more of the same in this 2nd volume about a former archaeology student turned antiquities thief that hangs out with a bunch of supernatural beings. amore of the same in this 2nd volume about a former archaeology student turned antiquities thief that hangs out with a bunch of supernatural beings. a snappy pace and engaging characters gloss over some "wait, what??" moments in the plot - this seems like a ready-for-filming action movie script, with everything good and bad that concept implies....more
Exactly like my experience with the first book of this trilogy, I'm not really sure that I would have been interested in2nd verse, same as the first!
Exactly like my experience with the first book of this trilogy, I'm not really sure that I would have been interested in reading it rather than listening to it. It takes a solid one-third of this story for a plot to develop, though the historical background and the colorful cast of supporting characters are more than enough to anchor my attention on my routine everyday commute to work. It's easy to tell that the author is the historian, and her details about Elizabethan England's queens, kings, and courtiers of the era all shine through brightly. On the other hand, by the time the end of the book rolled around and one character was promising vengeance regarding the death about another, and I couldn't remember that person dying, it's impossible to know whether the story just glossed over it or I skipped a CD....more
a very solid series opener, The Japanese Circus introduces us to former archaeology grad student Alix, now going by her thief nom de guerre Owl, as sha very solid series opener, The Japanese Circus introduces us to former archaeology grad student Alix, now going by her thief nom de guerre Owl, as she finds herself increasingly in over her head trying to steal a huge supernatural macguffin. after running afoul of her graduate professor and tossed out of her program as a sacrifice to the ethics committee mere months before snagging her diploma, Owl finds herself with expert-level antiquated knowledge and a world full of buyers just waiting for her to unearth some treasure. there's an interesting world populated by the usual smorgasbord of supernatural creatures, but in this clever turn, the human bureaucracy that hides them is fronted by an archaeology/ancient history task force - resulting in most serious students of the ancient world eventually being let in on the secrets as their thesis papers get savagely censored. her attempts to avoid supernatural danger and entanglement are of course thwarted, and she finds herself working for the literally draconian owner of the titular Circus, a luxe Vegas casino. there's enough familiar here to read as good UF comfort food, with enough unique and even surprising that it doesn't come off like a carbon copy of an already crowded genre shelf. the bff sidekick and hottie-by-day-merc-by-night are both actually well-fleshed out characters instead of 2D stock photos, and our heroine is a flawed person learning from her mis-steps rather than just leveling up in power every couple of chapters. i'm off to scoop up the sequel for sure....more
a solid 3.5 stars from one of the trailblazers of the genre, though there's some confusion as to reading order: this one was published 2nd, but comesa solid 3.5 stars from one of the trailblazers of the genre, though there's some confusion as to reading order: this one was published 2nd, but comes in the timeline before the first book, Burning Water.
somewhen in 1973 or 4ish, Nixon's on trial and everyone's smoking grass and hanging groovy with the band. a young witch has moved to NYC now that college is done. though she has a pretty heavy amount of magical power, bills loom large for everyone, and saving people from demons & whatnot gets you lots of hugs but not the rent money. she's banging out formulaic romance novels on spec and minding the shop for a pregnant friend, and also discovering how to handle herself with a few unexpected things that go bump in the night.
it's funny how many more recently written series have echoes of this one (LK Hamilton and Tanya Huff instantly come to mind), though this series is pretty obscure even to UF aficionados. the pacing is a little slow, and everything is going to feel anachronistic until you get the date ironed out, but it's certainly refreshing to have a heroine with actual problems that doesn't get to level up instantly every time a baddie shows up. kindle versions are often on sale, and these are so far well worth checking out....more
3.5 stars, and basically the same review for the last three or four books in the series.
Neill has her formula down well: come up with a mystery that o3.5 stars, and basically the same review for the last three or four books in the series.
Neill has her formula down well: come up with a mystery that only Merit is capable of solving, then stretch out the final who done it till the end, all while building up bigger and bigger piles of vampire politics. You're definitely too far along in the series for a new reader to start out here, but she does a good job of reminding returning readers about important events at the moment that you need to remember that information. A solidly entertaining series, if not an amazing one. ...more
'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasa'blameness' corrects most of the issues of the disappointing 'changeless' by simply having the heroine run off to italy to avoid all sorts of unpleasantness at home (being drug through the gossip rags, abandonment, murder attempts, etc), and therefore neatly avoiding her idiot husband. it's a fun romp through one wacky cliffhanger escape after another, and you don't even realize that nothing actually happened until the end. ...more
well. this whole thing is a hot mess, and exactly the sort of story people would point to when asked why they think a traditional publishing model iswell. this whole thing is a hot mess, and exactly the sort of story people would point to when asked why they think a traditional publishing model is alive and well in this age of easy self-publishing. the only reasons i slogged through to the end were a)i read most of it on a lazy sunday where relaxing with something brainless was a reasonable pursuit and b)sheer stubbornness of not wanting to DNF something at 70% complete.
on the plus side, this ebook was mainly typo-free, which has been an pretty frequent issue with SP books. the cover also appears to be pretty professional and all.
on the minus side... alexa is a werewolf, self-declared as the alpha of her pack. the male alpha is the only person over 20-something in said pack. with these two as examples, apparently, the sole qualification to be alpha here has nothing to do with charisma, leadership, natural dominance, or animal cunning, nope - you just gotta be a brash, selfish idiot. she works in an office where she & the gang openly take hits on secretive creatures of the night, under no kind of charter from the supernatural community (as in, other than a paycheck, i can't figure out why they feel the need to kill some murdering bloodsuckers and go out the bar with others, and i can't figure out why the hit-ees don't just bomb the joint). the plot (such as it is) keeps happening TO her, rather than the other way around. there's an obligatory love triangle that appears to be set up for the sole purpose of having alexa reluctantly-at-first-but-hey-sparks-fly-anyway shag 2 different man friends.
an unlikable protagonist is a real kiss of death for me, and this girl has the mindset of a 22 year old mall bimbo, complete with what all ass-kicking alpha werewolves go "huntressing" in: a wardrobe of playboy bunny baby tees. since a plot doesn't bother to show up until 2/3 of the way through, there's really nothing to entice you to stay in alexa's suburban world. ...more
A particularly strong UF series opener, Neill's heroine neither spends the entire book freaking out about how none of this can be real (to quote one oA particularly strong UF series opener, Neill's heroine neither spends the entire book freaking out about how none of this can be real (to quote one of the characters, "all this is happening in a post-harry potter universe"), nor tumbling into bed with the first supernatural hottie she meets. though not all the tropes are gone, of course - there are plenty of supernatural hotties to go around, and at some point she does end up in a suitably ass-kicking sort of leather outfit. still, it's refreshing to spend the first book setting up the world and the rules and building some interesting character tensions, rather than have our girl bungling through solving the mystery. i liked it enough (and wanted more) that i'm jumping right on into the 2nd one....more
starts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/astarts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/alternate history. massive bonus points for having both male and female main characters be actual well-rounded characters, not just stock-issued love interests or generic ass kickers.
random PSA for the day: this is SO not steampunk, guys. they may be wearing corsets and outdated fashion for the whims of their centuries-old undead monarch, but they have cell phones and cars, not dirigibles and clockwork....more
it is entirely possible that Bishop has only one book (series) in her. i've heard some less-than-lovely reviews of anything of hers that's not her debit is entirely possible that Bishop has only one book (series) in her. i've heard some less-than-lovely reviews of anything of hers that's not her debut, The Black Jewels Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness, and if 'written in red' is indicative of the rest, well, yep.
the world here is all kinds of interesting - there are hints that it's a sort of alternate-history, that it takes place in an america of feral shapeshifters, where civilization as we know it never really happened. the social interactions of various flavors of non-humans is likewise interesting, and best of all, we get the suggestions of barracks of enslaved human prophets that can see the future within their own blood, sold to the highest bidder.
but the characters, GAH! we're told repeatedly that all the shapeshifters are dark and ominous and rule the earth like kings crushing puny humans beneath their heels...and this story is about the monsters tenderly protecting their stray lamb of an innocent girl. it's far too much like the set-up for a cheez romance novel wherein the male lead is a Bad Boy (tm) who becomes good only for his true luv. thankfully, this book doesn't veer into romance territory, but even worse, it doesn't richly explore a whole lot of the actually very interesting things it sets up. ultimately, therefore, a bit bland and a bit frustrating....more