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Literature / Dance of the Butterfly

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The adventure begins.

Dance of the Butterfly is the first novel in an Urban Fantasy series by Scott Carruba. Published in 2016, the story is largely set in Central Europe, focusing on a contemporary cosmopolitan city beset with serial murder and rampant human trafficking. A masked vigilante works to stop this but is unaware of larger and more insidious forces coalescing unto the city. Two powerful families also converge on the city, their agendas being the acquisition of a rare and powerful book. Though sharing a common enemy, the two families form a long-standing rivalry due to their methods and ultimate goals. Lilja, a young librarian charged with protecting the book, finds herself suddenly ensconced in this dark, strange world. Originally from Finland, she has her own reason for why she left her home, but she finds the city to be anything but a haven from dangers and secrets.

The second book, Sword of the Butterfly was published in 2017. The third book is coming soon.

Dance of the Butterfly contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The enhanced ammunition used by Hunters to harm supernatural creatures.
  • Action Girl: Lilja. She takes an even more obvious role as this in subsequent books in the series.
  • Affably Evil: The Malkuths and, arguably, Duilio.
  • Affectionate Nickname: As their romance blossoms, Skothiam takes to calling Lilja "Lily".
  • Anti-Villain: Denman Malkuth. Though his actions do color him as a villain, and he clearly acts as something of an antagonist, he shares goals with the protagonists.
  • Artistic License Gun Safety: Averted. The depiction of gun usage often focuses on the safe and proper handling of such weapons.
  • Badass Bookworm: Both Lilja and Skothiam qualify as this, quite possibly also Denman Malkuth.
  • Badass Family: The Felcrafts and the Malkuths.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Skothiam and Denman both dress rather well.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The demons in the final fight have no visible genitalia. This is not done as a form of censorship but because these creatures are truly sexless.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: The vigilante uses this technique to try to get the kidnapped sex slaves out of the criminal's compound, shouting out in an authoritative tone for everyone to evacuate. The fact the vigilante has set off precise explosions to cause fire and chaos only helps to lend legitimacy.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: How the Felcraft family approaches its war with the Infernal.
  • Born of Magic: One way of looking at the Hunters.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The Felcrafts and the Malkuths. Both want to save humanity, but while the Felcrafts consider themselves stewards and protectors, the Malkuths want to rule in order to protect.
  • The Chosen Many: Though very rare in comparison to the overall human population, there are many Hunters, all of whom are imbued with supranormal abilities.
  • Cool Guns: Many firearms are used, but just to list the vigilante's arsenal:
    • 9mm Glock 19
    • 5.56mm Heckler & Koch G36 Compact with a laser light module 01
    • 5.7mm FN P90
    • .338 Lapua Magnum Sako TRG-42 (which is not used until the second book).
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: At the end, when Skothiam is explaining the "secret world" to Lilja, she brings up force-sensitives in the Star Wars universe.
  • Cultured Bad Ass: Skothiam Felcraft.
  • Damsel in Distress: Therese. Twice. Even invoked by her as she resists, though the inevitability of it is nailed home to her. She then averts it by not calling for help the second time, though she is rescued, anyway.
    Therese: Stop turning me into the fucking damsel in distress
  • Diagonal Cut: The vigilante does this twice - once to the demon-possessed large man at the compound and again to the monstrous demon in the same place.
  • Dirty Cop: Alec, Quain, and Duilio.
  • Enemy Mine: The Felcrafts and Malkuths, bitter rivals with core differences in philosophy, yet they work together against a greater threat to all of humanity.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Lilja, the petite, quiet librarian is introduced shelving books, but then she is accosted by a large man on her way home. He intends to rape her, but she quickly disables him with an armbar and manages to call the police and hold the man until they arrive.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The novel explores what appears to be several distinct plotlines, but they do all wrap up together in the end.
  • Functional Magic: There is magic, and it works.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The Felcrafts and Lilja.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Skothiam and the Felcraft Weaponsmaster, Jericho. They've known each other and been friends since they were in grade school.
  • Hot Librarian: Lilja.
  • Human Shield: The vigilante sometimes uses this tactic.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Lilja has these.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The vigilante uses a katana during the climactic end battle against the two most dangerous foes yet faced.
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: Owing to the book falling into the Magical Realism subset of Urban Fantasy.
  • Magical Realism: The story is presented this way.
  • The Masquerade: The two families hiding their knowledge, abilities, and goals regarding the human race and the Infernal.
  • The Mafiya: The Russian-led criminal organization in the city.
  • Nerves of Steel: The vigilante. Also, arguably, Skothiam and Denman.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Infernal, both the demons and devils, though some characters admit they are not sure what the beings are, possibly just extradimensional aliens.
  • Post-Modern Magik - the bullets used by the Hunters are "imbued" with special properties to be effective against supernatural creatures. This is depicted as a tracer-like illumination when they are fired.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Malkuths. They definitely do villainous things, but they claim to be doing it for the greater good of humankind.
  • The Quiet One: Lilja.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Those possessed by demons will manifest this.
  • The Reveal: Many There are demons and those who fight them. The serial killer is a demon. The vigilante is Lilja,and she possesses latent Hunter abilities of which she was not aware.
  • Serial Killer: A savage one plagues the city throughout the story.
  • The Sheriff: Constable Nedza, though he is a decidedly corrupt example.
  • Spell Blade: The melee weapons used by Hunters give hints of magic via a colored aura that shines at certain times.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Three Books are possibly this, though their actual use is not explained in this book.
  • Urban Fantasy: The story's genre, though it carries many aspects of contemporary and crime fiction. Might better fit in Supernatural Fiction.
  • Vigilante Man: A masked vigilante roams the city at night, thwarting a criminal organization that engages in human trafficking.
  • Wicked Cultured: Denman Malkuth.
  • Worthy Opponent: Arguably how Denman views Skothiam, especially as how he defers to him in the climactic end battle.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Ernst repeatedly says this when questioned by the police.