Meghan and Ash have been exiled from Faery. The half-fae summer princess and the winter prince...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Meghan and Ash have been exiled from Faery. The half-fae summer princess and the winter prince find themselves in the mortal world at the beginning of the third Iron Fey book. Meghan sees this as her chance to return to a normal life and to have Ash, but things are never that easy. It quickly becomes clear the two won’t be able to have lives until the Iron Fey are defeated.
The Iron Queen is about Meghan accepting her destiny. She resolves to put a stop to the Iron Fey, to take care of unfinished business with the Queen of the Exiles and to keep Ash. The Iron Fey are quickly taking over Faery, advancing on the now unified Summer and Winter courts, and as Meghan is the only one who can touch iron — she’s needed.
Despite Puck’s parting words in The Iron Daughter, he’s back in this novel. He may be bitter about Ash and Meghan’s relationship, but he remains a dutiful friend. And while Ash helps prepare her for battle with swords, Puck steps in to help her use magic. Because this time Meghan will fight her own battles. She will lead, and the boys are just there to help.
In The Iron Queen we get to see characters evolve and grow. Meghan takes hold of her destiny as royalty, to defend Faery. Prince Ash is able to let his icy exterior melt and truly be himself now that he’s away from Mab’s court. Finally, we see Puck’s real emotions. He’s resolved that he won’t be with Meghan and while that sucks, he won’t forgo her friendship.
The action scenes, as always, are intense and vibrant. Even when there isn’t an active battle scene, Julie Kawaga’s plot continues rushing forward with the urgency of impending doom.
This is the final book in Meghan Chase’s story, and it isn’t quite what you expect. And, honestly, that’s a great thing. I thought I knew how her story would end. I was wrong, but Kagawa’s surprising moves in The Iron Queen are poignant and fitting for Meghan. She gives us what we need to close out this epic tale.
On a side note: You’re going to laugh when I admit this, but I probably I could have used a bit more kissing in the book. I mean, I know the world’s going to end, but even I want to make out with Ash all the time. I don’t know how Meghan can resist.(less)
Donna was attacked as a child by a fire-breathing beast. Alchemists replaced her scortched arms...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Donna was attacked as a child by a fire-breathing beast. Alchemists replaced her scortched arms with iron, flesh and magic. She’s stronger, colder and from time to time the iron tattoos on her forearms move with life. The Order of the Dragon, the alchemist secret society her parents had belonged to, took care of her. They made sure she was protected and home schooled her at the Order’s HQ. She’s expected to learn the magic, the science and join the Order and the war with the fae.
Donna has the weight of her parents’ legacies and the expectations of the Order that she be the next big thing pressing down on her. She doesn’t even know if she wants to be an alchemist. No one has asked her. But they do expect her to hide her enhanced abilities stemming from her iron-laced arms. The duality of being expected to act based upon DNA, but hide other parts of the self is a nice allegory for teenage life in general. And Karen Mahoney manages to do it while keeping The Iron Witch light in tone.
As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, she finally meets a hot guy who’s interested in her and that’s when dark elves begin attacking her and her friends. Next thing she knows, she’s falling for Xan, her best friend is kidnapped and she has some new and serious concerns about the guys leading the Order.
Karen Mahoney brings together two people working against what others expect from them with Donna and Xan. We won’t spoil Xan’s surprise, but his heritage comes with gifts and prejudices equally. Adding in some less than involved adopted parents and Xan comes with his own baggage in accepting who he is and what that means for his future.
In other words, these two are right together. (Also, if Xan wants to take his shirt off more, we’d let him.) Their quick attraction feels legit and not just in a hot boy meets hot girl kind of way.
The Iron Witch gives tastes of alchemy, action and a sweet, blossoming romance. Mostly, though, the book is a great character study. Spending the few days spanned in The Iron Witch with Donna (and melting for Xan) was a delight. She may not kick as much physical ass as other YA heroines, but we expect someone will teach her to fight soon enough. She’s got iron arms, and we’re looking forward to seeing her step up and use them in the forthcoming sequel.(less)
Frannie is gifted. So far she only knows she gets visions of death, but there’s more for her. S...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Frannie is gifted. So far she only knows she gets visions of death, but there’s more for her. She may not know it yet, but agents from heaven and hell do. When Lucifer and Gabriel — teen versions of their namesakes — are dispatched to try and tag Frannie’s soul for their respective metaphysical teams, it starts as just a job. Luc plans to just cause her to sin, tag her and get out. Unfortunately, he didn’t predict the way she’d make him feel, especially as demons don’t feel.
Frannie is all about the hot new guy, and is even more floored when he makes a move because her friends are the ones who get the guys. Things are going great, and then a second new guy shows up. Gabe is all sorts of blond goodness, and he’s interested in Frannie, too. She can’t decide who she wants to be with, and while she and the guys battle with their feelings for each other — other demons are showing up in town with their eyes on Frannie.
There were parts of Personal Demons that had me utterly rapt and rushing forward to get more, but more often I found parts that I just skipped paragraphs. During the latter parts I considered stopping, but then I’d be back with Luc and wanting more. We flit between Luc and Frannie’s points-of-view, and while I don’t dislike Frannie, Luc is a far more fascinating character — and not just because he’s the ultimate bad boy being reformed by love. (Though, that part is nice.) Luc has real depth. His evolution through the novel is touching and it’s his story that had me gripping pages.
And with that it was hard for me to see why Frannie would really have a hard time deciding between the two guys. The idea of Gabe’s appeal as a bastion of love is appealing, but for me his character felt so one-dimensional when set next to Luc.
I can definitely see why teens might love Personal Demons. There are steamy kisses and head-over-heels love confusion. The problem, from an adult side at least, is I want some kind of relationship development. Frannie is almost magically in love with these two guys immediately. And I get that OMG reaction, but the guys had the same reaction without any real reason for us to be all about these people other than the hot factor.
The novel wasn’t bad. It was OK, if a bit predictable. If you like love triangles and really just want some hot guys fighting over a nice girl, then Personal Demons will be a good quick read for you.
With witty writing, Paranormalcy is a fun YA read. Evie has worked for the International Parano...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
With witty writing, Paranormalcy is a fun YA read. Evie has worked for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) for as long as she can remember. Unlike everyone else, she can see though all glamours. Hot hot vampires for her — she just sees the dead body underneath. Her life consists of bagging and tagging various paranormal creatures — vampires, werewolves, hags. Once they’re tagged, they get assigned jobs at IPCA.
She’s never questioned her role. (Though, she’s always felt the agency was too lenient with faeries. Her ex is one, and he just won’t leave her alone. Stupid faeries.) It can be kind of lonely being the only teenager, who has to experience typical teen life vicariously through a TV show.
So when an unknown paranormal is detained, she can’t help by try to learn more. Lend can shift his shape into anyone’s appearance. Once he and Evie manage to get on the same level — and he quits making his glamour look like her — the two bond. She finally has a shot at having a friend, even a boyfriend.
Except paranormals are being killed. IPCA can’t figure it out, and they are convinvced Lend has answers. Though the story Evie discovers her real role at the agency, runs for her life, saves others, learns the reason she can see though all glamours and falls in love.
Evie is wonderfully relatable. It’s hard not to love the way she adopts using “bleep” instead of curse words, her love of her pink taser and all things girly. We want her to be happy. We want her to find love. We really like it when she kisses Lend.
Paranormalcy deals with some heavy circumstances with a light tone. Kiersten White knows how to diffuse tension with a good laugh. She also managed to create a hottie who is practically an invisible boy in his natural form.
The story takes a bit to really ignite, but with such endearing characters you’ll be hooked quickly. We’re looking forward to seeing where Evie and Lend’s story will go. Paranormalcy is the first in a series. We’ll be sure to let everyone know when the next book is on the horizon.(less)
We knew from the way things ended in The Iron King (and from the Iron Fey novella Winter’s Passage) things were going to get worse for Meghan Chase be...moreWe knew from the way things ended in The Iron King (and from the Iron Fey novella Winter’s Passage) things were going to get worse for Meghan Chase before they got better. Following through on the contract she made with the winter prince Ash for his help in rescuing her brother, Meghan spends months in the icy palace of the Unseelie Court, waiting to see Queen Mab or get word from Ash, who has stolen her heart (and ours).
She’s freezing, anxious and can’t seem to access the glamour surrounding her. Being without magic ability in enemy territory is not a good thing. That’s how we find the half-fae Summer Court princess at the beginning of The Iron Daughter.
The first Iron Fey book was about Meghan accepting who she was and in doing so was able to save her brother. While we see more of her battling her torn feelings between the moral and faery worlds, really, The Iron Daughter is Ash discovering the possibility of being open, of letting someone — even the half-blood heir of his enemy — behind the masks he has built. To say it’s complicated wouldn’t cover it. To say some of Ash’s actions had us furious and aching (sometimes simultaneously), that’s be accurate.
Julie Kagawa ramps up the emotional complexities and intensifies love troubles in The Iron Daughter, while keeping her characters focused on the task at hand: saving the world from the iron faeries, of course. The harsh divisions between the courts are stark and often thrown bluntly in Meghan’s face, but as a reader it is easy to see all the Seelie and Unseelie similarities. I expect those shared traits will become a more prominent theme in the next book.
Finally, the only reason this review is shy of five stars is the foreshadowing appeared a bit more obvious. Part of me wonders if I hadn’t already known the title of the third novel*, would I have picked out so easily where things were going? Aside from the more forthright foreshadowing, The Iron Daughter stole my attention in 150-page blocks. It will keep readers enveloped in fantasy until the final page. (And, boy, we liked that ending!)
*Yes, I’m purposefully not mentioning the title of the third Iron Fey book, in case you think I’m right about it aiding my understanding of Kagawa’s foreshadowing.(less)
Note: This review is spoiler-free for this title only. If you have not read earlier Georgina Ki...moreThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Note: This review is spoiler-free for this title only. If you have not read earlier Georgina Kincaid novels, I suggest you read our review of Succubus Blues instead.
Have you ever wanted more about Georgina? We’ve had the flashback to her decision to trade her soul to erase her from the memories of others’, but in Succubus Shadows we get to relive pivotal moments in her life. And while memory after memory can overwhelm one at times, when you come out the other side you’ll understand Seattle’s succubus much better.
Georgina and Seth finally got a taste of what it could be like to be together — in the Biblical sense — in Succubus Heat. But when Georgia’s powers returned, she decided to call it off. In his guilt, Seth proposed to Maddie. So, now we have Georgina wishing things were different, trying to figure out how to fix the dark mark on Seth’s soul due to him cheating on Maddie and, oh yeah, help plan their damn wedding.
Roman is living with her, and as much as he says he hates her, the nephilim doth protest too much. There’s a bit of beauty in bringing Roman back. He’s a good challenge for Georgina. They both want this freedom from what they are, but neither really wants to forgo the immortality perks. Perhaps having good friends saved Georgina from a similar spiral? Maybe it’s just that she’s a succubus and not half angel. Either way, the guy who was a stalker from the first book is now someone you care about. And that’s impressive.
Georgina’s sadness over letting go of Seth, again, have her susceptible to another immortal. No one can find them, but a type of siren song, a promise of peace calls to her. Only to have Georgina in a dream world, where she relives so many moments from her past.
That said, I continue to hold out hope for Seth and Georgina. I promised no spoilers, but the end of Succubus Shadows sets things up to either work out gloriously or fail miserably. And, really, would we have it any other way? Succubus Shadows continues the Georgina Kincaid Emotional Rollercoaster, where we’re thrilled at the promise of love one moment and near tears as it’s ripped away again. And, at this point, Georgina isn’t the only one suffering from romantic woes. Secondary characters have earned my loyalty as well.
Once you finish Succubus Shadows, you’ll be counting down the days until the release of the final book in the series, Succubus Revealed. (It hits shelves on August 30, and, yes, you can pre-order it.)
Note: This review will give away key points in previous novels, especially from the third bo...moreThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Note: This review will give away key points in previous novels, especially from the third book Succubus Dreams.
After the ground-shaking ending to Succubus Dreams, we felt Georgina’s pain. Hell, the ending to book three had me crying. (Richelle Mead knows how to make everyone ride the emotional rollercoaster in the third books, doesn’t she?) While time has passed since the big breakup, at the beginning of Succubus Heat it’s clear Georgina is not coping well. She still works at the bookstore with Maddie. Has to talk to her. Be friends with her. See her all smoochy and cozy with Seth. And act like it’s nothing because, of course, no one knew she and Seth had ever been a couple.
Instead of moving on, she’s fallen into a spiral. She’s dating Dante — who everyone agrees is not good enough for her and makes her extra bitchy, she drinks a lot, has taken back up smoking and is corrupting as many mortal souls as she can. You’d think her archdemon boss Jerome would be happy with his main succubus tagging quality souls for hell. He’s sick of her moping, though. Sick of seeing her so not Georgina. So, he decides she’ll be getting away. He outsources our girl to another archdemon in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The little problem she’s sent to fix seems beneath her, and Georgina is convinced it’s part of a diversion dealing with demons fighting over territory boundaries. She thinks she has a fix on it when Jerome goes missing. She’s one of the few willing to work to find him, and gets herself caught up in some big power plays.
I won’t give things away where things go with Seth. I will say they both still love each other and there is promise here. Expect character development and self-reflection in Succubus Heat along with lots of groundwork for future books.
Succubus Heat isn’t as emotionally taxing as the previous book. The mystery plot is one of the best so far, with a good surprise (not quite as good as the Roman reveal in Succubus Blues, but good). And, I promise you, this book will give you hope for Georgina being happy again, for finding love. You’ll feel the pain of her longing for a husband and children again, but also wonder if there’s a chance she might finally get that ideal.
The Iron King is a masterful opening to an epic fantasy series. Julie Kagawa describes the characters and world of Faeryland so clearly and succinctly readers will easily visualize the realms of both King Oberon and the Queen Mab. (You’ll be picturing that dark prince Ash and the redheaded Puck, too.) The vast world, new creatures and epic quest could be aligned with The Lord of the Rings, but with a better love story. (less)
Some young adult novels fall into that category because the protagonist is a teen (Vampire Academy). Some end up on the YA shelves because the dialogue is teen speak (Marked). And, finally, some are there just because they’re books written solely for teens. Wings felt like the last set. So, do keep that in mind when reading a review written by someone in her late-20s.
To keep it straightforward, there were three things I loved about this novel:
1. Blossom vs. wings. Our fall faerie doesn’t have wings. Instead she has a blossom, which could easily be mistaken for wings. Not only is it a great visual, but using a blossom instead of wings for a faerie is so unexpected. Through Wings Aprilynne Pike lays excellent ground work for this world of fae as plants. We can easily make the plant life connections for an understanding of Laurel’s tie to the forest, the feel of Tam’s hair and the increasing contrast to the animal world.
2. Tam. Hot warrior faerie guy, who clearly is head-over-heels for Laurel from the second we meet him. If there was a “Team Tam,” Vampire Book Club would join.
3. Realistic parental relationship. Laurel says she’s super close with her parents. Mom homeschooled her to this point, so it’s unsurprising. Yet when giant flower petals sprouted on her back, she just wanted to keep it hers alone. That’s standard adolescence; no matter how rad your mom is (mine rules, BTW), there will be the need to save those personal transitions for a journal entry or best friend. Fear of awkward moments can drive a wedge between parent and child from ages 12 to 19. (Younger readers, trust me, you get close again as you age.)
Now, the negatives:
1. Pacing. The novel started slowly. This is often the case with world-building series openers. I wouldn’t hold it against Wings, but be aware of it.
2. David. The human love interest. I want to like him. Really. David is just bland. His character lacks the robust, real qualities we get from Laurel and Tam. David is nice, good-looking and into science. That’s about it. However, I’m still up for reading a Laurel-David kissing scene.
Aprilynne Pike set up nicely for a second book (Spells) that will take Laurel to Avalon. I’m intrigued to read about that side of things, and knowing the plot moves in that direction with more Tam I’m inclined to take on book 2 in the series, though it doesn’t top the to-read pile (Firelight still holds reign right now).
Succubus Dreams was utterly engaging with plot and prose to keep readers rapt.
Succubus Georgina Kincaid is doing her best to balance her demon-promised duties and her relationship with mortal Seth Mortensen. The two love each other, and do their best to make things work, but Georgina refuses to give in and kiss Seth for more than a few moments. His soul is so pure, and the succubus part of her would quickly pull years off his life for a taste of someone so good. The no-sex thing would be much easier if she didn’t have to sleep with other men to exist.
After her latest fix of a good soul, Georgina climbs into bed next to a sleeping Seth. And she dreams. It feels so real, and the content is so simple: her washing dishes, a little girl playing in the next room. She awakes and nearly all the energy she gained the night before is gone. She’s just as low as before. No one can explain what might have happened, and her boss arch-demon Jerome has no interest in hearing about some fluke drain on energy.
But the dreams continue – always the same scenario – and so does the energy drain. Georgina is the only one overly concerned about this repeat drain, though she utilizes some human resources to look into the issue. To add to her stress, the imp who bartered for her soul is in town with a new succubus – one she’s expected to train. The stress makes her neglect other elements of her life, only adding to the strain of the energy loss.
If that isn’t relatable to everyone, I don’t know what is. That’s the beauty of Richelle Mead’s writing. The characters are real, not just in their dialogue and actions but also with their thought processes. The more we pile on, the more we take for granted the good parts of our lives. Georgina does just that and then some. She’s a strong, stubborn woman, and that leads to her being proud and protective. She makes decisions for Seth and elects to not tell him about certain things to keep him safe. No one likes that, especially not your boyfriend.
With so many things to juggle something is bound to fall, and we feel that pain when it hits. It’s a testament to Richelle Mead’s character development that gut-wrenching scenes in her novels have readers flashing back to similar scenarios in their pasts and/or weeping. We feel for her characters, not just Georgina.
Succubus Dreams is more relationship driven than the previous two Succubus books. There’s still the standard “big bad” to deal with, but things are never black-and-white and I expect we’ll see events of this novel revisited as the series continues.
I've always enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries series, but the latest book "Dead in the Family" felt a bit hollow. It's not that...moreI've always enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries series, but the latest book "Dead in the Family" felt a bit hollow. It's not that the characters weren't there -- Sookie, Eric, Sam, Pam, Bill, Alcide, etc. Really, it's just there wasn't as strong of a conflict as I had expected.
The overall plot was lacking. Yes, we find out why Eric wasn't the one who saved her in the Fae War, but it seems more like little events instead of the big ones. Some on-going issues were mentioned, but not resolved in the book. While actually reading the novel, I liked it, but after finishing I was left wondering what was the point? Perhaps Charlaine Harris is staging for the Book 11 to deal with both vampire and shifter politics, but mentioning them and then not doing anything with it was unsatisfying.
Setting aside the lack of larger plot points, Dead in the Family started to lift the veil as to just how different vampires are from humans. Sookie sees Eric and Pam badly injured, she aids in putting Eric’s ribs back in place, but Pam must stay behind and heal. All Pam is focused on is the vicious need for revenge. Eric can easily leave her behind knowing she will heal, but it’s little actions like these — choices that the vampires make — that are starting to showcase the differences between them.
Furthermore, Sookie is fighting to understand that she’s starting to take on some of their outlook regarding like, or the dispatching of it. She wants people dead, the list keeps growing. Never before did she think ending someone’s life was an answer. She struggles with the fact that she’s changed, and that she does think killing these people is the right choice. Has spending so much time with the vampires (and weres for that matter) made her colder to human life?
Worth the read to keep up with the series, but definitely not the level of Books 4 or 7 (my personal favorites).