An entertaining and engaging first novel, filled with snarky humor intertwined with serious events. Reminiscent of, yet distinct from, early Harry DreAn entertaining and engaging first novel, filled with snarky humor intertwined with serious events. Reminiscent of, yet distinct from, early Harry Dresden novels. Jackson's voice is fun to read, and his ghostly partner Gladys is delightfully twisted. Highly recommended. ...more
Although it's the second in a series, The Bone Palace stands alone quite well. It’s a dark, political, high fantasy mystery told from two perspectivesAlthough it's the second in a series, The Bone Palace stands alone quite well. It’s a dark, political, high fantasy mystery told from two perspectives: Crown Investigator and necromancer Isyllt Iskaldur; and the crown prince’s mistress, Savedra Severos.
A prostitute has turned up dead, her throat slit. Sad, but hardly uncommon. The only thing that draws this to Isyllt’s attention is that she was found carrying a royal treasure, and the scandal needs to be resolved before word can reach the king. The investigation leads Isyllt into the deep underground to the vrykoloi, vampiric demons, and into an odd partnership with the vrykolos Spider. She knows it’s a bad idea, but bad ideas seem to be her stock in trade, lately.
Savedra, for her part, is deliriously in love with Prince Nikos, and surprisingly fond of his wife, Ashlin, even going so far as to serve as confidante and bodyguard—much to the warrior princess’ dismay. Being intimately tied to the crown as she is, while Isyllt roams the streets and tunnels of the city, Vedra investigates the twisty politics of the nobles, including those of her own family. Neither of them could anticipate the betrayals revealed when they uncover both buried history and an enraged demon out for blood.
Both books in the series (and, presumably, the forthcoming sequel, The Kingdoms of Dust) are marked by intensive world-building, political machinations, and strong female characters. This is a book for the people who get a bit tired of the testosterone of George R. R. Martin and don’t feel like the romantic bent of Kim Harrison.
For the non-copypasta'd part of the review, I want to gush lovingly about Downum's treatment of sex. Specifically, how it's just sex. It's a pleasurable activity between friends, and sometimes a drunken mistake, but there's nothing shameful about the activity. There's no visible backlack against orientation, either, with people being happily bisexual without reproach, or mildly lamenting that they aren't. (Isyllt wishing she were into women because her friend was otherwise perfect made me laugh, if only because she acknowledges that she's not even remotely her friend's type.) The relationship between Vedra, Ashlin, and Nikos fills me with angsty glee, and I wish there were more of that around. All in all, a fantastic novel. I eagerly await the next one....more
Kuroshitsuji, or Black Butler, is composed of one part serious historical fiction, one part supernatural horror, one part fanservice, and five parts uKuroshitsuji, or Black Butler, is composed of one part serious historical fiction, one part supernatural horror, one part fanservice, and five parts uncut crack.
Twelve-year-old Ciel Phantomhive is the last of his line, and the Earl of Phantomhive, following the death of his parents in the fire that claimed the family mansion. He lives alone, but for his servants: one whom doesn't do much of anything, three whom fail at everything they attempt, and the titular butler, Sebastian. In his own words, Sebastian is "one hell of a butler."
Literally. Sebastian is a demon, contracted to Ciel to serve him until Ciel meets his goal: the death of all who conspired to kidnap him and murder his family. Until that time, Sebastian is happy to serve his master in any manner required, whether it be shining the tea service, hunting down murder suspects, or ever-so-politely eliminating all threats to Ciel...other than himself.
The art can be gorgeous, even if it occasionally descends into chibi, the relationship between Sebastian and Ciel is a beautiful study of loyalty and sadism in equal measures, and the plots careen wildly between deadly serious (like a Jack the Ripper arc) and dreadfully frivolous (pretty much anything to do with Ciel's cousin/fiancée, Elizabeth), and occasionally both at the same time.
If you don't mind mental whiplash and a few gratuitous art pieces of Ciel and Sebastian in...suggestive poses and attire, this is definitely a series worth trying....more
Chicago, 1936. Jack Fleming wakes up dead and can't remember how he got that way.
A fun homage to the hardboiled novels of the era, fast-paced, fun, anChicago, 1936. Jack Fleming wakes up dead and can't remember how he got that way.
A fun homage to the hardboiled novels of the era, fast-paced, fun, and gritty all at once. This is an excellent start to the series and features one of my favorite opening sentences for sheer eye-catching surprise:
The car was doing at least forty when the right front fender smashed against my left hip and sent me spinning off the road to flop bonelessly into a mass of thick, windblown grass.
Jack is back, and there's nothing like almost killing your best friend to screw your head back on straight. Since there's no shortage of people waitinJack is back, and there's nothing like almost killing your best friend to screw your head back on straight. Since there's no shortage of people waiting to unscrew it again, though, it doesn't stay straight for long.
Being the twelfth book in a series that's been running since the mid-nineties, it's hard to remember that all the events have taken place in just over a year—that's not a lot of time to go from being a live reporter to an undead nightclub owner and stand-in mob boss—and the author spends some time reflecting on Jack's changes in this book.
This would have been a four-star review, but for the change in storytelling. It's not the first time the author's juggled perspective, but the mixture of Jack's first-person voice and Kroun's third-person threw me a little.
All I can add is that my love for Charles Escott grows with every passing novel....more
My best description of this book would be to liken it to a fine wine. You start off sipping it, savoring the full-bodied atmosphere, the smoky undertoMy best description of this book would be to liken it to a fine wine. You start off sipping it, savoring the full-bodied atmosphere, the smoky undertones of mystery, the sweetness of characterization, the topnotes of clever wit. Gradually, as you drink more in, you get tipsy, overlooking the delicacy of prose in favor of the rush of intoxicating plot. Before you know it, you're down two bottles and losing focus on reality while a murky, distorted world drags you down. Finally you're left sprawled on the couch, maudlin tears drying on your cheeks and a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach as you swear you'll never do this to yourself again, but you know you're lying to yourself....more
Fix is in another fix in the third book of his series, this time being called on to exonerate a man accused of murder while the man's wife asserts thaFix is in another fix in the third book of his series, this time being called on to exonerate a man accused of murder while the man's wife asserts that it wasn't him, it was a ghost. Meanwhile, Fix's best friend, the demon-possessed Rafi, is about to be legally kidnapped by a researcher intent on picking him apart. With Castor's ever-shrinking support base, things are only going to get tougher.
A solid, tightly-plotted entry to the series, and well worth the read....more
This was a slow start for me. It took some time to get interested in Oskar after his introduction as a twelve-year-old boy who pees his pants and fantThis was a slow start for me. It took some time to get interested in Oskar after his introduction as a twelve-year-old boy who pees his pants and fantasizes about murdering his classmates. However, the slow unfolding of his life, and the lives of those around him, in the light of unsolved murders and the strange little girl next door, was absolutely gripping. I cannot recommend this book highly enough....more
Finally! Anita has a plot! Once upon a time, this was a series of gritty, urban fantasy murder mysteries with a good sense of humor. I wonder to myselFinally! Anita has a plot! Once upon a time, this was a series of gritty, urban fantasy murder mysteries with a good sense of humor. I wonder to myself why I keep reading, though, after they devolved into nonstop copypasted porn, but every so often one crops up that reminds me. Continuing from the last book that had a semblance of plot, this has Anita in Vegas, hunting down the serial killer that escaped her in St. Louis. It also reunites her with the crew of the last book before the steep downhill slide of the series: Obsidian Butterfly.
There are actually a few loose ends wrapped up in this volume, which lends hope to the theory that the series will wrap itself up and end before it looses any merit it ever had....more