Friday
Apr212017

Detective Docherty and the Demon's Tears

This book has a great story with interesting characters and a really cool setting. However, like so many self-published books, it also has a lot of problems. I understand that a new, pro-edited version is either out now or on its way, and I'm curious to have a look at it and see if it solved some of the many problems I had with the book.

To sum up the problems? The writing was raw and full of new writer mistakes. So hopefully the pro-edited version corrects for that. And this, friends, is why I always advocate for hiring editors. Because this book is pure potential and could have been completely awesome before reaching readers. That's the difference editors make.

Anyway, I hate being critical of books written by people I know, but I feel duty-bound to give an honest review. Some readers won't even notice the things that made it a difficult read for me. And the essence of the story itself is fun and clever.

So the story itself is set in modern day Toronto, after a Great Awakening, in which plain vanilla humans are suddenly able to see fairies and otherkin. So we've got trolls working as bouncers at night clubs, gremlins working in aviation. That sort of thing. It's a fun and fascinating world!

The story follows Detective Docherty, who specializes in crimes involving otherkin. It's told through the perspectives of his niece, Alexandria, and his longtime friend, Ares the vampire. While solving cases with the detective, the two POV characters examine the nature of family and friendship.

Warning: there's a love triangle. I hate those things, as I've mentioned elsewhere, so be forewarned.

But this is a fun piece of urban fantasy and I fully intend to read the next book in the series. If you like urban fantasy, definitely check it out, but be sure to find/wait for the pro-edited version.

Tuesday
Apr182017

Thunderbird

The latest installment in the Miriam Black series is here! If you're already a fan of the series, this has everything you can expect. If you're not reading the series yet, I highly recommend checking out Blackbirds.

So Miriam's life is unravelling a little and she's desperate to get rid of her curse (seeing how people die) and just live a normal life. Poor thing is in such denial. But she's obsessively (and a little murderously) tracking another psychic, Mary Stitch, who she believes can help her undo her curse.

Things with Louis are on the rocks, so this time Miriam has dragged poor Gabby (last seen in The Cormorant) along on one helluva dangerous road trip. In the search for Mary Stitch, Miriam stumbles upon a bunch of lunatic domestic terrorists, a group that has several others with psychic talents/curses similar to Miriam's.

As you would expect from this series by now, it's hard hitting, gritty, swearrific and fast-paced. Miriam does some on the fly soul-searching, but largely keeps doing the right thing out of sheer defiance. God, I love her. And then there's those last couple of chapters. OH, SNAP! Definitely recommend this to Miriam fans.

And now you get spoilers. LOOK AWAY!

You've been warned.

The major showdown felt a little anti-climactic to me, with Miriam stumbling off into the desert for weeks. Her impressive return, basically from the dead, fell a little flat for me when we discover she's too late to stop the death vision that's been driving her through the whole book. As cool as it was to see her develop her bird-control powers even further, I still felt like using a flock of birds (again, like in The Cormorant) was a touch repetitive.

And okay, she doesn't save the day, but she does stop the bad guys. Cool win, bro. But having Louis ride in to save her sorry ass was... I dunno. Yay, great to see Louis again. But why couldn't Miriam save her own ass? I hate seeing even the slightest suggestion that Miriam is a damsel in distress. And if she has to be, why can't Gabby come in for the rescue?

Anyway, I'm super excited to see how this sets up the remaining books in the series. Because Mary's advice and that final scene? Shit, son. This is gonna be awesome!

Friday
Apr142017

Carpe Jugulum

Since I've been sick, I haven't done much else but read for quite some time. I've done enough reading that the number of books I've finished is way ahead of my blogging. It's been almost a week since I finished reading this one and I've got another finished book in queue and one more I'll probably finish over the weekend.

Anyway, since it's been a week or so since I finished reading this one, I don't remember a lot of the details. That in itself kind of says a lot about this book. It was still excellent because Pratchett was a genius, but as far as the Discworld novels go, it was kinda meh.

There were some antics out of Nanny Ogg, but nothing you wouldn't expect. Magrat barely put in an appearance and was obnoxiously "mommy war new age omg I'm gonna barf" when she was around. Granny Weatherwax was absent and/or unconscious through most of it. So this was another one that was mostly about Agnes. And really, I'm just not digging Agnes.

But once Granny came out of her cave and later regained consciousness, well damn she was her usual force to be reckoned with. And she made me laugh out loud, loud enough to scare my dog. Heh.

So in this book, King Verence rather stupidly invites vampires into his kingdom and home. They turn everyone into cattle. Granny and Agnes both have to face their innerselves (many selves, in Agnes's case) in order to save the day. Agnes's split personality is basically the only thing that saves them.

It's got a bit of a Sleeping Beauty vibe at the beginning, with Granny Weatherwax painted as some sort of Maleficent, but that falls away pretty quickly and the book moves to roasting vampire lore. Which I'm fine with because I've never been big on stories with vampires anyway.

The wee free men make their first appearance and I definitely look forward to more of them! I'm curious to see what happens with Agnes next, if anything... I know she leaves at some point to make room for Tiffany Aching in the coven.

A "meh" Discworld book is still leaps and bounds better than a lot of what's out there, so overall this is still a great book. If you've been reading Discworld, you want to read this one. If you haven't been reading Discworld... Well? What are you waiting for?

Monday
Apr102017

Mistborn

I've been meaning to get into Sanderson's work for a while now because I've been listening to him talk about writing for over a year now through the Writing Excuses podcast and his BYU course. His reference to this book in particular when talking about worldbuilding and elements in fiction made it sound really interesting.

And it *is* really interesting. It's really cool to see the elemental genres applied, in this case a heist element added to an epic fantasy. So what's this about? As I described it to my 6-year-old: It's about people who eat metal and turn it into magic. And also overthrowing an evil overlord. All framed as a heist.

So structurally this is really cool and the characters are excellent as well. Not perfect, mind you. Each character POV wasn't as distinct as they could be (Daniel Jose Older is still king at this). But it was still well done. Putting all the pieces in place and still pulling out a few surprises was no small feat.

This book hooked me right off the bat and had a steady pace that made it hard to put down. A must read for fantasy fans!

Tuesday
Apr042017

A Turn of Light

This is one of those books that just isn't right for me, which is too bad because it has a lot going for it. It's also a hot mess in some places, but mostly just isn't for me. It's a slooooooooooooow burn, which is the bit I hated the most. I like a story with quick pacing. This story PLODS.

It doesn't help that there is so much description. It's GRRM level stuff. At least literally nothing else about the book compares to GRRM. This is a happy, fluffy read (which also makes it less for me... I like something in between) but at least it's got a dragons.

So the book is fun and it's got fun characters and it's got some really interesting worldbuilding. And the author really did her research. You can tell because she put literally all of it in. I probably skimmed through 20% of this book. It could have been so much shorter and done so much more at the same time.

Description aside, the main character, Jenn, was WAY too naive for me to handle at all. And the way other people kept trying to coddle her just made it all worse. I kept screaming "HOW ARE YOU THIS STUPID?!!?!?!" over and over. Which doesn't make for a pleasant read. And then there was a love triangle and OH GOD I HATE THOSE. And while the reasoning for the triangle to be resolved the way it was made perfect sense, I still wanted to see Jenn with the other guy.

And then it just felt like there were never any real consequences. Something bad would be introduced, something would go wrong, and I'd think, "Oh good, this is finally going somewhere!" and then it would be resolved neatly in the next chapter. (SPOILERS AHEAD) There didn't even end up being a proper villain, despite several characters being initially set up as such. No one even died!

All of the stakes in this novel just ended up feeling cheap to me.

But I didn't hate it because there's a dragon. And he's delightful. And I wish there had been SO MUCH MORE of the dragon. I understand there will be other books in this series and if I were to read more it would be solely for Wisp the dragon. His POV and the way he interacted with Jenn and his snarky banter with other characters was just magic.

If you like fluff reads jam-packed with description of literally every field the MC walks through, then this is probably a good book for you! Otherwise, probably give it a pass.