Series Spotlight: Corine Solomon Series by Ann Aguirre
The Corine Solomon series is urban fantasy with enough sexy steam to keep the romance readers interested. The paranormal world in this series is based on black magic and voodoo utilized by organized crime cartels, ghosts and religion, and a smattering of psychic powers — more supernatural than paranormal, if there is such a distinction. The characters are wonderful, the relationships are complex and the danger is great, not only for our protagonists, but sometimes for the world.
Books in this series:
- Book 1: Blue Diablo (2009) – 4/5
- Book 2: Hell Fire (2010) – 4/5
- Book 3: Shady Lady (2011) – 3/5
- Book 3.5: Forbidden Fruit (2013) – 3/5
- Book 4: Devil’s Punch (2012) – 2/5
- Book 5: Agave Kiss (2013) – 3/5
The protagonist, Corine Solomon, is a handler – she can touch an object and see its history. At the beginning of the series, she’s left her ex-boyfriend, Chance, and made a life for herself in Mexico. Chance is blessed with good luck and used his talent, combined with Corine’s, to earn money and conduct sometimes shady business. Corine left him because she questioned whether Chance loved her or her talent, and she needed to get away to find herself without the influence of his power or his personality.
Throughout the series, they collect a cadre of friends and allies who really serve to enhance the stories.
- Jesse Saldana, a police investigator and empath,
- Chuch, whose past in weapons and warfare comes in handy,
- Eva, Chuch’s wife, loyal friend, and fantastic researcher,
- Ian Booke, a British professor who’s clued into the supernatural world but prevented from participating due to his physical condition,
- Shannon Cheney, a young medium trying to find her way in the world,
- Kel Ferguson, who is either a crazy psycho or on a mission from God,
- And Butch, the adorable Chihuahua/dowsing rod. I’m always a sucker for the animals.
The novella, Forbidden Fruit, is a story about Shannon and Jesse. In it, we see Shannon growing up and taking control of her life.
In scanning other reviews for the series, I see that many reviewers struggled with the romantic subplot of the books. There is some very strong history and chemistry between Corine and Chance, but he’s something of a dangerous drug for her. In the first couple of books, there is also a mutual attraction between Corine and Jesse, thus the oft-dreaded romantic triangle. Corine is caught in the middle – between her past and her present – and part of her emotional story is which way to run. There is more attraction and angst than sex in this series, which turns many people off.
I saw the angst more as Corine’s struggle for her independence than indecision over who to sleep with – which is a major point of character development for Corine. Her internal dialog serves to create a rich character and teach me about who she is as a person, how she thinks and makes decisions. Beyond that, I cared more about the mystery they were solving than the romantic subplot, so I just didn’t let it bother me.
I did not care so much for Book 4, Devil’s Punch. In Book 4, Corine and crew go to Hell to rescue a friend. The majority of the book takes place in Hell, and it gives the story a much different feel. It wasn’t bad; there was some significant character development in the book. I just didn’t care for it as much.
The cover art for this series is beautiful. A quick Google search did not reveal the artist’s name, but I wish I knew. All the covers are gorgeous.
This is the only series of Ann Aguirre’s that I’ve read so far, though Stone Maiden and Bronze Gods (written with her husband) are waiting their turn on my Kindle. I’ve read very good reviews for her sci-fi series, Sirantha Jax and Dred Chronicles, and her YA series, Razorland.
Though some of the books are not stand-outs for me, I give the Corine Solomon series a 4 overall because the world is unique and I came to care very much about all the characters. I want to see them all get their happily-ever-afters.