Tag Archives: Duties / rights

McGuire, Seanan: Chimes at Midnight (October Daye VII) (2013)

Chimes at Midnight
Cover art by Chris McGrath
Cover design by G-Force Design
Internal dingbat by Tara O’Shea

I first discovered Seanan McGuire through her pseudonym Mira Grant. I enjoyed her Newsflesh characters so much that I wanted to give October (Toby) Daye a chance. Here I am seven novels later still reading about the adventures of changeling / knight / hero / granddaughter of Oberon: Toby Daye.

Why is it I like the October Daye series so much? My main reason has to do with the development of Toby’s character. Growth (whether for light or dark) in a character is what keeps me reading certain authors. If that development stops I move on. Thus far, I have had every reason to remain with October Daye and her faery world.

By now there have been so many losses and changes in Toby’s life that it is a wonder she is still up and about. McGuire has not given Toby the easiest life to live. Simple lives can be fun to read about but in the long run complexity is so much more fun. McGuire doesn’t slow down Toby’s challenges in Chimes at Midnight.

Once again, Toby discovers that just because something is bad for the changelings and for humans does not mean that the pure-bloods care. Some do, but faery who care about the lives of changelings and humans are definitely in the minority. So it has been throughout history. Many are the tales of faery interacting with people with devastating results for the person. Perhaps being immortal has something to do with that. At least that is an excuse we hear in Chimes at Midnight.

There is romance going on between Toby and Tybalt, but romance is not a major part of Chimes at Midnight. Action is. As with the other Daye novels, McGuire keeps her novels free from explicitness.

I liked Chimes at Midnight. When The Winter Long comes out I am going to buy it.

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Reviews:


  • Series: October Daye (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756408148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756408145

Bridger, David: A Flight of Thieves (Sky Ships I) (2013)

A Flight of Thieves
Cover artist Georgia Woods
Love this cover

A Flight of Thieves was given to me as a reviewer’s copy.

While I do try to say something positive about all novels I review, some novels need less work from my side than others. David Bridger’s new series Sky Ships is such a series. Right off the bat A Flight of Thieves caught my reader and I had to work to put A Flight of Thieves down when real life called.

A Flight of Thieves is very definitely a young adult novel with intelligent language. It has that warm sense of humour that only the British manage to convey. After so many reviews I feel certain some of you have gotten an idea of how much I enjoy writers from all over the United Kingdom. David Bridger just added himself to that list.

We get a combination of political intrigue, action, steam-punk, robot/human interaction and humour blended into 170 pages worth of enjoyment.

King Henry happens to be one of three robot kings who have ruled the Earth after humans managed to ignore the threat of climate warming long enough for it to be too late. We saw that we had been idiots and Henry and his brothers were created to rule us and hopefully keep us from flooding the Earth once again. 1000 years later he has experienced two rebellions and is looking at a third. Only by chance did he and Princess Victoria discover what was going on. The King joined the Princess on a trip to the Lord of Ireland as her footman (travelling incognito as Henry called it) and discovers that all is not well in his kingdom.

Princess Victoria is our main character. It is through her point of view that we learn of this world 1000 years into the future. She is an adventurous sort of person ready to explore her world if only her parents will let her. There is a little rebellion in Victoria and her sister Anne, but these two are pretty good kids who want to do the best for their kingdom. We get to see how Victoria deals with success and failure, love and death – for not all of her allies will make it through the story. That is the way it is when rebellion enters a land. I liked her optimism and willingness to face reality – panic attacks and all.

Definitely had fun with this one.


Marquitz, Tim: Requiem (Blood War III) (2012)

Requiem
Cover artist: Carter Reid
My favorite of the three

Requiem is by far the best of the Blood War trilogy. It seems as if Marquitz is finding his fantasy feet (although I doubt he ever lost them since feet are usually stuck on).

What I like about Tim is that we have little romance and lots of action. Tons of it in fact. The Blood War trilogy is after all about a war fought on all possible sides against overwhelming odds. Which is why I add my warning: Beware of blood and gore. War is ugly and so is this. There is no attempt at sugar-coating the brutality of warring parties in Requiem nor is there a glorification of the violence.

I retain my favorites from before: Arrin / Uthul and Zaree and this time I am adding Ellara (this is one resilient girl). Ellara is an orphan from Lathah who ends up helping orphan friends and the royal family in their escape attempts. She showed the kind of grit she had in Embers of an Age and has the same kind of gumption in Requiem. A girl to admire.

While Blood War is considered dark fantasy it is still full of hope. Maybe it is this hope that makes intelligent beings fight for their lives. My brain finds it mysterious to see the lengths of suffering people are willing to endure just so they will not die. But in Requiem we also see that for some people there comes a point when dying is an expression of hope.


Reviews:


  • Published: Oct. 21, 2012        
  • File Size: 424 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Words: 61,210 (approximate)
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services,  Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009UDZRW4
  • ISBN: 9781301454877

My review of Dawn of War and Embers of an Age.

Marquitz, Tim: Dawn of War (Blood War I) (2011)

Dawn of War
Cover art by Jessy Lucero

Dawn of War was free on Kindle and it sounded interesting enough for me to try it out. No regrets there. While I hesitated to buy the rest I found Arrin so interesting that I had to get the rest of the trilogy so I could find out what happened to him.

When reading the Blood War trilogy you are going to have to bring your brain. There are a lot of plots and subplots and characters to keep in order. Even though Dawn of War is an uncomplicated novel it is definitely full of threads to keep hold of.

Violence is frequent and descriptive. Dawn of War is no children’s novel nor do I think it would be a good fit for below 15s (just my opinion).

The Blood War trilogy is dark fantasy. There are no easy or happy endings here. Well there are some happy endings but plenty of endings of lives that I wished had lived. If you do not like beloved characters dying then you had better stay away from Blood War.

In Dawn of War we get to meet several races of people:

  • The O’hra: Ancients (not much info on them yet)
  • The Sha’ree: The supposed top of the top of the different races of Ahreele but probably dying out.
  • The Grol: A doglike people with highly aggressive and racist behavior.
  • The Bloodpack: A wolflike people with aggressive yet controlled behavior.
  • The Lathahn: Arrin Urrael has been exiled from them for the past 20 years.
  • The Pathran: A catlike people
  • The Velen: A pacifist people.
  • The Yvir: A people dedicated to the protection of the Velen.

All of the races are somewhat war-like with the exception of the Velen. Without the Yvir they would have been extinct. The most warlike seem to be the Grol who want to kill and eat anything not themselves and when it suits them even kill and eat their own. So not people you want to mess with. But up until the beginning of Dawn of War the Grol have been too weak to eradicate the rest of the races. Now, somehow, they have gotten hold of magical artifacts, artifacts that make it possible for them to tear down the walls of cities without much damage to themselves.

This is pretty much what the Blood War trilogy is about: the desire of the Grol and their allies to take all of Ahreele and the rest who are not interested in this.

Two major mysteries present themselves. How did the Grol get a hold of their magical weapons and who is directing their movements? Good questions and you know I am not going to answer them because that would just ruin the whole thing.

Arrin Urrael is our reluctant hero. Others come our way in Dawn of War, but he is the HERO: loyal, good fighter, kind, brave, dutiful, self-sacrificing and all of the other terms that might fit for a hero. The funny thing is that Arrin is all of this in spite of being able to see the world and people for what and who they are. Arrin has, after all, kept himself alive  for the past 20 years in spite of the odds (with the help of his magic collar).

Marquitz writes in a way that hops from one important character to the other from chapter to chapter. For Dawn of War this approach both works and does not work. Keeping in the flow is incredibly difficult when you switch characters. I know I could never do it.


Reviews:


  • File Size: 473 KB
  • Print Length: 263 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1466325348
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tim Marquitz; 2 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services,  Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0059HAUW2

 

Nilles, Melanie: A Turn of Curses (2008)

A Turn of Curses
Cover art by Melanie Nilles

A Turn of Curses is a novella about 66 pages long. You can get it in a PDF version on the author’s website. With only 66 (or 29 in PDF) pages A Turn of Curses is a short and easy read (unless you are dyslexic).

Selina is an incredibly dedicated healer. In spite of knowing that as soon as one end of her mark touches the other she will die, she keeps on healing all who need it. Would I have this kind of dedication? For the poor she is a gift. A healer willing to heal all regardless of class is unpopular with the priests. As they see it the healing gift should be reserved for the “deserving classes”.

For some reason Faldon, a feyquin (horse shapeshifter) has decided that he needs to stop Selina from reaching her next destination. What we get is a battle of wills.

What did this story give me? Well, as stated above it made me think about how dedicated I would have been myself to helping others? If I knew my life was on the line would I have kept on going? I hope I do not have to find out. Selina’s ability to accept life for what it was impressed me and the ending fit with the story. Sad is just part of life.

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Reviews:


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2008: Honorable mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest

Britain, Kristen: The High King’s Tomb (Green Rider) (2007)

Cover art by Donato Giancolo

Once again my son and I enjoyed reading Kristen’s work together. As I have said before, Kristen Britain’s writing makes reading aloud a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Her prose flows through my eyes and out of my mouth with no effort on my side.

We are both fans of Karigan G’ladheon’s adventures however unlikely they might be. In The High King’s Tomb you will find plenty of action and political scheming. It is always interesting to see how two sides can be equally certain of how right their points of view are. Following along with Grandmother’s fight for the Second Empire is an excellent lesson in just that. Both the followers of the Second Empire and Sacoridia are certain that their way is the right way. I am on Karigan’s side, of course, as she is the one I have followed all along. But it is easy to see how it could have been the other way around if Grandmother/the Second Empire had been the ones whose story had been told as a fight for the right side.

Another new player is the Raven Mask. Noble-women swoon and wish for a visit by him in their budoirs or bedchambers. But he is a thief, a thief who is going to have his values challenged.

I love Karigan’s teaching experience with Fergal. Two stubborn people travelling together makes for funny situations and lessons in patience for them both.

Alton is another person who has had his patience tested. Getting into the Tower just isn’t working for him and he is getting more and more frustrated. All of the effects of the poisons of Blackveil have not worn off yet. Thankfully he gets Dale Littlepage (another Rider) up by the wall. She gets him out of his self-pitying funk.

It is strange how some writers manage to give so much to their readers. Kristen Britain has a talent that has given my adult son and me the opportunity to spend some fun time together.


My reviews of books 1 (Green Rider), 2 (First Rider’s Call), 3 (The High King’s Tomb) and 4 (Blackveil)

Gay, Kelly: The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan) (2010)

Cover art by Christian McGrath

Christian McGrath’s portrayal of Charlie Madigan is gritty and strong complementing the writing of Kelly Gay. Gay’s writing continues to engage me as a reader. She maintains the balance between too much and too little keeping her novel tight and well-written.

The Darkest Edge of Dawn begins where The Better Part of Darkness left off. Atlanta became more in tune with the Charbydons living there. Charlie feels responsible for the “accidental darkening” and in a sense that is true. So, being the kind of person she is, Charlie sets a goal of saving Atlanta.

 As we all know, the world is full of nutters. Being from Charbydon or Elysia makes no difference. Crazy people are found among all races. Sadly, some of the crazies go serial. In The Darkest Edge of Dawn Charlie and Hank investigate a warehouse where a dead body was found. Both find the place creepy and for good reason. In this lovely warehouse a pile of dead bodies and a pregnant hellhound is discovered. Something is off about the mound of bodies.

That was the second problem Charlie feels the need to save the world from. On a more personal level, the changes in her DNA are worrisome. What is she turning into and how is she supposed to control the powers she seems to have gained?

Trying to deceive your own daughter works like a charm unless she is psychic. And guess what, Emma is psychic. When Will died and his body was taken over by Rex, Charlie decided that they had to wait until Emma was ready before she could be told. Talk about messed up life. But Charlie also has the pleasure of having a hellhound living at her home, a hellhound that Emma has a mysterious link to.

That’s not all that is going on in Charlie’s life. Her sister Bryn was affected by the drug Ash while trying to help Charlie. Now she has to take regular doses of the drug in order to stay alive.

Charlie’s partner, Hank, still has his voice modifier fused to his neck – joy of joy – hindering his ability to be a proper Elysian.

One of the things Charlie has trouble with is accepting help from others. She is going to need help in The Darkest Edge of Dawn just as she did in The Better Part of Darkness. I get that. Asking for help is difficult even when it is obvious assistance is needed. Just because you are adult age, does not necessarily mean that you are able to act maturely. I guess that is part of the reason why I like Charlie so much. She is vulnerable and strong, prejudiced and willing to look beyond those prejudices.

I think Charlie Madigan could a be a good role model for young women out there.



My reviews on books 1 (The Better Part of Darkness), 2 (The Darkest Edge of Dawn), 3 (The Hour of Dust and Ashes), and 4 (Shadows Before the Sun)