This was a very good, very detailed and well-written short story - I was impressed by the completeness of it. It also doesn't hurt that it's from DeckThis was a very good, very detailed and well-written short story - I was impressed by the completeness of it. It also doesn't hurt that it's from Decker's perspective and I loved him in Fracture. Short but sweet and not without emotion, Eleven Minutes is a look into another viewpoint for the first events from the full-length novel - and an interesting one for fans who want more of Megan Miranda's debut. ...more
Thoughts upon finishing: emotional. touching. infuriating. lovely. Full review to follow but I knew this was a 5-star read for me early on - Craig andThoughts upon finishing: emotional. touching. infuriating. lovely. Full review to follow but I knew this was a 5-star read for me early on - Craig and especially Lio have forever a place in my heart....more
I'm a person that likes finality, that craves it in all things. That kind of person that likes having all the answers and knowing exactly what lead upI'm a person that likes finality, that craves it in all things. That kind of person that likes having all the answers and knowing exactly what lead up to those final conclusions. I mean, I used to peek at the final page of every book I bought I still totally do this just to glance at who might survive, scared to get attached to doomed characters.
For these reasons, I don't like to give up on books. For a looong time, I hardly ever ever did. I'm talking like maybe four out of hundreds in the last four years. I'd endure past recycled plotlines, push through just-plain-bad dialogue, obvious machinations and plotpoints, shoddy writing, just because "Hey, it might get better before the end. You never know." And that's true, it really could get better - but it totally doesn't. As it turns out, books that start off bad or bland or boring, those are the kind of books hardly ever actually get better, and then you're left with x amount of wasted time and a lot of excess frustration.
Last year, I got better at pruning through my TBR piles and what I had to read. I DNFd'd more books last year than I ever have in a single year before (12 out of 213). So when I found myself struggling with reading Still Waters, thinking constantly to myself, "Just hang in. This could get better. It could get off this generic beaten path..." but I realized, I don't have to finish this book. There is nothing compelling me to read it: not the plot, the characters, nothing. So after 142 pages, I called it quits.
No doubt some will love this book. I bet they'd also really enjoy Spellbound a book I DNF'd last year - as both are generic, young-adult thrillers and utterly, utterly unoriginal. Not for me, but no rating because hey, maybe after 150 pages, it really does get better. ...more
I just. . . loved this. While the beginning had me seeing echoes of the start of the film Stick It, it's easy and impossible not to4 out of 5 stars!
I just. . . loved this. While the beginning had me seeing echoes of the start of the film Stick It, it's easy and impossible not to be won over by this cute baking/hockey teenaged love story. I had fun reading it, I wanted to read it when I wasn't, and I feel comfortable - nay excited! - recommending it to others. If those are not the signs of a good book, I don't know what are. This is exactly the kind of adorable, heart-felt book centered around baking that I wanted to read last year. What I got instead was Christina Mandelski's The Sweetest Thing, and, well, to be nice let's just say it far from delivered on the promise of its title. Sports, baking, school, family - main character Hudson Avery is a well-rounded, personable, real, dimensional character and one I enjoyed reading even for more than three hundred fifty pages. Author Sarah Ockler has greatly impressed me with this, the first novel of hers I've read, and with another of hers sitting to be read in my "already-bought" TBR pile I'm eager to start Twenty Boy Summer.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first, nice, easy, and best of all: quick. Why quick? I have very little to complain about from this book. There's so much to love from Bittersweet: from Hudson's rounded and faceted personality to Dani's take-no-crap attitude to the delicious-sounding cupcake recipes, I either missed things I ought've been annoyed by (possible) or they just never existed (most likely). First: I found it to be a tad lengthy. I enjoy a well-told and long story, but I felt Hudson's last twenty pages or so could've used some condensing. I flew through this book and only felt that the end suffered from a need for shortening: the rest is well-developed and timed. Second: Hudson's mom, Beth, expects too much from her daughter with little to no input from the daughter. I don't mind the "pull together for the family" spiel, it's understandable and actually happening all across the country, but I did mind Beth's attitude towards Hudson. Hudson is very mature and helpful: runs a side business, babysits her brother, pays some bills, goes to school, etc., but none of that factors into her mom's decision-making. It's aggravating, especially since the book is all from Hudson's perspective. The frustration of Hudson never being heard or listened to permeates for the duration, and it was one of the few things about this book I disliked. The good news is that it doesn't happen all the time, only sporadically, so it didn't really intrude on my reading enjoyment.
Hudson herself is great. She's so not perfect I want all the authors of Mary Sues to take note. Hudson is flawed human being: complicated, confused, FUNNY (when getting kissed: "I was 92% hygienically unprepared"), strong, and most of all, real. I really liked Hudson's humor: she doesn't take herself too serious and her self-deprecating style isn't so jaded as to be worrying. She's not the prettiest, or the most popular, or even the most intelligent: she's a normal, talented girl. Actualized and vibrant, Hudson is a happy harbinger for the personalities of the rest of the characters within Bittersweet. She has dreams and desires, hopes and wishes and a real-life she feels stuck in. Basically, Hudson is a typical teen: easy to relate to, easy to root for. Let me tell you, this girl is also funny. Her voice is so authentic and real, she comes across like several awkward friends of mine - I loved the freshness and authenticity consistently present. I thought the family drama behind Hudson's story was both compelling and also real. Contrasting her individual desires for freedom and escape against family duty, Hudson's struggles through the book are mundane but universal. Sarah Ockler truly did a noteworthy job with the characterization of the people within this book. The author absolutely and repeatedly nails the emotions and feelings of so many teens with Hudson's understandable reactions and thoughts.
Another thing about this I loved: the secondary and even tertiary characters are real, and believable, rounded personalities. Even the jerk of the novel is shown to have more than one side - and not all of them bad. He's human and understandable, even if I wanted him gone long before the book ended. Dani, Hudson's best friend, is a fireball but a real friend. She calls Hudson on her shit and isn't afraid to do her own thing without her BFF. I really enjoyed the realistic nature of the friendship between the two girls; the up and down trajectory is authentic and isn't just for plotting. Ms. Ockler also pulled off a feat in YA: there was a love triangle present, however slight. I for once, wasn't alienated by it. It helps the situation that both boys have their own appeal supposedly (Team Blackthorn FTW), and that Hudson's less undecided/wishywashy and more figuring things out without being obnoxious about the attention. On a side note, I did find "Bug's" intelligence/precociousness to be a leeetle far-fetched for an 8-year-old, but hey, minor quibbles.
For all its cute romance, great characters, teenage dating and cupcake confectionery fun, Bittersweet is not without depth or emotion. Some of the curveballs Hudson and her family have to deal with will resonate with readers: the hard economy, the desires vs. duty theme Hudson explores, the broken family so common and still so problematic. Hudson's identification with Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthrone's The Scarlet Letter is a nice reminder of how Hudson - and a lot of teens - feel isolated, and alone within a group they should belong. Hudson is a special case because she is shunned by a select group - serious ice skaters - but that feeling of aloneness, of not being listened to (coughBethcough) is one a lot of teens will accept without thought.
Bittersweet is not just sweet and fun to read, it's completely evocative in tone. It's set in upper New York and Hudson is an outdoors kind of person. This is a novel that makes snow sound fun, exciting, new, full of possibilities and this is not actually true. I may live out west in Arizona, but I know snow. I live in Flagstaff, which in 2010 was the city with the most snowfall in the entire contiguous United States. At one time, we had more than Anchorage, Alaska. So yeah, I know snow and I love it for the first month it's here. Sarah Ockler, however, with her magnificent setting and through her lovely descriptive writing, has me craving a blizzard out here in Arizona. Right now. I wish there'd been one while I was reading this. This is the perfect read for a snowy day, and a cup of tea in front of the fireplace. With a cupcake, of course. So nicely done on the timing front - I say buy this one ASAP while it's still cold outside.
Bottom line: Look no further if you want a book with cute but not saccharine romance, angst without melodrama, and a cast of varied and interesting characters. It's cute without beating the reader over the head with its own adorability. And Josh is hot. ...more
Short but sweet, The Alchemy of Forever is deceptively simple and remarkably engaging. The plot may noRead This Review & More Like It On My Blog!
Short but sweet, The Alchemy of Forever is deceptively simple and remarkably engaging. The plot may not be entirely the most original, nor the writing the most striking, though it certainly has its moments of sparkle, but this was an unputdownable read. Finished in under three hours, my first experience with the series of the Incarnates was like the perfect sugary snack between actual meals: filling while eating and left no feelings of guilt or shame when I was finished. With both a great title and a new spin on teen immortality that isn't vampires or even vampire-adjacent in its immediate favor, I obviously found The Alchemy of Forever to be a very entertaining novel.
Seraphina and her story are instantly energetic; her story begins on a night of death but it is far from the end of Sera's existence. Alchemy, an ancient (and real) fruitless search for gold/youth and immortality among others, is successful in this alternative world of Williams's imagining, and wonderfully so. In this fantastical London, science and magic are indistinguishable, and fit in wonderfully with Sera's tale of escape and redemption. Sera and Cyrus have a core, selected group with which they share fellowship: Charlotte, Sera's BFF for 200 years; Jared, a pirate from the 1660's and a sort of enforcer for Cyrus; Sebastien, a reticent and largely unseen and mysterious member of the coven; and lastly, Amelia, an icy blonde that seems to harbor ill will toward both Charlotte and Sera. With each member needing a new body roughly every ten years, this is a group with many ghosts in the closet, though only Seraphina is shown to have any remorse for the killing left in their wake. While this seems to be set in an alternative world to ours, different only in the successful alchemy, I thought I caught a reference to Bram Stoker's Dracula - a dog named Harker that doesn't seem to take to Kailey/Sera... As I've mentioned I find the Incarnates condition and modus operandi (stalking/killing victim to replenish own lifeforce) and vampires to be very similar, I wonder if it is an intentional mention. There's not enough evidence to be sure yet, but I will be on the lookout for more clues/conspiracies in the sequel.
By virtue of becoming 'Incarnates' aka basically "body snatchers" with original souls in tact with her first love Cyrus, Sera endures centuries of life - but not real love, nor true happiness despite all the exotic experiences had and places she has been. Cyrus emerges as controlling, insane, volatile type of man - but happily, instead of mistaking this psychotic behavior as the danger it is and not misconstruing it as love, Sera attempts to free herself from his clutches. Even the act of hiding petty change gives her a thrill, to "have something that was mine." From the moment I realized Sera's plans, I liked her. For the first time in centuries, Sera dares to make her own decisions, dare to dream for herself instead of fearing what Cyrus will do to her as punishment. Her naivete at 14 haunts her for the most part of her endless centuries of life, and her maturation from selfish, thoughtless girl into an actual woman takes longer than eighteen years. Sera is a very introspective woman, as can be expected from someone downtrodden and controlled for so long, and that means much of this book is not action. As I adjusted to Sera and her style, I appreciated more the inwards-bent of her thinking - this is another of those characters that sneak up in your affections.
The Alchemy of Forever is a very engaging if all too brief, novel both in terms of character, and the unique, entirely welcome new spin on immortality. But this is also slightly disquieting book. The notion of "body snatching" is itself pretty creepy - the actual person is dead but the shell remains, with another inside, unbeknownst to anyone else. How is that not the height of creepitude? There are no less than three movies since 1945 devoted to just how horrific this concept is to us. Sera herself seems very aware of this, commenting internally and often that "the daughter they knew was dead and they had no idea" in several different reiterations, with just Sera wearing her skin around them. And the fact that there is an entire coven of immortal-body-snatching-murderers-with-permanent-wanderlust out there adds another level of menace to the novel it otherwise lacks. Cyrus certainly makes for an adequate villain and foil for Sera - more than adequate when he's actually present on the page instead of a ghost or memory- but the threat of him doesn't inspire as much tension as it could otherwise.
While I can't say the "relationship" between Sera/Kailey and Noah the black-haired neighbor-boy with a heart of gold smacks of the long-sought-after and advertised "true love" from above, there is a clear chemistry and sweetness between the two. I think I found Noah a bit too wide-eyed and perfect to entirely believe in him - or his continued attraction to Kailey after it emerges how shoddily she treated him for years - but overall I liked his character and could see the appeal even if I stood outside of it. From what is alluded to about Kailey pre-Sera she seems like a hard-to-like girl as well, so I wonder why Noah didn't remark upon the abrupt and 180 degree attitude changes that "Kailey" experienced in the novel...? I also wonder at how this thing between the two will develop - how will Sera reconcile Noah to the fact that the Kailey he knew is gone but the "Kailey" he loves is an immortal murderess hundreds of years older than himself? But while I found the 'love' between the 'teens' to be somewhat lacking, the home relationship and dynamic of the Morgans is refreshing and warm, and real. They present a stark and very bleak comparison to the 'love and family' that Sera has known for centuries with the coven, and it's nice to read a non dysfunctional family once in a while.
The ending is abrupt, let's just say that. It comes to a screaming and ominous cliffhanger right at the very moment you most wish to keep reading. While I can understand the cutoff as an incentive to read the next novel it left me somewhat dissatisfied with this first in the series. Unfortunately, many, many threads are left wide-open after that bastard of a cliffhanger for an ending and no main conflict is resolved - the book just ends. What happened to the magical book Sera had the night she switched bodies? What happened to Taryn, who might know all of Sera's secrets? What was Kailey doing the night she died? The questions are endless and enough to ensure, above all doubt and frustration with this finale, I will be continuing this series. ...more
4 stars for the first hundred pages, one for the next 188. That was a good start, followed by a lot of issues and problems. This is a book I wantSigh.
4 stars for the first hundred pages, one for the next 188. That was a good start, followed by a lot of issues and problems. This is a book I wanted to love, was halfway there, and then it went downhill. Fast.
Sequel Syndrome strikes again! I had been looking forward to reading this direct follow-up to Callihan'Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!
Sequel Syndrome strikes again! I had been looking forward to reading this direct follow-up to Callihan's engaging and fun first novel, Firelight, for months now. Upon randomly stumbling across and loving the first in the Darkest London series earlier this year, I was eager to see where Callihan would take her version of London run amok with the supernatural. First seeing this up on NetGalley, the anticipation of a good book when I was approved.. all added up to a lot of pressure and excitement on my part...which never really panned out here in Moonglow. A lot of the charm, the fun, the inventiveness that made the first so memorable and easy to read is missing here. I must admit that I really struggled to finish this, through the predictable plotlines, the meandering plot, the boring sections when nothing happens, though my ARC was only 300 pages. I've gone back and forth with my rating for this - from a 1.5 to a 2.75 to a 2.5 and then finally settli9ng a "2". It's not horrible, but it's just not good, either. Other fans of the first and the series don't seem to be nearly as disappointed as I was, but this is going down as my biggest let-down in months. It had so much potential, so much momentum from the first, and Moonglow utterly squanders both.
I hate the disappointment that often comes so easily to a series of books, usually right where Moonglow is in sequence - the volume between the first inception of a series and the finale of it all. The concepts that were so creative in the first book of Darkest London, just don't have the benefit of the originality, and so it falls to the characters and plot to make up for the lack. That never happens here. Never. Instead of the fresh concept of paranormal curses like what plagued Archer, Moonglow is just another romance novel werewolf tale. I wanted to like the two lead protagonists in Daisy Ellis and Ian Ranulf, but I never invested or connected with either person. It, that ineffable quality some characters possess to make you like themeven against your will (see The Hound, Jaime Lannister, etc.), just wasn't there for me. Not for Ian the charismatic, dark anti-hero of Benjamin Archer that I so easily fell under the sway of before. From a villain in the first book to the hero of the second, MacRanulf just fell entirely flat in his presentation, his character and his actions. I also couldn't buy his motivations and change of character from one book to the next. An anti-hero or a man with a dark past is one thing, but the Ian from Firelight was an ass, one I hated, and I therefore couldn't (wouldn't?) buy into his Poor Noble With A Troubled Heart act here in book two. Callihan did her work too well with the first novel with his character for me to see him as sympathetically as she tries so hard to paint him here.
Daisy, his obvious love interest from the first book, had plenty of sass but it felt forced, and disjointed when with her lover. Their tart, acerbic banter could be amusing on occasion, but for the most part, left me cold and disbelieving of their affections for one another. I don't even have a lot to say about Daisy. She was there, she did what she had to move the book along. She's blah, meh, milquetoast to the tip of her blonde head. I missed Miranda's fire, excuse the pun. The third person POV doesn't really do any favors for either lead: perhaps had I read inner monologues and thoughts I would've cared at all more. I certainly liked that Daisy was independent and had a mind of her own, but I just couldn't connect with her. I wanted both her and Ian to mature the hell up and act like adults instead of the "I like him/her so I am going to be as rude, inscrutable, cold and mysterious as possible" act that went on for far too long. This isn't young-adult literature, people. This is a romance novel with supernatural elements: please stop with the teenage melodrama and wishy-washy bullshit.We all know you're going to fall in love and bang - please don't make the read there unbearable. When the romance finally did happen along, proceeding as we all knew it would, I had issues; partially due to their weird interactions leading up to that point, but I wasn't into it. The two complement each other well, sure, but I just didn't care about their love lives, their sex scenes or, above all, their angst over the other. If I don't care about either character independently, why would I care when they're together? Oh right: I don't and I didn't.
The mythology of the weres and the lycans is weak. I can't think of another way to put it. It's not explained nearly enough and seems to be ridiculously arbitrary. (view spoiler)[ Why are female lycans and weres so rare? If they as a species reproduce so infrequently, how come there are so many mentioned? How did the clan come into being? Are all the weres/lycans supposed to be alone their whole lives? Are they homosexual by nature? Then how does the breed survive? Why doesn't the bite of a werewolf turn a human? And if the bite is so weak, how could the disease be passed so easily? (hide spoiler)] See? I have many, many questions upon finishing this...none of which are even close to be answered. All that mess adds up to a very unsatisfactory read, full of holes and problems; showing a novel that doesn't take the time to flesh out its own world and lore. I also have to note that this has a Scottish werewolf pack with members named Maccon, Conall, and a beta named Lyall. That doesn't sound at all familiar to fans of Gail Carriger's delightful Parasol Protectorate series, does it? Noo, not at all. Coincidence, or homage? Either way, it's too close to home for yet another alternate supernatural history of England to name their wolfen members such names.
Too much of the plot here was predictable, when it even cared to make an appearance (which was rarer than the female lycans mentioned in passing.) I called two of the key twists long before they happened, to my immense chagrin. I don't remember the first novel's plot as being this transparent and was surprised at how obvious a lot of the "mystery" was to the reader. A little more authorial sleight-of-hand to camouflage the clues would've gone a long way. Long stretches of boredom permeated my one-day read of the novel; sections filled with the annoying back and forth of the main character, with absolutely no plot advancement. Seriously, for like 75 pages, everyone forgets there is a mad, murderous werewolf on the loose. Other elements just felt stuffed in, randomly, like the GIMs, who don't serve any real purpose til the end... (view spoiler)[ when they really do become deux-ex-machinas, or ghosts in the machine. (hide spoiler)] That whole bit just seemed like lazy writing to me - an easy out to fix a plot point. I expected more from what was there - without the side filler and angst, this would've been a much stronger, more enjoyable read.
I'm torn. I like to finish what I start, but I don't know if I will be continuing the Darkest London series with the third Ellis sister installment: Winterblaze. Kristen Callihan has an easy style, but I was not happy with this latest effort. Much weaker, much less original, much less detailed, and with much more off-putting leads, than Firelight, Moonglow was big swing and a miss. Callihan is 1 for 2 so far, and only time will tell if I give my disappointment time to cool.... and choose to pick up the third....more
These short stories are quite fun - especially with Valek as a POV character! I wish that that happened more in the full-length novels. Either way, IcThese short stories are quite fun - especially with Valek as a POV character! I wish that that happened more in the full-length novels. Either way, Ice Study is a definitely 3.5 out of 5. ...more
Elizabeth Scott is definitely a unique writer, and it really shows here. I really liked this novel, but the few mis-steps and omissions fr3.5 out of 5
Elizabeth Scott is definitely a unique writer, and it really shows here. I really liked this novel, but the few mis-steps and omissions from the narrative make it impossible for me to rate it higher. There is a lot going for As I Wake: creative ideas, intriguing and complex characters, lots of tension and suspense. The deficiencies lie in world building, a clear view of what the hell is going on for 85% of the book, and the romance.
It is fun to try and piece together what happened/is happening to Ava, but it's also frustrating when no kind of explanation about ANYTHING comes until you're nigh on finishing it altogether. All in all, this is an odd book, a weird reading experience, but still one that left me curious and eager to pick up more novels from this author. ...more
I loved this. Absolutely. Frikkin. Loved it. I tried to draw out the experience and couldn't make myselRead This Review & More Like It On My Blog!
I loved this. Absolutely. Frikkin. Loved it. I tried to draw out the experience and couldn't make myself stop reading the second day. Without a doubt, this impressive second novel in the newer Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series is going into my "best of 2012" shelf as well as my much less used "all-time favorites." I think I may even have loved this book like I love my hallmark series of steampunk, Gail Carriger's formidably funny and inventive Parasol Protectorate series. I literally have nothing to complain about here, and that is rare. That's a lot of praise for a book to live up to, but The Janus Affair is that rare novel, the one that manages to be delightful, zany, action-packed and original from inception to execution. Please excuse and recognize my blatant and epic fangirling for what it is -- that classic kneejerk reaction of happiness that happens right after finishing an unexpected treat - not everyone in the world will be wowed with this foray into Edwardian steampunkery but boy I was. Though the first novel Phoenix Rising wasn't quiiiite as perfect, this is the steampunk series everyone should be reading now that Alexia has wrapped up her five novel arc hung up her written parasol duties. While the main events of book two of the MoPO were neatly and explosively wrapped up without my predicting the outcome (once again, thanks to the amazing Eliza Braun), I will count the minutes wait patiently until I can get my grabby little hands on whatever else next springs from the fertile minds of Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris.
By far and away, a third of my love for this book is due entirely to the two main characters at the heart of everything, Eliza Braun and Wellington Books. (The other 2/3rds are reserved for steampunkery, excellent/unpredictable and intelligent antagonists and sheer madcap adventure.) Their banter and genuine camaraderie are prone to bustups and petty fights, but it's the underlying respect and genuine feeling of friendship between that makes reading these two feel less like characters and more like real people. It helps that Eliza is a heoine to shame most other heroines - she's brash and coarse and willful and exactly whatever she wants to be. I love Eliza - I always liked her, from the first chapter of book one, but midway through this, I knew I loved her. (This was the exact moment: "In New Zealand, there had been such sweetness to their courtship, but back then she had been quite a different person. Still a little reckless, but in the way of a young woman not yet as familiar with black powder and explosions.") Her characterization is seemingly blunt and obvious (EXPLODE ALL THE THINGS!), but through interactions and over time and pages, with her Ministry Seven, Welly, and the women she relentlessly helps, Eliza is revealed to be much more than just a mere colonial or pistol-loving walking armoury. Wellington Books has been my absolute favorite character from the start and that is only reinforced through his evolution during the last two novels, but The Janus Affair particularly illustrated him as a man of many facets. His dry humour is still very much in tact ("Once more into the breach.." "Sorry, Welly, what was that?" "Shakespeare. I always recite it just before placing my career in harm's way.") but other, less...gentlemanly aspects of his character are brought to the fore. These are definitely not stagnant characters - they grow and change, make mistakes and adapt, and most importantly, they help one another. The working relationship between the two has evolved to be effective and natural - Books can more than count on Eliza to save him from danger as many times as he saves her.
Steampunk itself seems to be evolving to blend quite naturally with two other, less fantastical genres - mystery and romance. The Janus Affair does have more than a bit of both and handles each element quite admirably - as Books would say, with aplomb. I never felt that one was cheated at the expense of the other - never does any romantic entanglement supersede the plot, nor does the mystery overwhelm the sense of compatibility and chemistry between the Sherlockian main characters. I have to think that these two authors work together more cohesively than any other pairing I've yet come across - Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine complement each other naturally. Though a lot of steampunk novels have the secret organization paired with "agents" used to protect Old Blighty from the supernatural (Parasol Protectorate, Newbury & Hobbes Investigations) and solve paranormal crimes, co-authors Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris go to extremely awesome lengths to create a wholly enveloped and imagined alternate universe for their characters to play within. (They even have a ton of novellas - often by other authors - in the same universe with different characters! There are editions you can purchase, or as free podcasts.) Much like their imagined version of 1800's Britain, the steampunk machines and gadgets used by the cast are wholly original, fun and useful without becoming deux-ex-machinas. I especially liked that something from the first book was referenced and used as a slight part of the plot for the second (the "aethergates" anyone?) - it reinforces the feel that this version of England is an ongoing world, not just unconnected vignettes into random episodes.
The Janus Affair, simply put, is a book that has a lot to offer across a wide variety of areas. Original plotting, genuinely twisty and murky mysteries with a high body count, several strong female characters, amusing banter, original and highly creative use of steampunk and gadgets, veeery smart and fully capable antagonists, the slight but oh-so effective romance, double agents, explosions and more. As I said, the main events and plot of this book have been neatly and effectively wrapped up, but there are some few exceptions to the rule. I don't want to spoil anything from the novel because this really is a fun mystery to try and solve independently, but there are juicy, unresolved plot tendrils enough to ensure that readers from books one and two will want to read the planned third to figure out the Maestro's plans.
I bought the first book, Phoenix Rising, on sale for Nook for a $1.99 late last year and waited several months to dig in. (I guess I like to wait on my books before I read them? Sit on them like a dragon with its hoard, jealously guarding any potential enjoyment I might have when/if I start...? I have 100+ bought and waiting to be read...I'm crazy.) The publishers were generous enough to send me an ARC copy of The Janus Affair just in time for me to realize how much I was going to love this book, series, characters and how much I needed the sequel the second I finished book one. After the last 800 pages with Wellington Books (whom I always call "Boots" in my head before I realize) and Eliza, I can say that I will be buying my own physical copies of both these books because I love them that much. Hey now that I've finished book two, any chances of a draft of book three? Philippa? Tee? Anyone? Please? In the meantime, I'll have to go read the short stories and wait patiently for whatever these creative authors are cooking up for round number three....more