Tag Archives: #Urbanfantasy

Gay, Kelly: The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan) (2009)

Cover art by Christian McGrath

There is something about Charlie that I find appealing. Her life is a mess in so many respects, but she, herself, is a really decent person. Kelly’s writing is, of course, alpha and omega in making the series work and helping me like it. I find it amazing that this is actually Gay’s writing debut.

The Charlie Madigan series is an urban fantasy one. They are meant to entertain. There are issues that come up in the books that are important ones, but like most novels out there on the market this is for the general public and not an esoteric philosophical LSD audience (Ok, that might have been a bit mean).

As with a great deal of the other urban fantasies out there the Charlie Madigan has a male/female action team. Since both Hank and Charlie work together, have a bantering tone between them and look quite good – well …

In The Better Part of Darkness we find ourselves in an Atlanta city in a possible future where scientists have discovered two parallel planes of existence. Surprise, surprise, angels and demons do exist although not exactly in the heaven and hell version that we humans are so fond of. We have been visited by them for thousands of years and they have been using us and the earth as a battleground for working out their differences.

Now that humans know about them, we won’t put up with their nonsense any longer and have laid down the law for them. A police-department has been established dealing especially with extraterrestrials. They are called the ITF (Integration Task Force). Charlie Madigan is one of the officers working for the Department and her partner, Hank.

Pretty early on in The Better Part of Darkness, we find out that Charlie had a dead-then-alive experience that seems to be changing her physically.

Charlie’s partner, Hank, is a siren from Elysia. He has the kind of voice that needs to be dampened, otherwise men and women would throw themselves at his feet and do anything he asked of them. This comes in handy in police-work as people really want to tell him the truth.

Her daughter, Emma, is a highly intuitive child, one with a great degree of empathy. She goes to Hope Ridge, a school for rich kids. Charlie can’t afford it on her salary, but her ex-husband, Will, is paying for it.

When Charlie gets called to her daughters’ school (with her partner Hank) she becomes extremely worried. The victim is Emma’s old baby-sitter, Amanda Mott. At first thought dead, it turns out that Amanda is “just” in a coma of some kind. Making the situation a whole lot worse is the fact that there are several others who have been found like Amanda, and they have all died in the end. It seems all of them have been exposed to a new drug called “ash”. It’s extremely addictive and once it leaves a person’s system, they die.

This is the mystery Charlie and Hank are to investigate. As you might imagine unexpected twists and turns do appear. As stated above, Kelly Gay’s writing is of high quality and kept me reading until the end.


Awards/nominations

2009 SIBA Okra Pick
2010 SIBA Long List Book Award Finalist
2010 RITA finalist, Best First Book
2010 RITA finalist, Best Novel w/Romantic Elements


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)

Briggs, Patricia: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson I) (2006)

Moon Called - The last full moon of october

This is the image that I feels illustrates Moon Called best and it shows Mercy (Mercedes) as I had imagined her from the words Patricia Briggs has written about her in Moon Called.

I am a fan of Ms. Briggs’ writing. My adventure with her began with the Hurog saga. Then it sort of developed into a full-fledged love affair and here I am writing about yet another series of hers.

Poor little teen-ager Mac/Alan. Little had he thought about the possibility of werewolves being real. Then all of a sudden he was mauled and changed into one by nefarious people. The Marrok (Bran) calls this rape. To make matters worse, Mac was experimented on and kept in a cage. One day he manages to escape and turns up at Mercedes’ garage (auto-shop). She is a softie and takes him under her wings, eventually introducing him to the Alpha of the Tri-Cities area, Adam Hauptman.

Map created by Michael Enzweiler
Map created by Michael Enzweiler

Adam and Mercy will according to all the foreshadowing become a couple. Mercy and Adam are very alike, yet incredibly different. She is a shape-shifting coyote, he is the alpha werewolf of the Tri-Cities area. If the two of them decide to become mates, his pack will have to accept Mercy as his second. At least one of the members of the pack seems to have done so already, Warren.

Warren is a sweet-heart. He is a gay were-wolf with an open lifestyle. Meeting Mercy changed his life for the better. For once he met another predator who did not care what gender he loved. Then she introduced him to Adam and Adam accepted him as well. That did not mean that the rest of the pack managed to embrace him as one of their own, but that is the way of the world. We all have different prejudices. Some are more vocal and open about them than others. Sadly, getting to love the person you love is not something we all get to experience.

Just now it really struck me. What if I refused to accept a person because of who they loved? How would that change me and the person I met like that? It is a concept I find terribly confusing.  It would be like me refusing to accept a person because of the color of their skin or hair or eyes. Being on the receiving end of such prejudice must hurt terribly.

Mercy is the kind of person that opens up her heart to a great variety of people. Vampire, werewolf, fae or human matters not. If the other person seems to be decent, then there is room for them in Mercy’s life. Her attitude does create problems when some of her friends meet others of her friends, but Mercy just expects them to be polite to each other no matter how much they might despise each other (vampires vs. werewolves comes to mind). And people often do what Mercy expects. For reasons they do not always understand themselves, Mercy is definitely a person they want to have in their lives. What a gift, and possibly, what a curse.

Her being a mechanic is a bonus for me. As a kid I wanted to be a lot of things and mechanic was one of them. There is something satisfying about being able to take things apart. Sadly, I stink at putting them back together again. Then there is the goo. Goo is the loveliest thing on earth. Mercy gets to fix cars and is a whole lot better at putting them back together again than I am. My “niece” is a mechanic. Even here in Norway it is still unusual for a girl to choose such a career. I absolutely love that my “niece” chose such a line of work. So the idea of a mechanic that happens to be a woman is an added attraction for me.

Just so you know. One of Patricia Briggs series also begins at the time of Moon Called. When Bran sends Charles off to deal with a problem in Chicago the series Alpha and Omega starts.


Amazon Kindle


Reviews:


Moon Called as cartoon:

SKU: C1606902032
Rating: Teen +
Cover: Amelia Woo
Writer: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence
Penciller/Inker/Colorist: Amelia Woo (digitally painted)
Genre: URBAN FANTASY
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Comic Book Collection
Page Count: 104+

ISBN-10: 1-60690-203-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-60690-203-5

Just because I like pointing out the obvious. Do the images below remind you of anything? Anything at all??

Layout 1

 

Pratt, T.A.: Spell Games (2009)

This is the 4th book in the Marla Mason series. I haven’t read the previous installments: “Blood Engines”, “Poison Sleep” and “Dead Reign”, but still felt as though I was able to follow the story-line.

In “Spell Games” Marla’s long-lost brother turns up in her life again. They parted on bad terms and Marla isn’t sure how she feels about seeing him again. But her brother, Jason, is a con-artist and quite a talker and manages to convince Marla to give him a chance. She ends up helping him with a con, and surprisingly has quite a good time – until complications arise.

There are some really strange characters in this novel. One of them is a mushroom-worshipping sorcerer. I guess  that’s what I liked about “Spell Games” – its strange twists and turns and dry wit.

As entertainment, this is a pretty good choice of reading.

Peeler, Nicole: Tracking the Tempest (Jane True II) (2010)

Tracking the Tempest
Cover art by Sharon Tancredi

This cover by Sharon Tancredi is wonderful. I love the feeling I get while looking at it and the spirit of the main character Jane that she manages to convey in her drawing.

As time has passed and I have written many reviews, I have come to realise that how my head works when approaching a novel has changed. Instead of reading all books as if they needed to be judged by the same ruler, I am now able to divide my thought processes into categories. By doing this it feels as though I am bringing my Aspergers into play instead of trying to bypass it and be “a regular” reader.

Along with several of my early reviews, this one of Tracking the Tempest is an updated one (June 2014 instead of May 2012).

I consider this a true series. Even though I had not read Tempest Rising, I had no problem beginning with number two. Necessary background information was shared without info-dumping and Jane’s relationships with various people were fairly self-explanatory. Tracking the Tempest starts off with Jane working hard to learn how to control her magic and especially how to shield herself.

The light wavered, stilled for a split second, and then winked out of existence. I couldn’t help but close my hand with a little flourish. Now that I couldn’t blow anything up, I was allowed to be pleased with myself. That was the first time I’d managed to create and disperse a mage light start to finish.

“Who’s your daddy?” I demanded rhetorically, doing a little happy dance.

“He died centuries ago; you wouldn’t know him,” Nell replied, coming toward me. “Stop hopping about and shields up.”

One thing I appreciated about Jane is that she is a regular person (despite being a halfling and despite Peeler’s tendency toward hunky men for Jane). I stink at the romantic stuff. Absolutely do not get why romance has to be so mushy (to my husband’s great frustration). Asperger people might be the greatest killers of romantic moments that exist. So not understanding all of Jane’s worries and frustrations about Ruy is just the way things work for me. Let’s just get to the sex is the way I tend to think.

But Peeler makes the romance funny. The way sex and so-called romantic moments tend to be. That I can appreciate and I did. I love it when an author makes sex steamy but also when an author makes sex ridiculous.

One of the comments I read on the novel said something about the Boston Public Parks not being closed at night. I checked that out by googling and that was correct. Living in a stinking rich neighborhood is not a prerequisite for a stinking rich person, so I felt that the same person’s comment about Ruy living in Bay Village didn’t really fit. His personality (what I understand of it) does seem to work with Bay Village.

This is another thing I have learned to do with my reviews. Categories are incredibly difficult for me, so I have to read other people’s reviews so I can place these books in the proper category. Which is why I have ended up adding links to other reviewers at the bottom om my own reviews.

Tracking the Tempest also seems to be about giving in to truth, in Ruy’s case accepting that his wishes for how the faery world operates might not have much to do with reality. Having been in that situation myself, I can sympathise. Once upon a time I was Mormon. Eventually my cognitive dissonance grew out of bounds, I checked out some facts and there flew my beliefs away into the sunset. Ruy seems to be at this same point himself. A point where you realise that your support of something has been abused and you yourself allowed it.

Poor Conleth. Something is mighty strange and wrong about his killings and obsession with Jane. And what a childhood. Hmmm. Perhaps he needs to be pitied more than hated.

Jane discovers that her lack of knowledge about the faery is even greater than she had thought. While she seems to have taken everything in her stride thus far, perhaps a point comes when more knowledge becomes too much knowledge.


Reviews:


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