Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of Brightblade (The Morgan Detective Agency #1), by Michael Suttkus & C. T. Phipps

I received a free audible code for a copy of Brightblade, by Michael Suttkus and C.T. Phipps.

Description from Goodreads:

Psychic. Superhero. Spy. Detective. Bounty Hunter. Ashley Morgan has been many things and failed at all of them. The twenty-eight-year old has her whole life ahead of her but has already resigned herself to working a dead end job bringing in the debt-ridden supernatural criminals of New Detroit. A chance encounter with the vampire sheriff reveals a secret that motivates her to change her life forever: her long-missing brother Arthur is alive (in a manner of speaking). 

Ashley sets out on a quest to not only find him but also deal with old lovers, treacherous criminals, a magic sword, and a quest to raise an ancient vampire from the dead. 

Review:

I thought this was ok, but over the top. I honestly think some readers will love it. It’s chocked full of pop culture, geek references. So, anyone who really loves that will love this book. But, while I appreciate a little geekery in my books, there was just too much for me. Similarly, I think there was too much crammed into this plot—secret psychic spy schools, gods, angelic swords, lost siblings, sorcery, men in black, strippers/prostitutes, monsters, weres, vampires, etc. etc. etc. I don’t feel like it allowed any aspect of the plot to develop fully.

I did like the characters and I loved that there was some casual queerness, racial diversity, a hero will autism, and a mild exploration of personal bias/racism (in regards to vampires, but I felt that was just a proxy).

All in all, not bad, but better suited to a different, maybe younger (though not too young, re strippers/prostitutes referenced above), reader.

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.

Review of Remnants of Ash and Scorched Uprising, by C.k. Dawn

I received audio codes for Remnants of Ash and Scorched Uprising (Reign of Fay, #1&2), by C.K. Dawn.

Description from Goodreads:

Mere mortal. Fae hunter. Oh, and the apocalypse? Yeah, that happened!  

She’s an unstoppable human. He’s an immovable beast. But the Fae have scorched the earth, thrusting it into unending darkness, and humans are next… 

Through her research, University of Washington student Chloe Etain stumbled into an ancient war between the Light and Dark Fae that has culminated in her world being thrown into pre-industrial chaos. Dark Fae scum now roam free, feeding on unsuspecting humans. Chloe knows the truth though and, possibly, how to stop it. But as a mere mortal, what can she do? 

That’s when the fates step in. Bram Tice, a fae hunting his own kind, vows to help Chloe. But he won’t say which Court demands his allegiance. Together, they set out to right the imbalance plaguing her world and save humanity before they turn into nothing more than remnants of ash. 

I’m only going to write one review for these two books. The reason is that I feel this is a serial, not a series and, and as such, both books contain one single story that doesn’t break. I don’t actually understand why it’s broken in two. Neither book is so long as to prohibit their remaining as one. I can only imagine the same can be said for the rest of the series. I got no conclusions in either of these two, so I doubt I’d get one in the next or the next, etc.

There was a time I felt like I was making this point, about the difference between a serial and a series, every day. I even wrote a ranty blog post about it. But the trend finally died down and I haven’t had to in a while. I guess all those same books are making it to audio now. Because this is the second time in a week I’ve written a review for a ‘series’ that is actually a serial in my opinion.

So, on to the actual review. I don’t want to be mean, but I don’t think this was particularly good. I think the author probably had a good idea, but didn’t quite manage to get it onto paper. The hero and heroine meet in the prologue (meet and nothing more) and then when all hell breaks loose in chapter one (some time in the future) they are meant to already be friends and at least one is in love. The story moves from there. HOWEVER, the reader has been left out of all of it. Thus, I didn’t feel Bram’s affection for Chloe at all. How could I? We don’t see any of it prior to him basically telling her he loves her. NONE. In fact, I initially thought they were still virtual strangers.

We also don’t see any of the research Chloe, Bram and the professor have been doing to understand the Scorch. So, when it happens right out of the gate, the reader is clueless and basically unconcerned. And Chloe seems to know things she shouldn’t, because I didn’t know what she’d been researching. So, how could she recognize a royal fay [fae] on sight? No idea.

Then there is the rather large and abrupt shift in Chloe’s personality that happens at roughly 50% into the first book. She goes from teary and afraid to kick-butt superhero in a split second (in a seriously stupid move too). Though she does remain a too perfect Mary Sue throughout, as well as too good at everything, mastering magic and weaponry in an instant, without effort.

Then there is the fact that I think the author tried to get too much in. There are fae (high, low and royal), the four horseman of the apocalypse, witches, werewolves and vampires. And none of it given any real world building to understand it all.

The narrator did a fine job, except that it’s based in Seattle. Chloe started out sounding perfectly American. But about halfway through the fist book she turned English, apparently. Then in book two, she’s American again.

All in all, this was not a winner for me. Mechanically the writing is fine but the story feels barely sketched out.