This novella is pretty neat. Ever want to be there when the big moment went down historically? I mean, do you think the Turks knew the significance of the cannon when they used it on Constantinople? I'm pretty sure they did. The English certainly knew that the Longbow was a game changer at Agincourt. Hell, we've experienced a few world changing moments in my life time...9/11...the fall of the Berlin Wall...the Space Shuttle Colombia.
But I think the Berlin Wall falling was a big one. The biggest. It isn't because it was the one of these big events that stay with me the most emotionally, though I did feel glad it happened; but because it changed everything. There are some things you can only go so far with in imagination...and growing up under the Bomb, even in the 80's...it was always there in the back of your mind. I mean, God knows they're still around, but not like the cold war. A crazy with a suitcase isn't the same as knowing two guys in bunkers on opposite sides of the world have their thumb on the button waiting to kill each other....and everyone else.
I view Urban Fantasy worlds the same way. We love Urban Fantasy because it turns our own beliefs into a fictional reality. All but the most banal of us at some time or another wonder if there really are unknowable things out there in the shadows; Vampires, Werewolves and Witches are just the easiest. Now, personally, while I am open minded about the supernatural; I'm very very very confident there aren't these critters out there; not like we portray them anyway.
Its one reason I also like Kim Harrison's Hallows books that just throws the whole idea out the window...like...40 years in the past. Its a whole alternate timeline. There is no wondering, "Well why didn't they catch that with a cell phone?" Or "Why didn't that show up on the internet?" At some point, stuff starts to get in the way, and the little logical questions your mind starts asking make things too much for the imagination to overcome with comfortable ease of passage.
The neat thing about Fiona Skye's story is that you get to be there, as it happens. So, first let me say that she hits the 'action/mayhem' style of the spectrum and does so right from the start. Her fight scenes are well choreographed and her writing style is clear, vivid and full of evocative imagery. There are lots of authors that do that, but the thing I like about her protagonist is that she isn't the strongest or the smartest or the fastest...but she is there for her friends. In fact, when it comes to fighting she mostly sucks, but still manages to do well.
The thing that sets this story apart from other Urban Fantasy that I've read though is that...I believe it. "The Moment" that is. You see I've been around enough places that fall apart, when all things go to hell in a hand basket. Her protagonist, on deciding to reveal herself, only does a tiny bit of soul searching but in the end does a "What the hell, why not" moment. The great conspiracy is really just a culture of privacy that surrounds vampires, so it isn't formally enforced by some great hidden council or anything...and honestly? I find that more believable. People are chaotic, disorganized and the like. An impromptu press conference, a mess that has finally gotten to big to clean up thanks to some idiots...and they finally say, "You know what? Let's just spill."
And it works beautifully. It captures the moment, more importantly, it captures the moment well enough that you actually want to go, "So...now what?"