White Night – Jim Butcher Review

Progress on Alternate: Editing at 28%

Current Review:

The first thing I think of when I’m writing about this book is a very dark part it contains. Now I tailor these reviews to make sure there are no spoilers, so I won’t talk about what it was except to say that it really hit a nerve with me.

This is Dresden Files #9. Vampires, more crime, apparent suicides… Lots of twists and turns. I also really like Molly, who has a hell of an attitude.

I need a dog like Mouse, too. Just a massive dog that’s peaceful and lovely. And you know, growls at evil people. That’s always good.

I found it really interesting how this book explored again a lot about the darker sides of Harry, and the way it addressed his own internal monologues, and so on… I don’t really have much to say other than that Jim Butcher managed to pull it out of his hat once again. Or you know, wherever he’s been pulling these books out of…

-K Hart

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The Demon’s Surrender – Sarah Rees Brennan Review

Progress on Alternate: 27,153 words

Current Review: Okay, so this is the last book in the series, and I already reviewed the first two. Hooray, actually managing to review the whole series for once. My next step on my bookshelves is actually, as predicted last time, a classic, so it will be interesting to address that, rather than specifically review it, in my next post. And given that it’s Austen, I might have some fun things to say.

ANYWAY, for this novel…

Again, I found the romantic focus of this book more than my hardened heart could take, but beyond that the story was good. Sarah Rees Brennan managed to keep that sense of adventure, and otherworldliness about this novel.

I also didn’t mention in previous reviews of the other books in this series that I actually adore the Goblin Market. Those sorts of things, magical worlds, market stalls, the idea that there is a magical undercurrent to the world, will always be something that draws me in. Not to mention the dances and earlier on, references to the maenads. Yes! Bring me the Greek references!

I like that this book gave us a chance to see things through Sin’s eyes, and admired her as a character. And as much as my heart is hard, I did find myself rooting for all of the relationships in this book to succeed. So you know, maybe I’m not such a stubborn old thing after all.

Overall, I love the way Sarah Rees Brennan created her world here, what she did with it, and how she managed to use that to develop her characters. And I think she ended it here in just the right place. There was a very clear, very structured and logical plot that I honestly wish I could keep up in my own writing. Maybe I need to ask her for tips!

-K Hart

The Demon’s Covenant – Sarah Rees Brennan Review

Progress on Alternate: 24,065 words

Current book review:

Well, this book loses some of what the first had. There’s a lot more romance, for one, which usually puts me off a book in general. But it wasn’t too bad. I liked a lot of the premise, the adventure… could have done without the need for people taking their shirts off and such. So sue me. I have a cold, hard heart when it comes to my fantasy.

Anyway, it kept at least the snark and the tone that I loved, with some excellent one-liners throughout. Also, rather noticeably for me, we had the luck to have a badass mother character. In YA! That’s like seeing a polar bear on a beach. I always appreciate when children’s and teenagers’ books show parents as something other than ‘the enemy’ or ‘ridiculously oblivious and/or stupid’. I know it’s something we do to subvert the idea that the children are not capable of their own adventures… but I like seeing a parent who shows a very warm, very adventurous side of their own. Not all adults are terrible and boring. I should know, I am one.

Beyond that, I really liked the idea of Nick learning how to be more human in his responses. That really struck a chord in me somewhere personal, and it was very well done. And so much of this story was betrayal and love and complex understandings of other people that I found I really appreciated those moments.

So, overall I did enjoy it. As a personal point I could have done with less kissing and more doing stuff, but I also recognise that some people CAME for the kissing. And hey, Sarah Rees Brennan redeems herself by managing to address much of that problem, and keeping it sarcastic and dry rather than becoming super soppy or… even worse, descriptive… Good for her. But you know, I think I need to read some nice, non-romantic things after this series… (except I think the thing on my shelf after this series is very possibly an old classic, which may result in me reading several descriptions of swooning *sigh*… I suppose I can’t have everything).

-K Hart

The Demon’s Lexicon – Sarah Rees Brennan Review

Progress on Alternate: 19,181 words.

Current book review:

It took me a little time at first to remember why I kept this book. Or, indeed, the whole series. When I first started re-reading, it felt very much like a typical YA book. YA isn’t necessarily that familiar to me as far as I can recall – I read what was known as YA much later, but I’m discovering more and more of my book collection that would count as YA now, even if it didn’t then.

The Demon’s Lexicon is the first book in, if I remember correctly, a trilogy. It has the incredible bonus of being a YA that focuses on mostly a brotherly relationship rather than a romantic one, which sells it to me immediately. While romance is mentioned, it’s clearly not the focus of this book. Instead, the relationship between Alan and Nick takes forefront.

This story contains demons, magic, and a pretty interesting concept of magicianhood. While it gets off to an almost formulaic start for me, it quickly improves to the point where I am more than happy to announce it as part of my book collection. What concerns I had at the beginning about the odd brotherly relationship began to disappear as the story continued, and I found that once I had accepted this, I could fully appreciate a book full of snarky sarcasm and interesting characters.

I don’t want to mention too much for fear of spoilers, but there are some nicely-foreshadowed twists here, and it’s a pretty fun genre read for those who are looking for that. The only issue I did have was: ‘The Demon’s Lexicon’? I saw no lexicon. Give me lexicons, if it’s in the title, dammit!

I wouldn’t necessarily encourage that people see this book, and this relationship, as a blueprint for their own, but it’s certainly an entertaining read. Again, it’s been very quick, and I can definitely see how YA and books like this are growing as a genre among adults as well as their official target audience.

-K Hart

The Spirit Eater – Rachel Aaron Review

Another book read. Can you tell I need things to occupy me right now? – Ha!

Anyway, since I reviewed the second book of this series (although admittedly not the first!) I thought it was about time I reviewed this one too. I will note, however, that I can’t yet review the two remaining books in this series because for once, I haven’t read them! I have actually purchased them and they will be on their way to me shortly. In the meantime, I have no doubt I will wait on the edge of my seat.

Like the last, this is a re-read of mine. Right now I am reading my way right across my bookshelves piece by piece in my spare time, and it’s great fun. Picking up books and KNOWING that I already like them. Also, as anyone who knows me can attest, I have very large bookshelves, so this will last me quite a while.

The Spirit Eater takes us further into the depths of Eli’s world. But more than that, it starts to unravel the mysteries of Nico, and in the process seems to risk unravelling her. I love Nico, as a character. And seeing this real in-depth exploration of her, and why she’s there, what this means to her… all I can say is there is a bond between these characters that I think works wonders for the story.

We’re also introduced to the type of character that I always laughingly say is ‘my type’. A very elaborately dressed, morally-grey character. This, by the name of Sparrow. I pinpoint this character just because there is something about his characterisation (I will give no spoilers, you will have to read it for yourselves) that I think is absolute genius. Rachel Aaron, well done.

Along with Eli’s quips and the lighthearted stance these books often take to their storytelling, we begin to see a lot more of the true seriousness of this world. Demons, worlds falling apart, spirits, forces. It’s a quick read, and worth it.

So, again, fantasy fans… take a look. Rachel Aaron does a lot of fun things with her work, and personally I’m still looking forward to receiving the rest of this series. I’ve been waiting so so long, dammit. It’s time.

As a final edit, for anyone who is interested, at the time of writing this blog post I am 16,126 words into the novel I am currently working on, Alternate. This is beginning to feel like the last draft I will do, but I’ve said that before… Once I have done this, I will have to look for beta-readers. But for now, I am simply well on my way to completion.

-K Hart

Trick of the Light – Rob Thurman

So I said I’d start doing book reviews, and since I read this and loved it so much…

To be fair, I started off a touch biased. I read Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series and loved it, particularly Robin Goodfellow. Also, I’m THAT PERSON. Give me ANYTHING based on mythology from any culture, and immediately you’ve got an ‘in’. Demons, angels, gods, mythical creatures, bring it on. That’s my thing.  Kevin Hearne is another of my favourite authors that do this.

So when I got this book and the sequel, ‘The Grimrose Path’ as a gift in the holidays, I knew I was getting somewhere.

Trixa, a Las Vegas bar owner with the typical badass attitude often reserved for male characters, is the sort of person you have to look up to. And laugh with, too. Watching women kick ass? You go, uhh… girl. In the least patronising way you can ever say that sense (hard, I know).

But for me, as ever, it was slightly more secondary characters I fell in love with. Zeke and Griffin. Zeke, quite frankly, was sort of oddly adorable. With very black and white thinking, he’s sometimes referred to as ‘psychopathic’, which as anyone who knows me will recognise, automatically put me on edge. Mental health wise, he was… not as much of a terrible charicature as I expected. Sure, some things were written oddly, but he was sweet and sympathetic despite that. And very quickly became one of my favourite characters. No joke. He’s on the list now…

Griffin… on the other hand. Bless his heart. I need him in my life. Gun-wielding, faint hints of a downright angelic bearing… Damn this guy. Life goals = Griffin.

So, again for anyone who knows me, all it takes to keep my interest is a character I love. Here, I loved almost all of them.

If I had to say anything against this book it was ‘again with the sexy demon dudes? Really?’, but this is borne from a long history of reading urban fantasy and also my own asexuality. Like, why do I care if the bad guy is attractive? But hey, I’m not going to crap on anyone’s potential fictional guy crushes.

So basically, thanks Rob Thurman. Entertaining, and definitely added to my bookshelves!

-K Hart