Category Archives: books/book review

Review of Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1), by Gail Carriger

I borrowed an audio copy of Gail Carriger‘s Prudence through my local library. And if you want pressure to finish a book, try borrowing an audiobook through Overdrive, having and hour and ten minutes left of it and noticing the book will be auto-returned in one hour. Luckily, the automation doesn’t appear to be too exact. I managed to finish it.

Description from Goodreads:
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances – names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?

Review:
Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate is one of my favorite series and I looked forward to visiting old friends in Custard Protocol. And I enjoyed that aspect of it a lot, along with Carriger’s signature humor and patent ridiculousness. However, without her mother’s gravitas, I found Rue’s similar eye to fashion and tea times frivolous and just this side of annoying. I liked her no where near as much as Alexia. But this is also much more of a YA title than Soulless (not that that’s overly adult), so this could account for some of my disappointment. All in all, light and amusing, but not a home run. Though Moira Quirk did a marvelous job of the narration.

 

 

Review of Revenge of the Bloodslinger (Jubal Van Zandt #1), by Eden Hudson

I won an e- copy of Eden Hudson‘s Revenge of the Bloodslinger.

Description from Goodreads:
Narcissist, sociopath, and shameless backstabber Jubal Van Zandt is the best damn thief in the history of the Revived Earth…and he won’t shut up about it.

But not everybody in the swampy, soggy, feudal future approves of Jubal’s vocation. The Guild—the religious fanatics who helped rebuild civilization after the collapse—in particular are waiting for their opportunity to slip the noose around his neck.

Which is why when the renowned Guild knight Carina Xiao—a.k.a. the Bloodslinger—contacts Jubal about an off-the-books job that violates Guild Law, he’s too intrigued to say no. He is the best damn thief in the history of the Revived Earth, after all.

Half bizarro ecopunk, half outworld thriller, half odd-couple roadtrip, Jubal Van Zandt & the Revenge of the Bloodslinger is a 150% futurepunk quest for blood and betrayal across the Revived Earth.

Review:
I enjoyed this a lot more than the cover suggested I would. Both the main character and his client, Carina, are serious anti-heroes. And while she has her faith, they are otherwise both sarcastic, irreverent and capable in their own fields. There is a lot to enjoy here. Not least of which is the interesting histories of both characters.

Plus, it’s never even suggested that Jubal might be neuro-atypical (by which I mean autistic in some manner) and maybe the author never meant him to be, just a narcissistic sociopath. But there were just so many small example of his behavior that made me think he must be—racing thoughts, occasional overwhelming need for movement, minor self-harm when confronted with emotions, a general lack of empathy or normal emotions, insomnia, germ phobia, food issues, inexactitude in measuring the passage of time, strict categorization of people, etc. I appreciated finding this in a character.

My main complaints are that it went overboard on occasion, ends very abruptly and I didn’t at all like the ending. I see what the author is doing with it, but it soured the book for me a bit. Be that as it may, I’d still read another one.

Review of Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1), by Kelly Jensen

I bought a copy of Uncommon Ground, by Kelly Jensen.

Description from Goodreads:

Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.

Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.

But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?

Review:

This was first and foremost cute, I mean really cute. Lang and Dillon were adorable. It’s worth a read just for that. And it is very readable. Kelly Jensen can sling a phrase.

Uncommon Ground is part of the Memories With the Breakfast Club series, which is the first Kindle World about gay men. And, though I’ve not read any of the other books, twice gay couples showed up that I suspect were characters from other books. So, for those following the series, I imagine that’ll be a treat.

For all it’s cute and part of a first, it’s also a little too rushed for me. The two meet and end up in bed immediately. Which would be fine if it was just sex, but it’s insta-love, insta-trust and insta-life partner. Similarly, an important plot point hinges on an unexpected arrival who is never developed into a real character and someone essentially throwing a tantrum. This allows for skipping any more complicated solution and deeper exploration of the themes of space exploration, loneliness, loyalties, loss, love, alienation, and identity, all of which the book touches on.

All in all, the book takes what could be a deep, meaningful read and instead presents a light, fluffy romance, which is well worth the time it takes to read. One isn’t necessarily worth more than the other, but it helps to know what you’re in for.