I never would have suspected that I would enjoy reading about Ancient Roman war maneuvers, but Butcher's ingeYet another great novel from Jim Butcher.
I never would have suspected that I would enjoy reading about Ancient Roman war maneuvers, but Butcher's ingenious twist of adding that style to an alien planet and then tweaking it by adding fantasy/magical creatures as their opponents makes this series exciting and different.
I cannot wait to read the final novel in the series when it is released on November 24th.
Book 3 of The Phoenix Chronicles (Any Given Doomsday and Doomsday Can Wait are Books 1 & 2) -- Despite Psychic/Shape-shifter/Vampire Elizabeth (LiBook 3 of The Phoenix Chronicles (Any Given Doomsday and Doomsday Can Wait are Books 1 & 2) -- Despite Psychic/Shape-shifter/Vampire Elizabeth (Liz) Phoenix's efforts, somehow the Gates of Hell have been opened and the Apocalypse is at hand. Demons are flooding the earth and if Liz can't prevent Satan from taking control, humanity will end. Her newly acquired vampire abilities are her secret weapon against the demon hoards, but she still needs to acquire the Key of Solomon and the Book of Samyaza (Satan) to stave off the Apocalypse -- without losing herself to her inner demon. With the aid of her ex-lover Jimmy Sanducci and mysterious Navajo shaman Sawyer, Liz discovers that someone she thought was dead isn't and will destroy everyone Liz loves to bring about the Apocalypse.
I've really enjoyed this series and am looking forward to Handeland's 4th novel Chaos Bites. ...more
A great ending to a terrific series. I never anticipated that I would enjoy a series based in the world of Roman battle strategy. By adding strange crA great ending to a terrific series. I never anticipated that I would enjoy a series based in the world of Roman battle strategy. By adding strange creatures & magic elements to an alternate world similar to that of the height of the Roman Empire, Butcher managed to suck me in with the coming of age, romance, and political intrigue plots.
As is the norm with Butcher, there's a healthy dose of humor and the supernatural to lighten up what could have been just another bloody war story. Which means that it is so much more. ...more
I finally started reading the "free samplers" that Penguin/Ace/Roc Books distributed at SDCC 2009. Several novels seemed promising, this being one ofI finally started reading the "free samplers" that Penguin/Ace/Roc Books distributed at SDCC 2009. Several novels seemed promising, this being one of the most intriguing.
I really, really enjoyed it. Great characters, great story and lots of action -- just what I'm looking for in UF books! I hope that Huff decides to expand on this world and give us more tales about Alysha & the Gale family, because I will be waiting to read them!...more
The Stepsister Scheme is the first book in Hines' Princess series that takes our traditional beliefs about the tales of the Prinecesses Cinderella, SlThe Stepsister Scheme is the first book in Hines' Princess series that takes our traditional beliefs about the tales of the Prinecesses Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and gives them a new, old twist. Basing the princesses' backgrounds on the darker Grimm's versions, rather than the Disney-ified versions most of us grew up with, he then gives these ladies the strength of character to fight against their personal injustices and protect their loved ones.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Princess Danielle (de Glas) Whiteshore – more commonly known as Cinderella – who is having trouble adjusting to her new life as wife to her charming Prince Armand and seeing herself as a princess, not a servant. I was concerned that Hines would just expand on the sword-wielding, take no-nonsense Danielle from one of my favorite films Ever After, but I like that this Danielle isn't imbued with self-confidence and still defaults to acting subservient from years of being treated as such by her stepmother and stepsisters. Unlike Ever After, this Cinderella retains her ability to communicate with animals – albeit mostly telepathically.
After narrowly avoiding being assassinated by her stepsister and told that her husband has been kidnapped, Danielle soon discovers that her mother-in-law Queen Beatrice has a habit of taking in stray princesses and protects her kingdom behind the scenes through the use of secret passageways, an enchanted map, and the talents of warrior Princess Talia Malak-al-Dahshat (Sleeping Beauty) and sorceress Princess Ermillina Curtana of Allesandria (Snow White). Queen Bea (love that little wink!) encourages Talia and Snow to let Danielle help rescue Prince Armand. The girls reluctantly agree and soon discover that while Danielle might not be a skilled swordswoman, her determination and ingenuity are an asset to their quest to infiltrate the lands of fairy and retrieve the Prince.
The Stepsister Scheme does a great job of allowing the princesses to show their strengths and faults, lets them to learn from one another, gives them worthy adversaries to fight, and allows them to struggle with failure. All in all, it's a well-balanced, action adventure with interesting and well rounded characters that you root to succeed. I appreciated that the girls earlier life struggles differ from the happily-ever-after versions, and therefore, color how they act now that they are in control. There were a few parts of the story that dragged a bit, but given that this is the first novel in a series, I chalked that up to information that may play out in subsequent novels. Over all I'd say that Hines did a terrific job of meshing lightness and darkness to bring to life princesses that are more worthy of emulation than their Disney counterparts. ...more
The Mermaid's Madness is definitely not the Disney version of The Little Mermaid. This novel is more in line with Hans Christian Andersen's original tThe Mermaid's Madness is definitely not the Disney version of The Little Mermaid. This novel is more in line with Hans Christian Andersen's original tale and is even darker than The Stepsister Scheme, Hines' first book in the Princess series.
Again told from the viewpoint of Danielle (Cinderella), Queen Beatrice, Princess Ermillina (Snow White), and Princess Talia (Sleeping Beauty) sail the newly christened ship the Glass Slipper to meet with King Posannes and his daughter, the new Queen Levanna, along with the rest of their Undine (mere folk) tribe. But what begins as a traditional royal ceremony between the nation of Lorindar and the Undine for safe passage across the seas, quickly devolves into the accidental stabbing of a royal, and a declaration of war on all nations by the Undine.
Again, Hines manages to craft an engaging story of darkness and betrayal where only Danielle, Snow, and Talia can save Lorindar and its neighboring kingdoms from certain war. We quickly discover that like Snow and Talia, Lirea's dream of happily-ever-after with her human prince ended in betrayal and the act of murdering her beloved has driven her to madness. Aided by yet another princess rescued by Queen Bea, Lirea's younger sister Lannadea, and Captain Hephyra and the crew of Queen Bea's fairy ship the Phillipa, the princesses set sail to locate the Undine witch Morveren, in the hope she will give them the answers they need to succeed against Lirea.
This novel is much more fast-paced than its predecessor, which avoids the lulls that distracted me while reading The Stepsister Scheme. Refreshingly, Hines continues to allow the princesses to show their flaws and learn from their mistakes. He also is adept at creating "villains" that are shades of grey –so much so that their motivations for acting opposed to our heroines can be seen as rational. And while the Princesses get to save the day, Price Armand, King Theodore, and Father Isaac contribute where they can given the circumstances (which includes the fact that being a matriarchal society, the Undine don't recognize men as leaders – King Posannes is leader only in that Levanna was their Queen-in-training).
The novel isn't all doom and gloom, and Hines sprinkles in humor and lightness via Snow's flirtations with the crew, Danielle's interactions with her husband and son Jakob, and Talia's jealousy toward Snow and her bond with Jakob. I was also tickled by some humorous telepathic conversations between Danielle, the sharks, and the kelpies.
The Mermaid's Madness aptly builds upon The Stepsister Scheme's foundation and leads the reader toward the next adventure in this series entitled Red Hood's Revenge. Bring it, Red, bring it! :) ...more
Richelle Mead starts off her Dark Swan series with this fast-paced novel. Eugenie Markham is a shaman-for-hire and very good at her job of ridding ourRichelle Mead starts off her Dark Swan series with this fast-paced novel. Eugenie Markham is a shaman-for-hire and very good at her job of ridding our world of demons, spirits, and creatures from the Otherwold (Land of Fae). Armed with a Glock .22 (loaded with either silver or steel bullets as needed), iron & silver athames, a gem-encrusted wand, and tattoos to aid with spiritual access to the Otherwold and the Underworld, Eugenie is a tough, no-nonsense, beauty ready to take on any job to pay the bills. But when client asks her to find his kidnapped 14-year-old sister who was taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie is hesitant to proceed. Traveling spiritually to the Otherworld is dangerous enough, but extended physical stays are practically suicidal – especially now that these creatures are trying to rape and/or kill her. Eugenie agrees, but soon discovers that secrets about her past are about to change her life in ways she could never have guessed – including who she is and who she can trust to help her.
Mead does an excellent job of creating fascinating characters that are often more than they initially seem. In much the same way, her plot is filled with twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. The tone alternates from romantic to harrowing to hilarious smoothly. Very quickly you are swept into Eugenie's world and are invested in these characters' fates. I'm excited to immediately read the next novel Thorn Queen, because I really want to spend more time in this world. The only downside is my now-constant craving for Milky Way candy bars! ...more