I will admit to being a little unreasonably wary of The Dead Ways before picking it up because I was worried tha...moreOriginally posted on Once Upon A Time.
I will admit to being a little unreasonably wary of The Dead Ways before picking it up because I was worried that it might have been a little young for me as I have a history with not enjoying middle grade books because I often find the writing and story style too simplistic. However, I was not to worry. The Dead Ways is a great piece of fiction for young adults and adults alike. Okay, so there were quite a few convenient near misses throughout the novel but that's something I just associate with middle grade fiction and thus it bothers me a lot less than when it occurs in adult fiction.
As for the writing style itself I was gripped from the very first page. The Dead Ways begins with Scott being kidnapped from outside of his school and so straight away we have a fast paced scene and questions to be answered. Why kidnap Scott? Who are the kidnappers? What is so important about Scott's father? And though it's a very short novel at just under 200 pages, it feels just right. The story doesn't drag and it manages to fit everything in pretty perfectly.
I particularly enjoyed Tom's character. There's something about a gruff, almost-hippyish, Celtic loving, hairy middle-aged man that just makes that kind of character ultimately loveable (see: Hagrid). He was a caring father character with a few quirks and it was so easy to become attached to him.
Honestly, I think it was inevitable that I would love The Dead Ways considering how much ancient British legend and lost Celtic history was a part of the story. I'm a bit of a sucker for ancient Britain and legend. If you're looking for a quick but highly interesting and exciting read, do give The Dead Ways a try. And follow Christopher Edge on Twitter while you're at it!(less)
To my knowledge, Jason Starr is primarily a crime-thriller author, so the initial press release for The Pack deeply intrigued me. An urban fantasy thr...moreTo my knowledge, Jason Starr is primarily a crime-thriller author, so the initial press release for The Pack deeply intrigued me. An urban fantasy thriller without all of the will-they-won't-they romance of many, many other urban fantasies out there? And it's about werewolves? Sinister ones? Yes please! Thankfully I was not disappointed, despite not really knowing what to expect but I enjoyed reading it and I must agree with Lee Child: `Jason Starr is hypnotically good'. There were many times when I found myself unable to put this book down because I had to know what was going to happen to these characters that felt so real.
Simon is our main protagonist but there are other character perspectives throughout including Simon's wife Alison and a woman called Olivia, all of these seem to focus somehow on Michael and his effect on their lives. However, none of them suspect the terrifying way it's going to turn out.
While this is an urban fantasy, the fantasy parts unfold very slowly and those expecting a fast paced thriller style novel are in for a bit of a slow start. In fact, to me it felt a little like chick lit for men with all of the focus on relationships and home life in the beginning of the novel. It is the gradual unravelling of deeply embedded mysteries and how the characters are effected and react to these that make the novel. It is how Jason Starr doesn't feel the need to be overly descriptive in his writing style yet the novel doesn't feel at all lacking for it. It is the `what ifs?' that drive The Pack and keep us reading.
Obviously, though it isn't rubbed in your face, The Pack is a werewolf urban fantasy. The clue is in the name after all and these are not the kind of werewolves many of us have grown used to in recent years but the ones that featured in horror previous to the paranormal craze. They're uncontrollable, unstable and terrifying. They have no remorse and are quite literally animals.
The latter part of The Pack was a fair bit more fast paced, but the ending itself felt too much as though it was missing something. It just felt like it ended and I wanted to see a little more after the resolution. It was quite unsettling. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I can recommend The Pack to folk who like their urban fantasy without all of the romance and just a little more horror and thriller.(less)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Devil’s Bargain knowing it was very early Rachel Caine and reading through a large chunk of the novel that felt more...moreI wasn’t sure what to expect from Devil’s Bargain knowing it was very early Rachel Caine and reading through a large chunk of the novel that felt more thriller than urban fantasy didn’t help me feel much more confident, but a little over halfway through the paranormal aspect of the story kicked in and I realised that this was another of Rachel Caine’s urban fantasy greats, as well written and addictive as her others.
My biggest issue with Devil’s Bargain was the lack of much of a paranormal aspect for the first half of the novel. This is very much a personal problem because regular thrillers are not my thing but it did spoil the read a little for me. My other issue was Jazz’s antagonistic attitude. She seems adamant to push people who can genuinely help her away and I know this is a common character flaw in many urban fantasy heroines but I just can’t understand the appeal. I mean, her first conversation with Lucia ends with both of them hanging up on each other because of it, yet later on we see them working together very well. It’s such a dislikeable quality.
Once the novel goes into paranormal territory, I saw that Devil’s Bargain is just as good as any of Rachel Caine’s later novels. Jazz gets into a lot of trouble, and also gets herself out of it. I became so gripped that I couldn’t put the book down for long enough to remember to take notes so excuse me if my review is missing anything but the good bit was really good. It is fast paced and even a little bit scary, particularly that ending. That sent goosebumps down my spine. You’ll see.
To sum up? Devil’s Bargain is a fast paced urban fantasy thriller that will have you unable to remove yourself from the world of Jazz Callender and friends. But then you knew that – it’s a Rachel Caine novel after all.(less)
I was loving it. The narrator is perfect for the character, it's well written and dark.. but at some point while explaining his wife and transformatio...moreI was loving it. The narrator is perfect for the character, it's well written and dark.. but at some point while explaining his wife and transformation into a werewolf I switched off. I'm cool with gore, sex and language but it became crude and that wife.. I don't know if she's a flat character or the narrator's attempt at soft spoken American woman was just bad, but I couldn't do it. If you're going to talk about werewolf erections, don't expect me to stay with it..(less)