I found myself growing more and more irritated as I read this final novel in the Mageverse series. It read more like a prequel to a new series than th...moreI found myself growing more and more irritated as I read this final novel in the Mageverse series. It read more like a prequel to a new series than the end of an old one. Yes, it had the villain of novels 6-9, with his expected comeuppance. Miranda Drake and William Justice, our hero and heroine have had supporting roles in the previous novels in the Warlock story arc. And Arthur, Guinevere and Morgana make significant appearances in a few chapters, but the bulk of the story takes place with a whole new set of characters from a previously unknown group of Sidhe. The feel of their world, though they inhabit both mortal and Mageverse Earths, is completely different than anything Knight has written in this series. I had hoped that after ignoring most of her heroes and heroines from novels 1-5 of the series that Knight would bring them back for the final encore, especially King Llyr and his Dire Wolf Queen Diana, who by logic should have been part of these Warlock novels. Not so. The ending after all the evil--both slimy and horrific--Warlock has perpetrated, and how invincible he has been to this point, felt anticlimactic. I guess with evil on that scale maybe it's hard to write any way of conquering it that does not seem too easy. Though explained later, Knight played a little fast and loose with the absence of Warlock's 7000-soldier army for most of the final action between the heroes and him and his Beasts.
Most people do not have the luxury to read the 9 novels in this series consecutively in a 9-day period. Parts of this novel, like parts of the previous ones, are so well written, but the details get sloppy. Reading like I did makes that sloppiness more noticeable and cumulative; hence, more irritating. Biggest pet peeves besides the disappearing heroes and heroines from the earlier novels? 1. Kay once again is listed as one of the current Knights of the Round Table when we are told he died in WWII in novel 6 Master of Fire (see story of how Kay's grandson Jimmy went crazy after his transition to Magekind). 2. That we got novels about the romances of characters who contribute little to the series overall like Reece Champion and Erin, and Jim London and Faith Weston while not getting ones on Lancelot and Grace or Galahad and his new wife. In an Arthurian-based series, however creatively revamped (bad pun, sorry), shouldn't we get more than 2 (Gawain and Tristan) out of 9 novels about the Arthurian characters we come to the series already caring about? There are more but enough ranting.
Through the first three-quarters of the novel I was very disappointed in this as the final payoff in a series I've invested much time and emotion reading. It felt like I'd walked into a completely different series from the opening action in Pakistan to the world of the Donavan clan and Maeve, the Mother of Fairies. The final quarter redeemed it somewhat, especially the final confrontations between Miranda and her father and between Arthur and Warlock. And the Epilogue has to be the set up for a brand new series because it ties up nothing of the one this novel finishes, and there were plenty of loose ends in this series that could have used some attention.(less)
At last! A novel about another of the Round Table Knights! Tristan and Belle Coeur are very good characters, and the interplay between them is both hi...moreAt last! A novel about another of the Round Table Knights! Tristan and Belle Coeur are very good characters, and the interplay between them is both hilarious and poignant. Knight takes greater care in developing their relationship than she has with some of the others, giving their emotional baggage and centuries of life experience the respect it deserves. The novel had some heartbreaking moments apart from Tristan and Belle, particularly concerning Bors and the new recruit Davon. As for the continuation of the Warlock/Dire Wolf hostilities against the Magekind, it is a chilling study on mob mentality and manipulation. Warlock has been studying the Hitler playbook.
One somewhat jarring note was having the Round Table knight Kay appear alive and participating in an attack against Warlock's Beast when novel 6 tells the sad events of his death in WWII.(less)
Knight does an excellent job in imagining what it would be like to be the 21st-century son of Arthur and Guinevere, especially a mortal son of legenda...moreKnight does an excellent job in imagining what it would be like to be the 21st-century son of Arthur and Guinevere, especially a mortal son of legendary Magekind parents. Logan MacRoy is a compelling character, easy to admire, to cry over, to cheer for, and occasionally get exasperated with. Giada Shepherd, the heroine of the novel, is less well developed. It was hard for me to get why Logan was attracted to her. Still, the story--multiple attempts to kill Logan as revenge against Arthur by a psychopathic father-daughter Direwolf duo--is well-crafted and chilling. It also introduces the next major villain for this series: Warlock, the only immortal, magic-wielding Dire Wolf Merlin created.(less)
The character of Smoke introduced during the previous novel was already one I had grown to admire and care for, so I was eager to learn what had happe...moreThe character of Smoke introduced during the previous novel was already one I had grown to admire and care for, so I was eager to learn what had happened to him after his devastating confrontation with Warlock at the end of Master of Fire. Eva Roman suffered initially from the imbalance of already being invested in the character Smoke and the urgency to learn his fate, but the untutored Dire Wolf comic book geek quickly grew on me. Learning that Smoke's body was home to three distinct but intertwined beings was jarring at first, but the trauma of the three being torn apart and Eva having to deal with each individually while falling in love with only one of them was interesting and poignant. The battle with Warlock and his minions was constant but balanced with good relational moments. Eva's parents were fun additions. The scene with Arthur Pendragon and Eva's dad geeking out on Monty Python was especially funny. The ending was a surprising twist but poetic.
I have to say though that I don't understand, as the threat Warlock poses escalates to pretty scary magical proportions, why King Llyr and his Direwolf queen Diana along with her family, especially brother Jim (see novel 3), don't begin to figure into the story. Warlock has found his way to the Mageverse; and therefore, as a force of magical evil and as an enemy of their closest allies, the Magekind, he is a threat to Llyr and his people. Given his paranoia and jealousy, Warlock should consider Diana a threat to him. But the London family and the fairies are no-shows. For such significant and unifying characters for the first five novels of this series, it makes no sense on multiple levels.
It only took four novels to get the one I expected at the start of this series once I learned of the Arthurian (with a lot of poetic license) premise...moreIt only took four novels to get the one I expected at the start of this series once I learned of the Arthurian (with a lot of poetic license) premise of the Mageverse series. Finally a love story about one of the Arthurian Knights: Gawain. His love interest: Tristan's great-granddaughter. Gawain is a happy bachelor, quite satisfied with his 15-century bromance with his dragon friend Kel who has been enchanted into a talking sword and who shares a mental link with Gawain. Having to take on Lark McClure as his apprentice is done against protest, but he soon changes his tune. Despite suffering from PSTD, Gawain soon discovers there is much to admire about his apprentice. Her great-grandfather Tristan is very unhappy about the pairing. Their relationship develops as the war against Geiroff's evil vampire horde continues as the Magekind search for the third Dark Grail and hostilities arise with Kel's Dragonkind enemies. Bors' bad seed son is the latest villain, and the scenes with Bors are wrenching, as is the necessary means to stop Richard before he can't be stopped at all.(less)
I spent a long time wondering if Card was going to write this book, and finally stopped looking. Thank goodness the Ender movie inspired me to check a...moreI spent a long time wondering if Card was going to write this book, and finally stopped looking. Thank goodness the Ender movie inspired me to check again. This is the story of Bean and the three of his children with Anton Syndrome who have chosen to travel in space at relavistic speed in hopes that a cure could be found for their giantism and early demise. The novel is told largely from the perspective of the six-year-old children Ender, Carlotta and Cincinnatus Delphiki. By Earth standards 450 years have passed, so there is no happy ending of Bean and the children being restored to their family (that's only a spoiler if you haven't read the previous books). SPOILER: Nor is there a reunion of Ender and Bean, which I would have really liked because their relationship never felt reciprocal nor a sense of closure. Ender was the greatest formative force in Bean's life--and though Card has Bean tell his children they were best friends that doesn't jive with the novels--while he was barely a footnote for Ender. Meeting in their mid-twenties as equals would have given a sense of closure for me.
That said, it took a while for the kids to grow on me, but by the midpoint I began to care. Bean appears too little early on, but it was good to be in his company again, and share the heartbreak and frustration of how on the verge of death from his giantism he can be the parent his children need and secure their futures. I didn't get the whole new species thing. And the encounter with the old Formic colony ship provides the best parts of the novel, while raising some alarms about the Formic Queens. Bean's story is tragic, but as Sister Carlotta taught him, he lived well what he had. SPOILER: And does anyone else see the end of Bean's story echoing a certain part of the game Ender played at Battle School?(less)
Jackson Wulf is the most endearing of the Wulf brothers and his story is as engaging as the character in many ways. The love interest Lucinda less so,...moreJackson Wulf is the most endearing of the Wulf brothers and his story is as engaging as the character in many ways. The love interest Lucinda less so, but it still works. What is ridiculous is the idea that the baby daddy of Lucinda's son is out to kill mother and son because the dad is the cousin of the king and this baby is a threat to the throne, despite the fact that said cousin and his legitimate offspring aren't near the top of the list of succession (or he'd be a duke or marquess rather than an earl). No illegitimate royal child has ever sat on the English throne, nor have any been a threat except for Charles II's illegitimate son Monmouth who led an unsuccessful uprising. No illegitimate offspring of an earl who has some royal blood raised an eyebrow. The series is enjoyable and exciting, and the villains chillingly evil, but Thompson then pushes for more extreme melodrama, and my ability to suspend disbelief collapses. The internal rules of a fictional world have to be consistent. If a writer is going to invoke a historical period as setting for even a fantastical tale, a writer still has to honor the norms and limits of the period (see the Temeraire series).(less)
I primarily read this final novel of Thompson's Wild Wulf series for the payoff of having the five Wulf brothers united in the end. Both Amelia and Ga...moreI primarily read this final novel of Thompson's Wild Wulf series for the payoff of having the five Wulf brothers united in the end. Both Amelia and Gabriel appeared in previous novels, and I didn't particularly like them, so I wasn't excited to spend a whole novel with them. They grew a little more likable, but not characters I wanted to spend a great deal of time with so I pretty much skimmed. The Warg storyline was strange, but it seemed to be setting us up for the series to either continue or lead to a spinoff series. Since that was in 2006, I'm guessing it isn't going to happen. While the final 14 pages finally did bring the brothers and their wives together, it was very superficial. I kept hoping that this series would finally develop one of the major draws of having a series written about siblings/family: "One for all, and all for one." For me the series ended more with a whimper than a bang, and without some future reason to introduce Wargs, as a stand alone plot it felt very random and artificial. I so wanted to be a fan of the novel and the series, but it never lived up to the promise of Sterling Wulf's novella, my introduction to it all. (less)
Before I rant, and I will rant, I did generally like this novel, the characters and the broadstrokes of the plot, but I was in a constant state of fru...moreBefore I rant, and I will rant, I did generally like this novel, the characters and the broadstrokes of the plot, but I was in a constant state of frustration and irritation. Thompson may have Wild Wulfs unfolding in an alternate universe England and not bothered to say so. If, however, the setting is the historical England of 1821 as we know it (minus the cursed werewolves), then it is poorly researched and filled with illogical and implausible actions and events (and I am not talking werewolves). A duke (one of the most powerful men in the kingdom)sends his second wife away because her bad seed son is a danger to his beloved daughter, and then makes said wife who still lives with bad seed son now a man his daughter's guardian upon his death. I don't think so. Nor was he likely to do so without appointing a male co-guardian that he trusted implicitly. Nor would the duke's lawyers/solicitors, who would have been loyal family retainers and known exactly why the duke had sent his wife and her son away, have willy-nilly decided to give guardianship to said stepson when his mother gets incapacitated. I don't think so. And while there are several smaller examples, the final major implausibility: Armond Wulf is ostracized by proper society (to the point he cannot hire enough servants)because of a scandal about the insanity of both parents despite him being RICH and a marquis and an earl. Why was this period (it ended in 1820) called Regency? Because the Prince of Wales had to become Regent because his dad George III was bonkers. Reading just a couple memoirs of members of the Ton would make clear that the Wulf family scandal as their fellow aristocrats understood it would not have been nearly bad enough for the kind of ostracism Armond experiences in this novel. It would have taken so little tweaking to make this novel consistent with the societal and legal norms of the time without losing the drama and conflict. Armond and Rosalind's story kept me reading despite the inner rants and objections my mind kept snagging on, and granted most people haven't made a study of Regency England.(less)
Angela Knight's Mageverse novella happens further along in the series than I've read, and so don't quite understand how good werewolves fit into that...moreAngela Knight's Mageverse novella happens further along in the series than I've read, and so don't quite understand how good werewolves fit into that fictional universe, but Lucas Hollings and Elena Livingston are easy to root for. Their tale is a heroic one in the truest sense of the word.
Virginia Kantra's sequel to her previous novella "Midsummer Night's Magic" continues to dramatize the cruelty and caprice of the Fae, contrasting more powerfully the sacrificial love that triumphs over that cruelty. Kantra also has a gift for lyricism in her prose that enhances the otherworldly setting for her story. She falters a little in her development of the relationship between Caitlin and Rhys leaving it unconvincing that they have come to care for each other deeply enough to sacrifice so dearly for each other.
MaryJanice Davidson's "Driftwood," is an entertaining story about one of the Wyndham werewolves.
"Mona Lisa Three" by Sunny draws on previous novels in her series, so it takes a little scrambling to follow if, like me, the reader is unfamiliar with them. Still despite the story being quite a bit more sexually graphic than I am comfortable with, the story and the title character drew me in and made me care about what was happening.(less)
I find it unusual when I come across an anthology that I enjoy cover to cover. This is one of those few. I was already a fan of Kenyon's Assassins ser...moreI find it unusual when I come across an anthology that I enjoy cover to cover. This is one of those few. I was already a fan of Kenyon's Assassins series, and reading the story of the oldest child of the second generation of the series, Adron, was moving and like returning to old friends. Maggie Shayne's story of a woman who has visions no one ever believes until Sam comes along, the man she is destined to save from a curse that will kill him when he turns 35. It is a sweet, straightforward romance-mystery tale. I'd never come across Suzanne Forster or Virginia Kantra before, but I enjoyed the contemporary romance of Lucy and Noah as she learns that being safe is not the same as living. While Kantra's story returns us to the paranormal, it is another story of how our fears are the greatest obstacles to finding the kind of love that two people can build a life on. Janet has to risk everything to free Ross, her long missing college love from Lilith, the Queen of the Sidhe (Fairies). Each story drew me in and kept me interested until the final page of each novella.(less)