Review pertains to an uncorrected galley given me to blurb by the editor.
A delightful Gaslight Fantasy romp set slightly later in time than The Paraso...moreReview pertains to an uncorrected galley given me to blurb by the editor.
A delightful Gaslight Fantasy romp set slightly later in time than The Parasol Protectorate series and in, as you may have gathered, the heathen Americas. It features parochial upstart witch, Emily Edwards, and the deliciously named Dreadnaught Stanton.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It took me a little while to get into it and I had a few problems with info-dumps, but it takes A LOT for me to even finish a book these days. I not only finished this, I carved out time in order to do so. I adored the relationship between Emily and Dreadnaught, and I was absorbed by the mixing of historical and magical details building a colorfully different and yet entirely plausible Old West. I mean, come on, zombie gold miners with a kill switch? Brilliant! (less)
This book tells the story of Princess Joan, forgotten daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II, sister to Richard the Lionhearted. Joan is a...moreThis book tells the story of Princess Joan, forgotten daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II, sister to Richard the Lionhearted. Joan is a woman of legend made emotionally real and accessible in this charming fledgling effort. The hefty descriptions repeat with historical detail can be a bit cumbersome but they are made engaging by inclusion of things young adults might find fascinating - clothing, food, and toys as well as politics and wars.
Not much action but still thoroughly enjoyable, especially for fans of "The Lion in Winter." (less)
I should say at the outset that I have not read any of the other Gone books.
In this third book of the Gone series, Sam is once more the only mutant ca...moreI should say at the outset that I have not read any of the other Gone books.
In this third book of the Gone series, Sam is once more the only mutant capable of moral integrity and fast thinking action. Or is he? Short choppy sentences drive the very fast pace of this near future, post-apocalyptic meets comic book video game style fantasy. Some very thoughtful and stylish concepts, micro-economics, and social developments are described. Sam is sure to appeal to the Harry Potter fans, same kind of put-upon energy. I enjoyed the inclusion of a lesbian girl. That said I had some concerns over the obtuseness of certain characters when faced with seeming obvious solutions to their predicament, particularly when the character is supposed to be smart (AKA some TSTL moments).
Multiple points of view add to the frantic pace but may confuse younger readers.
Plot includes graphic violence, death, leprosy, and cannibalism.
Ever see the Australian TV show, The Tribe? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trib...) This book is that show only with super powers added in. Lies even has the same character archetypes (Sam = Bray, Astrid = Amber, Sam's brother is the bad guy just like Bray's, and so forth). (less)
Book covers four famous cases of human remains in archaeology: Turkana Boy, Lapede Child, Kennewick Man, and Iceman. Using mystery novel language it c...moreBook covers four famous cases of human remains in archaeology: Turkana Boy, Lapede Child, Kennewick Man, and Iceman. Using mystery novel language it concocts a story reconstructing the death of each individual. This was my favorite part of each segment. After that each case study the goes on to describing his eventual discovery, and debates surrounding the analysis of the evidence. Information is detailed but lacks cohesive organization. Text accompanied by some photographs and maps.(less)
Review pertains to the uncorrected advanced copy in paperback. Much smaller than the first book this sophomore effort is more a novella than a full on...moreReview pertains to the uncorrected advanced copy in paperback. Much smaller than the first book this sophomore effort is more a novella than a full on book. I'm not complaining. I believe the novella is a very underrated word length, but I can't imagine that was what the publisher asked for. That said, on to the review...
Cousins Nick and Isabella are at it again, learning their craft as magickeepers while trying to prevent yet another crisis amongst the community. Damien, the family leader and head magician, refuses to listen to any logic save his own, which comes off a purposefully obtuse but drives the cousins into disobedience and gives the book its meat. Borrowing heavily from Russian folklore, interjected with actual historical characters, and replete with mini history lessons this book is educational but the quantity of such components minus any strong interconnecting narrative has a detrimental effect on pace, even in such an undersized volume (163 p). Top it off with an overabundance of magical system explaining, given that the system itself is unoriginal, and any long time reader of fantasy is left wondering what happened to the story.(less)
The following review pertains to the uncorrected proof in paperback. I'm the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the first in this series, Wicked Lo...moreThe following review pertains to the uncorrected proof in paperback. I'm the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the first in this series, Wicked Lovely. With its angsty Twilight-esk main characters it certainly caught the imagination of readers, but I've never been one for the emo girl. For one thing, I fail to understand why any immortal would want anything to do with that kind of sulky immature behavior. I'm only in my 30's and already try to stay well shod of it. I should also state for the record that I have not read the intervening two books.
That said, Radiant Shadows got off to a wonderful start. It introduces Devlin, the Fairy High Queen's brother/assassin and two mysteries: a ghost of dreams and a child meant to die. But the main POV is Ani, the half mortal hellhound. She is as compelling as most strong yet disenfranchised characters are. However, as we read we are guided into the realization that Devlin, despite all of his age and power, in not so different from this girl. There are other quazi-main characters but I didn't find them as interesting, even Seth who was my favorite from the first book, so I'll be leaving them out of this review.
Despite the fact that there isn't a whole lot of action, and some of the action that is present reads like contrived afterthought, the book still manages to be a fast read. I found both the crisis, romance, and solution eminently believable. The best part, I think, is that readers are quite able to pick this book up without having read any of the others and still enjoy the experience. In fact, I suggest you do just that. (less)
This third installment begins very abruptly, catapulting the reader, slightly lost, into what feels like the middle of a book. The author is simply as...moreThis third installment begins very abruptly, catapulting the reader, slightly lost, into what feels like the middle of a book. The author is simply assuming you have read the previous installments and done so rather recently. (Which I hadn't, so I stayed very confused for the first 1/3.)
Theodosia (age 11 p 26) and a handful of street rats are on the hunt for Egyptian black magic with no less than two secret societies after them. Theodosia is beset with other occult-related problems as well ~ her brother is cursed; her boss at the ministry won't listen to her; there is a mystery surrounding her birth; the museum is swarming with agents; and her parents are distracted with a new exhibit. Theodosia is a charming (and very adult) personality, but it's frustrating for the reader that every other character in the book behaves like a complete fathead, including the ones Theodosia herself trusts.
There is an excellent B plot involving her brother, Henry and there are also some brilliant reveals near the end, but it was a bit of a slog to get through the middle.(less)
Pleasantly gothic semi-modern story of one girl's struggle to cope with the fairies around us that she sees but no one else does.
Like in Wicked Lovel...morePleasantly gothic semi-modern story of one girl's struggle to cope with the fairies around us that she sees but no one else does.
Like in Wicked Lovely, the fairies in this series are very evil, creepy, and richly described. They've been bullying Tanya her whole life for no good reason. Yet Tanya has an affection for these creatures which I found very confusing and out of character. After one particularly bad night, Tanya is sent away to live with her grandmother for the summer and begins to uncover a great mystery of the past that will explain her own special abilities as well as her grandmother's personality disorder and her friend's grandfather's madness.
The setting is a little confusing, I'm not sure if it's meant to be entirely contemporary or not. The book has some Tom's Midnight Garden overtones. Tanya is TSTL on more than one occasion. To the point that, when Tanya asks the question of herself, "Why hadn't she seen it sooner?" I actually said, "Because you're an idiot?" That said, changeling mythology is introduced half way through the book and suddenly the story gets very exciting despite Tanya.
I enjoyed the Tam Lin overtones and the obviously well thought up fairy world, but if you want to read a book that handles both the concepts with true elegance and brilliance, try The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope.(less)
In this book Joss the slayer returns to Vald's town and this time he knows what Vald is and he really wants Vald dead. H...moreI read the uncorrected galley.
In this book Joss the slayer returns to Vald's town and this time he knows what Vald is and he really wants Vald dead. However, Vald who is now sixteen (p 266), is overflowing with angst, and doesn't care that he has a slayer after him because he's had to breakup with his girlfriend, Meredith (for her own good, of course). He's also quazi-dating his hot goth drudge, Snow. I utterly fail to understand the appeal of Meredith, but there it is, both Joss and Vald are all gaga over her pink-clad self.
Not much has changed thematically in this fourth installment. This made the story seem a little tired at times and kind of repetative. This series is reminding me more amd more of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (only without Joss's snappy dialogue).
That said, the action is fast and engaging and the ending, while slightly predictable, really does pack a powerful punch.(less)
This is the second in her Diana Tregarde series. Lackey was writign Urban Fantasy before we called it that and this is one of her best. You don't need...moreThis is the second in her Diana Tregarde series. Lackey was writign Urban Fantasy before we called it that and this is one of her best. You don't need to read the first one before it. This one introduced Andree sexy French vampire, one of the first hot vampire to enter modern SF/F literature. The romance between him and Diana (a strong and powerful witch) is adult, complex, and deeply moving. Real romance. I can't recommend this book highly enough. (less)
Put this book on my shelf while doing an interview because I realized I hadn't listed any of the classics. This rather surreal novel is considered the...morePut this book on my shelf while doing an interview because I realized I hadn't listed any of the classics. This rather surreal novel is considered the birth mother of gothic fiction. It's not my favorite, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it.(less)