I completely agree with the criticism of some of the reviewers of Obsidian Son. Much in the way of the Paranormal Romances I have read, Obsidian Son has a bizarre view of looks and what attracts people to each other. Instead of big cocks, there are big racks. The main character is shallow, obnoxious and has few redeeming qualities. In addition, there is a lack of research. Finally, there are grammatical problems.
In spite of all that, I had fun. Imagine what Shayne Silvers could have accomplished with a better team. So many of the authors I read, or try to read, claim their stories have had editors and beta-readers. As does Silvers. Hmmm. Who are these editors and beta-readers?
I still had fun. This is an urban fantasy interspersed with mythological and magical creatures. The main character has magic, is wealthy and is extremely attractive to the opposite gender. Some of that attraction is because of out-of-control magic. There are dragons. They are the best part of the story. Really fun dragons.
There is a reason I love Wen Spencer’s writing. Her characters are all odd-balls trying to fit in with the rest of the world. Some are more successful than others. Having pretty much grown up in mental institutions ensures that Nikki is going to have a harder time of it than most people. Having an obsessive compulsive disorder called hypergraphia isn’t helping Nikki fit in.
The driving compulsion to write; the overwhelming urge to write. Hypergraphia may compel someone to keep a voluminous journal, to jot off frequent letters to the editor, to write on toilet paper if nothing else is available, and perhaps even to compile a dictionary. Hypergraphia is the opposite of writer’s block.
The way Wen Spencer describes Nikki’s writing compulsion is pretty intense. At one point Nikki tells us that she would even use her own blood to write if the urge became too strong. Wow! That is some disorder to have.
For some weird reason, quoting law to some policemen was like hitting Superman with kryptonite. They just couldn’t cope with material from their home planet. (p. 1)
When Nikki’s mom drags along a police officer to have Nikki interred in a mental institution, quoting law to the police officer is one of the tools Nikki uses to get away. She does get away to Japan on a roller-coaster ride of gods, goddesses, super-natural creatures (like tanuki) and new friends.
But first things have to be resolved with the police officer and Nikki’s mom.
All mom’s are nuts, but some moms are crazier than others. While Nikki certainly has a pronounced form of OCD her obsession is fairly easy to satisfy. All her mom had to do was make certain that Nikki had the writing implements she needed. Being a Senator from a wealthy family (in the US that goes without saying) would also give Nikki’s mom the finances to make certain Nikki could get her education and help her with her obsession at the same time. That means that either Nikki’s mom is insane or maybe there is some other reason for Nikki being placed in a mental institution than the one Nikki thinks is true.
The blurb kind of gives the answer to that. Hah, hah – one of the many reasons I seldom include the blurb in my reviews.
When Nikki discovers that perhaps there is more to her hypergraphia than insanity, she is filled with relief and despair. Her relief is obviously from understanding that she isn’t nuts (well, not only nuts). The despair comes from realising that her horror stories are real, real, real.
What would it be like to realise that the story you had written about a person being killed by a blender was for real? It’s not the most common method of killing a person and to have that person be killed in the exact manner you had written – well that would freak me out. Then imagine finding out that the gods, goddesses and mythical creatures in Japan were real, and wanted something from you. Nikki freaking out is an understandable reaction. She does, but not in a major manner. In fact, her experiences with getting away from her mom’s attempts to get her into mental institutions serve her well in adjusting to her new reality.
“Eight Million Gods” was a fun story. There is an element of romance, but it doesn’t dominate the tale. Instead, we get loads of action, murder and mayhem. In other words, my kind of fantasy story.
Earth’s Requiem is the first installment of the serial Earth Reclaimed. Being a serial, it did what all proper installments of a serial should – ended on a cliff-hanger.
I should probably tell you that there is explicit sex in Earth’s Requiem but no explicit violence. The sex was consensual and safe. Here in Norway teen-agers read this kind of stuff. Other places have other rules.
If you check out Ann Gimpel’s blog, you will see that she has been writing fiction since 2009. She has generally written urban romantic fantasy. Earth’s Requiem is my first meeting with Ann Gimpel and it was sent to me as a reviewer’s copy.
Earth’s Requiem is not urban romantic fantasy. Instead it could be called apocalyptic romantic fantasy. I’m calling it fantasy because we are dealing with the old gods of celt mythology but it might also be deemed science fiction because of the Lemurians who have entered the Earth through gates opened by – you guessed it – humans. We humans are stupid and curious little monkeys. If there is a lever to be pressed, a ritual to be performed or aliens to be contacted we will do our be to do the deed. I’m that dumb myself. When I was a kid I would put a knitting needle into the wall sockets just because my dad had warned me not to. I’ll still do really stupid stuff just because I wonder what would happen if …
Once I started looking for info on the gods in Earth’s Requiem, I became fascinated with Celtic mythology. The celtic gods we get to meet are:
Fionn mac Cumhaill: God of wisdom, protection, and divination. A warrior-hunter and god of the wood-lands.
As this is a romance novel all four human-like gods are devastatingly good-looking. Fionn mac Cumhaill is the god we are particularly interested in. He is the paramour of our main protagonist, Aislinn Lenear, whose mother was Tara MacLochlainn. Tara MacLochlainn was thrown into a vortex by one of the new rulers of the Earth when her sanity was insufficient to please the Lemurians. Aislinn’s father had already been killed by one of the Dark gods. The Lemurians and Dark gods fight each other for dominance of the Earth and humans are being used as their tools.
While Aislinn has realised that all she is to the Lemurians is a tool, she has been so wrapped up in her grief that she has been unable to see past that. The compulsion that has been laid upon her and all humans under the thumbs of the Lemurians might have something to do with that inability as well. But after three years, Aislinn meets the above Fionn and he manages to rescue her from that compulsion. Together they spear-head the resistance that includes humans and celtic gods.
It wouldn’t be a romance novel without some pretty complicated inner dialogue about whether or not to love a person, how to love them and all of that other stuff. I always tend to zone out when romance comes along and that is a pity because Ann Gimpel writes well enough to deserve a romance reader that can appreciate romance. I enjoyed the action and the premise of the resistance group and the fascinating stuff this story led me to on the net.
I’m glad the editing issues in Dark Cotillion have been resolved in Dark Illumination.
Dark Illumination comes with one warning. There is quite a bit of zombieish-like goryness – without the zombies (those were in Dark Cotillion).
My fascination with this strange world James has presented us with has not left me. Lucifer is catholic and married to a human. All of their children have been baptised into the Catholic church. Lucifer is not the only mythological character that gets treated this way. In fact, Lucifer and the angel Gabriel are best-friends along with Baal, Anubis and Fenrir. Mammon is Brenna’s god-father and uncle and was present at her baptism.
Who is good and bad is no longer clear-cut, but the least clear-cut is the baddie of Dark Illumination. He/She seems set on destroying Brenna after her maturing. Because of the nature of the attacks the person might be someone close to her or one of her relatives.
Add to the mystery of the baddie all of the action and I guess we have an action-mystery novel. All of the action is the reason for the above-mentioned gore. There is plenty of fighting, both magical and demonic. Poor regular humans who get in the way.
Add to this cabal dead uncle Sonnellion and we have in fact a ghost-mystery-action story for young adults.
I believe it is safe to say that Brenna Strachan has a strange family and some strange friends. Add in her own unpredictability and we have a story that is bound to interest both young and old.