Tag Archives: Fae

the size of the moon banner (from author FB)

Book Review: The Size of the Moon, by E.J. Michaels

the size of the moon cover

I won an e-copy of The Size of the Moon, by E.J. Michaels, through Goodreads.

about the book

Marcus used to ignore the things that went bump in the night. It cost him dearly. Now he helps Autumn track down these dark creatures, letting her do all the destroying…until the high-riser elves threaten his son.

Autumn is a warrior living in a time when warriors aren’t needed, except to dispatch the occasional strig – a deadly creature that feeds off the living. Part elf and part human, she’s been seemingly content for hundreds of years. Things change when she discovers she has deep affection for Marcus…a human. And now his life is threatened by the rogue elf that destroyed her family.

Vowing revenge, Autumn once again takes up the sword to hunt her old prey. Though the elves despise humans, they fear Autumn and unleash a fearsome hoard of predators to stop her. Yet the elves are about to discover how dangerous an enemy Marcus can be. He’s prepared to go through man, beast and elf to keep from losing those he loves again…regardless of the consequences.

 my review

I have so many thought about this book, it’s difficult to synthesize them into something cogent. But the one in the absolute forefront is, “Thank freakin’ god, I’m finally finished!” This book is WAY too long. I mean like 2, if not 3 hundred pages longer than it should be.

After that is to wonder if, despite Michael’s author picture, if the book wasn’t really written by a 15-year-old boy—full of hormones, and fatally obsessed with guns and boobs. No? Are you certain? It sure felt like it. I think half the book is dedicated to describing different aspects of the female body—what it looks like, what it’s wearing (miniskirts were very popular), how it’s walking or standing or kissing or pressing its boobs against someone…again. It wasn’t always about sex, but the female anatomy was practically a character on its own. And every single one of those female characters played to the exact same note. They all sounded the same, acted the same, dressed the same (again, the miniskirts), etc. Every single one, from the teenage human ingenue trying to seduce the hero to the 4,000-year-old warrior elf who successfully seduces him, were 100% interchangeable!

And I’d just gripe that Michaels simply can’t write women, but his male characters are all cardboard cutouts too. Granted, he wasn’t so determined they ALL throw themselves at the hero as the women, but they weren’t exactly paragons of depth themselves. The hero especially. I basically hated the hero.

Here’s the thing, he was a likeable fellow, loyal and brave and theoretically badass. So, it wasn’t really him I hated. But it felt so much like Michaels couldn’t imagine anyone but the white, American Male as the hero that he convoluted the whole plot (set in Romania, among Romanians) to center on the least interesting person in the book. And I know some are reading this like, “what does him being a white American male have to do with anything?” I just mean that it’s so often the default, and this book feels very much like it is focused on The Default because it’s the default, not because of any considered reason.

At one point the hero leaves everyone he cares about behind to go off and fight by himself, thinking “this is my war.” I thought it a great parallel to my experience reading the book. Because it very clearly wasn’t his war. It was a war that started before he was born and would likely continue after his blip of a human life ended. And, while that could have been a really interesting theme to explore (American men’s tendency to assume and act as if everything proximate to them centers around them), that wasn’t the case. It was just Michaels forcibly centering the book on the American man, when the book felt like it would have been better served to focus on…hell, almost any of the other characters, but especially the 4,000-yearold warrior elf. Instead, she was supposed to be the most badass, dangerous elf in existence and Michaels immediately reduced her to a simpering, injured, sex-kitten in need of oh-so-important male protection on meeting the main character. Yeah, miss me with that caca.

Which brings me to a simple irritant. If you want your characters to cuss, then let them cuss. I got so tired of all the foreign words whenever a character cursed. I have no idea if it was an actual language or a made up one, but I hated it. It made the already stilted and barely tolerable dialogue even worse. That language was also really inconsistent. Sometimes the elves/dwarfs/etc talked in an old-fashioned manner and didn’t understand sarcasm or a joke, and other times they spoke like modern teenagers.

Speaking of inconsistencies, Michaels had a habit of setting up dictates of the world (elves can only have one child each, mating is forever, whatever) and then breaking them. It made the world, and thus the plot hinging, on it untrustworthy.

All in all, while the ideas in this book aren’t bad ones, it’s not a good read. It’s an especially poor read for any woman even remotely perceptive to the treatment of female characters or gender roles in fantasy. Perhaps Michaels thought giving women swords and telling us they are skilled would offset the cliched treatment, I don’t know. I’ll grant that Michaels allows no on-page rape (though it’s insinuated that it happened in the past), there are some humorous moments (though not usually the passages played for a laugh, those were usually just too ridiculous to be amusing), and the book does have an awesome cover.

Book Review: Shadow King, by Susan K. Hamilton

shadow kingA few weeks back, I (or rather my Sadie’s Spotlight persona) had an Amazon credit that I decided to spend on books written by Twitter followers. Shadow King, by Susan K. Hamilton, was one of those books.

It’s likely to be the last book I read in 2020. There’s a chance I might finish one more before the new year, but not a great one.

about the book

Ambition. Betrayal. Revenge.

Centuries ago, the Faerie Realm was decimated by a vile and corrupt spell. To survive, the different faerie races—led by the Fae—escaped to the Human Realm where they’ve lived ever since.

As the Fae Patriarch of Boston’s criminal underworld, Aohdan Collins enjoys his playboy lifestyle while he works from the shadows to expand his growing empire, until one night when he shares a shot of whiskey with the lovely Seireadan Moore…

A Fae Seer, Seireadan is haunted by a vision of the Fae responsible for destroying Faerie and murdering her family. Common sense tells her to stay away from Aohdan, but his magnetism and charm are irresistible.As their passionate affair intensifies, Seireadan is pulled into the center of the underworld. And while her heart is bound to Aohdan, she cannot let go of her lifelong quest to hunt down the Fae who haunts her visions… especially when she realizes Aohdan might be the key to helping her find him.

But is revenge worth betraying the one she loves?

my review

This wasn’t bad, but I think it was a little overly long, the plot could have been tightened up a bit, and there were some super cliched elements. However, having said that, I liked the characters, liked that females (at least females of note to the story) were shown to be as capable, blood-thirsty, and powerful as men, and liked the general world (even if it’s not deeply developed).

All in all, I found it quite readable and would be happy to pick up another of Hamilton’s books.

dark king

Review of Dark King, by C. N. Crawford

I picked up a copy of C.N. Crawford‘s Dark King (Court of the Sea Fae, #1) when it was listed as a freebie on Amazon, mostly based on the cover alone.

A snarky fae, a sexy king, and forbidden desire deep as the sea.

Once, I was a fae princess with sea-magic at my fingertips. Now? I’m a hunted supernatural in a squalid shop, stripped of my power. My only comforts are stale cookies, Elvis records, and my hula-hoop. Until a lethally sexy fae king arrives and rips even those away.

After the brutal king throws me in prison, I strike a bargain with him: my freedom in exchange for helping him find a magic blade. What Lyr doesn’t know is that the blade might restore my stolen magic.

But as we journey, the gorgeous jerk is starting to make me feel things I’ve never felt. When Lyr touches me, desire ignites. I see raging passion in his eyes, too. If I give in, I risk losing my chance at reclaiming my power. Even worse… I could be forfeiting my life.

I was surprisingly amused by this. Yes, it’s not particularly deep and a little cliched in the “protector of abused women” department. But I also liked Aenor’s snarkiness and refusal to do as told. And Lyr was plenty sexy for a fae king, if a little cardboard. I had a hard time suspending my disbelief that a whole kingdom just up and believed an implausible lie for over a century and a half and no one ever mentioned it to Aenor. Seems exceedingly unlikely. But it didn’t ruin my enjoyment any. I thought the brothers were funny, but a little over the top. All in all, a book that’s not topping my favorites list but that kept me entertained enough that I’d be happy to read more.