In the end, it is true there may be folks associated with the allies of these female heroines who want these women dead. It's also true that is similar to but not exactly the same as Harry's murderous allies. This means the female heroines walk a different razor's edge than does the male heroine Harry. The women's friendships are more secure, more sincere feeling than his; consequently literarily they don't feel as doomed or alone as Harry does in his stories. Further, his protection for his friends is much like that of a classic husband: a man alone against the world who must provide everything for his helpless dependents — and who consequently is greatly limited in the amount of protection he can truly offer.

In contrast Kitty, Cassie, and Mercy do not always feel they must be the biggest and baddest, or must stand alone, or must lead every team (or keep things a secret) — and this means in the end they can accomplish much more, because they understand teamwork. Like Harry, their allies may be scary or very powerful or confusing — but unlike Harry, their allies are ultimately trustworthy, and their friends are dependable.

So, even though it's not a "classic" element of heroic journeys, I shall determinedly add "Crafting Community" to the other elements we have so far, which are "Personal Independence" and "Be A Heroine!" My next element is another non-classic, but I think it's important too, as readers of the "Magic" review already know — I want:

Sexual Tension that makes Sense!

Since I spent some time in the "Magic" series review discussing how much I dislike creepy stalkers as love interests (here in particular), I won't further belabor that point here. Instead I'll do a quick run-down on how well I think romance and sexual tension is handled in the stories of the four heroines I'm discussing in depth here. I'll start with the heroine Harry.

Frankly, Harry's not really romantic, and his idea of sexual tension seems to be ogling women without being caught at it. He sort of drifts in and out of the few sexual relationships he has. He has my sympathies, of course; I'm completely unsurprised someone so dead set on inflicting his version of chivalry on women is going to have trouble bridging the artificial distance he's created between them. He is a curious mix of old-fashioned assumptions about women, and a more modern cluelessness as to how to let a woman know he's interested. Consequently the only women he connects with at all meaningfully are those who have practically shoved him into bed.

In some ways, Harry's a real "guy's guy" — which is exactly correct for a noir PI. Whether he can overcome this still remains to be seen, although I have hopes for him considering his half-brother is a White Court vampire who may be willing to teach Harry some (desperately needed) pointers.

Kitty is originally an abuse victim, so it takes a while for potential romance to enter her life. When it does, though, boy does it happen fast! I was slightly surprised at how swiftly she ended up in bed with someone she was helping, especially since I'd thought there was the potential for some real sparks between her and that gentleman's cousin, who was also there. I was also a bit curious as to how few were romantically interested in Kitty, as opposed to simply wanting sex with her — I would have thought a rising star like her would have drawn a bit more potentially loving attention.

Unfortunately the only other possible applicant for Kitty's romantic interest is swiftly cleared from the metaphorical playing board, leaving his cousin and Kitty to swiftly deepen their relationship — and by the end of the fifth book she's already married. In a way I found that a bit disappointing: I confess I prefer slow, deliberate, and (if one partner is much stronger than the other) gentle courtships which give both partners lots of time to make up their minds and get to know each other.

Speaking of couples where one partner is wildly overpowering in comparison to the other… Cassie is currently performing a delightful juggling act — both of fighting to maintain her personal independence, and of figuring out who she prefers romantically. She also has something unique to her story, so far — there's someone she's interested in who is strictly keeping her at arm's distance! As well, there's someone of a courteously feudal mindset who has his heart set on her, and that's making for a lot of fun reading. It is, in fact, during her misadventures with these two men, concerning other issues, that these relationships seem to be blossoming — and they're sometimes gut-wrenchingly funny, as I note in a later category of the Heroine's Journey — a real delight to read.

However, to be fair to the previous two heroines, I should note there's only four books in Cassie's story, whereas Kitty currently has six, and Harry has eleven. That means there's been much more time for things to progress in their stories — including conclusions to outstanding questions of romantic interest and sexual tension. Thus I shall be interested to see how Cassie's author continues to develop her heroine's emotional relationships. I greatly hope she keeps up the interesting sexual tension, as well as the hilarious interplay between Cassie and those she's interested in.

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