Review of The Immortals (Olympus Bound, #1), by Jordanna Max Brodsky

I borrowed a copy of The Immortals, by Jordanna Max Brodsky, from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone-just the way she likes it. She doesn’t believe in friends, and she doesn’t speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stand in her way.

With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who’s her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they’ll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city’s other Immortals.

I thought that this was basically OK, nothing wrong with it, but I didn’t love it. Liked it ok, but not love.

It will help to brush up on your Greek mythology before reading it though, since there’s a lot of it packed into this particular book. I liked the idea of the gods living among us mortals. Though the idea that they’re fading as they’re not worshipped anymore isn’t a new one.

I liked the mystery, though I figured it out pretty quickly. I liked that the main characters are second string gods/goddesses. We’re not talking Zeus here, but Artemis, Apollo, and such. I liked the strong female characters and the geeky, academic “beta male” hero. Though his treatment of his ex didn’t really endear him to me.

The issue I had, was with the romance. It never felt right to me, and not just because Artemis is supposed to be virginal goddess. It just felt abrupt and shoehorned in. I mean, she only interacts peaceably with one man and he just happens to be the one. And in the end, I couldn’t visualize how a relationship was meant to work.

All in all, not bad, but maybe not for me.

Review of The Dragon’s Legacy, by Deborah A. Wolf

I borrowed a copy of Deborah A. Wolf’s The Dragon’s Legacy from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
The last Aturan King is dying, and as his strength fades so does his hold on sa and ka. Control of this power is a deadly lure; the Emperor stirs in his Forbidden City to the East, while deep in the Seared Lands, the whispering voices of Eth bring secret death. Eight men and women take their first steps along the paths to war, barely realizing that their world will soon face a much greater threat; at the heart of the world, the Dragon stirs in her sleep. A warrior would become Queen, a Queen would become a monster, and a young boy plays his bird-skull flute to keep the shadows of death at bay. 

Are you ready to dive into an epic series in which the first 486 page book is nothing more than the characters getting on the board and doesn’t do anything more than set up future book? Well, this is the book for you!

I was not ready for that. I was ready for a 486 page story. I got a 486 page introduction, maybe a prologue. It was not enough. I ended this book disappointed…and it took me forever and a day to read it. I got sooo tired of having to reference the three(!) dictionaries in the front. Thank god they were there, but did the book need its own freakin’ language?

The writing was pretty, though quite purple on occasion and I liked how some of the gender tropes were subverted. But part of me is side-eyeing that same subversion. Is it really a subversive if it’s just been flipped, not really explored in any depth.

As an aside, I was consistently annoyed that this appeared to be another world, but there were several very earth-like jokes and references. Like a quip about knowing poor Yorick well. Perhaps its meant as a future earth, but there were at least two suns for example, so I thought not. Each such comment felt anachronistic to me.

All in all, not a bad book, but not at all what I was looking for.

Review of The Alpha King, by Victoria Sue

I received an Audible code for a copy of Victoria Sue’s The Alpha King through AudioBookBoom.

Description from Goodreads:
The Kingdom of Askara has been torn apart by conflict for centuries, where humans exist as subservient beings to their werewolf masters. Legend says it will only be able to heal itself when an Alpha King and a pure omega are mated and crowned together, but a pure omega hasn’t been born in over a thousand years.

Luca is an Alpha-heir eagerly awaiting the choosing ceremony on his twenty-fifth birthday and the gifts granted by whichever omega he mates. His small pack is destitute due to the decisions of its ruling council, but being only an Alpha-heir, he has no authority to challenge them. Not until now—this moment he has waited a long time for.
Kit grew up as a street-rat, an unlicensed human who would never be more than a slave for whichever master owns him. Then one day he came across a young Alpha-heir, attacked and dying of poison, and found out their fates were suddenly entwined.

Luca needs to take over his pack and save his people. He cannot afford to be distracted. But when he meets Kit, he develops abilities indicating he is not just a pack Alpha, but the King his world has needed for a thousand years.

Is Kit really the cause of Luca’s newfound power, the true mate he needs? How is it possible when the young man isn’t even a werewolf, and as merely a human, a mating is not only forbidden, but for Kit, a sentence of death?

I honestly take no joy in writing bad reviews, especially of books that make me want to rant because I was so displeased with them. It’s hard to rein my hate in enough to express my concerns, without just sounding like a harridan. And The Alpha King is one such book.

Even if I overlook a lot of the lack of world-building by accepting this as part of an established Omegaverse, this book is full of plot holes and inconsistencies. Example: One character overhears part of a conversation and illogically jumps to the conclusion that the other has betrayed him. He then reacts badly, doing something public and cruel; we’re talking flat out abusive.

Now this trope is cliched and overused as it is. It is also shoehorned in, as the conclusion jumped to barely makes sense from the conversation heard. But the two characters are TELEPATHICALLY bonded. True, they can’t read each other’s minds, just talk and get a general sense of the others feelings. But it still shouldn’t be possible for one to a) not know the other loves him with his whole heart, b) miss the lack of betrayal in his partner, c) be so cruel to the person he supposedly loves above all else. It makes no sense. Additionally, as a reader I then had to contend with, every time the character said how he loves his partner and would never hurt him, I was forced to call BS, because he had already shown that he obviously would with very little (basically imagined) provocation. And his doormat of a mate would take him back without even an attempt at apology.

The most grievous issue for me however, was that the book is supposed to be about a werewolf who is to become the Alpha King, you know One King to Rule Them All, uniting the disparate packs and freeing the enslaved humans and creating peace with the rebel humans. But the vast majority of the book is dedicated to things like party planning, and jewelry design, and stupid jealousies and delivery of children that is only notable because they are coming from a man. All these big, heavy important issues and the book focuses on the minutia.

It managed to complete an actual story arc only because the characters coincidentally ran into and effortlessly charmed all the people they need to make it happen. It stretched incredulity far, far, far, far, far too far. And this without even touching the politics necessary to make some of the horribly treated, enslaved humans dedicate themselves loyally to the main character, who lets not forget is a werewolf, i.e., their oppressor. (This is ignored for the whole book.)

There is also the small issue of how did Luca, born and raised same as all the other werewolves, come to possess all his modern liberal morals? Why does he, and only he, seem to want to free the humans? Why does he, and only he, see women as equals? Why does he, and only he, see a problem with child labor?

I could go on, I had so many issues with this book: the way rape is volleyed about every time a villain shows up, the utter predictability of it, the cliches, etc. But I’ll stop. This book and I didn’t get along. Mechanically, the writing seemed fine (or as well as I could tell in a audiobook) and the narration by Joel Lesliewas ok. I, personally, didn’t care for some of the accents (Why were there so many?), but that’s a subjective thing.