Soulless – Gail Carriger Review

Progress on Alternate: Well, I’m taking part in PitchWars… anyone on my Twitter may have noticed…

Current Review:

This is an odd one for me to talk about, because I REALLY LIKE Gail Carriger’s work in general. I just shouldn’t. There’s a high level of… shall we say, romantic entanglement in her work that often makes me uncomfortable. No one’s fault, it just is. In fact, the story itself is part romance so OF COURSE it should be expected. I’m just not entirely settled with reading such descriptions, however politely worded they are.

But something in them makes up for it. There’s such wit. And of course, dandies. Give me all of the dandies, all of the time. I love the strong female lead, the sarcasm, even the irritated Scottish werewolf. I love how she’s taken one of the periods of history that, as much as I adore it, is OFTEN used and spoken about, and given it a new twist. Not to mention how her world, in which the supernatural mingles with the known world, is so well-constructed. Give me vampires out in the open. I love that. Polite, organised vampires and werewolves transforming in the streets. Why not? Not to mention the novel begins with Alexia making use of a parasol as a weapon. Parasols are ALWAYS appropriate weapons. I regularly carry one myself, though mine is not really sharp enough to do any damage.

Anyway, I had to talk about it. I think, ignoring my general squeamishness around romance, I would fall completely in love with these books. And perhaps those of you sans that discomfort will do so.

-K Hart

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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