The Madeline Black series employs a blend of two great, common urban fantasy tropes: the “big reveal” (where a mundane character discovers magic exists) and an open world where magic is commonly accepted. The mix of these two story-lines creates a chemistry that adds new zest to familiar concepts, an energy that I thoroughly enjoy.
Posts Categorized: Review
With a mix of pop culture references and old school witch craft, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN develops an above average number of metaphysical and social details for a YA novel. While this isn’t bad thing (especially at the start of a series), there were a few key failures that, for my part, will keep me from finding out where all of these different avenues are leading.
It’s always entertaining when a book gets a physical reaction out of me, and THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST caused many a gasp and flinch as twelve year old Will Henry faced monsters and threats of both the physical and mental variety. While I enjoyed the grizzly, realistic science that is monstrumology, other details in the story were so gross and dark and disturbing that I sometimes dreaded reading further.
While I knew BLACK DUST MAMBO was going to be a hard act to follow, my surprises in reading BLACK HEART LOA had nothing to do with those high expectations. LOA was a different breed of book all together, as the story line changes from the human villains of BLACK DUST MAMBO to the more amorphous magical threats. It took me a few chapters to change gears, but despite that slow start I devoured the last two thirds of this book.
I am a little behind on the Jaz Parks series, which made the first few chapters of THE DEADLIEST BITE that much more satisfying. While there may be a little too much exposition and explanation for up to date fans, I found the amount of back story just right to keep me in the loop with this latest book. And oh, what a book. Witty and touching and funny, it’s amazing how much emotion Rardin evokes without ever sacrificing a moment of comedy or action.
Hexes and poppets and bayou magic abound in BLACK DUST MAMBO, creating a vivid, detailed world that unfolds as naturally as breathing. It’s been a long time since I’ve read an Urban Fantasy novel that swept me away quite like this one (The Guild Hunters series comes to mind), and though BLACK DUST MAMBO is just the first of it’s series, it has already raised my expectations very, very high.
I’m wary of mixing too much religion with the paranormal (Nalini Singh’s fierce, pagan angels are just about my speed), but DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE takes things into the realm of myth and magic without treading on too many dogmatic toes. This paranormal romance surprised me quite a few times, most particularly in the way that the main character/supporting character dynamic was reversed. While it’s unusual for me to be interested in world building over romance, I enjoyed the glimpses of this particular devil’s world so much he quite stole the show.
Jumping into an established series with book 15 can risky, but THE RELUCTANT VAMPIRE amply rewarded my daring. Sands interweaves details about the Argeneau vampires and this story’s main love interests without ever sacrificing the forward momentum of the narrative, and I was caught up in the story from page one. Drina and Harper’s romance was very effective as a stand alone (hot, hot, hot!), and while there were some details about the plot that went over my head, that just further motivates me to go back and enjoy the previous books in the series.
If TWICE BITTEN was about the flash and bang of giving into attraction for the first time, HARD BITTEN is about the chemistry and conflict of evaluating a long term relationship. Half way through this book, I was struck by how much I’ve grown to love series. Not just for the characters and the action within, but also for the decisions Chloe Neill has made as an author. Neill takes the long view, just as her immortal heroine Merit is learning to do, and never is that so apparent as in HARD BITTEN. Neill doesn’t pick the spikes and crashes of sugar-high romance, but rather writes the worries and growth of complex, interesting characters.
As I would have hoped at the close of VENOM, the Elemental Assassin series really hits it’s stride with TANGLED THREADS. Containing the best of the action sequences, bad-assery and romance from previous books, it also sets the stage for what promises to be the ultimate life-or-death confrontation of Gin’s career.