I love original ideas in my urban-fantasy and that is exactly what you get in the InCryptid series. Discount Armageddon is a rollicking, mythological creature-filled romp through Manhattan.
Verity Price (or Very as she is known to her family) can really kick butt. She free-runs all over the rooftops of Manhattan and does competitive ballroom dancing, whilst wearing any number of sharp, pointy weapons. Also, she doesn’t like the fact that someone is poaching in her territory. Unfortunately or maybe rather, fortunately that person is Dominic de Luca, who is a member of the Covenant of St. George. He’s pretty easy on the eyes, and apparently thinks Very is too. But more on that later.
Seanan McGuire’s use of mythology and cryptozoology is a breath of fresh air in the urban-fantasy genre. There’s dozens upon dozens of series with vampires and faeries and angels and werewolves. There aren’t too many with cryptozoologists, ‘lesser-Medusas’, Japanese scary-pants shape shifters with 3 forms, and dragon princesses.
At least we have a heroine who actually has a backbone from the beginning. Yes, Very can be a little immature sometimes, but then so was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some people will take issue with this fact, and quite frankly, I don’t care. The point is that this tends to make the character more relatable – since as far as we know the monsters aren’t real, who are we to say that we wouldn’t be sassy in order to buy some time.
Overall I found Discount Armageddon to be a fun and interesting read that filled in a boring old Saturday afternoon quite well. If you are a fan of Kim Harrison’s work, I would definitely recommend you check this out and see if you like it....more
Talk about an crazy roadtrip. Trent is finding his magic powers, Ivy is mostly normal, Jenks is taking his recent loss hard and Rachel is faced with possibly having a lobotomy or living with Al forever. Parts of Pale Demon were kind of boring. Yep, okay I get that we are all in the car trying to make it from one side of the country to the other in three days, and nobody is really thrilled to be trapped in a car with everyone else for that amount of time, including breaks. The side trip with having to save Jenks was interesting though.
I do wish Rachel would just accept that she is a demon and can do crazy magic, and stop worrying about whether she is a bad person for doing it. If she’s not causing harm to anyone, with the exception of self-defence, and she’s not using any curses that require human parts, then she’s still a ‘good person’. It just grates after a while to have her have this argument every single time, with the exception of when she is caught in a fire-fight. Unlike Pierce, who just goes gung-ho with the black magic and doesn’t worry whether he has interpreted the scene in correctly, which he often doesn’t.
The whole ‘tulpa’ thing with the demons in Dalliance was pretty cool. Newt is more than a little crazy, but I think she is also one of the more interesting characters in the series. Who knows what is actually in her memories, and it would be very interesting to see if Rachel could give Newt back those memories. Although whether that would be a good thing or a bad thing would be difficult to know until after it was done. But I don’t think she wants to kill Rachel – I think she recognises that there is something special about Rachel.
I wasn’t at all surprised about what the council said and did once the trial started. I quite liked Vivian though – she’s feisty. I also wasn’t surprised that Pierce stuff things up for Rachel, even though he didn’t do it intentionally (or so he said.) The whole thing with the demon-hybrid Ku’Sox was a bit crazy and weird, but at least things started to pick up once he showed up.
I was glad to pretty much see the back of Pierce, that Rachel and Trent’s relationship is becoming very interesting, that Bis is an awesome gargoyle, and that Jenks is doing ok. I just wish parts of the roadtrip had been cut, and there had been more exploration of Rachel’s demonic-ness....more
A lot of stuff goes down in Black Magic Sanction. It also has one of the saddest moments in the entire series, and some fantastic moments with Al and Rachel.
So Rachel got shunned for using black magic in to try and sort out the Banshee situation, and deal with Al in the previous books. Although technically, only some of what she did could really be classed as ‘black’ – some of it was fairly standard witchy stuff, but because it was bound by blood that made it black magic. Or something. Some of the semantics were a bit confused – even by the ethical standards witches.
Nick, the idiot, is back in Black Magic Sanction and no-one particularly likes it. Even Rachel has no good feelings towards him, which I think is a good thing, since she has a tendency to pick guys that are all wrong for her. Also, it will come as no surprise to anyone who has read the previous books that he tries to screw everyone over (repeatedly) throughout this novel as well. Thankfully, Jenks’ son comes back home in this one though, because even he can see Nick for what he really is.
Pierce is starting to get really annoying – especially since he will quite happily use ‘proper’ black magic without trying to figure out if there was another way to handle the situation. Also his whole, “I’m the big strong man and so I will keep you from harm” schtick is getting old. I mean, I understand that he is 100 years plus, but he needs to at least let Rachel know if he is going to do something different, because he is starting to screw things up for her.
The first 100 or so pages of Black Magic Sanction are all pretty action-filled, which is good because it’s a long one. The sad moments is not really something I can tell you without spoiling it, but it is something that the previous few books have been preparing us for. That whole section of the book gets a one full star because it was really well done....more
Finally, Rachel is learning to think before she makes a decision. The Outlaw Demon Wails tosses her into some pretty hairy and in some cases down right surprising situations, and it’s pretty action packed.
So first of all, Rachel is asked by Trent to go into the ever-after to grab a Elven DNA sample for Trent. However, she isn’t asked by Trent – she’s asked by Quen, because he realises that he can’t go into the ever-after with his vampire bite from Piscary. Trent however, is seriously pissed that Quen asked her – he has decided to go himself, which as Rachel points out, is ridiculously stupid, because he doesn’t know anything about the ever-after.
However, in The Outlaw Demon Wails, it would be particularly dangerous for Rachel to go into the ever-after because Al is back and trying his damnedest to kill her. He has made an agreement with someone we have met previously, that essentially allows Al to roam the regular world between sunset and sunrise, causing as much havoc as he likes, and if he can, kill Rachel. In order to save her butt – and those of whom she loves, Rachel is going to have to make a few difficult choices.
Rachel is called to see Quen – who is sort-of dying. He had taken a potion that wasn’t 100% complete yet, in order to negate the influence any vampire could have over his mark. Unlike Trent, who can’t believe in an 11% chance of survival, Rachel can, and so Quen wants her to help him through. Fortunately for his and Ceri’s child, Rachel manages to see Quen through.
We wind up in the ever-after, when Rachel agrees to take Trent through, because she has discovered a deposit for demon DNA that will allow her to outsmart Al again. Unfortunately they get caught and wind up in demon jail – then Trent is left behind because Rachel is ‘beamed’ out of there, having completed her plan to outsmart Al. I can’t say to much of what happens, because of spoilers, but by the time Rachel gets back to the ever-after and then has to go through with her plan to save Trent, she has crossed some pretty major lines in the sand. To the point where Trent is now afraid of her.
Rachel finds out some things about her father in this book. Just wait until you get to that part – it’s a total out-of-nowhere surprise. Which is why I am not saying too much about it here, other than it happens and it throws Rachel for a pretty big loop. She also finds out her dad gathered his demon library for her – he knew she would probably need it in the future.
All in all, The Outlaw Demon Wails moves faster than some of it’s predecessors, and is better for it....more
The Indigo Spell was really good. I got what I wanted, although there are certainly more questions to an answered by the time I finished. Especially with the way Richelle Mead finished the book. Holy cow!
I mostly didn’t want to punch Sydney during this, which is good, because unless they are supposed to be awful, I don’t really like feeling violence towards the protagonists in novels. I understood why she was so hesitant to be around Adrian after what happened at the end of The Golden Lily having being raised by the Alchemists. I still wanted her to get over it already, but I understood that she needed to figure it out for herself.
The wedding was a lovely touch. I think it showed Sydney just how two-faced the Alchemists are, and how they would throw one of their people into the fire without so much as a backwards glance if it meant they didn’t have to touch the icky vampires. Also that Ian guy seems just a little bit ‘Hulk-Angry!’ for my tastes. It’s probably why he has been stuck in the library – the Alchemists don’t want him causing problems.
I really didn’t like Marcus. I thought he was smarmy and full of himself – I enjoyed it when he was honestly surprised by Sydney’s lack of reaction to his ‘charms’. Take that smarmy boy! I also didn’t like the absolute adoration of Marcus by all of the others. In fact it was kind of creepy. Which obviously meant it worked well as a plot device. I did find it quite telling too that although he talked the talk about taking on the Alchemists, he certainly didn’t walk the walk, and was confused as to why Sydney wanted too. Well duh!
The whole magic thing with Miss Terwillinger was really well done. I liked how Sydney managed to find her own beliefs under those she had been raised with – that the lives of innocent people are worth doing something about as opposed to just sitting back and then cleaning the mess up later. I was glad she found her backbone and decided to do what needed to be done. She’s a damn good witch too, even if she is still uncomfortable about it.
My jaw fell open after reading the last few pages of The Indigo Spell though. I mean, woah! I need the next book like I need air. Mostly because I can’t wait to see how Sydney is going to handle her sister being around, and that new guy but also we get Adrian’s perspective this time, which I imagine will be very interesting. Not to mention funny, given Adrian’s view of the world....more
Poor Rachel. She’s really getting into all sorts of problems in The Good the Bad and the Undead, and they aren’t going to be easy to get out of, that’s for certain.
In The Good the Bad and the Undead, Rachel is asked by the FIB to help them investigate the deaths of several ley-line witches, in an ‘unofficial’ capacity. This itself causes some major issues because Rachel believes that Trent Kalamack is behind the deaths. Turns out she’s a little bit off the mark, although she was correct about him being interested in them – he wanted one to work for him on a particular project. Rachel’s stubbornness is what causes her to find most the the trouble she gets into. It certainly doesn’t help in this case.
I really like the rules Kim Harrison sets for her vampires in the world of the Hollows. They make sense for vampires living in a modern society where those who aren’t magic know that they exist. The difference between the ‘living’ vampires like Ivy and Kist, and the undead vampires like Ivy’s mum (for example) is also really well done. Most importantly, Harrison sticks to these rules, and doesn’t change them just to suit her needs.
The relationships between Rachel and Ivy, and Ivy and Piscary are interesting. Piscary is pretty much the sort of jerk you would expect a ‘Master’ vampire to be, and he has a wonderfully written sense of almost fatherly affection towards Ivy that hides a much nastier side of him very well. Ivy’s emotional state is really well done – as Rachel points out to herself at one point – Ivy really has been emotionally abused by Piscary from a young age, seeing as he wants her to be his scion and act on his behalf.
Rachel starts to learn more about herself in this one, and she certainly learns quite a bit about her father and about Trent. In fact she learns what he is – and uses that information to keep him from blabbing about her past. The relationship between Rachel and Trent is really well done, especially because although neither one particularly likes the other, they can’t help but require one or the other’s help as various times.
For people who have sank their teeth into some of the better vampire series – either television or book – and like their vampires and supernaturals to have personalities and bite, I would definitely recommend this series....more
I enjoyed Dead Witch Walking. Rachel is an interesting character and Kim Harrison has created a well-developed world for herFull review here
I enjoyed Dead Witch Walking. Rachel is an interesting character and Kim Harrison has created a well-developed world for her characters to live in.
As a fan of this genre, I like the supernatural characters to actually have personalities, my vampires to bit and my were-creatures to exhibit at least some behaviours of the animal they turn into. It was really good to see that in this book – Ivy’s struggles to deal with being a vampire, Rachel’s issues with certain types of magic and so on. I enjoyed that because in a lot of urban fantasy these days there isn’t always much mentioned about the cause and effect of magic or being a supernatural creature on the people who are affected by or using it.
I would definitely recommend this to people who are fans of Charlaine Harris (considering the Southern Vampire Mysteries is now completed) or Laurell K. Hamilton (especially as there is less sex and gore in these than is in the Anita Blake series), or just people who like their supernatural characters to be a little bit interesting....more
Thankfully, this book didn't suffer from second-novel syndrome. It answered questions that were raised in Beautiful Creatures, andFull review here.
Thankfully, this book didn't suffer from second-novel syndrome. It answered questions that were raised in Beautiful Creatures, and raised some more to be answered in the next one. Ethan and the gang had themselves some adventures in Beautiful Darkness.
I appreciated the fact that the authors didn't just make Lena stay the same as she had been before after the events in the previous novel. Beautiful Darkness gave us a deeper look in to the pull of Light and Dark on Lena, and how she felt about having to choose to declare herself one of the other, particularly at the expense of half her family. It obviously affected her quite a lot, and the fact that she felt quite guilty about Macon, and what happened to Ethan as well, was very apparent.
There was a few things revealed about Ethan's mum, and about Macon that sort of come out of the blue for me, and I felt as confused as Ethan when we found out these things.
One of my favourite things about this was the Tunnels. They are like a characters within themselves really, and gave a 'Alice in Wonderland' feel to parts of the second half of Beautiful Darkness. ...more
I really enjoyed the fact that whilst there was a romantic element to the book, it wasn't the main focus of the plot, as much as Violet did find herself distracted by her growing feelings for Jay. (Note: not a spoiler, it's in the blurb.) It served nicely as a sub-plot to alleviate the heaviness of the overall plot.
There were several times during reading this that I really wanted to strangle Violet for being an idiot. Mostly because she'd get caught up in following either a smell or taste or sound and wind up far from anyone without any way to communicate were she was and did in fact wind up having several very close calls. It's one of my pet peeves in these sorts of books. I'll forgive one time, but if you haven't learnt after that then you are just being an idiot.
In any case, the whole body finding thing was very interesting and I enjoyed the way that Kimberly Derting wrote that part of the plot. The fact that it could be a sound, a smell, a feeling, and that for each death/killer it was a unique scent was really interesting. I also found it interesting that she was able to sense animal deaths (and hunter like her poor cat) as well as human.
There are a couple of parts of the plot that you can see coming from 10 miles away, but it was definitely an interesting story nonetheless.
All in all a good read I will probably read the others in the series but I'm not itching to read them like I have been with other series. If you are looking for a lightly paranormal suspense then this would be a great place to start. ...more
Full review here Um, I’m not really sure how I feel about this one.
There were parts of this that really could have been expanded upon further, andFull review here Um, I’m not really sure how I feel about this one.
There were parts of this that really could have been expanded upon further, and there were some hastily skimmed over plot holes. I know there were in the first three books, but Finale seemed to have more than the others. Devilcraft, Cheshvan, the Fallen Angel feathers, Marcie, not to mention what we learned about Vee in the final moments before the showdown began. Holy shish-kabobs! When there’s only one or two little plot holes I tend to be able to ignore them but they added up in Finale.
I was sad about Scott though, because he redeemed himself in Silence, and furthered that in this book. Even Patch thought so and he’s as jealous about other guys being with Nora as Nora is other girls being with Patch. Which leads me to… for Pete’s sake Nora, what is with you and being totally blinded by all thoughts of Dabria. Yes she wants Patch back, but that is why she is helping hm. He’s also made it pretty clear he doesn’t want anything to do with her. After everything you’ve been through, can’t you just trust him a little bit.
The result of the showdown was good, and I particularly liked the final chapter set a few years in the future. It was nice to see everyone reasonably happy and whole....more
Full review here I enjoyed this one. Nora was a lot less annoying this time, and I could understand her determination for finding answers to herFull review here I enjoyed this one. Nora was a lot less annoying this time, and I could understand her determination for finding answers to her questions. So we uncover quite a few things about Hank Millar in Silence – like just how much of a ruthless jerk he is. Part of it even leaves you feeling vaguely sorry for Marcie, which is a weird feeling, particularly given how bitchy she has been to Nora in the previous two novels. We also learn more about Patch – just how determined, ruthless and interesting he is. Most importantly we finally get to see Patch’s apartment. Swanky much, although in a typically Patch way, lots of blacks, navys and greys. The ending was really good – certainly not the way Nora and Patch wanted it to end, but I guess it serves the author’s purposes for the final book. Silence was full of interesting reveals, somewhat creepy people and a fair bit of violence. I will be intrigued to see how it all gets tied up in Finale. ...more