Sunday, February 28 2010

Amber Benson, novelist

The first time I realized that Amber Benson had more going for her than I’d been shown was when she opened her mouth during the Buffy musical and sang. Suddenly a decent actress who’d capably immersed herself into a minor supporting role in the series was now a singer with a lovely voice. The second was when I got a good look at her face when she wasn’t made up to look plain and a bit frumpy; she looks as good as she sounds. The third time was when Amazon recommended her novel Death’s Daughter, and I discovered that she had another voice worth hearing.

It’s not my usual genre of fantasy; at least, the things Amazon starts recommending once you buy it are the kind of chick-flick broody-goth romangst fantasy that have stronger ties to Harlequin than Tolkien. Fortunately, Death’s Daughter is neither dark nor brooding, and the world-building is first-rate. The supporting cast is only lightly sketched, admittedly, but the heroine makes up for it by being quite thoroughly developed, and carries the story along superbly. It’s a good book, and now she’s made another one, Cat’s Claw.

It’s a lot of fun. I don’t usually stop in the middle of a page, laugh out loud, reread it, and then laugh out loud again. Benson got me to do that in Cat’s Claw. I won’t say where; if you read it, you’ll know the spot.