Underwood's Ree Reyes urban fantasy series is a fun and fast read, perfect for airplane trips! This latest book has Ree face-off against a series of iUnderwood's Ree Reyes urban fantasy series is a fun and fast read, perfect for airplane trips! This latest book has Ree face-off against a series of increasingly nasty Stregas, all while juggling her dislike of Eastwood (the reason for the Stregas). The geek references made me giggle throughout... I mean, it even mentions the famous Vir wave from Babylon 5. ...more
This book starts off a new urban fantasy series, one that holds a lot of promise. As with many heroines in the genre, Owl is snarky with a tendency foThis book starts off a new urban fantasy series, one that holds a lot of promise. As with many heroines in the genre, Owl is snarky with a tendency for trouble. She's reckless, and foolhardy to the point where it can be annoying. She's balanced out by her loyal friends Nadya and Rynn, and most of all... CAPTAIN! I adore Captain, the Mau cat. He's a born and bred vampire hunter, and much smarter than the average feline.
Owl is an antiquities thief whose past misadventures resulted in her being stalked across the country by vampires. Owl is fairly oblivious to most supernatural beings around her and wants to stay that way. Her life hasn't exactly been pleasant since she discovered magic and mythological creatures aren't confined to story books. Her stress relief (other than drinking a lot of Coronas) is playing an MMORG that's sounds a lot on World of Warcraft. When a dragon enlists her to do a job, Owl's avoidance of all things supernatural doesn't go so well. Overall, it's a fun romp. It's a bit longer than many urban fantasies, which stood out to me, pacing-wise, but it was still fun even if I wanted to slap some sense into Owl a few times. ...more
This is a gritty urban fantasy that reminded me of other excellent books like Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds and Zer0es (though with less profanity). The wThis is a gritty urban fantasy that reminded me of other excellent books like Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds and Zer0es (though with less profanity). The world-building is really intriguing: old American families carry not only prestigious name but "craft," distinct types of magic. Two of those families are vital to American security in the modern military, though they are also intense rivals. Dale Morton's family is notorious for its "Left Hand Morton" branch that turned to dark magic centuries ago; Dale is still distrusted because of those dark tendencies. Therefore, when a mission goes sideways and he is psychologically damaged, it seems he is going Left Hand... but it's really an elaborate set-up.
One of the soldiers hunting him is Major Endicott, the youngest in another old family. He's pompous and self-righteous in what struck me as a paladin way. It was highly rewarding to see how his character changed through the course of events. However, my favorite character was Scherie Rezvani. She's strong, sassy, smart, and it's great to see a woman of Persian heritage with such a major role in a book like this.
I blazed through the book in two days. It was darker than I anticipated but didn't stay in those places for long (which is good, because I really wasn't in the mood for that kind of intensity). American Craftsmen is action-packed with loads of intrigue and magic, an urban fantasy that is well-tailored for guys but great for everyone....more
This feel like the weakest book in the series to me. Not only did it delve into some uncomfortable situations (it skirted with the potential of rape bThis feel like the weakest book in the series to me. Not only did it delve into some uncomfortable situations (it skirted with the potential of rape but didn't take things too far), but the whole wedding delay subplot was so trope-filled it was irritating. The end redeemed things a good deal, and I still hope to continue the series when I get the chance. I really enjoy Kitty as a character, which still surprises me because I really don't fancy werewolves and vampires. Vaughn's writing and worldbuilding is just that good....more
After reading a dense nonfiction book, I needed something light and fluffy, so I continued with the Kitty series. It was just what I needed. I blazedAfter reading a dense nonfiction book, I needed something light and fluffy, so I continued with the Kitty series. It was just what I needed. I blazed through in a day. I don't want to get into details, as this is a later book in the series, but it was action-packed and engaging. I appreciated the emotional turmoil that Kitty goes through as she confronts an unexpected problem with her body; it struck me as very realistic.
I'm continuing with the next book in the series since I have it handy....more
**spoiler alert** I picked this out of my to-read pile because I wanted a fast, fun read. It was fast and the setting was fascinating, but it didn't h**spoiler alert** I picked this out of my to-read pile because I wanted a fast, fun read. It was fast and the setting was fascinating, but it didn't have the oomph I really wanted. There were a lot of really great elements that didn't feel fully developed to me. The setting was the biggest. It felt apocalyptic verging on more apocalyptic, but the facts were teased. I wanted to know more! A few perspective asides to another character didn't end up going anywhere.
The main character of Evie likewise didn't feel fully developed, nor did I feel she had chemistry with the character of Alex. The book didn't really need the romance.
What did work within the book? The fascinating background of Evie's family, the nature of her house, and the appearance of a few important mythological characters. Alex's back story was intriguing, too. I just wish that other elements had come together. ...more
I loved the heck out of this. I've read over a hundred urban fantasy novels and it's so easy for me to pick one up now and think, "I think I've read sI loved the heck out of this. I've read over a hundred urban fantasy novels and it's so easy for me to pick one up now and think, "I think I've read something really close to this before." Not so with The Dragons of Heaven. It feels like a combination of martial arts movie and superhero tale and urban fantasy, and that blend works very well.
Missy Masters is a superhero on the streets of San Francisco. Her heroic alter-ego is actually the hero Mr. Mystic--the persona created by her grandfather. She's quite familiar with Chinatown and its denizens (human and spiritual), but also has intimate knowledge of the spiritual plain in China. That's because she went there to seek out the master who trained her grandfather--and life became a whole lot more complicated as a result.
The full novel hops between Then and Now; Then being her training in China, and Now being the new worldwide peril that is a consequence of her actions. Right at beginning, the switches jarred me, but I was soon engaged by the twining plot lines. There were plenty of surprises along the way. There were some major details Missy never thought on in the Now plot that struck me as odd when the reveals finally came in the end; she was a more unreliable narrator than I expected.
Overall, though, it was great fun. With the stress of the past week, I really needed a book that I could drop into like a nice hot bubble bath. The Dragons of Heaven was perfect....more
Marks has written a wonderfully fresh take YA and urban fantasy, two genres that are bogged down by tropes. I've read almost 100 urban fantasies, so iMarks has written a wonderfully fresh take YA and urban fantasy, two genres that are bogged down by tropes. I've read almost 100 urban fantasies, so it was really nice to read a book and be surprised again, and again, and again. Aidan's voice is perfectly teenaged and snarky, and he feels real; it was great to see a strong teenaged male lead. He's had an awfully rough life. His witch of a mother (literally) died when he was a kid, and he has spent the years since trying to look over his beloved little sister who is in foster care. Magical abilities run in the family. Aidan sees demons everywhere and dreads what might be coming for his sister Ava as her birthday nears.
I don't want to give too much away. Marks has a knack for writing characters who are manipulated by forces beyond their control, but who are not passive in the slightest. The female cast is very strong here. The end is fantastic and draws things together in a way I did not anticipate at all... and makes me even more eager to read the next book....more
These books have been consistently good and really fit my mood for something fast and easy to read. Vaughn doesn't go easy on her characters, though.These books have been consistently good and really fit my mood for something fast and easy to read. Vaughn doesn't go easy on her characters, though. This book had lots of twists and turns, and yet again Vaughn proved she can write an ending that defies all expectations yet is still satisfying....more
I read the first book in the series a few years ago and had the next few books waiting in my to-read for ages. I was in the mood for a fun, fast urbanI read the first book in the series a few years ago and had the next few books waiting in my to-read for ages. I was in the mood for a fun, fast urban fantasy and decided it was high time to pick up another of Vaughn's books. I'm glad I did. I'm not a huge fan of werewolves and vampires, but I really enjoy Vaughn's approach. Kitty is a relatable heroine--spunky, a little foolish, but means well. The pace is perfect. One of the bad guys--a congressman--was a screaming stereotype but at the same time, there ARE guys in the senate like that. The end had some brilliant twists, certainly not the kind of thing you expect in a second book, and leaves me curious about how things will develop.
I have the third book and I'm reading that next. ...more
I received an early reviewer copy of the book through NetGalley.
Dark. Intense. Frenetic. That's the best way to describe Blackmoore's urban fantasy roI received an early reviewer copy of the book through NetGalley.
Dark. Intense. Frenetic. That's the best way to describe Blackmoore's urban fantasy romp through a Los Angeles abounding with very needy gods. The voice reminded me of Blackmore's other series, as well as Chuck Wendig and Richard Kadrey. They are all masters of this kind of macabre, gritty, profane dark fantasy.
The "hero" is Fritz, a guy who has operated on the wrong side of the law for years. He's also medicated himself as much as possible to drown out the voices that have always lurked in my back of his mind. On this particular crappy day, the voices decide to start screaming. Then the speakers start to show up in person. It turns out the gods—all the gods of all the people of earth—have been booted out of their firmament. Fritz is supposed to be a Chronicler, the sort of rare bard who can revive a god's legacy and save them from misery and obscurity. Therefore, they all want him.
The pace is crazy. It reads like an action movie—boom, crash, bang, barely survive, escape, oh crap there's another god on the rampage. It's fun, though it's dark in a way that I'd want to be in a certain mood to get into it.
This book is part of a series; I haven't read the previous book, and I didn't find myself lost. MYTHBREAKER stands on its own without any issues. ...more
This second volume in Roland's series is even stronger than the first. It resumes a year and a half after Rose's misadventures in GRAVEYARD GIRL, withThis second volume in Roland's series is even stronger than the first. It resumes a year and a half after Rose's misadventures in GRAVEYARD GIRL, with her struggling to make it through college and resisting her necromantic magic. That proves even more difficult with a nasty entity known as the Phantom on the prowl in Albuquerque. The pace is very fast, and Rose is a great character. Some of the elements were a bit predictable but it was still a fun read with numerous twists and turns. Great insights into the deaths of her parents. Roland is especially good at using Albuquerque as an effective urban fantasy setting....more
This is an enjoyable, well-paced urban fantasy that's perfect for adults or the New Adult demographic. Eighteen-year-old Rose is very easy to relate tThis is an enjoyable, well-paced urban fantasy that's perfect for adults or the New Adult demographic. Eighteen-year-old Rose is very easy to relate to. After all, when you're set to start college, it's pretty alarming when your necromantic talents show up--especially when family history proves that the magic makes not-so-good things happen. In this case, it attracts the attention of three lumenancers who want to stop Rose's gene pool for good.
The lumenancers were a weak area in the book. I was left wanting to understand more about them and their motivations. I was also frustrated with Rose through the middle. She didn't take agency and acted too normal, even as she was threatened. Even so, the pace of the book kept me steadily reading on. I loved how Roland used Albuquerque as a setting, too. It's great to see urban fantasies bust out of the New York City rut, and the southwest just begs for more stories like this....more
Wow, is this a fast read. It zooms by. Blackmoore has a twisted, wicked mind--I like it! He's completely ruthless on his not-so-noble protagonist, necWow, is this a fast read. It zooms by. Blackmoore has a twisted, wicked mind--I like it! He's completely ruthless on his not-so-noble protagonist, necromancer Eric Carter. Eric wants to break his unholy matrimony with Santa Muerte and instead finds he's even deeper in her web than he realized. There's backstabbing upon backstabbing upon backstabbing, yet everything flows and makes sense. Blackmoore's Los Angeles is beautiful and dingy and honest. ...more
This dark fantasy reads like a thriller. It's intense. It's brutal. It's good. It's probably inescapable to compare it with Richard Kadrey's Sandman SThis dark fantasy reads like a thriller. It's intense. It's brutal. It's good. It's probably inescapable to compare it with Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim books, since they are both set in Los Angeles with a dark, snarky tone, but the worlds and magic are very different. Each good in their own way.
Blackmoore makes Eric Carter--not the nicest guy around--into a sympathetic character. That takes skill. The magic system is fascinating, as is the way that Eric can pop between the realms of the living and the dead, and the risks involved. And at the end of the book... I can't help but wonder what else he can do. I'm glad I have the sequel handy so I can read onward....more
I've read so much urban fantasy that I tend to be critical of it. It has to be really good and fresh to grip me. Wild Card did just that. Wyman uses tI've read so much urban fantasy that I tend to be critical of it. It has to be really good and fresh to grip me. Wild Card did just that. Wyman uses the vivid backdrop of Las Vegas to depict an unusual face-off of the old trickster gods. Cat is a snarky red-head with a knack for computers, but her day job is interrupted by the whims of Eris, who owns her soul. When Cat finds that Eris has thrown Cat's soul into a card game match between trickster gods, all hell breaks loose. Literally. The gods don't simply play to win. They want to test the potential goods. That means Cat's on the run for her life, all with the help of the rakish satyr, Marius.
A lot of urban fantasies recycle the same gods and fae. I loved that Wyman brought in Maui and mythology from Hawaii, a darker take on Coyote, and I loved, loved, what she did with Loki. The romance isn't some clear-cut thing here, either. Marius comes across as a real dirt bag from the start, but he develops into a very complex and sympathetic character.
This is the sort of book that reminds me that urban fantasy can still be fresh and full of potential....more
This is one of those urban fantasies that's on that gritty, grimy edge of horror. Wendig is a visceral, punchy writer. He wields profanity the way a tThis is one of those urban fantasies that's on that gritty, grimy edge of horror. Wendig is a visceral, punchy writer. He wields profanity the way a teenage girl says "like." That's typically not my thing, but the Miriam's voice works well here. She's hurting because she knows she's hurt others, and her snark is a method of defense. It's an intense read that zooms by--which is great because there's so much violence and gore, but it never dwells on it. The brisk pace pushes things along....more
**spoiler alert** Moscow itself is the most intriguing character of this urban fantasy. It's an ancient place with an often brutal past, and the book'**spoiler alert** Moscow itself is the most intriguing character of this urban fantasy. It's an ancient place with an often brutal past, and the book's setting of the early 1990s isn't very kind, either. The premise here is intriguing, and really, the book acts as a gentle primer to the wonders of Russian mythology. I'm largely ignorant of Russian fables beyond Baba Yaga; I tried to read Cat Valente's book Deathless a while back and was overwhelmed by the other-worldlyness of it. Sedia applies a deft hand as she brings in Russian history and storied characters. The pace is perfect.
That said, I never fully connected with the main character from the present day, Galina. She's too singular in her goal--to save her sister--and as a reader, we never get to know her sister before she's lost. Galina never felt like a person beyond that, and that made the ending too predictable in that regard. ...more
I received an early reviewer ebook through the publisher via NetGalley.
This novelette takes place in the same world as Underwood's previous novels, GeI received an early reviewer ebook through the publisher via NetGalley.
This novelette takes place in the same world as Underwood's previous novels, Geekomancy and Celebromancy. He offers a cool, fresh take on urban fantasy where fandom means power. Geekomancers pull magic from pop culture--watch an episode of BBC's Sherlock, and for a brief time, you see as Sherlock. Others can tear a Magic: the Gathering Card and absorb that skill. Ree Reyes is still new at this geekomancer gig but she's survived many unsurvivable scrapes so far.
The pacing on this is both delightful and exhausting. The whole thing is really one big battle sequence. There's a lot of humor mixed in, and many, many references to culture, but for the most part it's a marathon of near-death experiences. This means it's a fast read. Ree uses her skills and know-how to scrape through, but it's not about developing her character arc. I did miss that. That said, it's still a fun book and a total geek-out thriller....more
I received a gratis electronic copy of this book through the publisher via NetGalley.
This is the ninth and final book is this urban fantasy series. WhI received a gratis electronic copy of this book through the publisher via NetGalley.
This is the ninth and final book is this urban fantasy series. When I started reading the Walker Papers, only three books had been released. I feel like I've been along for most of the long haul, but even more, these were instructive books for me. I studied them to learn how to write person, how to plot, how to improve my own writing in every way. So reading this final book? It's emotional.
Man, this book.
Murphy doesn't pull out any stops. The entire thing reads like a climax (really, it is in terms of the full story arc of the series)--more like a thriller than a standard urban fantasy. I had to take little breaks as I read to absorb what just happened, and I kept muttering out loud along the way. "Wait... what?" "Noooooo!" "Aw, yay! Aw, crap."
It's a great book. A perfect finish for the series. It did what it needed to do, with plenty of surprises along the way. I'm sad to see the series end but also excited because I know Murphy has other awesome projects ahead. I'll be ready to read them....more
Man, this was a refreshing change for urban fantasy. A novel completely set in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan, drenched in the culture, and one that doeMan, this was a refreshing change for urban fantasy. A novel completely set in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan, drenched in the culture, and one that doesn't seek for any romantic element. Mariko is a strong lead trying to earn respect as the only woman detective on Tokyo's force. Having a female lead in urban fantasy fight combat sexism isn't new, but the element of conservative Japanese culture adds a new twist.
However, my favorite parts of the book actually didn't feature Mariko. The book jumps back in time to explore the history of the three swords by Master Inazuma. Two of those episodes--about Glorious Victory Unsought and Tiger on the Mountain--would be outstanding short stories all on their own, but add considerable depth and drama to the full novel. They certainly played into events at the end in a way I didn't expect!
I expected to like this, but not as much as I did. It was hard to put down! It's 400 pages and a fast read nevertheless. ...more
I received this gratis book through the publisher via NetGalley.
I have read a lot of urban fantasy. Frankly, I have started to get burned out on severI received this gratis book through the publisher via NetGalley.
I have read a lot of urban fantasy. Frankly, I have started to get burned out on several series because they feel too episodic and the protagonists unlikeable. I enjoyed Wells' Sabina Kane series because the writing was so fantastic, even if vampires are not my thing. Therefore, I was excited about Dirty Magic because it had such a cool premise: a world where magic is a new, ugly form of drug addiction. Wells nails it. This is a fresh take on urban fantasy that's dark and sometimes creepy, with zippy dialogue and a protagonist who is snarky but still relatable.
Kate Prospero is a great heroine. She has the full background conflict going on--as a kid, she grew up cooking dirty magic and has now sworn off magic all together--and she's now trying to be a single parent to her baby brother who is in full teenage angst mode. She's the lawful good cop who drops expletives by the pitcher-full. There's some romantic tension in the book, but for me the real love story was between Kate and her brother. It just plain felt real.
I was reminded at times of another urban fantasy with a cop, Hard Magic, though that book had a more noir feel. Dirty Magic remakes modern Earth in a much more dramatic way.
The comparison to Neil Gaiman and Guillaermo Del Toro is apt. This book is dark, often creepy, and completely mesmerizing. It paints a vivid picture oThe comparison to Neil Gaiman and Guillaermo Del Toro is apt. This book is dark, often creepy, and completely mesmerizing. It paints a vivid picture of fae, jinn, and Coyote in the modern world--in the Hill Country of Texas and nearby Austin--with all their dark magic and manipulation. It's one of those book that I was sorry that it ended, but at the same time I felt like I could breathe and relax again....more
I may be a bit biased since I read an early draft of this, but I found Celebromancy to be a delightful urban fantasy romp. It's self-awareness of itsI may be a bit biased since I read an early draft of this, but I found Celebromancy to be a delightful urban fantasy romp. It's self-awareness of its own silliness without overdoing it--the best way to describe it is "happily geeky." Considering the first book in the series is titled Geekomancy, you get exactly what you expect.
Ree Reyes is a relatable heroine. I like how Underwood explored her bisexuality here without making it feel like total fanservice. Ree is attracted to movie starlet Jane, a woman who is definitely on the outs with Hollywood and the media in general. There's a definite Lindsay Lohan vibe to her plight--though hopefully Lohan isn't dealing with curses, shadowy assassins, or the twisted magic of celebromancy. Ree wields magic acquired from hardcore geekiness (i.e. she watches Star Wars and for a brief time can utilize a light-saber and some Jedi mind tricks); celebromancy operates with a different skill set, drawing on publicity and the love of an audience to draw power. It's an incredibly original concept and it really works well with an urban fantasy backdrop....more