Readers who are looking for a change of pace from the numerous hardcore and gritty urban fantasy series onReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Readers who are looking for a change of pace from the numerous hardcore and gritty urban fantasy series on the shelves will find a decidedly lighter, more fun series in Linda Grimes’ In a Fix books. Both IN A FIX and QUICK FIX are a bit wacky, a lot sexy, and very much in the vein of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.
Rather than devote copious amounts of time explaining the worldbuilding that produces individuals who can assume the appearance (or aura) of others, QUICK FIX states the fact and a couple little references to genetics and plunges right into the action. In this case it involves absconding from the zoo with baby orangutans, wrangling said baby orangutan and trying to get it to revert back into the little girl it started out as, staying sane at the annual aura adapter ball that her mother hosts, fending off amorous guys while impersonating one brother and busting out of prison while impersonating the other. Mix in murder, cheaters, and two guys who refuse to share her, and you’ve got the fun and fizzy QUICK FIX.
Back to the two guys. Yowza was the romantic tension fun. We’ve got Billy, the notorious flirt and childhood-tormentor-turned-suitor determined to win her using all of the skills he’s spent a lifetime perfecting. Then there’s Mark, the guy she always wanted and can’t seem to say no to even while doubting the reasons behind his sudden intense and bold attraction. It’s enough to spin any girl’s head and it’s a blast to read.
Apart from the romance, the zany plot twists were a little crazy and the numerous characters a little challenging to keep straight. The main trio are so appealing that the other characters can feel in the way more often than not. And while the straightforward worldbuilding is a snap to comprehend, I’d love to see it get a little juicier in book three to match the killer romance that just keeps getting better.
Sexual Content: Moderately graphic sex. References to M/M/F sex...more
As satisfying for the quiet interactions in the background as for the sweeping action or big character growth, THE UNDEAD POOL is The Hollows at it’sAs satisfying for the quiet interactions in the background as for the sweeping action or big character growth, THE UNDEAD POOL is The Hollows at it’s best. The paranormal world of Rachel Morgan is an intricate ecosystem of magic and normalcy, and never is that so apparent as here near the series’s end. Harrison has spun innumerable threads into this world, and THE UNDEAD POOL plucks each one in this penultimate book.
From that first genetically engineered tomato, Harrison has walked us through so many links in this complex world. Demons versus elves, biological warfare versus magic, the coexistence of species and the nature of the soul. All of these elements turn together like gears, and in THE UNDEAD POOL, you see so many of these pieces spinning toward their natural conclusion. Many characters are satisfyingly on track, some have more potential than I could have hoped, and others near an inevitable fate that breaks my heart with just the barest hints. For many books, the partnership of Rachel and Jenks has far outweighed my interest in Ivy. THE UNDEAD POOL, however, had me reassessing that balance. So many of the early Hollows books laid the groundwork for the promises and threats of the present. If the prior eleven books were about building characters and relationships and a magical system, this book shows them all off to the fullest potential.
My enjoyment of THE UNDEAD POOL reached its peak with the action, laughing amid high stakes as everyone’s quirks and strengths come into play. By book’s end, however, I was a bit more somber. Rachel suffers real losses, and there is just as much heartbreak as happiness on the horizon. It is such an accomplishment that The Hollows still manages to be surprising in book twelve, and perhaps even more impressive is what the series promises for thirteen. This series is a masterpiece.
Urban fantasy as a genre may see more than its fair share of titles as it continues to soar in popularity,Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Urban fantasy as a genre may see more than its fair share of titles as it continues to soar in popularity, but the number of really good newcomers to this genre is not as high. FULL BLOODED, the first book in Amanda Carlson’s new Jessica McClain series, follows in the celebrated footsteps of Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series and Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series with its comprehensive werewolf mythology, well paced action, and promising romance. This is one of the good ones.
From the explosive opening which follows Jessica on her first shocking shift into a werewolf–previously thought to be impossible for a female–the paranormal community goes insane. Rogue wolves attack, rival packs declare war, vampire covens plot, and witches seek to abduct. It’s a messy, magical blast. Jessica has to try and understand her new nature–and the abilities that come with it–while fending off attacks from all sides. Things really get rough when she’s forced to go on the run with a notorious cat shifter who is way too close to his animal side.
Blending robust urban fantasy worldbuilding with super hot paranormal romance, FULL BLOODED should satisfy fans of both. The first half of the book had a few slow places when the Pack gathered to overly talk a problem or plan, but the second half kicked into gear with more intense action, romance, and a killer cliffhanger ending. I’ve already got HOT BLOODED (March 5, 2013), the next book in the Jessica McClain series, on my wish list.
Sexual Content: Attempted sexual assault of a minor. A moderately graphic sex scene. ...more
There are countless paranormal series that feature a group of guys as main characters, but groups of womenReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
There are countless paranormal series that feature a group of guys as main characters, but groups of women are less common. Cecy Robson’s new Weird Girls urban fantasy romance series, features four supernaturally inclined sisters (each with different abilities). Much like the series with guys, some of the defining characteristics of these sisters are pretty one dimensional, but good pacing, strong romantic elements, and enough action scenes to fill a summer of blockbusters made SEALED WITH A KISS a fun if slightly flawed read.
My favorite parts of SEALED WITH A CURSE brought to mind the Sookie Stackhouse series with tense interactions between the weres and vampires and a not-quite-human girl caught between them. There were also some fun interactions between Celia’s sisters and the werewolves they each end up with. Gemini specifically caught my attention. Would love to see an entire book about him and his ability.
On the downside, the sisters all felt pretty broad in terms of character development. The quiet one always says things ‘shyly’ and blushes. The aggressive one shouts a lot and says ‘Dude’ every time she speaks. The third sister didn’t really distinguish herself with any obvious character traits that I noticed. Celia, as the protagonist, was the most fully realized character. She’s the self proclaimed protector and leader of the group. I didn’t quite understand her waffling between docile meekness one moment and reckless attacking the next. I think this dichotomy was an attempt to show how Celia balances her human side with her Tigress side, but it didn’t quite work as well as it could have.
Speaking of abilities, the Wird girls don’t fit into any one specific supernatural category. They each have a mix of unrelated abilities. While the concept sounded like an opportunity for something fresh and original, it ended up just coming across as random. Celia turns into a Tiger, she also can ‘shift’ through solid matter, and she can turn into any animal she touches. Okay, but why exactly? Why those three abilities? There was never really a reason. In fact the whole explanation for the girls completely different abilities is pretty flimsy. They were cursed. That’s it. Mythology and worldbuilding is such a vital part of urban fantasy that this felt like an oversight.
Even though there were problems with SEALED WITH A CURSE, it was a fun read. The pacing was relentless and the action non-stop. I hope the characters gain a little more subtlety and depth, and that the contrived romantic obstacles are traded for more authentic ones. Over all, the Weird Sisters series has a lot of promise and a good balance between romance and mystery. The series continues with A CURSED EMBRACE on August 2, 2013.
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to sex. ...more
I’ve run out of awesome things to say about the Kate Daniels series, but fortunately Ilona Andrews hasn’t rReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I’ve run out of awesome things to say about the Kate Daniels series, but fortunately Ilona Andrews hasn’t run out of writing books that make me want to say them. MAGIC RISES is the latest and one of the greatest books featuring the deadly smart and brilliantly lethal Kate Daniels who this time leaves her magically mucked up Atlanta, braves a monster invested ocean, for a castle full of homicidal shapeshifters on an island in the Black Sea.
Yep, MAGIC RISES is the first book to leave Atlanta behind, but fortunately, nearly all of the characters we love make the perilous trip with Kate, although sadly, not everyone returns. As expected, Kate and Curran encounter new mythological creatures and half the fun involves figuring out who/how/what they are. Meanwhile Kate and Curran face the biggest obstacle to their relationship thus far in the series and it’s not just a plot device to add intrigue (although it adds heaps of that). Kate is always so strong and confident that it was crushing to see her wounded on such an emotional level. But this is Kate Daniels we’re talking about. She’s not the girl who slinks off to drown her sorrows with chocolate, she’d rather draw blood instead and she may have set a new record in MAGIC RISES.
It’s tense, riveting, and shocking on the emotional front, and the action is nonstop. Expect several big game changing revelations and more than one character who you will never be able to look at the same way again (both good and bad). And this isn’t a series to be intimidated by even if you are brand new to it. The Kate Daniels series may be the most accessibly urban fantasy series for new readers who want to jump in mid series (or for fans like me who read 100+ books between installments and need little reminders here and there). I never feel lost or confused reading this series despite the robust world and various mythologies because Ilona Andrews adds tiny, quick intros when characters first appear and brief references when a past event in mentioned. I didn’t realize how much I appreciated that until reading MAGIC RISES.
So basically, Kate (and Curran) is awesome, the series is awesome, and the most awesome thing of all is that there will be at least four more books in the Kate Daniels series to enjoy.
There is a specific cadence to the Sookie Stackhouse series, one that is simple and straighReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
There is a specific cadence to the Sookie Stackhouse series, one that is simple and straightforward, and oddly sweet, just like Sookie herself. After thirteen books, I was anxiously awaiting the happily ever after that she so richly deserved. DEAD EVER AFTER may be the book that finally puts the stake in the series, tying up loose ends, resolving relationships, and giving fans a clear vision of the future…it just isn’t the future that many fans were hoping for.
Series enders always garner backlash to some degree, and with a series like Sookie Stackhouse where fans were vehemently divided about who should win Sookie’s heart, I expected grumbling from the loosing team. But at the time of writing this review, DEAD EVER AFTER was averaging 2 stars based on over 600 reviews. Ouch. I knew this going in, so while I’m disappointed by the way the romance ended, I’m not wholly surprised by it either.
In typical Sookie fashion, murder and mystery muck up the lives of Bon Temps characters we either love or hate by this point. Sookie ends up in prison and a few big names end up pushing daises. It’s a pretty standard storyline for the series, not my favorite, but not my least favorite in that respect either. There is even a point in the book towards the end where someone remarks at how convoluted everything was and I have to agree.
As for the romance resolution that has everyone up in arms, Bill, Eric, Alcide, Quinn, and Sam all interact with Sookie in varying degrees (she kisses three of them). I’ll admit I had my guy picked out long ago, but I think I could have been okay with a few different guys if I felt adequately led in that direction with enough emotional build up. In the end though, I feel like both Sookie and I settled. I also don’t really like how the runners up fared since I think one in particular deserved a less ignominious fate.
At any rate Sookie has her ending. Not the one any of us deserve, but it’s her ending and the one Charlaine Harris has given us. I still love this series and the characters Harris brought to life. Do I hope that Harris revisits Sookie and Bon Temps in the future? Absolutely. Am I outraged by this finale? No, just a bit wistful for what could have been a true bright spot on an otherwise bloody good urban fantasy series.
It’s been two years since the last Mercy Thompson novel was published, but life for these characters hasn’tReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
It’s been two years since the last Mercy Thompson novel was published, but life for these characters hasn’t remained completely stagnant. If you’ve been reading the other series set in the Mercy Thompson world, Alpha and Omega, you know that some seriously huge stuff has happened regarding the Fae. We predicted that the fallout would hit Tri-Cities, and it did.
Mercy has gone through quite a transformation since MOON CALLED introduced us to the loner coyote shifter mechanic. Mercy is now fully integrated into the wolf pack of her husband, she has fae and vampire allies and more enemies that half a dozen other urban fantasy heroines combined. She’s wiser and shrewder, but just as impulsive when danger threatens others. I’ll admit to finding the previous book, RIVER MARKED, a touch slow compared to the rest of the serious mostly because Adam and Mercy together aren’t nearly as satisfying as Mercy on her own. That’s part of what made FROST BURNED feels like classic Mercy. Adam is abducted at the very start and Mercy goes on the hunt to rescue him, calling on old friends like Stefan and Zee, and a new friend that A&O fans will recognize and find thrilling in this new setting (I definitely hope he sticks around).
There’s a reason the Mercy Thompson series is one of our 10 Best Urban Fantasy series. Tri-Cities is a crazy/cool melting pot of supernatural beings. Fae, Wolves, and Vampires coexist in a perfectly tense balance that is always threatening to topple one direction or another, leaving countless human and nonhuman casualties in the wake. And then we have Mercy Thompson. Not super strong, not super powerful, but loyal and smart and clever enough to dart through all the posturing and politics of the various supernatural communities and emerge mostly unscathed. And there is still a mystery about Mercy that, even after seven books, hasn’t gone stale.
What’s up next for this series? A book of short stores set in ‘Mercy’s World’ including stories about Ben and Samuel. The next full book will be either an Alpha and Omega book or something new set in this same world. While we may have to wait for it, there is currently one more book contacted for the Mercy Thompson series. I’ll always want more Mercy, but I’m learning that however long it takes, Mercy Thompson books are always worth the wait.
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to sex and rape....more
Ilona Andrews is one of the most consistently satisfying paranormal authReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy See site review for similar titles
Ilona Andrews is one of the most consistently satisfying paranormal authors writing today. Whether it’s the grittier Kate Daniels urban fantasy series or the more rural The Edge paranormal romances. Picking up an Ilona Andrews book is always a good idea, but it’s especially true when a series ends as strongly as this one does in STEEL’S EDGE.
From the debut, The Edge series has been a wonderful blend of genres: part paranormal romance, part fantasy, part mystery, part action adventure, part regency. In STEEL’S EDGE, all of those parts are accounted for, but the regency feel is much more prominent since this book takes place mostly in The Weird, a first for the series. In way, STEEL’S EDGE feels like two separate but complementary books or parts. The first half is set mostly in The Edge (the sliver of land caught between the magical ‘Weird’ and the mundane ‘Broken’). We learn crucial backstories about both Charlotte and Richard. I so appreciate the equal focus given to both the heroines and heroes in this series. By the time they get together, I’m always so invested in the characters separately that the union feels so much richer.
The second part takes on a new setting and a much different tone in terms of storytelling. The book shifts away from the swashbuckling adventure that the series is know for and moved into a regency espionage with undercover spying, elaborate cons and artifice. It did feel very different for the series, but not in a bad way–though I imagine some readers may not agree. The romance remains a dominate theme throughout both parts of the book, and longtime fans of the series will be thrilled at the expanded role both George and Jack have in this second part as well.
Very said to hear from the authors that they have no plans to write a fifth book in The Edge series. From the beginning of the series the characters of George and Jack (now teenagers) stole my heart and I was hoping to eventually get a book or two entirely about them. And with the expanded storyline involving Sophie in STEEL’S EDGE, I can so totally see where one of the boy’s romantic future might lie. Hopefully the sales for this book will be significant enough to warrant more books.
Sexual Content: A couple moderately graphic sex scenes, vague references to sexual slavery and molestation. ...more
It is thrilling to return to the same steampunk and paranormal alternate Victorian England that made The PaReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
It is thrilling to return to the same steampunk and paranormal alternate Victorian England that made The Parasol Protectorate series so brilliant. In ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE, the first in the four book Finishing School series, set 25 years before Alexia’s series, we meet a young girl named Sophronia. In classic Carriger fashion, Sophronia is the embodiment of cleverness, bravery, and falls woefully short of the societal definition of a lady. In other words, she’s fantastically entertaining, just like this book.
Once again, the writing is spot on. Very proper, when propriety demands it, and then irreverent and wacky when, for example, garlic mash potatoes are hurled at a vampire. And the characters are delicious, especially Sophronia. My only minor criticism had to do with the plot. It was very simple and perhaps not robust enough for a full length book. The middle felt just a little slow as a result. Sophronia was delightful throughout and I very much enjoyed her Harry Potter-like introduction to her mysterious floating school, unusual professors with names like Professor Braithwope, the group of other students, and the secrets surround all of them. In fact, the whole book has a very Harry Potter feel to it, if the series had focused on Hermione instead of Harry and revolved around steampunk instead of magic.
Peppered with fun Easter eggs for those who have read The Parasol Protectorate series (like the fact that Sophronia is the little sister of a main character), fairly bursting with dirigibles, mechancles, and all manner of steampunk gadgets, along with a thorough appreciation for a proper cup of tea. ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE is just as charming, just as witty, and just as delightful as the other books set in this world. I’m froth with anticipation waiting for next book in the Finishing School series, CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES, which will be published in November 2013.
Norse Mythology, beautiful and deadly Valkyries, and teen romance blendReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy See site review for similar titles
Norse Mythology, beautiful and deadly Valkyries, and teen romance blend together in Ingrid Paulson’s VALKYRIE RISING. There’s a slow building mystery involving the abduction of teenage guys, a sweet if not especially exciting love interest, and an action packed showdown between members of the Norse Pantheon.
Ellie was a really level headed protagonist. Between her older brother’s constant overprotectivenes and Tuck’s teasing flirting, Ellie is quick to loose her temper, but just as quick to cool back down and apologize when needed. She’s also not afraid to confront people in her life when they have information she needs. These characteristics helped make her Valkyrie nature all the more believable as she began discovering who she was.
As the best friend of her brother, Tuck was the guy Ellie could never let herself fall for. I didn’t exactly see what made him so desirable apart from his ‘killer smiles.’ He seemed to toy with Ellie’s emotions, and lacked enough backbone to tell her brother he was interested. I was hoping for something more in a love interest. I did like that Ellie didn’t get all hot and bothered by the other gorgeous guy who was interested in her. He came on way too strong and totally freaked her out.
All in all, I loved the Norse mythology involved in VALKYRIE RISING, especially the trickster god Loki, and Ellie’s transformation from semi-invisible teen girl to save the town warrior Valkyrie was a lot of fun. But the romance was never that exciting or surprising and the mystery didn’t end up being as thrilling as it could have been given the source material. The ending does tie up most of the loose threads while still leaving room for a sequel. Given the growth of Ellie and the challenges that await her as a budding Valkyrie, I’d be interested in reading more.
OUTPOST is a very different book from ENCLAVE. Instead of a group of teens governing themselves a la THE LOReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
OUTPOST is a very different book from ENCLAVE. Instead of a group of teens governing themselves a la THE LORD OF THE FLIES, Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan find themselves literally adopted into the town of Salvation. Instead of focusing primarily on hunting Freaks and surviving, Deuce has to learn gender roles, attend school, and accept parental affection…yeah. It’s a big change. Aguirre still writes well and the characters have maintained believable consistency in their new circumstances, but the dramatic departure from the debut was jarring to say the least.
The whole first half of the book felt like one long lecture on gender stereotypes. The townspeople kept trying to get Deuce to conform with their puritanical notions regarding women. She naturally objected and then there were lengthy passages about gender equality etc. Not that I disagree, but it became somewhat tedious after the third ‘girls can do anything boys can do’ monologue. The romantic developments helped to breakup these parts, and only deepened my love for Fade. It was nice to see Deuce soften where he was concerned and see her own sense of wonder at her emotions regarding him. Unfortunately, that storyline ended up moving in several cliche directions.
The story did pick up when the group finally ventured outside the walls of Salvation, but they didn’t stay out there long enough to fully compensate for the slower beginning. That’s partly due to the Freaks themselves. Yes, they are still cannibalistic feral creatures, but it’s almost as if they’ve evolved. They almost end up being viewed like some indigenous people group that Deuces group just doesn’t understand. Yes, they are hostile, and yes, they eat people, but they also have baby Freaks and build houses. They just didn’t feel the same as they did in ENCLAVE.
As an audio book, the production level was good, and I appreciated that the narrator altered her voice subtly when delivering dialogue from other characters My only complaint is that she was a little too sunny in her delivery for Deuce. Still, this is a series with merit, and while OUTPOST didn’t wow me in the way that ENCLAVE did, I’m invested in these characters and where the story is headed. I’ll be interested in seeing how it ends when HORDE is published on October 29, 2013.
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to rape...more
McKenzie Lewis, a human with the highly sought after ability to track faReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy See site review for similar titles
McKenzie Lewis, a human with the highly sought after ability to track fae, is back and once again embroiled in the fae civil war. In THE SHATTERED DARK, there’s not quite as much story development, but be prepared for non-stop action, intrigue, and a few bombshells that will leave you dying for book three.
While THE SHADOW READER was one of my best reads in 2011, unfortunately, THE SHATTERED DARK does fall into the trap that so many sequels do: not a lot happens to advance the story or characters. There are countless escape scenes after escape scenes that all tended to blur together. I also was let down by the complete standstill with the romance. The upheaval in THE SHADOW READER was so deliciously devastating that I was dying to see the fallout from McKenzie’s choices, but it wasn’t really there in THE SHATTERED DARK. McKenzie agonized internally about her past decisions without really making any new ones.
On the upside, the ending of THE SHATTERED DARK was excellent. All the big developments I’d been hoping for finally happened and they were absolutely worth waiting for. I’m right back to the dying-to-know-what-happens-next phase that the first book left me in. So while the majority of this book felt like it was stalling for time, the ending saved it. There are no details about the third McKenzie Lewis book, but look for it to hit stores in 2013.
What’s better than a new Kate Daniels book? How about two! That’s what we get in GUNMETAL MAGIC. Not only dReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
What’s better than a new Kate Daniels book? How about two! That’s what we get in GUNMETAL MAGIC. Not only does Andrea get her first–of hopefully many more to come–full length novel, but Kate and Curran take the lead in a bonus novella, MAGIC GIFTS, that is included with the book. It’s a total win win since both stories are excellent additions to one of the best urban fantasy series ever!
Andrea is pretty much the only character who can stand next to Kate Daniels and not get overshadowed. Her personality is just as strong, just and intriguing, but she’s not a Kate in training. She’s a little more reserved, a lot less hot-headed, but when pushed too far, a lot more volatile. It was great to see how she survived in the magic/tech torn Atlanta. She’s a weapons expert, but unlike Kate, she doesn’t possess an encyclopedic knowledge of world mythologies. She has to seek out experts like the hilarious flirt Roman–is he truly an evil mage or is it an act?–and of course, her on again/off again love Raphael. These two make Kate and Curran’s bumpy relationship look a piece of cake. Dealing with two shapeshifters, the crazy fun mating etiquette rules were at an all new high for the series, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
Some of the trademarks of this series are in fine form in GUNMETAL MAGIC, including new and fascinating mythologies and creatures. We get just enough detail to make the plot work without ever feeling like we’re reading a history book. The humor is also razor sharp and sly. I especially enjoyed reading the one scene that overlapped in both stories. Kate and Andrea have such different ways of seeing the situation–in this case Raphael’s latest insult–that it really provided a richer understanding of their characters.
Bottom line, the Kate Daniels world with it’s waves of magic, it’s various factions of vampires, shifters, Knights and more, it’s richly developed characters, and fresh take on ancient mythologies is one I hope never runs out of stories. I can’t wait to read the next Kate, or Andrea, or maybe even a YA take from Julie down the road. GUNMETAL MAGIC proves that in the hands of Ilona Andrews, they’d all be amazing. Modern urban fantasy can be described in two words: Kate Daniels. It really doesn’t get any better.
Sexual Content: Scenes of sensuality. References to sex ...more
The Immortal Guardians series by Dianne Duvall is one that continues to deepen its mythology and tell hot lReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
The Immortal Guardians series by Dianne Duvall is one that continues to deepen its mythology and tell hot love stories that paranormal romance readers crave. In the third book in the series, former villain turned less villainous Bastien struggles to deny his growing attraction for Dr. Melanie, the one person who shares his desire to help the vampires condemned to go insane. They aren’t the most exciting pair, but Duvall injects their story with plenty of action to help liven it up.
Unlike Rowland and Sarah, and Marcus and Ami, the couple in PHANTOM SHADOWS didn’t have the most creative meeting or even the most difficult obstacles preventing them from getting together. That lack of excitement more than anything else kept me from enjoying this installment as much as the previous two. Duvall writes well and the action scenes are intense and plentiful. The Immortal mythology adds new and fascinating layers this time–especially one huge twist at the end that I can’t wait to see how it unfolds in the next book–, and the love scenes are flirty and sensual.
I had higher hopes for Bastian’s story since as a former villain I expected him to be much more tortured than he turned out to be. Likewise Dr. Lipton wasn’t that engaging either. Neither of them brought the type of heat or volatility that I’ve come to expect from this series. They were attracted to each other, he worried that she would get grief from the other Immortals who still viewed him with suspicion, she didn’t share his worries so they got together. That’s pretty much the course of their relationship. There were some fun secondary stories involving new enemies and drugs that posed a threat to Immortals, potential alliances with the vampires, and new hints regarding gifted ones’ DNA.
PHANTOM SHADOWS may not have knocked me off my feet with this particular couple (they would have made a much more satisfying pair in a novella), but paranormal romance fans who enjoy series like J.R. Ward’s Black Daggar Brotherhood will definitely want to invest time in the Immortal Guardians series. I’ll certainly be back for the next book.
Sexual Content A couple graphic sex scenes ...more
The worldbuilding in THE UNNATURALISTS is top notch. Fantastical creatures, mysterious magic, deadly conseqReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
The worldbuilding in THE UNNATURALISTS is top notch. Fantastical creatures, mysterious magic, deadly consequences for those who misuse it, and an origin story that is so good it deserves it’s own book. An entire society sprang up after Tesla–yes the Tesla–broke through to another world and took half of London with him. There is no way back, so New London has progressed from this point in several alternate ways from ours. The Victorian era never ended, and Steampunk/magic progressed. Science and Logic are the religion of the day with references to St. Darwin and St. Bacon. All these little details unfold beautifully and naturally throughout the book without ever resorting to dreaded info dumps.
Of the two protagonists in THE UNNATURALISTS, I only ended up connecting with Vespa, the curious and ambitious daughter of The Museum of Unnatural History curator. She had a contagious excitement about the creatures she studied and a reckless streak that got her into just enough trouble to be interesting without being foolhardy. Syrus fell a bit flat for me. He was written in 3rd person and is much younger. His life as an outcast Tinker just didn’t grab me even as numerous tragedies befell him.
There is a small romance in THE UNNATURALISTS, though not between Vespa and Syrus. It didn’t quite come together for me as I never fully bought into Vespa’s attraction for this guy. She fell pretty quickly and repeatedly threw herself at him. I would have preferred it if Vespa had kept her hormones in check and let the potential relationship simmer. I didn’t end up feeling her anxiety when various obstacles sprang up between them.
Splitting chapters between two protagonists slowed things down as ultimately only one had a compelling story. The romance also failed to entice. The real saving grace is the worldbuilding. The amazing New London and even more amazing history in THE UNNATURALISTS make it a good read for Steampunk fans. No word on a sequel, but the ending certainly leaves room for a potential series.
Who would have thought heaven would be scarier than hell? After venturing to Charbydon in the last book, ChReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Who would have thought heaven would be scarier than hell? After venturing to Charbydon in the last book, Charlie is visiting the glorious Elysia in SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN. While it is beautiful to behold, Elysia is where Hank is being held and tortured beyond human comprehension. Never one to shy away from heavy emotions, Kelly Gay forces her readers to the brink with Charlie and Hank, and then begins to piece them back together in a way that will have you cheering.
For the first time in the series, Charlie shares POV space with another character: Hank. The majority of the story is still told from Charlie’s perspective, but those few scenes from Hank are fantastic. He’s long been the character I’ve been craving to know more about, and this glimpse inside has only made me want to know more. His chapters are often delusional as he is repeatedly brought to the point of death and his mind begins to shred as a result. The Hank that emerges is damaged, though not as much as I would have expected…hopefully the ramifications are just further reaching.
The Charlie Madigan urban fantasy series has been a favorite since it’s debut, and it’s books like SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN that ensure it stays a favorite. The mythology is utterly unique, and introducing Hank’s perspective, along with a willingness to resolve long running storylines while setting up new ones are just further indications that this series has plenty more to give. Bring it on.
Sexual Content: Attempted sexual assault. Scene of sensuality/brief sex scene ...more
I’m accustomed to powerful, grab-you-by-the-heart-and-never-let-go stories from Sophie Littlefield. The kinReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I’m accustomed to powerful, grab-you-by-the-heart-and-never-let-go stories from Sophie Littlefield. The kind that resonate for weeks and weeks after reading. Both the Banished and especially the Aftertime series rank among some of my favorite books ever. So to say that I had high expectations for HANGING BY A THREAD, her new standalone about a girl who gets psychic visions from clothing, is putting it mildly.
HANGING BY A THREAD is a very different sort of story than I’m used to from Sophie. It’s much quieter, much slower, and ultimately much less satisfying than her previous books. Essentially, the story is about a small town murder mystery. Clare and her mother move back to the town they left years before and immediately Clare’s psychic gift sets her on the trail of a potential serial killer. She starts poking in to the murders, questioning families, friends, and anyone suspected by the police including the local bad boy who was dating one of the victims.
Clare’s fascination with fashion leads to many detailed descriptions of clothes throughout the book, especially Clare’s own numerous outfits. It did make Clare seem like a true fashion devotee, but it also slowed down an already slow book. The beginning was extremely sleepy before the visions started and I probably would have stopped reading if this was any other author. The pace did pick up once the leads and clues started piling up, but even then HANGING BY A THREAD isn’t that gripping of a story and the characters are fairly unmemorable.
I still have Sophie Littlefield on my auto-buy list, but I’ll be hoping for more stories like the awesome Aftertime series and less of the sleepy mysteries like HANGING BY A THREAD in the future.
Maggie Stiefvater is not a writer. She is a magical creature who spins stories and creates worlds so real tReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Maggie Stiefvater is not a writer. She is a magical creature who spins stories and creates worlds so real that readers can taste, touch, and breathe them in. THE RAVEN BOYS, the first book in the new Raven Cycle series, is a wonderfully strange tale that takes just a little time to sink into before running off with the heart and imagination of every reader fortunate enough to open it’s pages.
There are no faeries, werewolves, or murderous water horses in THE RAVEN BOYS, but it feels every inch as captivating , thrilling, and just plain ‘Maggie’ as her previous books. What is does have is ghosts, psychics, and heaps of magic. The three protagonists are as disparate as can be: Blue, the lone non-psychic in her female only family; Gansley, the obscenely wealthy and privileged boy obsessed with unearthing a mystical legendary Welsh king; and Adam, the quiet but strong boy who works three times as hard as his affluent friends. There are other important characters, but these are the three who tell this story.
THE RAVEN BOYS was the first Maggie book that I didn’t read in one sitting. It took several chapters before the characters grabbed hold of me in the way I’ve come to expect from this author. There are numerous characters introduced right away and the ‘Raven Boys’ don’t officially meet Blue until chapter 6, so I was a little unsure of where the story was going up until then. But after about the first fifty pages, storylines began overlapping and Maggie’s unparalleled gift for creating flesh and blood characters sucked me in.
The bad news is that there is a cliffhanger–several actually–and the worse news is that the next book in the Raven Cycle won’t be published until 2013. It’s torturous to have to wait any amount of time for new Maggie Stiefvater books, but it feels doubly so because Blue, Gansley, and Adam are such rich and wonderfully flawed characters that it’s easy to imagine their lives going on without us. I can only hope that Maggie can keep up with them.
Evie and Jack reminded me a lot of a teenage Mackayla and Jericho from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. AReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Evie and Jack reminded me a lot of a teenage Mackayla and Jericho from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. A lot. Evie starts out as this Southern beauty with a sweet if superficial disposition who begins seeing things that can’t be real–terrifying things. Jack is the wordly wise bad boy without an inch of softness. He’s ruthless and hard and he forces Evie to survive in the new world they find themselves in. Like Mackayla, Evie isn’t a shrinking violet. She surprises Jack again and again with her tenacity and resourcefulness. He mocks her and expects her to break, when she never does, we start to see the hidden depths of Jack.
With a couple as seemingly mismatched as Evie and Jack–she’s practically Southern royalty, he’s a dirt poor Cajun with a criminal record–you can imagine the romance was anything but simple. It was a slow simmering heat that fought through prejudice, mistrust, jealousy, survival needs, and enemies at every turn. But Cole knows how to deliver romance, and in POISON PRINCESS, she shows that younger characters can fall just as hard—and they take their readers with them.
As delectable as the romance was, part of the reason it worked so well was because of the raw and frightening post-apocalyptic world they were thrust into. There are slavers and cannibals, magic and zombies, dust storms and drought. Food and water are almost as scarce as women after the Flash. It’s as treacherous a landscape as you can imagine, and all the while that they are traveling, Evie is plagued by visions and burgeoning abilities that are potentially more dangerous than the world around her.
POISON PRINCESS is a brilliant debut that will snare readers of all ages with its vivid post-apocalyptic world, engrossing romance, and novel magic based on Tarot cards. The next book in The Arcana Chronicles just shot to the top of my wishlist.
Sexual Content: Kissing. Mild sensuality. References to sex. References to rape....more
When the world is as lush and mystical as Patricia Briggs has created for the Alpha and Omega series, it juReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
When the world is as lush and mystical as Patricia Briggs has created for the Alpha and Omega series, it just begs to be adapted to a visual form. This graphic novelization (which includes issues 5-8 of the comics) is once again brought to vivid life by David Lawrence, Todd Herman, and Jenny Frison. It's an excellent team, as this volume, is even more beautiful than the first.
While I'm partial to Dan Dos Santos as the artist who creates the novel covers for Patricia Briggs series, as well as the covers for these graphic novel collections, Jenny Frison's issue covers (all included in this volume) are pretty spectacular. She captures action in a way that makes the wolves feel like they are about to leap off the page.
I still view these graphic novels as a compliment to the full novels, but this volume does a pretty impressive job of condensing the plot both through Patty's original dialog, and Todd Herman's deft illustrations. I especially liked how tortured Asil was drawn (great to get to see so much of the character since he crosses over so prominently in FROST BURNED, the most recent Mercy Thompson novel). This volume is a no brainer for fans of Patricia Briggs, but more than that, it's a real treat for graphic novel fans too....more
The final book in Sarah Crossan’s Breathe duology ends with more than a few gasps and even more POVs. QuinnReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
The final book in Sarah Crossan’s Breathe duology ends with more than a few gasps and even more POVs. Quinn, Bea, and Alina are once again the protagonists, and joining them is Ronan. The multiple POVs worked in BREATHE since the group was together for most of the book, but in RESIST, not so much. One storyline was inevitably much more interesting than the others (Ronan’s was particularly dull), and it was at times rather jarring and frustrating to get thrown from one to the other just when things were starting to pick up.
And while I felt like I got to know the trio in BREATHE, the opposite couldn’t be more true in RESIST. I actually forgot who was who (and there really aren’t many reminders) and what their relationships were. It made it challenging to care about any of them. On the plus side, the anemic romance that I complained about in BREATHE is fortunately even less of a factor in RESIST. The couples are separated from each other for most of the book and far too concerned with securing air, rescuing friends, and preventing a truly despicable plan from being carried out.
Apart from the thin characters and multiple POVs, RESIST does have several shocking twists that dystopian fans will–in a good way–rage over. There are numerous gasp inducing injustices and corrupt authority figures that you’ll love to hate. I had no trouble keeping the pages turning as the horrific picture came together and the nefarious plans of the villains was finally exposed (although I could have done without the gynecological exam scene). It’s not as thrilling as the debut, but taken as a whole, the Breathe duology offers a worthwhile story for dystopian fans.
Expectations are very high for Victoria Scott’s YA debut THE COLLECTOR. And it’s all because of two words:Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Expectations are very high for Victoria Scott’s YA debut THE COLLECTOR. And it’s all because of two words: Dante Walker. Hot, arrogant, and cocky as hell. Which is fitting considering he’s a demon. But YA is full of bad boy heartthrobs you say, and yes, it is. But Dante isn’t just the love interest, he’s the protagonist. And since we never leave his head, his point of view is what makes or breaks the entire book. So is Dante as hot as he thinks he is? Oh yes.
HUSH HUSH’S Patch and more recently SWEET EVIL’S Kaidan are about to get some serious competition in the smokin’ hot, bad boy demon department thanks to Dante Walker. Just ask him. There is not a shy or humble bone in this soul collector’s body. He is dangerously smooth, lethally seductive, and cocky enough for ten alpha males combined. Part of what makes Dante so fun is that he crosses the line a lot. Not enough to ever make him irredeemable, but often enough to remind you why he’s Hell’s best. He’s not shy with his opinions or his standards–shallow though they are at first. Some of his expressions do take awhile to warm up too and he’s a tad overly fond of old school slang, but overall it suits him.
Beyond Dante’s in your face ‘charm’, the other thing that makes THE COLLECTOR stand out is that it has a romance that is the opposite of insta-love. So much so that I kept wondering when the real heroine for Dante was going to show up long after the girl did. Not because she wasn’t a great character–she was. She and Dante just seemed so far from ever ending up together, but without even realizing it, they met somewhere in the middle, a middle that made them both better (okay, mostly Dante). I loved that.
THE COLLECTOR is not without it’s faults. I could have done without the coincidences towards the end and maybe updated a few of Dante’s more colorful expressions from the 90′s, but it’s kind of impossible not to crush on this guy even when he is ruthlessly plotting to steal souls. This is a book that lives up to its hype and will garner fiercely devoted Dante Walker fans. Start counting down the days till his return in THE LIBERATOR coming September 2013.
Whereas UNRAVELING was a character driven story dealing with family heartache and the blissful agony of firReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Whereas UNRAVELING was a character driven story dealing with family heartache and the blissful agony of first love mixed up with plenty of mystery and sleuthing, UNBREAKABLE is a nonstop action adventure that downplays character for the sake of adrenaline. The sci-fi elements that were revealed at the end of debut dominate the sequel to such a degree I probably wouldn’t have thought it was the sequel to UNRAVELING if the names hadn’t been the same.
Picking up four months after the end of UNRAVELING, UNBREAKABLE opens with an unrecognizable world. Janelle’s intriguing yet tragic relationship with her parents is gone, she and her brother now live in the ruins of what once was California. Supplies are low, martial law rules, and high school has been left behind for an internship with the FBI. Instead of a girl trying to solve a string of bizarre murders, she gets recruited to stop an interverse human trafficking ring and rescue Ben.
Janelle was a character who leapt of the page in the debut, but in UNBREAKABLE, she feels a little less vivid. We are told that she possesses various personality traits, but I never really saw them manifested in her. Granted, she has little time to breathe between all the running, world hopping, and prison breaks, but I missed the girl from the debut.
More so than Janelle’s dimmed character, the real casualty of the newly emphasized action adventure tone of this sequel is the romance that was the heart of the debut. It was a struggle to remember why Ben worth all this effort since we see very little interaction between these two for most of the book apart from a few tiny flashbacks. In fact, I had no problem getting on board with the fluttering awareness that sprang up between Janelle and Barclay as they hopped from world to world in search of Ben.
I described UNRAVELING as mash up of the TV shows Veronica Mars and Roswell if they were written by Lauren Oliver. UNBREAKABLE is more like the Total Recall remake mixed with The X-Files and Julie Cross’s Tempest series. I think to enjoy this one, you really need to divorce it from the debut as they really share very little in common. Once I let go of my expectations, I found this thrill ride exciting if not as deep as I would have preferred. The ending had one big heartbreaking moment that still hurts when I think about it, and, as there are no more books planned for this series, a tidy resolution for the characters.
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to rape ...more
Continuing with her Star Wars meets fairy tale mashup, Marissa Meyer delivers a strong sequel to CINDER inReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Continuing with her Star Wars meets fairy tale mashup, Marissa Meyer delivers a strong sequel to CINDER in SCARLET, the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Cinder, our cyborg Cinderella turned alien royalty, is still on the run from the Lunar Queen, but this time she’s not the only one running. Little Red Riding Hood is reimagined as Scarlet, a pilot so desperate to find her missing grandmother that she accepts help from a street fighter named Wolf.
What is so fun about this series is how well it blends something so old and classic with something so new and futuristic. I mean how many times has the Little Red Riding Hood story been retold and ‘modernized’? A lot. A whole lot. But in SCARLET, all the familiar features are accounted for, but the sci-fi setting and thriller subplot are so fresh and exciting that the combination creates something never before seen.
And having enjoyed CINDER so much, I was worried that Cinder’s story would only be a small part of SCARLET, but that wasn’t the case at all. Nearly half the book focuses on Cinder and the two storylines are inexorably connected. Tight plotting, courageous characters, and exciting adventure laced romance, the Lunar Chronicles is as thrilling as it claims to be. I can’t wait to see how a Sahara Desert dwelling Rapunzel will be incorporated into this world when she joins the series in CRESS coming in 2014.
THE TROUBLE WITH FATE sort of snuck up on me with how good it was. The cover didn’t wow me, and the first cReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
THE TROUBLE WITH FATE sort of snuck up on me with how good it was. The cover didn’t wow me, and the first couple chapters are a little slow. But, after the underwhelming start, this story–and more importantly the characters–completely won me over and made the first book in the Mystwalker series one of my favorite urban fantasy titles of the year.
The combustible and intense exchanges between Hedi and Trowbridge were fraught with sexual tension. Heidi had been nursing a crush on Trowbridge since she was a little girl, whereas he was much older and hardly aware of her. When they meet again after Heidi is an adult, events on both side have drastically altered both of their opinions of the other. Heidi has become a thief without any moral hangups about it. Her practical almost to a fault view of life was so entertaining and often at odds with the emotions she tries to suppress. Trowbridge, on the other hand, has been a rogue wolf for so many years that he’s mostly sharp edges and plenty of bark. The other character that really surprised me by being so ‘human’ was Heidi’s amulet, Merry. She never speaks, but Evans imbued her with so much personality and emotion, that her story-line was the one that ended up breaking my heart.
The character interactions are what I loved the most about THE TROUBLE WITH FATE, but the fae and werewolf infused world was also extremely well done. There is a long and volatile history between these two groups, and we are only scratching the surface of numerous interesting concepts related to them, like the sentient pendants. THE TROUBLE WITH FATE may not have started out with a bang, but it sure ended with one. The Mystwalker series has a lot more in store for us based on this debut, so I’m anxiously awaiting more when THE THING ABOUT WERES is released on July 30, 2013.
Sexual Content: A mild sex scene. Scenes of sensuality.
WITH ALL MY SOUL is the final book in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series, and it’s an ambitious, go forReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
WITH ALL MY SOUL is the final book in Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers series, and it’s an ambitious, go for broke, book. Half the characters have died and been brought back in some form or another, others have been violated and deceived in inexcusable ways, and the few that have managed to grab on to love have left a trail of bitter broken hearts in their wake. And yet, this is the book that promises, and mostly delivers, a happy ending.
With so many personal conflicts left to resolve in WITH ALL MY SOUL, it was surprising how dense the plot was. It would have been ambitious on it’s own without having to pull double duty as a series ender. That being said, I wish the balance had been more skewed towards the characters and less on the plot. As it was, there were a lot of pow-wows. The cast of characters is pretty extensive at this point so all the planning/discussions were pretty drawn out and unfortunately a little repetitive. And the character interactions weren’t as rich as I was hoping and consisted mostly of reassurance conversations. Sabine really does have people who love her, Nash really is loved by Tod, Emma really is the same person she always was, Kaylee really isn’t to blame for all the bad things that happen to everyone, Tod really is the brother that Kaylee wants, and on and on.
The core relationships in this series have always revolved around Kaylee and the Hudson brothers. For a little more than half the series, Kaylee was with Nash, then for the second half, Tod. As much as I liked Tod and rooted for his HEA with Kaylee, I found myself less and less satisfied with their romance in this book in particular and more and more wishing for Nash again. It didn’t help that Sabine has been, and continues to be, one of the most unlikeable characters ever. Every fiber in my being recoiled when Nash was near her and the resolution between them was extremely forced on me.
As for the other character resolutions, I think it’s going to come down to personal preference. I found it rather depressing in a lot of ways. The price Kaylee ends up paying for her ‘happiness’ is so high, so devastating, that it’s hard to move past. And the result is something that divides her from her friends and family in a way that I found incredibly sad. It just made me focus on how stuck she is. That being said, the way the plot unfolded tied the entire Soul Screamers series together extremely well and offered a few juicy twists and turns that made the ending both surprising and satisfying. In the end though, Kaylee has had an incredibly crazy ride. She’s lost and gained so much. I’m happy that she found happiness in the end, I just wish she didn’t have to pay so dearly for it.
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to rape. References to sex ...more
There is nothing typical about the books Carolyn Crane writes. Without eReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy See site review for similar titles
There is nothing typical about the books Carolyn Crane writes. Without exception they are wildly imaginative, endlessly surprising, and utterly unique. That is no less true of her latest paranormal romance, MR. REAL, the first book in the new Code of Shadows series about a woman who inherits a magical computer capable of conjuring anything–or any one–to her doorstep.
If the premise didn’t tip you off, this is a wacky book. There are preposterous situations, bizarre outcomes, and more than a few head scratching scenes. Most of these are fun in the way only Carolyn Crane can create. Unfortunately, she tiptoed over the crazy fun to just plain crazy line a few too many times. A lot of that had to do with Alix. As a protagonist, I just didn’t like her very much. She’s kind of a slut, kind of immature, and kind of annoying. Her actions throughout MR. REAL made it very challenging to understand why a guy like Paul would tolerate her let alone fall for her. Not that Paul was perfect either. His dislike of the character Alix conjures is really heavy handed. When we find out why he hates Sir Kendall so much…it feels overly inflated and there are a few pretty obvious questions that never got answered–or even asked–about why Paul would ever portray Sir Kendall in the first place (the brief reason given was very flimsy).
It’s really hard to fall for a paranormal romance when the love story doesn’t click, and Alix and Paul never did for me. It didn’t help that they picked the absolute worst possible times to let their hormones take over, like right after finding out about a impending and hyper dangerous threat for one. They needed to run, not start tearing at each others clothes.
Carolyn Crane is a fantastic author and her Disillusionists Trilogy is one of my all time favorite urban fantasy series. MR. REAL, while still wacky, isn’t half as winning as her first series. It’s a little scattered and improbable in places. The concept is fun and there is plenty of promise for a better romantic pairing in the next book in the Code of Shadows series. There is no question that I’ll be back for more, I’ll just be hoping for a slightly more realistic Mr. Real next time.
Sexual Content: A couple graphic sex scenes...more
Can you imagine what it would be like to have spent the past several years in near total sensory deprivatioReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
Can you imagine what it would be like to have spent the past several years in near total sensory deprivation? Unable to see, touch, or talk to another human being? Add to that the curse of killing anyone you touch. This is not a recipe for happiness, but as Tahereh Mafi has shown, it does create one of the most intriguing characters ever.
There is something so mesmerizing about the lyrical writing in the Shatter Me series. It is so immersive and textural that at times it can feel overwhelming. But that’s part of what makes it so perfect considering the protagonist. Juliette has been locked away, starved of any kind of contact for years. When she first interacts with people again, falls in love, every experience is super charged and overly bright. When her heart is shredded, so is the reader’s. When she experiences passion–even just a kiss or caress–the reader feels every exquisite sensation. When she unwillingly causes pain, the reader wants to die with her.
It can happen in YA with really great characters that the plot takes a backseat, but not in UNRAVEL ME. This dystopian world is fascinating with it’s totalitarian Reestablishment and the small but growing resistance made up of people with abilities, like Juliette. War is coming and casualties are inevitable, the emotional ones are already happening between Juliette and the two people who have been able to touch her. My heart is still wounded just thinking about the two of them.
The next book in the Shatter Me series(coming in Fall 2013) promises to be as deeply sensual, deeply emotional, and every bit as thrilling as UNRAVEL ME. This series has a plot, characters, and writing that are beyond beautiful. It will be a torturous wait to return to Juliette’s story.
The Mythos Academy series is one that capitalizes on the formula that maReview courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy See site review for similar titles
The Mythos Academy series is one that capitalizes on the formula that made the Harry Potter books so successful. Take an orphan (a girl this time), reveal a magical heritage that is responsible for the death of her parent, ship her off to a magical boarding school, give her an inexplicably hostile teacher as well as a sage and cryptic headmaster, and make her integral to plot to return an evil power to the world. There are even Death Eater equivalents known as Reapers. As this series has progressed, the Potter similarities have become more and more transparent. But try as it might, Mythos Academy is no Harry Potter.
Initially, Gwen’s touch magic and her ingenious way of using her ability to make a few bucks and solve a few mysteries was intriguing. But since the strong debut, the books have shifted further away from that Gwen to one who spends the entire beginning of the book degrading and criticizing every single thing about herself from her appearance, her shabby clothes, her personality, her intelligence, her physical capabilities, and on and on. After reading about what a worthless moron she claimed to be, it was hard not to agree with her.
As far as the actual plot goes, Gwen gets put on trial for her past ‘crimes’ and ends up recounting all the major events from the series. It’s basically the equivalent of a clip-show until the end. My overall enjoyment of the Mythos Academy series has declined steadily since the debut, but after CRIMSON FROST, I’m going to request a transfer to another school and take a pass on MIDNIGHT FROST when it releases in August 2013.