Ian is a Dogon hunter with the Global Association of Non-Humans sent to the Chicago and Indiana area to investigate the disappearances of college students, which may involve vampires (Sangsue). A young human, Nesta, is hired to drive him around while he is in town, and is more connected to both him and his world than either of them knows or can begin to imagine.
Ian is a relatively ancient immortal who seems lost in his life and work. He is world weary, jaded, lonely, tired, and weighed down by both his Dogon duties and pain from severe headaches caused by his abilities. He doesn’t seem to find much satisfaction or joy in his work, his Dogon powers, or anything, really, until he meets Nesta. Though he is supposed to be one of the best, he comes across as a little inept and passive, perhaps because it is time for him to retire.
Nesta is a young woman of many contradictions. She is smart, funny, curious, thoughtful, strong, sassy, and mature, but at the same time, she is self-conscious, self-deprecating, and a little co-dependent. Unfortunately, her entire existence is wrapped up in layers upon layers of lies and secrets while her family, including meddling gods and goddesses, treat her like a child and hide things from her. The problem is that the secrets that they are keeping from her begin to endanger not just Nesta, but everyone in her life.
Although Nesta and Ian did talk a bit and spend some time that first night getting to know each other, they became intimate awfully quickly, and it did not fit the characters, what they say they want at that point in the story. This made it difficult for me to believe the progression of their relationship.
While Banks has created an interesting world filled with lots of potentially interesting characters, both human and otherworldly—vampires, shifters, gods, and goddesses—the characters spent most of the book talking, running into other hunters and creatures, hanging out, and shooting the breeze. The pacing was slow and the author did too much viewpoint shifting within scenes, info-dumping, and over-explaining of slang, character history, connections between characters, etc., and this bogged the story down for me and interrupted the flow.
There was almost no real action in the book, which was disappointing for a book about a group of deadly hunters of otherworldly creatures. The characters talked about how exciting and dangerous the hunting life was and about how dangerous hunters and other characters were, including the villains the Sangsue. However, we barely got to see this for most of the book.
Whenever a dangerous, potentially interesting event occurs, the characters stand around talking about it and reminiscing about the good ole’ days and exciting adventures that they have either experienced or heard about. Ian and other hunters discover that the Sangsue are changing themselves genetically, spying on the Dogon, and becoming a greater threat to both humans and the Dogon hunters, but they did not investigate this at all or do anything to stop them.
I was prepared to like this book because a good portion of it is set in Chicago, kind of my hometown. Unfortunately, I really struggled to get through it because I did not connect with any of the characters and I did not really become invested in the love story or the conflict of the story.
More than anything, Scented Dreams was a novel about family, loyalty, connecting with other people, and how our choices, and those of our family, affect our lives. While I did like how Banks explored and stressed the importance of family and connection, I would have liked more development of the primary characters within the story, more action, and more showing than telling of how dangerous, bad, and deadly the Dogon, gods, goddesses, and the Sangsue were.
- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace (May 24, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451530439
- ISBN-13: 978-1451530438
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