I admit that I've broken one of my book rules: I haven't read the first book yet. I can say that there was no problem getting into this book and now I'm looking forward to reading SPIRITS.
I really enjoy worlds that are a mash-up of the various mythologies and belief systems (American Gods, Kate Daniels, Iron Druid, Eric Carter, etc), so this world of fallen gods from every pantheon speaks to me on so many levels. It is gritty, as I expected and hoped it would be, and once again Blackmoore has shown that it really sucks to be a character in his universe. But oh, how I love to read about it.
Louie Fitzsimmons does the books for a drug dealer and tries to spend his days high as a kite and hooking up with strangers. Drugs are the only way he knows to quiet the horrible hallucinations that have plagued him his whole life. Then he finds out that the nightmares are actually transmissions from the many gods and goddesses living among us and he is a valued Chronicler, or prophet. He's someone who can tell the stories that shape belief.
One lesson I learned studying mythology is that when humans gain the notice of the gods, it never turns out well for them. Soon Fitz is on the run from a nearly forgotten forest goddess, a Greek powerhouse with a cadre of crazy stay at home moms, an angel with big plans, and a more modern deity. He might be valuable to the gods, but they aren't known for their kindness. He makes uneasy alliances as he tries to come to terms with his power and find a way to survive.
This is a fast-paced, high-flying, crude, sweary, gritty, kickass book. As I said, I really like the inclusion of all of the pantheons and the idea that we're creating new deities in our modern life. One of my favorite parts though, was that the gods might be immortal, but they are not indestructible. They have some vulnerability. The power of human belief is also explored in a different way that I won't go into because of spoilers, but it was good stuff. I'm also a fan of books where stories are especially powerful. It kind of goes with the territory when you're a book addict.
Again, Blackmoore fully tortures his characters. I had a few, "Dammit, Blackmoore!" moments. OK, maybe more than a few. This is a dangerous world they're living in, of course. It's a great cast of characters. Besides the miserable Fitz, we have Medeina (kickass!), and Amanda (more kickass!), and lots more. Amanda started off pretty cool and by the end I became her biggest fan. The villains are good too, and like the best books, most of the characters exist in a grey area where they are neither fully heroic nor evil. So much good stuff.
Here's the overall summary (and intro of the post):
The latest Eric Carter book by Stephen Blackmoore is out and we could not wait to read it. BROKEN SOULS is a noir urban fantasy with a cohesive and logical magic system, scary-ass gods and monsters, plenty of action, phenomenal characters, and a lead who can never catch a break (nor would we want him to). If it's wrong to enjoy a fictional character's misery this much, we don't want to be right.
Eric's life is already in the crapper from page 1. His sister and best friend are dead. His ex hates him. Oh, and he's married to Santa Muerte, an Aztec death goddess. That's sure to end well. It takes almost no time before someone new wants him dead, he drags some new allies into his shitstorm of a life, has dealings with the exes, and makes lots of things go boom.
For fans of Blackmoore's CITY OF THE LOST, Gabriela is back in town. Didn't read that one? First, she is so freaking awesome this review almost became the lovesong of Gabriela. Second, go fix that and read Blackmoore's other books. Gabriela has power and a ton of common sense, unfortunately, you need two metric tons to avoid getting caught up in Eric's troubles. She's built up a pretty good life for herself and isn't without a social conscience. She also isn't above killing people in horrible ways when it has to happen. A very layered character. We just want more.
The sophomore effort in a series can be tricky, but BROKEN SOULS doesn't fall into a slump. We can't wait for book 3.
Brennan's vampires exist is a thoroughly f'ed up world, with an equally messed up family dynamic. This time around, Fort and SuzeI love this series.
Brennan's vampires exist is a thoroughly f'ed up world, with an equally messed up family dynamic. This time around, Fort and Suze have to solve the murder of the leader of the werebears, deal with Fort's increasingly vampiric nature, and the implications of the frailty of the Scott family matriarch. While I love Fort and Suze's ever evolving relationship, it's the almost-vampire's interactions with his older sister Prudence that were among my favorite parts of the book. She's terrifying, but she also loves her little brother, in her own totally inhuman way. I really can't wait to see what happens next. This was a fantastic book three, and while it is setting things up for more hazards in Fort's near future, it also didn't feel like a middle book or set-the-stage book for me. We got character progression, a conclusion to the main issue, and more trouble on the horizon. Just what I was looking for, and it means I will be hitting that pre-order button for book 4.
I adore this series. It is action packed, has interesting characters, supernatural politics and an ever expanding universe. We've been all ov4.5 stars
I adore this series. It is action packed, has interesting characters, supernatural politics and an ever expanding universe. We've been all over, the city, a mountain, high-flying road chases, vampiric New Orleans, and now Jessica is on a rescue mission to Hell.
If you aren't up to date on the series you might find some spoilers ahead.
We start this latest adventure with Jessica and her ragtag band of supernaturals in training with Tally, the head witch. At the end of book 3, Tyler, Jessica's twin, was kidnapped by the Demon Prince. Jess and company are planning a rescue mission to the demon underworld and need to be prepared for demon magic. Of course, things do not go as planned. Jessica's magic is something different and neither she nor the witches know how to handle it. Jessica finds herself thrown into the demon world on her own and has to think fast to avoid capture.
I am a sucker for stories set in the demon world (for example, Diana Rowland's Kara Gillian books) and so I was super excited to see how Carlson approached the Underworld. I was not disappointed. It was appropriately icky, creepy & oddly pretty in parts. This is also one of the more action-packed books, closer to book 2's level. As a whole, this series is action-packed, but these two books take it up several notches.
This does mean that it's lighter on the romance angle, but that's fine for me. I like that this is a mated pair that is not attached at the hip 24/7. Jessica has skills and also a lot of learning she needs to accomplish, like yesterday. I like that she has a partnership with Rourke, albeit one that is still new and still needs to be worked on, but Jessica is not a damsel in distress.
We also have more allies and villains. Jessica has been making all kinds of deals, some good, some perhaps not so good. The Fate theme is explored even more here, and I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that when it was all said and done I'm really interested in the way this story is going. Many possibilities and more challenges, of course.
I also like that although in book one we mostly had the boys club with the wolf pack and Jess, more and more female characters have come into play. Some heroes, some villains, some who knows. It's the variety I like. Of course, my other favs are there too. Ray is quickly becoming all kinds of interesting. A total transformation from his start in book 1.
Jess has been on so many journeys, surviving, fighting, defending, rescuing, and all the while learning and getting a crash course in supernatural politics. This isn't a series where it's a procedural with a mystery to solve. It's more of a step by step progression of a character's journey from more or less ordinary to extraordinary, with all of the bumps, bruises, mistakes and triumphs that come with it. Can't wait to see what happens next.
In between errands I opened my copy of HANG WIRE, thinking I could get a taste of it and then read more that night. I spent the rest of the day cursinIn between errands I opened my copy of HANG WIRE, thinking I could get a taste of it and then read more that night. I spent the rest of the day cursing myself. This is one of those books where I wanted a pause button so I could shut off the rest of the world while I read.
This is an urban fantasy that starts in San Francisco after the infamous 1906 earthquake then goes forwards and backwards in time, collecting and changing characters, until we get to the action-packed conclusion set in modern time. While it is largely set in San Francisco, this isn't your typical first person POV, powerful character, police procedural with paranormal elements UF. There is a serial killer, but it is not the whole story, not by a longshot.
It's also one that I don't want to describe too much, because I got so much enjoyment from just immersing myself in this world.
There is a deep ancient devourer sleeping underground, and a malevolent force that crashed to earth via meteorite, gods on earth (trying to make their own life or stay somehow connected to this world), and regular people caught in this whole mess. There is also a creepy circus (yes, I am aware of the innate creepiness of all circuses, but this one has the Lord of the Dance from hell, so extra creepy).
There are quite a few characters, and some have some pretty drastic changes happen to them. This was a bit of a problem for me since I had to prematurely put the book down. When I started it again I had to backtrack to verify that a couple of characters were who I thought they were. Not a big issue, and if I had been able to read uninterrupted it wouldn't have been a problem. However, once you are a quarter in, the players are pretty well set and I didn't have to backtrack.
The pace was quick and I found myself waiting on the edge of my seat for what happens next. Gods from different pantheons do play a role here, but there are real, terrible consequences to the gods using their powers on earth, so I didn't feel like it was an easy deus ex machina resolution.
Not everything is answered, but I was OK with that. I actually prefer it that way, to be honest.
I should have listened to Melissa (from My World...in words & pages) and gotten into this series earlier. She said I would like it and she was rigI should have listened to Melissa (from My World...in words & pages) and gotten into this series earlier. She said I would like it and she was right. Snarky, kickass heroine, loads of action, some romance, and a very interesting world, I got sucked in and enjoyed the whole ride.
The blurb for the series:
"A diverse cast of characters come together in classic urban fantasy about monsters, the people who hunt them, and the occasional apocalypse. Snarky humor, magic with bite, nonstop action, a dose of romance, and at its core: broken people finding family in one another.
Also, there’s a saber-tooth cat named Sir Rodney Ballsgalore. Because reasons."
Yes, Cameron is very good at the snarky asides.
First off, the action junkie is appeased. Loads of action, explosions, fights, quick pace. Oh yeah.
I liked the world building. It is a huge world and there is lots that can be done with it. There is a huge shakeup that happens very close to the start. This will have lots of consequences down the line. I also liked the mythology.
Zara's vampire is a hunter and is fairly pragmatic about what that entails. I felt Cameron balanced Zara's snark and selfishness with the realities of an immortal "un"life as well as the events from her past to make her a well-rounded character you can sympathize with (but never pity) and root for til the end. I liked the other characters as well, but this is Zara's show all the way.
Lots of betrayals, Zara learns more about her world, and there is some steam too, but it fit with the character and the story. This tale is definitely not done and I want to know what happens next. It is a UF series with different protags (although Zara gets her turn in the spotlight again), so that is a little different. I'm looking forward to the next one.
This one is a prequel short story for the new Pax Arcana series. The title sounds quite cute and charming, but those aren't the words I'd use to describe this world. It is another one where the world is really effed up. The whole story was pretty much a long action scene, so I was happy.
Our MC comes from a long line of Knights who fight the supernatural creatures that prey on humanity. He is also something else. I was intrigued before, and now I am really looking forward to book 1.
I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of collateral damage in this series.
Charming, book 1 in the series, is out September 24....more
M.L. Brennan's Generation V series quickly made my auto-buy list. I adored the magnificently eff'd up the whole world and mythology, as well as the unM.L. Brennan's Generation V series quickly made my auto-buy list. I adored the magnificently eff'd up the whole world and mythology, as well as the unconventional hero who has shown fantastic character growth through the first two books.
Over at Stellar Four, I did an interview with Brennan and got to talk about all of my favorite parts from the books, but in going over the ol' review backlog, I see that I never actually wrote a review for this one, so fixing that now.
Note: As always, I'll try to avoid spoilers, but this is book 2, so some spoilers for book 1 are inevitable.
At the start of book 2, Fort has made some changes in his life. He has been working out with Chivalry and has started helping his older brother with some of his duties. He's also getting a crash course in the supernatural, a world that he tried to escape for most of his life. All the while, he is still trying to hang on to his humanity.
Then he finds his roommate murdered, and Fort is back in the muck again. Luckily, he still has Suze, his kitsune friend who delights in antagonizing him, but is also there to kick ass. Adding to his problems, he has to work with his older sister, Prudence. Fort is convinced she hates him, and she is responsible for the most traumatic event in his childhood. Theirs is a complicated relationship, though, and their interaction was my absolute favorite part of the book. The last part of the book, just damn.
Excellent action, character and relationship progression, and a wholly interesting world, if you haven't jumped into this UF series yet, I suggest you give it a try....more
The last line: so so awesome. Makes me want to read book 3 right now.
I just wrote this over at The Book Smuggler's discussion of the Peter Grant serieThe last line: so so awesome. Makes me want to read book 3 right now.
I just wrote this over at The Book Smuggler's discussion of the Peter Grant series, and it pretty much sums up my feelings on the book so:
I went through much of Moon Over Soho thinking, “Peter is an idiot.” And he is. He has a LOT to learn. His mentor has been operating under the delusion that magic is waning. This is their wake-up call.
I also spent the book thinking, “Peter needs Leslie.” He absolutely can’t do this by himself. He has a Dumbledore, but no Ron & Hermione. The last lines of the book made me want to read book 3.
I like that he has a lot of learning to do. He is so far from perfect, but I did feel some progression, defintely enough that I want to continue reading. I still have to get to book 3.
I also love the many PoC characters. There is a short passage that I read just as all of the SFWA mess hit twitter that did resonate:
“‘Just to satisfy my curiosity, you understand,’ said Nightingale, ‘given that the only people ever likely to hear us say the words black magician are you, me, and Dr. Walid, why is changing them so important?’
‘Because I don’t think the old world’s coming back anytime soon,’ I said. ‘In fact, I think the new world might be arriving.’” – Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch...more
Vengeance Borne is book 1 in Amanda Bonilla's new Urban Fantasy series, Sentry of Evil. Tons of action, interesting mythology and a secret society thaVengeance Borne is book 1 in Amanda Bonilla's new Urban Fantasy series, Sentry of Evil. Tons of action, interesting mythology and a secret society that is far from only benevolent protectors of humanity.
Jacquelyn is a Waerd, a warrior in the fight against supernatural forces. Waerds are teamed with Bearers, empaths who can heal, influence emotions, and track supernatural baddies. Unfortunately, Jacquelyn's Bearer is her ex, Finn. To say she is fed up with having people muck with emotions is an understatement. She is a badass, and sometimes grumpy (for good reason, I think), but not bitter. She still loves her town and wants to protect it. I really dug her desire to stay true to herself and her own emotions.
Micah, our unrealized empath, is coming into this world with nothing but a power that has been driving him crazy. We uncover a lot about the Sentry through his interactions with Jacquelyn and Trish, the head Sentry official for the area. He is pragmatic. His gift is a built-in BS-o-meter, so he accepts things rather quickly, but still reserves his own judgment. Those of us who enjoy a good male lead will be happy. Micah is good stuff.
Finn is an ass. Enough said.
Like I mentioned, there is action and killing, but while the murders are horrible, you get the gist without a lot of gore. I found the world intriguing, especially the mysterious Sentry. There are a lot of secrets to be uncovered.
There are some romantic elements, but no steam in this one. I do like when the characters take their time to develop a relationship, so this is a plus for me.
My favorite aspect was the bond between Waerd and Bearer. It has such a great capacity to be completely effed up, as seen in Jacquelyn and Finn's relationship. Seeing some of the dark side of the bonding trope was a huge plus, especially since all of the drama and emotional trauma impacted Jacquelyn's ability to hunt.
The baddie was pretty apparent, but I enjoyed the other aspects of the novel enough that it didn't detract, other than a few, "He's right there!" moments.
A fast-paced read that was easy to get into. I will be grabbing book 2.
A dark, gritty UF novella with no romance. I did ask Wells if there would be more, and there will be. She does have lots of projects she is working onA dark, gritty UF novella with no romance. I did ask Wells if there would be more, and there will be. She does have lots of projects she is working on, but eventually we will get further stories in this world. This makes me happy.
Not that Meridian's world is full of sunshine and rainbows. Nope. This place is hell on earth. Vampires rule, humans are food, and it all sucks (every pun intended).
In this world, the Troika, vampires, have taken over. They did it slowly, using the humans fear to cement their hold. Humans are now in work camps, if their blood type isn't desirable, or little more than blood slaves.
The setup felt very believable. It's not unthinkable that a group could turn fear into a mobilizing force, stripping away freedoms before anyone realizes what is happening.
Meridian Six is the daughter of a famous human resistance fighter. Since her mother's death she has been a vamp PR guy's dream, paraded about before the conquered humans. She also has a very desirable blood type.
However, when we start our story, Meridian is running, trying to reach sanctuary. She assaulted the head of the Troika and his goons are after her. With no plan and no friends, Meridian isn't thinking much past the next second. Soon she finds herself with the Resistance, people who have little reason to trust her. Of course, Meridian has information that will change their fight.
There is a lot of darkness here. While it might look like Meridian has had a privileged life, she has more scars than anyone could count. What finally sent her over the edge was heartbreaking. She has also been used her whole life, and now, when she is free of the Troika, she is being used by the Resistance. Meridian is a complex character and since this is a novella, we only get a tiny snapshot of who she is. It was enough to make me want more.
Of course, Rabbit is my fav supporting character. A kid who has had to grow up too fast. My heart stopped a few times with that little guy.
I'm not quite sure what to expect with the next installment. There is a ton of danger in this world and things are tense. I will be reading it, though. Maybe with a blankie....more