Review of The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1), by K.D. Edwards

I bought a copy of The Las Sun, by K.D. Edwards.

Description from Goodreads:

Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.

With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court. 

In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past? 

Review:

Finally! This week I’ve DNFed two book and given two others 2 star ratings. At last, I found a winner. I loved the wit and banter in this book. I adored the platonic love between Brand and Rune. I thought Quinn was adorable. There wasn’t much to the mystery, but there was enough. When I finished this I immediately went to Amazon to try and buy the sequel and was disappointed to find it’s not out yet. 

I do have a bit of a trigger warning though. Rune has a traumatic rape in his past and it plays a big part in the book. There are no extended or graphic rape scenes, just a few flashbacks. But it’s present enough in the book that I honestly don’t think I’d have been able to finish it if Rune had been a heroine, instead of a hero. I don’t mean to suggest any sort of hierarchy of victimhood. A male being rapes is just as bad as a female, of course. But as a woman, I’m far more triggered by the closer relate-ability of a female character. And it would be a shame to have missed this book because of it. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Review of Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1), by Mary Robinette Kowal

I borrowed an audio copy of Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey through my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men. 

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right–and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

Review:

This is the third book in a row that I’ve finished disappointed in. I found it uninspiring. Yes, I see all the Jane Austen parallels. But they didn’t endear the book to me. I thought Jane was a bit of a doormat. She seemed smart, so I was bothered that she’d kept forgiving her sister Melody. The sister who was basically just jealous and manipulative. 

The fortune hunter aspect was blatantly obvious. Again, Jane was smart. How was I really to believe she didn’t see the situation for exactly what it was?

A whole presumed romance was set up and then a marriage proposal came from someone the reader hadn’t been given to feel invested in. (Was that meant to be a twist? It just felt hollow.) Basically, despite being told Jane’s feelings for one man for an entire book, the fact that another had feelings for her was supposed to be enough to make it magical. Bah. Boring. 

The actual magic in the book was pointless. It would have made more sense for them to simply be artist, painters maybe. It was just clutter in the plot. 

Lastly, I really wish the author hadn’t chosen to do the audio version herself. She did a fine job in the narration sections, but lord the dialogue was stiff. It was painful combination of being written without contractions and the stilted way Kowal read it. I almost gave up several times.

Review of Midnight’s Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1), by Karen Chance

I borrowed an audio copy of Karen Chance‘s MIdnight’s Daughter through Hoopla and my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir-half human, half vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. So far Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing.

Now Dory’s vampire father has come back into her life. Her Uncle Dracula (yes, the Dracula), infamous even among vampires for his cruelty and murderous ways, has escaped his prison. And her father wants Dory to work with gorgeous master vampire Louis-Cesare to put him back there.

Vampires and dhampirs are mortal enemies, and Dory prefers to work alone. But Dracula is the only thing on Earth that truly scares her, so when Dory has to go up against him, she’ll take all the help she can get… 

Review:

I’ve got to be honest and say I didn’t love this. It felt all over the place, Dory randomly running from one fight to the next and meeting characters who play no further role in the book. Ironically, I also felt like there were fights we should have seen (because they were more relevant to the plot) and we were only told she blacked out and woke up having killed everyone. In the end, she didn’t even fight Dracula, as the blurb suggests, but some other random villain, while someone else took Drac. (Actually that’s a perfect example of the book, the focus slipping off somewhere else with the important stuff happening in the background.)

Further, the way the book set up the evil family and then tried to redeem them didn’t work for me and I was bitter that the whole thing basically came down to an “Oops sorry.” 

I did appreciate that men were sexualized and victimized. I know that seems an odd thing to praise, but usually it’s ONLY WOMEN who get this treatment and it was nice to see a little parity. And I can also imagine some of the problems of this book being because it’s the first in a series and had to set everything else up. Despite not liking it much, I might be willing to give book two a chance to see if the things that annoyed me so much don’t carry over.

I did think Joyce Bean did a fine job with the narration.