Stalking Tender Prey

storm constantine grigori stalking tender preyfantasy book reviews Storm Constantine Grigori Stalking Tender PreyStalking Tender Prey by Storm Constantine

Stalking Tender Prey draws on the legend of the Grigori, or Watchers. The Grigori are said to be angels whose over-entanglement with mortals led to their Fall. The central character in Stalking Tender Prey, Peverel Othman, is a Grigori who takes up residence in the small English hamlet of Little Moor, with life-changing results for the townspeople. His arrival precipitates an awakening of sorts, and a loss of inhibitions.

At first, what this means is sex. This is where some readers may be put off. I’ll put it this way: it’s not often that I say there’s a lot of weird sex in a book. There’s a lot of weird sex in Stalking Tender Prey. People sleep with their siblings; they sleep with anthropomorphic cat-men; they sleep with the Earth itself. The sex is relevant to the plot and to the character development, but there’s a great deal of it, and it’s not for the squeamish.

Later, as Othman insinuates himself further into the life of the town, more sinister things begin to happen. Turns out it’s not just sexual taboos that have fallen by the wayside. Social mores about family, friendship, and betrayal begin to crumble as well.

At first I thought Constantine had telegraphed, too early in the novel, just how dangerous Othman could be. Later I came to realize that whether Othman is dangerous isn’t really the important question. There’s another mystery here. I was able to guess this secret pretty early too, though — maybe a little too early.

But to me, Stalking Tender Prey isn’t really about Othman at all, or about the Grigori. It’s about people, and how so many people both desire and fear the idea of more-than-human beings walking among us, and what lengths some will go to in order to experience the more-than-human. Constantine’s Grigori remind me not only of angels, but also of the fae, and of the aliens whose dastardly experiments fill today’s urban legends. It’s easy to imagine one race of beings giving rise to all of these myths.

I enjoyed Stalking Tender Prey, despite cringing at some of the more painful-sounding sexual episodes. It combines a modern setting with a deeply mythic “feel.” There are some slightly distracting editing errors, though I found that I was interested enough in the story to mostly shrug them off.


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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