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Book Review: Knightfall, by Ann Denton

I agreed to be part of Love Book Tours‘ blog tour for Ann Denton‘s Knightfall. I was sent a copy of the book for review. The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

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Want to kill my sister? You’ll have to go through me first.

I will stop you. Even if it means I have to go back to the palace. Even if it means I have to take back the crown I left behind. Even if it means I have to face the four men I left at the altar. I will take on them and their anger. I will take on anything to save Avia.

Because the kingdom needs her.

The kingdom needs a good queen.

Not a cursed one. Not me.

If I can’t save her, then the kingdom will fall. Because I can’t rule.

I’m a walking death sentence for anyone who gets too close…

my review

This is the third Ann Denton book I’ve read this year (the others being Defiant and Defiled). And what I’ve learned (at least of the three I’ve read) is that I like her writing. I appreciate the emotionally conflicted positions she puts characters in and, even the plots of her books. But I don’t like her sex scenes. They’re hot, sure, but there is also always a level of violence and contempt toward the female participant (even as the men love and lust for her) that sets my teeth on edge.

Luckily, while there is a lot of sexual teasing going on in Knightfall, there is surprisingly little sex. Even the author calls it a medium burn. And if I’m willing to overlook several fairly glaring plot-holes and the occasional editing hiccup, I can say I enjoyed the book. I thought it was kind of gleefully its own sparkling monstrosity. While the plotholes often kept me from truly sinking into the narrative (I was too often left think but….), I just as often found myself tickled pink by the characters. So, on balance. I’m looking forward to book two.

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Other Reviews:

Knightfall by Ann Denton – A Book review

Check out the rest of the tour:

knightfall tour dates

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Book Review: Chasing the Darkness, by Cassie Sanchez

I’m participating in Pump Up You Books‘ tour for Cassie Sanchez‘s Chasing the Darkness and accepted a copy for review. The book was also promoed with an Author Interview over on Sadie’s Spotlight.
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Pain is inescapable. Suffering is a choice.

Azrael, the Angel of Death, knows pain. The deaths of his mother and sister, as well as his harsh experiences in the Watch Guard at age twelve, have brutally shaped him into the most feared assassin in all of Pandaren. Azrael’s role as a Hunter requires him to search for those with magic, called Spectrals, which he is happy to do. Hunting allows him to pursue his true goal—exacting revenge on the Fire Spectral who altered the course of his life.

Azrael’s obsession with revenge and power leads him to undergo an experimental procedure that gives him magic, but when this procedure has unexpected and dangerous side effects, he becomes a liability to the Hunters and the Watch Guard. Rescued by the people he has sworn to eliminate, Azrael finds himself questioning everything he once believed as years of secrets and lies are exposed. His very nature is challenged as he battles unfamiliar emotions and navigates relationships that contradict the heart of a killer.

Can the Angel of Death have a conscience? Can Azrael?

Chasing the Darkness has several positive traits—the morals and/or themes of not being defined by your past, it’s never too late to change for the better, the strength of love and loyalty, etc. Plus, the mantra of “Pain is inescapable. Suffering is a choice.” is a great tagline.

However, I found the storytelling inelegant on several fronts. The villain is a caricature, there are several inconsistencies in behavior that Sanchez glosses over, the “assassins” are really just an elite unit of soldiers who function as soldiers (no actual assassinations occur), the love is practically instant, and it is brought up so often it clutters the narrative.

Despite all that, it is a compelling story that I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading. If I regularly used ratings here on the blog, I’d give it 3 stars.

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Other Reviews:

Ashley’s Bookshelf: Chasing Darkness


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Book Review: Monster Midwife, by Lumen Reese

I accepted a copy of Lumen Reese‘s Monster Midwife for review as part of the Love Books book tour. It was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight.

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Alanna Rhee believes that all mothers deserve to deliver safely, even the monsters of the world. As a human enslaved to the fairies of Aerin, she made a pact with the king when she was just a child. She signed in blood. After studying midwifery, and for ten years attending to the most dangerous births of other magical creatures -earning wealth and prestige for the kingdom- she would win her freedom. With three years left to serve, multiple fairy kingdoms are on the brink of war. Queen Esmera of the Westlands is hated, feared, and called a ‘classless woman’. Worse still, she carries a child with no father, conceived from a deal with an ‘Old God’. Not knowing what deformities the baby may show, only the most experienced midwife in the land will do.

Alanna is trusted by all. She is asked to attend to Esmera. She is also asked not to intervene in the difficult birth, and by her inaction, to cause death. Alanna must decide if even her freedom is worth the horror of allowing a woman to die in her most vulnerable moment.

When I saw Monster Midwife, I had to pick it up. You see, my mom is a midwife. And while that doesn’t make me an expert by association or anything, it does mean that I grew up surrounded by midwifery, pregnancy, and birthing. So, I was curious how it would play out among the supernaturals.

Having finished it now, I find that I have very middle of the road feelings about the book. On one hand, I really like Alanna. I liked her dedication to women and children. I liked the complexity of her situation—a slave, more privileged than most, and painfully aware of it, but still a slave. I liked the romantic interest and I thought the writing readable and the story engaging.

On the other hand, I found the prince’s shift in demeanor too dramatic. Sure, abusers are often charismatic, but I feel like Alanna was too smart to have missed the signs for so long if he was truly so vile underneath. And…I’m not even sure how to phrase this second point (especially without spoilers)…while I liked Alanna and it was nice to see the commoner (socially less than a commoner, actually, a slave) get to be center stage, instead of the royals, Queen Esmera and her story feels like it would have been the more interesting one. Alanna helped Esmere facilitate the delivery of her god’s child, sure. But Esmere went and sought out a god, made a deal to birth a societally changing demi-god. She showed agency, determination and grit. It feels odd to focus on Alanna and her comparatively small drama when that big one is sitting IN THE BACKGROUND.

Despite that, I enjoyed Monster Midwife and would happily read more of Reese’s writing.

Monster Midwife Schedule

Other Reviews:

Book Reviews by Ford & Sky: Review Monster Midwife