Yet another urban fantasy, this one seemed fairly average through the middle, but picked up quite a bit by the end. It has a rather unique take on mag...moreYet another urban fantasy, this one seemed fairly average through the middle, but picked up quite a bit by the end. It has a rather unique take on magic in the modern world; magic comes and goes in waves. When a wave is active, most technology stops working; when a wave is inactive, most magic doesn't work. Although not fully described, it appears that world evolved pretty much as we know it now, but at some point in the near future the magic waves start, changing everything from that point forward. The exact year the book is supposed to take place in is never made clear (there is a "historical" reference to events in '14, which I assume is supposed to be 2014), but it's clearly a decent number of decades from the present.
It also has the requisite "mystery of the protagonist never fully explained" to be expounded upon in future books, although the hints that were dropped were pretty blatant, so I suspect the mystery won't turn out to be that much of a surprise.(less)
The first book in (yet another) urban fantasy series, this one revolves around a woman named Wren who uses magic and thieving skills to retrieve missi...moreThe first book in (yet another) urban fantasy series, this one revolves around a woman named Wren who uses magic and thieving skills to retrieve missing objects for clients. It's a pretty good tale, with an interesting back story and take on modern magic (tying it rather directly to electricity). It's got some fairly strong similarities to Jim Butcher's Dresden series, although it is much lighter in tone. A series with a lot of future potential.(less)
An interesting little short story set back in time relative to the primary Rachel Morgan tales which gives a little different view of Ceridwen and Alg...moreAn interesting little short story set back in time relative to the primary Rachel Morgan tales which gives a little different view of Ceridwen and Algalirept than the primary stories.
This series keeps getting better. Kim Harrison keeps managing to tie together distant threads from across the books, taking the overall story in new and interesting ways.
This book feels particularly like a turning point. I have no idea how long the series is intended to be (there may not be a specific intent), but I could definitely see this book as a hump book, really setting things in motion for the grand finale. It's not that I believe everything will be wrapped up in just one more book...rather, I think threads are coming together so the overall plot could fun faster and smoother to a conclusion.
Of course, she may not be ramping up to a finale. She might just keep going and given the quality of the series so far, at this point I certainly wouldn't see that as a bad thing.(less)
This book is a mixed bag. The story is fairly cliched and predictable, although well written. The big negative in my mind was that the main male lead...moreThis book is a mixed bag. The story is fairly cliched and predictable, although well written. The big negative in my mind was that the main male lead was extraordinarily irritating. He was such an extreme ass for the first half of the book or so, so unrealistically written, that the rest of the story shouldn't have unfolded the way it did. (less)
This book was decent, although not incredible. The beginning felt a little bit off and there were some character interactions that really did not make...moreThis book was decent, although not incredible. The beginning felt a little bit off and there were some character interactions that really did not make much sense and/or were a bit unrealistic, but it picks up as it goes along and had a surprisingly satisfying ending given the rough start. Altogether, good enough for me to give the next book in the series a chance.(less)
Better and a bit more polished than the first book, this book sees Harry Dresden dealing with werewolves (of multiple types) in modern day Chicago. Th...moreBetter and a bit more polished than the first book, this book sees Harry Dresden dealing with werewolves (of multiple types) in modern day Chicago. This book also starts to hint more seriously at a larger plot that will underlie the series.
I think the characters are a little better fleshed out as well, although there is still something fundamentally off about the relationship between Dresden and Murphy; the swings in "trust" are just way too severe to make any sense.(less)
Although it started a bit slow, this turned into a solid and respectable urban fantasy about a fairy war in modern day (er...mid-1980's) Minneapolis....moreAlthough it started a bit slow, this turned into a solid and respectable urban fantasy about a fairy war in modern day (er...mid-1980's) Minneapolis. Some of the music imagery seemed a bit over the top and hard to follow, but perhaps it would be more appreciated by a musician. (less)
The seventh book in the series, I found this one dragged a bit more than some of the others, although I think it ended really strong. It also tied up...moreThe seventh book in the series, I found this one dragged a bit more than some of the others, although I think it ended really strong. It also tied up a number of loose ends that had been lying around, and although a few new ones were started, this had the feel of closing a major chapter or arc before beginning a new one.
This is also the first book that directly incorporates events from the novellas and short stories which have been published in anthologies (specifically Dates From Hell, Holidays Are Hell, and (I think) Hotter Than Hell), rather than just from the previous novels. Although this material is not critical for appreciating the story in this book, it does help fill in some of the back story which might otherwise seem to have come from nowhere (thus far, I've only read the story from the first of the above anthologies, but I suspect my reaction to the effect of the material in the other two will be similar).(less)
Four novellas (~100 pages each) in the supernatural/romance crossover genre, I'll review each in turn.
Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil - Kim Harr...moreFour novellas (~100 pages each) in the supernatural/romance crossover genre, I'll review each in turn.
Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil - Kim Harrison Harrison is the only author I'd previously read and was the reason I chose to read this book. The story is a prequel in the universe of her Inderlander series, focusing on the living vampire, Ivy. Unfortunately, it is not as good as her novels tend to be. Although there is a mystery-of-sorts plot, the story is really about vampiric sexual tension and was much more vampire porn than her longer works. Overall, it felt rather forced. I may be holding this to higher standards than the other stories because I expected more from the author I already liked. **½
The Claire Switch Project - Lynsay Sands As far as I can tell, this is an independent story, not related to any books she has written. Not a supernatural story, per se, but rather more science-gone-awry. It's a reasonably amusing, fairly light story, centered around a high school reunion and a lab accident. ***
Chaotic - Kelley Armstrong This story starts with a woman who is half-demon and inherited the power to detect chaos; she feeds on it, gets off on it. The story is about what happens when she stumbles across a jewelery heist at a museum. The chaos detection concept is interesting, but overall the story seemed a little flat. I'm not certain if there is a connection between this and her other works; unique characters but the same universe, perhaps? **½
Dead Man Dating - Lori Handeland A woman's date turns out to be a demon trying to absorb her life energy through sex, but fights him off with the help of a rogue demon hunter. About as good as it sounds. **
Overall, I found the book disappointing, but perhaps not unexpectedly so.(less)
Note: this is only a partial review of the first two stories at this time Four novellas in the supernatural/romance crossover genre, I'll review each i...moreNote: this is only a partial review of the first two stories at this time Four novellas in the supernatural/romance crossover genre, I'll review each in turn.
Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel - Kim Harrison A solid novella-length work about a young Rachel Morgan as she attempts to summon the ghost of her father in order to get permission to join the IS. Better than many of Harrison's other shorter works, I think part of its success is due to the fact that the longer novella format gives her more room to work with than the short story. Although a prequel to the primary novels, the events in this book set up characters and events that start to appear around the 7th book.
Unfortunately, some of the events detailed in this book are later contradicted in the primary novels. I don't think this story is to blame, as much as Harrison wanting to integrate characters and ideas without having planned ahead to do so, and thus essentially being forced to retcon certain details in the novels to fit the greater theme. It's a shame because the later changes potentially detract from what is a solid story. ****
Run, Run Rudolph - Lynsay Sands A follow-up to a story in an earlier anthology, another lightly amusing tale about accidental shape-changers and the lunatics who want to experiment on them. ***
Six - Marjorie Liu An interesting concept, focused on Chinese vampires, Six has a gradual setup but then ends very abruptly. May have been better as a full novel with more depth. ***
The Harvest - Vicki Pettersson A prequel to the first book of the Sign of the Zodiac series. ***(less)
More supernatural romance stories, these are thematically related through a specific focus on mythological creatures (beyond the fairly standard vampi...moreMore supernatural romance stories, these are thematically related through a specific focus on mythological creatures (beyond the fairly standard vampire/werewolf stories that are so common). Things like minotaurs, succubi, and sirens. Overall the book was fair; it's really too much romance, not enough fantasy for my taste. I only read about half the stories, before getting bogged down and moving onto other things.
I briefly rate each story (I read) below, perhaps with minor spoilers.
Music Hath Charms - Tanya Huff An amusing idea, about music producers vying to sign a pair of male sirens in a backwoods band, it fails a bit in execution. **½
Minotaur in Stone - Marjorie M. Liu A fair story, rather plain. Builds on the classic minotaur tale. **
Demon Lover - Cheyenne McCray An incubus has fallen in love and is reluctant to claim the soul of his final victim. Although extremely predictable, not a bad story. ***
Equinox - L.A. Banks This story was fairly off. It didn't have the flow some of the other stories had, and seemed much more forced. Tried to bring the Greek Goddess Artemis into the present day. *½
Ride a Dark Horse - Susan Krinard A recently divorced woman encounters a were-horse: a Spanish solider cursed by Native Americans at the time of the European invasion of the Americas until forgiven by the people he harmed. Very off-putting. *
Dirty Magic - Kim Harrison Enjoyable little tale, set in the Rachel Morgan universe, about a Banshee (Mia...who appears in both another short story and in one of the novels) looking for love. ***½
Perhaps I'll return to read the other six at some other point: * To Die For - Keri Arthur * Curse of the Dragon's Tears - Heidi Betts * Brother's Keeper - Lilith Saintcrow * (Like a) Virgin of the Spring - Susan Sizemore & Denise Little * Life is the Teacher - Carrie Vaughn * Moonlight Becomes You - Linda Winstead Jones(less)