With DARING, the second book in the Pax Arcana series, Elliott James becomes an urban fantasy author to watch. DARING manages to take everything I liked about book one and keep it, chuck everything I hated, and not come across as a sophomore slump. It’s a surprisingly good read that really steps up the series.
RED BLOODED is an unsurprising addition to the Jessica McClain series. By that I mean it follows Jessica’s mishaps and constant fight for survival in a fast-paced ride through the book. Though the setting is imaginative and different, and we learn more about Jessica’s history and the prophecy that everybody in the supernatural world is concerned about, which is rewarding, RED BLOODED lacks the interplay between Jessica and the more well-known characters, such as Rourke or Ray, which is disappointing.
Perhaps the best of the series thus far, THE RIPPER AFFAIR is the confluence of a dark mystery, an exploration of London’s altered and haunting landscape, and the emotional growing pains of Bannon’s little family. A fantastic book for any one of these elements, combining all three makes for a relentless, mesmerizing read.
The Prospero’s War series inhabits a world where magic permeates the landscape of chemistry and pharmacology. With hints of allegory to our own reality’s war on drugs, the fundamental difference is how those born with magical potential have an advantage when it comes to cooking, but no additional defenses against the powerful high such activity creates.
If you haven’t read any spoilers for THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, it’s hard to know what to expect. The bare-bones description doesn’t give much away, but though the story starts out a bit vague, told through the eyes of a ten year old girl, it soon becomes an engrossing, mind-blowing and genre defying experience that is nearly impossible to put down.
I’ll admit that I must not have read the description of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN very carefully, and was taken in by the pretty girl on the cover, only to discover the main character happens to be a guy. Oops. Luckily, once I got past that, it did not diminish my enjoyment of the novel, which was fun and mysterious, and did include some great female characters, too.
With this sequel to THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK, Mur Lafferty returns her readers to a world of vampires, zombies, dragons, and gods, most of whom are just looking for ways to pass their lengthy, or even immortal, lives. The pressure’s on Zoe Norris in GHOST TRAIN TO NEW ORLEANS, as the urban jungle she’s scouting for her next supernatural travel guide recognizes her as a rare citytalker, and doesn’t want to let her go – especially when she’s determined to go straight into danger. GHOST TRAIN is a fun urban fantasy, with some clever ideas in a rich setting, but it’s tripped up by repetition, a few too many characters, and some flaws in the internal logic of the universe.
DIRTY MAGIC brings magic to the violent power struggles and chemical dependencies of the city streets, through the eyes of a heroine who has lived on both sides of the law. Wells builds her world on a mix of pharmacology and alchemy, giving an urban fantasy flavor to this gangland drama.
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN was a wonderfully twisty, fun, and dark steampunk tale that held me with such rapt attention I didn’t want to put it down. The fact that I so enjoyed this third book in the series is pretty good considering it was my first foray into The Immortal Empire. The writing is superb and I adored the fact that past book
Remember when I said that HOT BLOODED, the second book in the Jessica McClain series, was action packed? I take it back. It was nothing compared to book three, COLD BLOODED. We pick up right after we left off in HOT BLOODED, and this time, Carlson pulls out all the stops- we’ve got witches, sorcerers, demons, vampires, ghosts, oracles, fae, and of course, werewolves. Plus, we finally find out what kind of creature Rourke shifts into! (Hint: something amazing and extinct.) As we follow Jessica on her journey to get to New Orleans, there is never a dull moment and I was quickly reminded how much I love this series.