I won an audio copy of A Drop of Magic, by L.R. Braden.
Description from Goodreads:
The war isn’t over . . .
With the world clinging to a fragile peace forced on the Fae by humanity after the Faerie Wars, metalsmith Alex Blackwood is plunged into the world of the half-fae who traffick in illegal magical artifacts. Her best friend’s murder and his cryptic last message place her in the crosshairs of a scheme to reignite the decade-old war between humans and fae.
Worse, violent attacks against her and the arrival of a fae knight on a mission force Alex to face a devastating revelation of who and what she is. To catch a killer, retrieve a dangerous artifact, and stop a war, Alex will have to accept that she’s an unregistered fae “halfer” with a unique magical talent—a talent that would change everything she believes about her past, her art, and her future.
Her world is crumbling around her, and Alex will have to decide who to trust if she and the world are going to survive.
I thought this was ok, not great, but not bad either. I liked the main character, but I had issues with most of the side characters. The book passes the Bechdel test (it does feature at least two women who do talk to each other about something other than a man), but not by much and honestly, it didn’t feel like it should. It felt very much like all the important side characters were male. In fact, it started to feel like a reverse harem, though there is no sex and the only whisper of romance comes in the last pages. (It could have been one of several male characters and worked just as well, so I can say it wasn’t impactful to the story.) Actually, very little in the book is impactful. I think that’s why I’ve finished it with a mental shrug more than anything else. I won’t remember it next week.
The writing was fine, though I think there were a few editing mistakes. It’s hard to tell with an audiobook, but I’m fairly sure it said ‘we’ll find out who killed your father,’ at one point when they were investigating the death of her friend. All in all, I don’t think I’ll be rushing to continue the series, but I didn’t hate it either.
I pre-ordered a copy of Kit Rocha‘s Deal with the Devil.
Description from Goodreads:
Nina is an information broker with a mission–she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.
Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive.
They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process…
Or they could do the impossible: team up.
This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance.
I really quite enjoyed this. I liked the characters, the diversity, the world, the humor, and the plot (though the twists at the end were easily guessable). I liked that you get a little of everyone’s POV, without head-hopping and that, while there is one main couple, there are also hints of side couples to come. My only real complaint is that, for a series called Mercenary Librarians, books/libraries/librarians play essentially no role. Maybe they will in future books, but they don’t here and I was super disappointed by that. All in all, however, I can’t wait for more.
I received an ARC copy of Wild Sky, by Zaya Feli, through A Novel Take.
Description from Goodreads:
Tauran Darrica has been retired from the Valreus Sky Guard for four years following the Battle of the Broken Wings that resulted in the death of his dragon. Now, all Tauran wants to do is spend his days forgetting the past and gambling his way to an unsteady income.
So when his old general from the Sky Guard hunts Tauran down to request his help with staving off the increasingly aggressive wild dragon population, Tauran refuses. But a fire ruins his rented room and leaves him without a place to stay, and Tauran finds himself on the road to Valreus, after all.
Tauran is determined to stay as far away from dragons as he can get, but a starry-eyed young man from Sharoani, land of the wild dragons, might just ruin his plans.
Kalai Ro-Ani has spent his life watching the stars, knowing he could never reach them. With his wild dragon Arrow, he sets out for the city of Valreus in the hope of building himself a better future than he could have stuck at the foot of the Kel Visal dragon temples.
But nobody told Kalai that only the Sky Guard is allowed to own dragons, so when Arrow kills a guard in Kalai’s defense, it looks like his adventure might be over before it can begin. But a chance encounter at the old Valreus archive offers Kalai the future he’d been hoping for. In the span of a single day, he has a home, a job, and a purpose.
In Valreus, something much bigger falls into his lap – along with a tall and striking Valrean man with a rather strange disposition.
I generally enjoyed this a lot. I thought the pacing was a little inconsistent, making it feel overly long at times, the plot progression depended on too many coincidences, and that the two main characters were a little too perfect, especially in their dealing with one another. However, outside of that, I loved the dragons; thought the plot engaging, liked the characters and world, and appreciated the slow-burn romance. I’d be more than happy to read more books by Feli, be it in this series or another.