This is one of the books I read during the year the sky fell on my head - aka 2014. There are oodles of books and manga I have not added to Goodreads.This is one of the books I read during the year the sky fell on my head - aka 2014. There are oodles of books and manga I have not added to Goodreads. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and read the second one, and will read the third one once I can get it a bit cheaper than hardcover price.
The focus on the female is a bit of a red herring though, I think, and strongest in this book (well she needs to be shown what is outside of her massively restricted upbringing which is handy to set up the worldbuilding and charas). This series is about the micromanagement of the discovery of a special kind of human for the Other society, and what to do with that discovery from the point of view of the person who in effect is a mayor of an Other enclave (the Others being the beings who actually own Earth - very nice twist)....more
**spoiler alert** I've read a lot of paranormal romances featuring werewolves and some YA non-romancy books, too (for exampe the Other series of Ann B**spoiler alert** I've read a lot of paranormal romances featuring werewolves and some YA non-romancy books, too (for exampe the Other series of Ann Bishop) and I didn't think that something different could still be done there, but Rachel Neumeier has a great twist on the werewolf and vampire idea (although the book itself seems to be taking place after vampires are out of the picture).
It was awesome to have a non-preachy book about faith (Christian faith at that) which is intricately linked with the idea of where black dogs come from and how historically they have been dealt with (and that shout-out to St. Walburga, still one of the most popular female saints in Germany, and particularly in my region was just lovely).
Aside: As a pedantic German I do think the Beschwichtigend (i.e. the Calming) was supposed to be the Beschwichtigung or even more the Beruhigung (since beschwichtigen means only to calm down for a time, not to make a Black Dog have a totally different view of Pures for the rest of his life, as is the case in the book) - beschwichtigend being an adjective form, whereas the -ung suffix gets used for nouns.
With all due chorteling about the world-building, without investing into the siblings from Mexico you would have no story - them and the Dimilioc black dogs who get confronted by them. I love Natividad, I even love her oldest brother, which I did not expect and I hope we get more Miguel.
The Black Dog Stories book that Rachel released herself is an awesome expansion of several characters backgrounds, which I was glad to gobble up after this....more
**spoiler alert** A nice fish-out-of-water thriller with great characters, as long as you overlook some plot stuff like the idea that an editor could**spoiler alert** A nice fish-out-of-water thriller with great characters, as long as you overlook some plot stuff like the idea that an editor could seamlessly be successful as an elementary teacher (but I do think that most people who don't teach always think teachers have it so easy, so... ^^).
Some technical stuff got semi-updated for this indie release, but if your DOJ US Marshal can't get you an anonymous kindle account, it doesn't mean you don't read, it means you start pirating ebooks ^^ (probably not something the author wanted highlighted, understandably).
But the give and take among heroine and hero and their closest associates really is fun, apart from the physical attraction (which you have to go with the flow with - for a man probably not so unusual in his circumstances, for the woman rather more so - especially considering what the sex was like).
This was a fairy-tale kind of romance that successfully sold me on how a verbose, outgoing woman can fall in love with a totally taciturn man who has no patience for finesse in bed and find mutual ground that makes the HEA work....more
**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed Urban Fantasy in Sydney with a clear Aussie touch in the use of words and places. The situation of this action thri**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed Urban Fantasy in Sydney with a clear Aussie touch in the use of words and places. The situation of this action thriller was off to a dire start but the advantage to starting from the absolute worst is that things can only get better ^^ and they do and Kate gets more and more agency.
Hiccups: The emotional devastation made the falling-into-bed business after the first shock of Kate's life being threatened a bit too pat for me, although kudos for the amazing guy picked, who believably should be good for her.
Then again her switch after utter disgust about one of his decisions at the end to forgiving him was a bit fast.
Cool: the technical merging bits of the two souls, the idea behind the shapechanging of dragons and the cinematic chases and fight descriptions ^^. Also, I plain enjoyed Kate, Ben, Luce and Garth's interactions with Kate later on.
Trigger warning: if you have a trigger for child death you won't get over the beginning of the book, (view spoiler)[even though no child died in the making of this book. (hide spoiler)]
WTF:(view spoiler)[ Why, if Jason is such a manwhore, did he ever bother marrying Kate and having a child? If he's older than the founding of the Australian state and all? And it's explained that dragons are randy all the time? Okay, and let'S say Kate is so special and he loves Lachie so he takes him out of the danger zone, but if that's so, WHY does he completely go off and just decide to let him die so he can be in good again with Valeria - it made no sense in context to me. (hide spoiler)]
I think I got this from a 99cent promotion and I really quite liked it. Was going to read the next one but it's not out yet ^^. There's no cliffhanger ending, but clearly a lot of stuff is unresolved, so it's only HFN.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** I really liked this ^^ - the gods reminded me of the interactions in Michelle West's Essalieyan series (the magic of the words of po**spoiler alert** I really liked this ^^ - the gods reminded me of the interactions in Michelle West's Essalieyan series (the magic of the words of power in her Elantra series), the banter between Gerrard and Zerafine a bit of Martha Well's Wheel of the Infinite (although Zerafine at least is much younger).
I don't mean stuff was copied, but deftly interwoven into something new in a way that reminds me of my fun reading in the late 80s, early 90s. Mercedes Lackey's first trilogy, for example. This story is fully developed in and off itself, but the pair of sleuths have worked together for six years already (right out of training) and I don't see why there couldn't be a whole series about them ^^.
Even though it was only 200 pages on my eReader and I like my books to have a lot more worldbuilding, I never felt shortchanged - the side characters weren't props or stocks or plot moppets, they were their own persons (*Weasel* may not have looked like him, but he reminded me of suave Silk in David Eddings' Belgariad ^^, always underestimated - he could have his own book or series): There's a high priest of a goddess who Zerafine meets for exactly one scene, his loss is believably felt by the whole city.
The city seemed more inspired by Rome than Athens to me, with its various hills.
And this book is a mystery, clearly, but I love that there was a believable supporting love story to go with it (which did not take away from Zerafine's accomplishments at all)... or were there two?...more
**spoiler alert** Awesome, awesome space opera with powerful females in all kinds of roles, awesome males to support and fascinate them (view spoiler)**spoiler alert** Awesome, awesome space opera with powerful females in all kinds of roles, awesome males to support and fascinate them (view spoiler)[and a visit from a character out of the first three Avaryan Rising books whom I had hoped to see be redeemed. (hide spoiler)] There are cool aliens, cool societies on other planets, archeology, opera, people of every gender and sexual persuasion, even some well-sketched alien life partnership (haven't seen that done to my taste since The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman).
And it's on an epic scale (has about 460 pages on my ebook reader) with a very satisfying ending but loads of possible strands if the author decides to keep writing in the universe.
ETA: I haven't reread the first three Avaryan Rising books in ages, but you do NOT need to read them to enjoy this, it just makes the background even sweeter if you have.
ETA2: There's a short story, Fool's Errand, which is a prequel to this. It appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of Analog.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** Well, this book was just what I needed to let go of some frustrating real life events, by retelling (pretty closely most of the time**spoiler alert** Well, this book was just what I needed to let go of some frustrating real life events, by retelling (pretty closely most of the time) the fairy-tale The Goose Girl (barrel with nails on the inside included) in a well-developed secondary world.
Even though I don't really like first person present tense narration, the story moved so smoothly that I soon forgot this was what I was reading. I'm not likely to reread this any time soon.
Okay, for me the story comes down to a female victim of constant abuse (since childhood, although not sexual) and parental negligence being offered a way out which is a) something she is pressured into (her role as a princess being a marriage chess piece) and b) the only way out of her current situation no matter what the future may hold.
The author cleverly shows interaction with non-family members to make it clear why Allyra, the protagonist, is not cast in the same mold as her mother and brother and when the fateful switch happens has no real objection to being someone else.
The largest part of the book is actually her discovering normal family life as Thoreena and developing bonds to people and having time to think about what is happening and what she values without being disturbed much.
With a start of abuse there is probably no surprise that sexual and violent assault also a part of the storyline, although not directly aimed at Allyra/Thoreena. She finds her voice and starts using her new connections to specifically deal with that - and the whole 'freeing the prince from the curse' thing is only feasible because she develops empathy with the villain and wagers that the prince himself can be shown to have some empathy, too.
So the whole second half of the book, I was a steady drip of tears (extremely cathartic) as she worked her way through all these obstacles to the hard-won knowledge that to keep the family love she had seen and received safe, she would have to return to her position of power in the new court she was married into.
What did not work so well: emotionally I don't see why she has to fall for the prince (I get that she only will be able to safeguard others if she remains his trusted spouse, though), I thought the Red Hawk much more naturally a match for her.
What about Fallada? If the fate of the traitor can be changed at the end, why did he have to end up dead? Where did he even come from? The wind is explained at the end, but Fallada never is (neither is that whole background story with the creation myth from Horse perspective).
And that witch accusation? Why does anyone believe a known aggressive man, all of a sudden - seemed just for expediency's sake.
I really loved the hostler family and interactions with the simple people and even with the street children, etc. Or with the servants back home in her country.
I've read the Bone Knife, a short from a series connected to this book and am reading the beginning of another serial right now: I like the author's voice and her focus on women....more
**spoiler alert** A surprising twist in the Darest storyline if you - like me - had expected a similarly constructed book to the first one, which I wo**spoiler alert** A surprising twist in the Darest storyline if you - like me - had expected a similarly constructed book to the first one, which I would call kingdom-level high fantasy. Bones of the Fair is much more a fantasy mystery high-stakes escape book.
There's a split in the focus on two characters, Gentian (a Darestian in exile for 14 years) and Soren's formerly introduced gossipy friend, Aspen - who has been sort-of inherited by Aristide as a possible apprentice in magic.
Considering that Aristide's appeal has a partial basis in his distance to others it makes sense to me that he isn't a pov-character. Overall I would call this third-person omniscient (we occasionally get the thoughts of Gentian and Aspen), but AKH does not reveal everything, a lot of the emotional developments, especially, are left to inference and careful observation of tiny reactions - that is a plus for people who enjoy using their own imagination to have the characters get there, but if you like a more clearly detailed romantic storyline, you'll not find it here.
Personally, I thought it totally lived up to Aristide - and, as in all her books, I was as invested what happened to Gentian and to the resolution of her particular burden (view spoiler)[from the time it became clear to the catastrophe I couldn't imagine being resolved in a way which would give her her due (it is, though) (hide spoiler)].
This book is roughly 300 pages, which I believe is roughly the same length as Champion, but I wanted more pages to get to know Gentian better - that's the one downside of the equal focus on Aspen. Aspen ... for me is redeemed by his reaction to the empty houses and by coming through at the crisis, although he's quite happy to return to what he imagines his strengths and interests are, as soon as he is given the chance. Why I, personally, have a problem with this is his ego-centrism.
I have a high amount of that myself and find it non-attractive (in me or others). To read about a person with such a high focus on their own aims and views, even when he is charming about it (getting very near to ignoring the reaction of the other parties involved) - is not something I'd want to do, so bearing with him long enough to have his partial redemption (and being able to see that he is sort of a pressure valve in the tense circumstances for most of the book) is due to my faith in the author.
If you're looking for a lot of Soren or Strake (I love that his name is Alustair Rathen - I've been playing Dragon Age this summer for the first time, so Alistair as a kingly name is just fun to see), you won't find it. There is a tiny cameo for Soren and a bit more for Strake, but they're not part of the main plot.
You do get a lot more about the Fair and the reasons for their current abhorrence of genetic engineering - are we even reading fantasy with these books? You also get lots of casual confirmation for the equality of the sexes and polyarmory in this world, lovely and non-didactically included. (view spoiler)[I can easily imagine that the Darestian court will eventually end-up with a multi-polyarmory reigning family, if they're lucky. (hide spoiler)]
The new side characters, as usual, could all do with their own books, most of the ones that have major impact on the plot have hinted-at fascinating backstories - in essence the world of Darest could surely be visited again, with enough open in the country itself or a focus on the other states in that world - we do get a lot more info about Darest's neighbours and rivals this time.
I cried three times. I do cry easily when I identify with the main characters and their plight, true.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** When Sartorias mentioned her current enjoyment of the book in the way of character interaction, intrigue and a competent heroine, I**spoiler alert** When Sartorias mentioned her current enjoyment of the book in the way of character interaction, intrigue and a competent heroine, I finally got around to reading this book, especially as I am currently in a mood for competent women in sf&f.
(view spoiler)[I had heard that Sicarius from the Emperor's Edge had a cameo appearance in this one, only as a very young man, but am pleased to report he has not taken the book over. (hide spoiler)] I love the fact that the capable female linguist who was a code breaker during the war falls in love with the mathematician/engineering genius with the shady past during their talks about deciphering a new language.
The heroine is in her 30s, the eventual love interest in his 40s, there's lots of intrigue, threat, dying and killing because of mysterious technology, but the story really depends on Tikaya and Rias.
(view spoiler)[I could have done with the tidy way that Angarik was dealt with at the end - I don't see why he couldn't have survived, especially considering that loser of a former fiancee survives, too. (hide spoiler)]
I think I'll go on to the recently released follow-up to this.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** Copied from my comments at DearAuthor:
I really enjoyed the book. I was wondering how Michael was going to become touchable enough to**spoiler alert** Copied from my comments at DearAuthor:
I really enjoyed the book. I was wondering how Michael was going to become touchable enough to be a hero for Andromeda ^^, especially considering what she had been going through and then where he ended up, really emphasising how non-human he actually was.
So getting to the nitty gritty of him and showing her the part he really didn’t want to show anyone who didn’t already knew it (his fellow surviving grigori) worked really well. I enjoyed the way that Andromeda got to express her amiration/hero-worship and how that changed and became something real the more contact she had with the post-frozenfields Michael.
Of course the more I read about his past and the explanations he gave to Andromeda while successfully reconnecting to her (very fast, but the narrative trick of what happens after the horrifying thing really made it digestible to me) of how he developed to be who he is now across the milennia (!) the more I wondered at his name – I mean it’s the English version, but none of the other grigori or demons of similar age have an English name, heh.
I loved Andy’s fixation on his looks, which she never lost ^^ – and the way he catered to that.(view spoiler)[ Although I really thought the emphasis on his d*ck size was a bit over the top, heh – the mental sex already fulfilled all the kinks she had. (hide spoiler)]
The integration of the other Guardians came at just the right level, space and amount, to drive the story forward and not be nods from the cast to remind you of them. I hate spiders but Alice was so awesome in this one, and Jake and Rosalia and Irena shone, but then she’s a scene stealer anyway, as are Lilith and Sir Pup. The full horror got me with Savi’s and her beloved’s fate.
I wonder how the conservative Christian reader will deal with Michael’s musings on angels and god, but I expect they won’t read a superhero action series about angels and devils in the first place. I thought they made sense for his experiences and the world created, which is why the very final twist and the visit of the person so desperately beseeched before took a bit of the shine from the accomplishment for me. (view spoiler)[
Why do angels get to show up at all to say they’ve heard the prayers but were only allowed to come afterwards if they haven’t been allowed to do so in 1000s of years? Why simply decide to give Hugh and Lilith extra-long life because they “like them”? It cheapens their sacrifice for each other a bit, even though I totally got Lilith’s desperation when she talked about it with Andromeda – it reminds me of the Loretta Chase book with the Venetian courtesan with lots of customers in the UK who manages to marry the hero ad the end AND GETS ACCEPTED IN SOCIETY! The same thing goes for Andromeda’s brother. Life doesn’t always have every loose strand nicely tucked in. And why the comment that Lucifer will rebel again, because it’s “in his nature” – when we have seen in Michael that millennia can change a person, like they changed Anaria into a oblivious bigot? The fact that demons who get killed go to heaven did leave a slightly bitter after-taste, but my main thought was “good riddance, free will means that we won’t have to worry about everyone suddenly being saintly anyway, and now those few Guardians left at least have a breather”. (hide spoiler)]
But, as always in a Guardian book, I liked that Andromeda ended up in a position of choice finally, running things and being adored by Michael and no longer manipulated. Good stuff!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** Admittedly I still don't see the overlap with A Posse of Princesses, but maybe that only means it's set in the same world - and the**spoiler alert** Admittedly I still don't see the overlap with A Posse of Princesses, but maybe that only means it's set in the same world - and the mentioning of the various countries there really isn't in my memory anymore - anyway, this is a hardly-ever-calming-down series of escapades for Lhind, the thief with memory gaps in her past, who doesn't know much for sure - but she does have magic and she doesn't look like other people.
I liked what I saw of Hlanan or Thiarna or even Rajanas (view spoiler)[(who I thought was going to be the love interest at first ^^ - hehe, nice red herring there) (hide spoiler)] and would have loved to have seen more of the Kuraf and her people, especially, but Sherwood Smith leaves the door open for many further possible adventures:
In this book we learn who Lhind is and we see her react to kindness and trust - some of her about-turns I found a bit difficult to believe from her age and the way the past had treated her (she would really be so easy to manipulate by the bone whistle when she had scoffed at trusting the necklace and Hlanan, within reasonable suspicion I thought?), but it's a swash-buckling adventure to clear the palate after dark and difficult books, so enjoy it for what it is ^^.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** I wonder if I love this book so much, because a lot of the conflict is personal? The wrangling aspect of Rule getting Toby to live w**spoiler alert** I wonder if I love this book so much, because a lot of the conflict is personal? The wrangling aspect of Rule getting Toby to live with him permanently, the introduction of Toby's grandma and eventually mother and her misguided love for her son, whom she hardly ever visits.
The setting in the American South and the supernatural crime spree that makes Lily unable to keep Rule's court date under wraps and which has to be solved. The horror of what is behind it all, and the first implications we see behind the wind of the Turning (reminds me of Kate Daniels Atlanta ^^) in the realm of magic in our world.
And the especially harsh contrast between two inimical clans of the Lupi, Nokolai (why are they supposed to be French? The name is not French, sounds more Slavic) and Leidolf, whose Rho fulfills one of the baddie roles in this volume (and of course Leidolf are formerly German and abuse their women and used to abuse their black servants in the good ole days :P; you can be a Nazi even before Nazis existed :PPP).
On the other hand, once Rule becomes twin-mantled and even before that a bit, there are some Leidolf lupi that get shown in a better light, so that's something. And they never touched Toby, although he lived in their territory since he came to be with his grandma....more
**spoiler alert** Hmm, I really ought to have reread the story in On the Prowl again, because it introduces Kai and Nathan before they become part of**spoiler alert** Hmm, I really ought to have reread the story in On the Prowl again, because it introduces Kai and Nathan before they become part of the story here.
I remember Wilks at some point explaining on her site that Kai and Nathan didn't receive enough positive feedback as Lily/Rule or Cynna/Cullen, so there story didn't get explored any more - I wonder if the fact that the whole novel basically takes place in the Edge realm and not on Earth, without any participation of Lily/Rule apart from the framing story, may not have had something to do with that.
It is a nice exploration of Cynna and Cullen and that's what really worked for me, they have to find out what they want from each other now that they're aware they're having a baby. They basically need to get to know each other now, after the initial lust burn has calmed down a bit. Working together under awful circumstances as they do here, with Cynna's long lost father in the mix, both show more of their past to each other - and Cullen realizes that he doesn't care that she isn't Chosen for him, but 'only' the mother of his baby - he wants her full commitment and a family, so he proposes to her! Something no Lupi has ever done. The plothread of Cynna possibly becoming Nokolai's Rhej basically goes quite a bit on the backburner.
Demon-on-the-way-to-gnome Gan has most of the other interesting parts: Kai and Nathan only mop up after the various factions, and that's what didn't work so well. We were away from the major conflict with the enemy of the Lupi's lady and it felt like high-stakes filler....more
**spoiler alert** We get introduced to Cynna here, we also get a whole lot of Toby - Rule's son - which we hadn't seen much of before. I loved the exp**spoiler alert** We get introduced to Cynna here, we also get a whole lot of Toby - Rule's son - which we hadn't seen much of before. I loved the exploration of the fact that Rule is quite a bit older than Lily and has a past - I mean considering how Wilks set up the Lupi way of procreation it would have been totally strange if Lily hadn't run into one of his former flames at some point.
I really liked the way it played out. It helped that Cynna came in as a competent person who had gotten her shit together after a hard start in life (it was interesting to see the memories of what she had gone through, though) and that she was in the book for her skills (and also later because her former teacher was one of the antagonists), but while she was disbelieving of Rule's new dedication for Lily at first, she employed her good common sense to see what was happening and was eventually quite impressed with Lily's professionalism at what she does.
I love that Lily's m.o. is always to ask questions first, no matter how upset she may be. There is great interaction between her and Rule illustrating their different values, but also the will to meet each other half-way and to adapt to the fact that the other will sometimes not be able to see certain things there way. There's Lily cautiously considering what to do with Toby's role in her life, because he is so important to Rule. There's Lily having to deal with living with increased guards and in Rule's place because of that - simply because he has more money and it doesn't make sense to cram all those people into her small flat.
I could have done with the melodrama of what Cynna's old teacher did to Toby so Cynna and Rule would help her, she should have known that Cynna would have helped her if she had explained about her daughter's fate. I loved the teasing academic interest that Cynna and Cullen had in each other as practitioners of very varied kinds of magic and the instant fire explosion and ribbing that happen when they meet - which eventually turn into the conflagration of Cullen realising she is pregnant with his child after they have slept together for the first time, heh (Wilks had already introduced that idea as part of why Lupi have managed to survive all these years, alongside the knowledge that Lupi rarely have children at all and are therefore totally cherishing of all kids)....more
**spoiler alert** This is where the world truly opens up in terms of overarching plot. A huge amount happens - actually I've regularly reread all the**spoiler alert** This is where the world truly opens up in terms of overarching plot. A huge amount happens - actually I've regularly reread all the ebooks I had in the series, but I started getting it in ebook with the fifth book (when I first owned an ereader), so this is actually the second readthrough of the first few books...
To make a long story short - I had remembered Lily's time in dis and Rule captured in his wolf form and Gan the low-level demon as showing up later, so it was a high-adrenaline ride to see the dragons coming up and having grandmother reveal a bit more about why she is the way she is and having Lily die... yes, you've read that correctly (this is one of the reasons why I usually enable the spoiler warning right away - I want to squee my way :P - people who read my reviews know I'm ruthless with spoilers).
(view spoiler)[On this first total reread I have come to see some of the deus-ex-machina in the overarching plotline more clearly that Wilks does use. She is very skilled in hinting at them early enough in the book that I as reader don't totally roll my eye and recognise them as throw-away from the start - but you know, Gan? Nathan and Kai in later books? Even Max? Certainly Drummond? - they only get screen time when they can contribute to the solution of the plot and then they get dispatched or sent elsewhere. (hide spoiler)]
Keeping that in mind I like how MUCH of the series has recurring characters that are important and have development across all the series and build a sort of family for Lily and Rule - as a matter of fact many of them are related to the two for real: Isen, Li Lei and her live-in companion/lover?, Lily's mother (if only in absentia), Lily's sister Beth, Rule's brother Benedict, Benedict's Chosen Arjenie, Ruben Brooks, Sam, Cullen Seabourne and Cynna to a huge extent, Toby - Scott as head of Rule's guard (The oposition side mostly has Robert Friar - although not yet in this second book - and his various cohorts. And of course she who shall not be named).
That's a pretty good number of various characters to follow and give the story more of a realistic feel. And the more you read the series the clearer it is that a lot of the emphasis is always on showing how you would realistically combine earth-altering events and paranormal creatures with real life and building a family - and especially negotiating a relationship with two strong people who need to compromise in order to work out. I love this emphasis - I don't get that particular balance as a focus in any of the other comparable series, like Mercy Thompson, Alpha & Omega, Kate Daniels.
OH and to reiterate - Wilks' series is chronologically the earliest of the series mentioned here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** I've reread the World of Lupi books before, but only the ones I own as ebooks, so this is my first reread of the first five books in**spoiler alert** I've reread the World of Lupi books before, but only the ones I own as ebooks, so this is my first reread of the first five books in the series.
I enjoy Wilk's gift (probably honed in writing for category and series romance of Harlequin) of throwing you into the action and letting you discover gradually what is what in her worldbuilding without info-dumping. With Lily Yu, Second-generation Chinese American homicide cop and touch sensitive, whose modus operandi is questions the reader can follow along her introduction to more of the supernatural world.
It feels like certain urban fantasy standards that we've seen before, in Ilona Andrews or Patricia Briggs books - let's not forget they also build on the much older myths of vampires and werewolves and fae, etc. - have been cleverly combined and spiced up with different emphasis and new stuff to make a pleasing melange which just gets combined better and better witch each book.
Is Rule alpha? Yes. Does that mean he can't handle submitting to anyone? No - because he's heir to a lupus clan-head who can tell him to do pretty much everything.
Does that mean he has no free will? No, but he thinks of what is best for the clan first, then what's best for the man. Is that something that Lily has problems with? No, because she also serves the public, first as a police detective and then at the FBI.
Does Rule tell Lily what to do and try to stop her? Occasionally. Does she obey? She always discusses, if there's time and if there isn't she follows common sense - if he has clearly more knowledge about a situation than she does, she follows him (in this first book he also outmanoeuvres her occasionally, but he stops that the more he gets to know her) and otherwise she tells him exactly where to get off.
Does he try to use his superior strength or the fact that he is male to convince Lily? No, because while all shape-changing lupi are male, they were created by a female Old one who is a goddess to them. So all Lupi are inherently respectful to women (but if they get offered free sex they're quite happy to take it, as long as the woman knows what she's in for).
Are all Lupi male? No, but the females don't shapechange, and while they can be guardians/goddess-interpreters called Rhej for the clan, they don't take part in the fighting.
Even more than in the Mercy Thompson books Wilks explores what a clan and wolf pack is - she gives historical reasons why the lupi behave as they do, where they come from, what there here for and why they usually sleep around a lot (there's actually a biological reason which is valid until the second book where something major happens worldwide).
The dark bits of urban fantasy, the suspense bits of this novel are appropriately horrific, especially Cullen in the hands of the Aza, but even without having read Originally Human (which I wouldn't call 1.5, but 0.75 in the timeline) the plot itself works.
Even in this early book we are already introduced to the domestic sides of Rule and Lily, and their home life always remains important to them, among all the other considerations. It seems to ground them, which is lovely.
Addendum: The first Kate Daniels came out in 2007, the first Mercy Thompson came out in 2006 - so if we're talking influences, the Andrews team or Briggs may have been influenced by this series, whose first book came out in 2004, not vice versa....more
Again a very small (30 pages?) look at the last concert in Cassidy's final tour before she makes some changes - a tour whose second part included MorgAgain a very small (30 pages?) look at the last concert in Cassidy's final tour before she makes some changes - a tour whose second part included Morgan and Markus on the tour bus, lovely ^^....more
**spoiler alert** This is the one where we get a bit more of Irish Witchdom and the Canadian Cape Breton folk music tradition, as well as a clear roma**spoiler alert** This is the one where we get a bit more of Irish Witchdom and the Canadian Cape Breton folk music tradition, as well as a clear romance for Markus. There's also foreshadowing of Moira losing more of her witchy powers, even as everyone in her Nova Scotia fishertown takes care of her.
Geary again implies that love, marriage and children are an indelible part of growing up. So be aware of that. I really liked the idea of ancient traditional magicdom blending into well-explored magic schools and their new addendums introduced in previous books.
I also liked that, while marriage is important for a female witch in Geary's world, it doesn't mean Cassidy has to give up her job - Geary always has her witches doing what they loved doing before AND being amazing at raising families.
Well, it's a wish fulfilment slice-of-life series ^^, so no surprise about that (the idea that Cassidy's manager is quite happy with her radically changing her former emphasis on musical stardom is sweet to the border of syrupy. Although he's quite fun as a character on his own)....more
**spoiler alert** This book is definitely the strongest entry in the series, to my mind. It shows that not even Witch Central has all the answers, and**spoiler alert** This book is definitely the strongest entry in the series, to my mind. It shows that not even Witch Central has all the answers, and that it takes a lot of time to address the wrong being done someone they had no care for, especially when that person just doesn't see the world like Nell & Co. do.
Especially fascinating by basically turning Nell & Jamie into antagonists for the main character here (AND the first gay main character at that, AND the first differently abled one! - I'm not sure if her depiction of Autism is spot-on, but from what I gather there are different versions of that in any case: MSW's LJ posts about raising her son who has Asperger's read quite differently from Beth).
I adore the fact that Beth gets her training ON HER TERMS and that she's quite pleased with the life she has otherwise and has no plans of joining Witch Central or even hanging out a lot on the internet in Realm, but at the end she's fine with having visitors occasionally ^^. And Nell accepts that her version of witchery isn't for everyone....more
A great book of new beginnings and endings, and changing of the guard. And everyone is satisfied ^^. If you can't stand a multiple HEA book (with onlyA great book of new beginnings and endings, and changing of the guard. And everyone is satisfied ^^. If you can't stand a multiple HEA book (with only one real new romance, though), don't read this series.
And Elsie really has it the toughest, I feel, finally spreading her wings and flying right into the sun.
Oh and I REALLY appreciated an important coloured character in a Witch Central series. There aren't many. Govin... and who else? The prospective lover of Nathan from Costa Rica? Hmmm. I also thought Lizard's free-style poems are MUCH stronger than the attempts at rhyming witch-spells in the first two Modern Witch books. ...more
**spoiler alert** It took me till this book, I believe, but now I don't only like Lizard but also Elsie. Of course Josh is, like many other people in**spoiler alert** It took me till this book, I believe, but now I don't only like Lizard but also Elsie. Of course Josh is, like many other people in these series, too good to be true, but that's what pure comfort reads are for, at least for me. To wallow in optimism ^^
I also really like the age-positive depiction of older witches here, especially our ex-opera singer and her husband, who's an accountant ^^....more
**spoiler alert** And then I started this series, which really should be included in the Modern Witch line, it's just that it centers on only two of t**spoiler alert** And then I started this series, which really should be included in the Modern Witch line, it's just that it centers on only two of the Witch Central ladies, real estate maven mind witch Lauren and world-renowned photographer Jenvieve/Jenny and their witch mentees (and it introduces all kinds of other cool characters).
Actually this whole trilogy should be read before the third Modern Witch book and before the Wedding snippet, because Lauren is Devin-less (she doesn't even know him here, not really - has only seen him once at Jamie's wedding) the whole series through.
I enjoyed seeing women from such different backgrounds finding their way in life, dealing with each other without trying to force the other into molds, even if it was difficult, mentor and mentee learning from each other, etc. I loved seeing more of Natalie and Jamie, again.
But really, everyone found their perfect place. It took time, this time three books and I enjoyed reading them all, the characters grew dear to me - but it's probably the most fairy-tale storyline Geary has written as well. Everyone is well-meaning if misguided. Everyone works at understanding. All financial and emotional problems get addressed and solved and it's like standing under a warm shower - nice for a time, but you'd overheat if you didn't turn it off at some point and got out and dried off (or if you had the nerve, switched to cold water and back to warm ^^)....more
Just like the author said it's a short snippet about Lauren and Devin's wedding. Just nice and cuddly, if you can't get enough. Maybe 30 pages? And ofJust like the author said it's a short snippet about Lauren and Devin's wedding. Just nice and cuddly, if you can't get enough. Maybe 30 pages? And of course I read it out of order :P...more