BLACK CITY SAINT is a dense urban fantasy that's got a lot going for it. It's fairly original, being set iReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
BLACK CITY SAINT is a dense urban fantasy that's got a lot going for it. It's fairly original, being set in the 1920s instead of modern day, and the juxtaposition of the Christian tradition with the fae mythology is interesting, to say the least. However, BLACK CITY SAINT was difficult to get through at times and where the world-building succeeded, the character development failed.
If you know me at all, you know I can't pass up any book set in Chicago. So when BLACK CITY SAINT came along, I knew I had to give it a try. And I wasn't disappointed - BLACK CITY SAINT uses Chicago scenery and history to its advantage, giving a reader familiar with Chicago the ability to place various scenes in the book.
Nick, as the main character, read like an old-school detective, only missing the typical office with his name on the door. And honestly, had the book been about Nick and his travails throughout Chicago banishing creatures of fairy, the book might have been better. The unfortunate addition was the wholly boring female love interest (I'm avoiding names to avoid spoilers). Mostly she was clingy and had little to no personality, with the only explanation of Nick's feelings for her that she was the reincarnation of his past love, Cleolinda. I could definitely have done without her.
BLACK CITY SAINT meanders along, managing to both have action and feel like nothing is happening at the same time, until about the last tenth of the book. I'll be honest, it did take me three months to read, but it held my interest and every time I picked it up it was easy to slip back into Nick's world. The thing that bothered me most about BLACK CITY SAINT was that I felt like it was trying to do and be too much. Urban fantasy is genre fiction, and BLACK CITY SAINT almost seemed like it was trying to be literary fiction (though I really have no evidence to suggest this, other than what I felt when I read the book).
I would suggest BLACK CITY SAINT to those who like their urban fantasy a bit more upscale, who value originality of world-building over character development, and who are looking for something a bit different in the crowded urban fantasy field. While I'll likely be sucked in to book two, (Chicago does it for me every time) it's not something I'm particularly waiting with bated breath for. ...more
RUINED was a fun young adult book, that while enjoyable, fell a little flat for me. With some interestingReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
RUINED was a fun young adult book, that while enjoyable, fell a little flat for me. With some interesting aspects, and the beginnings of a sweet romance, I think that RUINED could have been a better read for me with some more details and fleshed out characters.
So much happened in RUINED that it felt like there wasn't time for the characters to develop, and thus some seemed rather one-dimensional. Then, when certain events happened to the characters, there really wasn't the emotional punch I think the author was going for, since I hadn't really had a chance to get a feel for that character, or that character's relationships with others. Despite my dislike of cliff-hangers, I almost feel like this book could have ended sooner than it did, even on a cliff-hanger, and had the events and characters more well-rounded. The world was generally loosely defined at best, and I didn't really understand all the history that put the events of the book into motion.
However, despite my complaints, I did have a good time reading RUINED. Em is a lively character, though impulsive and sometimes frustratingly young-feeling. Casimir was a nice love interest, if a little bland, and any sparks between them felt almost forced, but he was sweet and I did like him. The world was interesting, what was developed, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book with the way that RUINED ended. The little twist at the very end was well done and though I felt like I should have seen it coming, I didn't.
All in all, RUINED wouldn't top my lists as best young adult fantasy, but it's enjoyable and fun, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex ...more
When I picked up HER SECRET SPY, with its typically suspense-romance cover, I wasn't expecting to be revieReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
When I picked up HER SECRET SPY, with its typically suspense-romance cover, I wasn't expecting to be reviewing it for All Things Urban Fantasy; but it turns out that the main character, Lissa, has psychic powers and runs an occult curio shop. Suddenly, it was surprisingly up my alley! It also helps that the writing was better than the average Harlequin monthly.
I really enjoyed how her psychic gift was used throughout the book. Although it was used to advance/accelerate their plot, it was also used to realistically discredit Lissa for the first part of the story. Max believes she is a fraud, an excellent cold-reader, and then even potentially his enemy, as she reveals things she shouldn't know. Lissa has worked with the FBI before, and although she has been successful at finding bodies and killers, no one ever respected her for it. Starting over in New Orleans, after inheriting her deceased aunts curio shop seemed like a good idea at the time.
Max was another winning character for me: he was tough and mysterious, but was also an art dealer with an eye for remodeling. He wasn't the typical Alpha-hole a lot of these books tend to feature, possessive and aggressive. His reaction to Lissa's accidental probing into his secrets was also refreshing. He didn't believe her right away, but he run either.
This novel does follow the conventional suspense novel format, where as girl and a boy will meet, get in trouble and need to call local the SEAL/FBI/werewolves/whatever team (that manages to include the characters from the previous and future books in the series) in to help. Still, it was well done, with developed characters and no superfluous name-dropping.
HER SECRET SPY was a surprisingly fun, suspenseful quick read with just enough paranormal twist to spice things up. Definitely a lighter read, but still a hoot....more
If you're already a fan of Amanda Carlson's writing a la the Jessica McClain series, then STRUCK will be rReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
If you're already a fan of Amanda Carlson's writing a la the Jessica McClain series, then STRUCK will be right up your alley. If you're not familiar, then hold on to your hat, because you're about to go for a crazy ride!
STUCK is full of action and adventure. Our heroine has no idea she's a valkyrie until she gets struck by lightening - and it all gets crazier from there. Bouncing back and forth between different realms, she fights demons, elves and witches, until it seems that everybody is out to get her (maybe because they pretty much are). Luckily, she manages to gather several allies along the way, or she probably wouldn't have made it past the second chapter.
STRUCK felt SO much like the Jessica McClain series. The non-stop action, the crazy villains, and the almost instant connection between heroine and hero are all aspects found in both books. Obviously, STUCK has a different mythology, which gives it its own flavor. The Norse mythology, with Odin, Loki, Fenrir, and the Norns, is not commonly found in urban fantasy, and I like when an author steps outside the normal werewolf/vampire mythology. The one major difference between the Jessica McClain series and this one is that in this series, Phoebe had no idea the world she was from existed until the events of the book started, whereas Jessica knew all about the supernatural. This gives Phoebe a super innocent feel, and really makes you feel for her nearly immediately.
All in all, STUCK was a rush from start to finish, a book I managed to read in almost one sitting, and one where I am looking forward to reading the next in the series. I am curious to see what happens with Phoebe next!
Sexual content: Sex scenes, references to rape ...more