This book had an interesting setup, but I gave up on it about 100 pages in. Not even the cool "noir angel" concept was worth putting up with draggy pa...moreThis book had an interesting setup, but I gave up on it about 100 pages in. Not even the cool "noir angel" concept was worth putting up with draggy paragraphs of overblown physics jargon used in place of comprehensible description.(less)
Cool concept, and I like that the author didn't feel the need for a lot of hand-holding when it came to the book's supernatural elements. The tone was...moreCool concept, and I like that the author didn't feel the need for a lot of hand-holding when it came to the book's supernatural elements. The tone was uneven though, and a few of the twists were obvious to the point where I got a little frustrated with the heroine.
I could have done without all the references to other books. When I'm trying to lose myself in a story, I rarely want a bunch of abrupt reminders of all the fantasy worlds I've loved before.(less)
I loved the "regular girl among superhumans" setup of After the Golden Age. This sequel's next generation of heroes premise didn't hook me to the same...moreI loved the "regular girl among superhumans" setup of After the Golden Age. This sequel's next generation of heroes premise didn't hook me to the same extent.
Celia's solo moments stood out, but I found it difficult to warm up to Anna. Her story was more predictable, and none of the other teens were built up enough to make their friendship drama feel natural. Her romance was thin enough that it could have been ditched entirely without making a bit of difference.
The only moment that gave me the same thrill as the first novel was Celia's return to a familiar situation. Watching Arthur spring into action was really satisfying.
I might have liked this one better if it had been plotted in a way that kept us more in Celia's point of view, largely because I enjoyed her transition from the daughter of supers to the mother of one. The book was written well enough, but I still left it with a sense of disappointment that the main protagonist was less interesting than the people who surrounded her.(less)
I keep up with the Kate Daniels books, but the other stories all seem series-dependent. Two of them use a relatively large number of characters for ne...moreI keep up with the Kate Daniels books, but the other stories all seem series-dependent. Two of them use a relatively large number of characters for new readers to keep up with (or care about) and the last one relates heavily to a previous adventure.
A fast, fun story with a heroine who relies on wits and magic more than brute strength. It was nice to see Jim as more than a background character again. This story is the main reason I checked out the anthology, and it doesn't disappoint.
A sprite confronts her past with the help of an elf, an incubus, a witch, a wolf spirit, and one of the witch's three husbands, who is also a dragon. His name is Smoky. Smoky the Magic Dragon. They're trying to lift a curse that would keep the sprite from having children with her leprechaun boyfriend. It reads like someone threw five drastically different paranormal romances in a blender and ran them through an awkward prose generator.
I liked the style and the gradual set-up, but then there were a dozen people running around, some of whom felt kind of unnecessary. And I kept giggling because the biggest badass evil sorcerer on the planet was one soundalike vowel away from being the NFL's all-time leading rusher and Dancing With the Stars champ. The world-building in this one seemed more cohesive than the previous story. I might try a full length novel from this author.
Some of the elements were fun, and it's always easy for me to get into that "scooped up by a higher power to answer for your actions" plot. I guess we got a simplified explanation of it here, but the heroine's vampire-savior gig doesn't really hold much appeal for me.(less)
I really enjoyed the parts by Marjorie M. Liu and Ilona Andrews. The Sookie story included is exactly what you'd expect from a Sookie story.
Some of t...moreI really enjoyed the parts by Marjorie M. Liu and Ilona Andrews. The Sookie story included is exactly what you'd expect from a Sookie story.
Some of the other entries seemed to depend a little too heavily on knowing or caring about series characters, which is always kind of tiresome. And several authors took similar "supernatural crime school" approaches that are already blurring those stories together in my memory.
I was curious about the Amber Benson story because I hadn't read her yet, but I won't be rushing out to pick up her full length fiction.(less)
The series presents a refreshing take on the zombie trend, and I liked a lot of the characters. But the first two thirds of this one felt like inconsi...moreThe series presents a refreshing take on the zombie trend, and I liked a lot of the characters. But the first two thirds of this one felt like inconsistent filler.
Constant chases, escapes, and repetitive fight scenes pushed the pace along so quickly that it was almost possible to forget how little sense some of their moves made. For example, (view spoiler)[one foray into a reclusive militia compound had a few interesting moments of characterization, but our heroes basically traded the promise of a million dollars for a getaway car, as if they couldn't have just stolen a new vehicle and supplies the way they'd been doing for the rest of the book. (hide spoiler)]
Just as in the later Weather Wardens books, the protagonists jump from crisis to crisis while we're told about their emotional turmoil. The villains were cartoonishly good at swooping in out of nowhere, but there were always convenient contacts or resources nearby.
The final part of the book was far more effective, bringing back the gross-out horror and hard choices that elevate the concept above action movie cheese.
Overall, the series is worth reading, but it still feels a little like lost potential. I love so many aspects of Caine's writing, at some point I'd love to see her take on a slower, more deliberate story arc that doesn't whip me through so much ridiculously frenetic action.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The solid small-town mystery plot would probably work even for those who haven't read the rest of the Otherworld series. Lately I've hit a run of drag...moreThe solid small-town mystery plot would probably work even for those who haven't read the rest of the Otherworld series. Lately I've hit a run of draggy novels, so it was a pleasure to spend time with something that had such clear, smooth prose.
The artwork wasn't to my taste, and I especially didn't like that images appeared before the scenes they were portraying.(less)
One of the first things that we hear from Ashley involves her calling Edward Cullen "gay," and her superpower is an inability to take the zombie apoca...moreOne of the first things that we hear from Ashley involves her calling Edward Cullen "gay," and her superpower is an inability to take the zombie apocalypse seriously. The hero is established as a jerk and a bully, so it was difficult to understand her attraction to him on more than a surface level.
A large number of poorly-differentiated characters are introduced, and then for maximum confusion, they're all given at least one nickname. The other women in the book are helpfully sorted out as the cute one, the bitchy one, the professor, and the jealous assistant, but it's harder to tell the guys apart. Maybe that's what the nicknames are for?
You can't go more than a page or two without tripping over a pop culture reference, making the book feel a little like that kid you knew in high school who quoted Monty Python all the time. And yes, there are tons of references to zombie movies and fiction, both directly from the characters and more subtle touches. The constant mentions of other stories kept pulling me out of this one.
One of the worst parts about the pop culture nods is that nearly every member of the group, no matter what their age, seems to share the same set of cultural references. Current college kids, even the geeky film fans, are hardly going to pepper their dialogue almost exclusively with quotes from movies that I used to have on VHS. Trying it makes those characters feel more like vehicles to slide in that slick Starship Troopers joke than actual young people.
I did like the overall premise of the novel. Some of the zombie scenes were chilling, and there was a gut-wrenching reveal in the hotel. I really wish things had been played a little straighter though, with more of a focus on making me care about and worry for the characters.(less)
I really loved the opening of this book. The introduction of Olivia's past, the setup of Cainsville, and the restraint shown in slowly introducing the...moreI really loved the opening of this book. The introduction of Olivia's past, the setup of Cainsville, and the restraint shown in slowly introducing the supernatural elements were all great.
I also liked the morally gray outlook of the characters, which made them much more interesting than upright crusaders would have been. The sparing use of multiple points of view was well done, too.
So why only three stars? The blend of current mystery and series set-up didn't work for me. The question of those crimes that didn't quite fit the serial killing pattern was the least interesting aspect of the story, and I was about fifty pages from finished by the time I realized that was the only question the book was about to answer. The inclusion of (view spoiler)[the CIA (hide spoiler)] felt cheesy.
I'm into these characters and hooked for the longer term story. I'd enthusiastically recommend it to urban fantasy fans looking for something a little meatier and more original than Cookiecutter Kickass Heroine #26. I just wish the individual arc of this installment had been more satisfying.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm really rooting for this series because it has fun characters with unique abilities, but neither of the first two books has quite come together for...moreI'm really rooting for this series because it has fun characters with unique abilities, but neither of the first two books has quite come together for me.
The plot is too jumpy. There's a ton of shuttling around between various locations and subplots, and it can seem like Ciel is reacting more than driving the story. The overall tone is also really inconsistent. I like that the heroine isn't your stereotypical loner chick. But the family drama felt overdone, largely because it often felt like more of a focus than the mystery and danger.
The romantic banter was good, but the love scene itself didn't wow me. The Billy/Mark triangle was more fizzle than sizzle. Ciel clearly doesn't trust Mark and we haven't been given much reason to like the guy.
I'll still happily read a third book because there's a ton of potential here, I just hope the story and style get tightened up the next time out.(less)
Ciel Halligan is an adaptor, which means she can take on another person's appearance and physical traits.
The book explains that adaptors wear the aura...moreCiel Halligan is an adaptor, which means she can take on another person's appearance and physical traits.
The book explains that adaptors wear the aura of other humans rather than truly shifting shape. But considering that this aura-grabbing affects Ciel's physical space in the world (for example, she adapts into a child whose small wrists can slip out of handcuffs), I don't see how that makes much practical difference. The abilities are interesting, but they lead to some confusing passages, especially the first time that Ciel ends up thinking through an interaction with a pair of other adaptors.
The plot is bouncy and full of near-misses and escapes. The fast pace made it a quick read and kept me from questioning some of the coincidences until it was over. It includes a few too many attempts to keep the heroine out of danger and some goofy moments that don't always mesh with everything else.
Ciel's introduction, where she takes on the identity of a client in order to lure the woman's boyfriend into a marriage proposal, made her more difficult for me to like than she would have been otherwise. It felt both shady and nonsensical. Her whole business model is a massive secrecy risk, and I have a hard time getting why she believes that handling significant moments of other people's lives is doing them any favors.
While I'm not always a fan of love triangles, I did like the moments between Ciel and the men in her life, as long as they weren't treading all over her attempts to do something useful. The characters are the main reason that I'll probably try the follow up despite the book's other drawbacks.
If this series could either tone down its zanier elements or commit to them more fully, I'd enjoy it more.(less)
I'm still loving the concept and the twisty story was better than the first. Bryn's reaction to a personal revelation about Patrick felt overdone, tho...moreI'm still loving the concept and the twisty story was better than the first. Bryn's reaction to a personal revelation about Patrick felt overdone, though.(less)
With that unique "imaginary friend" setup a thing of the past, I was eager to see where the characters...moreI didn't fall for this one as much as the first.
With that unique "imaginary friend" setup a thing of the past, I was eager to see where the characters would go next. Unfortunately, they ended up in a lot of circular, repetitive relationship discussions. These weren't limited to Kami, Jared, and Ash though, nearly everybody ended up with a couple of scenes worth of talking out their feelings. It was hard to muster much dread over the impending good vs. evil showdown when preparation and intrigue felt less important than that mystery kisser story arc.
As much as I enjoyed the snappy dialogue, it also muddied the characterization waters a bit. Most of the core team are constantly ready to break out in banter, which led to occasional confusion over who'd thrown which witty retort.
The first book had a sense of magic and mystery that balanced out its fascinating relationship mechanics. This one feels more like typical relationship-heavy YA to me. It's certainly still fun and I'll keep reading, but based on the strength of the first book I had higher expectations.(less)
I like Ashley, who's featured here, but for me this story was short to the point of unsatisfying. By the time I was really getting into it, it was ove...moreI like Ashley, who's featured here, but for me this story was short to the point of unsatisfying. By the time I was really getting into it, it was over.
Some of that may be down to the fact that the story comes with a preview of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, so my Kindle edition was telling me I was less than halfway through when the story ended.(less)
The leads make sense both as individuals pursuing their goals...moreThe third Edge book didn't work for me, but this one might be my favorite of the series.
The leads make sense both as individuals pursuing their goals and as a couple who respect each other. Wider aspects of the overall story are addressed and wrapped up, but they fit neatly inside the current plotline rather than overwhelming it.
If I came across more romance novels like this one, I'd probably read more romance novels.(less)
I liked that some elements of ongoing plot were wrapped up, but there was a ton of Rachel sitting around and talking. Even the most active scenes were...moreI liked that some elements of ongoing plot were wrapped up, but there was a ton of Rachel sitting around and talking. Even the most active scenes were heavy on nuts-and-bolts descriptions of magic, which didn't push the pace much faster than the strategy sessions and gave the whole book a draggy feel.
I also think I'm getting a little tired of Rachel. Yeah, she's had a rough time, but she's got a huge number of talented allies and seems to win over nearly everyone who gets to know her. Unfortunately, half of her interactions with those folks involve repetitive conversations about why they should stay out of the line of fire.
Some of her behavior was really irritating. At one point, Rachel says she can't understand how Trent's holding it together, and in the very next scene, she's harsh towards Ellasbeth for not being able to hold it together. I get that she's not Ellasbeth's biggest fan, but under such extreme circumstances you'd think she could cut the other woman some freaking slack.
The idea of Rachel and Trent working together again gave me high hopes. They need to either deal with the complications of a potential relationship or move on from it, though. Either way, I think this series is on the verge of getting stale. Maybe soon we can skip ahead in time to the adventures of Lucy and Ray?(less)
I liked the corporate zombie concept and side characters, but Bryn often seemed weak, especially considering her military background.
The romance was...moreI liked the corporate zombie concept and side characters, but Bryn often seemed weak, especially considering her military background.
The romance was more squicky than sultry, and it detracted from the overall story. The quick trip from hating one of her saviors to lusting after him within weeks of zombification really short-changed the heroine, it would have been nice to see her deal more with her own death rather than immediately wrapping herself up in a man. The last few paragraphs of romance plot felt especially tacky in light of the intensely personal piece of Bryn's life that was left hanging.
I won't say that this type of supernatural story shouldn't include romantic elements at all, but I can't help wishing that it had been more of a slow-burn attraction left to build over several books.
I'll probably try the sequel, but I doubt I'll go farther unless Bryn manages to impress me more than she did here.(less)