I may be a little biased because Jack Campbell is my favorite living author, but I loved THE HIDDEN MASTERS OF MARANDUR. This book picks up about two weeks after THE DRAGONS OF DORCASTLE ended, and you’re thrown right into the action. The intense battle and action scenes are one of the places where Campbell’s writing really shines. There are a lot of urban and epic fantasy novels that make me cringe when I read their battles, but Campbell’s years of military experience help him write realistic battles.
Posts Tagged: magic
I’m at a loss for words here, since I have no idea how to fully convey how much I loved THE DRAGON CONSPIRACY. This is a book I read in its entirety in one sitting, and though Shearin has long been on my auto-buy list, if she hadn’t been, this book would have made me add her. It was basically perfect for me, in every way – with sarcastic Makenna, her delicious partner Ian, constant action that starts in the first chapter, and a little unresolved sexual tension to keep everybody on their toes.
A very satisfying follow-up to Greg van Eekhout’s CALIFORNIA BONES, PACIFIC FIRE picks up ten years later when a collective of loosely allied osteomancers finally decide to fill the power vacuum created by the death of the Los Angeles Hierarch. Unfortunately for Daniel Blackland, former thief-turned-fugitive, their plan for mass destruction requires the sacrifice of the boy Daniel has spent a decade trying to protect. PACIFIC FIRE opens van Eekhout’s world of bone magic a little wider, and is still populated by the sorts of characters that made the first book so much fun to read. Once again, it’s a slow build leading into a hurried ending, but it’s a ride definitely worth taking.
OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS is a wonderfully smart, action-filled journey of a novel. Though I had some issues with the book, I still enjoyed the creative setting, the various side characters, and the fun storyline.
In THE WITCHES OF ECHO PARK, Amber Benson introduces us to the Southern California “blood sisters” who, along with other covens across the globe, keep the world in balance. When coven leader Eleanora informs her great-niece that she’s dying, Lyse abandons her life in Georgia to fly to Los Angeles – and, unknowingly, to take her great-aunt’s place as an Echo Park witch. Benson channels Alice Hoffman in this novel, painting the Echo Park neighborhood in a way that should delight locals, and inform strangers. Though I found the first half of the book a little overly descriptive, the narrative overall reflects the dreams that are central to the story – including that feeling that the dream never quite reaches its conclusion.
The book Kitty Norville fans (or maybe just me) have been waiting for, LOW MIDNIGHT tells a story from Cormac’s point of view. If you’re expecting a Kitty story, you’ll be disappointed. Kitty is still present, but this is basically Cormac taking the reins, and having his own adventure.
A creative take on a fairy tale retelling, PRINCESS OF THORNS follows the daughter of Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, as she treks through the kingdom to rescue her brother. With elements of other fairy tales brought in (Niklaas’ curse comes to mind), PRINCESS OF THORNS is a wonderful continuation of a beloved fairy tale. Plus, the entire first half of the book has Aurora dressed up as and acting as a boy – a trope I can’t resist – and in this case, it was done well.
CROUCHING TIGER, FORBIDDEN VAMPIRE, the last book of the Love at Stake has it all, from sweeping action, to tough as nails heroes, and a sweet romance between two very different people. In a previous review of another book in this series I complained that the much more interesting plot was overshadowed by the romance. In CROUCHING TIGER, FORBIDDEN VAMPIRE there is thankfully a balance and the romance actually works within the against the plot.
SUSPICION by Alexandra Monir, is pitched as a modern version of the classic thriller Rebecca, and it definitely creates that vibe, along with a pretty solid mystery, and a dash of The Princess Diaries. Between that and the romance of reconnecting with a first love, this book didn’t need anything else – but it’s ‘urban fantasy,’ and so magic must appear. It’s rare for me to wish a story lacked a supernatural element, but with SUSPICION (a nonsensical title for the novel) enough is happening that the subplot about an ancestor with an unusually green thumb and the inheritance of “Elemental” powers just unbalances the plot.