Category Archives: books/book review

A not-review of DragonMark, by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I don’t usually review book that I don’t finish here on the blog. In the five years I’ve kept it, I don’t think I ever have. I post a note on Goodreads for myself and move on. But I have to have a little rant on about this one. Partly because I’m enraged and partly out of pure WTF confusion.

Let me start by saying how much I hate (with a passion I’m not sure words alone can convey) coming across books like this. (And I’ve complained about this before). It’s book number 25 in one series, 10 in another, 5 in yet a third, 41 in another and the first in Dragon-Hunter: Dragon Rising. Apparently all these series intertwine. But can I read it as the first in ANY series, as that number 1 suggests? Or do I need to have read the others. What exactly, as a new Sherrilyn Kenyon reader, should I base that assessment on? Your guess is as good as mine. I picked the audio book up at the library and, despite serious misgivings, thought I’d give it a try.

For the first half the book I was fine. I could feel that there was history I was missing. Characters probably had their own books, but I was able to follow the hero and heroine’s story. I had complaints, such as how fast it all moved and how magic with no defined limits side-stepped so many problems in too easy manner, but it was a readable PNR. And I appreciated that the heroine was a larger lady. Plus, it was funny at times.

Then I reached disk 5, roughly the middle of the book. (There are 8 disks total.) Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, despite having fallen in love in a day, ten years passed and then in a page or two the heroine was dead and centuries had passed for the hero. The story picks up with two totally new people. The original hero becomes a side character in their story and everything moves along as if the train hadn’t literally just changed tracks. I stopped the player to make sure a disk from another book didn’t get mixed in! It’s that abrupt and incongruent.

Logic would suggest that the new characters are the characters from whichever series has Cade and Joe in it and the two timelines are crossing. (As and aside, at least I can pronounce their names, unlike Illarion and his love, whose name I don’t remember and apparently isn’t considered important enough to even include in the blurb of her own book.) And I would guess that at some point it’s all going to wrap back around such that Illarion can bring unnamed love back to life, or whatever. But I can’t bring myself to listen to hours of story about people I literally don’t know, because they literally just appeared with no introduction or explanation, before getting to it. (And that’s assuming I’m right about what happens.)

So, to answer the initial question of can a book with multiple series listed be read alone, even if its called number one in one of those series, no. Half this book can be read as a first book in a series, but half is apparently the continuation of another’s story and can’t be read without all those previous books from multiple other series. That is my take away. I gave up. I didn’t finish disk five and I won’t be finishing the book. I’m left reeling and confused. What the hell just happened.

I can almost imagine the narrator, who did a fine job, calling up the publisher and asking, “Hey, just checking, but you didn’t happen to mix up your manuscripts did you? I’m just making sure you didn’t send me two? Again, just checking.”

What’s worse, in reading the reviews of other readers, this seems to just be rehashing other books in the other series (whichever it is). My advice is don’t bother. I’m going to stick to my initial instinct and steer very clear of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books in the future. The foul taste left in my mouth from this one is that strong.

Review of The Quick, by Lauren Owen

I borrowed an audio copy pf Lauren Owen’s The Quick though my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Alarmed, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine London that greets her, she uncovers a hidden, supernatural city populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of the exclusive, secretive Aegolius Club, whose predatory members include the most ambitious, and most bloodthirsty, men in England.

Review:

I enjoyed many aspects of this book. I liked the characters. I thought the writing was good. It had quite a lot of atmosphere. However, I thought it far too long. A fact that was exacerbated by how very slow and meandering it was. Plus, while I appreciated the representation of having a gay man as a main character, the fact that his story became so very tragic had more than a whiff of ‘punish the gay’ in it. This bothered me. All in all it was good but tedious. Simon Slater did a fine job with narration. I have no complaints on that front.

Review of Salt Magic, Skin Magic – by Lee Welch

I borrowed an audio copy of Lee Welch‘s Salt Magic, Skin Magic through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray. When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

Review:

I liked, but didn’t love this one. I liked both the main characters. I thought the attempt to give the villain depth was appreciable. I liked that Thornby and the step mother made peace (no needlessly evil woman). I liked the desperation between the two men. 

However, I thought it was a bit slow to start and went on longer than need be. Plus, while I have no problem with the dominance/submission games Thornby and Blake played in bed, I didn’t really think it fit their personalities very well. (Though I did think the way it developed worked fine.) All in all, I’d read more if this becomes a series. But I’m not rushing out to buy anything. Joel Leslie did a fine job with the narration.