This was a fun, clever book. I don't do straight (i.e., non-fantasy) thriller/mystery very often, but I'm glad I gave this one a whirl, becau...more***4.5***
This was a fun, clever book. I don't do straight (i.e., non-fantasy) thriller/mystery very often, but I'm glad I gave this one a whirl, because I enjoyed it. I may have to check out more in this author's library.(less)
Well. It certainly wasn't at all bad. But I wanted more. I really enjoyed this series, and I wanted it to wrap out with a bang. The last stretch of th...moreWell. It certainly wasn't at all bad. But I wanted more. I really enjoyed this series, and I wanted it to wrap out with a bang. The last stretch of this was more of a whimper, and I can't help feeling a bit unsatisfied.
Fantastic start to the series. I'm a tad frustrated, only because I want more info on the real rules and structure of this world and Amelia's ability....moreFantastic start to the series. I'm a tad frustrated, only because I want more info on the real rules and structure of this world and Amelia's ability. But for now, I can live with wanting more. I like the world and the characters, and the layers and layers to the story... I just have my fingers crossed that there's a payoff.(less)
I like the series. It is cute, and funny, and treats witchcraft in an interesting fashion.
But I am tired of most of the characters. The men all suc...moreEh.
I like the series. It is cute, and funny, and treats witchcraft in an interesting fashion.
But I am tired of most of the characters. The men all suck.
And I am tired of all the allusions to Lily's past, with zip in terms of explanation. We got the first little bit of info about her childhood in this book - one single incident - and I can't believe that 3 books in, I still know next to nothing about her prior to her arrival in San Francisco.
I'm just not feeling any forward movement in this series. It is a cute, fun setting, and Lily is not a bad heroine, but... what in heck is happening? Why do I care? Give me something, please. I'd like to keep reading, but I can't stay engaged.
I really like this series. I love the characters, and particularly Adelia. I love the pacing, the mysteries, the historical setting. I love Henry II,...moreI really like this series. I love the characters, and particularly Adelia. I love the pacing, the mysteries, the historical setting. I love Henry II, even though he drives me batty sometimes.
What I really don't love is Rowley. In previous books, I sort of managed to put up with him - he manages to be less annoying as the plot thickens, and he generally isn't around much before then.
The reason I dislike Rowley is this: he doesn't love Adelia. Not really. He hates all the parts of her that she cherishes. He hates that she is a doctor. He hates that she is educated. He hates that she is driven to seek out truth. He wants her to be a typical fainting lady. He expected her to give up her whole life to marry him and while away her life in his manor somewhere, sheltered and bored. And he will never forgive her for saying no.
Why does he think he loves her? He hates everything that makes her who she is. And even worse, why does Adelia - wonderful, brilliant, just warrior that she is - think she loves him? She deserves better. Because in the end, that's what it boils down to for me:
Rowley doesn't deserve her. Not by a mile.
I'd frankly rather see her with Henry. At least Henry appreciates her. Realizes how incredible she is, what a gift she has. Recognizes that it can't be, SHOULDN'T be, cast away. Of course, Henry II and Adelia will never end up together - that would cross too many lines in historical fiction, something that Franklin works hard not to do in this series. But regardless, Henry would be better for her than Rowley, stupid Rowley who can't appreciate her, and just wants to make her something that she isn't. And this book made me angry, in the end, because Adelia changed her mind and agreed to try to be something she isn't, for HIM. Stupid, condescending, ignorant, pompous Rowley.
I hope it doesn't ruin the series for me. *sigh*(less)
I liked this one better than the first. Now that the basics of the world are established, the author got to dig in and tell a really fun story.
I felt...moreI liked this one better than the first. Now that the basics of the world are established, the author got to dig in and tell a really fun story.
I felt like the plot in this one was much more gripping. I was pretty into the details of the demon story as it unfolded, and I was largely kept guessing on the details (not ALL the details - I felt like Lily was a little slow to grasp a couple of things, but it was all good by the end).
I also really enjoyed seeing Lily become more connected to the world around her - she has spent most of her life isolated and outcast, and she is trying to settle and build a home now. It is gratifying to see her realize that people around her care about her.
Honestly, in a lot of ways, this series is reminding me of Harry Dresden. Not the noir vibe that you get with Dresden, but in both series you have a lone wolf-ish witch/sorcerer/magic-user that is driven - largely by their own sense of ethics - to use their abilities to help people. They are both pretty lonely, and are somewhat of an outsider even among their "own" people (Dresden because he was literally cast out, Lily because she largely has chosen to remain outside).
I have a couple criticisms, though.
1. All of the big powerhouses in San Francisco can suck it. Seriously. Lily moves to town, and is barely there for a couple weeks before she's trying to help the community by being rid of malevolent spirits that kidnap children (book 1) or demons that are terrorizing the art school (book 2). We are introduced to several other supposed magical powerhouses in San Francisco - Aidan, who considers himself Lord and Master of all things magical in S.F.; Herve, a badass priest of voodoo; and arguably a couple others - and not one of them can be bothered to help. In the first book, they all tell her she's nuts for getting involved (with a spirit that has been abducting local children for DECADES, no less), and that she should just ignore it like they do. Aidan even has the gall to charge her for his help (not money - she owes him a favor, which is worse, considering what a slimy douchebag he is). In the second book, these local "badasses" basically drop the demon in her lap and tell her to handle it. Again, this is someone who has been in town for a few weeks. Lily may want to live there, but she is certainly less invested than these men, who have lived in S.F. for decades. WTF? How about they get off their lazy asses? Even worse, when she goes to them for advice and/or help, they basically all tell her to grow a pair and handle it. Can I repeat: WTF?
2. Lily needs to go shopping for some better men. Fortunately, romance is REALLY secondary in this series. And it is a good damn thing, because San Francisco really seems to be lacking in the men department. Firstly, we have Max. Max is scaring me, as he seems to be dangerously close to suffering from Richard Syndrome. I am referring to Richard from the Anita Blake series. Man, I hate Richard. I'll admit it, I have baggage. Like Richard, Max is one of those guys who is forcefully described as perfect, and is someone that you feel like you ought to love. He is everything that is good and nice, and disagreeing with him makes you feel like you suggested he run over a puppy. He doesn't like what the heroine is, doesn't understand why, for the love of god, she can't just be normal - how can she not WANT to be normal? And he also treads dangerously close to wanting to control the heroine. You know, for her own good. 'Cuz he knows better. *eyeroll*
Then we have Aidan. Please, god, let her have the sense to steer clear of Aidan. There is something so inherently slimy about him, I just don't like him at all.
And there have been a smattering of other possibilities. Honestly, the one I like best at this point is Sailor, but that poor guy is Fucked Up. I mean, he seems sweet, but he would be a Project that would likely demand the patience of Mary.
Does a girl have to make a deal with a demon to get some decent men around here?
3. I am tired of glossing over the back-stories. I get that it is awesome to pepper your story with nods to more complicated over-arcing elements. This serves as the hook, and builds the framework for your series-spanning plot. But I am two books into this series. I think that I have demonstrated that I am invested. I'd like some info on the things the author has been nodding towards for 2 books now. I don't need the whole story, I am not greedy. But I'd like to start to fill in some detail. What was she accused of in her hometown? WTF was the deal with her father? How about Aidan? Why did her mother hate her? Also, other littler things: what is her connection to Graciela, how did her mother know to send her there? Why did she decide not to finish her training?
But honestly, criticism aside, I am having fun with the series. I am looking forward to reading onward. Also, I'd really like to give a nod to the author on her spellcrafting detail. I don't know what her sources are (she mentions friends who gave her the craft details in her acknowledgements), but I am impressed. I do believe that this is the first book I have seen use magic in a way that is not either Wiccan or wholly fantastical. Blackwell's research is definitely impressive, and it makes for a fun read!(less)
The mystery element was fun, and that arc played out really well - it was a fun romp that gave a lot of fascinating de...more***4.5***
This book was fabulous!
The mystery element was fun, and that arc played out really well - it was a fun romp that gave a lot of fascinating detail to the cast of secondary characters.
But as fun as the mystery was, in the end it was a backdrop for a truly wonderful hero/heroine pair, because they stole the story for me. As always with Mallory, the banter between them was tremendous fun. But more than that, you really did feel like you were watching them develop a real relationship. Not superficial, not driven by lust, but a real connection between them. And I think Mallory has a real talent for building characters with a surprising amount of depth, even when there is only a short time to do so. Seeing Christian grow to shake off the lonely, brokenhearted boy he once was... it was very satisfying storytelling.
The only thing it was missing was a showdown with Teddy and his stupid friend. But that would have just been gravy.
I would also like to briefly mention the little quotes at the head of the chapter. Mallory uses that as a device in several of her stories now (off the top of my head, I am remembering the letters in Seven Secrets of Seduction), and it is a fabulous tool for adding depth to the story without being an anvil to the head (which it is in the hands of several other authors who shall remain nameless). With just a few simple sentences, in this book Mallory was able to sketch a vivid picture of the h/h's respective childhoods that contributed so much to the story.
Yet another home-run for Mallory! Definitely a keeper for me.(less)
This was a fun book. I was pretty stop / start-ish with the read, because I was busy this week, and I think that impacted my ability to emoti...more***3.5***
This was a fun book. I was pretty stop / start-ish with the read, because I was busy this week, and I think that impacted my ability to emotionally engage as much as I ordinarily would. But I thought it was a good, solid story, with interesting characters. It definitely read as the first book in the series - it felt like we didn't dig in-depth on anyone, really... it was just a lot of setup. But I liked Lily, Bronwyn and Maya. I withhold judgement on Aidan and Max - I don't trust either of them yet, so we'll wait to see where things go.
Since I happen to have book 2 right here, I think I will dive right in...(less)
I really really enjoy this series, everything from the characters to the feminist dialogue. Its fun to watch the mysteries play out, and I really just...moreI really really enjoy this series, everything from the characters to the feminist dialogue. Its fun to watch the mysteries play out, and I really just adore Adelia. I can't wait to read the next one.(less)
**spoiler alert** I can't decide what I think about Martin dying. Part of me hates it - I know that people will disagree, but I really liked his chara...more**spoiler alert** I can't decide what I think about Martin dying. Part of me hates it - I know that people will disagree, but I really liked his character. He and Roe were both so independent, I don't think he stifled her growth in any way. Mostly, I am just a little heartbroken here at the end of this book. Martin died, and I don't really understand why. It seemed to be for nothing, just a random act of tragedy, and I'll miss him.(less)