. If I find it, I’ll probably research it, but it’s not a story that gave me much in the line of inspiration. Oh, and the guy on the cover? He doesn’t look like a Carlos Delacruz to me–Carlos isn’t white, sorry.

“Bureaucracy’s got its own special language. It’s trifling, of course, the lowest order of poetry, and manages to divest words of all meaning and still weigh them down with extra banality.”

Invested Ivana says…

I’m going to dispense with the formatted review for this book.

I like this book, but I don’t love it. What I love is its potential. The story idea is good—a plot by a mysterious figure to merge the worlds of the living and the dead; a secret history for the protagonist; a ghost bureaucracy. The idea of the characters is interesting—a half-dead assassin; a ghostly council with ghostly troops and commanders; ghosts that encompass whole geographies. This book has all the makings of some really good stuff.

But to me, it felt like I was reading a comic book without the pictures. I know all about the actions of the characters, but I don’t feel I really know the characters that well. I’m not deep enough into their heads to know what their motivations and feelings are, so the actions they take sometimes seem random, and the threat to their lives isn’t as intense. I don’t know the world well enough, either. What is the Council of the Dead? What is a house ghost? What are the inbetweeners, for that matter? Are they zombies? Something else? Why are the villains acting like the villains? What do they want? Older gives me just enough explanation to follow the action of the story, but not enough for me to really feel invested in the people. The story seems to stay on the surface with the plot and the action. The plot and the action are good. Nothing wrong there. It’s just not enough to satisfy me.

I’m going to give this book a three because I really WANT to know more about this world and its denizens. There is a 50/50 chance I’ll pick up the next book when it comes out, but it won’t be an automatic buy or an immediate read. If the next book doesn’t get deeper into the characters and the world, I can see me dropping it in favor of other books. I hope the next books flesh out the characters and world, though, because there really is some good story here and I’d love to learn more.

Series list and reviews…

  • Half-Resurrection Blues, Book 01
  • Midnight Taxi Tango, Book 02
  • Salsa Nocturna: Stories, Book 2.5
  • Battle Hill Bolero, Book 03

If You Like This Book …

You might pick up Salsa Nocturna, a book of short stories by Daniel José Older, one of which is about Carlos Delacruz.

About Invested Ivana

I'm an adult learning professional, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employers, my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on March 26, 2015, in All Reviews, Ivana's Reviews, Nell's Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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