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First it needs to be said that this book is edited right. I did not want to bash my brains out due to grammar errors. The writing isn't too bad eitherFirst it needs to be said that this book is edited right. I did not want to bash my brains out due to grammar errors. The writing isn't too bad either. It has life and a flavor to it. Sadly the overall story, events, and characters bored me. I fell asleep while reading. Had to skip a few parts that basically went exactly how I knew they would. (For a read-every-word girl like me, that's not a good sign.)
The first thing I need to touch base with was the world building. The idea of a world where humans evolved into mages, and then the mages experimented on humans that then created shifters is awesome. When first diving into the story I thought this was an urban fantasy read. It felt like it. It revealed we were not on our earth, but a totally made up one. Cool. Then all of a sudden a steambike pops up and whams me in the face. OK. I rolled with it because the idea that this is a made up world with steampunk technology thrilled me.
So it was a steampunk fantasy world!
Maybe? The technology felt off because there was a power plant and lots of things that didn't quite fit a steampunk world. Such as sweatpants. And I'm assuming they are sweats, because that is the term used for them. Sweats in fantasy/steampunk worlds are usually “loose pants” or “baggy pants”. “Work out pants.” So on. Because the type of technology to make our kind of sweats does not mesh with the world.
I'm a picky reader. I felt like Walt simply wanted me to feel in the blanks. Assume a lot of things about this world. Which sucked.
Ah, the cast of characters. Who all felt barrowed from other stories and pieced together. Definitely urban fantasy characters. Who did and said the things I expected them to. The lead was supposed to be witty and snarky, but I found her more stupid and irritating. Rude. The male interests where boring and so typical that no attempt was made to flesh them out.
Oh, and the lead is magically attracted to the rude—excuse me mysterious/misunderstood—Chief Mage. AKA the man with all the power that seems like a bad guy but isn't. Of course she's drawn to him despite herself.
The mystery of her mentor's death and the “silver murders” is tacked onto the lead's secret being found out and so on. It's all rather boring. And well typical. (Yeah, I'm tired of using that word.) Actually it may have behooved this series to get us to care about the lead and her world before playing all of its cards.
The names of the characters have already left my head. Instead I remember them as stereotypes that did their stereotypical things. That just happened to be cut into a stereotypical UF plot. Which is a true shame as the basis of this world was so unique. With an underwhelming romance and boring plot. Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a fantasy steampunk world. It all falls short because it's so busy following the steps of a Urban Fantasy book that it forgets to be itself. To build emotions and distinguish its characters from the many others out there. To build the world and not just the buildings and rooms. To have the world figured out enough to clue readers into the hows and whys. Thumbs up for solid editing. Thank you.
Sexual Content: Sexual humor, minor dark themes, and overall clean.
First off I am disappointed in Tess's role. Okay, so her role was pretty epic and moving. The issue was that Tess was everything and more than what IFirst off I am disappointed in Tess's role. Okay, so her role was pretty epic and moving. The issue was that Tess was everything and more than what I hoped she could have been. I get her role in Jade's hero's journey, but still. I love Tess.
Another thing is the ugly truth is out. Jade isn't really a comic book owner, she's a translator. Ha-ha. Okay so she's both, but I loved how she grudgingly admits it at the start. It's also fun that her supernatural gift is used to make a living so mundanely.
Rock to mud. I couldn’t remember all the details of the spell, though I knew there was something in there about not working on magical stone. Fuck that, because the manual wasn’t a spell book, not in reality. In reality, I just needed to have the power and the belief I could do it.
Sorcery magic still leaves me just a little confused. Jade is still crappy at magic so I'm guessing it's her unconscious doubt. That she's not believing? Why does she need all the fancy stuff? It makes it easier for her to believe? I don't like that it's not addressed fully. Though I do think I am on the right track.
“Curiosity is known to kill cats, Ms. Crow,” he said, raising an eyebrow in a gesture that looked utterly practiced and precise.
“Satisfaction brings them back,” I said, letting go of my magic. I didn’t want to accept what my brain and senses were telling me. “Do you sparkle in sunlight?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “I burn.”
I'm also very thrilled in all the magical creatures being introduced in this entry! Yeah for vampires, druids, and other things! Yippee! The more magical creatures the better. Not to mention unicorns! The world of The Twenty-Sided Sorceress is becoming so awesome. Doesn't heart with The Last Unicorn jokes. (No really I was obsessed when I was younger. Kind of still am.)
Alek and Jade are truly starting to grow for me as a couple. Finally the build up is becoming enough that I can buy it. I enjoy their frank talks and such.
In my nerd obsessed mind I am under the complete belief that Jade and I, not to mention all her friends, would be besties. The references to all things nerdy here just kept me laughing. Especially poor Tess's cruel introductory to sci-fi shows. Poor girl. The look through Tess's eyes to the big bad was also interesting, as you really see how sad and pathetic he is. Yeah, we want him crushed.
Content Warning: Clean sex scene, sexual humor, realistic homosexual relationship (I want more dang it!), nothing to gory though I guess to some extant since we are dealing with heart eating beings ^_-, and overall nothing really stood out.
There's this huge thing that annoys me in Urban Fantasy books, especially PNR. What is it? When the lead and the love interest have more relationshipThere's this huge thing that annoys me in Urban Fantasy books, especially PNR. What is it? When the lead and the love interest have more relationship happening off the pages. Such as Mercy and Adam from the Mercy Thompson series. They had ten years to know each other prior to the start of the series, so for me it meant I wasn't involved in their romance. Briggs had to bring it now, during the current timeline. Not just saying they had all this history. Well The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series is doing this. There's some time between books, while not a huge amount, it's still enough that we're missing parts of Jade and Alek's relationship. In the case of Murder of Crows and Pack of Lies I think we missed some key things. Especially since Alek leaves and the two kind of seem to be broken up.
So when the big heart on the sleeve moments happened, I was all “Ahhhhhhhh, so sweet.” But my heart wasn't in it. I'll need more time for them to become a real couple.
Now, my last true gripe. Editing. Editing. Editing. It's really clean for the most part. However, there is some awkward wording. No it was not slang. The biggest oopsie was a wrong word moment, that was kind of awkward. Ha-ha. I wish I would have highlighted it because it totally made my day. Yes, I know my reviews and posts have errors. Heck, I have a better time spotting errors on someone else's work all the time. Still, I think just beta readers would have been able to catch those. Overall though Annie Bellet has some of the cleanest self pub books for editing quality. So thank you.
“He said that the Punisher would kick Batman's ass in a fight”
. . .
“Then put you hand here and repeat after me,” I said indicating the slipcase. “I solemnly swear that Bruce Wayne is the bestest superhero ever and I will never profane his name or legacy by suggesting anyone could kick his ass. Because they can't. Because he is the fucking BATMAN.”
Ah, I do love the humor and whit behind these books. As I've said some of the nerd goes over my head, but a lot of it I get and I just love it!!! Ha-ha, the Spider-Man joke about a certain famous quote just tickles me. Everyone always talks about how quotable Ilona Andrews' works are. Well I'd say this series is just as much so.
Even though my heart wasn't in the romance, Alek and Jade are a very cute couple and they balance each other out well. Not to mention that I love how they openly talk with each other and concede when they're wrong. So there is that.
“So much for hoping we were going to wreck some love tryst. Why couldn't my life be full of sex instead of violence?”
Pack of Lies was a great mystery! While it's kind of clear from the introduction who dunnit, it was an interesting concept and a better look into Justices. Maybe we'll get to meet a new one each book? That would be bad ass.
“You don't feel good because you are good.”
Pack of Lies was a great way to find out about Jade's moral ground and where she stood. After Murder of Crows a few things where up in the air for me at least.
“Magic for sorcerers is something we are, not just something we do. Unlike a witch or warlock or other human spell-user, we own the raw power—we are the raw power. Which meant if I could conceive of it and channel enough power into it, whatever it was, I could make it happen.
The mental game was the issue.”
Now, I've been iffy about a sorcerer's powers. Because of that whole “conceive” it part, then they can do it. But it doesn't seem like her power works that way. Because she can't just heal. No. In fact, she has to pull from the memories of the hearts she's ate to do the spells she wants. Her tracking spell and other things fine. So I'm thinking it's more of a short cut thing? She still has to use the bases to make spells, but can skip a few steps. Because if you conceive it and make it happen, why do you have to even do rituals or anything? Shouldn't you be able to draw a random symbol and believe that it will repel something? Or is it more that Jade can't do the mind over matter bit?
So I like that it's confirmed that Jade has some inner power which she's been instinctually afraid of. Though that's kind of annoying. It feels like almost every main character has some special thing locked away that they're not ready for. They suddenly awaken it and then “Got back to sleep” and we're teased for a while. Though I think whatever is up with Jade is going to be very cool. It would just be nice if Jade was a powerful sorceress who needed to grow with experience.
Overall another great entry into a super fun series! The characters, humor, and fun of each book just keeps getting better. Especially as we learn more about everyone. I love the introduction of the new characters and the end, and I'm very curious as to Tess's role in the whole thing! Samir feels like an epic build up of a villain, kind of like the Marvel Universes' ones. Let's just hope he doesn't pitter out, or get defeated, like those ones do.
Content Warning: Mild sex scene and sexual humor. Some murder and mayhem. Nothing super graphic though. (Oh, I guess I should mention that there are some homosexual characters, I like how realistic they are.)
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
Kate Daniel shorts are always magical. You don't necessarily have to read the Kate books to get them. And if you read the Kate books you don't have toKate Daniel shorts are always magical. You don't necessarily have to read the Kate books to get them. And if you read the Kate books you don't have to read them, there is sometimes a general nod to them sometimes in the main story. So why are you reading them? You're reading them for the sheer joy of the world and characters the Andrews team has created. Magic Stars, to its credit, does more then just deliver comfort food. It expands on Derek! Which is really all I need to know. Plus, Julie is growing on me.
Despite it being super short, it feels like a full blown Kate Daniels book. (Well kind of.) I really hope there will be more Derek short stories. I loved that tantalizing tease about . . . well I'm not going to spill the beans. I'm very curious where Julie and Derek's relationship will go. To be honest I like Julie with another from a different short. I enjoy the sibling comradery of Derek and Julie.
As usual Andrews creates an awesome mythology and I loved the mythical creatures introduced. As a fairly new introduction to the shorts for the Daniels verse I think this is a pretty great place to start. I've only read two so far—yes, including this one—and I know I have to seek out more. (Though technically this is supposed to be the start of the Grey Wolf series, it's still part of the Kate reading material to me.)
When word hit the bookverse that Allegiance of Honor would have multiple points of view spanning across all of the characters from the previous Psy-ChWhen word hit the bookverse that Allegiance of Honor would have multiple points of view spanning across all of the characters from the previous Psy-Changleing books my heart was all a flutter. Upon finishing it I knew Allegiance of Honor was everything I could have hoped for and more! Especially since this acts as a “season 1” end. Opening the series up to a new arc and so on.
The cast of the Psy-Changeling world is vast. Even as a hardcore fan I need reminders and NO that silly glossary of characters in the front is no help. So check out Wicked Scribes online for their Psy-Changeling character guide. It will keep your mind straight it did for me and I think that's why I truly enjoyed the book more. Not all the characters could be present, but many make brief appearances or cameos. So it's nice to quickly look up a name.
The vastness and epic nature of the Psy-Changeling series has always been it's biggest appeal to me. Not to mention it's rich history and world coupled with wonderful characters. I loved getting to “wrap up” some of my favorite characters' stories. While still moving the series ahead. If you think about it Allegiance of Honor wasn't that different from previous entries. There is a main couple followed that needs to be hooked up. However, there is more time given to the multiple points of views. Which I've found out is apparently something a lot of readers can't stand.
So if you're used to changing POVs it's nothing. If you don't mind them and have enjoyed them in the series this will be a treat.
Allegiance of Honor is splendid. It kept me worried about the future as the PsyNet is still not stable and the future is shaky. (Yeah, we kind of know it probably won't go THERE.) My time spent with this beautiful cast made me happy, sad, joyful, cry tears of sorrow and joy. It was all there and I truly got to appreciate the expanse of the cast. The characters that I have come to cherish.
It's odd that some fans loved this entry and others hated it. Enough so that I had a few Goodreads friends swear to not touch future books in the series. To which I say you guys are dumb—I love you! I'm totally on board for Season 2 and can not wait to see what characters we get to explore. The new growing pack in Alasaka? The water changelings? So on! Guys the sky is the limit!
Keep going strong Nalini Singh. Your worlds and writing rocks.
Content Warning: Some sex scenes and graphic humor. Characters have been tortured and threats are being made against children. Nothing too scary for the series. (Basically the norm.)