Book Review · General · reading

Book Review: Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks

I read Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks a few months ago. Every since, I have been quite speechless. It is hard to describe my disappointment.

I normally really look forward to this series. Dragon Spawn was no different.

But then I read it. It started out alright – lots of action and characters that I really like. It seemed like it was moving fast.

Then it ended. Just ended. Nothing was resolved, none of the problems mentioned in the beginning, none of the conflicts ended.

It is okay if one or two or even three of the conflicts are not resolved by end. This is a long-running series and that is just the nature of the beast. You have to leave something dangling for the next book. But this book resolved nothing.

It felt more like the middle of the book rather then the end. I feel like someone chopped the book in half and decided to publish in pieces.

I have no words for how much of a disappointment this book is. I really don’t. I have spent some time trying to say and I can’t.

I will read the next book, if only to find the next book. But I can’t really recommend this one. Until the next one comes out and I find out if there is an ending.

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Sustenance

My next read!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

teaser

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

51jdkq422bzl-_sx331_bo1204203200_More bad news from the States: the Committee continues to wreak its havoc, pursuing their policy of forcing those who disagree with their political positions to lose their jobs, their positions in their communities, and any chance of following their established professions in the United States of America, all in the name of freedom. The press has supported their hysteria, increasing the air of crisis that continues to grow, joining the repressive elements in the government in continuing to denounce citizens of Communistic inclinations, without any proof of wrongdoing beyond rumor and innuendo.

– Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

fantasy · reading

Coffin Not Broken When Zombie Rises

I was reading an Anita Blake book. She’s raised a zombie, put it back and now they are digging up the grave, to see if there are problems with the zombie.

So the characters dug and talked. If this was a modern grave, they would have to open the coffin. Even if something had gone wrong with putting the zombie back, they were perfectly safe because it would be in the coffin. Modern coffins are steel.

I am thinking: The zombie would have broken the coffin, steel or not, to get out in the first place. When you put it back, the coffin would still be broken.

It is so weird. So very, very weird.

General · reading

L is for Lycanthrope

If I Google lycanthrope, it tells me this:

ly·can·thrope

/ˈlīkənˌTHrōp/

noun

noun: lycanthrope; plural noun: lycanthropes

  1. a werewolf.

Origin

early 17th century: from modern Latin lycanthropus, from Greek lukanthrōpos ‘wolf man’ (see lycanthropy).

So wolf man turned into werewolf. These days, in urban fantasy, it means werelions, werepanthers, wererats, pretty much any type of animal that the author decides a person can turn into.

I also know there are so many werewolf stories that many, many people are tired of them. They abound in romance and in urban fantasy. They used to be a staple of

Jason: on my favorite werewolves from the Anita Blake series.

horror (I think they were still a horror trope) but I am not familiar enough with horror to know how often they occur now.

The thing this, I am not tired of them. I am more careful than I used to be, yes, but I would really to find more good werewolf stories to read.

I am not quite so welcoming of the werewolf story close cousin: the vampire story. I continue to read series I started years ago, but I don’t look for new ones and I think I am pretty close to burning out entirely on vampires.

I am not sure why I should be so much closer to burning out entirely on vampires, but there it is. Maybe the concept of a person who can turn into an animal(s) is just a lot more interesting.

How about you?

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Night Broken

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I’m doing a reread of Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

My teaser:

“I only like a little bit mean,” Adam confided in a low-husky voice that made my heartbeat pick up. “Withholding cookies is world-class mean.”

– Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

fantasy · work in progress · Writing

World Building and Urban Fantasy

image

I have stopped working on my current WiP because I’ve come to a crises of world-building. It’s urban fantasy and up until now I imagined that it would take place in NYC. Different from the real city, because of what I need from the world, but still the city. The city I would recognize.

(Yeah, the city. Like there aren’t any other cities in the world. Like this is the archetype and all other cities are just pale, pathetic copies.)

Now I am not so sure. I’ve reached a point where I am questioning some of the world choices I made. I’ve realized some things about the world, about how this world works. It changes things.

I had thought originally that it was the same world, complete with the same wars and conflicts. Just with more magic. Lots more magic. And science as something that developed slightly more slowly, looked down upon, but widely used. Especially by those with weak magic.

I have a better idea now about changes I need than before I started the story. But I am not certain how to incorporate the changes. I can do one of two things:

1) change the world. Change the city’s name. Change the whole city. This would turn the story into a more traditional fantasy.

2) keep the current world, but to incorporate the changes I need, add more wars in the history. Change up national boundaries maybe, change the war outcome too maybe. Add more conflict, more tension in the present.

They would both be a lot of work. I don’t know which to choose, which would be better.

So I haven’t written anything in more than a month now.

General

Book Review: Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard

 

Blurb from GoodReads:

Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, High Priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.

This book is pretty damn good. A lot better than I expected. I have to admit, I read the blurb and decided it couldn’t be interesting. I mean, the whole Aztec blood magic thing. I wasn’t into it.

But it’s really good. I stayed up too late to read this and I really like it. The end is perfect. I did not see it coming, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. Really. Just the kind of ending I like best.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too crazy about the book when I first heard about it. The idea of an Aztec priest and a murder mystery. I mean, the Aztecs are known for blood sacrifice, human and otherwise. I figured there would be both in the book and I wasn’t crazy about the idea.

But it’s not bad. Yes, they sacrifice animals and the temple keeps a collection of animals to sacrifice. And there are mentions of a new king having to go and gather prisoners for sacrifice to prove himself fit to be king. It’s a little disturbing, but that’s not the focus.

The writer gives all the characters Aztec names. There is a lot about the gods, what sacrifices each like, what offends them, the other temples, about the government. How the king becomes king and the politics surrounding both (both meaning the temple and the government). I don’t know how much of it is real and how much is made up out of whole cloth, but I loved it. World building is one of the things I love most and this was pretty fantastic.

The main character has personal issues – issues with his brother, his father, his choice to become a priest instead of a warrior. Despite a lifetime as a priest, he’s still struggling with all of those issues. Due to someone else’s political muddling, he became the High Priest of his order. It’s a role he still needs to grow into. He’s not exactly leading it at the beginning.

I thought he was a woman at the beginning, too. LOL Well, it’s written in 1st POV and it has the feel of a lot of urban fantasy novels so . . . yeah. I thought he was a girl. Most urban fantasies are written from the female POV so I think I might be forgiven.

Despite the Aztec world, the lack of sex, it feels a lot like urban fantasy to. But if you associate urban fantasy with a paranormal version of our world, instead of the other elements, this one might feel more like traditional fantasy to you. IMO, it’s a most wonderful mix of the two.

The most memorable part for me was when our hero discovers the first villain of the piece (a pawn, more like, who allowed herself to be used unto death) gives herself to another temple rather face immediate death. The temple will prepare her and drown her as a sacrifice to their goddess. Their goddess likes her sacrifices to be drowned and not killed in some other way.

I do recommend Servant of the Underworld.

 

Book Review · reading

Book Review: Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

Blurb from Goodreads: When a fifteen-year-old girl is abducted by vampires, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Anita Blake to find her. And when she does, she’s faced with something she’s never seen before: a terrifyingly ordinary group of people—kids, grandparents, soccer moms—all recently turned and willing to die to avoid serving a master. And where there’s one martyr, there will be more…

But even vampires have monsters that they’re afraid of. And Anita is one of them…

So  . . .  I am done with Kiss the Dead. It didn’t take long to finish. As always, it moves fast and quick. I talked about it here when I just started.

What I liked best: the beginning.

She gets her butt kicked by a new vampire in the opening pages. 😉 It may be wrong of me, but I enjoyed it. It gave me hope for the rest of the book.

That hope was, by and large, fulfilled. Maybe because my expectations were low to begin with. LOL

Mostly, I just wanted a book that wasn’t driven by sex. That’s what I got. Oh, make no mistake, there was sex. But the first happened half way through the book and the second shortly after. I can’t tell you much about them; I am afraid I skipped past them. I don’t feel like I missed anything. As near as I can tell, there are no new guys.

I did pick up that by the end of Kiss the Dead, she has reached new levels of comfort with the youngest guy, the one she got as a kid in one of the previous books. (He’s eighteen now and about ready to graduate from high school. I cannot tell you much this relationship creeps me out.)

What I disliked: how Anita feels the need to point out she is small and tough every couple of paragraphs. Sometimes several times in the same paragraph.

The thing that surprised me the most is that they banished Asher for a few months. At the end, Anita has doubts about whether or not JC can really banish him. But I am hoping it happens. It’ll shake up their happy little life.

About the mystery: Anita does a lot of shooting. She does some things to scare the vampires into telling her what she want to know.

Some of the investigative part? I don’t know. Some of it feels iffy to me. Like it happens because the author needs to happen and there isn’t enough explanation.

I didn’t like the end. I didn’t dislike it, either. Oh, the mystery is solved; she goes deeper into her relationships. But it didn’t really satisfy. Something is missing, but hell if I can figure out what.

So . . . I am still going to read the next book.

Book Review · fantasy · reading

Book Review: Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

From Amazon:

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can’t afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father’s dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…

I loved loved loved Fair Game.

There is a murder investigation; Charles has serious issues with guilt over being his father’s henchman. Anna is worried about him and somehow ends up speaking with the humans about the murders, with Charles as her bodyguard.

The story is fast and tense and leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

What I liked best: the ending. It was spectacular. The legal court provides a silly (and predictable lol) ruling regarding the fae. A fae lord retaliates. His actions strike me as quite just. I think the schism is going to be permanent and provides for very interesting times ahead.

There are lots of other goods parts. Watching Anna confront the Marok? Fantastic. I mean, no one confronts him.

Charles has a lot of issues in this book. It’s been building and I suppose it’s only natural. One of the werewolves he killed kind of had it coming, but someone else made it sound like he didn’t. Charles fell for it, until yet another werewolf pointed that the punishment would have been the same even before the werewolves came out to the public. It was hard for Charles to see that.

What I don’t understand: Throughout the book, Anna kept telling everyone all the weakness of werewolves. Why? There was no need for her to reveal half as much as she did and I still don’t get why she did it. She told the agents how to behave around Charles and made him sound out of control, which he isn’t. Close to edge, yeah, but still in control.

Book Review · fantasy · reading

Book Review: Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee

From Entangled Publishing:

When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.

Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count…

I finished Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee this week. I asked for it because the main character is a banshee and really, how many times do you use a banshee MC? Or even a half-banshee.

Banshee Charmer is the first in a new Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series. I enjoyed it. It’s a short, quick read. It moves fast.

The part I liked best was when Mac uses her scream on the bad guy. 😉 Too bad she isn’t a full banshee; that guy deserves to die.

Screaming isn’t that useful when it comes to detective work. She needs to do it the way non-magical cops do it: with her brains and guts. I enjoyed reading all that.

It is always clear that, Aidan, the male lead and romantic interest isn’t telling her everything. It turns out he was lying to her from the beginning. She forgives him for that, accepts him at the end and the book ends there. I don’t quite understand how she can do that.

Maybe that’s because Banshee Charmer is so short. I am not sure how many pages (I have a kindle ARC from net galley) but I think maybe half the size of a normal sized novel.

Also, lots of times it felt like she was telling us (me, the reader!) very interesting things about the other characters, but I wasn’t feeling it when the those characters showed up on page. Maybe this was also a result of the short length; not enough space to show everything I would like to be shown in the characters.

Other than that I would have to say this is a very interesting world (banshees and selkies and incubus and so much more). I like the main character and I think there is a lot potential for future stories.