This is by far the darkest book in the series so far, which is saying something. I think it might also be my favorite. I loved the magic and the super...moreThis is by far the darkest book in the series so far, which is saying something. I think it might also be my favorite. I loved the magic and the supernatural entities in the book, and Nate when he's peeved is something to watch out for. This would make a great action movie, although I'd cringe on some parts. Nate is the man!!
I'm loving the Hellequin series even more after reading this book. Nate is a Grade A Kickbutt Artist. The magic is pretty darn enthralling. Sensitive...moreI'm loving the Hellequin series even more after reading this book. Nate is a Grade A Kickbutt Artist. The magic is pretty darn enthralling. Sensitive readers will find aspects of the storyline hard to read at times, but I am glad that Nate is there to deliver some hard justice to horrible villains in this book. This series is not to be missed if you're a fan of urban fantasy.
This is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHugh...moreThis is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHugh touches on some very recognizable figures in fantasy and folk legends and mythology and in a way that made me go "Hmm!". It's pretty gritty and quite violent. I'm not sure I was in love with the sexuality expressed in the story though. However, this book definitely keeps your eyes glued to the pages, and the magic was fascinating and darkly alluring and repulsive in parts. I am thrilled I am able to read and review this series, since I do love my urban fantasy.
I am glad I took my time reading this. I think there are so many levels to this novel that I could miss if I breezed through. I like how simple Briggs...moreI am glad I took my time reading this. I think there are so many levels to this novel that I could miss if I breezed through. I like how simple Briggs writes. Not a lot of nonsense, extraneous prose that bogs down the story. Despite her concise narrative, she conveys so much, filling the novel with an emotional power. Her characters have a distinct feel to them from other writers. I like that she puts their flaws out there unashamedly, and it makes you love the characters even more.
I will freely admit I like the scary hero that everyone fears, but the one woman who looked into his heart and feels safe with him, and is not afraid to love him. I think that Anna and Charles have that sort of bond that is symbiotic. It doesn't really apply to call it yin and yang, but there are elements of softness and strength coming together. Truly though, their strengths complement each other. And they aren't trying to modify each other to make a more comfortable fit for the other. It's more a matter of growing in their knowledge of each other, and growing together. I find their relationship very fascinating and fulfilling, and that's another reason why I read this book slowly.
The storyline was very good as well. A lot of intrigue here, to see who was trying to destroy the Marrok's plan for an alliance when the werewolves reveal themselves to the world. The suspense was done cleverly, because you look at the key players, think someone looks likely, but look away to focus on someone else, and then you realize that things aren't the way they seem. I liked how she kept me guessing.
The werewolf parts are fantastic as usual. Just utterly fascinating. Another thing to appreciate from all angles as I read. And throw some faerie and King Arthur stuff in there, and I start thinking this story is tailor made for me. This is my kind of urban fantasy. Naturalistic characters with identifiable motivations, enough grit to keep my heart beating fast, a heroine whose strength comes from within, and who grows right in front of my eyes, for Anna is a phoenix who rose from the ashes. A to-die-for hero who makes me sigh even as he makes others shudder with fear. But then you see his soft spot is his Anna. How can I resist that? Just the right dose of romance that fits into the story so well, it neither distracts or detracts from the fantasy elements. Everything my heart desires, except the book was over, and I still wanted more.
Here's the thing with this book: If you cannot suspend your disbelief, then do not attempt to read this book. If you can, and you want to have lots of...moreHere's the thing with this book: If you cannot suspend your disbelief, then do not attempt to read this book. If you can, and you want to have lots of fun, enjoy a book full of adventure, with a deeper message, and you enjoy action/adventure, then dive in!
This was a fun book. It had a bit of a slow start, but then, watch out. I absolutely loved Alfred. He is considered a screw up--not good at anything. He's big and awkward, blocky big. Think linebacker. But this young man...he saves the world, and discovers a secret destiny.
And to think, when he bargains with this uncle (his only living relative) that he'll try out for football if he is able to get his learner's permit, Alfred has no idea that he will be driving Porshes, Lambourghinis, Bentleys, and Mercedes across the country and England, at 90-120 miles an hour. He has no clue that he'll go from being a 'loser' to fighting off evil henchmen with The Sword of all Swords--Excalibur.
Alfred's adventures are not all good. He sees lots of people die--deaths that can in part be laid at his feet for a monumental decision he makes to help his uncle steal a sword from his boss. When he becomes the sidekick to the last knight of an order sworn to keep Excalibur out of the hands of evil men, he does it out of guilt and because he has nothing left. But Alfred is taking the step toward his fate.
This was a very good book. As a fan of action/adventure, I had a ball reading it. It's pretty violent, so I'd probably read it first if you are a parent of a kid under twelve (although I read worse when I was that age). I think tween kids and younger teens (as well as some older teens who like a fun read) would love it (although I had some moments where I felt the POV seemed a little mature for the average 15 year old--but I could be wrong). I also think grown-ups who love adventure/quest novels and movies would eat this up. If you are a fan of these kinds of stories, what are you waiting for? If you like King Arthur, you need to read this book. Mr. Yancey managed to write a story that is chock full of adventure, but also with a message about realizing what your purpose is in life. I really felt for poor Alfred. He had been through a lot, and he had the weight of the world on his young but large shoulders. He showed a lot of courage, strength, heart, and intelligence, although he was his own worst critic. But, in the end, Alfred showed that he was in the right place at the right time. This is my first book by Rick Yancey, but it won't be my list. I'm excited to read more of Alfred's adventures. He proved to me that he's a hero who is up to the challenge of saving the world, and I enjoyed watching him do it. Highly recommended! (less)
The Night Dance is a wonderful combination of the fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and King Arthur legend. I was captivated at the first pag...moreThe Night Dance is a wonderful combination of the fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and King Arthur legend. I was captivated at the first page, but at the same time wondering how the author could successfully tell this story and use the death of King Arthur and the sole remaining knight Bedivere's quest to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. Well Ms. Weyn did an excellent job.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. I was excited to read a fantasy story built around this tale. Ms. Weyn preserved the aspects of this story that I really liked, and gave them a different spin. I found I wanted to know more about the twelve princesses' dad, Sir Ethan Colchester, because we meet him and his wife, Vivienne, who happens to be the Lady of the Lake long before we meet the daughters. It was interesting seeing how the girls' parents met, and how this tied into the King Arthur myth. They are both shown as sympathetic characters who have reasons for why their actions have led to the princesses being motherless and locked away from the world. We also get to see the youngest daughter, Rowena find true love with the sole remaining knight, Bedivere. Also we see one of the oldest daughters fall in love with a would-be suitor who fails Sir Ethan's challenge to stay awake and see why his daughters' shoes are tattered every morning after being locked in their bedrooms. And we get to see what becomes of the other ten daughters as well. I don't want to tell you the whole story, and give too much away. It's short, but a rewarding read, especially if you like fairy retellings and King Arthur.
I love reading anthologies, so I never really got why a lot of romance readers don't care much for anthologies. Well, I tend to read fantasy and horro...moreI love reading anthologies, so I never really got why a lot of romance readers don't care much for anthologies. Well, I tend to read fantasy and horror anthologies for the most part. This is probably one of the first bigger romance ones I've read. I get it now! It gets pretty dull to read sex scene after sex scene. The only thing that broke the monotony were the paranormal elements, and seeing how each author created a story out of that starting point. Some authors did a better job than others of engaging me. Overall, I would say I'm leaning towards being mildly disappointed with this anthology, but it's really for the reasons of what appeals to me. I love romance. I love the tension and the emotion of seeing a couple meet, fall in love, and decide they want to spend their lives together. It's kind of hard to do that in a very short story, especially the ones that are supposed to be very steamy. I either ended up feeling like the couples had some hot chemistry, but not really buying the true love, or wanting more because things ended too quickly. In general, the stories that leaned towards urban fantasy made more of an impression on me, because the focus was on the plot and the worldbuilding.
I'll give a basic recap of my feelings on the stories.
"Music Hath Charms" by Tanya Huff. Quite interesting. Not a romance. More of a sexy urban fantasy story. I wanted a different ending than the one I got, but I'd give it four stars because she used the Greek sirens myth to such good effect.
"Minotaur in Stone" by Marjorie Liu. I absolutely loved this story. It shows the potential of a well-done paranormal romantic short story. All the mythic aspects, the longing, the feeling of a couple falling for each other and striving for their happy ending. It was unique and really took a different spin on the Greek minotaur myth. What a joy to read. Five stars.
"Demon Lover" by Cheyenne McCray. I have mixed feelings about this story. I thought the use of incubus lore was well done. The language was too raunchy for me and it was too focused on the sex acts. However, I have to admit this was a romantic story at its heart. The theme of self-sacrifice moved me. More than anything, I don't go for this kind of steam level, I think. Readers who like more erotic fare would enjoy this one more than I did. 4 stars.
"Equinox" by LA Banks. I've found I tend to enjoy LA Banks' short stories very much. But, I think this is my least favorite. It didn't quite come together very well. I couldn't tell if she was going for a humorous tone or not. I liked the concept, Artemis coming to the modern world with her nymphs to punish those who destroyed the environment. She drew in the story of Artemis and Acteon, the human she changed into a stag for watching her bathe naked, and shot full of arrows as punishment. In this case, she changed executives of companies that were raping the environment into stags. It was a very good idea. I liked the hero, who was a special forces guy. It was great seeing black characters in this setting. Who said Artemis couldn't be Black? Kudos for that. This story had a lot going for it, but it just felt a little unpolished and hurried in the execution. All and all, I'd say this was a four star story.
"Ride a Dark Horse" by Susan Krinard. Being horse-mad, I did appreciate that aspect of this story. However, it felt kind of ho-hum, like a hundred other paranormal romances. The ending was a bit rushed as well. Three stars.
"To Die For" by Keri Arthur. I could see readers loving this story. I liked the horrific/dark fantasy elements. I didn't think it was romantic. It was more of a "we're hot for each other and have been for a while, so let's see where this is going" kind of execution. I don't like the whole HFN thing, so that left me cold. Plus the love scenes seemed disruptive in the sense that they were in the middle of finding their boss's missing nephew and hunting a very scary, evil killer. The sex interludes seemed unwise and disruptive. Ms. Arthur is a good writer, and it was a pretty scary story, so I'd give it a four stars on those terms, even though it failed as a romance for me.
"Curse of the Dragon's Tears" by Heidi Betts really left me with a blah feeling. I think her writing doesn't work for me. It was very standard paranormal romance story with cursed hero and heroine determined to save him with her love/lust. Let's have lots of hot sex and maybe we can figure out how to reverse the curse. It didn't do much for me. 3 stars.
"Brother's Keeper" by Lilith Saintcrow. This is my first story by this author, and I like her imagination. This story had very hot chemistry, and it was dark and kind of disturbing. The only thing that made the execution flawed was the internal monologue of the heroine. Selene would talk to herself in her head, and because it was 3rd person, it just seemed intrusive. I really think this should have been a 1st person story. I loved Nikolai. He was yummy! I'd like to read more of these characters. 4 stars.
"(Like a) Virgin of the Spring" by Susan Sizemore and Denise Little. Great premise muddied down by too much sex. Pretty cool how they worked time travelers into the King Arthur lore. I think if there was less sex and more story, this would have been close to five stars. As it was, more of a 3.5 star story.
"Life is the Teacher" by Carrie Vaughn. This woman can write. She took the paranormal premise and created a literary feel to this story that sucked me in. Emma's a fledgling vampire who is going on her first hunt. You feel all her sadness, the impasse she faces as she confronts her old life, where she doesn't belong anymore, and embarking on a new life as a creature of the night. It was poignant and also evocative. The sensuality was well-incorporated and fit the mood of this story about Emma's awakening to her life as a vampire. 4.5 stars.
"Moonlight Becomes You" by Linda Winstead Jones. This story had a humorous element, as a young woman investigates her neighbor, who she believes to be a vampire. It helps that he's sexy, and seems interested in her. I liked the twist in this story. 4 stars.
"Dirty Magic" by Kim Harrison was a beautiful, yet disturbing story. Mia the Banshee deals with her forbidden love for a young musician. His love is an irresistible lure to a creature who is drawn to and who feeds off the emotions of humans. I didn't really like the way this ended, but it was superbly-written. 4 stars.
I was tired after finishing this volume. I definitely needed a break from the paranormal sex motif. As I do with most anthologies, this would have worked better if I read it on and off. But, reading the stories back to back made some of the lesser-involving ones a chore to read.
Overall rating: 4 stars. Nothing truly bad, just some that didn't work for me. Marjorie Liu's story definitely was the shining star in this collection.
I'm writing this review like a letter from a huge fan to the author who wrote this book I loved.
Dear Mr. Green:
Can I be honest and say that you have a...moreI'm writing this review like a letter from a huge fan to the author who wrote this book I loved.
Dear Mr. Green:
Can I be honest and say that you have a very twisted imagination, and I love you for it? Yet again, I found myself horrified, creeped out, laughing like crazy, and going "Aww, that's so sweet," all in the same book. How do you do it?
I love the way you put interesting legends of all sorts, and folklore in your stories. If I wasn't afraid for my life, I think the Nightside would be on interesting place to visit. Since I'm too cowardly to actually go there for real, I am glad I can read your books.
I do love John Taylor. What a rascal. His sense of humor is fantastic. I like that he is able to bluff his way out of some nasty situations. I like that he's a decent person, although he hardly sees himself that way. I feel bad for the guy, in light of who his mother is, and the fact that people want him dead because of his mother. I admit, I'm crushing on him.
As for Mommy Dearest, I can't say I like her too much. I did think it was fantastic what her true origin was. Very cool. I worry for the future when she comes back. I forsee some family feuding. By the way, I loved the flashback about how her and John's dad met.
I have to admit that I missed Shotgun Suzie and Razor Eddie, although Madman, Sinner, and Pretty Poison made some very interesting companions to John. They came in handy. I loved the romance between Sinner and Pretty Poison. It was kind of sweet, and profound, in a way that always gets to me. True Love, and all that. Mr. Green, I think you must be a very sweet guy in real life. Okay, I won't get too mushy here.
There's too much to go into for this letter. There was a lot going on. And I loved it all. Each scene was intensely visual, rich, and interesting as I read. Sometimes, I did wince a bit, since you're not afraid to go for the grue. But, your humor makes up for it.
Mr. Green, I want to thank you for writing the Nightside series. It's so very good. Just the right mix of lore and legend, humor, and scary moments, with a hero I just adore. I will be very sad when this series ends. Until then, I will eat these books up, and your other novels, as well.