Tag Archives: magic

Review of Spectred Isle (Green Men #1) by K. J. Charles

I received a copy of K. J. CharlesSpectred Isle from the author.

Description from Goodreads:
Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.

Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.

Honestly, I didn’t love it. I liked it. Charles’ quality is still there and she simply does historical so well. But I really felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of this story. Maybe it’s because I’ve not read The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, which is set in the same world, but this isn’t supposed to be a sequel to. Maybe it’s because Saul and Randolph each have so much history that we’re told about, but don’t engage in. I don’t know, but I never ever felt connected to them or the side characters. I liked the story, was invested in the mystery, but it’s just another book I’ve read, not something that will stick with me, like most of Charles books are.

Review of Ink and Shadows, by Rhys Ford

I borrowed a copy of Rhys Ford‘s Ink and Shadows from Hoopla, through my local library. I’m on vacation at the moment and I read this in the car while driving from home in Missouri, to visit family in Tennessee. (Obviously, I was in the passenger seat, so while riding to Tennessee.)

Description from Goodreads:
Kismet Andreas lives in fear of the shadows.

For the young tattoo artist, the shadows hold more than darkness. He is certain of his insanity because the dark holds creatures and crawling things only he can see—monsters who hunt out the weak to eat their minds and souls, leaving behind only empty husks and despair.

And if there’s one thing Kismet fears more than being hunted—it’s the madness left in its wake.

The shadowy Veil is Mal’s home. As Pestilence, he is the youngest—and most inexperienced—of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, immortal manifestations resurrected to serve—and cull—mankind. Invisible to all but the dead and insane, the Four exist between the Veil and the mortal world, bound to their nearly eternal fate. Feared by other immortals, the Horsemen live in near solitude but Mal longs to know more than Death, War and Famine.

Mal longs to be… more human. To interact with someone other than lunatics or the deceased.

When Kismet rescues Mal from a shadowy attack, Pestilence is suddenly thrust into a vicious war—where mankind is the prize, and the only one who has faith in Mal is the human the other Horsemen believe is destined to die.

Would someone tell who the main character of this book was? I’ve finished it and still can’t decide. Similarly, what was the main plot? The romance between Death and Ari, the magus’ attempt at immortality with a bunch of characters that were little more than names, the budding friendship between Kismet and Mal? I don’t know. This book has lots of interesting elements, but no consistent thread. There’s lots of fighting, but not enough tying together what they are fighting for. It had interesting characters, but you never really get to know them. I found this book almost fun, but ultimately flat and disappointing. The writing itself was just fine, except for the head hopping, which was frankly horrible. I finished this feeling pretty so-so about the whole thing. I’m finding Ford to be a very hit-or-miss author for me. Some of their books I love and the rest fall on their face.

Review of Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10), by Patricia Briggs

I borrowed Silence Fallen, by Patricia Briggs, from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe… 
Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Sloppy. I really hope that this isn’t ANOTHER series that’s become so popular that the author has become complacent about it.

I disliked the little, sarcastic comments by Mercy at the start of each chapter. I saw no reason for the story to be told out of chronological order, requiring these comments to break the third wall to explain where they fall in relation to one another. In fact, if seemed to me as if Briggs just couldn’t be bothered to clean her timeline up. I found it jarring that the whole book, except one or two small snippets were from either Mercy or Adam’s POV. Those sections felt out of place and lazy. And honestly, I just wasn’t all that invested in the story as a whole. We didn’t get to see much of the pack. Adam and Mercy weren’t together, so we didn’t get any of their byplay and it never settled into anything truly engaging, compared to past books in the series.

It’s still better than a lot of urban fantasy on the market. But no where near as good as early Mercy Thompson books.