It’s about time! This book has a great combination of the hiss and gurgle of complex steam punk gadgets and a fantasy mysteryA fantastic gender bender
It’s about time! This book has a great combination of the hiss and gurgle of complex steam punk gadgets and a fantasy mystery. Books and Braun are a great mismatched pair. I referenced purchasing this book in my blog http://kaseyshoemaker.com/?p=261 because I had sadly dragged my disappointed self through another overly sexed urban fantasy where the main character ended up raped. It was awful, and I was more than a little offended to realize that it was a pattern. On my blog, I ranted about the state of the female hero in modern literature. In a huff, I grabbed my purse and headed to the nearest bookstore hoping for the genre to redeem itself in my eyes. When I picked up this novel, I was delighted at the gender-bender tale and amused that Eliza Braun, the “explosive” field agent wore a bulletproof corset. Princess Leia would have been proud to have her join the sisterhood. Books, is proper in that kind of sexy-but-doesn’t-know-it way. And, his resourcefulness and quick thinking made him an equal partner for Braun.
My only complaint about this book is that I couldn’t shake the feeling that the publishing company rushed the release. It had a distinctly unpolished feel, which was glaring against the beautiful Victorian wit. Other than that, I would highly recommend this read, especially if you appreciate the type of sharp-tongued banter that can be enjoyed in any Sherlock Holmes tale. ...more
Okay, as anyone can tell by now, I am a huge fan of this series. However, I simply was not as into this particular installment as I had been the otherOkay, as anyone can tell by now, I am a huge fan of this series. However, I simply was not as into this particular installment as I had been the other ones. Perhaps it was because I had gotten on the Mercy bandwagon a bit late, so I was spoiled to go through the books as fast as I could read them without waiting for the next one to come out. On the other hand, I had pre-ordered this one, and, I was more than a little sad when the publication date was pushed back. Maybe I ruined it for myself by waiting so long. Maybe it couldn’t have possibly lived up to my expectations.
However, I have another theory. As much as I hate to say this, perhaps it’s time for this series to come to a close. I’d miss it. I really would. But, Mercy and Adam are married. Samuel’s issues have been resolved. And, if this book is any example of what I can expect in the future, the other characters just became obsolete. Much of the story, actually 90% of the story focused on Mercy and Adam’s honeymoon, which was rudely interrupted by the river devil. Of course, the suspense was high, the danger intense, the mystery interesting, and the battle fast-paced, but where was everyone else? Mercy and Adam, as much as I love them, can’t sustain an entire book on their own, especially when the sexual tension has mostly turned to newlywed sex. That of course is all well and good and even welcome after sticking with the couple for five books, but I got so weary of the river and the trailer that I was thrilled when they went to a Wal-Mart. Not a good sign. I know I’ll endure a storm of Mercy fans telling me that this was one of the best in the series and that they’ll never tire of reading them. But, as a writer myself, I can sense a story coming to a close. I only hope the publishing company doesn’t milk the series so long that it loses its audience entirely.
If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend Briggs’s other series, the Alpha and Omega series. There are two installments of it so far, not including the novella that started it, and the third book is due out in January 2012. For now, I’ll try to refrain from pre-ordering it or searching for any details about it on Google. ...more
I really couldn't put this book down. The adventures of Michael and Kate had me reading into the night. This book lets the readers know right away thaI really couldn't put this book down. The adventures of Michael and Kate had me reading into the night. This book lets the readers know right away that there is so much more to the main characters, but the pacing doesn't drag out the mystery or ruin it in a far-too-early exposition. The suspense, well-rounded characters, and the humor definitely kept me turning the pages. Even if you're not a huge fan of science fiction, you will love this book for its elements of fantasy, adventure, and romance. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to get invested in a great new series because believe me, you'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment. ...more
Damn, I hated her in the movie. That wicked witch was so awful, and she wanted to kill Dorothy’s innocent doggie. What a bitch! Because I’m a writer wDamn, I hated her in the movie. That wicked witch was so awful, and she wanted to kill Dorothy’s innocent doggie. What a bitch! Because I’m a writer who loves villains, sometimes more than my protagonists, I was excited about this book. Essentially, this story takes place before Dorothy’s house fell on the witch’s sister, although that detail is in the story. It gives the villain a name, Elphaba (homage to L. Frank Baum), a childhood, a family, and a materialistic college roommate who thinks rooming with her will damage her pristine reputation. There are other treats for the Oz fans, such as explanations for the cowardly lion (a cub in the book), the winged monkeys, and even Elphaba’s hat. However, this is not like the childhood tale of Dorothy. It’s far more dark and sinister at times. Elphaba seems doomed from the start of her green life. While she makes good friends in college, her father will always love her sister more (and isn’t afraid to show it), and her first experience with love is ruined with tragedy and pain. By the end, the reader thinks Dorothy made a horrible mistake with that water bucket. ...more
Let me start by saying that what the Mercy Thompson series has done for urban fantasy has been nothing short of amazing. The protagonist, Mercy, is evLet me start by saying that what the Mercy Thompson series has done for urban fantasy has been nothing short of amazing. The protagonist, Mercy, is everything I love about heroines in fantasy. I almost didn’t buy any books in the series in spite of Amazon’s constant recommendations because the covers, showing a scantily clad and inconsistently tattooed female character, made me think it was like so many other fantasy books. It is not! Mercy is a strong, opinionated VW mechanic who spends more time covered in grease than she does showing off her assets. But, more interesting is that she is a “walker.” She can transform into a coyote at will and is resistant to most magic.
At the beginning of the book, the reader learns immediately that Mercy, who is not motivated by vigilante justice or anything more glamorous or complicated than a good, kind heart, can get herself into trouble with her actions as easily as she can get her friends out of it. She begins by trying to help a young guy, practically a kid, who has been turned into a werewolf against his will. Having grown up in the most prominent packs in the area and having an Alpha as her neighbor, she knows a bit about this world, and she intends to help him learn to control his wolf.
While the stories in this series are great and full of adventure, I keep turning the pages for the characters. Stefan is an old, strong vampire who drives a VW bus made to look like the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine. Samuel is a werewolf and Mercy’s old flame. Adam is the Alpha werewolf of the Tri-Cities pack, Mercy’s neighbor, and eternally patient potential love interest. ...more
This is by far my favorite book in the Mercy Thompson series. Returning a borrowed book should be easy, right? Well, it’s far from easy in the world oThis is by far my favorite book in the Mercy Thompson series. Returning a borrowed book should be easy, right? Well, it’s far from easy in the world of Patricia Briggs. The premise of the book is that Mercy needs to return a very special book about the Fae. However, the more significant plot element is the developing relationship between Mercy and Adam, how it affects the pack, and the toll it takes on poor Samuel. From the beginning of the series, Samuel has been a sympathetic character, and old wolf, who wanted nothing more than to have a family. He lost Mercy when she was only a teenager and then once again to Adam. He’s been a doctor for hundreds of years, and, simply put, is weary of the world. He takes drastic steps to end his pain, causing his wolf to take over.
Also throughout the story, Adam’s pack, or rather some of the pack, has issues with Mercy’s involvement with Adam, and they take action. Pack power struggles and battles for dominance take center stage here as Adam is forced to defend his position as Alpha. And once that’s settled, Mercy, again motivated by friendship, finds herself in another dangerous mess facing off against the Fairy Queen. During the climatic scene where Mercy is trapped in the Queen’s realm alone with no hope of escape, the reader is treated to a brilliantly depicted visualization of the pack and its bonds. After reading so many hundreds of pages about the pack bonds and how the energy flows between them, I was thrilled to have this succinct and beautiful scene that explains them so clearly. This book has definitely gone on my to-re-read list. ...more
I can’t get enough of Mercy Thompson! At the beginning of this series, Adam, the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack, needed rescue. As the story developed,I can’t get enough of Mercy Thompson! At the beginning of this series, Adam, the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack, needed rescue. As the story developed, Adam was in competition for Mercy with another, older werewolf, the son of the Marrok. But, this book shows the reader why he’s the Alpha and why he’s Mercy’s choice.
In this book, there are more problems with vampires when an old friend of Mercy’s and her precocious and vulnerable little boy caught in the middle of the mess. Also, Bone Crossed revisits the events at the end of Iron Kissed. Traumatized Mercy must find a way to heal herself and her relationship with Adam, and it isn’t easy. But, as always, Mercy has good friends to help. ...more
Iron Kissed focuses mainly on the Fae, and for me, it was about time. Up until this book, the Fae were mentioned in passing but given little to no attIron Kissed focuses mainly on the Fae, and for me, it was about time. Up until this book, the Fae were mentioned in passing but given little to no attention. The set-up for this plot element is that Mercy needs a distraction from the tension caused by her inability to choose between Adam and Samuel. At the beginning of the book, her best friends tell her she has to pick one of them. The reader has been thinking the same thing for about 500 pages. However, the added complications are that Samuel is living with her, and her unresponsiveness to Adam’s advances has created problems in his pack. What’s a shape-shifting, VW mechanic to do? The answer is that she comes to the aid of yet another friend who needs help investigating a series of murders on the Fae reservation. And, as a Mercy Thompson reader would expect at this point, chaos ensues.
The end of this book is dark and tragic. But, the event brings the pack together, and Mercy learns a great deal about her friends and on whom she will always be able to rely. Honestly, at the end of this book, I wasn’t happy with the turn of events. However, I realized that the writer had evolved the series from a bunch of books where the characters embark on one adventure after another to one group of interconnected stories with increasing depth of character and relationships. It truly became a series for me after this book. Sometimes, the tragedy has value, as hard as it is for the reader to endure it. ...more
The Mercy Thompson series continues! Blood Bound starts off with a suspenseful, bloody, and more than a little twisted scene between Mercy, Stefan (aThe Mercy Thompson series continues! Blood Bound starts off with a suspenseful, bloody, and more than a little twisted scene between Mercy, Stefan (a vampire to whom she owes a favor), and a vampire controlled by a demon. Awesome. In this installment, the reader gets a more detailed and satisfyingly dark peek inside the vampire seethe, which is equipped with a sadistic truth-telling chair.
One of the great things about Blood Bound is that it spends a little more time on character development. The loving relationship between Kyle and Warren is bought to the forefront when Kyle, a human, learns about Warren being a werewolf. Also, the Mercy, Samuel, Adam love triangle becomes a square, so to speak, with the revelation that Stefan also has feelings for her. This story is not the typical fantasy tale where a strong, sexy main character suddenly has multiple men falling all over her, killing for her, and fighting for her. No. While the additional love interests for Mercy provide confusion for her and conflicting emotions, it’s not the kind of plot element that was thrown in when some attractive guy inadvertently crossed paths with the heroine or when a guy who is so obviously bad for the female character that the reader loses respect for her. In the case of this series, these are friends who have a long, murky history together where love has developed over shared adventure and shared tragedy. It’s far more realistic and more satisfying for the reader. ...more
This Alpha Omega series book takes place in the same world and similar time frame as Mercy Thompson. For fans of the Mercy Thompson series, Charles isThis Alpha Omega series book takes place in the same world and similar time frame as Mercy Thompson. For fans of the Mercy Thompson series, Charles is Samuel’s brother. However, the story focuses on the developing relationship between Anna, a newly turned werewolf who has been abused by her pack and Charles, son of the Marrok. To be more accurate, their story begins in a novella found in a compilation titled On the Prowl. This is a rather quick read but fairly necessary for the series. Cry Wolf begins with Anna moving to Charles’s home and Charles a being bit incapacitated from the events in the novella. Anna has a special gift. She is an Omega wolf, which is a pretty spiffy concept that I won’t ruin for you here.
Their tenuous, budding romance is interrupted when, as one would expect from a Patricia Briggs novel, chaos ensues. The villain in this case is a witch, which makes for a pretty interesting final battle. However, the joy for me in this book was in watching Anna develop. She didn’t benefit from Mercy’s upbringing or current support system. She was changed against her will and brought into a pack for their pleasure in abusing and raping her. Charles, like Samuel and Adam, is a strong, patient man who makes few mistakes and usually says the right things. This is one of my few beefs with Briggs. Her male characters are wonderful, the stuff fantasy love stories are made of, but their power and age bring with them a sense of perfection while the women are flawed emotional creatures prone to human mistakes. ...more
This is the second installment of the Alpha Omega series (third if you count the novella that started it off). Anna and Charles are married, so if youThis is the second installment of the Alpha Omega series (third if you count the novella that started it off). Anna and Charles are married, so if you were looking for a long, suspenseful courtship, you’re out of luck. But, the love story doesn’t suffer for it. Their relationship isn’t perfect. Anna still has issues stemming from her time in a nightmare pack, her only experiences as a werewolf. Charles has shown her endless patience, love, and security, but like any recovering victim, Anna has a hard time trusting her new life. The romance between the two characters is engaging and heartwarming. However, that development comes at the cost of a strong plot. The events of the book that cause conflict and start the two on their newest adventure seemed to have been retrofitted into a pretty solid love story. And some of the pieces just don’t work well with the overall book. I will say that, like the story before this one, I read it in two days and became sad that I’d have to wait for the next book. For my part, Briggs is forgiven for her weak plot because Charles and Anna had me hooked. ...more
Some books barely make it to my bookshelf once I’ve bought them. They’re constantly at the ready for me to pick up at any free minute, just to get a fSome books barely make it to my bookshelf once I’ve bought them. They’re constantly at the ready for me to pick up at any free minute, just to get a few more pages in, and are usually devoured in two or three days. However, other books hook me in the store, receive my undivided attention for about 100 pages and then find themselves bookmarked and shelved for a long afternoon or weekend of bad television, cast aside for other new bookstore treasures. For me, this book was the latter, and when I picked it up the second time, I felt absolutely stupid for not giving it more of a chance. It’s a world-building fantasy, which I’ll be the first to admit is not my favorite type of fantasy. I personally gravitate towards paranormal fantasy or urban fantasy. That’s just my preference, and it’s no fault of the book. The pacing doesn’t demand that you turn pages as fast as humanly possible just to catch the next sentence of action or witty dialogue. However, the story is rich in detail and intrigue. The book features female doppelgangers, a warrior and a witch. The first to learn of the existence of the other is the witch, Miryo. To complete her training, she must hunt and kill her other self, Mirage, who is a powerful fighter. While each woman is strong, neither will fare particularly well against the other. Magic is the warrior’s weakness, and fighting is the witch’s weakness. The interest for me in this book was the fact that both characters are likable for different reasons, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking that I didn’t want either one of them to die. Once they meet, they don’t take long to decide that they will not fight to the death. Rather, they will sort this out and resolve it in a way that both can go on living. The finale was well worth it, and I’m looking forward to picking up the next one. My advice to you is push through even though the pacing is slow at points. The resolution is clever and not one you’ll soon forget. ...more
Kate Daniels is a bad ass. There are a lot of other plot elements in this book, but the reader will have no doubt about that. This is the first instalKate Daniels is a bad ass. There are a lot of other plot elements in this book, but the reader will have no doubt about that. This is the first installment in the Kate Daniels series, the next books of which are cleverly titled, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, etc. This urban fantasy takes place in an Atlanta that has been riddled by magic and paranormal problems. In this story, the paranormal doesn’t hide in secret. It’s out in the open, and the world has to deal with it. The main characters are Kate Daniels and the enigmatic Curan, the Beast Lord. The chemistry between them is palpable, but there’s a lingering sense that these two aren’t getting together anytime soon. Kate is depicted as feisty, stubborn, and guarded, all good traits for a sword wielding urban fantasy character. But, they don’t lend themselves to a healthy romance, at least not right away, which is evident in the one potential love interest she meets. This was a great, edgy story, and I intend to continue the series. The humor is refreshing, especially in spite of the action and violence. However, the sharp wit was dulled somewhat by its overuse. As a reader, I prefer the humor to be sprinkled throughout dialogue, narration, and character perception. In this case, the laugh-a-page pace was precipitated solely by Kate. She’s great, and she is, of course, a bad ass, but is she the only one in the story with the ability to crack a joke?...more
The Night Circus is not just a novel: It’s an experience. It’s like the book equivalent to watching Avatar or the ice scene in Dr. Zhivago. The magicThe Night Circus is not just a novel: It’s an experience. It’s like the book equivalent to watching Avatar or the ice scene in Dr. Zhivago. The magic of the circus setting and the Victorian style narrative creates an experience of decadence and lusciousness. I loved sitting down to read this book. Every time I came back to it, I was drawn into the world of magic, fantasy, and forbidden love.
Celia and Marco are the magicians, bound together in rivalry, who fall in love. They start in the novel as children living out their fathers’ twisted game and are then trained for their ultimate impending competition. The source of their individual powers is handled in two different ways. With Celia, it’s an innate power; however, for Marco it’s a gift of manipulation of perception. But, in spite of differences, the result is magic nonetheless. Whether it’s a leather jacket being transformed into doves, a perpetually burning fire, kittens performing acrobatics, a fire breathing paper dragon, or a truly spiffy ice garden, the magic is truly intoxicating.
I would classify this book as a strong character novel. However, Celia and Marco, in this case were side characters. They were not as developed as I would have liked. Even though, the reader first encounters the characters as children, their depth is never truly realized. This is partially a product of third person parallel narratives, which inevitably draws focus from the two main characters and spreads it across other scenes and people. Another reason for this disconnection between the main characters is the timeline in the book. I personally felt a bit deprived of the development of the love affair because the book jumped across three years after their first stolen kiss and bounces back and forth frequently. The effect is heightened suspense but an ultimate detachment from the characters and their developing love affair.
But these are really small criticisms considering what the trade-off was. The reason I maintain that this is a strong character book is because I think of the circus itself as being the main character. The reader sees it from its inception to its… well, to avoid spoilers, I’ll call it a transformation. The circus is the reason to turn over 300 pages. Celia and Marco’s relationship is romantic and intriguing, but it’s not what pulls readers into the narrative. I fell in love with the most remarkable and dynamic character in the book, the one with the dark, mysterious magic that engrossed me from the beginning. The Night Circus is not the setting of the book. It’s the entire novel, and it’s worth every page. ...more
Monster Hunter International is labeled a “modern fantasy,”Laugh-Out-Loud Fun, Gory, and Captivating
Larry Correia is my new favorite writer to watch.
Monster Hunter International is labeled a “modern fantasy,” which is an apt genre category for it. This isn’t the kind of profound prose that will change your life. It is, however, one hell of a fun ride. I absolutely love Correia’s sense of humor! One of my favorite aspects of the humor in this book is that it wasn’t relegated to the main character making one wisecrack after another. The entire tone of this Monster Hunter International was hilarious. However, the real quality of the novel comes from the relatable, dynamic characters.
Owen Pitt, the accountant, doesn’t seem like an impressive character. And, that’s just the point. He doesn’t start the story as a vigilante, hero, or hunter of evil. However, he gets there pretty quickly. The wild adventure starts immediately. It wastes no time on exposition or lengthy character development. The reader watches Owen grow as the plot unfolds. The cast of characters he joins is diverse, interesting, and like him, relatable.
It’s one thing to have an awesome monster story with gripping, strongly written action sequences, which this story has, but it’s entirely another to write a group of characters about which the reader can actually care. A lot of fantasy books have two or three characters buzzing around the protagonist, and the reader can safely get invested in that handful of personalities, figuring that they won’t buy it in at least the first few books in the series. I got attached to every one of the characters, from Holly the stripper to Julie’s trouble causing father. The next installment is on my must-read list. Like I said, Larry Correia is one to watch. ...more