SEX & THE SINGLE VAMP had all the aspects of a vampire romance I like. Pairing of vampires of similar ages? Check! Centuries of sexual tension resolving itself? Check! A smoking hot hero and a heroine who isn’t afraid to stand her ground? Check and check again! The perfect little evening read, SEX & THE SINGLE VAMP is cute, tense, and sexy, and definitely worth a look.
For its short length, I wasn’t expecting tons from SEX & THE SINGLE VAMP. I got way more than I expected. I appreciated that the hero and heroine had a huge backstory, and there wasn’t any instalove between a centuries old vampire and a mortal woman (okay, maybe there was, but it took place way before the story started, so I’m giving it a pass). Cici and Deacon had a long time to tango with each other, and hearing about their past and their tiptoeing around each other was refreshing. It isn’t often that a relationship like that develops in paranormal romance, so I loved it. There was some great dialogue, as well. Conversations between Deacon and Andy, his second in command, were funny, and the sexual tension between Deacon and Cici was delightfully hot.
My one complaint would be the easiness with which the conflict was resolved. Obviously, the length of the book puts some limitations on how in-depth you can go, but there was a bit of magic mojo and then, boom! Happily ever after. A little too coincidental for me. Also, the description makes the book seem a tad bit more playful than it actually is. I would almost say it dips into the romantic suspense arena, with murderers running amok and somebody going after Cici.
All in all, however, SEX & THE SINGLE VAMP was fun, witty, sexy and refreshing. I wouldn’t mind re-visiting this world and seeing some of the other characters get their happily ever afters (Andy and Mya anyone??).
Sexual content: Several mildly explicit sex scenes(less)
Reading JOHN GOLDEN: FREELANCE DEBUGGER was in a way refreshingly different from what I’ve been reading in...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Reading JOHN GOLDEN: FREELANCE DEBUGGER was in a way refreshingly different from what I’ve been reading in the urban fantasy genre. The main reason for even picking up this book was to find out how a freelance debugger ‘debugged’ computers of fairies. I was not disappointed. It fuses fantasy with scifi and modern technology, and come out with a fresh, sarcastic story that I wish was longer. there are a lot of pop culture references and IT jokes that will make any computer geek smile.I loved the way the insides of computers become a completely separate world in which the fairies exist. Making fairies into sort personifications of viruses and other malware who create burrows in our servers is a great new take on fairies.
Aside from the most excellent battle against pesky fairies who want to take over our servers; the main characters, John and Sarah are a fun duo whose brother/sister dynamic was reflected in the unique footnotes at the bottom of the pages. At first I was confused about why there were footnotes with Sarah’s sarcastic comments on what was happening to John in the main text. The footnote confusion was only temporary as Sarah is hilarious and really smart and I came to keep glancing down just to see Sarah’s response to something John said. The footnotes add to the humor, worldbuilding and flavor of this novella.
With its sarcastic wit, pop culture jokes, and unique take on fairies I would recommend JOHN GOLDEN: FREELANCE DEBUGGER to everyone who likes a good quick adventure story. After reading this novella I await more John Golden adventures and I will for now blame any computer virus on those pesky pixies setting up burrows in the server.(less)
A robust police procedural with hints of gothic romance, DEATH’S DAUGHTER deftly blends magic and murder. Though this investigation is easy to follow...moreA robust police procedural with hints of gothic romance, DEATH’S DAUGHTER deftly blends magic and murder. Though this investigation is easy to follow on it’s own, most of the relationship baggage (both romantic and professional) will be lost on new readers. But if REALM WALKER is as well paced and entertaining as DEATH’S DAUGHTER, starting at book one will be no hardship.
Juliana Norris is a one woman, magical CSI lab, able to sense traces of magic and Altered ancestry with a single, glowing glance. When pushed to her limit, however, as she is by the kidnapping and murder of these children, she has to dole out her strength, balancing magical information against the debilitating headaches that make her worthless as an investigator. Though a minor part of the story, I liked this push pull, as it gives Juliana time to show off her more mundane investigation skills. Her vampire mate is very much present for this investigation as well, but as this is my first Realm Walker book, it took me a little while to catch up on their romance.
Reminiscent of MARK OF THE DEMON and the early Kara Gillian books, DEATH’S DAUGHTER is a perfect blend of paranormal romance and police procedural. And while I’m excited for book 3, in the meantime, I’m going to go back and enjoy what I missed in book 1, REALM WALKER.
Sexual Content: Sex scene, references to rape.(less)
Something I love about the paranormal world lately is that authors seem to be shying away from copycat success...moreReview Courtesy All Things Urban Fantasy
Something I love about the paranormal world lately is that authors seem to be shying away from copycat success and really taking paranormal elements and, to quote Rose Hathaway, making them their bitch. TWISTED MIRACLES is a good example. Larrieu takes some elements of mind magic, adds a few twists of her own and makes a wholly enjoyable universe.
I think what I enjoyed most about TWISTED MIRACLES were the characters. Cass has power she doesn’t want and tries to run away from it. That works about as well as it ever does because there’s something different about her powers. Something destructive. Larrieu does a good job of making this difference a hurdle Cass has to jump rather than something that tickles the Mary Sue nerve. Cass struggles with what she is, with what she can do (and has done) and then has to work even harder to control it. She makes good and bad choices along the way, which makes for a great trip into her universe.
The supporting characters are just as richly developed as Cass. Shane, Lionel and Bruce, Mina and Jackson all add to the TWISTED MIRACLES universe with their own spin on how they see the world in general and their converter community specifically. I had to warm up a little to Shane but I did eventually. He’s trying to understand Cass, and his initial doubt just gives him more depth – much more than the automatic “I believe you, baby” would have.
And for anyone who’s read Larrieu’s novella, Anchored…yes, there’s a cameo.
It might have taken me a little time for TWISTED MIRACLES to put its hooks into me, but once it did, I was a goner and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next in the series.(less)
While a fun paranormal romance, I’m disappointed to say that BITTERSWEET DARKNESS just didn’t live up to m...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
While a fun paranormal romance, I’m disappointed to say that BITTERSWEET DARKNESS just didn’t live up to my expectations of The Order series. Sometimes, it just felt like the book was trying too hard – dialogue felt forced, and the action seemed contrived. I enjoyed the book, but this one won’t be one of my favorites of the series.
Don’t get me wrong – Ash sounded like sex on a stick, really, and the scenes between him and Faith were hot, but they felt either on or off, there was no in the middle flirtiness, in my opinion. Plus, it squicked me out a little that Ash’s daughter was similar in age to Faith. While I understand, logically, that the vampires are old and obviously there’s a large age difference between Tara and Christian, for example, it’s weird when there is the obvious reminder of a child similar in age to the paramour.
As usual, however, I did enjoy delving deeper into the world of The Order – visiting Ash’s home in the Abyss was certainly a new aspect that we hadn’t seen previously, and watching Ash navigate his rocky relationship with his daughter was fun. You get the impression that he’s not frequently at a loss, and with Tara, he definitely is. Seeing Christian, Piers, Tara and Roz was fun, plus cameos by other characters we’ve come to know, like Ryan, from the previous book, and the Walker, the crazy fae assassin.
Since I’ve read enough of Croft’s work to know that BITTERSWEET DARKNESS is the exception, not the rule, I am looking forward to the next book in The Order series. Pick this one up for Ash though, because in that respect, he’s totally worth it. ;)
In LAGOON, Nnedi Okorafor poses the question: what if first contact with aliens took place not in New York, London, or Tokyo, but the beach city of La...moreIn LAGOON, Nnedi Okorafor poses the question: what if first contact with aliens took place not in New York, London, or Tokyo, but the beach city of Lagos, Nigeria? The answer is something that is both utterly human and uniquely African. In addition to stunning detail of both city and marine life, Okorafor fills this novel with a dozen points of view, but rather than confusing the narrative, those sections allow the reader to experience all sides of the encounter that leads to some of Nigeria’s darkest days, and to understand why different people react so differently to something ‘alien.’
It’s pretty rare to find sci-fi and fantasy that isn’t Western-centric, and even rarer to find genre fiction built around African culture, both past and present. That alone is a great reason to read this book, but what really makes LAGOON special is the way Okorafor writes Lagos, making the city itself one of the main characters. She doesn’t try to glorify Nigeria, or denigrate it, but writes about a real place full of real people that, in many ways, could be any city in the world. There are so many wonderful scenes of powers, people’s reactions, and Okorafor even gives a voice to the marine life in the titular lagoon. The Pidgin English sections are a little hard to translate, but Okorafor stands by the submersion method, and I did get the hang of it after awhile.
It’s a challenging book in many respects, including the language and the scattered PoVs. Normally, I’m not a fan of novels that leave unanswered questions, or present a situation without explaining its cause, but in this case, I liked the pragmatism. It’s not about figuring out where the aliens come from so they can be sent packing, or even investigating why they’re here. Despite overtly hostile acts from both sides, LAGOON is not about war with aliens. The aliens come, and they want to stay, and everyone moves on from there. And when the three main human characters realize they were chosen as the welcoming committee, they act accordingly, despite the chaos that surrounds them.(less)
IRON & VELVET was a fun urban fantasy, with more than a little romance thrown in, tied up in a big noir-esque mystery bow. While not perfect, there was plenty to like about the first book in the Kate Kane, Private Investigator series. Set in a richly conceived London with four different vampire princes, and a werewolf pack ready to go at everybody’s throats, not to mention the demons and witches, there were twists and turns around every corner- and I had a great time watching Kate take it all on.
Kate is exactly my kind of protagonist. Cynical and snarky, her inner monologue is something I really enjoyed about this book. Kate reminds me a little bit of Charley Davidson, not just because of the private investigator angle, but also the sarcasm and voice. I don’t feel like we get to know Kate super well – though we do learn quite a bit about her past relationships – and near the end of the book I wonder if she’s solving the mystery because she wants to solve the mystery, or solving the mystery because she wanted the girl. Obviously I would prefer the former, but it bothers me that I couldn’t figure it out. She is nothing if not tenacious, regardless of motive, doing whatever it takes to solve the issue, and that leads to some interesting situations, and great secondary characters.
My biggest complaint about IRON & VELVET is that it sometimes felt like I was picking up a book in the middle of a series. There were hints dropped about previous events that seemed to have an effect on Kate, but the reader is never given the full background, almost like we were expected to know what had gone on already. Unfortunately, since this was book one, it only had the result of leaving me a little confused and a bit lost.
I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about Kate and her background – hopefully the second book in the Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator series, SHADOWS & DREAMS, will go into more depth. I’m definitely on board though for more of Kate, and I can’t wait to see what mystery she solves next.(less)
Emilie sets sail for adventure once again, with a voyage the offers discoveries and danger and nonstop exploration. The perfect steampunk voyage for j...moreEmilie sets sail for adventure once again, with a voyage the offers discoveries and danger and nonstop exploration. The perfect steampunk voyage for juveniles and young tweens, even those new to the series will be swept away.
After some quick, subtle reorientation to her world, Wells sends Emilie off on a new voyage. With the truest dash of realism, our adventurers find that their accepted theory of a “hollow world” may be inadequate to describe the phenomena they find. Not two worlds but many, and no promise that their home is the surface world after all. Like a classic Star Trek episode wrapped in Victorian trappings, Emilie and crew go boldly to discover what new worlds and peoples have appeared. The adventure and exploration portion of the story makes up the bulk of SKY WORLD, and it was engrossing and spot on. Portions of the conflict between Emilie and a chauvinistic crew mate, however, felt like an adult theme dropped into a children’s book. Not that seeing an intrepid girl hold her own isn’t something little girls would love, but the explicit discussions about gender roles and expectations didn’t read true to the age group.
Once again Wells provides a pure adventure story that is sure to sweep children away. Despite the pockets of grown up soap boxing, I did enjoy EMILIE AND THE SKY WORLD more than it’s predecessor. As this series has already taken us below and above Emilie’s home world, I can’t wait to see where her ship sets sail next.
I’ve always had a thing for ghost stories – from the days of sleepovers, campfires, and my own haunted house e...moreReview Courtesy All Things Urban Fantasy
I’ve always had a thing for ghost stories – from the days of sleepovers, campfires, and my own haunted house experiences, there’s just something about souls in unrest that calls to me. For that reason alone I was very excited about starting SPIRITED and also loathe to put it down. Probably why I was able to read it in a little over 24 hours. It scores high in the ghost whisperer column, but not without its glitches.
We meet Juliana on her way back from her college reunion which was, for some reason, a theme reunion; one which found Juliana dressed as a hooker. It might have worked better if it had been anything else, Hallowe’en maybe, because all it really felt like was a vehicle for sit-com misunderstanding and insta-lust between Jules and Seth. The fact that Jules can not only communicate with the dead, but feel Seth’s little sexual fantasies as if they’re actually happening only adds to that. Not that there’s anything wrong with the fantasy share, it just would have been more effective if it was explained, or even addressed. Once it served its purpose and the two did the deed, it was never mentioned again.
There’s also something almost contrived and forced about the sex aspect of SPIRITED that gives it the feel of something that was added/changed after the story itself was written to “amp up” the sexual aspect of the story. The stilted and awkward phrasing in the sex scenes only feeds that feeling. Despite all that, I did enjoy the relationship aspect of Seth and Juliana very much, and had a few happy sighs as their relationship progressed and the overcame the hurdles of a disbeliever and a reluctantly accepted “crift.” (Juliana’s term for her ability – a cross between a curse and a gift.)
Apart from that, the story itself is pretty good. I loved the differences between the two main ghosts Juliana encounters. The violence of the angry poltergeist, frustrated with her inability to communicate juxtaposes nicely with the peaceful spirit simply waiting to move on. The first causes Juliana pain and fear, the other helps her both with the underlying mystery and to understand her “crift” and better use it to help other spirits.
I will probably pick up the next book in the Tidewater series, because the plot arc of Juliana and her separated sisters intrigues me and I want to meet Shelley, and see if they find their other sister. I’ll do so with a hope that the little glitches in SPIRITED are tightened up.(less)
Where the previous books in the St. Croix Chronicles were fast paced with danger and dangerous people lurki...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Where the previous books in the St. Croix Chronicles were fast paced with danger and dangerous people lurking around every corner, TEMPERED deals with more internal battles and emotional trauma. Cherry has gone through so much externally dealing with the Veil and Society it felt fitting to have a story spend some time dealing with the internal effects of what happened to Cherry. A large portion of the book is dedicated to Cherry’s addiction to opium, how she became an addict, and what she goes through mentally as she detoxes. Being familiar with detox from movies like TRAINSPOTTING which depict detox and a harrowing and scary thing to go through I think TEMPERED did an excellent job of depicting the paranoia and sickness Cherry feels.
In the midst of dealing with Cherry’s addiction there is the mystery of her guardian and the large house she is trapped in. I loved the gothic horror aspect of TEMPERED where we have a dark, foreboding house with ghosts and dark secrets hidden within the walls. The house is almost its own character and it was thrilling to go exploring with Cherry as she opens doors in search of answers to just who her guardian, Ashmore really is and learn about her family’s twisted past. When Cherry finally learns about how Ashmore is related to her family the plot becomes a sort of dark soap opera filled with betrayal and obsession. Along with the revelations and internal struggle there are some pretty steamy scenes between Cherry and Ashmore that after we find out more about Ashmore had me questioning her choices in regards to suitors.
TEMPERED also deals with a lot of alchemy and metaphysics which was really confusing but actually seeing the alchemy in action was pretty cool. With this much needed rest from the outside world I am looking forward to see what is in store for Cherry as she goes back to London, her friends, and the ever mysterious Hawke who seems to grow more mysterious and confusing with every new fact we learn about him.
The first novel in Victoria Scott’s new YA series is CATCHING FIRE, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and The Amazing Rac...moreReview Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
The first novel in Victoria Scott’s new YA series is CATCHING FIRE, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and The Amazing Race all rolled into one. But imagine if Katniss couldn’t hunt, or Lyra couldn’t communicate with Pantalaimon. Now imagine that they were still determined to do whatever it took to save those they loved and you’ll understand Tella Holloway’s dilemma in FIRE & FLOOD.
The comparisons to THE HUNGER GAMES will fly fast and furious, so let me get that out of the way. I’m sure Victoria Scott is going to get very tired of hearing it, but the similarities are inescapable, right down to having an Effie-esque woman greet Tella aboard the train. The Brimstone Bleed is a winner-take-all competition, and while killing one’s opponents doesn’t seem to be a requirement, it’s hardly frowned upon. Fortunately, these days what matters in story-telling is the telling, and the further she gets from home, the less Tella’s story resembles that of the girl from District 12. They start out with a nice difference, too: Tella, though physically fit, is more of a Girly Girl than an Action Girl. She worries about her appearance, and instead of focusing on ruthless practicality, she takes time to be sarcastic.
Unlike THE HUNGER GAMES or HIS DARK MATERIALS, FIRE & FLOOD seems to take place in our modern world. Tella thinks like a girl from the present day and references Greek salads, mascara, and digital music players – which makes the Brimstone Bleed race itself seem like something from another planet. Even accepting desperation as the reason behind her willingness to join the race, it’s hard to accept that any modern, tech-savvy girl would automatically believe mysterious benefactors behind an uber-secret three-month global race will have a cure to an equally mysterious illness, without wanting to see some proof. If she lived in the sort of world where that could happen, the way the Hunger Games and Capitol shenanigans are a part of Katniss’s life, fine. But Tella seems to live in our world, so her entry into the race seems like an artificial set up, and everyone’s blind acceptance of the Pandoras (genetically engineered animals with special powers that hatch from eggs), is just weird.
Once the race begins, however, you’ll get swept up in the adventure, and likely forget all about that. Tella toughens over time, but her strength is in her allies, both the human and the Pandora. I’m a soft touch where animals are concerned, and when the fates of several Pandoras become crucial in the last quarter of the book, there were tears in my eyes. I was only slightly less emotional when Tella’s tribe fractures; Scott does a great job of pulling together interesting characters of a variety of ages and backgrounds. The first book ends in the middle of the race, and I kept turning pages, hoping for more. Nobody is safe, and I just want to scoop them all up into a hug, humans and Pandoras alike.(less)
Along with a rollicking good and at times hilarious story WITCH INTERRUPTED puts a keen twist on werewolf a...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Along with a rollicking good and at times hilarious story WITCH INTERRUPTED puts a keen twist on werewolf and witch mythology that is so different from what I’m used to that I had to go back and re-read sections just to get it all straight. The fact that I had to go back is not a criticism so much as a comment on how attached to the storyline and characters I was by the first few chapters that I wanted to really get what was going on. I loved the way in which the two races (witches and werewolves) have common ground magically speaking and how intricate witch society is.
On the romance front I really liked getting a break from the classic ‘fated mates’ scenario that most werewolf stories have. Not having to hear the word ‘mate’ multiple times was refreshing and actually made the story actually more grounded in reality with two people who are just really attracted to each other due to hormones and not necessarily fate.
Katie and Marcus’ wonderfully amusing love-hate relationship is the highlight of WITCH INTERRUPTED. Their relationship has its typical ups and downs of a typical paranormal romance couple and hilarious situations that had me giggling at the oddity of these two having anything in common. Occasional giggling aside, I enjoyed learning about their sordid pasts and how they eventually learn to work together against a common enemy. They work well as a team when not trying to undermine or spontaneously kidnap each other. I adored that Marcus was a scientist, helping to make scientists and scientific experiments sexy. He is super smart, creative, and at times a touch clueless in terms of his relationship with Katie but makes up for it with some really creative bedroom techniques (most of which involve some sexy scientific method talk).
WITCH INTERRUPTED brings sexy back to science and plays around with the typical werewolf/witch mythology with a fast paced plot that will leave you smiling by the end of the book.(less)
LOVE AT STAKE is exactly what it sounds like – a rather cheesy paranormal romance featuring a vampire. So...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
LOVE AT STAKE is exactly what it sounds like – a rather cheesy paranormal romance featuring a vampire. So long as you keep that in mind, you’ll be rewarded with a sexy, slightly brooding hero, a spunky heroine, and a lot of fun sexual tension. LOVE AT STAKE is the perfect little escape for a few hours of guilty pleasure fun.
Having just come off the Midnight Liaisons series and looking for more paranormal matchmaking, I stumbled on LOVE AT STAKE. The plotlines of LOVE AT STAKE and BEAUTY DATES THE BEAST are similar – sole human employed by a paranormal matchmaking company is forced to date a supernatural being. But that is pretty much where the similarities ended. LOVE AT STAKE is fun and lighthearted, and the most drama keeping Lucian and Abbey apart are their own insecurities and prejudices. This is pretty much pure romance novel with the relationship taking center stage.
For that to work out, Abbey and Lucien had to be an excellent match -and happily, they are. I always worry about centuries old vampires falling in love with younger women, but in this case it didn’t seem ridiculous. Abbey is fun and smart, not a meek pushover, and the sparks between the two of them are obvious. Generally my favorite parts of a romance novel are the scenes with the hero and heroine together, and LOVE AT STAKE was no exception. Luckily, Abbey and Lucian were together a lot, so there was plenty of that for me to enjoy.
So if you’re looking for a fun, quick, Valentine’s Day read, with a sweet happily ever after ending, LOVE AT STAKE will totally satisfy that craving.
If Tim Powers wrote THE NIGHT CIRCUS, the resulting novel would probably look a lot like Adam Christopher’...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
If Tim Powers wrote THE NIGHT CIRCUS, the resulting novel would probably look a lot like Adam Christopher’s HANG WIRE. A number of seemingly random ideas – including an exploding fortune cookie, a serial killer, and a semi-retired Hawaiian god – form together to create a mystery, tangled in history, surrounded by evil. Some emotional depth is sacrificed for the density of the plot, but each of the characters is fully-formed and multi-layered, and make for an engrossing read.
It’s not easy to balance a story with so many characters whose histories stretch back centuries, but as is fitting a book featuring an acrobat, Christopher does it with grace; though I’m not sure the switch to present tense during Highwire the acrobat’s scenes accomplishes its purpose, since it created a discordant note for me up until the reveal at the end. What I really enjoyed was the differences in all the characters influenced by the supernatural. No two are the same, even those who work as allies. There are a few gods, all in different forms, an alien presence, and something that seems alien, but was actually here before us.
Christopher also uses the backdrop of San Francisco well, and integrates the 1906 earthquake, not as a way of emphasizing a character’s great age, but as foreshadowing for events to come. I love it when writers work around established historical events and suggest that something paranormal may have been the root cause of it.
One of the unique elements that I came to enjoy as it unfolded was the story within the story, a character’s backstory that’s strewn throughout the novel which reveals the blood-soaked past of the carnival at the center of HANG WIRE. The narrative isn’t straight-forward – Christopher doesn’t lay it all out at the beginning, and it takes a few chapters to get a grip on all the moving parts, but ultimately I liked having to work for my entertainment.(less)
2013 will go down as the year that I discovered Jennifer Harlow. I have devoured everything she’s written...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
2013 will go down as the year that I discovered Jennifer Harlow. I have devoured everything she’s written so far – three F.R.E.A.K.S. books, the Midnight Magic book, and both books published so far in the Galilee Falls trilogy. This is to say, I may be a bit of a fangirl. However, I do think it’s deserved. With GALILEE RISING, Harlow steps up the game a bit. Whereas her other books are a bit more lighthearted, the Galilee Falls trilogy has a darker, more sinister bent, a more damaged heroine, and no vampires, witches, or werewolves in sight.
Jo Fallon, the main character of the Galilee Falls trilogy is one of those characters that is frustrating but that you can’t help loving anyway. She’s got a lot of issues – some stemming from her childhood, losing her father early in life and growing up with an alcoholic mother – and also some from as recently as the events in JUSTICE, when she finds out her best friend was lying to her for years. But she’s also a strong, resilient, and loyal woman, and that helps balance out the times when she runs from something and you’re thinking “JOANNA just give it a chance!” Her romantic life is particularly emotional, because as a reader, I just wanted her to be happy, and it is so hard for her to have that happy romantic ending, with all of the barriers she puts up between herself and other people.
The Galilee Falls trilogy reads a little bit like a written version of a comic book. Obviously, there’s superheros, but there’s also underground lairs with crazy technology, double identities, lots of explosions and even faked deaths. There’s a lot of other tropes too, like the “meeting with the previous supervillain to try to figure out the motives of the current supervillain.” Sometimes, plot points come off as rather obvious, for example, in both books I spotted the civilian identities of the superheros within pages of them appearing, but Harlow still manages to pull off a thrilling mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat.
If you’re one of those people who loves the more recent, darker Batman films, I would definitely suggest you pick up both books in the Galilee Falls trilogy. And while it is possible to read GALILEE RISING on its own, as a reader, a lot of it will be much more fleshed out if you read JUSTICE first. I know that I definitely can’t wait until the third and final book in the trilogy comes out, as I’m rooting for Jo’s happy ending, and can’t wait to see what superheros we’ll encounter next.
Jack the Ripper has become a familiar boogeyman across genre fiction, with explanations for the unsolved cr...moreReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Jack the Ripper has become a familiar boogeyman across genre fiction, with explanations for the unsolved crimes ranging from psychopaths, to aliens, to dinosaurs, to demons, but in Sarah Pinborough’s MAYHEM, she applies the supernatural influence to a second killer operating in London, one whose crimes are overshadowed by the Ripper in number, but whose sins might be worse. This book is a lot like an old-fashioned roller-coaster, with a long, slow climb ratcheting up the tension before the mystery actually takes over and sends the reader on a ride.
At one point late in the novel, Dr. Thomas Bond compares himself to Hamlet as he waffles over taking action. Bond is an indecisive man in general, and I found his sections in the first 150 pages very dense, and a little hard to slog through. Once he moves out of the role of observer, though, and works with an unlikely team to hunt the killer, then the chilly air his perspective has cultivated wraps itself tight around the reader for a proper thrill. I had some difficulty tracking the structure of the novel, as it jumps around in time as well as narrator. Only Dr. Bond’s sections are in first person, and ‘assigning’ sections of the book to other characters seems unnecessary since they’re in third person, but that’s a stylistic choice, and once I caught on to the rhythm of it, I found it less distracting.
Polish Aaron Kosminski, often referred to as “the little hairdresser” by Dr. Bond, is the most captivating character in the novel. He’s plagued by visions, a so-called ‘gift’ from his grandmother, and after seeing the creature behind the Torso Killer, he stops bathing or drinking water, the water imagery from the nightmare turning all H2O into something repellant to him. Pinborough does an excellent job showing Aaron’s suffering, his increasing alienation from his family, and his hope for release from the torment. I was also drawn to poor Elizabeth Jackson whose life is sent off the rails when she gets involved with the wrong man.
MAYHEM does take a while to build momentum, but once it gains speed, you won’t want to put it down. (less)