T G Ayer seems to be good at recreating the strong willed and determined independent young woman that seems to be regular heroines nowadays. Except ofT G Ayer seems to be good at recreating the strong willed and determined independent young woman that seems to be regular heroines nowadays. Except of coure Ayer's heroines all have their own deep dark and often magical secrets and often live in a world like our own but where myths and legends and ancient cultures still exist beyond mere mortals vision. In this book, the first of another new trilogy, the heroine is connected to a Brotherhood that is meant to protect and serve humanity. The focus of all conflict comes from the recent and sudden change of the leader. This is where an element of mystery and detective story blends in with the supernatural characters. The trio friendship of the heroine Evangeline is well characterised a they all handle the change differently and yet all agree that something isn't quite right. It is that unity and the determination of Evangeline to find the dirty secret behind the new power that leads to a kind of alliance with demons which sadly aren't as scary as I had hoped but I felt after reading the novel that they are more of a tainted mirror representation of Evangeline and her kind. More characters of a moral compass than plot devices taking it forwards. I must be honest and say that although the plot had some interesting twists I did feel that a lot of the crucial points, decisions, objects etc were a bit too convenient or told more via the narrator or openly and too easily revealed by characters. At some points things happened that were either easily predictable or just seemed a bit random. For example, there is a point near the start where the narrator and reader observe characters instead of the heroine. In the latter half of the book I felt this narrative device could be utilised more as there was one line in the book where it suddenly became a first person narrator and not a third person narrator. In the latter half I was more curious about what was happening to the other characters introduced in the first half than the feeble challenges faced by our heroine. The ending although fitting wasn't as dramatic or as powerful as it could have been. Even the very last line listing all the unfinished business shows that perhaps due to the complex nature of the plot the characters and story structure had to be a bit forced or set out and simplified. On the whole there is an entertaining story to be enjoyed but I feel it does need to have more depth to it in the sequel in order to truly excite readers for the characters and plot or it may remain a tale that is too easily forgotten....more
As a valkyrie-wanna-be at heart I of course loved Ayer's Valkyrie novel trilogy. So I did have some misgivings when I started her latest supernaturalAs a valkyrie-wanna-be at heart I of course loved Ayer's Valkyrie novel trilogy. So I did have some misgivings when I started her latest supernatural book but my fears proved weak as Ayer plunges you into the chaotic and secretive world of the skin walkers (aka shapeshifters). Not of the dog kind but of the feline kind and even then she surprises you with the other types such as foxes, cougars, lynx etc. Then she introduces you to another secertive character who is a mage that works within the police force to keep these two versions of reality colliding and causing bloodshed. Yet it is bloodshed which leads these worlds to collide, interestingly neither the mages or the skin walkers are aware of each others existence; and this one mage and one skin walker don't seem able to detect the equal amounts of supernatural about the other. This personally irritated me a little bit but it was always forgotten when Ayer ignites quite literally the fiery passions between them which should ultimately have revealed a lot of magic to the panther skin walker Kalin but it only seems to confuse her about his feelings towards her. However this heated interaction proves to have devestating consequences when the reader learns more about the personal history of this particular mage. Despite a series of kidnappings, mysterious drug use and murders filling at least one half of the book when that series of events reaches it dramatic conclusion it seems the reader isn't allowed a chance to breathe a sigh of relief. As Ayer has Kalin learn more secrets and charge into more danger, to do with the increase in Wraith attacks due to her acting as a secret Wraith hunter. These secrets to me felt too deliberate, staged almost, especially when they are presented to Kalin by the utterly elusive grandmother character. It does serve the purpose to lead Kalin to discover an even bigger secret in the form of one character who is mentioned a lot in the build up. But ultimately the reader nor Kalin for that matter is offered any reason or explanation as to why this particular character is located in the particular area they were found. Nor at the very end when a lot of relationships have been rebuilt or started does Kalin actually reflect on one other important character who is trapped in the same place as afore mentioned character. Ultimately though the plot is full of twists, particularly demonstrated by the switching points of narration, from one person in the form of Kalin and third person when told from the mage's point of view. There are of course clan politics when dealing with animal based characters which are portrayed nicely and not stereotypically with the felines showing they have as much inner strength and power as the wolves. Kalin does show some of the expected mouthy, independent, rebel qualities of a young woman standing on her own but she also shows some vulnerability in body and spirit especially in the many battles she gets caught up in and when her friends and family prove to be in danger. The characters are intriguing and entertaining and there is always something happening in each chapter propelling the reader forward through to the end leaving them breahtless and perhaps asking for more. It's a book that is a blend of urban fantasy, crime thriller and supernatural battles with a dash of romance thrown in....more
It takes a lot for a fantasy writer to create a world with its own rules, characters and society to pull the reader in smoothly without requiring a huIt takes a lot for a fantasy writer to create a world with its own rules, characters and society to pull the reader in smoothly without requiring a huge prologue full of history and politics and I must say Philippa has pulled this off spectacularly well. She plunged the reader into the conflicted world of the living and the dead, the Actives and the Sensatives, the aristorcratic rulers and the powerful Deacons. And yet all bound up in the magical power struggle that radiates through it all from the first page to its epic climax of intense proportions, is a human story. Of a failing marriage and partnership, of the tenderness of facing challenges alone and relying on those you hardly know, of allowing yourself to trust and encourage trust in return, of upholding honour and truth in a world that becomes ever darker with lies and betrayal. And this is all beautifully explored through the ethereal power of the Bond between three very different characters that are drawn together through fate or traps and are ultimately relied on to save the lives of many. The action, tension, intrigue and emotions increase chapter by chapter and the middle section almost lets the reader think that finally things have been set right but its a classic 'they think it's all over moment' as events take another drastic turn as more truth is uncovered from the lies and deciets. I can't wait to start reading the second in the series, Spectyre to see what other jaw-dropping challenges these amazing characters face....more
Hounded seemed to be TrueBlood tv series with all the paranormal and supernatural characters living in a quiet small town spot in Arizona but they'veHounded seemed to be TrueBlood tv series with all the paranormal and supernatural characters living in a quiet small town spot in Arizona but they've removed the majority of vampires and all the sex and replaced it with the much forgotten aspects of Irish mythology and a brilliant sparkling sense of humour. And you know what? It makes it ten times better than the Trueblood books and the TV series combined. Even the author seems to have a natural humour in that the start of the book he specifically mentions he doesn't mind how the reader pronounced the variety of celtic names in the book. You can't help but smirk, giggle and laugh out loud at some of the fanastic dialogue between these very unstereotypical paranormal/supernatural characters includin an ancient druid, a goddess of death, a lord of the fae with a drudge, some snotty witches, a lawyer wereworld and a very out-of-synch with the times vampire and my favourite - an irish wolf hound with a mind as delightful as a ten year old. It is also packed with magic, battles, challenges and drama that will grip the reader chapter to chapter. It is a highly entertaining and enjoyable and recommended read for those who fancy a light refreshment of the paranormal/supernatural genre....more
This book is a beautiful amalgamtaion of aspects of magic and shades of mystery. And all involving an often overlooked character in the world paranormThis book is a beautiful amalgamtaion of aspects of magic and shades of mystery. And all involving an often overlooked character in the world paranormal/supernatural that are not wolf like or drink blood, but have powers of their own and certainly do not fly brooms or have black cats. Yes, I'm talking about witches and how they are still around, powers, potions and spells and all, living amongst us mere humans just like the vampires and werewolves of Stephenie Meyers. Except this is definitely an adult novel, altough some older teenagers may also enjoy it simply for the deep love story involved. Yes there is that too, as some may almost expect nowadays when an author involves the paranormal creatures in our modern day world. But yet again Deborah Harkness deviates from the norm even in that respect by not just having a human fall in love with a vampire, but a witch which brings its own unique problems than a mere human, PLUS and it is a mighty big plus, they don't fall in love like troubled teenagers but over a book. But this is no ordinary a book, it is a book which rumours to contain the history, origins and future of the three races in this novel, Witches/Vampires and Daemons (imagine them as creative but mad geniuses like Mozart) and although no one race can say who created and more importantly who lost it many centuries ago, but when the key character Diana, mistakenly comes across it in the Bodlean Library in Oxford, England (brilliant new setting for this paranormal world) she suddenly gains the attention of all three races, in a manner that isn't all together entirely friendly. The key thing about Diana is, not only is she a witch with famous heritage (being from the family of some famous american witch trials) but she is a reluctant witch, she's trying her hardest to live a normal human life without magic involved in any way. Apart from the one moment she simply magics a book off a very high shelf and is caught by a mysterious and charming vampire. And a whole seat-gripping saga of suspicion, betrayal, seduction, romance, friendship, secrets, lies, danger and a covenant breaking love begins from that moment on.......more
This book is a must read for fans of historical fiction and supernatural fantasy as it combines both in a fantastic explosion of forgotten gods, curseThis book is a must read for fans of historical fiction and supernatural fantasy as it combines both in a fantastic explosion of forgotten gods, curses and spells, shamans and priests, ghosts and murder, love and revenge. It all begins from the day Cleopatra is tricked into believing her lover Mark Antony is defeated in battle and he is tricked into believing Cleopatra has completed the suicide pact she made with him. Of course when Cleopatra learns the truth it is too late to save Mark and the conquerer Augustus goes on to rub her nose in it which only makes her more pissed off as you would expect. So she makes an even more dangerous pact with a blood-lustful god of Sekhet who claims Cleopatra's soul and lives on in her spirit giving her body strange powers and strength. It then of leads of course to the famous scene where Cleopatra is 'killed' by a a cobra but how can anyone die if they have no soul? She of course espcapes from her own tomb thanks to her new enchanting relationship to creatures of the night like snakes and bats. Augustus does his best to keep the rumours of her rising from the dead a secret but it has seriously spooked him enough to send out his soldiers far and wide to 'hire' powerful mages, shaman and forgotten Priestesses to protect him from whatever sorcery Cleopatra yields in her undead form. At first Cleopatra merely wants to rescue her children from being royal hostages and escape to the south but after witnessing the death of one of the sons she bore with Mark Antony revenge and Sehket surge forth in ways beyond human imagination. And so the story rolls on as the magic and power of Cleopatra's will and Sekhet's hunger for blood do battle across land and people with the sorcerers hired by Augustus (although each has their own motive and story to accompany they're powers) taking many lives both innocent and guilty to the god of death, Hades but will this endless savage quest for honour and revenge reunite Cleopatra with Mark and her son the way she hoped? Although the first half of the story is truly seat gripping, heart wrenching and bone shaking in the gore and savagery of the new Cleopatra half human half god, it does lead to a bit of an unrealistic but gob-smacking battle of roman legions and the powers of gods from up high and down below as each part of this complex tale tries to accomplish their own agenda against each other....more
This book may at first reading seem to be directed more towards the teenage reader but it deals with some deep adult issues of power, ove, freedom, ruThis book may at first reading seem to be directed more towards the teenage reader but it deals with some deep adult issues of power, ove, freedom, rules of society, right and wrong and more importantly childhood. This of course is all discussed through some very fascinating characters (although having read first person narrators for so long it took me a while to adjust to this omniscient narrator) and set within the 'backwards' seeming village society and reclusive world of Stonewylde. A place set in the Dorset countryside with all the majestic beauty and dark magic that lingers within the New Forest today. A place where the powers of the early druids still rule the hearts and minds of the villagers and Hallfolk (the aristocracy of Stonewylde) today. The entire story was captivating right through to the end and I finished it within five days eager to grasp my hands on the three books which follow this wonderous tale. If you love the old ways, star crossed lovers, twists and turns and ancient powers and a web of secrets in a world set within our own but follows the ways of centuries past then you will LOVE this book as much as I did....more
Warning: this book contains A LOT of adult material.
Although the story depicts a world I'm not familair with featuring various types of mythical beingWarning: this book contains A LOT of adult material.
Although the story depicts a world I'm not familair with featuring various types of mythical beings under the name Lore etc I did find it easy to slip into and the overall story arc does keep you gripped into this paranormal tale of seperated lovers. It was handy having the definitions and explanations for various names and terms at the start.
However that is far as my praise goes as there quite a few things that I simply found wrong and didn't agree with - primarily with relation to Norse Mythology. Firstly the Valkyrie character of Regin (a slightly nordic name although her sister valkyrie had the unnordic name of Lucia) is depicted is having claws that protrude from her fingers not just when she's angry but also when she's in a lustful mood and I cringed with disgust at the idea of those said claws 'curling' when she's in such a mood. I did like the idea she plays with Lightening as a weapon or electricity depending on how you looked at it - but you ever saw one example of this in the entire book. I understand creative licence an all and I know there is little documentations on the specifics of Valkyries but if you create them with too much imagination they drift away from the core of their characters as female warriors. I feel Kresley has done this. Secondly her lover is described and called several times as a Viking in the book which makes sense with his berserker powers BUT both he and his Valkyrie lover refer to ODIN AS WODEN! WRONG WRONG WRONG! Any true northman and valkyrie would call Odin - Odin! Only the Anglo-Saxons called Odin, Woden due to the Saxon heritage. I don't understand how Kresley Cole could ever get Woden and Odin mixed up especially when the symbol of two ravens in flight is used heavily throughout the book and the fact that she is using a character from the NORSE PANTHEON not Anglo-Saxon pagan beliefs.
Over all if you like paranormal romance, paranormal adventure and seeing how many times a writer can give the private parts of a woman and man different names then you might enjoy this book but if like me you know at least the good basics about norse mythology then don't read this as you will be bitterly disappointed. I almost regret buying it as I seem to know more about Norse Mythology than the author. ...more
**spoiler alert** I think I can best describe this book as a Ghost Whisperer meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It does feature a young woman who has a s**spoiler alert** I think I can best describe this book as a Ghost Whisperer meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It does feature a young woman who has a secret talent for seeing and talking to the ghosts of those long since dead and something even more unusual than ghosts steps into her life. In the guise of a postman an Angel has decided to get a closer perspective on human life and Zoe is swept up into the celestial affairs of these higher beings. Things take a turn for the worse in their budding relationship when Alexander ends up being cast down from grace due to their attraction and her ghost best friend msyteriously vanishes and a human dies in his haunting place. Zoe becomes his advocate and works between and across worlds, discovering not only how the celestial bodies of Angels work in their own society (and on a more personal intimate level) but how even after death and beyond everyone and everything is never as they appear. Motives, lies, laws and secrets of the past will pull and push Zoe's new relationship to the limits as she tries to discover the truth about her deceased friend and on the way her powers become stronger and scarier so on top of providing divine justice and relationship troubles Zoe must find it in herself to make sure her growing powers do not prove to be the cause of her own downfall.
When you first read the story you really are thrown into the deep end and the situation is imemdiatly made clear yet despite it being told in third person it feels remarkably like a first person narrative due to the closeness the narrator takes to Zoe and it helps the story flow much easier. Although the story is set in America it didn't feel entirely like America to me. But I kind of read on despite that. At first the story does seem to centre on Zoe and Alexander's relationship and the complications of it - it's only after many chapters you reach the part of Henry's disappearence that you really grip the pages as events and circumstances all become entwined in a major divine puzzle you can't help follow Zoe through to work out.
On the whole though it is a delightful read and I love the darkness India has given all her angels, even the good ones when they show their true colours in a way most of us wouldn't believe but it really does define the characters as each Angel has a different form. It is funny, touching and quite gripping in places and is definitely a more adult and unique twist on the scenario of Angels and Humans in love compared to what Angel fiction there is in YA. I personally don't believe the depiction on the cover image is what I imagined Zoe to be, she in my mind is quite a plain yet pretty gal but I guess in the end she also turns out to be a beautiful killer....more
Caroline Smailes creates a fascinating and fantastic world where the reader is shown the importance of life, love and family through the grieving eyesCaroline Smailes creates a fascinating and fantastic world where the reader is shown the importance of life, love and family through the grieving eyes of Nina, a Maltese woman returning to her home island after many years away in England and rejected from her family. She doesn't travel entirely alone, at least not to the normal human eye. She takes with her, her young and sadly deceased son Christopher. Upon their arrival in Malta Nina comes to see that there are other lost souls like Christopher, each wanting a pleasant resolution to the life they've left behind and it's as she listens to their stories, their histories that she not only comes to understand the suble beauty created in the loss and pain of death but also the immense joy and pleasures she still has in her mortal life. A life she sadly nearly destroys in her deepest and darkest guilt in her involvement over Christophers young death.
For such an amazing story with some very enchanting characters Caroline has pulled out all the stops in writing this remarkable novel. For once she has actually crafted the words to paint the story in our imaginations palet of colours. She uses sounds skillfully, she uses colour and font to bring to light each characters individual personality. The little titbits of life and history in Malta at the start of each chapter quickly grab and reinforce the readers attention, like breadcrumbs dropped throughout the narrative, leading you as a reader on a wonderful literary adventure.
I myself have used such narrative techniques in one short story during my time at University when I did a course involving Creative Writing and Caroline Smailes has shown she is the Mistress of modern narrative, master wordsmith of a great tale of classic human emotions and problems but cast in a way that will captivate todays modern reader....more
This book is about the great power that is obsession in love, hatred and longing. How such a power has transcended the ages from Iron Age Celts to preThis book is about the great power that is obsession in love, hatred and longing. How such a power has transcended the ages from Iron Age Celts to present day and the troubled souls who want their true story to be heard against the Roman account of their invasion pick two unsuspecting expert historians who slowly become pawns to the echoing memories of the past. The book is a fantastic read! Hooks you from the start and keeps you turning page after page, always wanting to know what was going to happen next, both in the past and present setting. The characters are all strong before the reader, each unique and special in their own way and each endearing. It's hard to pick a favourite as their is a broad cast of characters but throughout you learn love, hate, like and fear each one in their own turn. The plot itself is complex and does go on for a lot longer than you think but there is no point where Barbara gets you confused although she does suprise you with each characters individual motive - the bad guy at the start won't always be the bad guy when you reach the end. It is a brilliant read for any fans of Labyrinth by Kate Mosse as it is in the genre style but I dare say it is even that bit better. A great read for anyone who likes historical fiction too....more
At first I found the narrative a bit dry to begin with but once you're introduced to the characters curiosity grabs your mind like a noose and drags yAt first I found the narrative a bit dry to begin with but once you're introduced to the characters curiosity grabs your mind like a noose and drags you all the way through the story. Some of it can be a bit slow at times but there is always an underlying tension, a new sub-plot to dicover, secrets to learn and threats to overcome so its at least constant in a smooth flow. It is overall an enjoyable story with a well defined characters, strong exciting plot and a good sense of reality when dealing the paranormal feaures involved although the link to Newton is a big vague. The best way to describe it is like a different take on the whole X-man thing where there are humans with unique abilities - not becuase their mutants but because they have a special link with the powers outside our world....more