Monthly Archives: March 2018

Review of Havesskadi, by Ava Kelly

I received a copy of Havesskadi, by Ava Kelly, through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Nevmis, the red dragon, is hunting her own. Up in the icy peaks of the northern mountains, Orsie spends his lonely days hiding from her, but eventually he is found and his dragon magic stolen. Cursed to wander the lands as a mortal unless he recovers his magic before twenty-four rising crescents have passed, Orsie embarks on an arduous journey. Spurred by the whispers in his mind, his quest takes him to a castle hidden deep in a forest.

Arkeva, a skilled archer, is trapped in an abandoned castle deep in the woods, his only company two companions—one kind, the other cruel. Then a stranger arrives, a young man who soon finds himself confined by heavy snowfalls—and in danger from what slumbers in the shadows of the castle.

This isn’t horrible, but it’s too long by half and heavily dependent on two people not having a conversation that the continued avoidance of feels manipulated and unnatural. Further, there’s very little character development and almost no actual characters beyond the two main ones. I also have questions about these all important dragon souls. It’s an interesting idea, but not nearly well enough explained. All in all, it’s a sweet story, but it’s a poorly executed book.


Review of The Year of the Knife, by G.D. Penman

I received a copy of G.D. Penman‘s The Year of the Knife from the author.

Description from Goodreads:
Agent “Sully” Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: “It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.”

Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.

Generally really enjoyable. There is some good humor and the writing is fun. I liked the cast of characters and the little bit of softness Sully shows when it comes to Marie. Which is especially notable because the book does suffer a bit from tough woman must be tough syndrome. By this I mean the common occurrence where authors want to make a woman seem strong and capable, so they make her overly violent and prickly. Gleeful violence is Sully’s first response to everything and it leaves her a little hard to relate too.

Certain aspects of the book confused me. I never wholly got my head around the political and geographic landscape that the story occurs in, and the confines of the magic system are vague. So, I never understood the limitations of what is or isn’t possible.

All in all, however I really liked The Year of the Knife and look forward to more.

Review of Cottingley, by Alison Littlewood

I won a copy of Alison Littlewood‘s Cottingley through LibraryThing.

Description from Goodreads:
In 1917 the world was rocked by claims that two young girls – Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths – had photographed fairies in the sleepy village of Cottingley. In 2017, a century later, we finally discover the true nature of these fey creatures. Correspondence has come to light that contains a harrowing account, written by village resident Lawrence Fairclough, laying bare the fairies’ sinister malevolence and spiteful intent.

This book is written entirely in letters, which is not a style that I enjoy. And while this didn’t change my opinion on the writing device, I have to admit it was exceptionally well done. Especially considering it’s not only letters, but only one side of a correspondence. Still, Littlewood managed to create a followable plot that didn’t feel forced. The language is appropriate for the time period and the formality right for letters between two people who have never met. Really, I’m shocked to have liked it as much as I did.