Tag Archives: urban 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 Venom & Vanilla (The Venom Trilogy #1), by Shannon Mayer

I borrowed and audio copy of Shannon Mayer‘s Venom & Vanilla through Amazon Prime. (I’ve just realized I can do this for audio books!)

Description from Goodreads:

Successful Seattle baker Alena Budrene doesn’t want to die. But when she’s infected with a lethal virus spread by supernatural beings, her only chance for recovery is to make a deal with the devil—or in this case, a warlock.

Though he saves her life, it looks nothing like the life she once knew—and neither does she. Alena is a new breed of “Supe” no one has ever seen before. Even the supernatural police don’t know what she is. Now exiled to the northern side of the Wall, which marks the divide between humans and Supes, Alena is thrust into a dark and magical new world.

But just as she begins to adjust to all things supernatural, she realizes that her transformation is the least of her worries—and it was no accident. She was chosen…to be killed by a Greek hero trying to make a name for himself once more.

Alena was brought up to be subservient, preferring creating to fighting, and vanilla and honey to blood. But that was then. Now, to survive, she must stand up for herself—and this time she’s got fangs. But will she be ready to use them?

Review:

I was not impressed. Another reviewer, who is on Mayer’s street team, says the author calls this an urban fantasy parody. That makes the whole ridiculous thing a little easier to swallow. But it still just isn’t very good. Maybe it needed to be more or less of what it is. More parody, if a parody or less parody-like if a serious novel. I don’t know. Maybe an author who writes in the urban fantasy genre shouldn’t be writing parodies of it unless they highlight what it is in big neon letters. Either way, almost everything about the book irritated me. 

First and foremost the stupid non-cursing grated like sandpaper. Hearing an adult woman, who is supposed to be kicking ass and taking names call someone a donkey’s butthole instead of a jackass was not cute. It was super irritating. Similarly, wanna RUIN any sexual tension you have going on? Throw in a “He grabbed my bumm.”

Mostly though Alena was just too perfect. She wakes up with the perfect body. She’s loyal and sacrificing. She makes allies out of enemies with nothing but her sass. She defeats her foes with aplomb. She saves the day and gets the guy (if she wants him). And while all of that sounds fine, to have it all in one character is over-reaching and moves right into underdeveloped and unbelievable. 

All in all, this was a big old bust for me. No thank you.