Bridget O’Malley’s temper has always been trouble. It’s made her the black sheep of the family, cost her customers at her bar, and ruined relationships, but it has never put her life in danger. That is until she tries to rescue her cousin from a demon summoning cult. In picking a fight with one of Chicago’s most powerful witches, Bridget finds her bar being picketed, her witch’s license suspended, and demons on her trail. Annoyed and afraid Bridget uses the only weapon at her disposal to get her life back to normal: her temper.
Why did I pick this up?: Urban fantasy is my jam, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
Good points: Interesting premise and world-building. It’s clear she’s done a lot of work on this novel and it shows. I also really like the idea of a heroine with faults – her temper – rather than the usual female main characters we get that are perfect.
Quibbles: I just… didn’t notice anything special. I really wanted to, but it didn’t really hook me. I wish I could have connected to the characters a little more, or at least found something within the plot that I just HAD to know more about. But honestly, I could have taken it or left it, and that’s a shame when an author has done such hard work to produce a book.
Overview (TL;DR): A novel with a lot of work put into it, but that didn’t manage to hook me.
With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.
But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.
Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.
But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart…
Why did I pick this up?: Honestly? I heard the word ‘jinni’ and I was in. Thieves, magic, jinni stuff… All immediate pick-ups for me. A definite interest.
Good points: It did all of what I expected and more. F/F relationship? YES PLEASE. It was so cute, too. At times it got a little trope-y, but that was all part of its charm. Magical creatures, sirens, werewolves, magicians, all looking for this jinni and the vase some girl thief picked up by accident. It read a little like a modern fairytale – perfect.
Quibbles: Like I said above, sometimes it got a little trope-y. I also lost the plot of it a couple of times and missed out on the smaller details. But other than that, a very good read with a very sweet story.
Overview (TL;DR): Cute, with a properly explored f/f relationship, modern fairytale vibes from this book. Worth a read.
Progress on Alternate: Well, I’m taking part in PitchWars… anyone on my Twitter may have noticed…
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.
Progress on Alternate: Editing at 15%
For me, Summer Knight (which is the Dresden Files #4 – I haven’t got #3 on my shelf, so sue me) is where Jim Butcher really begins to get into his stride. Faery Courts, werewolves, a well-established world. This is where these books begin to read less like mildly supernatural crime procedurals and more like the great urban fantasy that they are.
The plot becomes tighter, but still more interesting. The writing develops. These are why I still have these books. Because as time goes on, Jim Butcher seems to only get better and better.
Not to mention the fun of Faerie politics and the increasing number of smart-ass remarks. I’ve always been a sucker for characters with a smart mouth… maybe because I have to rein in my own smart mouth once in a while.
Also, no one can ignore that this ends with: Lord, what fools these mortals be. One of perhaps the most accurate phrases ever put to paper.
I rarely encourage people to start part way through a series. It feels wrong to me. I don’t even like having incomplete series’ (like this one, ironically) on my shelf. But for me this is definitely always a case of reading the first few books in order to get to the later ones. But I think even with that, it’s worth it.
Progress on Alternate: Editing at 11%
The Dresden Files #2: Harry Dresden and the War of the Werewolves.
There’s something similar about a lot of books in the Dresden Files series. They have this… key murder case, just like a detective novel, that has some sort of supernatural explanation. Then Dresden irritates everyone and chaos. That’s pretty much the formula. And it works. I think for me the thing about the series is that after a while it gets boring. I like detective things, but there’s only so much you can do.
With this, with the supernatural element, there’s a little more to play with. But still, reoccurring characters aside the premise of the Dresden Files is a bit like the premise of a detective show. In fact, it would probably make an excellent one.
I feel like in Fool Moon Jim Butcher hasn’t quite fallen into his stride yet. There’s something… missing. But it’s still a nice, quick read for someone that wants a little magic, crime and adventure thrown into their days.