Tag Archives: #Demons

MacAlister, Katie: Queen of chick-lit

I think I’m finally getting a handle on what chick-lit is. The female protagonist is supposed to be ditsy but gung-ho. Studly, dudly, well-hung male is the job-description for the male protagonist. They fall passionately in love fighting it and each other all the way. Add to this cauldron of passion action and humor and you have chick-lit??????

While I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, I have read some. In my opinion most of it is so, so. Some of it is actually kind of fun while being really frustrating at the same time. The female/male leads are so ….

Katie MacAlister seems to be a big name on the chick-lit arena. It seems well-deserved. I’ve read her “Aisling Grey” series and a book called “The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires”.

The “Aisling Grey” books have great cover art. You can tell the books aren’t too serious, and they live up to that prediction. The cover art on “Vampires” is dorky, but typical of the genre. I’ll take “Aisling” covers any day compared to the alternative.

You Slay Me

Fire Me Up

Light My Fire

Holy Smokes

We meet Aisling Grey in “You Slay Me“. She comes off as somewhat of an air-head right off the bat. As her first assignment for her uncle Aisling travels to Paris to deliver a medieval object. Upon reaching the delivery address, she finds the recipient murdered and meets her male protagonist, Drake. Implicated in the circumstances of two murders, Aisling, the demon she summons for help (and subsequently can’t get rid of) named Jim, and Drake find themselves caught up in a web of lies and confusion that could well result in the demon lords of hell ruling the mortal world.

Aisling and Drake are pretty much what the books are about, with quite a bit of confusion added in. In “Fire Me Up” Aisling ends up in Hungary, having to receive her punishment from the Green dragon sept, find a guardian mentor and save the world from destruction. As we go on to “Light My Fire“, we see that Drake and Aisling still haven’t resolved their relationship. Aisling is still struggling to figure out her powers and has to save the world from imps and demon lords. When we come to “Holy Smokes” Drake and Aisling are getting ready for marriage. But life is never as simple as it might seem, at least not in the super-natural world and Aisling’s new status as demon lord has to be resolved. Being a guardian, wyvern’s mate and demon lord are just not compatible occupations.

I liked these books. They were light, fun and at times quite erotic.

The Last of the Red-Hot Vampires” was along the same lines. Along comes a ditsy, non-believing female onto the super-natural scene and meets the incredibly hot man of her dreams, Theo. Theo loses his nephilim status and gets turned into a soulless vampire who needs blood, blood, blood. Portia’s job is to save his soul and herself from whatever the super-natural world has to throw at them.

Where the Aisling books were a fun read, Vampires was more work. The humor was off and the characters weren’t of the quality of the Aisling series. My advice would be to go with the Aisling books. There the author delivers what the genre promises.

McKinley, Robin: The Blue Sword (1982)

“The Blue Sword” by Emily Doyle

In spite of being written first, The Blue Sword is the second book in the Damarian saga. There are few things in life that I’m truly envious of, but the ability to write in a manner that flows is one. Maybe it has to do with the comfort that I’ve derived from such books. Truly excellent ones distract me from my pain and makes those long boring days when I can’t do much bearable. McKinley has this ability.

While the plot in The Blue Sword is straightforward, the execution is not. What a gift. I guess I’m just in a praise-mood today (maybe).

Harry Crew is a young woman who, after the death of her parents, has to move to Damar and her brother (Victorian standards in her country). There the adventure begins. She falls in love with the desert, gets kidnapped by the Hillfolk and has to fulfill her destiny as Harimad-sol, the hope of the Damarian people.

There is “slightly” more meat to the story =), thankfully. Action galore and some romance. Just the things that make for fun fantasy.


Winner of 1983 Newberry Honor Book

McKinley, Robin: The Hero and the Crown (1984)

The Hero and the Crown (Damar, #2)To me reading is like listening to music or maybe it’s vice versa. Sometimes words flow seamlessly from one sentence to the next, one chapter to the next. Subject matter does not matter. I’ve seen it in academic articles and in this case in a young adult book.The Hero and the Crown flows beautifully. To me that makes McKinley and excellent writer. I’ve only read two of her books, but in both cases I found this indefinable flow. I suspect the ability to make text “flow” is something you have to be born with, like any other talent.

While “Hero” is the first book in the Damarian saga, it was written after The Blue Sword (another Newberry awarded book). Keep that in mind while reading the books.

Aerin is the only child of the Damarian king, born without talent and child of a suspect mother (dead). She refuses to act as a proper “lady” should. Instead she learns to wield the sword, chase dragons and tame horses. Then disaster strikes and Damarian faces war. As the king rides off with his forces, a messenger comes riding in asking for help to kill a dragon. Aerin goes off and …….


Winner of 1985 Newberry Medal Award

Aaron, Rachel: The Legend of Eli Monpress (2012)

Eli Monpress – bounty, paid dead or alive,
20,000 Council Gold Standard Weights.
Wanted on 157 counts of grand larceny against a noble person,
3 counts of fraud,
1 charge of counterfeiting
and treason against the Rector Spiritualis

“The Legend of Eli Monpress” is an omnibus containing the books “The Spirit Thief“, “The Spirit Rebellion” and “The Spirit Eater“. They are, of course, about Eli Monpress, a charming thief whose only goal is to get his bounty as high as possible. The reason reveals itself. During his adventures he has his mates Nico (a demon carrier) and Joseph Liechten (the greatest swordsman ever).

In order to get his bounty higher and higher Eli steals stuff. Not necessarily things that will bring him a lot of money, but things that are “without price” – like King Heinrich.

Elis main opponent is Miranda, the spiritualist, who ends up helping him in order to serve the greater cause.

The magic used in these books is based on forcing or cooperating spirits (wind, water, earth, trees, etc.).

These are fun novels. Eli is a charming character and well-written. The interplay between and those he meets on his way is described in a manner that draws me as a reader in and makes me want to know more about the characters.


Reviews:

Freeman, Lorna: The King’s Own (Borderlands II) (2006)

Lorna Freeman is still going strong in “The King’s Own”, the second book of the “Borderlands” series.

The King’s Own continues shortly after Covenants ended. Rabbit’s journey into the mastery of magic continues. Towards the end of Covenants we see that Rabbit’s abilities as a magician make him one of the stronger magicians in the Borderlands. Along with his lack of control, Rabbit discovers that people are suspicious and fearful of his new-found abilities. The discovery of death magic in the same city as Rabbit and the king heightens the suspicion of him. Once again, Rabbit has to prove himself.

Rabbit’s character is fun. He is true to himself, confused, naive, foolish and wise – I guess just like most people are. Perhaps that is what attracts me about his character. Rabbit is someone I wouldn’t have minded being in my early 20’s. That aside, Freeman is simply a great writer. She has the gift, no doubt about it.

Nevill, Adam: Apartment 16 (Formerly known as “Down Here With the Rest of Us”) (2010)

Apartment 16 - Adam Nevill

Creepy! I think that’s the best description I can give of Apartment 16. I couldn’t read the whole thing because it was too creepy for an old lady. But if you enjoy horror, then this is the book for you.

The writing is excellent. Adam Nevill uses all of his writing tools with a gifted hand. It’s not often I get this creeped out by a novel, but this time the author won. You know the tight feeling you get in your chest when something is too freaky. Quite frankly, I was scared shitless.

Most likely it was Seth’s descent into madness and the experiences that brought him to that point that did me in. His experiences seem similar to the experiences that Apryl’s aunt Laura had when she slowly lost her grip on reality. Or perhaps it could be said that both Laura and Seth got to know a new kind of reality. Apryl’s experience with Apartment 16 at the very end of the book shows us that what went on with Apartment 16 was very real indeed.

Apryl has inherited an apartment in London. In her apartment block there is an apartment that is a bit off. But opening the door to that apartment would be unwise in the extreme. You see, this apartment is haunted, and it’s out to get you. If it catches you – well you know how it goes. You’d better not be caught and that leaves Apryl in a tighter and tighter spot as the novel progresses.

Enjoy.


Reviews:


Apartment 16 on Amazon UK


Haunted houses in London

Gilman, Felix: The Half-Made World (2010)

The Half-Made World
Cover artist Ross MacDonald and Jamie Stafford-Hill

The Half-Made World is a combination of fantasy and science fiction set in a Western (Wild West) environment. Half the forces battling in The Half-Made World is set in a Wild West setting and ruled by something called “The Gun”. The Gun consists of demons inhabiting weapons (guns). Humans who take up these weapons end up being possessed by The Gun’s demons and slowly, but surely, they go insane.

The other party of this war is “The Line”. The Line is set in an industrialised environment where steam-engines are possessed by demons and somehow rule the humans in their control. This industrialised world is bleak, colorless and rigid. Both parties want  control of the world with humans as their slaves.

Humans, being what we are, seek to control others through supposed control of the demons. Any reader of human/demon novels knows that humans tend to come out with the poorer deal of any relationship between the two. Power is the lure the demons put before whichever human they seek to control. Ahhh, even people with the best intentions can fall for that temptation.

Somehow a weapon has been discovered that might elude the power of the demons and they do like this possibility. Their emissaries are sent to capture the person known as The General. He just happens to be at a hospital called The House Dolorous, a hospital that is not what it seems to be.

Liv Alverhuysen travels west to the hospital. She is from a part of the country where neither The Line nor The Gun hold control and is not aware of what they are and how strong their forces are. Once at The House Dolorous, Ms. Alverhuysen is supposed to help heal the minds of patients. The various parties meet and fates decided.

I really liked the underlying sense of humor in this novel. The Half-made World is well written, and the text flows from one line to the next. I admire that in an author. There is plenty of tension, a good climax and a fitting conclusion.