I finally started reading the "free samplers" that Penguin/Ace/Roc Books distributed at SDCC 2009. Several novels seemed promising, this being one of...moreI 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!(less)
I never would have suspected that I would enjoy reading about Ancient Roman war maneuvers, but Butcher's inge...moreYet 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.
Another fabulous adventure for Sadie and Carter Kane in this second offering from the Kane Chronicles. The novel takes off shortly after the events in...moreAnother fabulous adventure for Sadie and Carter Kane in this second offering from the Kane Chronicles. The novel takes off shortly after the events in The Red Pyramid and is just as much of a whirlwind, can-stop-reading page turner as its predecessor. The ancient Egyptians gods are loose in the world and this time Carter and Sadie must stop Apophis from rising and bringing forth Chaos. The Kane kids have barely managed to set the Brooklyn House back in order, let alone fully master their powers. As if that isn't bad enough, their new recruits have barely grasped their own potentials, when Sadie and Carter must leave them behind to protect the Brooklyn House, while they locate the Book of Ra and use it to restore the Sun God before Apophis breaks free in a few days.
The Throne of Fire continues to switch POV narration between Carter and Sadie, which IMO makes it all the more accessible to boys and girls. Riordan also does and excellent job of creating realistic characters that you quickly care about and sets them off on a roller coaster ride of mystery, danger, and mythology. Relying not only on their magical abilities and brains, but their new recruits and a handful of the Egyptian gods, the Kane kids rush to save the world without getting killed in the process.
The Kane Chronicles is, in my opinion, Riordan's best series to date. Everything (plot, characters, pacing, tone, and balance of dialogue/description/action) is pitch perfect.
My only gripe ... the cliffhanger ending with no idea of how long we have to wait to read the third installment in this series!(less)
I adored this book. Excellent world building, terrific characters, engaging plot, lots of action, and filled with magic and imagination.
Being short in...moreI adored this book. Excellent world building, terrific characters, engaging plot, lots of action, and filled with magic and imagination.
Being short in stature and fourth in line for her father's throne, Princess Sylviianel (Sylvi) is glad that for her, life as a royal brings little responsibility and the benefits of pretty things and food that she enjoys. She is able to observe the trials and tribulations of running a kingdom without experiencing much impact upon her everyday life--not even from the increasing numbers of predatory creatures long absent from Balsinland thanks to the high walls surrounding their kingdom. Her aspirations are few and expects that she will perform minor duties upon adulthood and that one day she will marry.
However, Sylvi's life drastically changes with her twelfth birthday. Like all royal and noble children, she is to be bound with a Pegasi offspring. The Pegasi are small, delicate, winged creatures* who have the intelligence and willingness to communicate with their human neighbors due to a treaty signed between them hundreds of years ago. The Pegasi were hunted near to extinction by the vicious native predators (ladons, taralians, norindours, wyverns, and rocs) until an exiled expedition party of humans stumbled upon the Pegasi lands. The humans were awed by these intelligent and wondrous creatures with whom they were able to communicate via their magicians and physical signing. In exchange for protecting the Pegasi by hunting down the native predators, the Pegasi allow this party to establish a new kingdom
Much to Slyvi's chagrin, the elaborate binding ceremony is steeped in traditional speeches, protocols, and magic, which requires her to perfect her knowledge of Pegasi sign-language, memorize the required oration and actions, and be on her best behavior so as not to embarrass her family. Nothing in her training prepares her for the shock she receives during the ceremony, which sets off a chain of events that not only affect Slyvii and her Pegasi bondmate Ebon, but will change Pegasi-human relationships and send Slyvi on an exciting adventure.
*Edited to change Pegasi description as they are not winged horses in this series.(less)
Another fun, well written YA series' first effort. I was a little taken aback at first with Evie being so closely characterized as Buffy -- a young, b...moreAnother fun, well written YA series' first effort. I was a little taken aback at first with Evie being so closely characterized as Buffy -- a young, blonde, paranormal tracker with her cutely-named weapon of choice "Tasey" (pink with rhinestones) a la Buffy's wooden stake "Mr. Pointy". Fortunately, Evie's story vears off into something richer with only her youth, blondeness, and job being similar. The differences, additional well developed/intriguing characters, great world building, and an engaging plot draws the reader in and propels them through a fast-paced story.
I'm definitely looking forward to Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2) coming out later this year and any additional books in this series.(less)
The "sequel" to MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, this anthology was pretty successful, although I enjoyed fewer stories than in its predecessor. That'...moreThe "sequel" to MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, this anthology was pretty successful, although I enjoyed fewer stories than in its predecessor. That's not unusual for anthologies, but giving that I liked all but one previously, I had higher hopes for success.
As one suspects from the title, this time around all of the short stories are centered around honeymoons.
Also, it should be no surprise that yet another of Jim Butcher's Dresden File stories brought MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL HONEYMOON to my attention.
Kelley Armstrong's "Stalked" -- A stalker livens up a werewolf couple's less than exciting honeymoon. Soon the stalker becomes the stalked and the couple revel in the chase. I'm not familiar with her Women of the Otherworld series, but these characters and the story was so engaging that I'm looking forward to adding them to my "To Read" list.
Jim Butcher's "Heorot" -- Marcone's Ms. Gard helps Harry rescue a bride kidnapped before her honeymoon. Great melding of Beowulf lore into the Dresden world, and we discover who/what "Amazon" Gard really is in the process. Plus, courageous and lovable Mouse is featured! My new favorite Jim Butcher short story.
Rachel Caine's "In Roman Holiday, or SPQ-arrrrrr" -- Taking off where her story from MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING left us. More pirate adventures with newlyweds Cecelia & Captain Lockhart. This time other cursed sea captains are out to capture Cecelia believing that she can break their curses as well.
PN Elrod's "Her Mother's Daughter" -- Once again this author's story does little to move me. Although I will admit this one was better than the one in MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING. I can safely say that I won't be reading any of her novels anytime soon.
Caitlin Kittredge's "Newlydeads" -- An uninspiring mess of a story about people going missing at a resort due to being sacrificed to sea monsters. It was a chore to slog through this story.
Marjorie M. Liu's "Where the Heart Lives" -- This is a lovely story despite never having read this author's Dirk & Steele series. Two sad and beautiful love stories surround what appears to be a haunted woods. The reader easily gets drawn into the mystery and the characters. A definite highlight to this anthology.
Katie MacAlister's "Cat Got Your Tongue?" -- A fun, jaunty tale about one living and two ghostly couples in a haunted castle. Again, the characters are engaging, and the story is filled with humor and a few twists. Another bright spot.
Lilith Saintcrow's "Half of Being Married" -- A charming story of newlywed vampire hunter Kat and werewolf Mitchell. Both haven't told the other about their supernatural secrets -- secrets that they worry will destroy their marriage when their quiet honeymoon in a small town is interrupted by a nest of vampires. Lots of action and characters that you like from the start.
Ronda Thompson's "Wulf in Groom's Clothing" -- An okay story about a mismatched couple honeymooning in the forest. Laura pretends to like roughing it to please her new hubby Sam, an avid nature lover. Sam, as his surname Wulf suggests, is a werewolf and his cabin in the wild is his way of coping with the 3 days each month that he changes. He's hoping that consummating his marriage will finally break the curse, but things don't go as planned. I didn't feel that this was much more than a standard romance formula with werewolf thrown in to make it seem different. Unfortunately, that idea is pretty prevalent (and has been done better) in urban fantasy.
I liked 6 of the 9 stories contained within. Definitely worth borrowing from a friend or library, but I wouldn't bother buying this one -- despite LOVING Butcher's story. I will simply hope that someday all of his short stories will be compiled.(less)
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 cr...moreA 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. (less)
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 our...moreRichelle 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! (less)
An excellent new series! One of those rare books that immediately grabs you, brings forth interesting, well developed characters with whom you can rel...moreAn excellent new series! One of those rare books that immediately grabs you, brings forth interesting, well developed characters with whom you can relate, and a plot filled with intrigue & lots of action. I highly recommend it and look forward to more!(less)
**SPOILERS** - But only for Changes (The Dresden Files #12)
Although I guessed correctly as to who killed Dresden from the events that occurred while r...more**SPOILERS** - But only for Changes (The Dresden Files #12)
Although I guessed correctly as to who killed Dresden from the events that occurred while reading Changes, Ghost Story did make me wonder a few times if perhaps I was wrong ... AND I certainly didn't expect the other bits revealed at the conclusion of this novel.
I'm especially pleased that Butcher committed to continuing Harry's adventures in spirit form rather than having him miraculously find a way back to life within a few chapters (which was actually a worry for me). Unfortunately for Harry, but fortunately for the reader, Harry reluctantly accepts his fate, stays true to his nature to help his friends by putting himself in harm's way, and gets wack-a-moled as the story progresses.
Urban Fantasy authors take note, making your characters human (fallible and true to their nature despite whatever you throw at them - even death) and requiring them and the events they face to react as real as possible within the context of the rules of your world, is the difference between great characters and good characters. That's not to say that they can't act irrational when faced with a challenge outside of their norm, but at some point they need to realize this themselves. Additionally, your characters need to continue developing beyond book number three or five. Even though Harry (and The Dresden Files' supporting characters) has (have) grown bit by bit over the course of this series, it is so refreshing that the game changer thrown at them in the perfectly titled Changes, forces them to mature in surprising, and yet realistic, ways. Because Butcher did just that, I'm still excited to follow Harry and friends to Cold Days and the eventual conclusion of this series.(less)