I'll start off by saying that it deserves 4 stars because I really liked it, and I do really really like all of Laurell K Hamilton books. I really do....moreI'll start off by saying that it deserves 4 stars because I really liked it, and I do really really like all of Laurell K Hamilton books. I really do. And I'm definately finish this series because I'm hooked.
I do however have two slight peeves.. One is a genal LKH Peeve - I don't like that she leaves out a lot of what I would consider 'important firsts'.. eg, there was no written scene for the first time Merry and Niccus got it on, we just jumped into a story where that had already happened for them, and that really dissapoints me. I know theres a lot of lovin going on, and it would probably make the book huge to include everything, but to me... all firsts are important!
The second peeve is a peeve that just for the Merry Gentry Series, and not for Anita. Merry gets into things too fast. I'm not saying her morality offends me, because it really doesn't. But it didn't leave much room for emotional buildup. Of course LKH did pretty good with the situation, I just prefer it slower :)(less)
Over a thousand years ago, the first Konstantine Varinski, a Russian warlord, made a deal with the devil - Which involved the breaking of a religious...moreOver a thousand years ago, the first Konstantine Varinski, a Russian warlord, made a deal with the devil - Which involved the breaking of a religious icon into 4 parts, scattered and hidden around the world. Since then the entire varinski line has produced only sons, and exerted their power over the local area in various ways, commonly being reputable assassins for hire. All of them are long-lived, fast-healing and are able to shapeshift into a predatory animal.
The current day Konstantine Varinski was just as brutal as his namesakes, until he met a young gypsy girl, fell in love, and fled to America, changing his surname to Wilder. Now he has 3 grown sons, goodlooking and single sons of course.. (and miraculously also a daughter). Then the gypsy mother utters a pretty scary prophecy.. that 4 of Konstantine Wilder's sons must each bring a piece of the broken icon back together, or rather not the sons themselves, but the women who love them. In order to break the curse, and save their father from certain death. Of course you can bet the original Varinski family back in Russia, has not forgotten them, and probably has their own version of the prophecy to work for.
Jasha Wilder, is the eldest son, and currently running the hugely successful family wine business. Anne Smith works as Jasha's executive assistant, her defining features seem to be that she's unusually tall, an extremely hard worker, introverted, and secretly in love with her boss. Oh, and she has a dark secretive past to do with nuns.. Anne uses a recent wine deal as an excuse to personally turn up to Jasha's house one day, (his phallic shaped house, apparently), and on discovering he is out moves all her clothes into his bedroom (as you do).. and then goes downstairs to find a giant wolf in the house.. guess who?
The backstory to this series is certainly interesting, all though it does fit a certain UF pattern, 4 sons in one prophecy all to find their fated ladies, its a very smooth set up for 4 separate books. Although son number 4 remains a complete mystery at this point! Thats certainly something I want the answer to.
When Anne turned up at Jasha's house, I was ready to be severely disappointed, Anne came across as quite the psychotic stalker woman.. I mean who the hell moves their clothes into their bosses bedroom while hes out? It really didn't sound like the perfect romantic beginning, especially considering Jasha had never even considered her in a non-professional capacity before. I was so expecting this to end up my crap shelf at that point, and yet, by the 100 pages mark, I was absolutely truly hooked!
I think primarily it must be Christina Dodd's writing skill that makes the entire book work. The cliche PNR series setup and the awkward beginning aside, I truly enjoyed it, so yet, there is certainly something to be said for Dodd's writing. And I don't just mean the fluff-scenes (although they were pretty epic it has to be said). In any other book I'd say Jasha and Anne wouldn't have worked as a couple, he was ridiculously domineering, she was a psychotic stalker, and I'm still not convinced he was truly in love with her, and yet Dodd managed to smush them together in a ridiculously convoluted way.
It's going to be one of those series that I hate to love, and can't help but read the entirety of. Guilty pleasure extreme.
Note: some sex scenes border on/could be considered Non-consensual, so if thats an issue for you, consider yourself warned. and I can confirm there is a similar situation in book 2. (less)
Lucia the Huntress is a 1500 year old valkyrie, most likely the greatest archer in the world. And she is cursed so that any time her arrow misses, she...moreLucia the Huntress is a 1500 year old valkyrie, most likely the greatest archer in the world. And she is cursed so that any time her arrow misses, she will be crippled by intense pain. Every 500 years Lucia has to put down a hideous g-d, who would otherwise escape and bring apocalyptic distruction upon the world. So far she has done her duty, but the god is growing stronger, and Lucia needs to find a dieumort - a rare god-killing weapon - in order to destroy him completely.
Garreth MacRieve is Lykae prince, forced to reluctantly assume the throne 100 years ago after the disappearance of his elder brother Lachlain. When Lucia ventures onto the Lykae compound to take out a couple of cupids, Garreth recognises her as his mate. Unfortunately as much as Lucia finds herself attracted to Garreth, she will not give up her vow of chastity which is the source of her magical archery skills. She's also not willing to reveal all of her secrets to Garreth, especially not the most tragic one of all. So she flees from him and concentrates on finding the dieumort and slaying the god. And Garreth follows her; determined to help her, and to have her.
Because the majority of the books in this series overlap in timeframe, the first 50 pages of the book contain plot from the previous 8 books, and is sort of rehashed and spliced together to fit Garreth and Lucia's points of view. I found this a little bit rushed and awkward, although I am still impressed at Kresley Cole's skill at juggling so many timelines and slotting all the plot pieces together. It's impressive, it's just nowhere near as slick as pulp fiction!
Lucia and Garreth did not work so well as a couple, in my opinion. Although Lucia instantly 'clicked' with Garreth, she had serious trust issues. She was determined to keep so many things secret, whereas if she had just told him WHY she couldn't sleep with him, he probably wouldn't have pushed so hard. I suppose 1500 years of never being romantically involved with a man probably gave her a bit of a complex... but her issues really were annoying me after a while. Garreth on the other hand was rather fixated on getting into her pants, but then thats Lykae for you. On the whole they were just an awkward couple for me.
I really think this series is getting a little bit too cheesy for my liking. Or more likely, it was cheesy all along and I'm just becoming more picky. And I'm not sure there are many characters left that I truly want to know the stories of. So its not going to be high priority for me. BUT I hate to leave a series unfinished, so I most likely will be carrying on with it, just not expecting anything amazing out it.(less)
After the last couple of bad eggs, I told myself I was going to give up on this series. Yet here I am reviewing the 5th book. And I know exactly why I...moreAfter the last couple of bad eggs, I told myself I was going to give up on this series. Yet here I am reviewing the 5th book. And I know exactly why I went and read it; When I first got into Paranormal Romance, and got completely addicted to the genre. The Lords of the Underworld was one of the first series I got hooked on. And in Book 1:The Darkest Night, Aeron was my favourite secondary character. So now that we're on book 5 (not counting all the inbetween short stories), and it's finally Aeron's story, I decide to cave in and read it.
Fortunately it wasn't actually quite as bad as the previous ones.
Aeron is the keeper of the demon Wrath, which means that he witnesses visions of people's sins, and is compelled to enact punishment upon them in keeping with the manner of their sins. So he's the one that murders the murderers, beats up the wife-beaters and tortures the psychopaths. (I'm not sure if he ever had to rape a rapist, luckily that never came up). To remind himself of all the horrific acts he's been forced to commit, he's had them tattooed over every inch of his body. He has violet eyes (like his brother Maddox), and he is rarity among the demon-keepers in that he has wings.
Olivia is an Angel who has been charged with killing Aeron, as punishment for all the atrocities he's commited. (Which I find difficult to get my head around considering he only enacts punishment upon bad people, but then I suppose Angels think they have a monopoly on divine justice). Olivia has spent a long time secretly observing Aeron, and grown quite attatched to him, so she refuses to kill him. She ends up having her wings removed and falling to earth in order to pursue him as a mortal. But if she won't kill him, you can bet that some other Angel has already been charged with the duty.
Yet again, I find myself somewhat disappointed in a series that doesn't live up to my expectations. As I was writing out the little summary, I found myself thinking 'Wow this sounds good, why isn't it this good?' I just think, perhaps Gena Showalter's writing isn't quite up to doing justice to her own ideas. Which is probably cruel of my to say so, but I'm sorry it's just how I feel.
Although there is a marked improvement over the last book. I think it's mainly because Olivia is less annoying character than say Bianka the harpy. She's not preoccupied with texting or constantly talking like a dumb teenage bimbo. Yet at one point she does go for a slutty makeover. Urgh.
Originally in the first book Aeron was also described as having eyebrow piercings, unfortunately no piercings mentioned in this novel, not sure where they're supposed to have gone. Call me shallow, but thats a chunk of Aeron's appeal lost in writers limbo.
One of the things that does irritate me is that despite being somewhat individual to begin with, Gena Showalter's characters all end up exactly the same once they're having sex. Every female and every male are alike once they get down to it, and all characterisation is just out the window. And why do all her female characters start thrashing their heads around when they're having sex? It's like they've got epilepsy. not sexy.
In conclusion. Not as bad as some of the others. But oh how do I wish the writing was as good as the concept. I wonder if I can stop myself from reading the next one..
This is a fantastic collection of short stories, a little bit of a mix of mostly fantasy and urban fantasy and fairytale. And each of them contain a g...moreThis is a fantastic collection of short stories, a little bit of a mix of mostly fantasy and urban fantasy and fairytale. And each of them contain a gay or lesbian relationship, but all are done to varying degrees. No two stories are similar.
There were so many really good stories packed into this anthology, and it would be really hard to comment on them all, so I shall restrain myself to mentioning just a few favourites.
"The Coat of Stars" by Holly Black Rafael is a costume designer for stage productions, when he goes home to visit family he is remembering a long lost love from his boyhood: Lyle, who believed in fairies, and died tragically young. Then Rafael wonders if Lyle might never have died at all, but been taken by the fairy. This story blended modern day into fairytale so wonderfully, I loved everything about it. I will be looking for more novels by Holly Black in the future.
"Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland" by Sarah Monette Violet is a young woman who catches the attention of the fairy Queen Nix, and becomes her lover. The story is broken up by a look at three letters that Nix wrote to her human lover. I'm extremely in love with Sarah Monettes writing, and I was so thrilled to find that she'd written lesbian characters, as in fantasy thats a rarity. And Sarah Monette writes so uniquely and beautifully, no review does it justice. I really hope she writes a full length fantasy with lesbian characters in the future!
"How the Ocean loved Magie" by Laurie J Marks Another beautiful UF/fairytale in which a young woman pregnant by donor finds herself inexplicably drawn to the seashore and a far away island, and there becomes the lover of a beautiful mysterious woman with deep black eyes and a love for the ocean. To say more would spoil the mystery.. This was a very moving tale, beautiful and romantic and quite heartbreaking. This is another Author I have to investigate now.
Those were my favourite three of the entire book. But honourable mentions go to "The Price of Glamour" by Steve Berman and "Ever so much more than Twenty" by Joshua Luis.
The only one I found I didn't quite like was "Mr Grimm's fairy tale" by Eric Andrews, and in part because I wasn't sure at all what was supposed to be Queer about it (used the homosexual sense), I couldn't for the life of me spot a hint of gay relationship.. perhaps I'm missing something..? It seemed a little bit out of place tacked onto the end of anotherwise amazing collection of stories.
All in all VERY highly recommended for lovers of Fantasy and fairytales with lgbt themes. And I'm very pleased I found a whole bunch of new authors to check out!(less)