I loved Rachel Bach's Paradox series and as a result decided to pick up this new book. This refreshing urban fantasy installment, first in a series wr...moreI loved Rachel Bach's Paradox series and as a result decided to pick up this new book. This refreshing urban fantasy installment, first in a series written under her name Aaron, is filled with dangerous action and humor. I love the main characters, Julius the young, nice dragon and his side kick the tougher and more worldly mage Marci. However, the secondary characters are fantastic and make this book a well-rounded urban fantasy read: Bethesda the Broodmare, the Heartstriker's dragon's mother, and Julius' siblings, Chelsea the Enforcer, Ian the Suave and Spoiled, Cocky Justin, and of course my favorite Bob (Brohomir) the Crazy Seer.
This first book is a solid introduction to a series set in a free for all Detroit Free Zone where magic with weird, fantastical creatures and modern technically savvy dragons (with ancient traditional values) are the basis for the world-building. There is only a hint of romance with some promise in that area. I'm hooked. (less)
A transitional book in this excellent urban fantasy series, Spook Squad is about changes, closing old threads from previous installments, and o...more3.5/5.0
A transitional book in this excellent urban fantasy series, Spook Squad is about changes, closing old threads from previous installments, and opening new ones to be addressed in the future. The story is absorbing enough, but there are too many pieces of the puzzle left dangling to make this more than a bridge read. Additionally, favorite recurring characters disappointingly act a bit out of character. Vic, Jake, Crash, and their little crew of close friends spend little time together, so missing and sorely missed are those tight emotional ties between favorite characters. Still, this is a favorite UF series and I look forward to the next installment.(less)
Finally! A book with meaty revelations as well as more world building. I like Toby in this installment -- poor impulse control, coffee addiction, depr...moreFinally! A book with meaty revelations as well as more world building. I like Toby in this installment -- poor impulse control, coffee addiction, depressive personality, conscious obliviousness to deep feelings and all. I was getting tired of the clueless detective with the hero complex role. Hopefully things will pick up from here, and Toby will stop fooling herself about her feelings for Connor soon too. What's up with that? (less)
Categorized as queer urban fantasy, Trebor Healey's latest release, Faun, comes fully equipped with a confused young adult as main character and a sex...moreCategorized as queer urban fantasy, Trebor Healey's latest release, Faun, comes fully equipped with a confused young adult as main character and a sexually charged atmosphere. In Healey's world, Greek mythology, the Catholic religion, and Mexican culture collide in an urban setting where by focusing on ethnic characters and the Los Angeles Latino culture, his tale gains a distinct West Coast flavor.
Introducing Gilberto Rubio, a boy known for his angelic beauty throughout childhood, unfortunately Gil and his mother Lupita are in for a shock when puberty hits the boy hard. One day Gil looks like an angel and Lupita's hopes that he'll go into the priesthood are still viable, and the next the boy literally oozes testosterone and needs a razor. Lupita is afraid the girls will lust after her son, but more than anything she's afraid of her own son's strange, compelling beauty. Gil on the other hand has other, more pressing worries.
Poor Gil! A razor to shave his face is nothing, what the boy really needs are loads of hot wax for legs that every day look more like hairy shrubs. But that's not all, his feet are changing into hooves, and what the heck is it with the pointy ears, the nubs growing from his forehead, the tail, and the umm... new impressive package? What kind of monster is he turning into? The physical changes are bad enough, but confusion intensifies when as he grows older people and animals around him react to those they love or desire by experiencing sexual ecstasy and uncontrollable arousal. He tries to hide behind hoodies and dark clothing, however eventually things get seriously out of hand and adults begin to notice him, even his own mother! Freaked out, Gil runs away and on his way out of LA meets old man Walt, an online acquaintance claiming to have answers to most of his questions.
To begin this review I have to mention what impressed me the most about Faun, and that is how Healey really captures the essence of an immigrant household that still holds beliefs intrinsic to their culture. In my opinion that is key to this story and Healey nails it. I also love how he sets the overall atmosphere by using contrasts in settings as he moves the story between the urban Latino populated neighborhood, Los Angeles as a whole, and the mountains.
Throughout the first few chapters of Faun, Healey introduces his characters and gives them depth by using background details and personal histories to establish distinct personalities, giving the reader a well-rounded idea behind motives that drive the characters' actions. Initially, Healey concentrates on Gilberto and Lupita's perspectives to establish his world. Later, however, other perspectives are also shared with the reader. The result is a somewhat slow beginning frontloaded with pertinent information, but one that sets the rest of the story quite well. After those first couple of chapters the action picks up and flows through to the end.
This is only my second encounter with Trebor Healey's works. The other is Trunk, an edgy short story where he addresses religious beliefs, sexual orientation and the gay lifestyle. In Faun, through Gil's search for his place in the world, Healey explores the confusion that comes from being different, religion, ignorance, and queer themes. He features various characters and relationships -- straight, gay, trans, polyamorous, and both young and mature love. Along the way, some experience or battle lack of control and confusion, others, however mistakenly, attempt a reconciliation between deeply held religious beliefs and love, while most search for acceptance, knowledge and that all illusive happiness.
Woven throughout the story there are highly amusing moments and some favorite scenes. Chupacabra? Poor Gil! There's a high school classroom scene that became a favorite, and well... there's the whole "nutting" bit which was a bit over-the-top and had me in stitches -- now you must read the story to find out what this is because I'm not about to explain. And talking about favorites, from the secondary characters my favorite is old hippy dude Walt, and the moments Gil spends with him on the mountains surrounded by nature are some of the most beautiful in the book.
Faun by Trebor Healey is categorized as queer urban fantasy, but with its excellent characterization, atmosphere, and blend of Greek mythology, religion, and Mexican culture, by the end of the story I thought of it as a beautiful contemporary urban fable. Now, if I could only hear Gil really play that flute, again. . . (less)
Yes, I read this book even though after reading Lover Enshrined I swore I would never read another BDB book again. But, yeah... I wanted to finish rea...moreYes, I read this book even though after reading Lover Enshrined I swore I would never read another BDB book again. But, yeah... I wanted to finish reading the stories about the "original" brothers and so I caved. Yeah.
Tohr and No'One's story. Sex, sex,and more sex as a remedy to the brother's angst and refusal to get over the loss of Wells. Yeap. Use and abuse (he abused No'One verbally), until almost the end of the book, just so the poor schmuck could get over his 'owie.' Oh, and no romance for him either. Nope. No bonding, no bonding scent, nothing. Just an "I love you" at the end and an "she'll do" attitude. Meh...
Then there's No'One/Autumn who's a glutton for self-punishment, with her "I'll take your abuse now and some more later, yeah give me more" attitude. Just another female of "worth" who doesn't think she's worth anything in this series. And yeah... she settles for being 'less-than' at the end too. All that angst for Tohrment and Autumn and no real romance to speak of... just a wimpy little second best type of second chance for Tohr.
The rest of the book is all about Xhex putting her foot down about being treated as a female of worth! About being "allowed" by John Matthew and the Brotherhood to fight and to do the job of a fighter. She's given a crumb at the end when they assign an investigation to her (no fighting involved), but let's see if that lasts.
There are no real villains in this story. The villains are obviously being slated to be future "heroes" at some point. The Band of Bastards are introduced as a whole bunch of rogue vampires looking to take down Wrath, with the idiots from the glymera as their backup, but already some of those characters are being developed for the future. The lessers don't really play a role in this story.
Layla, Quinn, Blay, Saxton are all featured with Quinn and Layla going into the realm of the ridiculous, and Layla playing that usual servile female role that just grates. We all know, she has been trained to be blood donnor to the whole of the BDB world, but in this book her lack of brains -- her portrayal as a brainless bimbo -- just floored me.
Good funny/fun moments? Rhage doing his booty dance. Lassiter and his addiction to television and Real Housewives. Lassiter and Tohr at the movies.
Other good things? Although the POVs change and the storylines abound, the book as a whole flows much better than the last few books I read from this series. It all meshed quite well. And as a side comment, for a series that is no longer paranormal romance, there was an awful lot of romancing and xhexing going on from the beginning to the end this book.
I'm glad I read it, though. It has been a long time and it was good to revisit a series that at one time enthralled me. (less)
Well, wasn't this just a refreshing urban fantasy read? It has a lot to do with Verity Price, the heroine of the story. She's young, yes... she can ki...moreWell, wasn't this just a refreshing urban fantasy read? It has a lot to do with Verity Price, the heroine of the story. She's young, yes... she can kick ass and has some wonderful sarcastic lines in this story, but Verity is happy! She's not moody or depressed or a downer. Helping along with this refreshing atmosphere we have her permanent roommates, the Aeslin mice, those happy, happy, talking rodents who have daily religious celebrations about everything they can think of, and HAIL Verity as their Princess. It's a party at home for this girl whether she wants one or not
Verity's family life and personal choices help along with the atmosphere too. She seems to have a "normal," loving relationship with her parents and siblings, Alex and Antimony, even if her life is not considered the norm. The other surprise is her choice to make a career out of ballroom dancing. An urban fantasy heroine as a ballroom dancing queen? Lots of fun. I love it! I also love Verity's sense of freedom when she plummets from her kitchen window into the darkness and races through the rooftops of New York City, and her straight forward approach to situations as she confronts or relates to both friends and foes.
Of course Discount Armageddon is not a light fairytale. There are dark spaces, tough villains, scary moments, great kick ass fighting, a mystery to solve and that wonderful pacing that makes urban fantasy the genre we all love. There's also a love interest who just happens to be part of the Covenant and a nemesis of the Price family. Dominic DeLuca is in New York for the Covenant of St. George to evaluate the situation for his organization to see if a Cryptid purge is needed. Of course these two meet as enemies, but this is Dominic's first foray into the field and pretty soon he and Verity are working together and she's trying to change his long-held beliefs: that all Cryptids are monsters and all deserve to be exterminated.
Verity and her family were labeled traitors to the human race by the Covenant when they quit the organization generations ago. Why? Well, they hold different beliefs. To them Cryptids are sentient beings and as such yes, some are monsters, but most just do what they are meant to do, live with their families, or alone, and survive, and nature dictates that there's a reason for their existence. Because the family is considered traitorous, they are hunted by the Covenant and have been in hiding to avoid assassination for generations. Verity and Dominic's meeting in New York is monumental and dangerous, not only for her personally, but for her whole family's safety.
I love Verity and Dominic together, as well as the rest of the cast of characters that are introduced in this book. For me, one of the few weakness in this first book comes from Verity's lack of curiosity about Dominic and in how quickly she "trusts" an enemy. Verity doesn't ask enough questions, and since the story is from her first person point of view by the end of the story Dominic is still pretty much a mystery. There's no real proof that what he says is truth, and although his actions do back up what he says, there's a 'wait and see' factor to Dominic's character that is not entirely satisfactory. Although I'm sure his background will really be explored in future installments.
Verity's family's history is also a bit of a muddle even with the family tree that's provided at the beginning of the book. Her immediate family is well defined: her mother, father and siblings sound wonderful, but once great grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc., are mentioned, the relationships and some of the events that Verity mentions get a bit confusing and some bits of information dropped here and there are left unexplained. This is something that is also left open for future exploration. The mystery is well done with plenty of clues along the way, a good twist at the end, and some logistics that don't quite make sense to me -- mainly to do with William.
McGuire is a new-to-me author, so I'm one of those readers who is beginning with a clean slate. I'm not comparing this series with her Toby books (yet). As such, I can say that even with the niggles found in this first book, I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Discount Armageddon is fun and refreshing, full of wonderful characters, and I love this world. I can't wait to meet Alex and Antimony, or to find out what the heck is up with Dominic. And of course, Hail Verity! (less)