"Royal Street" slowly sucked me in. The first 100 pages did take a while to get going, but the tension building as well aJoint Review - 3.5 Stars
"Royal Street" slowly sucked me in. The first 100 pages did take a while to get going, but the tension building as well as the inclusion of a real life natural disaster was cleverly done.
Set in New Orleans just as hurricane Katrina is about to hit, many chapters are prefaced with a real-life news headlines from the disaster. This should of made me feel uneasy, but I thought it was an interesting and powerful writing technique. This combined with the inclusion of the local's belief that Katrina was going to amount to nothing gave me chills.
"...the weather guys always freak everybody out and then the storms pass us by."
Then, after those first 100 pages though, I was totally addicted! It was one of those books where I just NEEDED to know what was going to happen next! As a consequence, I found myself sneaking in pages when I shouldn't have been. Obsessively devouring the pages until I ended up finishing it in less than a day.
Our heroine is Drusilla Jaco (DJ) a junior wizard and deputy sentinel for New Orleans. In the opening scene we see her tricking notorious ghost and rogue pirate Lafitte back to the beyond. Which set up very quickly some great characterisation. As well as plenty of supernatural creatures, Johnson also writes in some clever 'real-life' ghosties including Jean Lafitte, Louis Armstrong and Marie Laveau. She certainly has a sense of humour.
"Royal Street" is a really well written debut. I enjoyed Johnson's writing style, it's smooth, easy to read, and I loved the descriptions of New Orleans. I totally agree with Laura in that the descriptions of hurricane Katrina and the devastation she caused were excellently written and I could see, smell and hear everything through Johnson's words.
I found for the first few chapters I zoomed along and thought they were very exciting and pulled me into the story with ease.
And with an opening such as this, I was definitely intrigued.
A secluded Louisiana bayou. A sexy pirate. Seduction and deceit. My Friday afternoon had the makings of a great romantic adventure, at least in my theory.
Nothing about the pirate looked safe. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had dark-blue eyes and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth as he watched me set two glasses and a bottle of dark rum on a rickety wooden table. A tanned, muscular chest peeked from his open collar, and shaggy dark hair framed a clean-shaven face. A jagged scar across his jaw reminded me the so-called gentleman pirate also had his ruthless side.
Ok, so who's with me in thinking this pirate sounds sexy and dangerous? Perfect combo!
I was hoping for the same with this novel... thinking this could possibly be one hell of an urban fantasy. However, after a while the pace started to lag and "Royal Street" lost all its momentum.
The story read like a supernatural mystery. As DJ returns to New Orleans post Katrina devastation, she is set the task of finding her missing mentor Gerry and also becomes involved in what looks like a Voodoo serial killer case.
Having only watched the devastation of Katrina through my TV screen, it was gut-wrenching and poignant watching it retold by a writer who had witnessed the events first-hand. Even if it was wrapped up in an urban fantasy novel.
As she's only a deputy, against her wishes and much to her consternation DJ gets assigned an FBI partner - Alex. This is where things started to get interesting! Alex is a whole load of yum, as his cousin Jake whom we meet shortly after.
There is chemistry between them in spades and plenty of snappy banter.
' "The fight wasn't over," I said through gritted teeth. "I'd have won it." Probably. "Right," he said. "And something just flew past your window. It was oinking." '
The mystery is paced nicely, I certainly didn't have time to get bored! Mixed in with the spicy chemistry and some painful self discoveries for DJ the book really is a page turner. It also pulls together some strong and powerfully portrayed emotion, from grief and tragedy to jealousy and attraction. I felt each in the pit of my stomach. Which is all accentuated by the fact that DJ is an empath.
I agree with Laura, in that the mystery aspect to the story was good. There was a little twist I didn't see coming with regards to DJ's mentor and boss, Gerry. I liked the twists and turns along the way, which kept me reading.
I also liked the addition of DJ being an empath as well as a green congress wizard ('the geeks of the magical world, hell on rituals and potions but always last to get picked for wizard dodgeball, so to speak'). It gave her depth that she would have otherwise lacked.
Ah yes there was a definite geekish quality about her, which is always a good thing in my opinion! It was actually the characters that made this story for me. DJ is a great heroine. I wasn't sure if at first I was going to find her a bit lacking in the butt-kicking department. I wanted her to have some slightly better powers, her ritual magic seemed to be lacking on the cool side. But as the book develops I fell for her ingenuity, sense of honour and resilience.
I thought I had become bored of love triangles, feeling that with recent trends particularly in YA, they had been done to death. So this one totally took me by surprise and I loved it! Both heroes are dark, handsome and broody yet individual in their own way. I also found that, again to my surprise, I didn't have a favourite. It gripped me in a way that I was desperate to see how it concludes, my heart breaking for the guy who doesn't succeed. Sadly I think I may have a few books to wait yet!
Interestingly, like Carolyn I did fall for Lafitte and his super dark sexiness, but I was more drawn into the Alex and Jake love story. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about a human/ghost love story.
After such a great opening with the cheeky, undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, who also oozed sex appeal and fun, I was anticipating a wild ride, well in the romantic department anyway. Unfortunately, Lafitte, wasn't actually in the book very much at all and I felt that one of the most interesting characters wasn't given enough page time.
When Alex, a hunky FBI agent, was introduced I thought, I can see a potential love triangle happening - a sexy agent and an undead pirate makes it very interesting indeed, but then along comes Jake (Alex's cousin). For me, this is way too many potential love interests in a first book of a new series. I can just about deal with a love triangle, but a love square - overkill.
That being said, all three men are gorgeous ;)
DJ is a witty, interesting, and occasionally, feisty character, with an intriguing backstory. So with such great characteristics why didn't I love her? Well, she just didn't stand out enough for me. With so many strong urban fantasy heroine's in the urban fantasy genre, I felt she wasn't strong enough a character. Along with a slow pace there's also not enough action - I was hoping that DJ and Alex would kick some serious butt, but unfortunately nothing much happened.
Also, DJ's relationships with Alex and Jake are formed far too quickly. Within a matter of days both men are vying for her attention and DJ is undecided which of the two guys she likes the most. And that's not forgetting the sexy pirate (who I seriously hope has more of a role in the next book).
Lastly, I just have to mention Charlie, DJ's magical staff that follows her around, I hope we see more of him, (it?) too ;)
Overall I absolutely loved this book. I was very close to giving it a 9 and I plan to buy book two as soon as it's released. There's nothing more exciting than a new series that completely hooks you in! "Royal Street" will be going on to my favourite urban fantasy shelf.
Oh and I forgot to mention the staff, I want to see more of Charlie too! ;-)
RATING: 8/10 - Brilliant, couldn't put it down, leaning towards a 9
"Royal Street" was an enjoyable read, although not a stand out urban fantasy for me. There's potentially a great cast of characters, especially with rascal pirate, Lafitte, which I hope will be further developed in 'River Road' the next book in the series.
I have been a big fan of Magrs’ writing ever since I read his ‘Brenda & Effie’ paranormal mystery series. Magrs writing style is quirky, with an oI have been a big fan of Magrs’ writing ever since I read his ‘Brenda & Effie’ paranormal mystery series. Magrs writing style is quirky, with an old fashioned touch, articulate and descriptive. “666 Charing Cross Road” has all of these qualities.
New Yorker, Elizabeth Bathory, loves books, especially the supernatural kind and when her friend, Jack, gives her the address of a book shop in London who specialises in old out of print books in her favourite genres, she begins to write to the owner and order herself a selection of paranormal romances and vampire fiction.
One day she unexpectedly receives an ancient book, which is cursed with a demon. Having dealt with many vamps and other supernatural creatures in her past, Liza instantly knows that there’s something decidedly evil about the book and wants to be rid of it.
Shelley, Liza’s niece, is a curator for an unconventional art gallery and is dating her boss Daniel. When Daniel sets his eyes on the grimoire he wants it and asks to examine it in more details, so reluctantly, as Liza dislikes this man intensely and thinks her niece can do so much better, allows him to take it. Unfortunately, the demon possesses Daniel after he invites the demon in and all hell breaks loose.
Unfortunately, “666 Charing Cross Road” started off very slowly, which made it difficult to get into. It also has many plot twists and turns that made my head spin a little, as well as numerous characters, but due to the clever writing I knew exactly what was going on and who was who. There isn’t much depth to the characters either and I felt as though I was watching their lives from afar. I much prefer to be immersed in my characters lives so I did feel slightly detached from them.
There are lots of supernatural creatures such as vampires, zombies, demons, and in particular, Betsy, an effigy of a woman who comes to life after many years to find that she’s been brought back to life by the very grimoire everyone wants to destroy.
I found Betsy fun and different, I enjoyed that she was quite prepared to beat Daniel to a pulp if he hurt Shelley. There was one specific scene that had me giggling. But because she has been 'dead' for a long time her voice was taking time to return. The way Magrs used this in Betsy's dialogue was funny at first, but when she didn't get any better it became irritating and started to grate on my nerves. I just wanted her to talk normally!
I was also hoping for something more from Elizabeth Bathory, with such a name I thought that there would be a big reveal at the end. Unfortunately there wasn’t – although she casts a few spells and implies that she has had dealings with vampires in her past, no other details were given, which was a little disappointing.
Although “666 Charing Cross Road” isn't the strongest novel I've read by Magrs asI found the pace to be too slow, which made the story drag, it's still another wonderfully written story, with clever prose, fabulously idiosyncratic characters and intriguing, original plot....more
There has been quite a lot of buzz about “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” so I’ve really been looking forward to reading this one.
There has been quite a lot of buzz about “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” so I’ve really been looking forward to reading this one.
The Otherworld Taylor has created, named Elsewhere, is mysterious and intriguing and the characters are imaginative and fun. The angels are frightening but beautiful and the Chimaera strange and complex, and Karou is a fabulous heroine.
As I read through each chapter, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” just got better and better. The world building more vivid, the characters more captivating. I had difficulty putting this book down. Taylor’s writing is smooth, descriptive and easy to read. I glided through each chapter effortlessly and was so mesmerised by it that I hadn’t noticed when two hours had passed.
What starts out as a good, but not unfamiliar story, about a young girl at school, with a loyal best friend, immersed in the supernatural, soon turns into a completely different young adult novel, one which I haven’t come across before, making it unique.
Like Carolyn, I've seen this on the book blogosphere, with people commenting that it is probably one of their favourite books of the year. So I was rather excited about picking it up. Although is it just me or do you sometimes find when a book has been so revered by others, it's easy to get swept up in the buzz and then be a little disappointed by the story itself?
And I did find this was the case very slightly with "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but it's perhaps not the best I've read this year.
I totally agree that the book got better and better with each chapter, I thoroughly enjoyed the clever and unique world building Taylor has created, it is rich and fascinating. Set in Prague, it tells the story of Karou, a human girl who has been raised by otherworldly creatures, the chimaera. The chimaera can only be reached through secret doorways scattered about the globe, which enables Karou to transition between the two. The concept of the secret doorways totally captured my imagination! In some respects it had the same appeal as a modern day Secret Garden.
I agree with Laura that sometimes a book can be hyped up and then not meet expectations, I hate it when that happens, but I didn't feel it did with this book. Although it's probably not the best book I've ever read, it is one of my favourites of 2011 and definitely one of the best young adult novels I've read.
Karou is a talented artist studying at art school in Prague. Brought up by the charismatic but aloof Brimstone who deals in teeth and wishes. Karou transports from her life in Elsewhere to her life in Prague via portals from one world to the other.
Karou, being young and impulsive, is a little frivolous with her wishes. Most of the time she uses her necklace of wishes given to her by Brimstone for harmless things to help her along in life, such as wishing to speak Czech so she could study in Prague, as well as twenty other languages, unlocking her door when she’s forgotten her keys or wishing the eyebrows of the girl who slept with her boyfriend to become overly bushy…
Her best friend, Zuzana is fab – she really lightened the tone. But when she finds out about Karou and her life the story jumps forward three months so we never get to see Zuzana's surprise or disbelief and then her realisation that what Karou told her is true. Because of this I really had to keep reminding myself that three months had passed and that was why Zuzanna was so easy breezy about the angels and chimaera and all the other supernatural oddities that were happening around her.
The one aspect I noticed and really enjoyed was the limited amount of angst. There really isn’t much of it and Karou and Zuzanna are pretty mature for their seventeen years, especially in the latter part of the novel.
The story moves along at a good pace and I was completely engrossed. I enjoyed Karou’s world, friends and magic. The fight scenes are pretty good too and Karou can kick some serious butt. I liked that one of Karou’s weapons were devil eye tattoos on the palms of her hands and she gets satisfaction from her weapons, especially when she buys a new set in China!
I liked how the narrative set up Karou's life and how she balanced it between that as a human, studying art in Prague and life as Brimstone's ward. I find it interesting that you described him as charismatic Carolyn, as I found him really intriguing, probably one of my favourite characters in fact, but more monstrous than charismatic. He balanced on a strange edge between fatherly on occasion and at other times quite chilling.
My favourite part has to be Brimstone's occupation as a wish bearer. Trading wishes for teeth. Karou's frivolous wishes did make me smile. Who wouldn't want to make the eyebrows of the girl who slept with your eyebrows bushy? And there's a great scene scene when Karou is doing life drawing, but I mustn't say anymore!
I felt that the story was pacey, but did not really begin to pick up speed when Karou's world comes crashing down. When the doors to elsewhere close leaving Karou cut off from her other-worldy family, she suddenly finds herself amidst a war she didn't know existed. On one side the chimaerean and the other the seraphim or angels.
Interestingly, there is no clear division between good and evil in this novel. There are people that commit evil deeds, but one side is not necessarily better than the other. You could easily think the chimaera are the baddies due to their magical powers and unorthodox appearances, but as the book progresses you see that things are not that clear cut. And this was a concept I found cleverly portrayed. If there is no good and evil, how do you define right and wrong?
I definitely agree with Laura that Brimstone balances between being a loving fatherly figure and something a little more deadly, however, I definitely found him fascinating, which is probably why he is also one of my favourite characters in the book.
I enjoyed Brimstone's occupation too and I liked the idea of trading teeth for wishes. I did have my suspicions as to what the teeth were for and my thoughts were proven right when all was revealed near the end.
If I had one negative it would be how quick Karou and Akiva's love for one another grew. Akiva has been a hostile, cold angel devoid of emotions for centuries, and to just get his feelings back in a day after meeting Karou was a little unrealistic.
However, once I got over this blip, I really enjoyed their interactions with each other and the romance is an intense, sweeping love story that fills the heart. My favourite part of the novel was the last third of the book. The flashbacks to another time were just fabulous, which I won’t go into as I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but let's just say I can't wait for book two!
This book has definite crossover appeal and I would highly recommend it for adults as well as teenagers. Taylor’s imagination is just superb, and the world of Elsewhere is amazing. I loved reading about the Chimaera, a strange bizarre combination of animal parts, and the Angels, born of fire who are anguished, tortured beings. I am also intrigued to find out who, and what, Karou is.
Karou is a fascinating lead character, with her blue hair and tattoos. She does come across as quite young at first, but very quickly progresses in maturity. Determined and tough, but equally sensitive and vulnerable.
I'm impressed Carolyn guessed the significance of the teeth, as it kept me guessing for a long time. As did the reason why these creatures had raised a human child, what was her significance and what happened to her family?
The book is also comprised of some truly creative characters. From Karou's chimaerean family, I wanted to delve into Brimstone's mind and find out what exactly made him tick, to, as Carolyn has already referred to, the warm and very lifelike friendship portrayed between Karou and her human best friend Zuzana.
Of course I must not forget to mention the angel Akiva. As this book would not be complete without a love story, and going with recent trends, Karou's love interest is Akiva, a lost Angel. No longer sure of his path and tortured by his past, but it does make for a compelling story that is easy to get absorbed in. As Akiva and Karou become ever closer, the horror of the war dividing them becomes only more paramount. I didn't struggle so much with Akiva's transition from an angel devoid of emotions to one devastatingly in love, as I felt there was enough back story to cover this change. And found I got more sucked into the star-crossed lovers aspect of their story.
CAROLYN: “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” is a wonderful combination of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with an amazing heroine and unique secondary characters. A new and refreshingly original world and a fantastic beginning to a new trilogy. I will definitely be continuing this series and wait with bated breath for the next instalment.
LAURA: "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" is a uniquely drawn novel, rich and creative. For me it's pulled into two parts: before the doors to elsewhere close, and after. With second part of the novel by far having the grittier storyline. Marketed as a YA novel, I think this book would appeal to readers who normally only pick up adult novels too. ...more
"Flip This Zombie" is the second book in the 'Living with the Undead' series and although it's an enjoyable read it didn't have the same impact, humou"Flip This Zombie" is the second book in the 'Living with the Undead' series and although it's an enjoyable read it didn't have the same impact, humour and laugh out loud moments that were so much a part of the first book 'Married with Zombies'.
Somewhere along the way, this novel became a little too much like so many other zombie novels. It lost a little bit of it's originality and although Sarah and David still snark at each other and banter back and forth it isn't in the same tongue in cheek way I loved to much in the first book.
"Flip This Zombie" is a little darker, which I normally like, but because this series started out with such a light and humourous tone I assumed, and hoped, this would be continued in the next instalment.
Sarah and Dave are now head of a new business, ZombieBusters Inc, which sees them splattering more zombie brains than usual. But now they are experienced zombie hunters and have gained knowledge of all their weaponry. They are no longer the naive married couple we met in the first book - which I missed a little too be honest - they are a zombie fighting duo.
There's also the addition of a scientist who proclaims to have a possible cure and hires Sarah and Dave to collect live zombies for him to test on. But things do not go to plan. There are quite a few twists and turns that kept me turning the pages, but mostly it was all quite predictable.
"Flip This Zombie" isn't as enjoyable or as fresh as the first book, 'Married with Zombies', but it is still entertaining. I will definitely be reading the third instalment, 'Eat, Slay, Love'....more
"Kitty's Big Trouble" is the 9th book in the 'Kitty Norville' series and it's still going pretty strong. I continue to find all the characters interes"Kitty's Big Trouble" is the 9th book in the 'Kitty Norville' series and it's still going pretty strong. I continue to find all the characters interesting and most of the time, likable. However, I didn't quite like the plot in this one as much as I have in previous books. There's a lot going on with many different threads. It's not difficult to understand as Vaughn does a great job at keeping everything easy but it did get a little tiresome with jumping from one storyline to another.
Kitty is on the hunt for another story for her talk-radio show and is looking into the history of different famous people from the past. She finds some interesting facts about them. She's also helping Anastasia, along with Ben and Cormac, in the quest to find the Dragon's Pearl, where the gang come face to face with Roman, a two thousand year old vampire, who they met for the first time in 'Kitty Raises Hell'.
I felt a slight atmosphere change in this book, it just doesn't have the same feel as the preceding books. I'm not sure if it's because it contained a lot more magic, or if it was due to the inclusion of Gods and mythology, but there is a definite shift in tone. And although there's plenty of action as always, which I usually love, this time I found my mind drifting, I just wasn't as engaged.
Even after all this time, I still find it difficult to believe in Kitty as a warrior, a true alpha, as she doesn't fight with weapons, has no magical ability and hardly ever fights as a werewolf, therefore all that's left is her human side, which surely has no hope against a two thousand year old vampire. And yet Roman seems concerned by her and her ability to thwart him. Kitty manages to stop evil in its tracks just by being there and being her sarcastic, snarky self.
Also, what is happening to Cormac? This is not how I imagined his character to end up. He's a bounty hunter and yet he now feels stripped of that ruggedness I loved so much in earlier books. I'm not sure I like this turn of events for him and want him to be the guy I met in 'Kitty and the Midnight Hour'.
I'm also not sure about the inclusion of Gods - there are enough supernaturals in this series: werewolves, vampires, demons, psychics, wizards, ghosts, magicians, without having to add mythology and Gods to the equation - this is just overload. Although I must admit I did like Sun - he was pretty dishy ;)
Despite "Kitty's Big Trouble" not being the strongest book in the series, there's still plenty to keep the interest of Kitty fans. I'm intrigued to find out what happens next for Kitty and her band of merry men, and I look forward to reading 'Kitty Steals the Show' when released summer 2012....more
What a brilliant debut novel. I loved it. The characters, the story, the world... There's lots of action too, which is suspenseful and engaging. I couWhat a brilliant debut novel. I loved it. The characters, the story, the world... There's lots of action too, which is suspenseful and engaging. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting.
Charley is fantastic – I love her character. She’s sassy, brave, and keeps getting herself into trouble. She’s smart, funny, witty, and I love her snark. Charley is a grim reaper who can see and talk to the dead. She’s also the light, the portal to the other side and helps them cross over.
But as being a grim reaper doesn't pay the bills, Charley also works as a private investigator and helps her uncle and the police with certain cases, using her ability to talk to ghosts. Of course most of the police thinks she's nuts, but her uncle believes in her and she's been right too many times for it to be fake.
I loved all the characters in this book, especially Charley’s best friend, Cookie, she is such a hoot. She’s also fun and loyal and I loved her to bits. It’s great to see an urban fantasy heroine have a loyal friend who she can talk to about anything. It’s refreshing since so many of our urban fantasy gals are loners. Don’t get me wrong, I love the loner heroine who’s gritty with a dark past etc, but I must admit it was a breath of fresh air to meet Charley.
There's also Angel, a cheeky boy-ghost who acts as her informant and Mr Wong, a Chinese ghost who hovers in the corner of her living room and hasn't moved for years.
Although her uncle knows she can talk to the dead, he doesn't know the full extent of what Charley is. Charley hasn't told anyone about her Grim Reaper status, but she decides it's time to have a least one person in her life that knows. There is a great scene with Charley and Cookie when she reveals who and what she is, and why she keeps disappearing at short notice. I really enjoyed the fact that Charley was opening up to her best friend, but Cookie's acceptance of the whole scenario was a little bit quick. However, now that Cookie know's I'm wondering if she will get mixed up in Charley's world a lot more.
With such a sexy, funny and interesting character as Charley, there undoubtedly had to be a little romance involved. And there is, but not too much which is just how I like it. There are two love interests who are both totally hot but very different in their own way.
Reyes is a dark, sexy, mysterious entity who keeps entering Charley's dreams to seduce her, and materialising when she's in danger to protect her. He's a great character and there's so much we don't know about him - I'm very intrigued.
Then there's Garrett, a handsome policeman who's skeptical about her abilities and who doesn't believe in the supernatural. I didn't particularly like Garrett at first but he definitely grew on me. Their banter is great and I started to feel chemistry between them. He's as stubborn as hell, but a complete match for Charley's sarcastic nature. I'm looking forward to seeing how their relationship evolves.
A fresh new voice in the urban fantasy genre and a must read for any urban fantasy fan. I can’t wait for the next book in this series! ...more
“Fated” is a very clever and imaginative story. It’s quite different from what I usually read, and although I enjoyed this authors previous book, ‘Bre“Fated” is a very clever and imaginative story. It’s quite different from what I usually read, and although I enjoyed this authors previous book, ‘Breathers’, I thought “Fated” was much better in every respect.
Fate is disillusioned with his five and a half billion humans. He’s fed up with watching them make mistake after mistake and waste their lives, diverting from the path he has set out for each of them.
However, one day he meets Sara, a human and falls in love. Which means his broken rule #1 – never get involved with humans.
The story takes us through his relationship with Sara, which is touching and funny. I really liked Fate, also known as Fabio when on Earth. He’s endearing even when he scorns his human herd.
I thought the way the author integrated Destiny, Death, Gluttony, Sloth among others, and even God, (known as Jerry), into the story was brilliantly done. They all had personalities which went along with their name.
I loved the whole idea of how Jerry made the universe and how all the planets including Earth came to be, although it isn’t an original idea, it was skilfully composed which had me smiling.
“Fated” is a satirical novel, which did occasionally turn a bit preachy. Some passages where Fate was venting his anger about the stupidity of his billions of humans went on a bit too long. I was also saddened to see that all the humans were portrayed as pretty awful.
There was one particular passage where Fate was in a church and he could see the futures of all the people that were there – he listed them: adulterers, pedophiles, school drop-outs, unhappy housewives. Not one was happy or good or kind. Humanity is bad but surely not that bad!
However, because of what happens to him, which I won't go into as I don't want to give any spoilers, Fate does eventually realise that humans aren’t as bad as he first thought. He begins to understand what it is like to be human, he realises that by being immortal and able to transport at the speed of light didn’t really give him the empathy he needed to understand them. It was touching to see him grow and learn and ultimately see hope.
The ending I didn’t see coming for a long time, but I did eventually begin to have my suspicions. I was really hoping to be wrong, but I wasn’t, the ending is slightly disconcerting and I can’t say I liked it. But as I found with ‘Breathers’, Browne doesn’t write nicely wrapped up happy endings, which actually makes his novels deliciously unpredictable.
“Fated” is a unique and well written novel. It's also funny, quirky, warm-hearted and hugely entertaining, which made this book hard to put down. I would definitely recommend it! ...more
It was with eager anticipation that I opened my copy of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC I’d read all three in the series back to back lJoint Review - 3.5 Stars
It was with eager anticipation that I opened my copy of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC I’d read all three in the series back to back last year, my love of the series growing with each book. Chess and Terrible are such unorthodox characters, that each time I enter their lives I want to applaud Kane on her guts to be different and her vivid characterisation.
Maybe I was just too excited to pick it up, but it actually took me a while to sink back into. The Downside speak which had seemed so natural before took me a while to get back into its rhythm. I was desperately eager to see more of Chess and Terrible after the events of City Of Ghosts and it seemed I was going to have to be left waiting. Waiting, longer than I hoped to be honest with the narrative focusing initially on Chess’s investigation rather than the love life that had me eagerly turning pages before. It wasn’t what I would call a slow start, but at the same time it was a start that left me wanting.
I also read the first three books back to back and loved them all SO much. After City of Ghosts I couldn’t wait to get my hands on SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. But like Laura, when I eventually received a copy and began reading I found it difficult to sink back into the Downside world, speak and characters, and yes, even Chess and Terrible. It took me until about half way through the book to finally find my rhythm. I will admit that my first thoughts were, ok so this is a bit of a let down.
The reason being is that Kane left me totally spent and in bits after City of Ghosts, and I suppose I wanted to literally begin this book where the last one ended. Instead I got Chess, doing her job, getting rid of ghosts, with no real thoughts on what had happened previously. It was as though Kane had purposefully decided not to mention Chess and Terrible, and make us wait. And wait we did… I also had a few issues with Chess that I just couldn’t shake off as I read the book.
Once more Chess is torn between her job for the church and her complicated relationship with her drug dealer Bump. Left investigating a dark magic ritual murder for Bump and a haunting in a Warehouse in the other side of town, and of course Lex’s father Slobag’s territory. She knows it could cause her a whole world of trouble. The different elements in Chess’s life seem to be becoming more and more disparate as she desperately tries to juggle her job, her addiction, her love life and her friendship with Lex. It was exhausting watching her do it and at times oh so painful.
The mystery element of the plot was great, I cannot fault Kane’s writing here. It was tight, twisty and kept me guessing. There were times I had no idea how it was going to end and the suspense and ghosts were chilling. Just like Chess’s life it also really crystalised the difference between life in Downside and the Church. There are developments in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC that will also have shocking consequences for the rest of the series.
Kane’s writing is tight and descriptive, and keeps me on my toes, whether with the mystery aspect to the plot or the relationship dynamics. The mystery is great as always, but this time I felt as though it was definitely the focus of the novel rather than the characters and their relationships. Not a bad thing as this is categorised as an urban fantasy, but considering Chess and Terrible were such a huge part of the first three books, I did feel as though this novel had taken a different turn, which is probably why I felt a little cheated when we didn’t get much of Chess and Terrible until later in the book.
I’m really not quite sure what happened to Chess is this book. We all know she has problems, her addictions a part of what makes this series so appealing and unusual. But she seemed to lose sense of herself. She became whiny and full of self doubt. I wanted to give her a good old shake. At one stage she went on a complete kamikaze ride of destruction leading to a brutal scene between her and Terrible I could hardly bear to read. Oh it was so painful. But at the same time it really didn’t need to happen. I think Kane was trying to demonstrate just how volatile and on the edge Chess really is. She is a drug addict for a reason is she not? But I hate to say it, but she just ended up irritating me. I hope after the final scenes of the novel that in the next book we can see a new, wiser Chess.
As previously mentioned I had a few issues with Chess, especially with regards to some of the decisions she makes. With everything that has gone on between Chess, Terrible and Lex, I thought she would have the sense to stay away from Lex for a bit. But the moment she chooses to agree to see Lex in his bedroom, I knew that things wouldn’t end well. Nothing happens between them, but Chess feels she needs to tell Terrible to keep things out in the open. There were pages of Chess thinking and analysing, and instead of getting an insight into Chess, she just annoyed me. The way she acts is desperate, which I suppose she is, but I wanted her to have grown a bit more, gotten a little stronger, it is book four after all.
I could have forgiven her for going into Lex’s bedroom, as nothing happened, but then she goes and does the most stupid thing when Lex kisses her by surprise – she kisses him back!!!! OMG Chess! You have Terrible. HAVE. Don’t throw it all away! I know people are attracted to other people sometimes when they are in relationships, but the fact Chess’s relationship with Terrible is new and exciting and HOT, why on earth would she feel the need or even want to kiss Lex. This disappointed me. Chess disappointed me. And I hated it.
Then we had to go through all the anxiety of having to tell Terrible, again, but this time it’s about something that did happen – the kiss, and how sorry she is.. yadyada. I’m not sure I could trust her again if I was Terrible. I get that she’s messed up. She’s had a shitty past and she has to take drugs just to get through each day. But she’s an adult now, and the choices she makes are hers alone. I’m looking forward to the day when she realises that. I’m looking forward to seeing Chess tell herself NO to another pill. To being strong, to knowing and believing she’s worth something, deserves Terrible’s love, and not keep on self-sabotaging her relationships because she thinks it’s only a matter of time before it ends anyway *breathes*
Oh yes don’t get me started on the whole Lex thing! Why oh why did she keep going back to him?! Argh! I had more than a few teeth grinding moments. As I said before Chess did seem to be on a bit of a self destruct mission in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. It was evident she did not believe she deserved happiness, so set about destroying all chances of that herself. Will we ever see a clean Chess? I’m really not sure we will. But there were times reading the book where I thought to myself if the romance ends up going the way it seems to be I’m going to be very tempted to throw the book out the window.
However, there were some lovely, tender moments. Chess and Terrible are a thrilling couple, when they are working together I love them so much. I love that Terrible accepts her for who she is drugs and all. They are unusual and goose shiveringly good. But there just did not seem to be enough of them together in the book. I know it’s not a romance series, but their relationship really is the core of what got me addicted to Kane’s writing. I kept flicking through pages with a frown thinking when are we going to see more of Terrible? The book focused a little too much on Chess’s investigation and not enough on the romance in my opinion.
There are a few sweet moments between Chess and Terrible, I agree, unfortunately they are too few and far between for my liking. Their unique relationship has me totally captivated. When they are together I forget everything around me and I’m totally absorbed in their lives, even when it’s a train wreck. They are also a couple I haven’t come across before in any other urban fantasy series I’ve read, which makes them all the more special and exciting. I can’t wait for more Chess and Terrible in Chasing Magic.
There were times when Chess did drive me a little crazy in this book, but I’m still a big fan of this series and would definitely recommend it to urban fantasy lovers. Chess and Terrible are unorthodox, infuriating, exasperating, but… completely absorbing. I do hope we see a bit more of them in Chasing Magic.
As with all preceding books, SACRIFICIAL MAGIC had my emotions all over the place. Kane has an emense talent at pulling my heart in all directions. Terrible is such a sexy untraditional hero, and I love that he loves Chess for who she is, drug addict and all, it’s just sad that Chess can’t see that too. Their romance, however, is one of the most intense, stressful but beautiful I’ve ever read, and although I have some issues with Chess in this instalment, she and Terrible are still two of my favourite characters and couples in urban fantasy fiction, and this series is still one of the best. ...more
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Married with Zombies’ and thought it was a unique take on the genre’s leading characters. Dav3.5 Stars
I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Married with Zombies’ and thought it was a unique take on the genre’s leading characters. Dave and Sarah are married you see, and just before the zombie apocalypse they were on the verge of divorce. But nothing brings you together more than the world around going to shit and Sarah and Dave found their love for one another growing again, and surprisingly they made a pretty good team.
However, with the second book ‘Flip the Zombie’ the humour was missing for me which made the book a little darker. Normally I love dark and gritty urban fantasies but since I fell in love with the snark and Dave and Sarah’s lighthearted married couple banter I was disappointed when I found it lacking.
Unfortunately, "Eat Slay Love" has gone the other way. There is way too much snark, innuendo and jokes that I felt saturated by it. Nearly every paragraph Sarah is making some quip or smart alek comment and after a while it just had my eyes rolling and started to get on my nerves.
But despite this irritation of Sarah’s I still liked her, she is kinda funny and sometimes the comedic moments were spot on and brought a smile to my lips. There’s also plenty of action and suspense, and with the addition of two other characters, Nicole, a reporter and McKray, a washed out rock star, there are lots of great interactions and the dynamics between these four was great to read.
After being bitten by a zombie at the end of book two, David is finding that he isn’t quite the same – he’s slightly different. Sarah is noticing all sorts of things such as his increased hunger, increased strength and the fact that the zombies don’t seem to want to eat him. While dealing with these disturbing revelations, their small group is also taken by another cult, which of course they have to escape from as well as avoiding the zombies who want to munch on their brains.
“Eat Slay Love” is fun reading and great for a quick entertaining read. It’s not quite up to par with the first book, but definitely better than the second. I’m sad to hear that Orbit have now dropped the series, I think Sarah and Dave still had quite a few stories to tell - at least the series ended on a high note. ...more