This is one of my favorite series of all time. It's a good sword-and-sorcery romp, involving two budding members of the Assassins Guild, the Cloak andThis is one of my favorite series of all time. It's a good sword-and-sorcery romp, involving two budding members of the Assassins Guild, the Cloak and the Dagger. The Cloak is a tall, plain man of peasant stock name Thibault who is one of the only people that can keep his partner, aristocrat Jennifleur, reigned in. In this first story, Jen & Thib are going rogue. While Jen has always wanted to follow her aunt into the Hestian Guild, she needed to finish school first (thanks to a promise that her aunt made to Jen's mother on the mother's death bed). While she was gone, Thib was apprenticed as (I believe) a carpenter. But now Jen is back and Thib has been recalled to meet her ship since her aunt, the famous assassin, the Hawk, is on assignment. She expects to be back soon, but that is before she is double-crossed and captured. As soon as Jen finds out, she convinces Thib to "go rogue" with her (which is what they call working outside of a guild contract). They've both been trained well by Vera, Jen's aunt, but technical training isn't everything. The two of them arrive in Ashkahron only to run over the paths of Vera (who has escaped but is thought to have been hanged) and two other operatives, the Falcon and the Hound. In some ways, it's a wonderful comedy of errors as each misses the other by moments and confuses everyone's parts. But it's also a great opening for the Cloak and the Dagger.
I LOVE the characters in this book. Jen is a character I'd love to play in an RPG, being so impetuous and full of spunk. And Thib is the kind of guy I wish I had for a big brother. Vera and Owen (the head of the Hestian Guild) are a wonderful pair and Absalom the mage is a wonderful bit of enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in bacon. If you like sword and sorcery, if you like adventure, and if assassins don't squick you (though there's nothing gory in the book), then I recommend the series. I just wish she were writing more of them because I'd love to see what happens to Jen & Thib next!...more
Bridge of Valor is the second book in the Cloak and Dagger series by Anne Lesley Groell. Jen & Thib are officially in training for the Guild and hBridge of Valor is the second book in the Cloak and Dagger series by Anne Lesley Groell. Jen & Thib are officially in training for the Guild and have been sent on their first assignment - to help an aristocrat figure out who has put a curse on his castle, Valor's Rest. Jen pretends to be Ruary (the aristocrat)'s fiancée, who he hasn't seen in 17 years and she had recently become friends with. It takes Jen and Thib awhile to really get on the case and find out who is at the bottom of all of it. Vera and Absolom both return, though they aren't as much an integral part of the middle of the book.
I didn't care as much for Bridge of Valor as I did either Anvil of the Sun or The Cauldron of Iniquity. The book didn't seem to hang together as well as the other two. For all of Jen's flightiness, I have a hard time believing that she would so completely ignore what she was there for. The Guild has been too important a part of her life for her to get so caught up in Society. And Thib has always been too practical to let her get away with ignoring their responsibilities for that long. Still, it was a somewhat good mystery and a bit of fun seeing a bit of society that Jen wouldn't mind getting into....more
Cauldron of Iniquity was actually the first Cloak and Dagger novel I picked up. I got it in the grocery store one day and picked it up because the covCauldron of Iniquity was actually the first Cloak and Dagger novel I picked up. I got it in the grocery store one day and picked it up because the cover interested me. Being as inattentive as I sometimes have a tendency to be, I didn't realize that it was part of a series until I got it home. But I read it anyway and I was incredibly glad to have done so.
Jen, Thib, Vera and Absolom are back for the third installment of the series. This time, Jen & Thib have been given a bodyguard job for their Guildmaster's old friend, Saul. He has been feeding information to Owen (the Guildmaster) regarding the Dreamsmoke trade and the family of someone he informed on has sent an assassin after him. His own bodyguards are on vacation. Since it should be a fairly easy job, he sends Jen & Thib. But things are never as easy as they seem. Saul has a lot to hide and has the help of beautiful psychopath Gideon to try to keep them from finding out what is going on.
This is by far one my favorite of the three books. Even though you can see where the main plot of the story was going, it was interesting to see how Jen & Thib find out what is really going on. Gideon is a truly scary psychopath. Charming when he wants to be, but completely without morals. And the worst is that Jen is completely blind to it. Saul is just as ruthless as Gideon, but doesn't take it to the extremes.
The best part for me, though, was the character development. Jen grew up a lot in this book and her eyes actually opened to what she had in Thib. But as with many of the best stories, it isn't really a pay off, because they still are afraid to tell each other what they are each thinking and miscommunication becomes the norm. Jen manages to lose her confidence and gain it back, and Thib gains a backbone. We find out more about Vera's past and one of the most important relationships of her life. While we don't learn more about Absolom, his relationship with Vera gets explored more.
The only problem that I have with this series is that there hasn't been a new book in over a decade. I keep hoping that Anne Lesley will come out with a fourth book in the series, but I haven't heard anything new on it. Still, I constantly have hope. Because I can't have anything less!...more
I used to read a lot of Mercedes Lackey, particularly her Valdemar series. I got away from reading her because I just wasn't finding her writing excitI used to read a lot of Mercedes Lackey, particularly her Valdemar series. I got away from reading her because I just wasn't finding her writing exciting any more. But when I heard about this book, I immediately put it on my request list from the library. Trio of Sorcery brought back one of my favorite non-Valdemar characters, Diana Tregarde. Di is a Guardian of magic, charged with making sure that those who have been wronged by magic have a champion on their side. And she does this while being a romance writer and living in NYC. She'd originally only written 3 books because they didn't sell well (which, to me, is a shame because I love Di). But she did incorporate the world into two other of her series, so I wasn't totally bereft.
The first story, "Arcanum 101" is, in many ways, Di Tregarde's first story. It takes place in the 70s, when Di was just starting University. Not only does she work her first solo Guardian job (in her previous one, she'd gotten help from her granny), but she meets her own "Scooby Gang". I loved reading this back story for Di. Even though it had been years since I'd read any of the Di Tregarde's, it was wonderful to get pulled back into her world and meet some of the people that I'd read about in Jinx High (her last Di book). It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, she'll bring another Di story into the light sooner rather than later. I need to search a little harder for my copies of Burning Water, Children of the Night and Jinx High.
The second story, "Drums", involves characters of hers that I've never read: Jenny Talldeer, Little Old Man and David Spotted Horse from Sacred Ground. Jenny is a private investigator and shaman-in-training. Her grandfather, Little Old Man, is training her and David, her lover, is her partner in the private investigator business. This story tells of Jenny having to face down an angry mi-ah-lushka (or wandering spirit that was not given the proper warrior's burial) that is trying to draw a Chickasaw woman to be his bride in death. This, too, was a fun read and it's making me want to pick up Sacred Ground to get a bit more into this world. I'm not terribly familiar with Indian customs, lore or history, so I don't know how accurate it is. But I did find it an enjoyable read.
The last story is a stand alone, "Ghost in the Machine". Ellen McBride is a computer programmer and techno-shaman. She's been called in to help the programming team for one of the most popular MMORPG on the net (they aren't saying it's WoW, but that's what it reminded me of). The programmers had included a Wendigo as one of the big bosses in their latest release and the Wendigo wasn't acting the way that it had been programmed. And Ellen is the only one who can get rid of it. This one was a real treat for me - I haven't played any MMORPGs yet, but I am an old school role-player. And I do have many friends that are into WoW and I've watched over a lot of shoulders. So I was able to follow along with a lot of what was going on with little need for explanation (though the explanations were there for those who weren't as familiar).
The whole book was a great read and one that I hope to own when I'm not so darn broke. All three stories are great magic-in-today's-world stories and I'm really hoping that Mercedes Lackey dips into these worlds again and again....more
Rich heard about this book while listening to NPR on his drive home one afternoon. It intrigued him, so he requested it from the library. As soon as hRich heard about this book while listening to NPR on his drive home one afternoon. It intrigued him, so he requested it from the library. As soon as he was finish it, he repeated back to me what I've said to him several times. "You've GOT to read this book. I'm not returning it until you do." When I finished The Book of Lies last night, Rich once again reminded me that it was there and I needed to read it. So this morning, I did.
A small town has been in the merciless grip of February for an incredibly long time. The book starts out with February banning flight. Birds fall from the skies. Balloons and kites are no longer able to soar. It is just another nail of dreariness that exists around their town. But a small group refuses to let this stand. They come together, wearing bird masks, with talk of how they should get rid of February. Thaddeus Lowe becomes their leader, and the leader of the War Council that the members of the town create, after February kidnaps his daughter Bianca from her bed. While the story is linear, it's not what one would describe as a typical story. It far more poetic than that. Each portion of the story is, at most, a page and a quarter long. It flits from view point to view point, even once taking you out of the story entirely. There are several pages that hold only one sentence or one word. It's a winding path that, for those with various depressive disorders, can understand well.
This book IS a fictional look at what SAD (seasonal affective disorder) sufferers go through in the winter months. The sufferer can see themselves as every one of the characters presented, from Thaddeus Lowe who fights until he has lost everything, to February who states that he does not want to be as mean as he is being. I, for one, was able to recognize a lot of my own feelings in Shane Jones' writing.
That said, this is not a book for everyone. I suspect that it's one of those that you'll either love or hate but never feel ambivalent about. I do recommend it for those that suffer from depressive disorders, particularly SAD, and those that love them. The former may see themselves in the pages, while the later may understand a little more what their loved one deals with during the winter months....more