Every so often, a series comes along that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. It is unapologetic, it is insiThis review is for the whole series.
Every so often, a series comes along that grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. It is unapologetic, it is insistent, and it is absolutely enthralling.
It is, for all intents and purposes, the Fever series.
Karen Marie Moning knows how to write. Even after having reread the series multiple times now, I am still kicking myself for not having read it sooner. Although, given the cruel cliffhangers on which each installment ends, it might be better that I only began to read the series once it was complete, because I have no idea what I would have done with myself if I had had to wait a year between each. Moning’s novels provide everything that I look for in an urban fantasy series: a likeable heroine who isn’t perfect, a hero who may not be a hero at all, dialogue that comes from the characters themselves rather than from the author, a world that is just different enough from ours to surprise while remaining believable, supernatural elements that put the author’s own spin on existing lore- the list goes on.
What’s more, Moning had to sell me on Mac. Even after having finished the first book, I wasn’t sure she would wind up being my type of heroine. After finishing the last, I’m still not sure she is, but she grew so much that I respect her regardless. And Barrons: what can be said that hasn’t already? He refuses to conform to reader expectations, and I suspect to those of Ms. Moning as well. He is one of those rare characters that has a life outside that which the author initially set out for him, outside of the pages of the book itself. We love him in spite of him and in spite of ourselves, and that makes it all the better.
By the time the reader gets to Shadowfever, Mac has received enough blows to put most other heroines out for the count- and that’s before the 500 plus page finale even starts. Shadowfever provides more twists and genuine surprises than are present in entire series, leaving the reader exhausted, exhilerated, and completely satisfied.
I devoured these books in a weekend, but they’ll stay with me for so much longer. And because I couldn’t bear to leave this world behind, I went searching for fanart to tide me over until Ms. Moning releases the next book set in this world (please let it be Christian’s).
While Neverwhere might have been Neil Gaiman’s first solo novel, it is to me his greatest.
Gaiman originally drafted the storyline of Neverwhere as a sWhile Neverwhere might have been Neil Gaiman’s first solo novel, it is to me his greatest.
Gaiman originally drafted the storyline of Neverwhere as a screenplay for a miniseries that aired on BBC. Encouraged by the story’s success, Gaiman later adapted the plot to a full-length novel. Unlike many novelizations of film, Neverwhere is a fully realized and brilliantly executed excursion into the mind of one of today’s best writers.
While Gaiman has gained much critical attention over the past decade for works such as American Gods and Coraline, Neverwhere has always held a special place in my heart. I first picked it up five years ago at the campus bookshop as a celebration of the last day of classes for the year. Crouched on the steps of the building where I’d just completed my final exam, I opened to the first page and was immediately caught up in Gaiman’s words as the drudgery of protagonist Richard Mayhew’s life is interrupted by the mysterious appearance of a young woman dressed in rags claiming to be named simply “Door.” Over the course of three hundred pages, Gaiman proceeds to take Richard on a surreal trip through an alternative London that turns his life upside down, though perhaps not for the worse.
One of Neverwhere‘s best scenes involves Richard’s visit to the moving underground market, at which seedy and suspicious goods are hawked by even more seedy and suspicious peddlers. As he describes the contents of each market stall, Gaiman underscores the simultaneously intriguing and uneasy quality of Neverwhere by interspersing truly bizarre and horrifying offerings with more mundane fare.
By far my favorite character in Neverwhere is the enigmatic, dapper, delightfully ambiguous marquis de Carabas. The marquis steals every scene he is in and makes me wish that Gaiman would risk the possibility of a sequel that doesn’t live up to the first if only to revisit this wonderful character. If you are an urban fantasy fan, I urge you to pick up this lesser-known work that exemplifies everything the genre strives for yet so rarely achieves.
This is it. The one we’ve yearned for years to read, ever since the first Psy-Changeling novel came out back in 2006. From their first brief interactiThis is it. The one we’ve yearned for years to read, ever since the first Psy-Changeling novel came out back in 2006. From their first brief interaction, fans knew that Sienna and Hawke’s story would be one worth waiting for, a necessary wait given Sienna’s age and Hawke’s stubbornness. In Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh delivers a story to reward readers for their faithful anticipation. The novel features all of the tense and teasing back-and-forth between these two characters that has proven irrisistible in previous novels, amping it up as the story progresses until both characters and readers reach the breaking point. Something finally has to give, particularly with Hawke, and when he finally makes his decision, the real games begin between these two.
Reviews have been resoundingly praiseworthy for this installment that marks the end of the first story arc. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I couldn’t help but feel it was lacking in something that, while not crucial enough to knock it down to a four-cup rating, nevertheless prevented it from rivaling my favorite, Caressed by Ice. I felt that Sienna and Hawke’s relationship progressed too slowly for the novel’s 400 plus pages, particularly given the fact that it had been working up to this point for years now. By the time we feel immersed in their connection, the novel is over. This might be due in part to the secondary romance to which Singh devotes a fair portion of the novel, yet that, to me, felt better suited to a novella.
Regardless, Kiss of Snow was a satisfactory end to (or rather, beginning of) Sienna and Hawke’s story, and I can’t wait to see how they are getting along when the next Psy-Changeling novel comes out. Perhaps moreso than the relationships in this series, I am eager to witness the evolution of the war between the Psy and Changelings, to find out more about everyone’s favorite ambiguous Psy, and to finally figure out: who is the Ghost?
I had heard about The Black Jewels Trilogy for ages, but for some reason or another always managed to talk myself out of tracking it down. A couple ofI had heard about The Black Jewels Trilogy for ages, but for some reason or another always managed to talk myself out of tracking it down. A couple of months ago, I found the Trilogy at a local used book store and fished out some store credit. Twenty minutes later, I’d gotten home and thought “no time like the present”, and so sat down to read. I didn’t get up again for 24 hours (well, I allowed myself 8 to sleep). Then I drove to the bookstore, bought the companion book Dreams Made Flesh, came home, and read for another 5 hours.
In Black Jewels, Anne Bishop created a tale that managed to do what few books can: it took me out of myself, completely transporting me for a few precious hours. Bishop’s world-building is magnificent, but it is the characters that make the series. And in particular, three men: Daemon, Saetan, and Lucivar. How, you ask, does Bishop make a reader sympathize with three separate devilish incarnations? The more apt question would be, what could Bishop have these characters do to make us turn away from them? In a world populated with truly black souls, Bishop shows that sometimes those thought to be the monsters really reside in the grey. Most importantly, the interactions among the three convince the reader not only that they are real, but that they really are family.
While much of Bishop’s imagery is dark and some downright uncomfortable, she also manages to craft what has become one of my favorite romances, one that is surprisingly sweet for being surrounded by so much that is unsavory. From the first, Daemon and Jaenelle’s relationship exudes the growth of trust, friendship, and honest liking that so many authors neglect to show readers. Both characters learn from each other, despite a rather critical gap in age and experience, and it is their platonic love that sells me on this couple long before their relationship progresses to other kinds of intimacy.
One of the things I love best about Bishop’s world is that it lacks a defined sense of time and place. It could take place on any of the continents we know, or in some land of Bishop’s own creation; in the future, centuries in the past, or right this moment in some alternate reality. This ambiguity adds to the story’s often surreal quality and drew me in more than many contemporary or historical fantasies are able to.
The one thing that bothered me about the series was that I never quite got a handle on Jaenelle. This, I think, was a calculated effort on Bishop’s part, as the perspective allows for insight into nearly every other character’s head but for hers. Regardless, the Black Jewels Trilogy is a fantastic series that I can foresee rereading time and again.