Blood Engines (Marla Mason, #1)
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Blood Engines (Marla Mason #1)

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  1,862 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Meet Marla Mason–smart, saucy, slightly wicked witch of the East Coast.…

Sorcerer Marla Mason, small-time guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla’s life–and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla’s only chance of survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere in San...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 25th 2007 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2007)
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The Flooze
Blood Engines is a swift-moving urban fantasy with a ruthlessly practical heroine and an absorbing plot.

I found the dialogue monotone at the beginning. This ceased being an issue around the genre-typical 60-page mark; presumably, it’s Pratt’s version of an opening info-dump. Once tackled, the characters’ personalities distinguish themselves.

Marla is a sharp, logical woman and a big believer in self-sufficiency without spells. She seemingly has a great deal of metaphysical talent, but her intim...more
Not even finished with chapter one: I have issues...with the execution, the dialogue, the characters, the world building (or lack of), the pacing, etc.

No description of what the main characters look like. Hardly any description at all. Phony dialouge. Too many "X said." (and that's it).

The heroine is ruthless (we get told this a lot) and powerful, except when she ignores people who might be a danger to her. She's not snarky, witty, or funny. Her not funny.

There's hint of a magic...more
Alexander Páez
A mi TOP 5 de lecturas de 2013. Hacía tiempo que no disfrutaba tanto de una lectura. Probablemente no sea del gusto de muchos lectores, es fantasía urbana, y como tal, los personajes son anti-héroes, usan lenguaje soez... pero Pratt va mucho más allá y rompe muchísimos esquemas. Sus personajes son impresionantes y dotados de una personalidad apabullante. Desde hechiceras punks llenas de piercings y tatuajes y antropofagas, a pornomancers, biomancers, technomancers... Brutal lectura.
An interesting, imaginative plot with an unlikable heroine.

I bought this book because Kim Harrison, author of the wonderful Rachel-Morgan-Series, praised it to no end. She even said that she can relate to the heroine very well. Well... I can't. The plot is refreshing and more often unpredictable than not, but Marla Mason, cool but selfish, arrogant and brutal chief sorcerer of Felport, is someone I would not like to get to know. She saves her sidekick's life only because a seer prophesies that h...more
Mar 17, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of early Laurell K Hamilton
Marla Mason has a problem. She may be the most powerful sorcerer in her city, but she has only days until a rival deletes her from existance. She and her faithful sidekick Rondeau (actually a parasitic spirit riding a chance-met human) travel to San Francisco to use the Cornerstone, a block of incredibly powerful magic. Getting the Cornerstone will be difficult--suriving San Francisco may be impossible. Sorcerers, gods, and technomages stand in Marla's way, and a fanatical priest of Tlaltecuhtli...more
Feb 02, 2008 Miriam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in a new take on the San Francisco tourist areas.
Shelves: fantasy, unfinished
I picked up this book because the cover and titles caught my interest. The blurb declared it was set in my hometown of San Francisco so I gave it a try. However, I must admit before continuing this review that I only read the first 60 pages or so. Other than some novel imagery (the old man with the gold frog in his mouth, for instance) it left me pretty flat. The main character, Marla, is supposed to be the sorcerous guardian of a city (not SF) who is traveling to investigate threats. But as far...more
Yolanda Sfetsos
The other day while looking through my PDFs, I found this book. I remember getting this copy a while ago and now that I have my Samsung Galaxy Note, I decided to check it out... and I was hooked instantly.

Marla Mason is a kick-ass sorcerer who runs the city of Felport. But someone wants her dead and the only way she can save herself is by going to San Francisco to find the Cornerstone, which is the only thing that will strengthen her counter spell.

So she finds herself in a place she doesn't even...more
This is the first book in the Marla Mason-Sorcerer series, and it feels like coming into the middle of a series. It's nice that these characters have backstory and history, makes them feel more real, gives them depth. But it does make you feel like you're coming in on the middle of something and you missed the opening pages. Marla is a sorcerer who is the guardian of a grubby east coast city. She's come to San Francisco to find a magical artifact because one of her rivals for running the city is...more
Kelly  Maybedog
I didn't like the characters and I hated the main character. I had absolutely no interest in or empathy for her. I started to like her sidekick but then more was revealed and he was a borderline sociopath. The story was somewhat unclear and surprisingly slow moving considering the reader is thrust into the story mid-action. Not happening for me.
solid new female urban fantasy protagonist.

Marla is a bad ass, partially because she wants to/has to be not because she's terribly gifted or anything but she's got the willpower to back her attitude. As the sorceress in charge of Felport she's a pretty heavy hitter in the magical world, and she's got her city on lock. She likes that it's grimy, and urban and a bit dangerous, she really wouldnt have it any other way. But there is a rival in town who would like to take over and perhaps spiff up t...more
This isn't vaginal fantasy so I can't put it on that shelf, dammit. :) It does have a main character that's a woman, which I liked a lot. This was rough around the edges and I struggled to stay with it, but I'm giving the next one a shot.
Let's just get this out of the way, Marla is one bitchy but boss heroine. The whole book is filled with a ton of witches and wizards who are scary, strange, and unique. I've certainly never come across a witch who gathers her magic by using a train going in an endless loop. (Loved that.) More than most books called urban fantasy, this felt both urban and strange and weird, but in a good way. Even magical archetypes that appear in other series come across a little better in this book (the witch w...more
Marla is a powerful witch with an enemy that wants her dead. To survive she needs a magical object that will boost her powers. Most of the magical community who could help her to locate it are dead or missing at the hands of something powerful. Time is running out for Marla.

So Susan wants to kill Marla huh? Well based on my brief dealings with Marla, I was hoping that Susan would be successful. Marla is everything I don't want in my so called heroine. She is obnoxious and rude to everyone, treat...more
Shaun Duke
Blood Engines is a gritty, urban fantasy tale that doesn't pull any punches. That's how I would describe it, at least. It follows a sorcerer named Marla Mason, the guardian of a city called Felport, and her companion Rondeau, a spirit-in-a-bottle, if you will, who has, in the past, stolen the body of someone else. Marla has a big problem: one of her rivals is prepping a wicked spell that will end Marla's life and destroy Felport in the process. And Marla can't have any of that. Marla and Rondeau...more
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book when I first started reading it. I picked it up months ago as a kindle freebie and it sat in my to-be-read pile for some time. I started reading it on a whim the other day and was initially concerned about the opening, gritty, rough-edged scene in a dirty alley. Not my cup of tea.

But I continued reading. Next thing I knew, I was sucked in completely. This novel is still gritty and dirty and rough but it is also highly entertaining well-written and crea...more
Xenophon Hendrix
I went and judged a book by its cover. You see, Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt (also published as Tim Pratt) has a cover by Daniel Dos Santos. Dan Dos Santos is the top, or almost the top, cover illustrator still actually working in the science fiction and fantasy field. (The great Michael Whelan is still alive, but he has moved on to fine art.) I reasoned that if Bantam was willing to spring for a Dos Santos cover, then they must expect great things from Blood Engines.

Well, the novel isn't bad. I...more
Let me start off by saying this: Blood Engines is basically fluff. It is fast-paced, funny, hard-to-put-down . . . it's GOOD fluff.

I haven't read much urban fantasy, partially because so much of it looks like shite. But, I'd seen the books in the Marla Mason series around and found the cover art compelling. And, Pratt's agent is an agent I've sent a query to, so I thought I should give one of her authors a shot.

The idea is this: Marla Mason is a bad-ass sorceress who runs a city called. . . we...more
The one where Marla, the head sorceress of the city of Felport, comes to San Francisco in search of an artifact to save her from a rival, but winds up getting pulled into some sort of mystery involving poison arrow frogs.

Abandoned after sixty pages.

I was bothered by the tell-y-ness of it, and the fact that nothing really happened other than people walking around and talking, and the great clumsiness with which the copious exposition was provided -- I kept thinking it was a sequel to something,...more
Hrm. I’m about to say a bunch of positive-sounding things about this book that cumulatively did not actually manage to make me like it much. It’s an urban fantasy quest story set in San Francisco, a city I am quite fond of, and it has wiz-bang worldbuilding. Seriously, the richness of the uncountable magic systems is really something. The book also has a very casual approach to sexuality and kink that is almost entirely nonjudgey or exploitative. Oh, and the female lead – she’s not a heroine – i...more
excerpt from detailed review here:

This series is a refreshing look at magic that is tied to the contemporary world and its technologies. The characters are well fleshed-out in their motivations and controversial tastes through an open-minded main character, introducing marginal world-views without bastardizing them. Overall an exciting and thought-provoking read with fast-paced action and a no-nonsense anti-heroine leading the charge.
I am not entirely sure how to review this. Ultimately, it didn't work for me, but others might really enjoy it as a particular type of paranormal fiction.

On the good side, there are some unique and unusual paranormal creatures - including some gods - peopleing the book. The storyline was gripping, and the writing was good. I always like strong female characters, and Marla is undeniably strong and independant.

But there was an overwhelming and unrelenting dark tone to the entire book that troubled...more
Book was read in english, but review is in german. Sorry to those who cannot comprehend it... ;o)

Schon wieder Urban Fantasy? Wird das nicht langsam eintönig?


Ich muss freimütig zugeben, dass ich derzeit hauptsächlich Bücher aus diesem Genre lese, weil ich es sehr mag und weil ich überrascht bin, mit welcher Vielfalt an Ideen das Thema im Großen und Ganzen angegangen wird, auch wenn es momentan vielleicht ein paar Privatermittler zu viel gibt. Dass es auch anders als mit Philip Marlowe-Kopien...more
Scott Collins
After reading the other reviews, I was somewhat concerned I wouldn't like this book, but was pleasantly surprised. Though the main character, Marla, isn't very likable, I found her cohorts in the book helped lighten the mood and provide some comedy relief. So, while Marla is a dark, sullen killing machine, Rondeau and B's antics balanced it out nicely. As to the plot, I found it to be sufficiently entertaining. Marla leaves her home city in a search for a magical artifact that will help her coun...more
Bart Breen
Urban Magic Female Anti-Hero

To be fair, while I wasn't overwhelmingly impressed with this book and have rated it accordingly, the primary draw for me to read it was that it was offered free as a promotional download on the Kindle. I would not have usually have selected a book in this genre and so it may be fair to say that this is about the highest rating I would give a book like this. Those who are familiar with Pratt's work and who like urban dark fantasy will probably find that this is a book...more
Nicole Bunge
I really don't know how this ended up on my bookshelf. I think it was a "if you like..." recommendation by my paperbackswap account. (If someone else on here is the culprit, I owe you, because this book is damn good.)

I'm 150 pages in, it was just a 'grab for the weekend camping trip car ride' book. I got sucked in, hard.

Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of Felport, but she's visiting San Fransisco to thwart (yet another) plot on her life. (Sorcerers are nothing if not a backstabbing bunch.) It j...more
think this is the first novel-length story that I've read where the protagonist is neither a "good guy" nor particularly admirable for her decisions. Marla Manson is a sorceress of all trades, and her attitude is tending more towards neutral evil. She is harshly pragmatic about the moral choices she makes, and is so blunt-spoken she could make early-Anita Blake squirm.

The plot lends itself to this character, and this setting, very well. We meet Marla on her way into San Francisco. She is looki...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle Aisteach
Nov 28, 2011 Kyle Aisteach rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: urban fantasy readers, supernatural mystery readers, fans of contemporary pulp
I really wish there was a rating between three and four stars here, because Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt is another clear example of a book that is better than a mere "liked it" but doesn't, for me, rise to my definition of "really liked it." The book's flaws aren't fatal -- in fact my only complaints with the book are that, as with most series, there are elements that are introduced but not explored fully (Rondeau's background, Marla's cloak, etc.) and that the level of sex and violence flirts w...more
Joe Thomas
Marla Mason is part crime lord, part sorcerer and 100% bad ass.

The first book in the series has Marla visiting San Francisco in search of a powerful object she needs to use in a spell to save her life from a rival sorcerer. In her search for this item she gets mixed up in the local power struggles and it seems the only way she will be able to obtain the object she needs is to save the world.

Marla's strength is not diplomacy or strategy. She sets a goal and bulldozes her way towards that goal i...more
Unsatisfying. Standard urban fantasy novel with few twists to make it pleasurable. I did like the San Francisco setting, and the usage of historic city personages and alternative city history was nicely done. The main character though, Marla, bored me to tears. The most interesting thing she did the entire book was wield a bullwhip during an S&M party scene, and the interestingness was largely due to the rarity of finding safe-sane-consensual emphasis and conduct contracts in mainstream fict...more
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T.A. Pratt is the pseudonym of Tim Pratt, under which he penned the Marla Mason books.
More about T.A. Pratt...
Poison Sleep (Marla Mason, #2) Dead Reign (Marla Mason, #3) Spell Games (Marla Mason, #4) Bone Shop (Marla Mason, Prequel #1) Grim Tides (Marla Mason, #6)

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“But you know me-I'm an information magpie, always interested in shiny bits of intel. I've never gotten in trouble because of knowing too much.” 16 likes
“After several stops, and a dark journey through the tunnel under the bay, B stood up and said, “This is it.” They stepped off the train and took an escalator up a level, into a domed area, and then exited the train station. As always when Marla emerged from an underground space into the light, she felt a sense of new possibilities, as if she’d returned from the underworld and brought back secrets. There was power even in symbolic journeys.” 1 likes
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