Tag Archives: Fae

Review of A Drop of Magic (The Magicsmith, #1), by L.R. Braden

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.

Review:

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.

Review of Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic, by Emma Hamm

Last week I listened to Emma Hamm‘s The Faceless Woman and so enjoyed it that I went in search of the beginning of the series and spent this weekend listening to Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic.

Description:

Once upon a time…

A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne.

Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools.

With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.

This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart.

Review:

Since Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic form a duology, neither standing alone, I’m going to write a single review encompassing both. But one of the main takeaway potential readers should understand is this point that they need both books for a complete story.

I really enjoyed this, both the story and the narration. I really like that Hamm’s fae are old school scary fae, her female characters are strong and full of agency, and her male ones aren’t afraid to show need. I especially appreciated that it was Sorcha who took the lead in most sexual situations.

My only complaint here is how very gendered everything is. While I appreciate that Hamm’s goal was to emphasize that both a king and a queen are necessary, neither an accouterment to the other. (A pleasant change from most stories that center a king and make the queen little more than an accessory or political pawn.) But the book leans hard into women being soft and kind and caring and men being violent, rough and in need of tempering. True, Sorcha had to go against that in the course of the story but it was still a strong theme in the book. (As was how much bigger he was than her, another classic gendering technique.)

All in all however, I can’t wait to dive into more of Hamm’s writing and Waring’s narration.

Review of Throne of Winter: The Dark Court, by Sophie Davis

I received a free audible code of Throne of Winter, by Sophie Davis.

Description from Goodreads:

She’s the Fire Fae of Legend. 
He’s the Warlock Heir to the Throne of Winter.  
Maybrie Hawkins is the badass who dominates the Dark Court’s fight pits where fae and shifters battle for powers. The royals chant her name, like she’s a goddess instead of a lowly entertainer. 
Like all Casters, Kai needs the shared powers of a fae to do more than basic magic on his own. The strongest bonds are forged via love, and it’s time for him to find a match. 

His sights are set on her. 
She’s not impressed.  
Maybrie doesn’t have time to be courted by the Prince of Winter. A rebellion is brewing, an uprising against the Casters. The dome of the Dark Court is the only thing protecting them from the frozen wasteland beyond, but the fae are done pandering to the Magicals in exchange for safety. 
And Brie doesn’t pander to anyone. 
Can Kai keep up?

Review:

I think I just wasn’t the right reader for this book. It’s mechanically fine and the narrator did a good job and I even liked the characters a lot (even Kai). However, I never could get over the fact that Maybrie and her people are enslaved by Kai and his people. Sure, Kai was hoping to give the fae more rights when he became king, but they didn’t have them yet and ‘more rights’ isn’t free. So, no matter how the author dressed it up (and she did), this is a romance between a woman who has been stolen from her people and enslaved by another and a member of the race who is enslaving her (the Prince of those people even). That’s a big FAT nope for me. 

Also, the book is very Earth-like, with characters driving cars, wearing jeans, talking on cell phones, humans are even mentioned at one point. However, it’s either not Earth or a post-apocalyptic Earth, but none of the how or why of this is addressed. I felt that was a big detraction. I wondered about it the whole book. Similarly, we were introduced to Maybrie’s two best friends in the first chapter, but they never reemerge. I wondered what happened to them. It felt like another loose end. 

All in all, not a bad New Adult book. But one that strayed into my personal No-Go Territory.