Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Review of Monster of the Week (The Rules #2), by F.T. Lukens

Cover of Monster of the Week.

I received an advanced copy of F. T. LukensMonster of the Week through Netgalley. As it happens, I’ve also pre-ordered a paperback copy. But I won’t have that in hand until October.

Description from Goodreads:

Spring semester of Bridger Whitt’s senior year of high school is looking great. He has the perfect boyfriend, a stellar best friend, and an acceptance letter to college. He also has this incredible job as an assistant to Pavel Chudinov, an intermediary tasked with helping cryptids navigate the modern world. His days are filled with kisses, laughs, pixies, and the occasional unicorn. Life is awesome. But as graduation draws near, Bridger’s perfect life begins to unravel. Uncertainties about his future surface, his estranged dad shows up out of nowhere, and, perhaps worst of all, a monster-hunting television show arrives in town to investigate the series of strange events from last fall. The show’s intrepid host will not be deterred, and Bridger finds himself trapped in a game of cat and mouse that could very well put the myth world at risk. Again.

Review (with spoiler):

I generally adore this series. I absolutely loved the first book. I can’t say I loved this second one quite as much, but I did really enjoy it. I’ll start with what I like. There is a lot of love here. Bridger has a wonderfully supportive crew and the theme of Found Family is a wonderful one. The cast of regular characters are quirky and fun and effortlessly diverse. And I really appreciated that Lukens allowed Bridger to cut the toxic family member from his life, rather than force an artificial reconciliation. 

Things I didn’t like as much was the plot dependance on the ambitious, ‘evil professional woman.’ It’s more nuanced than that here, but it’s still a pretty shitty trope that I hate. I thought things got a little didactic at times. And the focus of the book was less on the action and antics of the cryptic, here in Monster of the Week, and more on Bridger’s school life. I preferred the former. 

All in all, I can’t wait for more of Lukens’ work. 

Review of Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1), by Kevin Hearne

cover image of Hounded, by Kevin Hearne

I borrowed a copy of Kevin Hearne‘s Hounded from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Review:

I’m in a Fans of Urban Fantasy Facebook group and this book has been raved about several times. So, I decided to give it a go. I must be an outlier of some sort, because I seriously did not like this book. 

The writing and editing is fine. But I thought the main character was an asshole—much of his humor striking me as arrogance—and I was constantly annoyed at the representation of women throughout. 

At page 110 I wrote a Goodreads update that said:

May I introduce the women of Hounded so far: 
Beautiful goddess who stands around naked and kisses Atticus. 
Beautiful goddess who sleeps with Atticus. 
Causally mentioned ex-lover. 
Neighbor, who if “50 years younger” would sleep with Atticus. 
Sexy bartender that flirts with Atticus. 
Sexy witch that wants a potion to make a man impotent & is a bitch.
That’s it. Anyone see a theme? I see a theme. blrg

By the end of the book my opinion hadn’t changed. But it isn’t just that all of the women are reduced to their hotness (or not)—their sexual availability (or not). Nor even that several of them try to seduce Atticus (because he’s apparently un-resistible). It was the constancy and the tone of it all. 

For example, in the mention of the ex-lover the only thing we’re told about her is that she had a ridiculous tattoo and that she stormed out after sex because of a stupid reason. Thus, the reader is to understand she was crazy and not see Atticus as callous because he was relieved she left after he was finished with her (except he kind of was). Every woman’s body was described, and even the dog was constantly talking about Genghis Khan’s harem and about getting some ‘French poodles.’ The freaking final joke of the book is that Atticus arranged for the house to be full of French poodles in heat and Oberon was disappointed that there were only five. Women were reduced to sexual objects (or those who weren’t sexually available, to villains) and jokes. Someone try and tell me old Mrs. MacDonagh was anything but a running gag!

Of course the representation of women isn’t all this book consists of. But the way they were constantly treated contaminated every other aspect of the story for me. Add that to a main character I found juvenile and inconsiderate (who give magical wedgies to EMTs who are trying to save their life?) and I had to finish this book by force of will alone. I won’t be continuing the series.

Review of Silver Moon, by Catherine Lundoff

I bought a paperback copy of Catherine Lundoff‘s Silver Moon.

Description from Goodreads:

Becca Thornton, divorced, middle-aged and trying to embrace a quiet life, discovers that there are still plenty of surprises to be had when her menopause kicks in with bonus lycanthropy. And she’s not the only one. The seemingly peaceful and dull town of Wolf’s Point has its own all-female werewolf pack and Becca has just become its newest member. But it’s not all protecting Wolf’s Point, midnight meetings at the Women’s Club and monthly runs through the woods. There are werewolf hunters in town and now they’ve got Becca and the Wolf’s Point Pack in their sights.

As if that wasn’t enough, Becca’s cute lesbian werewolf neighbor, Erin, is starting to haunt her dreams as well as her doorstep. What’s a newbie werewolf to do, between hot flashes, silver bullets and unexpected transformations? Can Becca overcome her fears and help the werewolves defeat their greatest enemy?

Review:

I insta-bought this when I read the blurb and saw women who turn into werewolves with the onset of menopause. Heck yeah, older women almost never get to be heroines in UF and you even more rarely see menopause discussed. I was 100% on board for this. Unfortunately, I liked the idea of it a lot more than the execution of it. I thought Becca spent far too long in her head ruminating about her situation, I spent a lot of the book bored, I wasn’t truly certain what happened in and after the climax, and I hated the subplot with the ex-husband because I felt like he won in the end. 

Worst of all however, is that I didn’t feel like the werewolves utilized their wolves. There was a group of hunters trying to kill them all, and the pack’s response was to run them out of town by having the town’s people refuse to serve them and to tamper with their van (and to be more vigilant in their patrols, but nothing seemed to come of this). Over and over the hunters threatened or took direct action to hurt the pack members and then Becca went to sleep and to work the next morning. I didn’t really feel any sense of urgency in that and I didn’t feel the pack was responding appropriately to the very real threat. Maybe the author was trying to emphasize that a pack of female wolves, older female wolves at that, wouldn’t leap to violence like men would (certainly there is a little of that with the Scott comparison) but I kept wanting to yell, ” Ladies, you have claws and fangs for a reason!”

I did think the romantic subplot was sweet, but again ~90% of it is in Becca’s head. All in all, I loved the idea of this book, but was left cold by the story actually told. Plus, there are quite a few editing errors in it. I’ll give Lundoff another shot, but I feel pretty “Meh” about this particular book.