This is the third (and, as far as I know, final) book in the Frontier Magic series. I love this series! My quick and dirty tagline for it when I'm tryThis is the third (and, as far as I know, final) book in the Frontier Magic series. I love this series! My quick and dirty tagline for it when I'm trying to hand-sell it at the bookstore is: Harry Potter meets Little House on the Prairie. It's so much more complicated than that, but when you've got ten seconds to get a middle schooler's attention you work with what you've got. I like these books so much that I did a video review of book one, The Thirteenth Child. It's pretty terrible, but you can go watch it if you want a good laugh. The world is essentially 19th century America, but magic has always been known and because of that things have developed a little differently. The biggest differences for our purposes are these: it's not America, it's Columbia; westward expansion has essentially stopped at the Mammoth River (The Mississippi for us) due to the uncontrollable wildlife on the other side; Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson managed to create a barrier using the river that keeps all magical animals to the west; there is no Native American presence (I assume because of the dangers of the wildlife although it is not specified in the text); the Civil War worked a little bit differently, but the end result is the same and slavery has been abolished, although it was never as big a deal there as it was here due to the difficulty of clearing large plantations. As in most fairy tales, the seventh son of a seventh son is considered the most powerful magician known. However, especially in the eastern-most areas of the country, thirteenth children are considered more than unlucky, they're seen almost as plague carriers. The best case scenario is that their bad luck could spread unintentionally; the worst case is that they become twisted and lash out on purpose. Eff is a thirteenth child, but also the twin of a double seventh son. Throughout the entire series she has been struggling with the matter of who she is, what she can do, and what she should do. At the same time, she has begun to come into her own as an explorer. In each book she takes a trip across the Great Barrier into regions very few people have explored. In this third book, Eff joins an academic expedition into the far west. Their aim is to go further than the last successful expedition and catalog the plants and animals along the way. Several new threats have been moving eastward in the last several years. The expedition hopes, among other things, to give the settled communities some hint of what is coming so that they can prepare for it. I cannot say enough good things about this series. I've read the first book three times now, the second twice, and I think tonight when I get home I'll start book three for the second time. It is an amazing series. And I don't mean for a young adult series. There are things in this series about identity, self-worth, inner strength, and ways of seeing the world that I'm still trying to get a grip on in my thirties. So, if you have any interest in this type of book, westward expansion, fantasy literature, awesome female characters, please please please give this series a shot....more
God Save the Queen takes place in a post-steampunk, post-vampire/werewolf virus England. The setting is essentially modern day, but a modern-day influGod Save the Queen takes place in a post-steampunk, post-vampire/werewolf virus England. The setting is essentially modern day, but a modern-day influenced by immortal Victorians. The plague, which swept through Europe repeatedly over the centuries began to have some rather strange consequences. Those who carried antibodies to the plague began to gain in strength. Their lives were usually longer. Some of them began to have certain dietary requirements. The effects were different depending on the strain of the virus. Intermarriage with other plague-carriers increased the effects. These side effects were refined during the reign of Queen Victoria, resulting in a supernatural aristocracy. Werewolves and vampires now rule the British Isles. There is a third strain of the plague - the strain that creates goblins. Goblins are the strongest of the three types of immortals, but they are by far the least attractive. They have been relegated to the sewers and the underground train tunnels beneath the city. Xandra Vardan is a half-vampire. She is the offspring of an aristocrat and a mortal woman. Halfbloods serve as the protection for the ranks of the nobility since they possess much of their immortal parent's strength while suffering few of their weaknesses. Xandra has always been an exemplary guard. She has never deviated from the path expected of her. Until now. Xandra's sister has gone missing and Xandra is willing to break every rule in the book in order to find her. Even if that means going to the goblins for help.
This book was a little odd for me. I somehow missed that it was set in 2012, so the first time Xandra hiked her bustle up to get on her motorcycle I was a little taken aback. But I settled into the groove pretty quickly. There are twists and turns and plot-lines ducking down dark passages like Alice's white rabbit. I had a ton of fun with it. Xandra starts to question the reality she has been given and along the way finds out things about her family and herself that she never could have imagined. I'd recommend this to fans of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series or Kim Harrison's The Hollows series....more
Interestingly enough, this book opened almost the same way that The Perfect Poison did, which since I was reading this while listening to that causedInterestingly enough, this book opened almost the same way that The Perfect Poison did, which since I was reading this while listening to that caused a little confusion. They very quickly distinguished themselves however. Heart of Brass is, unsurprisingly, a steampunk romance novel. I’d say it has about as much of a mix of romance and mystery/thriller as The Perfect Poison does. It is also the first in a planned series.
Almost seven years ago Luke Grey, Lord Huntley, left his young wife, Arden, to go on a mission for the Wardens; a secret organization that protects the Empire. He never came home. Only Arden believes that he is still alive. Finally, with only days to go before Luke’s brother has him declared legally dead Arden sees him in London. The only problem is that he’s trying to kill her.
Luke was captured by a rival organization during that fateful mission. He no longer remembers anything about his old life. He is a faithful agent of the Company and has been enhanced to be one of the most efficient killers in the world. He has come to London to assassinate Warden Arden Grey. But there is something about her…
Meanwhile, someone is murdering eligible young debutantes. Arden has been called in by the police to assist them. She has invented a device that allows her to see through the eyes of the victims and observe their last moments. Unfortunately, none of the victims took a good look at her killer’s face. The killer has enhanced strength and Arden is horribly afraid that her husband may be responsible.
The adventure element of this book is very fun. There are dangerous secret agents, narrow escapes, even air ships. The romantic side of things was a little less satisfying to me. Arden has been alone for seven years. Her husband’s best friend is in love with her, but she has never been tempted. However, when said husband does show back up… I don’t know. It’s not that it’s not passionate. I just felt kind of ‘meh’ about their romantic relationship. probably because I root for the underdog and liked the friend.
Also, the murder mystery seemed a bit tacked on. I actually liked that part of the story, but it was kind of superfluous to the thrilling daring-do going on with the Wardens and the Company. I’m curious to see if the next book will be more agents of the Wardens or more of Arden and Luke. I kind of hope for more of them solving mysteries together, but I suspect that I’m going to get more new couples instead.
I really don’t know what to say about Angelmaker. I have this problem with Nick Harkaway books. The easiest thing to say is, “It’s awesome, just trustI really don’t know what to say about Angelmaker. I have this problem with Nick Harkaway books. The easiest thing to say is, “It’s awesome, just trust me.” But that’s not a very effective review. It helps if you’re actually in front of me so that you can see how my eyes shine and my cheeks glow with happiness over the book. But since you’re at home, consuming this through a screen, imagine some sort of anime eyes staring up at you (even though, statistically, I’m probably taller than many of you.)
Ok, a few things about Angelmakerthat are totally awesome. First, the cover. Not only is it a very cool cover, but it has a code in it! The awesome designers over at Knopf actually designed a secret message and encoded it into the cover. So that’s awesome. The next awesome thing is the book trailer, which you can watch here. It makes me happy. I’ve probably watched it 10 times. I’m like that.
So, those are awesome things about the book. Now, let me tell you about the story. Our markedly mild mannered hero is Joseph Spork. He is the son of a fairly famous chanteuse and an old school London gangster. Joe’s grandfather, Daniel, was a clockmaker and Joe has chosen to follow almost religiously in his footsteps. He has given up his crown as a prince of the underworld and makes his living repairing clocks, windup toys, and other items made up of gears and cogs. The Spork legend lingers in the London undercity, but only like a hint of cigarettes and food the morning after a fabulous party.
One day, Joe’s friend Billy brings him a clockwork book and then all hell breaks loose. Joe is soon on the run from the police, a secret government organization, and a cult. He is accompanied in his flight by Edie Banister, former client, former super spy, current octogenarian; her dog Bastion, world’s ugliest pug; and Polly, an administrative assistant of epic abilities and very, very intriguing toes. It’s a little bit steampunk, a little bit of a spy thriller, and utterly, totally awesome.
I am a huge fan of Nick Harkaway’s. His first book, Gone Away World, is still one of my favorites. It also had a pretty awesome cover. It was fuzzy. I may have used it like a teddy bear once or twice. I’m not saying I did. Just that I might have. ...more