With no family and very few friends, Lucky’s psychic ability has always made her an outcast. The only person she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has been with her since she was born.
But Kayla is not all that she appears.
And when Lucky is visited by a demonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself dragged into the Underlands – and the political fight for the daemon king’s throne.
Lucky, trapped in the daemon world, is determined to find her way home… until she finds herself caught between the charms of the Guardian Jamie, the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx – and the lure of finding out who she really is.
Reading a Jo Fletcher-published book is always something that I’m going to look forward to because you know that most of the time, you’ll get something good and Sue Tingey’s confident debut is an example of that, with the first novel in the Soulseer Chronicles being a very well written offering that should be worth a look for fans looking to read something that focuses on a world parallel to our own, with a great urban fantasy feel that’s richly developed.
Marked follows the journey of Lucky, a psychic whose ability to see ghosts has always made her an outcast, with no family and few friends to speak of. The only person who she can rely on is Kayla, the ghost girl who has followed her around since she was born, but even Kayla, is not quite who she appears, and when Lucky finds herself visited by a daemonic assassin with a message for her friend, she finds herself pulled into the political battle for the Underlands and the fight for the daemon king’s throne, even if she, at the same time, is doing everything to try and get back home.
The characters are intriguing and whilst there is a romance subplot it is handled well and never slows the story down. As well as Lucky and Kayla we also find out that Lucky soon gets caught between the Guardian Jamie and the charismatic Daemon of Death Jinx, who are the other two characters involved in a love triangle with Lucky, but it never really feels as though we’ve ‘been there, done that’ before, with Tingey writing well enough to avoid the clichés and resolve the romance plot well whilst at the same time, moving the story along nicely. The supporting cast of Mr Kerfuffle and Mr Shenanigans are nice additions to the book as well as bodyguards, and any Neil Gaiman fan should feel right at home with the style of this book, as it’s smartly and compellingly written with some confident prose.
The world that we are introduced to combines Heaven and Hell into one place and is a fascinating approach to Urban Fantasy which keeps the fresh feel of the novel rather than it being again, the same old story that we've seen countless of times before. It’s different and blends the modern-day British setting with the parallel world very well indeed, not falling into the trap of having all demons evil and all angels good, blurring the lines between the two factions wonderfully well.
The character interactions and the relationship between Lucky and Kayla is pretty great throughout the whole novel and we get some nice, well rounded characters here that work. When combined with the extremely well paced first offering and richly developed world, Sue Tingey’s Marked a fascinating opener to what should be an excellent trilogy. It’s currently available to buy in the UK although (according to Amazon.com) it won’t be available in the USA until October 6, and is something that you should certainly consider picking up when you can.
The Blackhart Code: Don't let the monsters grind you down A Blackhart can see the supernatural behind everyday crimes. But some crimes hide even greater evils . . . Kit Blackhart must investigate why children are disappearing from a London estate. Their parents, the police and Kit's fae allies claim to know nothing. And as more children disappear, the pressure mounts. Luckily, or unluckily, government trainee Dante Alexander is helping Kit with the case. Yet just as her feelings towards him begin to thaw, his life falls apart. As Kit struggles to unravel Dante's problems and solve their case, she meets fae Prince Thorn in her dreams - but their relationship is utterly forbidden.
Then Kit digs too deep, uncovering a mystery that's been hidden for one thousand years. It's a secret that could just tear down our world.
I can’t resist a good urban fantasy, especially when it’s set in London, and given how strong the first book in The Blackheart Legacy, Banished was I was really looking forward to seeing what Liz De Jager could come up with in the second act, and she didn’t disappoint, delivering a wonderfully fun, fast paced read that really impressed. The characters are great and the world that’s developing around them is awesome, with the mystery and suspense really helping to add to the mix of a fantastic novel that keeps you hooked from the beginning to the end.
Kit’s one of the more fun characters whose journey I’ve followed in a while and her development is great to watch unfold here as she changes over the course of the novel, evolving and leaving a strong impression on the reader. She’s kickass and a great protagonist for the reader to follow, especially with the curtain pushed back on the Fae World. We are introduced to more things than we were before, and it’s good to see that the other characters that we spend time with are just as compelling, with newcomer Government Trainee Dante Alexander being a welcome addition to the book and Prince Thorn offering some perspective on the Fae side of things, offering up an interesting, well balanced cast.
Something that’s also refreshing to see in YA urban fantasy is a platonic relationship between a female and male lead character that doesn’t end up becoming a romantic one, with the friendship between Kit and the werewolf Aiden being one of the more fun parts of the novel, with both characters having some good interactions that were pretty enjoyable to read.
There’s plenty of expansion on the world here as it starts to get more and more fleshed out in front of us. We learn a lot more about the Fae World, with some interesting teases dropped about things like The Dragon Lords of Chin that will make you want to discover more. There’s a lot of mystery here with it feeling very much like a Detective novel, obviously firmly planted in the Urban Fantasy genre. The themes highlighted in the novel are more complex than its predecessor, affecting the characters and continuing their development, with the characters, not just Kit, really developing well. There's a lot of stuff here that makes me really excited to see what happens in the third act of The Blackheart Legacy, and it couldn't get here quickly enough.
I mentioned that I love good Urban Fantasy books set in London, and Vowed is no exception. When done properly, London can almost feel like a character in itself (See Tom Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne Trilogy and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere for good examples, and I’d also point older readers in the direction of Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift Series and the Hellblazer Graphic Novels from Vertigo Comics), and something similar is on display here, with the level of world building being played out very well. It doesn’t feel like a bland, forgettable backdrop that could be changed with any other city and you wouldn’t notice the difference, having its own unique identity, and coupled with the fascinating world building, the rich setting really works in the book's favour .
There’s never a dull moment in Vowed, and readers of Banished will find more to love in the book’s second outing. It’s well plotted, fun, fast paced and intriguing, featuring some great lead characters set against a fantastic backdrop and once again, offers up an excellent read for fans of Young Adult Fiction.
"A blend of mystery, thriller and fantasy that will leave you looking over your shoulder.
Laura Lensky’s daughter, Peri, has been missing for two years. For the police it’s a closed case – she wanted to run away – but for her mother and boyfriend, Henry, it’s a different story. When Laura hires private investigator Ian Kennedy, it is a last-ditch attempt to find her daughter before she leaves for America. Drawn in by strange parallels to an obscure Celtic myth and his first, almost unexplainable case, Ian takes the job. But his beliefs are about to be stretched to their limit – there are darker and more devious forces at work here than any of them imagined."
What do you get when you give a detective story a fairy-tale esque feeling? The result is something like The Mysteries, the latest addition to the already strong line-up of titles that have been put out by one of the most reliable publishers for good fiction as of late - Jo Fletcher Books. Whilst it doesn’t quite hit all the high notes, with a few problems here and there, you will generally find that there is a lot more to like than dislike from Lisa Tuttle's novel.
The book focuses on Laura Lensky, whose daughter Peri has been missing for two years. She’s giving the attempt at solving what is otherwise a closed-case one last chance before she leaves for America, hiring a private investigator Ian Kennedy to do so. Ian takes the job when this case seems to match up with his first one and some odd Celtic mythology, but little does he realise that he’s about to stumble into something that will question his beliefs for good. It’s not exactly your typical urban fantasy, wise-cracking badass private detective or vampire slayer/lover story as The Mysteries manages to be a bit more subtle than that, with some fascinating prose that touches upon an area of mythology that isn’t commonly explored in these novels, and that is Celtic Mythology, something which I can imagine not many people will be overly familiar with, making the book feel fresh and different than what you might expect.
The book itself breaks up the narrative by having chapters that tell stories of various fairy tales and legends from various viewpoints, all of which provided some more depth to the story as we got a feel for the world that it is set in. As a result, There’s plenty of development throughout the whole novel, not just when it comes to not just the Celtic Mythology element, but also the question characters, with Laura and Ian being the main focus of The Mysteries and making very interesting protagonists for us to follow over the course of the book.
The element of fairytale and fantasy that the writer brings into the title does not overshadow the characters and the pacing. So often you see urban fantasy authors, particularly newer ones, trying to cram in as many things as they can in one book so that the characters often get pushed to the side, but there’s none of that here. The novel feels very grounded, managing to keep the focus mainly on its characters, as well as keeping the pacing pretty much spot on as well. It reads pretty smoothly and even though it might not be a fast-paced thriller, it doesn’t have to be.
The Mysteries is far more than just your average urban fantasy book. It’s one of the more original additions to the genre that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and although I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the ending, it still managed to be a pretty impressive read that urban fantasy fans, especially those looking for a break from the norm, will enjoy. The main focus on character development and the good use of Celtic Mythology also helps make this novel a compelling read, and as a result this is something that I can definitely recommend.
"Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you're immortal, promises are hard to keep.
Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they've escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus's attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus's volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?"
I’m a massive fan of The Originals television series on the CW, despite not being that entertained by The Vampire Diaries, its parent show. The Originals I find is a far superior beast, with strong, fun characters and some awesome, unpredictable twists and turns that keep the tension fresh and engaged. You’ll often find your jaw dropping at least once every episode, and that’s literally how surprising this show can be. I’d say it’s among the Top 3 shows on the CW right now, but their network has many shows that are very evenly matched in terms of awesomeness, with the other three contenders being the superhero dramas Arrow, The Flash and the science fiction saga of The 100. It’s pretty easy to see why I went into the first Originals tie-in novel with high hopes, then, as I was anticipating a lot more of the same goodness.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get that here. The Rise turned out to be a weak leak, which is really disappointing to see. Yes, the period setting of 1722 New Orleans allows for a lot of potential to be explored, and it’s usually always fascinating when The Originals delves into its rich history, and the characters themselves, the three Original Vampires, the first of their kind, Elijah, Rebekah and Klaus, are excellent. You’ll be reading the character’s lines in the voices of their actors. However, that’s unfortunately where the excitement ends.
I think the biggest problem with this is that I’m generally not a fan of the paranormal romance stories, and I picked up The Rise hoping that it would fall more into the category of the intense drama/story that fans of the show will be familiar with, but no. Romance is the main focus here as not one Original but all three fall in love with different characters, and it’s pretty instant as well. Normally I don’t mind romance if it’s handled well and doesn’t overtake the focus main story, but for this book, romance comes front and centre. The characters fall in love far too easily I found for the characters that we are familiar with in the show, and that doesn’t really help matters either. The characters created to serve as love interests for the main cast are, although varied, and each do play a role in the Originals’ plans for New Orleans as a city, are forgettable and don’t carry the same weight across. However, if you do like the paranormal romance genre and are a fan of the show, I imagine you’ll get a bit more mileage out of this book than I did, because you’ll certainly want to stay clear of this one unless you already have a basic knowledge of the players involved in The Originals, or at least, Elijah, Rebekah and Klaus who are the main focus here.
The story is the biggest problem of the book. It isn’t gripping enough. Unlike the show, which is able to tell complex, multi-layered plots and continuously develop characters at the same time as expanding the mythology of the series, The Rise doesn’t have the same effect here. The story is dull, and as forgettable as the characters created to serve as love interests for the main stars.
If you’re invested in Elijah, Rebekah and Klaus as characters and want to explore them in a period setting and don’t mind paranormal romance, then this novel’s going to be up your street. However, for everyone else, this is probably something to stay clear of and hopefully we’ll see an improvement in future Originals tie-ins novels now that the groundwork has been mostly laid here. And for those of you who are yet to watch the series itself, then what are you waiting for? Go check out the best urban fantasy series currently on television.
IMPORTANT: This is a review copy from Jo Fletcher Books and would normally go live on The Founding Fields. However, seeing as the backend of TFF is currently down, all book reviews will be posted on The Fictional Hangout for the foreseeable future. When the problem with TFF is eventually fixed, they will be reposted on The Founding Fields. Apologies for any inconveniences.
Four months ago, Mater Viae, the Goddess of London, returned from London-Under- Glass to reclaim her throne. And ever since then, London has been dying.
Streets are wracked by convulsions as muscles of wire and pipe go into spasm, bunching the city into a crippled new geography; pavements flare to thousand-degree fevers, incinerating anyone and anything touching them. Towers crash to the ground, their foundations decayed.
As the streets sicken, so does Beth, drawn ever deeper into the heart of the city, while Pen fights desperately for a way to save her. But when they discover that Mater Viae’s plans for dominion stretch far beyond London’s borders, they must make a choice: Beth has it within her to unleash the city’s oldest and greatest powers – powers that could challenge the vengeful goddess, or destroy the city itself.
I’ve been writing a lot of positive reviews for books lately, be they Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea or The Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey, and it looks like Our Lady of the Streets is going to be another addition to that line of awesome books that I’ve been reading. It’s the final act in what has been a fantastic young adult trilogy, with The Skyscraper Throne really being a must read for anyone who loves reading the fiction that this genre has given us in the past. It certainly stands up with my favourite YA books, and provides a wonderful closing act that fans will certainly enjoy.
Whilst the last book was focused mainly on Pen, Our Lady of the Streets puts Beth Bradley back in the spotlight and it shows just how much she’s developed as a character over the course of the book. She needs to take lead and stop a London under siege, as Master Viae has returned to the Capital. In order to emerge victorious she has to discover more about her transformation and whether she’s gained any new powers from it or not. In weaker hands, this would simply make Beth boring by putting her in what could easily have fallen into the trap of being yet another ‘Chosen One’ type story, but Pollock is confident enough to keep things original and in the right place, given Beth both strengths and weaknesses as a character, and keeps the book feeling fresh. At her core though, she’s still the Beth Bradley that readers are familiar with, and there are as ever some good lines that she delivers over the course of the book.
However, that doesn’t mean to say the book is all about Beth. We get to learn more about Pen as well, who has also gone from strength to strength as a character. Both Beth and Pen are fantastic leads, and her role in this book is fleshed out enough to prevent Beth from overshadowing her character. Pollock handles both girls well, and draw their storylines to satisfying conclusions.
Our Lady of the Streets expands on the worlds that both Pen and Beth have discovered. Pen’s London-Under-Glass and Beth’s world that she discovered are merged so well that you won’t even notice the difference, as Pollock manages to continue to flesh out what has been one of the most unique takes on Urban Fantasy set in London that I’ve seen. The only title that I’ve read that comes close to this sort of originality in this type of setting is Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and as that is my favourite novel, that’s certainly saying something.
The pacing is pulled off pretty well. There aren’t any moments that feel out of place and the narrative switch between Beth and Pen is handled well. Both are given plenty of page time so their stories can come to a conclusion and as a result, this trilogy is fantastic to read indeed. The quality remains so consistent that it’s hard to pick a standout book in the entire trilogy, with each title going from strength to strength.
With Our Lady of the Streets, Tom Pollock concludes what has been a superb trilogy. All three novels have shined and this one deals with the final act very well. Fans should really enjoy this book and I’ll be eagerly looking forward to seeing what Pollock can come up with next, if this is anything to go by then he’s certainly earned the status of a must read author in my book, and he should be one in your eyes too.
“An excellent novel – Charlie Fletcher has certainly crafted one of the better reads of 2014 so far. If you’re a fan of the likes of Neil Gaiman or China Mieville then this is a must read – and with some fascinating prose, this is something that you won’t want to miss.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
"Only five still guard the borders between the worlds. Only five hold back what waits on the other side.
Once the Oversight, the secret society that policed the lines between the mundane and the magic, counted hundreds of brave souls among its members. Now their numbers can be counted on a single hand.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight’s London headquarters, it seems their hopes for a new recruit will be fulfilled – but the girl is a trap.
As the borders between this world and the next begin to break down, murders erupt across the city, the Oversight are torn viciously apart, and their enemies close in for the final blow.
This gothic fantasy from Charlie Fletcher (the Stoneheart trilogy) spins a tale of witch-hunters, supra-naturalists, mirror-walkers and magicians. Meet the Oversight, and remember: when they fall, so do we all."
I was first drawn to this book when I saw it compared to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and as that is my favourite all-time book, I thought I’d give it a shot, and thankfully, I was not disappointed, with Charlie Fletcher’s The Oversight turning out to be one of the best novels that I’ve read so far this year. In fact, it also manages to be different from the majority of other novels that I’ve read this year as well, so if you’re looking for something that has that originality factor then you can’t go far wrong with this book, which hits shelves tomorrow through Orbit.
This novel serves as the first outing in the Oversight trilogy and is handled very well. The Oversight are a secret organization that policed the lines between normality and magic and once sported hundreds of people amongst its ranks. Now though, that number is down to just five, with the society being a shadow of what it once was.
When a screaming girl is brought to the Oversight’s headquarters in London they believe they might at last have found a new recruit. However, Lucy Harker is not who she seems, and is part of a plot that could have catastrophic repercussions for not just the Oversight, but the world.
Charlie Fletcher is an accomplished young adult writer and The Oversight is the first time I have read a full novel by him, but I remember back in Secondary School flicking through Stoneheart in the Library – and it’s certainly something that I intend to get back to at one point. However, back on the subject of The Oversight, it gets almost everything right – my only real complaint being that it gets off to a slow start, but even that changes – as it quickly becomes engrossing as the pages go on and by the end you won’t be able to put it down. The book spends plenty of time in creating the atmosphere and developing the world, giving a great look into the magical side of London, which normally brings out the best of Urban Fantasy novels. However, The Oversight isn’t just your average Urban Fantasy novel. It’s a gothic, historical and beautifully written masterpiece that deserves your attention – with incredibly strong prose and an attention to detail that doesn’t bog down the narrative.
There isn’t really any main character in The Oversight, with the Last Hand (the last five members of the Oversight supernatural law enforcement) getting similar amounts of pagetime to Lucy, who also gets a key role in this book. Whilst the book may be clearly focused more on the world than the characters, that’s not a bad thing, because Fletcher still manages to weave a compelling narrative and on top of that, the world is awesome and it’s easily something that I can see myself returning to.
If you’re a fan of the likes of Neil Gaiman or China Mieville, then this book should be right up your street. Charlie Fletcher has crafted a smart and intelligent novel that kicks off what should really be a strong series, with a compelling plot and some interesting characters. There’s very little where this book goes wrong, so it’s certainly something that you should devote your time to. And if it helps, out of the Advance Reviews, I’m yet to see a single one below 4 stars (although at least one is ranked 3.5 on Goodreads), so it’s clear that I’m not the only one who loves this book. Highly Recommended.