Wow. That was my final impression of the much anticipated fifth book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. Much like Harrison’s previous work, For aWow. That was my final impression of the much anticipated fifth book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. Much like Harrison’s previous work, For a Few Demons More was a non-stop, action packed romp through an alternate version of Cincinnati. My only complaint was that the relationship of two of the main characters seems to have taken two steps back for the single step forward it gained. And of course the death of a beloved character never sits too well with anyone. But enough of the teasing.
Poor Rachel, she’s a witch whose only desire was to become as good of a runner (a combination of investigator and bounty hunter) as her late father. But political machinations forced her to leave the I.S. and go it on her own. When she left she unknowingly took with her two new friends, Ivy Tamwood the last living Tamwood vampire and Jenks a temperamental pixie with a large family to care for. Throughout the series we’ve watched the friendship between this trio bloom as they overcame numerous obstacles set in their paths. Schemes were unraveled, trust betrayed and yet through it all they stuck it out and weathered the storm.
Now in the fifth book the numerous conflicts that have been simmering beneath the surface all come to a boil. Newt, the powerful demon who strikes fear in the demon Al and the elf Ceri alike, and the same demon whose mark Rachel now carries as a price for being carried over the ley lines, comes after Rachel seeking something that she has and that Newt wants back. Problem is Newt can’t remember what it is she’s looking for. If a crazy demon isn’t scary enough add to that the fact that this demon can blasphemy the holy ground she walks on without a conscious effort. There is no safe hiding place from this demon. The trio suspect Newt wants the Focus, the werewolf artifact that Rachel got stuck with in the previous book, which means now they have to guard the artifact that could cause a war from the werewolves, the vampires, and a demon.
At the same time the powerful and dangerous Trent Kalamack is getting married and wants Rachel to play bodyguard. After Newt’s visit she’s in dire need of money to fix the church and it’s really no surprise that she eventually caves and accepts Trent’s offer. We’ve seen that pattern before folks, her morals and ethics cause Rachel to tell Trent what he can do with his offers but in the end a combination of guilt over their father’s shared friendship, Trent’s father’s kindness, and sheer need usually force Rachel to give in. Maybe someday she’ll learn to save herself time and just accept the offer up front? After what happened in this book that’s not likely though.
So Trent is getting married, Newt makes an appearance, and everyone is fighting for control of the focus, that alone is enough to make a good fifth installment. But Kim Harrison wouldn’t be the author she is today if she decided to do things half way. Every “villain” Rachel and company have had to contend with puts in an appearance. From a walking in the sun Al to a free and clear Piscary, they’re all back and there is a murder mystery to solve to boot. Just reading the book had my mind boggling at the stress and my nerves became frayed at the thought of dealing with everything Rachel had to contend with. Fans will be pleasantly surprised to see how Harrison wraps everything up, it’s not exactly what you would anticipate but it’s far from a let down. [...]
The third installment to a series that just keeps getting better and better. After having been captured and subsequently forced to turn into a werewolThe third installment to a series that just keeps getting better and better. After having been captured and subsequently forced to turn into a werewolf on national television Kitty decides to take some time off from her radio show and retreat to a cabin in the woods. As an English major she’s think doing the whole Thoreau bit might not be so bad. The thing is, the isolation isn’t doing much for her and hearing someone else making a radio show like hers doesn’t help matters any. To top things off dead and skinned animals start showing up around her place and then Cormac arrives with Ben after a botched assignment. Now Kitty’s got to help coach her new pack mate and find who or out what’s behind the animal slaughter.
Some people may not care much for this book if they’re just looking for hard hitting action, oh it’s there I kid you not, but the main focus of this installment is the emotional and mental development of Kitty and her “pack”. Kitty has taken quite a few knocks in life, and most of them are recent. Her perception and view of the world has been altered completely and she’s questioning not only herself but her way of life. She’ floundering about a bit, but it’s completely understandable and realistic. Before Kitty can fall too much into the “woe is me” bit though trouble arrives followed closely by Cormac, and you guessed it, more trouble.
Someone wants Kitty to leave, and they’re trying their damnedest to curse her into leaving. The arrival of Cormac and Ben seems to acerbate the situation further. The interesting thing, and I don’t want to spoil this for readers so I’m going to really mince my words here, is that the two events are not truly connected. You have hints that they’re not but the source behind Kitty’s initial tormenting is separate from the trouble that follows Cormac and Ben.
Something I’ve found to be of particular interest is the fact that even though Kitty is a werewolf and has been one for a bit she was relatively clueless to the supernatural world. Each book, each adventure is a learning process for not just her but the readers as well. In the last book not only did we get a better understanding of the vampires in Norville’s world but we also got a taste of the fairy and hints of other supernaturals and supernatural abilities as well. Specifically of note was the brief taste of magic that we and Kitty got. Now in this book we get to delve deeper into magic and tackle it from not one but two perspectives as well. In Kitty Takes a Holiday we get a taste of magic from the Native American perspective and the magic practiced by witches. This is something not to be missed!
As if that wasn’t enough we also get to find out more of Ben and Cormac’s history. How they knew each other, how Ben became a lawyer and Cormac a werewolf hunter. Hell, we even get to know Cormac’s last name! ;) There is a surprising depth to Ben and Cormac which is shown nicely in this book. For the most part the emphasis is on Ben and Kitty though as Ben learns to accept and cope with becoming a werewolf and Kitty gets the chance to step into the role of mentor and guide Ben through the transition as T.J. once did for her. This situation presents an oppurtunity for Kitty to do a more thorough evaluation of herself and to step out of her misery to aide a friend and prevent him (or Cormac) from putting a bullet to his head. The new relationship between Kitty and Ben was a bit of a curve ball I have to say. You’re expecting something to develop between and Cormac but instead… [...]
Kitty Goes to Washington picks up about a month after the events of the previous book, Kitty and The Midnight Hour. As a result of her fateful rebelliKitty Goes to Washington picks up about a month after the events of the previous book, Kitty and The Midnight Hour. As a result of her fateful rebellion against the alphas of her pack Kitty is forced to pick up her things and move on, no longer allowed to live in her town of Denver. And really, with T.J.’s murderers running the werewolf scene there she isn’t too keen on sticking around anyway.
So for the past month Kitty has been traveling across the U.S. and hosting her show at a different radio station every week. It makes the full moon runs a little more hectic but so far she’s enjoying it. At least now she doesn’t have to pay a bribery fee to her “alpha” anymore and all of her show’s earnings are her own. Everything seems to be rolling fine until Ben, her attorney, calls up to tell her she’s been issued a subpoena to appear before a cabinet meeting of the Senate. What is the topic up for discussion? Why the existence of supernatural creatures of course! And Kitty, being an outed werewolf, is a prime expert witness to give testimony.
If you thought the first book was rife with humor, action, and surprises than you’ll be thrilled to hear that not only does Vaughn deliver as expected, she exceeds all expectations spectacularly. Vaughn does an excellent job of mixing political intrigue, action, mystery, the supernatural together with a liberal dose of Kitty’s wisecracks and a dash of romance. The surprises are non stop and even Kitty is left hanging with her jaw down to the fall at some of the turn of events. A good majority of them I did not see coming, but when they arrived I could have smacked myself in the forehead for not seeing them.
True to form, Kitty’s character undergoes amazing (but realistic) growth. Her perception and maturity grows exponentially yet still she manages to retain a sense of youth and naivety that clearly shows that Kitty still has quite a bit to go. Never once does the character come off as a “know it all” or far too dense. Vaughn does an excellent job balancing character growth and personality. Perhaps some of Vaughn’s contemporaries should sit up and take note on what true character development is? Just a thought. ;)
One thing that really impressed me was Vaughn’s ability to portray a variety of characters ranging all over the emotional and behavioral spectrum, and her ability to do so in such a believable fashion. I believe that Vaughn truly captured the essence of the politicians we all fear and love to hate. I’m sure readers the world over will see someone (politician or not) whom Senator Duke reflects.
A new character was introduced in this book who, in my opinion played a very significant role. Despite having a birth mother and speaking with her weekly Kitty seems distant from her mother, possibly as a result of not being able to tell her what she was for so long. In the vampire Mistress of the City Alette, Kitty finds both a mother figure who can understand and relate to her, a confidant, and a friend. A lot of Kitty’s emotional and mental maturity is due to her experiences with Alette. After witnessing first hand the cruelty and lack of humanity that her fellow supernaturals have, Kitty wavers under her belief that the supernatural community are people too. Alette provides the assurance that Kitty is not alone in this belief as well as the glimmer of hope that Kitty clutches onto tightly at the end of the book. [...]
The first book in a promising series by a new author - this is one you don’t want to miss! Carrie Vaughn has brought fresh blood, so to speak, to theThe first book in a promising series by a new author - this is one you don’t want to miss! Carrie Vaughn has brought fresh blood, so to speak, to the horror/paranormal genre by introducing Kitty (Katherine) Norvile, a bright and bubbly young blonde who is too sweet and soft for the life of a werewolf. Yes you read that right, Kitty the werewolf. Not very scaring sounding is she? Kitty is at the bottom of her pack’s hierarchy and she likes it just fine, it means someone is always there to protect her.
One night during the graveyard shift at the radio station she works at Kitty decides to skip the music and open up the phone lines to her listeners out there. She gets the ball rolling by asking the bizarre and strange questions (does Bat Boy really exist?) and before she knows it she’s a hit with her own syndicated show.
Of course not everyone is please Kitty is talking about the paranormal out there. Enter Cormac, a hired gun who specializes in Lycanthrope killings and he’s been paid to off her on the air. If that wasn’t enough stress for one girl to go through Kitty also has to deal with becoming the Denver police’s paranormal expert, a werewolf serial killer, and dangerous pack politics.
This book is anything but typical and there is certainly never a dull moment. The knight in shining white armor isn’t actually very ethical and there is an extreme possibility he might opt to kill the damsel in distress rather than save her. And the heroine? Well this is the most amazing and intriguing part of this book. The current fad of the horror/paranormal romance genre right now is “butt-kicking” femme fatale or quirky girly heroine. While I’m all for a tough female lead, it gets old and redundant when one can just guess what their appearance and attitude will be like. Vaughn has managed to give us a breath of fresh air with Kitty Norvile. Kitty is both girly and soft, the reader cannot help but to feel a strong protective urge yet at the same time you see this girl taking steps to grow up and shake off the confines of a sheltered childhood. In short, Kitty is much closer to your average Jane and readers will love her for that.
One thing that I really loved about Kitty’s character is that she starts off very submissive and afraid of her own shadow. She runs to her best friend T.J. and her pack’s alpha for help continuously in the beginning, it’s her nature and as she’s still a new werewolf she’s unsure of her world still. After getting her own radio show Kitty begins to get more of a backbone and to essentially find herself. It is very interesting to watch her development and growth throughout the book. Never once does Vaughn stumble in her characterization of Kitty.
To top it off, Kitty is a very upbeat and numerous character to follow. Kitty has a smart mouth which lands her in quite a bit of trouble but at the same time there is a well of wisdom and knowledge that peaks through her veneer. All of Vaughn’s characters were nicely fleshed out and the political scheming and under handedness of some of the characters will amaze and astound readers. There are many surprises, a ton of adventure, a truckload of laughs, and a dash of romance all rolled into this heavenly book which will delight readers non stop.
This story is, without a doubt, one of Lackey’s shortest works ever and yet Lackey easily manages to captivate her audience with it. The River’s GiftThis story is, without a doubt, one of Lackey’s shortest works ever and yet Lackey easily manages to captivate her audience with it. The River’s Gift is a short story contained within one hundred twenty-two pages in a bounded hardback book that is reminiscent of a child’s storybook. Now while the font style and even the concepts are easy enough for a child to grasp it would be a grave miscalculation to consider this a child’s book.
The story follows fifteen year old Ariella who is gifted with the healing touch. She spends her days caring for creatures of the forests which surround her father’s castle. Her acts of kindness keep the land peaceful which benefits the magical beings who inhabit the forest and entices them to make their presence known to her, including a kelpie by the name of Merod. With her father’s death however Ariella’s world is catapulted into chaos as she is ripped from her home and Merod must find a way to save her.
Although the story seems unbearably short much manages to unfold within the limited amount of pages without feeling rushed in the least. That alone is an impressive feat, but add to that the fully developed characters, an enchanting world, and a storyline the reels you in and never lets you go and it becomes no surprise why Lackey is one of the top fantasy writers. If you have only a few moments to spare and don’t wish to get involved in a larger read The River’s Gift makes an excellent choice, although the characters and their world will still be fully alive in your mind and your heart long after you’ve turned the last page.
Truth be told my only real complaint is that the story wasn’t long enough for me, I would have loved to see what new adventures awaited Merod and Ariella, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine the story going further without it ruining the flavor and feel of it. At the very least though I would have liked to learn what happened to some of the characters, such as Ariella’s lady. I’ve never been truly happy with stories that end in a “they lived happily ever after” or “rode off into the sunset” ending. While I like to leave some bits to my imagination there are some aspects I would always like to see closure to.
In all honesty though, my complaint is a minor and trivial one. The River’s Gift makes an excellent short read for fantasy lovers of all ages and walks of life and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. This is one book that definately should be in every Lackey fan’s collection. Oddly enough however, it’s been my experiance that few have heard of this book and it is a little difficult to find as well. In all likelihood you’ll have to request it at your local bookstore, but it is well worth the effort.
Aerie is the final book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series. After the culmination of events in Sanctuary it seems hard to believe that thereAerie is the final book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series. After the culmination of events in Sanctuary it seems hard to believe that there would be any way for the story to really continue without it seemingly going on and on forever without end, somewhat akin to daytime television. Lackey does a nice job of of tying up all of the loose ends and unfinished thoughts of the previous three books.
Aerie is set approximately a year (or so) after the events of Sanctuary. Ari and Nofret are the Great King and Queen of Alta and Tia, now called Altia, and rule together from the new palace. Sanctuary itself has become a priestly city with priests from Altan and Tian temples alike setting up shop and hammering out details together. Because of the influx of priests to Sanctuary, Kiron and the dragon riders have relocated to Aerie, the dragon city, and are in the process of making it livable. Supplies are limited, conditions are harsh, and it takes a lot of work to get the place in order. Here, former Tian and Altan Jousters who have now raised their own dragons from eggs are working together, and are under Kiron’s temporary command.
Kiron, being younger than many and not of noble birth and lacking in traditional Jousting and combat experiance, does not seem to be an ideal leader in the eyes of the high born and former Jousters and this is starting to cause some friction. But Haraket, being a former overseer (remember, he oversaw the Tian compound in Joust) is even less favorable as Lord of the Jousters. To make matters worse, many are starting to question the Jouster’s place in things. They are not the army and it takes quite a bit to provision them, with Alta and Tia at peace what purpose do they serve? Kiron finds the answer, and subsequently earns the respect of the former Jousters, when they begin to patrol the borders and trade routes of Altia to protect merchants, traders, and the Bedu from bandits. Alas, a new enemy is coming.
The new enemy was well thought out, and readers will likely to be thrilled to just what the former oppressors of Tia, whom Ari mentioned in the first book Joust, have been up to and what their plans for Altia are. The mystery as to who is responsible for the disappearance of an entire village and magics used to block the priests from seeing this was well done, but the conclusion of the book and the solution that the main cast arrived at to defeat the enemy seemed a little too predictable to me. Perhaps it was due to my love of Greek mythology, but I found it no surprise that the Gods of Alta and Tia were becoming one and ended up contributing to the final battle. I suspected that we might see something akin to the battle of Troy, in that the gods would be fighting alongside the mortals, and I was correct. I’m still not sure whether I’m disappointed with that fact though. It was an exciting and riveting conclusion, but a little too predictable for my comfort.
Another thing of interest to note here is that Lackey allows the tale in Aerie to be told, not just from the point of view of Kiron, but from several other characters as well. The point of view switches from Kiron, Aketen, and Peri-en-westet, a new character to the story. While a good portion of the story certainly couldn’t have been told without the point of view changes since the events were spread out at various locations and Kiron certainly couldn’t have been everywhere at once, I felt that Aerie lost some of the aspects that made the previous three books in the series integral. [...]