Tag Archives: new adult

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Book Review: Dark Magic, by Raluca Narita

Raluca Narita‘s Dark Magic was over on Sadie’s Spotlight, and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book as part of the promotion packet.

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The Goddess of Death, the Grimm Brothers, and the Devil collide in a thrilling new paranormal fantasy series.

Primrose Titan is the Goddess of Death, an ancient deity who reaps the souls of the dead and rules the Underworld. All life ends with death, and in death, there is no happiness. Primrose knows this better than anyone, and her heavy responsibility has twisted her reality, purging her of all feelings for humans—or so she believes.

When the Demon King Lucifer escapes his prison in Hell and threatens chaos on the human world, Primrose must hunt him down. The High Court, a council of deities, is skeptical Primrose can handle Lucifer on her own and appoints the handsome yet icy Atlas Grimm, one of the fabled Grimm Brothers, to assist her. Strange, dark magic and supernatural creatures sent from the Devil himself stand in their way, along with political enemies acquired over the millennia.

my review
Honestly, I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. I think it has crackin’ world, magic, and plot ideas, but the actual plotting needs to be tightened up a lot. The book started off strong and ended with me wanting to know what happened next. But I was so bored in the middle that I considered DNFing and, though I wanted to know what happens, the twist at the end I saw coming. (I even have a pretty solid guess about who the mystery masked villain is. I’m pretty confident I’ll turn out to be right.) The combination of having muscled through the middle on little more than determination and then hitting a predictable, cliffhanger ending was a pretty weak ending, in my opinion.

I did like Rose, though some of her characterizations made no sense to me. The whole insistence on stilettos felt both out of place and out of character (and cliched). The fact that she is one of the oldest goddesses alive but reads like a stroppy, ill-informed teenager felt like infantilization. Her abilities felt inconsistent (unbeatable at some times and easily overcome at others), and there is just a general sense of the deities (all of them) who hold such contempt for humans being too HUMAN.

Add to all of that a fuzzy sense of time and history, two male leads—neither of which the reader gets to know well enough to be more than cardboard cut-outs—and some truly odd phrasing in the writing (that is otherwise pretty clean) and you have a bit of a fizzle read. However, I believe this is the author’s first book, and there is a solid base to improve on. She has obvious talent.

dark magic cover photoI always hate to say this, but if this book had been given to a ruthless developmental editor (not a copy editor, but one to work with Narita on tightening the plot and cutting out some of the chaff and cliched aspects), this could have been so much better than it is. I think that’s what bothers me. This is so close to being so good and does itself a disservice by not quite getting there (at least in my opinion). All in all, I’ll say it was OK, not bad, but it doesn’t live up to its awesome cover.


Other Reviews:

Stephanie’s Book Reviews: Dark Magic

{Review} Dark Magic by Raluca Narita

 

 

 

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Book Review: Reject Me, by Kel Carpenter & Aurelia Jane

In my other incarnation as Sadie of Sadie’s Spotlight, I received a free copy of Kel Carpenter and Aurelia Jane‘s Reject Me.

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“Markus Del Reyes, I reject you.”
He left me no choice.

I refuse to spend the rest of my life with my childhood bully for a mate. I may be a cursed shifter, incapable of shifting—but I wasn’t desperate.

Not till the Alpha Supreme cast me out of the House of Fire and Fluorite for rejecting his son.

Now I’m packless.
Homeless.
No longer under the protection of my House.

Until the dark vampire king of Blood and Beryl turns his sights on me.

In return for protection from my former House, I have to join his.
But nothing ever comes for free.

He wants something from me, and it’s not my allegiance.

It’s the only way I can survive, but at what cost?

I’ve lost everything for doing what I know is right, but the greatest danger I ever faced was never losing my life … it was opening my cursed heart.

my review

I don’t usually use star ratings on the blog. But sometimes they are helpful in making a point. If I were going to rate it, I would say that this barely made three stars for me. Let me emphasize the for me part because although I have objective complaints, they mostly didn’t work for me for subjective reasons. What I mean is that the complaints I have may not be deal breakers for other people because they aren’t uncommon.

Objectively, the book is way, way, way too long. The plot here did not need anywhere near 532 pages to tell!

Objectively, this book doesn’t know if it wants to be YA or NA. New adult books can be hard to predict going in. Get one on the older end, and it can feel mostly adult; get one on the younger end, and it basically feels like young adult fiction. The MFC here is 24 (the MMC is 300+), but the writing and plotting feel very YA. This would be fine, except the book also has explicit sex in it. And the combination of a YA plot and prose paired with explicit sex is jarring and feels inconsistent.

Objectively, the plot is really predictable and formulaic. This book feels like nothing more than recycled material. We have all seen every single aspect of this story before—the character reject me phototypes, the plot, the third-act miscommunication drama, the betrayer, and the villain all recycled. Here’s the thing about recycled material though (which brings me back to my first point), we read such books because a lot of us like them. This one just didn’t manage to do it for me.

The writing is perfectly readable. The cover is gorgeous, and the world this sets up for the rest of the series looks interesting.


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Book Review: The Shadow Order, by J.S. Malcom

Somewhere around the internet, I picked up an Audible code for a copy of J.S. Malcom‘s The Shadow Order.

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Either I defeat the monster or I become the monster.

As if being locked up in the crazy house wasn’t bad enough, I wake up to discover that the person I trust most in the world just morphed into a bloodthirsty monster. My only chance for escape comes in the form of two women calling out from within a shimmering tunnel. So, it’s either stick around and get murdered or jump through some kind of portal.

I take the option that doesn’t involve dying and find myself ushered into an ancient society of witches. I’m given a choice: I can either go it alone and take my chances or join their magical training program. The problem being I didn’t even know I had magic, never mind the kind that can open a doorway between realms. But that’s exactly why I’m being hunted by a Fae demon looking to settle an old score. Now, I either find a way to defeat him or he’ll be using my magic to bring in the rest of his kind. If that happens, it won’t only mean the end for the world of witches. It’ll mean the end of the world.

my review

This is very clearly a spin-off of something else. Because the reader is just as clearly expected to know some of the characters and the world. Plus, there comes a point where the story, from, what I assume is the previous books, is reported from one character to another. I did not know it is a spin-off.

I have not read the previous series. I did not know the characters. I did not know the world. That means I spent almost 9 hours listening to a story about people I didn’t know or care about in a world that had no limits or explanations. Further, I couldn’t even tell you with any certainty if Amaya or Cassie was supposed to be the main character!

the shadow order photoIt’s probably unnecessary to now say that this was a 100% flop for me. I think that even if I had read the previous series, I would have given this, at best, a 3-star rating. It’s just too based on a confused girl accidentally doing things and people reacting to it. Nothing felt as if it was moving toward any end-point. The ‘training’ was unbelievable, and…again…random. Which just makes the whole Shadow Order a joke. I do not think I would have enjoyed it, even if I hadn’t been uninvested. Amy Hall did a fine job with the narration.


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