Blood Charged is the third installation in Lindsay Buroker's ongoing Dragon Blood saga of light steampunk novellas that increasingly turn into fullfle...moreBlood Charged is the third installation in Lindsay Buroker's ongoing Dragon Blood saga of light steampunk novellas that increasingly turn into fullfledged - fullwinged? - novels. We meet again a gaggle of beloved characters from the previous two books, Balanced on the Blade's Edge and Deathmaker, as well as get introduced to three new characters(view spoiler)[, not all of which make it through to the end (hide spoiler)]. The book is fastpaced, albeit more action- than character driven this time, and combines elements of fantasy, steampunk, quest, and military scifi with a whiff of romance and Ms. Buroker's trademark brand of humor and technological quirks. It is a fast reading, entertaining book. However, also the first book in this series that clearly is part of a series, as in a lot of threads are left to continue and quite some events and characterization quirks esp. in the first half of the book have yet to be picked up and put to use. Or at least be explained somehow. (view spoiler)[I don't want to believe that Col. Thugly is that much of an unbalanced ass without a reason beyond that readers ought to dislike him soundly! (hide spoiler)] So, if you liked the previous books in this series: Go. Grab it. It'll be a nice way to spend a weekend. If you don't know the previous books: You'd like to start with them, otherwise you're going to have a lot more question marks in your head than needed to enjoy the story. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I got a free copy of this book because I reviewed some of Lindsay Buroker's books before. Quite a few of her previous works are on my "favorites" shel...moreI got a free copy of this book because I reviewed some of Lindsay Buroker's books before. Quite a few of her previous works are on my "favorites" shelf. These facts won't alter my opinion about Balanced on the Blade's Edge. However, that Linnea Sinclair's An Accidental Goddess is also an all time favorite of mine does alter it, because - frankly - for a little more than half the book I felt as if reading the same story. Get me right, this is in no way a case of copycat or even plagiarism. Balanced on the Blade's Edge is sufficiently different from An Accidental Goddess. One is steampunk, the other is space opera. One heroine risks being burned as a witch, the other risks being worshiped. One plays in a mining prison, the other on a deprecated space station infested by parrots. But the flow of the plot, the plot evolving events, even the characters' dynamic are similar to a T, resulting in me having a hard time remembering what version belonged into which book until the plot started separating at around 70% into the ebook.
That doesn't mean Balanced on the Blade's Edge is a bad book, judged on its own it's a solid four stars, fun, entertaining, and a great way to spend a rainy weekend if you like steampunk and/or romance with a good dose of action and believable characters. :) However, if you also know (and love) Linnea Sinclair's An Accidental Goddess, you might feel more familiar and precognizant of the developing plot than you'd like. For me, I frankly like "Fix-it" Mak and Simon, the crystal ship from An Accidental Goddess better than I like Ridge and Jaxi, the juvenile sword in Balanced on the Blade's Edge. Also, if An Accidental Goddess had been Lindsay Buroker's inspiration for it, a line of acknowledgment would have been nice, so that readers knowing both books might expect the parallels.(less)
Rachel Hartman's Seraphina is one of those books that start slow and then increasingly worm their way (pardon the pun) into your mind with an utterly...moreRachel Hartman's Seraphina is one of those books that start slow and then increasingly worm their way (pardon the pun) into your mind with an utterly compelling, multi-layered, multi-faceted, and unique world building. The human society seems inspired by the Renaissance, but without taking any real world setting one on one. However, the world building doesn't end there, but also explores dragon society - or should I say dragon societies? - which not only is decidedly different but apparently in parts technologically more advanced. (view spoiler)[For example, the dragons possess technological communications gear with functions similar to mobile phones as wearables when in they're in human form. (hide spoiler)]. Forty years ago, Seraphina's country and the ardmagar of the dragons formed a peace treaty, allowing coexistence (including diplomatic hassles on all sides!) of dragons, dragons, and humans. Basically, everything happening now is based on this event and the wanted and unwanted opportunities it created, down to the heroine's very own life and talent. The story is one of music and talent, fear, shame, prejudice, courage, love, and finding one's way in a society that is changing a lot faster than its rulers understood it would based on their decisions. It is written in fluent, beautifully worded language that adds depth not only to the feeling and the setup of the story, but to the reading experience itself. So many books these days are written in simple prose, only retelling but not immersing into their tale. In that regard, Seraphina stands positively out. It is also one of the few examples of limited first person perspective being skillfully used to further the reading experience instead of escaping description. In all these aspects above, it is a straight out five star book, highly recommended to spend your time on! I most certainly hope for a continuation of the plot! I absolutely want to know how their tale continues!
That said, I have to explain the four (rather than a five) star rating given, unfortunately, this does not work spoilerfree, so decide yourself if you want to know more about dragon technology / philosophy or not prior your reading experience.
(view spoiler)[The dragons, when taking their human form and living in human cities, use sophisticated technology developed for the -compared to dragon bodies- limited human body. Technology forbidden to the less advanced humans around them. But when they are in their dragon form, they are described entirely in terms of the highly intelligent blundering beasts of lore, living in caves, hoarding gold, shitting -albeit fastidiously- in the woods.
The dragons developed their ability to take human form a long time ago to allow for research and the gathering of knowledge, resulting in their mastery of the intricate communication (and I assume other) devices helping them in human form. And in all that time they didn't think about adapting this technology for use with their dragon form? They don't take advantage of it in war, when they're attacked by what amounts to Medieval knights with flame throwers?
Fastidious and nitpicky as they're described they still just shit in a valley or pothole instead of devising a dragon-sized water closet? They limit themselves to technological marvel only useful in their human form, a shape the ardmagar, the very instigator of the peace treaty, didn't use for years!? No hoard with central heating, automatic cataloging of the content, electronic alarms against thieves, and properly sized amenities?
Once this occurred to me about halfway through the book, I hoped for an explanation - or at least a hint of that "logical crack" being acknowledged - maybe as part of the dragons' philosophy regarding staying close to their very nature or something like that, but it wasn't addressed at all, and given that we get glimpses of dragon society through dragon eyes (albeit in memory), there would have been ample opportunity to do so. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wounded by Lindsay Buroker is an entertaining contemporary mystery/romance. The book starts slow, with the first 35% pretty much spent on setting up t...moreWounded by Lindsay Buroker is an entertaining contemporary mystery/romance. The book starts slow, with the first 35% pretty much spent on setting up the stage, the characters, and the details required for the events happening at a breakneck pace in the rest of the book. Overall, the setting is believable, the two main characters likeable (though I couldn't keep myself from searching for similarities to LB's heroes from other books), and the mystery/crime and involved science is brought to good use. For those who may be put off by the slow start: yes, there are LB's trademark explosions later on. ;)
The one flaw that caused the loss of the fifth star (and would have cost another half one, if GoodReads would allow half ones) is in the character of Sam. Sam's character, her motivations, and the reason for her behavior aren't given or hinted at, despite her playing the role of antagonist in the beginning of the book. She comes over almost as flat, one-dimensional, as if written solely to be disliked and despite her role and the importance of her actions in the finish, there's no conclusion to that thread either. Yes, it works out for the plot, but Sam's response to that is completely omitted, leaving a dangling thread in an otherwise well-rounded tale. I seriously would have wished to have her equally well fleshed out as the rest of the cast. (less)
The second installment was a lot more entertaining and less confusing read than the first book of the series, benefiting from the established characte...moreThe second installment was a lot more entertaining and less confusing read than the first book of the series, benefiting from the established characterization and cultural mannerisms, and the fact that by now the imagination had settled on a setting and theme for the country - be it the intended one or not doesn't matter. There are only two major (connected) downsides at this point: one, one hell of scheming cliffhanger, and two, part three being scheduled for sometime next year. I'm looking forward to having my curiosity calmed then.(less)
What a finale! I followed this series of seven since book 1 (The Emperor's Edge) and if you like action, adventure, humor, intriguing (and developing!...moreWhat a finale! I followed this series of seven since book 1 (The Emperor's Edge) and if you like action, adventure, humor, intriguing (and developing!) characters in a detailed world with unique steampunk/scifi flavor, these are your books! I especially liked how the two book finale (Forged in Blood I and II) touched on most if not all the important plot-defining tropes from the previous installments (and even the short stories in between them). A fulfilling closure for a breathtaking ride of seven books with just enough sadness filled in to avoid any sticky sappiness feeling from marring the experience. I seldom use the words "perfect" for a book series, but The Emperor's Edge series deserves it. Perfect!(less)
Loved it. Strong, complex characters, riddles, humor wrapped in a nicely twisted space (soap) opera romance - with the extra funny bonus that the name...moreLoved it. Strong, complex characters, riddles, humor wrapped in a nicely twisted space (soap) opera romance - with the extra funny bonus that the name of the plot-crucial telepathic catlike pets "furzel" translates directly to German as "diminutive fart"! :-D(less)
To think that the summary almost made me skip this book... horrible thought! I've read most of Linnea Sinclair's novels (except the one with the zombi...moreTo think that the summary almost made me skip this book... horrible thought! I've read most of Linnea Sinclair's novels (except the one with the zombies, but I may take a peek later) these last few days and An Accidental Goddess turned out to be my favorite! Now, how to summarize the experience?
It's a delightfully & funny tale of Simon says, Fix it, Mack, and stuff a sock in it (with parrots)! Though Simon is still searching for the required sock by the end of the book. However, the parrots earned their keep by then.
If you love twisted humor, a fast-paced, action- and character-driven plot (3rd person) with romance, this is a book you shouldn't miss. :)(less)
Basically a well paced mix of space opera, military sf, and nicely done romance with some humor strewn in, hitting a lot of my favorite tropes in the...moreBasically a well paced mix of space opera, military sf, and nicely done romance with some humor strewn in, hitting a lot of my favorite tropes in the genre(s). Action, consistent world building, characterization... I only regret that the book was over so fast (and I would have liked seeing the grudging respect between "Uncle" Yavo and Captain Tivahr being developed a little further past the current ending).(less)
Entertaining. Partially hilarious. Nowhere boring. Not as racy as many contemporary "romance" novels that these days cross the border to erotica quite...moreEntertaining. Partially hilarious. Nowhere boring. Not as racy as many contemporary "romance" novels that these days cross the border to erotica quite deliberately, but don't expect something tame like Ms. Cartland's. ;)(less)
It took a long time to get "in touch" with this story and its main protagonists. The book is written in very limited 3rd person perspective, which mak...moreIt took a long time to get "in touch" with this story and its main protagonists. The book is written in very limited 3rd person perspective, which makes it very difficult to form an image about scenery and location, aside from facials and ornamentation for some reason. In the beginning that was the main source of distraction from the plot, because my idea of "historical layout" constantly wavered between Middle Ages, Renaissance Venice, and ancient Greeks - effectively keeping me from focusing on events and characters and resulting in a lot of details appearing pointless until I got hooked to the plot sometime during the last chapter. Of course, now - wanting to know what comes out of that non-alliance - I have to read the next book as well. :-)(less)
When I started with Storm Dancer, I didn't expect to like the book as much as I ended up to do. While the setting - a set of well defined countries va...moreWhen I started with Storm Dancer, I didn't expect to like the book as much as I ended up to do. While the setting - a set of well defined countries vaguely resembling the medieval middle east (albeit with weather magic and public executions) - was totally my forte, the topic - the struggle of a serial (war) rapist to atone for his crimes - could easily have soured matters. However, Storm Dancer's Daoud's rise above his excuse (not named, avoiding spoilers) was a positive surprise. The book does not excuse the crimes, does not go "and he's forgiven ever after", but indicates that he might have a place if (better read the book and decide for yourself, please). Don't be fooled, this is a book about the effects of past war in a devastated country, about atrocities committed both - in war and under malevolent rulers, but at the same time, the author manages not to dwell on the blood or the deeds. Despite it's topic, this book is very far from "rape porn" or whatever you'd like to classify such books. However, it's not harmless with respect to violence. In contrast to rape, torture and imprisonment practices are shown directly and, as can be expected given the setting, are not for the squeamish or faint of heart. If you can handle that, then Storm Dancer is a book that adds a unique flavor to the old lore of djinns and desert wars, with a strong set of individual female characters, a male lead you'll struggle not to like for his efforts, and suitably evil villains; all wrapped up in a nicely readable text. :)(less)
19th Century Shanghai with glimpses of Tibet a thousand years earlier is an interesting setting for a book that's basically paranormal erotica. If onl...more19th Century Shanghai with glimpses of Tibet a thousand years earlier is an interesting setting for a book that's basically paranormal erotica. If only the author would have managed to keep the scenery intact in her wording when describing the interactions and thoughts of her two main protagonists. Traditional Chinese and Tibetan euphemisms here and there aren't enough if common contemporary language and concepts shatter the picture in the next sentence. That said, I really enjoyed the ideas and concepts behind this story. I wish they'd been handled better.(less)
Amusing read for a night when you are too awake to sleep and too braindead to do tackle complex tasks. The cooking and restaurant business was nicely...moreAmusing read for a night when you are too awake to sleep and too braindead to do tackle complex tasks. The cooking and restaurant business was nicely described, the sex scenes sizzling. The female lead would have benefitted from a brain & street smartness infusion, though. Her blatant disbelief regarding the malevolence of her enemy was rather grating in the end.(less)