I picked up The Iron Wyrm Affair at Book Expo this year and came home with it as one of my most anticipated reads, despite not knowing much...more2.5 stars.
I picked up The Iron Wyrm Affair at Book Expo this year and came home with it as one of my most anticipated reads, despite not knowing much about it beforehand. While Satincrow offers some good fantasy ideas, The Iron Wyrm Affair faltered on its execution.
Discount Armageddon is a very fun and flirty beginning to a new urban fantasy series. McGuire hits al...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
Discount Armageddon is a very fun and flirty beginning to a new urban fantasy series. McGuire hits all the major points on creating a great new series: good world building, a strong female heroine, and clever and entertaining dialogue. However, I did have some issues with the novel.
I’ll start with what I really enjoyed. The worldbuilding in this is some of the strongest I’ve seen for urban fantasy. Basically, supernatural species and creatures (called cryptids) exist in our world and are hunted by an old secret organization known as the Covenant of St. George. Verity Price, the protagonist, descends from a family line that defected from the Covenant when they found out that the decimation of the unicorns caused cholera to spread, greatly hurting humanity. Apparently the Covenant thought it right to destroy a species of low danger due to their doctrine, with no care for the cost to humans. Verity’s family disagreed and moved to America to lead their own lives, helping the cryptids and learning about them as much as they could.
The creativity really comes in through the cryptids. Each species is unique and I found myself pleasantly surprised by all of it. Of course, one of my favorites is the Aeslin mice, a colony of mice that lives with Verity and is very, very religious. They celebrate many holidays, mostly revolving around key moments in Verity’s life, such as “Month of Do Not Put That in Your Mouth!” I laughed many times then wished I had some of my own. Another great cryptid are the Dragon Princesses, women who are fireproof and live with dragons. Or they did, until dragons went extinct thanks to the Covenant. They still collect a lot gold and have a lot of mystery about them. But I won’t that spoil here.
Verity herself is a great lead character and a tough young woman. She’s very Buffy-esque, without the superpowers. By day she’s a ballroom dancer and by night she’s a waitress in New York City and cryptozoologist. She likes to run on rooftops and shoot guns. She’s also wisecracking, resourceful and generally cares a lot about the cryptids.
The things that really bugged me about Discount Armageddon were some aspects of the writing. I quickly got tired of hearing how dancing makes a great fighter (I don’t even know if I agree) and how much dancing Verity does while not seeing very much of it. Also, I found it hard to suspend my disbelief, not with the supernatural aspects of the story, but with Verity, the human. Who would run and climb over rooftops in New York City in stilettos and a miniskirt? On the way to work? Don’t you end up sweaty and gross and tired? I felt like a lot of believability was sacrificed for the coolness factor. It’s just so cool to have a ballroom-dancing, gun-carrying human running around in stilettos and skimpy clothing, but it doesn’t make much sense.
There’s also a romance with, you guessed it, the two people from opposite sides of the cryptid situation. It’s very predictable, but I didn’t fault it too much since I liked the love interest, Dominic.
Overall, I enjoyed Discount Armageddon for its great world building and fun story. I believe people will enjoy this as well as it’s a good start to an urban fantasy series. I’d watch out for some cheesey fight scenes and situations and the lackluster romance, but if you like that sort of lightness, then you’ll have no problem here. I’m going to be continuing with the sequel because I really want to see how far McGuire takes this.(less)
I finished Ammonite a few days ago and I found I couldn't write my review right away. I just needed t...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
I finished Ammonite a few days ago and I found I couldn't write my review right away. I just needed to think about what I thought about the book and how I should put that into my review.
Generally, I really enjoyed Ammonite. It was one of those books that after the first few pages, I knew I was hooked. And I was, right up until the end. That's saying something since I did have some issues with the book but the writing and pacing were done so well that I found myself coming back to it whenever I had a few spare minutes.
What really hooked me was the premise of the plot. Marghe, an anthropologist, for her own reasons, accepts a mission to the planet Jeep to study the native people. These people, humans, had colonized the planet generations ago and suffered through a virus that killed all the men and some women. Now, much later, the colony is still thriving: the women have survived and even managed to reproduce without males. I was just as fascinated and interested about finding out about this planet and it's inhabitants as Marghe. Additionally, once Marghe made it to the planet, we meet Commander Danner, the woman in charge of the Company soldiers stationed on the planet. They are waiting for a vaccine for the virus so they can be allowed to return home. I didn't expect it but I came to be really caught up in Danner's plight and the character herself. She's a strong women in a very unfortunate situation: her and her team are stuck on the planet and have no idea how to or if they will ever leave and they don't know how to work with the natives. I came to like other women on her team including Lu Wai and Dogias.
The novel does switch from Marghe's story to Danners throughout the novel but it's more concentrated on Marghe's. One of my main issues was that I wasn't very fond of Marghe. I didn't really relate to her as much others and I found her story just a means for us to discover Jeep and its inhabitants. I appreciated her adventures but not because I really was connected to her, but because I was so interested in finding out more about Jeep.
That brings me to another great point: Jeep and it's people are the meat of the story. It's all about discovering how the author creates an all-female civilization socially and also, with reproduction, scientifically. I was really happy with how it all turned out.
Overally, I really liked this book and think it was a very rewarding and unique experience. I had some issues with it and maybe you will too, but I think it's definitely worth reading. The adventure, mystery and discovery of the planet Jeep and meeting all the diverse characters really solidifies this book as a great read. (less)
The story is told in a unique way. Astrid is talking to some kind of hostage/police interviewer while...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
The story is told in a unique way. Astrid is talking to some kind of hostage/police interviewer while she is being detained for suspicion of commiting crimes. The interviewer, Will, tries to find infomation about an enemy, Sahara, who is currently reaking havok with a cult following. He wants info on Sahara, who is close to Astrid, but what he (and we) get is the story of Indigo Springs and what we know as the reemurgence of magic into the world. The story is thus told in the past and present and we get to piece together the situation.
The characters were good. I enjoyed Astrid. She is flawed: somewhat weak willed and easily succumbs to the pressure of others around her. I liked watching her grow and the person she becomes by the end of the book. Sahara is perfectly wicked, although she's portrayed as human enough to garner some sympathy. A breakout character, for me, would be Will, the interviewer, because even though he has a pretty specific role in the story (to interview Astrid and thus extract the story) he really develops as a character. By the end I felt like I knew as much about him as any other character.
The most awesome thing about this book is the magic. Magic is literally blue liquid and can enchant objects. This leads to all sorts of fun (such as a flying carpet) but it is also dangerous. If people come into contact with the liquid it can corrupt and infect them. I found everything about this system well thought out, utilized well and really just plain cool.
I really really, liked this book. I enjoyed reading it all the way through. Never once did my interest wane and I found myself staying up into the wee night to finish it (which is something that rarely happens for me). It has everything I love about what urban fantasy can be. There's characters and a world we can identify with, but there's also the worldbuilding as intricate as an epic fantasy. I cannot wait for the sequel, Blue Magic, to be released next year.(less)
A lot of what I liked about Hounded is present in Hexed. Atticus' world is pretty much filled with many riduculous and awesome mythological creatures...moreA lot of what I liked about Hounded is present in Hexed. Atticus' world is pretty much filled with many riduculous and awesome mythological creatures including but not limited to vampires, witches, Celtic goddesses, werewolves, Maenads and demons. Hearne manages to include everything but the kitchen sink (which I wouldn't be surprised if one made such an appearance in one of his books) while keeping everything seemingly under control. Of course, hilarity ensues but it's just so much fun watching Atticus interact with all the different characters. Everything is done very cleverly.
One thing that keeps me smiling is Atticus' dog, Oberon. He's able to communicate mentally with him through his magic and the things this dog says is just so funny! At one point Atticus tells him the story of the Merry Pranksters and hippies and Oberon has it in his mind the whole book of 'sticking it to The Man'.
I was really hoping for Granuaile to take more of a prominent role after the last book. I really like the chemistry between her an Atticus and I think there's room for a female main character. Unfortunately, we don't see her much while Atticus is busy with trying to take care of all the crazy supernatural shenanigans.
Also, while this book had a main goal, I felt like most of the plot was filler and could feel it lagging a bit in certain areas. I would have liked a more unified plot line, but perhaps some things were being sorted out for the next book. It didn't bother me too much but I hope the next installment has a more concrete path.
If you liked Hounded, you'll like Hexed, and you'll most likely want to continue the series after this as well. It has all the great fun Hounded had; humor, adventure and supernatural craziness. If you haven't started the series yet, you really should, if you're interested in urban fantasy. This is turning out to be a pretty good UF series, one that I'm looking forward to continuing. The next book is called Hammered and I'll definitely be picking it up!
Thank you to Dreams and Speculation for providing the review copy. (less)
I've read two other Bear books to date, The White City (review) and Dust (review). All the Windwracke...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
I've read two other Bear books to date, The White City (review) and Dust (review). All the Windwracked Stars is my favorite so far. I really loved the integration of Norse myth into a fantasy setting that also included some science fiction elements. Bear's creativity and aptitude in creating this word, called Valdyrgard, is really what caught and held my interest the whole way through.
Muire is the last Valkyrie, an angel and Child of the Light. She's lived thousands of years since Ragnarok, and she is called to attention when Mingan the Wolf starts attacking people in the last functioning city in the world. She investigates and in finds that there is a larger game being played which involves the Technomancer, the only being keeping the city alive. She pairs up with the only other survivor of Ragnarok, Kasimir the valraven, and joins forces with others in the city to put right the things that have gone horribly wrong.
Like I said, I really enjoyed Bear's worldbuilding. There are many interesting characters and people and magic. Muire can harness the power of the Light which keeps her immortal and able to heal, but she's lost a lot of the Light since Ragnarok. Juxtaposed is the magic of the Technomancer, able to manipulate technology and people in often weird and uncanny ways. Part of the Technomancer's creations is the moreaux. a collection of anthropomorphic people to work for her. I really liked Selene, one of the Technomancer's trusted moreau, a humanoid cat.
Lastly, I really connected to Bear's writing style. Her prose flows expertly and she always creates a great picture in your mind. The ending was unexpected and a little heartbreaking. Just the way I like it!
What I didn't like: My only major criticism with Bear's books is that it really takes me a little while to figure out what the heck is going on. She doesn't info dump and doesn't give many explanations to the basic things of the new world we are exploring. I got into the groove eventually but I would have enjoyed, say, a glossary or map.
Definitely recommended for fantasy lovers or those interested in Norse mythology. I really enjoy Bear's work because I'm always pleasantly surprised at what she comes up with. This book is followed by two more in the series, By the Mountain Bound, a prequel, and a direct sequel called The Sea Thy Mistress.(less)
I have mixed feelings about this one. I've read Carey's Kushiel's Dart a long time ago and I had mixe...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
I have mixed feelings about this one. I've read Carey's Kushiel's Dart a long time ago and I had mixed feelings about that one, as well, but for different reasons. I really enjoyed Kushiel's Dart for the worldbuilding and plot, but had issue with the characters. In Santa Olivia I had issue with the worldbuilding and plot (and I suppose some characters). What I liked about it was the originality in setting (an Outpost where residents cannot go in or out due to the threat of war) between Mexico and the USA. I also liked the mythology used about the figure of Santa Olivia and how this played into the lives of the townspeople. My favorite part has to be the beginning where Loup's mother meets and falls in love with two men and has two children (not at the same time). I thought her struggles with life and romance was sympathetic and I admired her for the decisions she had to make.
Where the book changed for me was when the focus changed to Loup. It became, not about a superhero (which I thought) but more of children orchestrating events to do good to some people or to send messages.Then, to me it seemed like it suddenly became a book about boxing. A good chunk of the novel focused on boxing and I definitely have no interest in that. I wasn't connected to Loup enough to care about her goal or her problems in her romance with Pilar. I would have rather seen more about the engineered men and the world outside Outpost, because in Outpost, there wasn't much going on at all (except boxing).
I finished the book, which may be a surprised since I had a lot of negative things to say. It was interesting but I felt what I was interested in was always happening elsewhere or outside the view of the main characters. I liked the world that is hinted at but I needed more. If this is a series, I'd definitely be interested in continuing because I think the next books can only reveal more of the world. If someone is interested in a book with a strong female protagonist or a different take on werewolves and don't mind a lot of boxing, you will probably like this.(less)
I first discovered The Buntline Special months ago after seeing the cover on various blogs. I was inte...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
I first discovered The Buntline Special months ago after seeing the cover on various blogs. I was interested in the idea of a steampunk/wild west story. When I found out I could review it for Dreams and Speculation, I jumped at the chance.
The premise of the book is simple: Thomas Edison and Ned Buntline have joined forces; Edison with his genius ideas and Buntline with his expert engineering skill. Together they have created multiple inventions such as carriages that need no horses, automatons, special guns and other steampunk gadgets. Their success has made them a target and so the US government whisks them away to Tombstone, to work on their technologies in hiding. While there, the Earps take the responsibility for protecting them, especially after Edison gets his arm shot off and then replaced with a mechanical arm. They enlist the help of the best in the business, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. The tale centres on Holliday and his experience in Tombstone; his encounters with the magic-using Native Americans, the Cowboys, and Kate Elder, who owns the local brothel.
Unfortunately, the book did not work for me. It seems that it has the recipe right for a great action adventure story, but the execution failed. The writing is quick, smooth and overall easy to read, however, it is focused too much on dialogue. Often the dialogue between characters became bogged down by really cheesy statements. You might expect that from a western movie, but when reading a novel, it can get old really quickly. While you might also expect some great action, most of the book’s scenes take place in the saloon while characters ate breakfast or drank. I didn’t understand why there was so much time dedicated to these scenes. Even the big showdown at the end was disappointingly over in a page or two.
Adding to that, there were many subplots integrated into the story to the point that the main plot was often pushed to the side. I found that this didn’t help the pacing since I often wondered where the story was going.
Lastly, I thought that while some characters were interesting (Holliday, Geronimo), others were found lacking. One example is Kate Elder, the only female character of the book. I really wished she either had more development or there were other females. A lot of the females were the whores in Kate’s brothel, and even then, they were automatons! There was too much attention paid to the mechanical prostitutes rather than real human women. It made me wonder, who is that woman on the cover? Kate? I don’t think she ever left her brothel.
Overall, I would say that Resnick missed the mark with The Buntline Special. If you’re a die hard western fan, I’d say try it, but don’t expect a lot of action.
The novel starts off interestingly enough: we're introduced to Rosie Fox as a young girl whose family...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
The novel starts off interestingly enough: we're introduced to Rosie Fox as a young girl whose family is from the fairy realm, accessed through the Gates. These Gates are closed to them by Lawrence, another Aetherial, due to his belief of evil lurking on the other side, ready to escape.
Through the next 200 pages or so, we grow up with Rosie and her family and all the drama that goes with it. It reminded me of a soap opera, where all the characters are fae, yet they merely only talk about it. It's rare we get to see any Aetherial action. Enormous amount of time is spent on love affairs, adultery, and drugs. I felt this annoyance in the plot events was doubled by the fact that I never really liked Rosie. Everyone would say how nice and good a person she is, but she's rather selfish, passive and abrasive. I never understood why she made certain desicions such as those relating to her romantic life. I felt like drama was created for the sake of drama. I also didn't care for Sam very much: the stereotypical bad boy the main female character can't help fall in love (or lust) with.
For 200-something pages we are given all this backstory and I ultimately stopped reading for lack of movement of the main plot: getting the Gates open or defeating the evil presence beyond them. I wasn't interested in the family saga.(less)
This novella takes place in Bear's New Amsterdam world. I haven't read this author or that collection...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
This novella takes place in Bear's New Amsterdam world. I haven't read this author or that collection yet, so this is doubly new to me. This is published after New Amsterdam, and although I didn't find it confusing, it might be better to read its predecessor first.
Bear has created a unique and intriguing world, taking place at the turn of the 20th century. In this world, there exist vampires, one of which is Don Sebastien de Ulloa. Each vampire has a court where mortals are chosen to become companions to these vampires. Members of the court wear rings that contain a signature gem of the vampire to show their allegiance. This society is lightly touched on, probably more has been revealed in the previous collection, New Amsterdam. I would have liked to have seen more about this world and how it works.
Primarily, this novella is about a mystery. The story is divided into two times, 1897 and 1903, and two murders that are somehow connected. The mystery aspect of this story is very prominent, giving room for little else. I thought the mystery was good and kept me turning the page, however, there was no mind-blowing reveal that I had hoped for. I felt like it flowed nicely but there was never any intensity or sense of danger for any of the characters.
What was the most enjoyable about The White City was the setting: Moscow. Bear deftly created an animated and lively setting, poised for revolution. Another was the character Doctor Abigail Irene Garrett, the forensic sorcerer. She uses her mystical abilities to discover evidence of a crime, such as scanning the aura of an object to see who has come into contact with it. I found it very entertaining and original, but alas, she did not feature as big a part as I would have liked.
Overall, I found Bear's writing to be very delightful, however, I think it could have been more exciting. I think this world she has created has something for those interested in mysteries with a dash of fantasy, especially if you like vampires. I would like to check out New Amsterdam one day, if only to read more about Abby Irene.
I received an ARC through a contest with the author.(less)
I've had some previous experience with Kay. My first was when I tried to read the first book in the F...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
I've had some previous experience with Kay. My first was when I tried to read the first book in the Fionavar Tapestry, The Summer Tree, and failed miserably twice. I just couldn't get into it. After reading Under Heaven, perhaps another attempt would turn out differently. The other experience involved reading Ysabel and not liking it as much as others have.
Anyways, what I mean to say is that Under Heaven was a much different experience. I was immersed in a story of the Tang Dynasty, built on the foundation of extraordinary characters. This is what held me through the long trek through the retelling (with liberty) of the An Shi Rebellion; I really fell in love with many characters and became attached to their stories. One of these characters is Shen Tai, the one who receives the gift of 250 Sardian horses. Although not the most equipped in society after being away for so long, he really is a clever and direct man whom I really came to support throughout the story. Kay also creates his female characters exquisitely: Spring Rain, the concubine of first minister Wen Zhou and previous lover of Shen Tai. She's foreign, savvy and definitely not the typical submissive concubine one might expect. Another is Wei Song (perhaps my favorite), a Kanlin warrior not afraid to speak her mind and thoroughly capable of taking care of herself in a harsh world for women. Lastly, there's Li-Mei, sister to Tai, who deals with her unfortunate circumstances with grace and dignity.
Another major aspect of the story that I loved was the political intrigue. This comes from my love of historical fiction and I was happy to see it very well done in this historical fantasy. Through Tai we see the maneuverings of the emperor and those close to him and how 250 Sardian horses can change many people's lives. I thought there was a lot of suspense and I found myself often reading on for hours just to find out how it would all turn out.
As you can see, I was really engrossed in this story. I loved diving into it and being immersed in a fictionalized Chinese culture in a faraway time. However, one major problem is that it is very dense, thus requiring a lot of attention and concentration. Kay's prose is pleasant, satisfying and often quite moving, but the story is told from somewhat sporadic points of view. It wasn't enough to make me put down the book, but I wished that the story was more condensed and concise than it was.
I've come to think of this book as a glimpse of another world and time. Sometimes the story goes in different directions. I think ultimately it is an experience rather than a story about a specific person. Read this if you want to be immersed in a different sort of fantasy with large connections to Tang Dynasty and if you have the patience to read the whole thing. There are many instances of greatness in this book that shouldn't be missed.
In Eyes to See, there are a lot of things Nassise does right. The choice of first person POV is one o...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
In Eyes to See, there are a lot of things Nassise does right. The choice of first person POV is one of them, since getting into Jeremiah Hunt's head is the bread and butter of this story. I really liked his voice, his struggles, and his humor. The POV does change near the end quite often, which I thought disrupted my enjoyment a little. I often preferred seeing things (no pun intended) through Jeremiah's perspective, since his was unique. He traded his eyesight of the normal world in return to see that of the other world, the one where all the ghosts and creatures we only heard stories about are. Eyes to See takes place in the past and present distinguished by "Then" and "Now" chapters, one telling the story of how Jeremiah came to be in this place, when his daughter went missing years before. The other is the present time while he is working as an exorcist while also helping the police solve crimes while hopping for more information about his daughter's disappearance. I really liked the "Then" chapters, since they were so heartbreaking, raw and real.
Another aspect I thought was done well was the mystery. I really didn't know what to expect at the end, and that kept me reading. I wanted Jeremiah to succeed in solving the mystery of his missing daughter. Along the way we discover more things about this world, which is a pretty standard urban fantasy setting. It contains magic and various paranormal creatures. Unfortunately I thought Jeremiah to be the most interesting because we knew more about why he came to be what he is.
Where the book faltered for me was finding enough interest in this world. While I thought there were unique ideas and a good protagonist, I wanted the other characters and world building to be stronger. For example, I thought Denise, the main female character, to be a little too predictable and not very developed.
After reading this series debut, I feel a bit on the fence. I liked some things and didn't like others, but I'm leaning towards a more positive opinion of this book. I feel like it's not completely there yet, but that I want to read more to see it get there. Nassise wraps up the mystery quite nicely while leaving room to continue the series and I believe that it could be headed in a great direction. If you are looking for that popular urban fantasy setting with an entertaining and humorous male protagonist, then this is for you.
Review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.(less)
This novel is seperated into four parts spanning the years from 2008 to approximately 2091. It follow...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
This novel is seperated into four parts spanning the years from 2008 to approximately 2091. It follows the story of a group of genetically modified children who were created to not need sleep (called Sleepless), but who are also of superior intelligence than the rest of humanity. By covering so much time, Kress is able to explore their creation, their persecution, their evolution, and everything inbetween. On top of the ideas surrounding genetic modification, there also is the underlying theme of how you treat others and how society should work. This is where the title comes from, to the Sleepless, unenhanced humans are beggars since they cannot begin to compete with them in terms of economic and intellectual power. The question that arises is, should you offer charity to the beggars in Spain?
There are characters that take different stances on how Sleepless should conduct themselves in a world where they are a minority, but in fact control most of the economy. I found the entire novel fascinating, and in particular, I loved following Leisha Camden's (one of the original Sleepless) journey. Kress creates an intricate web of characters that illustrate how nearly 100 years of genetic modification can change our world. I found myself steadily interested throughout the book, but Part IV titled 'Beggars' really catapulted this book into awesome territory for me.
This is the type of science fiction book I live for - one that offers unique scientific ideas (sleeplessness) and uses that to further ideas on our society. I was absorbed in Kress' view of our future based on these scientific ideas, but also on her ideas about people and what drives us into community or self-preservation. On top of that, I felt this novel had one of the most satisfying and exciting endingsI have ever read. I would definitely recommend this book to others interested in genetic modification, or just looking for a novel that speculates on our future over many years. This books is part of a trilogy, but I don't know if will continue, just because I feel so satisfied with Beggars in Spain as a standalone. We shall see.
Jemisin has really created a fantastic new world in The Killing Moon. Right from the first pages we are transported into a richly visualized land fill...moreJemisin has really created a fantastic new world in The Killing Moon. Right from the first pages we are transported into a richly visualized land filled with politics and dreaming and magic. Ehiru is a Gatherer, a priest whose duty in Gujaareh is to usher people from sleep to the afterlife in the dreaming place of Ina-Karekh. He gains a new apprentice, Nijiri, who is a young man he has seen grown and trained by the Hetawa to become a Gatherer. Nijiri both admires and loves Ehiru and their relationship is beautifully touching and complex. Enter Sunandi, a diplomat from the land of Kisua, who uncovers a plot by Gujaareh’s Prince to start a war with her nation. She finds herself in unlikely company with Ehiru and Nijiri as they all rush to prevent this potential war.
As you can see, I didn't have much luck with this book despite it being on my most anticipated reads...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
As you can see, I didn't have much luck with this book despite it being on my most anticipated reads from BEA this year. I really wanted to be absorbed into Victorian London and experience through the eyes of Tiki, the main character, but it never worked out. Tiki is a street kid living in an abandoned shop with a few other orphaned children. They have to steal to live and often go hungry. I liked that the author chose to tell this story from that angle, rather than the more common tale from the point of view of nobility. However, I never really feared for them, since they always managed to steal enough money or objects for their plans, such as Tiki going to a ball. I thought this was a little hard to believe, and undermined the potential grittiness. However, the bigger issue I had and the reason I set the book aside was that by page 176, barely anything had happened. We only see glimpses of the fey and we spend more time reading about Tiki think about what to do to help her friends and what to do with the ring (which doesn't really have any effect on the story by then anyway).
This book has gotten great reviews so far and it seems I'm in the minority. I just couldn't invest more time after feeling like the story was going on and on without any action or movement of the main plot. I wish there had been more magic in the first couple hundred pages.
Review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.(less)
This is one of those times where I'm going to have to reign in all my giddy fangirlishness and try an...more(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)
This is one of those times where I'm going to have to reign in all my giddy fangirlishness and try and make this sound like a proper review. But I really, really want to squee all over this page but I suppose that's not the best way to get people interested in reading this book...
I would say there are two major things about Daughter of Smoke and Bone which easily makes this an awesome read: world building and the prose. I never heard of Taylor before, but she surprised me with this world she geniusly created. It's set in Prague and centers round Karou, our aquamarine-haired protagonist who loves art and whose adopted family is a set of chimaera. Her father-figure is Brimstone, a creature part man, part stag and who knows what else. Karou often runs errands for him, using the portal of to his workshop as a means to travel around the world. She picks up teeth for him, all kinds of teeth. She doesn't know what he uses it for, but he often trades wishes to clients who bring him teeth of various species. In this world, wishes are like a currency, the lowest being a scuppy, that can only manage something like turning hair a different color.
But this world is hidden from ours and Karou is the only one who seems to know it exists, until she meets another mysterious player, Akiva. Akiva's a seraphim and somehow connected to this other world, but he is also her enemy. The seraphim are at war against the chimaera and so there's natural tension between him and Karou, but they also can't help but be attracted to each other.
I really loved Karou's world as we see it through her life. However, she's been kept in the dark about her past and so have we and much of the story is about her discovering who she is and where she came from. This was expertly done by Taylor who provides a thrilling action-packed story filled with the glamour of Prague and the magic of a world elsewhere.
The only issues I had with this novel is how prominent the romance became after the first half of the book and the fact that the book doesn't really end. We are left to wait for the second book to find out what happens in Karou's story.
I definitely recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone to readers looking for a magical story. It's a great read for young adults and adults alike. I hope to read the next novel in the series and to get closure on some of the events and also hope to see the romance fleshed out a bit more.
Review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.(less)