Possibly my favorite m/m book ever. So incredibly fantastic, just like the rest of this author's work. The story is beautifully written, intricately d...morePossibly my favorite m/m book ever. So incredibly fantastic, just like the rest of this author's work. The story is beautifully written, intricately detailed, satisfying long, and appropriately both heart-wrenching and joyful. Absolutely exquisite. It's a bit of an epic tale, and luckily just the beginning for this wonderful series.
"All this hate is very tiring, isn’t it?" - Jena, page 698
Totally engrossing fantasy read. Honestly, I just couldn't put the book down, and when I was finally finished, I found myself wishing for more. Top qu...moreTotally engrossing fantasy read. Honestly, I just couldn't put the book down, and when I was finally finished, I found myself wishing for more. Top quality work. And the gorgeous cover doesn't hurt either.
HOWEVER, this is definitely not for everyone. There are some great reviews written for this book, so be sure to take a look at them, and take note of the warnings. (I particularly enjoy Ann Somerville's review on this page.)(less)
Another very satisfying read from Sara Bell. This is her only fantasy work as far as I can tell, so in some ways it's quite different from her other f...moreAnother very satisfying read from Sara Bell. This is her only fantasy work as far as I can tell, so in some ways it's quite different from her other fiction. Regardless of the apparent genre change though, The Devil's Fire still has all those essential qualities that I've come to look forward to with Sara Bell's work. So if you are a fan of hers, you'll like this one just as much, no doubt.
I'd call this book a "fantasy-light," with just enough of the fantastical to be classified as such, without being too intricate or unfamiliar as to be overwhelming. All in all, it's got a rather fairy-tale feel to the whole thing: medieval-esque setting, handsome princes, arranged marriages, sword fighting, evil/traitorous villains, a touch of magic, and a happily-ever-after ending. Quite nice.
Like Sara Bell's other work, the plot isn't terribly complex or unpredictable, but it IS well-developed, multi-faceted, and engaging. Also typical of Bell's work, her two main protagonists (Gareth and Alric) are strong and likable, come with past baggage, and eventually come together against a common enemy. Good versus evil and all that. The relationship develops slowly and naturally, and sex is used appropriately to help build and enrich the story, rather than being the sole focus. Secondary characters are also well-drawn and add considerably to the well-rounded feel of the novel.
If you haven't guessed, I'm a fan of Sara Bell's work, and this was one of my favorites from her. She tells a nice story, with emphasis on plot and character development, unlike so much of the other crap out there in the MM Romance world. And what can I say, I like a nice story. I'm certainly looking forward to more in this series. (less)
I always find Mel Keegan's books so difficult to rate. On one hand, they are intricate and interesting and technically well-written. On the other hand...moreI always find Mel Keegan's books so difficult to rate. On one hand, they are intricate and interesting and technically well-written. On the other hand, they tend to be awfully dense and at times, incredibly overwhelming with the details (e.g. lots and LOTS of crazy names and places and unfamiliar words thrown around, lots of action all the time, etc).
The bottom line is, I did enjoy reading this book. I liked the characters, the medieval/fantasy setting, and the action. But it took me all friggin day to read!! I just kept feeling bogged down by its density and was easily distracted by less intense pursuits (such as napping, watching America's Next Top Model, and doing my laundry). So what does that say about the book that I would get distracted by cleaning? (Um, if you knew me, you'd think it didn't say anything good.) But perhaps it says more about my frame of mind. I primarily read to relax, not to think too hard. So in order to get maximum enjoyment here, I'd recommend you to be in a more focused and determined state of mind to tackle this book. (less)
I am completely in love with this series. I hate to admit it, but at first I thought the basic premise of Tenebrism sounded kinda cliche: Regular coll...moreI am completely in love with this series. I hate to admit it, but at first I thought the basic premise of Tenebrism sounded kinda cliche: Regular college kid (Alan) kisses a stone statue on a dare, only to have the statue come to life before his eyes. Turns out, statue guy (Keyd) is actually a warrior from another world whose people are engaged in an epic battle of "light" vs. "dark" which is about to spill over onto Earth. Been there, done that, right? WRONG! There is nothing cliched about this story at all. Actually, I found it to be quite original, not to mention totally engaging.
First, I just have to say that I found this entire series to be exceedingly well-written. The overall plot is obviously very well planned out, with excellent pacing and appropriate explanations and revelations at just the right times. I was never bored, never overly frustrated or disappointed, while at the same time, still able to feel that edge of excited anticipation throughout. The story has both fantasy and sci-fi elements, and the accompanying world-building is also pretty fantastic, unfolding and integrating very naturally as the story progresses. So no big info dumps, no ridiculous nonsensical explanations; in fact, I found the details and explanations regarding Keyd, his people, and their powers, to actually be very rational, complete, and believable.
The characters themselves are also well-described and well-rounded, and they actually behave and develop over time like you would expect in reality. There are also a number of secondary characters who are quite enjoyable and really help add variety and depth to the overall story, rather than just take up meaningless space. The entire series is told from Alan's POV, and as a narrator, he's pretty great. He just tells his story with a nice sense of humor, and with no overly excessive internal angsting or boring landscape details or other crap like that.
Of course, the romance between Alan and Keyd was also a big highlight for me. Neither of these men have ever been in a relationship with another man before, so for that reason, among others, their own romance is extremely (and believably) slow-moving. Their hesitations and fears are all very realistic, they both make mistakes along the way, and change isn't instantaneous by any means -- all of which really help to add credibility to the entire situation.
You know, I've found that some fantasy stories can be a little too ambitious for their own good -- that it's easy enough to have lots of characters, lots of intrigues, basically just lots going on, and it's also pretty easy to drop the ball and tell a story like this without the necessary details or explanations to back it all up, thus leaving the reader disappointed or confused or unfulfilled in the end. And sadly, that's the kind of story I've been seeing a lot of recently. Which is exactly why the "Light and Shadow" series has been such an overwhelming delight to read. I know that Alyn Drasil isn't going to disappoint me here. She's got a plan, and it's a good one, and her first 3 stories are proof of that. I just can't wait to see what happens in the end.
Highly recommended, rated 4.5/5.
UPDATE (3/29/12): I don't know when the new cover art showed up, but A+++. Seriously. Good job.(less)
I actually got about a third through this novel before I realized that I had actually read it before. Hmmm...does that say more about me, do you think...moreI actually got about a third through this novel before I realized that I had actually read it before. Hmmm...does that say more about me, do you think, or more about the book?
Ok, so this was a pretty great novel, and I was planning to write a nice, detailed review...but alas, I haven't quite gotten around to it.
For now, I'll just say that I thought this was an excellent read. Epic fantasy, elves and humans at war, and a captive elven slave thrown together with a human prince...what more could you ask for?!?
But what's so great about this novel isn't just the attention-grabbing plot and intriguing characters, it's the fact that the story is exceedingly well-written and well-developed. It's one of those books in the world of m/m romance that reads more like a real mainstream fantasy novel than the typical m/m fantasy romance, if you know what I mean. The fantasy world in Counterpoint has real substance, with richly-drawn and carefully crafted details. The plot and characters are likewise complex and well-developed. And the overall effect is totally engrossing.
The downside is that this novel is only part 1 of 2, and it's very apparent that the story isn't finished once you get to the end of the book. (i.e., There's a bit of a cliffhanger.) Aside from the inherent frustration with a story that is essentially unfinished, I don't have any other complaints. Like I said before, I thought the novel was fantastic, and I'd definitely recommend it.(less)
An enjoyable, easy read overall. But felt very short, with a bit too much smexing for my taste.
Oh, and by the by, the main character is supposedly a d...moreAn enjoyable, easy read overall. But felt very short, with a bit too much smexing for my taste.
Oh, and by the by, the main character is supposedly a delicate, blond-haired, green-eyed, half-emaciated youth...so for me at least, the cover model is way off the mark. I suppose it doesn't really matter all that much, but sometimes I do find myself wondering if the people who design the cover art for books know anything about the product they are designing for. It's such a mystery. (less)
This series is good in you are interested in sci-fi (space travel, AI, clones), with military/war and political themes mixed in. Plus there are lots o...moreThis series is good in you are interested in sci-fi (space travel, AI, clones), with military/war and political themes mixed in. Plus there are lots of awesome action scenes (e.g. battleships fighting in space).
However, I do remember it being a little depressing though - like there wasn't really a traditional HEA ending.
Ultimately, I thought the series was quite enjoyable (just like everything I've read from Dan Kirk), so I'd certainly recommend it.(less)
Very much enjoyed this monster of a novel. In fact, it's probably my new favorite from Megan Derr. (It's even better than the "prequel" story, Prisone...moreVery much enjoyed this monster of a novel. In fact, it's probably my new favorite from Megan Derr. (It's even better than the "prequel" story, Prisoner, IMHO.)
Could have potentially been a 5-star read for me (super rare, let me tell you), but two things kept it from making the cut: 1) rushed ending with waaay too easy resolutions. (See Justacat's review for some examples.) 2) tons of editing mishaps (minor misspellings, a bazillion dropped words, and a couple instances of switched names). Sorry, I hate to gripe about something like editing, but it drives me CRAZY because A) it's really distracting, and B) it's a problem that could have/should have been easily fixed.
Bottom Line: Solid, engaging, and wonderfully enjoyable m/m fantasy. A few niggles kept it from making my 5-star list, but I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quality read.(less)