Radiance by Grace Draven is the first book in her new Wraith Kings series. The book had first been published in short installments on her blog beforeRadiance by Grace Draven is the first book in her new Wraith Kings series. The book had first been published in short installments on her blog before getting released as an ebook.
Ildiko and Brishen, are the royal spares in their respective families. Each only important enough for a marriage of convenience to strengthen the relationship between the Kai and humans. Issue is that humans tend to flee in terror at the sight of Kai, who are armed with sharp teeth and claws. The Kai are equally off-put by human features, believing the way their eyes roll around in their sockets creepy. Despite their misgivings, Ildiko and Brishen are determined to be allies against a brewing battle over trade routes and the poisonous atmosphere of court.
It’s hard not to gush about this book because there was just so much that I adored about it. The slow build-up of a relationship between Ildiko and Brishen was wonderful. I loved how honesty between them was often painted in a courageous light and was the foundation they built their relationship on. Watching them overcome their knee-jerk reactions to each other’s appearance was also a delight. It’s hard to find a romance where both parties think the sight of each other is disturbing and rather hideous. The funny thing is that Draven did a great job of making the things the Kai found creepy about humans believable. Quite a few times in the story I sat there going “huh, I guess that would be a little odd.”
Aside from the relationship, there was also an intriguing political plot occurring in the background. From the epilogue (which acts as more of a teaser for the second book) it seems this will be more of the focus for the next book. It’s the political machinations at work that often had me thinking that things will never be smooth sailing for Brishen or Ildiko. Too much is at play and working against them in ways neither expected. So, I’m on the edge of my seat to discover how they’ll manage to continue forward and remain happy.
I can tell that this is going to be a book that I continually try to force people to read. If you like high fantasy with a strong romance, then I suggest you check this out. I’m already stalking Draven’s website to see when the next novel will be released....more
Thirteen is the final book for Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld. While I’m very sad to see the end of one of my favorite series, I’m also glThirteen is the final book for Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld. While I’m very sad to see the end of one of my favorite series, I’m also glad that Armstrong chose not to drag it out until she was beating a dead horse.
The world is turning to chaos as the Supernatural Liberation Movement sets into motion their plans to expose the supernatural population. With powerful demons now choosing sides, all the factions of the Otherworld must work together if they hope to successfully stop the movement. Still caught in the middle of the brewing war is Savannah Levine, who has yet to completely regain her powers.
Even though Thirteen is told primarily from Savannah’s point of view, this is definitely everyone’s story. Her character arc is mostly over near the beginning, so the focus shifts fully to the impending battle as everyone pulls together. With things completely out of control, Savannah is just along for the ride at different points, as other character’s take the wheel. I really loved that we got one chapter from the viewpoint of each of the previous narrators in the series. Armstrong executed this wonderfully as all of those chapters worked to move the plot forward. It also seemed critical that they be told from that particular person’s point of view, rather than Savannah’s. So, it was a nice nod to all the main characters without interrupting the story's flow.
My only confusion here is that, by the end, I felt like there should’ve been a novel for Cassandra. Cassandra has been a reoccurring character since Stolen and, while I don’t believe that we need a full length book for every character, she played an oddly large part here. She also seemed to have had a character arc happen off-page, which is the main reason I felt like there should’ve been a story for her. She does have a short story (found in Otherworld Nights) that touches briefly on it, but her change felt bigger than that.
All in all, this was a fantastic ending to the series that left a few open possibilities for Armstrong to explore in her novellas. So, while we may not get another full length Otherworld book, I'm glad that we are still getting small tidbits every now and then....more
This was a reread. I think I've read Magic Dreams at least five times now. For being only about 70 pages long this is a pretty well detailed story. SeThis was a reread. I think I've read Magic Dreams at least five times now. For being only about 70 pages long this is a pretty well detailed story. Several shifters have turned up missing and everything about their disappearance screams magic is the cause. Since Dali is the only shifter who's well-versed in magic, Jim seeks out her help. Dali was a refreshing narrator primarily because she doesn't rely on her physical fighting skills. Instead, she's forced to use her intelligence and magic abilities which is a nice contrast to Kate and Andrea. Plus, I just love Jim and Dali's relationship and suspense plot is pretty awesome. I can't wait to read their book when it comes out in a couple of years.
Daisy is out celebrating the end of a mandatory mourning period for her dead asshole of a husband and witnesses a brutal werewolf attack. As it turnsDaisy is out celebrating the end of a mandatory mourning period for her dead asshole of a husband and witnesses a brutal werewolf attack. As it turns out, the attack is not an isolated incident but one in the string of five murders by the same werewolf. The one link between all the murders is that they all wear the same perfume, a perfume that Daisy herself created and no one but her is supposed to own. Unwilling to play the victim and hide tucked away somewhere, Daisy sets out to find who is selling her perfume and why it has attracted the attention of a crazed werewolf. And that is why I have fallen in love with this series. The heroines can kick some ass while at the same time maintaining a level of vulnerability that makes them believable. In fact, let me give you a point by point of why I'm loving this series:
~Agency! The female protagonists not only actively save themselves, but they also save the heroes and are not condemned for it. In fact, the heroes love their strength and find them all the more attractive for it. For example, Daisy doesn't blindly accept Ian Ranulf's offer to cosset her away in his home while he investigates the attacks. Instead she makes a stand for her freedom and pursues answers in an intelligent manner that takes into account her strengths and limitations. Along the way Daisy discovers that, (view spoiler)[like her sister, she has her own elemental ability that makes itself apparent during one kick-ass scene where she saves Ian from a brutal mauling. (hide spoiler)]
~Respect What's even greater than the heroines having some serious agency is that the male characters respect their choices. Ian doesn't toss Daisy over his shoulder and forcibly make her stay with him. Nor does he try to over-ride any of her other decisions even if he doesn't exactly agree with some of her choices. This was, I admit, one of my biggest concerns while reading this book. I kept waiting for that particular anvil to fall, but luckily it never did and it made me love Ian all the more.
~Flawed Heroes While the heroes in this series are depicted as extremely strong and capable they also have some serious emotional and physical vulnerabilities that are refreshing after reading so many books where the heroes are depicted as being able to single-handedly take down an army of orcs without getting a scratch on them. Call me morbid, but I really liked how many times Ian gets his ass handed to him over the course of the story. Seeing that he can be beat added to the suspense of the final showdown.
~Non-virgin heroines YES! Good god, this makes me do a little happy dance.
I love Callihan for not making her heroines virgins despite these stories being set in historical time periods. What makes me love this even more is that the heroines have a pretty firm claim of their sexuality. Daisy is no wilting flower when it comes to her own sexual desires. She openly admits how much she loves men and sex, (view spoiler)[but her marriage to an emotional abuser gave her some serious baggage about those desires that we see her actively trying to overcome in order to reclaim how she once felt about herself and her sexuality. Loooved it. (hide spoiler)]
This is a bit of a gushing review, but I can't bring myself to care. Callihan hit all the right notes for me with this book and I can't wait to see where she takes this series. The next book features Daisy's sister, Poppy, and I can't wait to read it since my heart broke for her in this one. All I can say is that the world better not end in December, because I need to read Winterblaze.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Maybe it was just the time period this story is set in but at times it reminded me of Sweeney Todd. Just without the random song outbursts and with aMaybe it was just the time period this story is set in but at times it reminded me of Sweeney Todd. Just without the random song outbursts and with a main character who was extraordinarily creepy in his complete lack of humanness.
It's the extreme lack of humanity in Grenouille that is what made this book so creepy for me. The narrator likens him to a tick, a person with cold detachment from anything remotely resembling human emotion and with a self-serving drive that is the only thing spurring him onward through life. From the moment he's born Grenouille is shown as lacking a key component that signals humanness, a smell. His lack of smell immediately disturbs people, even if most of them don't understand why they have such a strong aversion to a child. Because of this, he gets passed around and generally has a pretty shitty childhood. Yet, despite seeing how sadly his childhood unfolds, Grenouille evokes no sympathy because he has no emotional reaction to anything that happens to him. He just accepts whatever is thrown his way and quietly watches the world while he bides his time. When Grenouille finally decides on a path he wants to pursue he does so in a methodical and ruthless style that is chilling in how easily he seems to accomplish it.
While Grenouille was terrifying in his lack of humanness, humanity itself was disturbing in how the book managed to boil them down to being purely animalistic beings who ultimately are led by baser instincts despite their belief otherwise. Grenouille manages to lead masses of people by using nothing more than their basic sense of smell. He creates perfumes for himself that evoke specific emotional reactions that he changes to meet in correspondence to what his needs are at the moment. His ultimate goal in this is to create a scent that would cause humanity to worship him as a god. This is where my one problem with the book came up, which was actually more of just a mild irritant. (view spoiler)[The key element for Grenouille's ultimate scent is young virgin women. This had me rolling my eyes that somehow young virgin girls smell so different and so pure that a condensed and large amount of their smell would cause people to believe that the person wearing said scent was some kind of deity. Gag. (hide spoiler)] Other than that, I loved this book and would strongly recommend it to anyone who is fan of horror or psychological thrillers.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
If P.G. Wodehouse decided to take a shot at writing a fairytale, I think this book is what would've resulted. It's light-hearted and full of quirky chIf P.G. Wodehouse decided to take a shot at writing a fairytale, I think this book is what would've resulted. It's light-hearted and full of quirky characters that keep things moving at a whirlwind pace. I borrowed this from the library but I have plans to buy a copy for myself....more
Typically, when I hear a book is "laugh out loud funny" I kind of snort and imagine that I'll find certain bits quietly amusing. Not true with this boTypically, when I hear a book is "laugh out loud funny" I kind of snort and imagine that I'll find certain bits quietly amusing. Not true with this book. I can't remember how many times I had to pause in reading this because I was laughing so hard. Don't believe me? Then you should google Jenny Lawson's "And That's Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles" blog post and see for yourself. Everyone in need of a good pick-me up read should check this book out. ...more
This is a fantastic play. I was able to see it on stage a few years ago and loved it. Reading it is even better, I picked up some things I missed whenThis is a fantastic play. I was able to see it on stage a few years ago and loved it. Reading it is even better, I picked up some things I missed when I was watching it live. The play takes place in the mid-60's at a Catholic school as one of the nuns begins to have suspicions surrounding a priest's relationship with a young boy. This follows her as she tries to prove the hunch she has is right. Seriously, this play is just wonderful. ...more
Mary Russell is reluctantly dragged away from her studies after receiving a telegram from Holmes requesting her presence in Dartmoor. Holmes had beenMary Russell is reluctantly dragged away from her studies after receiving a telegram from Holmes requesting her presence in Dartmoor. Holmes had been in Dartmoor visiting an old friend, but got drawn into an investigation after a local is killed. The case in question involves a ghostly carriage made of bones and a spectral hound haunting the Moor. Rather begrudgingly, Mary helps to scout for clues in the foggy, cold, and damp Moor. What both her and Holmes find are a handful of supernatural sightings that draw suspicious parallels between this case and one of Holmes' most famous investigations, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Like a lot of Sherlock Holmes fans, The Hound of the Baskervilles holds a special place in my heart. So revisiting the setting of that mystery with Mary and Holmes had my geeky heart all a titter.
The pacing here was a lot faster than in some of the other Mary Russell books, which was a relief after slogging through the slow moving A Letter of Mary. My only complaint is pretty mild, Mary was going through a bit of a mid-life crisis that involved a hesitance to fully join Holmes in the case until near the end. So she sort of emotionally checked out during the first half of the investigation. While she was still physically involved, there was a lot of background noise involving her reluctance to be there at all. King did a good job of attributing this to a psychological backlash due to the events of the previous three books but, with such an awesome mystery going on, I got frustrated that Mary wasn't getting into it. However, Holmes more than made up for Mary's standoffish attitude. He was, luckily, more present here than he had been in the previous books and seemed really in his element. It was great seeing Holmes get to dash about and really get into the mystery, which is something we hadn't fully gotten to see in the first three novels.
Most of the action takes place in a huge echoing mansion and the chilly moor, which seems so far removed from the London/Sussex settings of the previous novels that it was a refreshing change. I also really adored the moor atmosphere because I'm a huge fan of Gothic mysteries. The moor offered a great eerie and isolated feeling typically found in that genre and it really upped the suspense.
This is, by far, my favorite out of the series so far. I highly recommend it....more
After being disappointed by the first book in Ilona Andrew’s Edge series (On the Edge), I went into Bayou Moon with some hesitation. Luckily, the thinAfter being disappointed by the first book in Ilona Andrew’s Edge series (On the Edge), I went into Bayou Moon with some hesitation. Luckily, the things that annoyed me in On the Edge (mostly the overbearing and overly powerful male protagonist) were not present here. In fact, it seems like the Andrews’ writing team have found their footing with this installment. Bayou Moon is rich in world building, includes some intriguing new characters, and has quickly become one of my favorite books.
Cherise Mar’s parents have gone missing, leaving her in charge of an extended family group and their estate. In a race to get back home with some much needed paperwork, Cherise runs into William, a wolf shifter. William has been hired to discover what a notorious killer is searching for and turn it over to an elite intelligence agency calling itself the Mirror. As luck would have it, what the killer is seeking has something to do with the Mar family. So, William and Cherise must work together to stop the killer from cutting a bloody path through the family to get what he wants.
I really loved the atmosphere of Bayou Moon. Andrews’ dedicated a lot of time to building the world of the Edge and the part we see throughout this story is reminiscent of hardcore Cajun country. It’s a very swampy, remote, and muddy setting that the characters are working with, which is one of the favorite types of atmospheres. The downside to this is that at times it slowed down the pacing of the story down at times as there were a lot of details that needed to be covered about the general set-up of the world and understanding the Mar family dynamics. At the center of all the action is William and Cherise who are trying to deal with holding off a killer and settling some bloody family feuds.
One reason why I always love to pick-up an Andrews book is because I know the heroine will be well-rounded and dynamic character. Cherise was not a disappointment on this front. She handles all the chaos thrown at her with as much sanity as she can but still has justifiable worries, mistakes, and breakdowns throughout the story to make her human. One of the things thrown in her path is William who is a wolf shifter. In this universe shifters are looked at as unstable and often prosecuted just for existing. So, William tries his best to hide what he is from those around him in fear of being hunted down. The way Andrews writes William is one of the highlights of the story for me. There’s something slightly off about his mannerisms and how he just can’t seem to completely grasp all the nuances of normal social interactions that makes him fascinating.
All in all, a really fantastic read and I can’t wait to pick-up Fate's Edge, the next installment in the series....more
Brigg's Alpha and Omega series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The slowly evolving relationship between Anna and Charles is just so touching.Brigg's Alpha and Omega series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The slowly evolving relationship between Anna and Charles is just so touching. Anna, the heroine, was heavily abused by her previous pack. Even after being rescued by the merrick and his son, Charles, she's extremely leery around other werewolves. This includes Charles, who is her mate. Charles, for his part, is trying his best to make Anna comfortable and earn her trust. However, a spurt of recent attacks near their home forces them into an investigation and hunt.
I adore that the romantic relationship in this story doesn't hinge on a love triangle and instead focuses on Charles and Anna dealing with their own demons. The mystery surrounding the attacks and action of the two of them hunting the perpetrator through the snowy woods is just awesome. If you like Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series you'll love this one....more
This is the first book in King's Mary Russell series, but I actually didn't pick it up until after I read the three novels that follow it. Honestly, IThis is the first book in King's Mary Russell series, but I actually didn't pick it up until after I read the three novels that follow it. Honestly, I think I preferred it that way as this kind of read like a prequel for me. This was primarily because the first half of the novel is a little episodic, focusing mostly on Holmes and Mary getting to know each other.
After her parents and younger brother died in a car wreck, sixteen year old Mary Russell is sent to live with her aunt in England. Unfortunately, the aunt is an evil tyrant who only keeps her niece around because of the allowance she receives for taking care of Mary. In order to escape the toxic atmosphere of the house, Mary typically roams around the countryside dressed in her father's old clothes and reads. On one such romp, Mary stumbles across a man closely watching a small cluster of bees. After a brief conversation, where they both manage to insult each other, Mary figures out that she's in conversation with the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Impressed by Mary's aptitude in deducting not only who he is, but also exactly why he was watching a group of bees, Holmes convinces Mary to let him teach her his trade. Over the years, Holmes and Mary become close friends with a low level spark of attraction between them. But, being the magnet for danger he is, Holmes is soon targeted by an old enemy and Mary finds herself entangled in the whole affair.
I really adored this book. The beginning is compiled of small adventures that Mary has while learning from Holmes. It was fun watching Mary, during these parts, really come into her own and make the effort to differentiate herself from Holmes' larger-than-life personality. One of my favorites moments was her subtle flaunting of the fact that she's pursuing a degree in theology, much to Holmes' annoyance. However, the book didn't really pick-up and gain focus until the second part when the main mystery plot is introduced.
Part two begins when the people close to Holmes become the targets of an assassin, leading him and Mary to begin a long search to find the person behind the attacks. There's a lot of attraction that hums between Holmes and Mary in this section of the book, which I really loved. You can feel Holmes constantly trying to resist exposing his feelings about Mary while, at the same time, battling the attraction due to their age difference. This was just a really fantastic read, but I'm up in the air on whether or not I would recommend reading this later in the series or in chronological order. Most of the books in the series can stand on their own, so its really up to you on what order you read this series....more
Contrary to what I've heard and what the back cover says at the top of this book, I didn't find this story all that much beauty and the beast. Yes, thContrary to what I've heard and what the back cover says at the top of this book, I didn't find this story all that much beauty and the beast. Yes, the love interest is "different" looking while Aren is a pretty female but other than that it lacked the other elements to make me consider this a beauty and the beast story.
But that didn't lower my enjoyment of this book at all. In fact, I rather adored this book. The world Briggs built is amazing and left me wanting to know more about it. She also had some fantastic characters in this book. Aren is the kind of female lead character I love in stories. She's strong and not afraid to stand up for herself or take things into her own hands. While the Hob with his tail and life loving attitude was adorable. I only wish we could have got a little bit more information on Kith, another main character aside from the Hob and Aren, who was just flat out delicious.
My only complaint about this book is that it was too short. Some of the areas I felt should have been expanded on a little more like the main bad guy (aside from the raiders). All we really got about him was that he was evil and bad but no other information. ...more
Really glad I picked this one up. Sarah Addison Allen has a wonderful way of weaving magic into her story that makes it feel real. Her characters andReally glad I picked this one up. Sarah Addison Allen has a wonderful way of weaving magic into her story that makes it feel real. Her characters and their relationships with each other was also beautifully done. What I loved most is how every person described in the book is fleshed out to the point where even the characters you don't necessarily like you feel sympathy for because you know where they are coming from.
I will definitely be picking up another book by Allen in the future....more
Just when I think this series can't get any better, Liu puts one out like this. This was an action packed thriller that had me sitting at the edge ofJust when I think this series can't get any better, Liu puts one out like this. This was an action packed thriller that had me sitting at the edge of my seat several times.
Rikki is a virus hunter doing work in the Congo, because of her past she unknowingly becomes the target of two men who want information from her. Both want her alive and are willing to go to extreme measures to ensure that she's taken captive.
Rikki was a pretty kick ass character. She's emotionally and psychically scarred which has caused her to take a rather jaded outlook on life. But despite her pragmatic approach to things you can still tell she's a rather compassionate person. She's also no slouch in a pinch, despite being a human character among the supernatural. This is one of the things that I adore about Liu's books. Her heroines come across as real people. They have issues, but they're willing to do what they have to in order to survive. For instance, when Rikki is cornered by a bad guy in the beginning she stabs him in the eye with a freakin syringe in order to get away. That's ballsy man.
Because a bunch of men want Rikki, her boss has hired Dirke & Steele to be her body guards. Amiri, a cheetah shifter, and Eddie a guy who can light things on fire with his mind are dispatched for the job. Amiri and Rikki both have some interesting pasts and as they get to know each other you know exactly why feel a connection with each other. They know how to relate to what has happened to the other and its wonderful to see a relationship in a romance where you completely understand why the two characters are drawn to each other.
One of the things that made this story so compelling for me was the Congo setting. The majority of the action is our heroes running for their lives through the jungle with two different pursuers on their tail. It really added to the suspense, because they were isolated with not way of contacting anyone who might be able to help them. The jungle also added a level of creepiness in the "forest has eyes" kind of way. I just loved it.
My only regret about this book is that I haven't read the series in order. I was all over the place with these books, reading the ones that sounded the most interesting to me first. While these can be read as stand alones, there's a story arc that runs through the whole series. Some of the nuances of that arc were lost on me as I've read the stories out of order. I usually have to stop and think about what's happened or has yet to happen in the story in order to center myself. So I would say if you can, read these books in order.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an action packed urban fantasy with a strong love story threaded through it....more
**spoiler alert** Celia Sands has just been given a part that could launch her entire acting career. But the reason she’s been offered the part isn’t**spoiler alert** Celia Sands has just been given a part that could launch her entire acting career. But the reason she’s been offered the part isn’t because of her talent, it’s her name. Celia shares the same name as the famous actress who vanished before she could play the lead role that was written for her. Now the grandson of the play write, Alex, is attempting to put on the play at his grandfather’s enormous house in Italy, Il Piacere, which conveniently happens to have a theater on the grounds, and he wants Celia’s name on the playbill for some publicity. When Celia finds this out she isn’t exactly doing a jig in joy over landing a lead role. In fact, she’s determined not to take the part at all until Bryan tells her how much it would mean to Rupert, who will be directing.
Bryan and Rupert, aka Roo, are pretty much Celia’s parents. They raised her since she was a baby and it’s them she considers family and it’s them who she turns to when she needs help. I absolutely loved Roo and Bryan. The relationship they had with each other along with the relationship they had with Celia was just amazingly well done.
So with the thought of pleasing Roo and of spending some father/daughter time with him, Celia agrees to go. Unfortunately, the play they’re to put on is supposedly cursed. And from the moment Celia and Roo step foot on the grounds of Il Piacere it seems that might very well be true. Two of the household staff vanish the day Celia and Roo arrive.
My main complaint about this book has to do with the plot. There were a lot of things going on in this book, they never got confusing, but there isn’t really a big focus on one main mystery. Instead there seemed to be many small ones floating all around. And the one that ended up being the “big climax” of the story wasn’t all that interesting. It seemed like it was just thrown in there at the end so things could wrap up. It felt like the plot should’ve revolved more around whether or not the play was written by D’Ascanio and what really happened to the first Celia Sands.
Now the characters are what really drove this book for me. Every single one was marvelous and with their own personalities and voices. I loved Celia. She’s one of those rare heroines who pull off being a kind and caring person without coming across as being a wimp or push over.
Anyway, I recommend this book to fans of Barbara Michaels and gothic mysteries. Even though I think I might go as far as to recommend this to people who aren’t huge fans of mysteries either since this seemed more character driven than mystery driven. Read this book, it’s definitely worth the time. ...more
**spoiler alert** Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died, leaving behind a mountai**spoiler alert** Rosalind Hawkins is screwed. She had been in the middle of getting her masters degree when her father died, leaving behind a mountain of debts and no way to pay them off. Now all Rose has to her name is a couple of ratty dresses and handful of worthless mementos. And since this is 1905 her options of employment are pretty limited. So when Rose receives a job offer to be a governess for the railroad baron, Jason Cameron, she accepts it and moves to San Francisco. But when Rose arrives at Cameron’s estate she finds the place strangely devoid of human life except for Cameron’s creepy valet. She also discovers that the governess position was a hoax and that what Cameron really needed was someone who could read several ancient languages. This is fine with Rose seeing as she never really wanted to deal with a bunch of screaming kids anyway and she’ll be able to use her college education. Plus there are also the added bonuses of a big check, a new wardrobe, and plush living quarters. All for just reading to a disabled guy via speaking tube every night.
There was too many things going on at once between Rose and Jason’s developing relationship, the mission to find a way to reverse Jason’s wolf-iness, the valet creeping around, the other fire master trying to take Jason down, and the list goes on. It was still a really great story, but it felt too rushed for my tastes. The main villain was supposed to be the other fire master in the area and yet we hardly ever saw him. So I didn’t really get a chance to build up a nice big chuck of hate for the character. I disliked the valet a hell of a lot more than the main villain and the valet was just a pawn. So that kind of took away from the big showdown between Jason and the other fire master. -That showdown was still pretty awesome though.-
Despite the off stage main villain, all the other characters were awesome. Rose was smart and didn’t freak out over every little thing that Jason pulled with her. And Jason was awesome, even though he did have a bit of a stalker thing going with his being able to use mirrors to see what other people were doing. He watched Rose constantly, but that mostly because he didn’t trust her too much and then because he was vicariously living through her. This was fine by me, seeing as he didn’t build a shrine to her or start sniffing her underwear. Jason also had a great back story and was just a great character.
I was kind of disappointed when Jason didn’t find a way to reverse what happened to him. I think it’s because so much of the plot was about him trying to find some way to change him self back that I felt cheated when he didn’t find a cure. Also the way the plot was set up I think I would’ve looked at it more as him being redeemed from his past arrogance, etc....more
**spoiler alert** The Fairy Godmother is set in a place where a powerful magical force called “the Tradition” shoves fairy tale lives down people’s th**spoiler alert** The Fairy Godmother is set in a place where a powerful magical force called “the Tradition” shoves fairy tale lives down people’s throats. And the fairy tales aren’t your disney-fied versions either, but the original Brothers Grimm type of tales. Basically anyone whose circumstances resemble that of an already existing fairy tale is screwed into having to live the fairy tale. For some that’s good because they get their happily ever after, for others it dooms them to certain death. The Tradition is like Russian roulette and I love it.
Anyway, when the Tradition saw Elena Klovis with her wicked stepmother and step sisters treating her like slave its little fairy tale radar decided that she’d be her kingdoms Cinderella. Except the Tradition doesn’t always check to make sure everything is in place for the fairy tales to work, because Elena’s prince charming is an 11 year old. Thus, she is screwed.
I loved Elena. She’s smart, witty, and knows what she’s doing. She doesn’t sit around and bemoan her bad luck when things go wrong in her life. Instead she sets out to actually change what’s wrong. So, when her step mother decides to head off to greener pastures where she and her daughters are neck deep in debts, Elena sees it as her chance to finally escape, because she, of course, is being left behind to guard the house. The minute Elena gets the chance she books it out of there with the plan of becoming a paid servant in someone’s house. Unfortunately, the Tradition is still working on her and being a paid servant in someone’s house does not go with the Cinderella life style it has picked out for her. Just when Elena’s almost given up hope a crazy old lady shows up on a cart pulled by a hump backed donkey wearing a straw hat. After having a spot of tea, the old lady reveals herself to be Elena’s fairy godmother who, after explaining where the hell she’s been all of Elena’s life, offers Elena a chance to take over as fairy godmother. Elena doesn’t want to go back to her old life, so accepts almost point blank.
So Elena starts getting good and comfy with her new role as fairy godmother and one day she signs up to test three princes. The first one fails miserably by completely ignoring the ugly old beggar woman, so she banishes him to being trapped in the forest until he learns a lesson. The second prince, Alexander, fails just as miserably except even more so cause he manages to piss off Elena. So after Alexander almost runs the old beggar woman over Elena decides that since he’s already an ass by personality he might as well look like one too. So she turns him into a donkey. Anyway the last prince is nice and gets the prize of a bunch of cheat codes for how to get to and save the princess. So Elena’s happy because the tests went well and she’s totally multi-tasking, because she needed a new donkey anyway and at the same time she’s also doing her godmotherly duties by teaching Alexander a lesson.
Alexander is a huge jerk at the beginning of this, but he evolves and it was nice to see that and it was done in a way that it was convincing too. Anyway, I was expecting a show down of some kind involving the Tradition near the end, but that never really happened. It felt like everything was resolved a bit too easily in this story, but that’s really my only complaint, because the rest of this book was great. Lackey does some amazing world building in this and how she applies the different fairy tales and magical creatures into this book is fantastic. I will defiantly be checking out the next book in the series. ...more
I solemnly swear that I will try my hardest not to gush over this book like a rabid fan girl, but I have to say that I loved this book. Poison Study wI solemnly swear that I will try my hardest not to gush over this book like a rabid fan girl, but I have to say that I loved this book. Poison Study was a unique read and the characters and world Snyder builds up in this are absolutely amazing.
After rooming with the rats in the dungeons for a year, Yelena’s execution date has finally arrived. And she’s escorted upstairs to be read her last rights and have a chance to confess her sins before execution. Only the man she’s taken to offers her a choice, she can either swing in the breeze or become the food taster for the Commander of Ixia. -who is pretty much like the king of the kingdom.- Yelena’s not an idiot and knows that either way she’s choosing death, the only difference is how and when she’s going to die. Fast and now, by a noose or slowly and who knows when by poison. After a bit of consideration Yelena decides that with the poison at least she might have a chance of escaping.
Yelena’s lessons on poisons start immediately and this job is anything but easy. She not only has to deal with the fact that some assassin may try to slip the Commander poisoned food and end up poisoning her, but also that Valek, her teacher and the Commander’s right hand man, is known to test the food tasters by slipping them poisons every once in a while as well. Her plans of escaping have pretty much been squashed too, because Valek slipped a little insurance into her drink and now she has to get an antidote from him every morning or die a slow and painful death. And things just keep on getting better and better for Yelena, because the owner of the orphanage is pissed that she isn’t being executed for killing his son. So his cronies are running around the castle trying to kill her and there’s a rat in the servants quarter who is feeding her enemies information. There’s also the fact that something strange is happening to the Commander and she’s starting to develop a bit of a crush on Valek. Which shouldn’t be happening since the guy is likely to kill her if he ever gets even the slightest notion that she’s not working out as food taster.
I loved the world Snyder is building here. You get the sense that this place is kind of medieval, but then they have some modern conveniences as well. There’s a feud going on between the south and north countries that is really interesting as well. When Ixia was taken over by the Commander he banished all magic people and they went to the south. Now anyone who’s born with magic in Ixia is executed unless they can make it to the south before anyone reports them to the authorities. This is another problem Yelena faces when her magic powers start to emerge.
Yelena is probably one of the most tortured heroines I’ve read about in a long time and I absolutely loved her character. She had crappy life before she was imprisoned and things just keep getting more awful for her every day, but she handles everything that’s thrown at her really well. She knows how to think things through and instead of being broken by all that has happened to her, it’s only managed to make her stronger. She’s someone who can make it on her own and is smart enough and resourceful enough to survive pretty much anything.
Valek was another great character even though I think I made his character sound a bit darker than he is in the book. Throughout the story you’re a little leery of him and his motives because you can tell he’d do anything to keep the Commander safe and he isn’t exactly Mr. Trusting when it comes to other people. Both Valek and Yelena are really layered characters and I loved watching their relationship grow and watching their interactions together. And the minor characters in the story are great. The Commander was surprisingly a really interesting character and I would’ve liked to have seen more of him.
When I finished this book I was a little annoyed that it kind of ended on a cliff hanger. It wasn’t a huge one or anything. All the problems that were introduced in the story at the beginning were resolved and I felt content the story ended for the time being. Snyder just introduced a few small problems at the end in hopes of leaving us wanting more and kind of giving us a taste of what's going to happen in the next book. And it worked. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's listening....more