Do you like sequels that do pretty much nothing to progress the overarching plot, refuse to start answering long-standing questions, and fail to allowDo you like sequels that do pretty much nothing to progress the overarching plot, refuse to start answering long-standing questions, and fail to allow characters to grow or progress their relationships with other characters? If so then this book is for you.
It's not bad, don't get me wrong. It is still well written and interesting, but that's about it. That's fine for a stand alone novel, but for a story that is supposed to be part of a series, it was a big disappointment.
This story picks up 4 months after Jeremiah is forced to run after his trip to a hell and having to stab Denise in the heart. After such an event, the things I most wanted to know about was how Denise was doing, how much did she remember, and does she now think that Jeremiah was trying to kill her? I wanted to know about the fall out from what happened with the FBI. I wanted to know if the New Orleans coven were actively hunting him. I basically wanted a sequel to what happened in the last novel.
Instead, we are left with a story where Denise and Demitri don't show up until the last act (maybe 85% of the way into this book) and we have to put up with Jeremiah in a stand-alone adventure. Though it touched on issues with the Preacher and the ending seemed quite important, we didn't know that through most of the book and after the half way mark I was growing frustrated about the fact that it felt like the author had pretty much abandoned the larger issues in the series.
So overall, when taken on its own merits this book is probably a 3.5-4 star read. However, when taken as part of a series it's lucky to scrape through with a 2. Therefore I have rounded up to 3. ...more
I couldn't finish this one for the following reasons:
1 - It's just more of the same as what has come in the previous two books. 2 - Rather than answerI couldn't finish this one for the following reasons:
1 - It's just more of the same as what has come in the previous two books. 2 - Rather than answering questions in the reader's head, it simply puts in new ones which makes this series a tease with no reward. 3 - Daniel just isn't learning from his mistakes. Every time he acts exactly the same and as though none of his previous adventures have taught him anything. 4 - For the first time Daniel's humour isn't enough to make up for his other character flaws. When the protagonist in a first person novel becomes unlikable, that novel becomes unreadable.
I got to the 75% mark of this one and then gave up. It's a shame, the series had promise. Looking back I think I gave the second book a bit too much of a break because of that promise. Either way, this is where me and this series part ways... such a shame. ...more
It's another 4-star read for this series, but I can't say that I wasn't a little disappointed with this outing for Daniel Jenkins. Before we get to thIt's another 4-star read for this series, but I can't say that I wasn't a little disappointed with this outing for Daniel Jenkins. Before we get to that though, here's what I liked...
The writing, as before, was fun, well-paced and engaging. Daniel is a humorous narrator, even with his slightly twisted morals, and no matter what story he is telling, it's always a pleasant read. The book is easily interesting enough to keep the pages turning and, as with the last one, it is a comfortable single sitting read.
However, as I said earlier, there were some disappointments. For starters, this one kind of felt like a rehash of the one before. Yet again we get half a novel of episodic adventures and then half a novel of a more relevant adventure to progress Daniel's story. On top of this, I feel that I could have done with a bit more progression in this story. We are no closer to finding out who the Great Whomever actually is, what Daniel's true purpose is, nor a number of other mysteries I wouldn't have minded finding a bit more about.
My biggest issue was Daniel himself. I was hoping for some growth in character, maybe see him become resigned to his position, or even see him start to embrace his role as some kind of holy vigilante. Especially after what happened with Nate, I was hoping that he might have more respect for the consequences of his actions. Instead, he is still confused, conflicted and not even looking to make sense out of his life.
Overall, this is a good read. I enjoy Daniel's outings and the writing style of this book, I just hope that the next book starts to progress the story a little more. ...more
Kick, by John L Monk, was a pleasant surprise and an enjoyable read.
This book is a cross between Quantum Leap and The Punisher, manages to be both fuKick, by John L Monk, was a pleasant surprise and an enjoyable read.
This book is a cross between Quantum Leap and The Punisher, manages to be both fun and dark at the same time, and somehow balances all this in a well-paced, well-told story. In spite of a slightly episodic feel to the first half of the book, the concept was interesting enough to keep me reading and finishing this book in a single sitting.
Do I have some negatives? Well, just the one worth mentioning. That episodic first half would have been better if the stories were some way tied into the longer story in the second half that I felt was the main part of the novel. As they were they felt like they were random and kind of pointless in regards to the overall story. That being said, they were fun.
Overall, this is a well-written and intriguing story with fascinating premise. Most of all it makes me excited for the future books to come. I can happily recommend this novel and I look forward to the next in the series. ...more
Heart Strings is definitely a big step down for this series. There were a number of elements that frustrated me in the last book, but I was riding higHeart Strings is definitely a big step down for this series. There were a number of elements that frustrated me in the last book, but I was riding high enough on my enjoyment of the first novel to overlook them and award a second 4 star read for this series. However, with the same issues cropping up again in this book, they became a much larger factor in my reading experience.
The main issues I have with this book include:
1 - LACK OF PROGRESSION - This is the third novel and only 3 weeks have passed. This minuscule time frame for these three books robs the story of some much-needed depth. It seems like the small time frame is just an excuse for situations and characters that have not grown, changed and progressed over the course of three novels. In spite of some plot twists, the characters are very much who they were when we first met them, as are a large number of the story lines.
2 - OVERLY LONG ACTION SEQUENCES - Going hand in hand with the previous point, this book is filled with overly long action sequences that mask the lack of progression in the story. These many sequences, that can each be as long as 5-10% of the book with only a few lines of exposition and dialogue thrown in amongst the action, either end up in a stalemate or result in a retreat to the status quo. They are very samey, lack excitement and a sense of danger, and are frustrating in the constant absence of finality.
3 - CHARACTERS REACT AHEAD OF THE PLOT - We the reader, don't yet know where the plot will take us. However, this should also be true for the characters. We are given exactly the same clues and information that Cisco has which makes me question why he keeps acting in certain ways. Throughout this novel and the last he constantly trusts people who haven't earned it (or are outright proved to be untrustworthy), makes leaps of logic that have very little to do with previous events, or simply acts towards characters and situations in ways that seem completely unnatural. At least that is how it seems until you come across the plot twist at the end of the novel and realise that he was right to do these things all along... the question is, how did he know to be right about these things in the first place?
4 - A BATMAN UTILITY BELT OF POWERS - Cisco's powers seem to pop up out of nowhere as and when he needs them. In the last book, he actually used a phrase along the lines of, Did I forget to mention I know a little bit of this type of magic? before gaining a new and incredibly handy ability. There is no foreshadowing of him learning new skills in this book, but when the situation calls for it, they appear from nowhere with a quick head nod to the fact that he has been learning from the necromancer spirit... though no mention of this was made before.
5 - CISCO - It's getting harder and harder to believe in the protagonist. He keeps acting as though the events of the previous novels haven't happened and is not learning from his mistakes. The motives for his actions are dubious at best, and he is always inconsistent with his actions and decisions. The main issue I have though, is that he doesn't act like a man who lost 10 years of his life and has suffered a great loss. He has only been back from the dead for three weeks but he is already pretty acclimated with this new world and his place in it. The kind of loss he has suffered (both the loss of years and loved ones) would have a much bigger impact on a person and I keep feeling as though he is treating it all as though it's no big deal which kind of ignores one of the main hooks about his character.
Overall I am not impressed with this book. It's mainly one long action sequence that constantly ends in a draw, I never really feel any raising stakes, and I am actually becoming less invested in the characters rather than becoming more interested in them. I enjoyed the first book and the second was a pleasant, if somewhat samey, read; therefore I'll stick with this series through book 4, but that has some serious work to do to get this series back on track. ...more
While not quite providing me with the ending I had hoped for, City of Light maintains the high quality of this series and was an excellent read.
AfterWhile not quite providing me with the ending I had hoped for, City of Light maintains the high quality of this series and was an excellent read.
After having nearly lost his life dealing with just one Incarnation, Simon must now find a way to battle the other ten. On top of this, he has struggles inside Valinhall that he must deal with and all in all, our hero is forced to reach much further than he ever has before just to survive, let alone win.
Leah, already struggling in her new role as Damascan Queen, has the extra weight of dealing with a new Ragnarus Incarnation that threatens not just the life of her people, but her position as queen as well.
Meanwhile, Alin must struggle to keep hold of his own personality and nature while his new powers continue to develop.
Overall, all three story arcs are fast paced, action packed and intriguing, which is what I would have expected from them. Will Wight proves once again that he can write engaging, well-imagined fantasy, and he finishes off a strong trilogy of work leaving me wanting more, which is surely the goal of all good ongoing series (and thankfully there is more to come as the author's note at the end mentioned he will be returning to this universe).
So, I can happily recommend this final book and this series as a whole. It is a well-told trilogy with strong characters, an interesting magic system, and plenty of intrigue and action to keep the pages turning.
It's an easy 4 stars for this book, and 4.5 stars for the series as a whole....more
Well, it finally happened. Terry Brook's once great Shannara series has hit such a high level of 'Meh' that I could only make it two-thirds of the wayWell, it finally happened. Terry Brook's once great Shannara series has hit such a high level of 'Meh' that I could only make it two-thirds of the way through before giving up.
Though entitled The Sorcerer's daughter, the story is actually split almost equally between Paxon Leah and Lefour. After sabotage at peace talks between druids and the federtion, Paxon struggles to lead the druids back to Paranor safely. When Paxon's sister is kidnapped outside of Paranor, Lefour must find a way to track her down and save her.
Neither of these story lines held any interest for me because both were lacking in likeable characters for me to root for. The last two books have failed to build these characters to the point where I care about them and this book didn't make me want to find out about their story either. Therefore there are no stakes to cary you through the story.
It doesn't help that the writing style lacks any kind of forward momentum either. Each chapter starts with a 1-3 page recap of what has happened in the story so far, along with information on where each character stands in that story in the form of naval gazing from the POV character. By the time anything new happens to carry the story forward, the chapter is almost over. This means we spend a lot of time learning what we have already read over and over, and barely any time being drip-fed new information to move the story on. It was during one such recap where Lefour is questioning her relationship with Paxon for what felt like the zillionth time that I finally gave in on this book.
Where has the magic and wonder gone from this series? I remember when it used to be a series about magic and adventure. There were real characters with strong stakes that meant you couldn't put the book down. My favourite thing was that the events of each book/series were world changing and made the world of Shannara evolve into something bigger and better.
Mr Brooks and the Shannara series has played a big role in shaping the reader I am today. However, my once favourite author hasn't managed to put out a book that has truly held my interest since The Gypsy Morph back in 2008. 8 Shannara novels, a scattering of short stories and an abysmal Landover novel later, and I have finally taken the hint... this isn't a slump I have to wait out, it's an author who either no longer cares or has completely lost his mojo with no signs of getting it back.
I think that this is where me and Mr. Brooks part ways. I have been a loyal fan for 15 years. However, whether it's selling out this series to be made into some cheap knock-off TV show that showed no respect to the source material, or maybe writing a single 300-350 page book per year that is at best a copy of better works and at worst almost unreadable rubbish; I just can't take it anymore.
For people who have never read Mr Brooks' work before, please go back and start with his early works. This trilogy has been marketed as a series of stand-alone novels, but don't let that fool you into thinking you can just pick it up here and be happy with the series. Go back to when it was good and don't let this book rob you from the experience of early Shannara....more
The Novice by Taran Matharu is the highly enjoyable, if overly formulaic, first book in the Summoner series.
When former blacksmith apprentice FletcheThe Novice by Taran Matharu is the highly enjoyable, if overly formulaic, first book in the Summoner series.
When former blacksmith apprentice Fletcher accidentally summons a rare demon, he is entered into a school to train him in the summoner arts. There he must struggle against a lack of knowledge and a caste rivalry to become the best summoner in the class by the end of his first year. The consequences of letting the noble class students win is dire and lives hang in the balance.
As I stated earlier, this book is a bit formulaic and relies heavily on some traditional fantasy tropes. As well as the existence of elves, goblins and orcs, we also have the trope of the orphan boy raised in poverty but clearly has great things in his future. These elements are so synonymous with traditional fantasy that a story really needs to do something special to make it work... and I'm glad to say that The Novice did just that.
Maybe it's in the strength of its characters, the efficiency of the writing, or just a highly entertaining story standing on its own merits; but whatever the case, The Novice manages to be a book you can enjoy in spite of the familiar story elements.
Fletcher is an engaging character that I'm happy to root for, he has some interesting adventures, never does anything that felt overly stupid or forced, and basically he's a good protagonist. His friends are also a strong mix of likeable characters and they were fun to read about as well.
It could be said that a lot of the supporting characters, especially the antagonists, were pretty one dimensional and stereotypical. However, this is muted by the strength of the main cast of characters.
To be honest, the biggest downside for me was the magic system itself. Here this book read like a video game rather than a magic system. The way they interacted with the demons felt a bit too much like an episode of Pokemon. Then the magic system was literally a level based, mana system that requires the characters to level up after they have achieved certain accomplishments. As a fan of creative and original magic systems and a big believer that this is where fantasy can truly stand apart from other genres, this was a bit of a let down.
Overall though, this is a fun, fast paced novel that was highly entertaining and an easy read. It is clearly well written for young adults, but as a 30 year old reader, I can comfortably say that adults should enjoy it too. It may not be ground breaking but it is entertaining, and at the end of the day that's what we all want in a novel.
A comfortable 4 stars for this book, and I have high hopes for future novels. ...more
Once again Mr. Conroe proves that a Demon Accords story doesn't need to be told from Chris' perspective to be great. This story is told from Stacia'sOnce again Mr. Conroe proves that a Demon Accords story doesn't need to be told from Chris' perspective to be great. This story is told from Stacia's viewpoint and it is every bit as good as anything that has come before.
Since her introduction in Demon Driven, Stacia has proven herself to be a kick ass supporting character and one of my favourites in the series. In spite of remaining strong, independent and deadly, she has matured from the infatuated teenager she was before she started sharing in Chris' adventures, to a seriously big player in this series. After the events of Godhammer, I am really glad that Stacia has had the chance to be developed even further in this book.
In Rogues, she is sent to a small, rural town in Maine to investigate some murders that could have been committed by rogue werewolves. For the first time, Stacia needs to test her leadership skills when events transpire to be more than she expected.
As always, this book was fast-paced and engaging. What starts out as a smaller-scale solo adventure unfolds into yet another story that will advance the over-arching plot. On top of the investigation, this story also deals with the aftermath of Godhammer. Yet again Mr. Conroe doesn't shy away from exploring a world changing event and its consequences, which only pushes the tension, stakes and fascination levels to new heights. One of the many reasons I am always so eager to come back to this series is this kind of constant evolution and change that keeps these books fresh.
Overall this is another great book in a series that goes from strength to strength. From character and relationship development through to progression of the overall story, this book takes this series to ever more exciting places and makes this my favourite series out there right now.
As ever I am desperately eager for the next book. I suppose I'll just have to go back to stalking the author's facebook page for word count updates and any news on when Snake Eyes might make an appearance. Fingers crossed that it will be soon. ...more
It isn't a question as to whether The Providence of Fire was good or not, it is a question as to whether the first book earned enough loyalty from meIt isn't a question as to whether The Providence of Fire was good or not, it is a question as to whether the first book earned enough loyalty from me to ignore the damage this book has done?
Don't get me wrong, the book is engaging enough to keep you reading and Brian Stavely is certainly talented with words and language. The trouble is that the directions that the story took eventually left me reading this book in a state of fascinated horror at what was happening to this story rather than excitement and awe. The truth is I am not sure that I can find the energy to read the next book and finish this series... here's why.
(Please note that there will be some serious spoilers in this review.)
(view spoiler)[ Let's start with the fact that every decision made in this book seemed bat s**t crazy. Every time a sane person would have gone left, the characters in this book went right. Instead of speaking and clearing up issues in a simple conversation, the characters chose to fight (and die) needlessly. Instead of giving at least a modicum of trust to family members and friends, and distrusting people whose very actions had proved they can't be trusted, the characters did the opposite. At almost every point in the novel, I couldn't quite believe what anyone was doing.
The biggest culprit for this is Adare (please forgive me if I spelled that wrong. I listened to this on audiobook rather than read it). She is an utterly ridiculous character. Every move she made in this novel was obviously the wrong one:
1 - She finds out that her lover killed her father and is trying to usurp the throne. Rather than just waiting till his guard is down and killing him, she runs away and tries to build an army to come back and... yep, you guessed it, kill him.
2 - She runs away to get her army without any kind of plan of how to get there or what to do when she gets there. (This is also a cliche - The rich girl who doesn't understand how the world works.)
3 - She decides to trust people who she has been taught all her life are monsters responsible for terrible atrocities.
4 - She decides to trust people who she knows for fact are already guilty of plotting against her family and betraying her trust based on their words, without asking for any kind of proof.
5 - She turns on her brothers based on the words of known enemies rather than trusting in her father's decisions and her family.
There are more ridiculous decisions than that, but I have to stop or I will basically be rewriting every chapter from her viewpoint. Essentially, she is a completely useless character who devolves into a series of cliches:
1 - Princess who wishes she could rule if only men weren't holding her back, even though it's obvious she doesn't have what it takes
2 - The rich princess who isn't in touch with the real world or common problems
3 - The protagonist who decides to act constantly without ever having all the facts
Again, there's more but I'd better move on.
So let's talk about Valyn's story. Considering this was a longer book than the previous novel, there was plenty of room to develop this character. Instead, Valyn goes through a series of trials and events that all eventually end up nowhere. Not a single story including him is actually useful to the overall story other than to kill certain people and to put Valyn in the right place for the twist ending. You could have cut out 90% of his story and arrived in the same place.
Kaden's story is possibly the most interesting in this book (if not the series) but falls to the same fate as the other two. He either continues to make strange decisions for no reasons and jumps to conclusions, or he basically goes through filler chapters just to keep him relevant in the reader's mind. His story took ages getting anywhere and then proved to be near pointless by the end.
My final gripe (for the sake of the length of this review, not because there aren't more) was the storyline about the Emperor knowing he was going to die and planning it. If this was the case then he was an idiot. He deliberately got assassinated to draw out the people who were trying to usurp his empire, but never once thought to prepare any of his children for what to do afterward. Other than a note to Adare, the most useless of his children, he left everyone in the dark and completely unprepared for the dangers they are facing. Worse, by keeping them ignorant he basically arranged it for the siblings to not trust each other. Looking at his decisions with the knowledge that he knew what was going to happen to him makes every decision that led up to the first novel utterly pointless, thereby making the whole story pointless. (hide spoiler)]
Basically, it's a trainwreck of a novel. It took a story that was, while a bit long, still highly enjoyable, and systematically went around breaking every story arc. More than this, the whole book could easily have been covered in a novel half its size, if not shorter. It would probably have even been a better novel for it.
So to sum up, it's bloated, chaotic, filled with unbelievable characters and really not a good sequel to the enjoyable first novel. Such a shame as the first novel had such high potential. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Paranormal Chaos is the third novel in The Shifter Chronicles and another easy read to add to this series.
I have to admit that while I enjoyed the fiParanormal Chaos is the third novel in The Shifter Chronicles and another easy read to add to this series.
I have to admit that while I enjoyed the first novel, I was on the fence as to whether or not this would be a series I would stick with in the long run. However, after the last book and now this one, I am growing ever more attached to The Shifter Chronicles. A large part of this is my attachment to the characters.
The characters in The Shifter Chronicles felt very one dimensional in the first book and certainly standard urban fantasy characters that I've read about many times. But with each book they have been either fleshed out a little more, developed some new interesting back stories or simply created relationships that are fun to read about and that I care about. This leads to a much more interesting read and higher stakes in the story.
This book takes Markus and Steve out of the familiar setting of the last novels and sends them to Canada in search of some paranormal creatures including Centaurs and Minotaurs. These cultures were definitely interesting enough to change up this series and nicely develops the overall world further.
In spite of this interesting story change, there are still some elements that are a little samey. Markus and Quin's romance has a similar struggle in this novel that they had in the last, with both of them struggling to properly convey their feelings. Markus' struggle with the council continues to have much the same feel even though I will admit that there are some forward steps in this story. My biggest issue is how Marcus always acts as though he is a disappointment to his friends or that he is constantly letting people down. In the situations where this isn't the case, it's annoying. In the cases where it is, you start to think that maybe Marcus hasn't learnt much from his adventures if he keeps having to re-learn these lessons on each outing.
Overall though, this is another fast-paced edition to this series and it's another step in the right direction. The stakes have never been higher, the characters have never been more likeable and I finish the novel highly excited for the next.
I can happily recommend this book to fans of the series and the series to people looking for a light hearted read in the urban fantasy/paranormal genre. ...more