I read Magic Rises in 3 hours finishing a bit after midnight. The dynamic duo deliver again with a great story...and hots of facetime with Hugh! Loved...moreI read Magic Rises in 3 hours finishing a bit after midnight. The dynamic duo deliver again with a great story...and hots of facetime with Hugh! Loved it. Planning on reading it again cos the fighting scene with Hugh is pretty damned good.(less)
Like Neil Gaiman on insane carnival crack, Delilah S. Dawson’s debut, Wicked As They Come, took me by surprise the moment I picked it up. Skirting the...moreLike Neil Gaiman on insane carnival crack, Delilah S. Dawson’s debut, Wicked As They Come, took me by surprise the moment I picked it up. Skirting the boundaries of fantasy and paranormal, and playing coy with both, Wicked defies genre classification. It was so charming, and refreshingly good that I actually groaned when I hit the last page. Dawson has knit a story whose strength lies in a genuine voice, quirky characters, and notable world-building.
The tale of Letitia Paisley who accidentally steals a locket from an estate sale only to be transported to the alternate world of Sang and into the arms of Bludman and carnivallero Criminy Stain, is not your ordinary Dorothy leaving Kansas story.
Dawson’s plan from the beginning is to gently invite conflict after conflict into the mix: Letitia’s ability to “glance” the future which makes her both admired and feared, a scorned lover from Criminy’s past out for revenge, and the brutality of the Copper’s against the Bludmen all set the stage for an epic adventure-one that will cause Letitia to question her own path trapped between two realities, and will thrust her into Criminy’s arms, her only ally in a strange but vicious world.
Criminy Stain is by far my favorite character whose devilish and cajoling manner sometimes betrays his seriousness. He is formidably lethal as a Bludman, but his patience, joviality, inner steel, and magic are his main strengths. As is his ability to assess and defuse dangerous situations, stare down Coppers, and skillfully protect the carnivalleros and Letitia all the while trying to court her, had me jumping up and down in his corner shouting “Go Criminy!”
His patience spelling the locket, and waiting countless years for it to return to him is swooningly romantic but is also his greatest vulnerability, and despite him being a Bludman, makes him more human in the eyes of a reader. And the desperate plight of the Bludman being hunted by the nefarious Jonah Goodwill and his gang of crooked Coopers provides a lethal conflict that keeps the pages turning and Criminy and Leticia on their toes as they dash from one end of Sang to another to face him down.
The chemistry between Criminy and Leticia is lively, sweet, and their playful dialog does a great job of framing their attraction. I get the sense that Dawson is an incurable romantic at heart, because Wicked as They Come is deeply romantic with the gentle push and pull of a real relationship-not a construct. It simply was not enough for me. I ended up reading the arc THREE times.
If you were to twist the funhouse mirror just so, you might be able to glimpse Dawson’s alt-Victorian world in its reflection and beyond…an alternate reality just as breathtaking as Stormhold, Tortall, The Weird, Middle Earth, or Oz. Rich in culture, Sang is a vibrant tapestry of such lush viciousness where blud-thirsty animals roam the countryside ready to tear out the throats of any “Pinky” who dare show skin…and where the coin of the realm is Blud, magic and might. Wicked as they Come is an amazing find, brimming with danger, incredible adventure that spans many genres and , and I cannot wait to read more of this lush, off-kilter world.
At the end of Pale Demon, Trent sagely outlines to Rachel the danger of rendering herself helpless in the midst of so many enemies. Brought back from the brink of death after kicking Ku'Sox's butt, and nearly losing her aura by unwittingly carving out a new ley line that has devastating effects in the everafter, Rachel has some tough choices to make. Will she try to live her life without her demon enhanced abilities? Can she? Can she even go back to being an earth witch?
Harrison smartly leads with this thought in A Perfect Blood where Rachel will reap the consequences of her all decisions...good and bad, to finally realize that with great power, comes great responsibility. With one charmed Elven bracelet, Rachel chooses to effectively cut herself off from the scrutiny of the demon collective, ley lines...even Al thinks she's dead. After the fracas in San Francisco, even the Inderlander government has her declared dead. But has she chosen wisely?
When a deep-seated cell of HAPA (Humans Against Paranormals Association) embarks on a sinister quest to tinker with witch blood carrying the Rosewood syndrome and develop an unearthly weapon against all Inderlander species, Rachel and the gang are up against a foe that will stop at nothing to bring humans back on top of the food chain. While Rachel's past incursions have mostly been personal, HAPA's threat spells doom for all Inderlanders and if they succeed it would make the Elf/Demon war look like a walk in the park compared to the death and destruction that would reign down in the Hollows and everywhere else.
This pronounced intensity rages throughout A Perfect Blood, honing the point home that everything is at risk, and Rachel's final decision about her destiny will be the ultimate game changer. Even the schisms between the I.S. and F.I.B. have to be put to rights-inter-agency cooperation is absolutely essential in combating HAPA.
In order to make this happen, Harrison has introduced a few peripheral characters and situations that makes the mix more interesting, the mysterious vamp Felix (head of the IS) who creatively "borrows" Nina's body (reminiscent of Ghastek in Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series) and Wayde, Rachel's new were bodyguard makes an appearance, bringing the were contingent into battle by proxy. Even Glenn has a hidden agenda but is playing nice. And there is also the suspicion that HAPA might already be entrenched in either the I.S. or F.I.B...or both.
A Perfect Blood is also about integrating normality into Rachel's rather abnormal life. Harrison sets a few homey scenes in between battles that relieve some of the tension, and we get a few appearances of Ceri, her new daughter Ray, and Trent's daughter Lucy, a billiard scene with Wayde. Ivy and Jenks have even seemed to move out of their transitional phase...Ivy now in a relationship, and Jenks interestingly enough could be enamored by Belle (Sidereal's daughter, the fairy, from Black Magic Sanction). This only puts the focus more on Rachel as she tries to suss out her romantic life and its uncertain future.
Though fans might have been expecting a love connection with one particular character (Trent), instead we find a true burgeoning friendship developing between them that doesn't disappoint. To what end...we shall see. Rather, it more than whetted my appetite. Harrison is smokingly seductive, as she taunts us page after page with their interactions.
First Trent and Rachel must learn to be friends, learn to trust before anything else can happen and that means that Rachel has to forgive Trent and drop the animosity she has for him.
The newfound playfulness between Rachel and Trent is refreshing and intensely appealing. Rachel finds herself musing more and more about Trent (and his hair!), unable (or unwilling) to recognize what those feelings really mean. He continues to prove himself yet again as he protects her from Al, HAPA, and even herself. He is instrumental-absolutely key in helping Rachel grow into who she is (he admits it to her and Al). He even alludes that he is her S'han. Come on...he made her a ley line pinky ring...there is obviously more there than meets the eye, but Harrison is playing it close to the vest.
Besides Trent being absolutely fantastic in A Perfect Blood...sexy...single-minded, and just plain delicious-I honestly don't think Harrison is going to abandon this yummy loose end. There's too much invested in it and it seems pretty clear that Harrison is building a foundation...will Rachel end up taking the plunge? I would have definitely liked to have seen a repeat of that smoldering kiss in Pale Demon, but still readers will raise eyebrows over and over again at the delicious hints that Harrison scatters throughout the book. It's simply tantalizing, but looks like we'll have to wait to see what happens in Book #11.
Once again, Kim Harrison stole my sleep because I simply could not put it down. Was it worth it? Hell yeah. Harrison never disappoints and the quality of A Perfect Blood was consistent with all her previous novels, energetic and romantically charged. Hands down...I loved it.
Kristen's Addiction is my number one fav Anderson book. Highly recommended! And Joe...love that he likes to work with his hands. Oh yess, he does a go...moreKristen's Addiction is my number one fav Anderson book. Highly recommended! And Joe...love that he likes to work with his hands. Oh yess, he does a good job of it...;)(less)
My Dearest Enemy just made my all time favorites list. What an incredible love story between the most unlikely characters filled with intellectual ban...moreMy Dearest Enemy just made my all time favorites list. What an incredible love story between the most unlikely characters filled with intellectual bantering and enduring sensual tension...Review Pending.(less)
In its place, the Republic stands in all its stifling glory, devolved into a military state, fragmented into sectors, overpopulated, citizens brow-beaten, and plague ridden.
Such is the world of Marie Lu’s Legend, her debut YA dystopian novel that tells the tale of two very different enemies…and two disparate views of a harrowing future where survival-of-the-fittest takes on new meaning.
There is an overwhelming sense of grey in Legend, its military industrial complex has absolute control over its citizens…and perpetually forces a chasm between the have and have-nots through a series of Trials and punitive measures. Those that pass the Trials with high scores enjoy an education at the top universities, and those who fail miserably enjoy the work camps…or that’s where everyone believes they go. Lu is sure to remind readers that the Republic has absolute control….is always watching and this works to deliver the conflict, however abrasive it is to its two lead characters.
For June Iparis, the Republic has always been home. Everything she has experienced in her short life…the intense political nationalization…the rigid structure has essentially sheltered her. And the privilege of birth has enabled her to see the world from a different lens. As a child prodigy, June is the only child in the Republic to have received a perfect score in the Trials. Her future is set…or so it seems to venture into the highest ranks in government.
But for Day, the Republics’ most wanted terrorist and would-be revolutionary, the Republic has done nothing but opress. Since his “detour” to a work camp and his rumored death, Day emerges from the Lake Sector a thorn in the Republic’s side. But he has to watch over his family too, and that misstep could cost him his life.
Destinies and paths collide when June’s brother Metias is killed, and the Republic suspects that Day is responsible, and June will risk everything to capture him. When it comes down to facing her beliefs…and hidden secrets revealed, she will end up questioning everything she knows.
Legend is intensely good…hard to put down and Lu’s strength shines through her enigmatic characters and the journey she takes them (and her readers) on. For June and Day, their relationship wavers…trust lost and then gained…pain, rage, duplicity, friendship, fear of the Republic… hope…and perhaps something close to love.
A few key scenes are present in Legend, reminiscent of those last skirmishes in Mockingjay that amp up the intensity. If you’ve read Collins’ series and remember some of those scenes…Legend simmers with similar conflict. After all, the Republic is at war and as harrowing as it is, even its citizens are fodder. Lu’s creation of Commander Jameson is simply a work of art…a zealot who will turn readers blood cold. In many ways she is representative of the cold heart of the Republic…vicious. ruthless. Totalitarian. I was literally gripping the book at the imagery that Lu created. I wonder what is next in store for the characters. Where can she take this next? What an amazing debut!