Category Archives: paranormal romance

The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr

The Devious Dr. Jekyll is the second book in Viola Carr’s Electric Empire series. I initially picked up the first book in this series, The Diabolical Miss Hyde, because I saw the cover in a bookstore and it looked really cool. The cover for this installment was equally awesome. As the title of the books suggest, they are a play on the story of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. Main character Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of Henry Jekyll, and because Dr. Jekyll was using his infamous elixir when Eliza was, *ahem* conceived, Eliza has what you could call a split personality. Her “other half” so to speak is Lizzie Hyde.

**This review will contain some mild spoilers for the The Diabolical Miss Hyde.**

devious dr jekyll coverEliza is a well-respected female doctor who often helps the police solve their cases and who dates the dashingly handsome Captain Lafayette. Captain Lafayette works for the Royal Society, a group dedicated to wiping out everything even remotely supernatural in England. This should include Eliza, which makes their relationship a bit tricky – until Lizzie discovered Captain Lafayette has his own secret – he’s a werewolf. Eliza and Lafayette mutually decide to keep each other’s secrets, but their relationship remains complicated. Lizzie meanwhile is not just another personality. When Eliza drinks her elixir – or Lizzie breaks out on her own – her whole body changes, down to her hair color. She looks completely different, wears different sized dresses, and speaks with a different accent. Adding complication to Eliza’s relationship with Captain Lafayette is the small matter of Lizzie sleeping with him, and continuing to harbor feelings for him after he tells her he loves Eliza only and can’t be with her anymore. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a love triangle or not, haha.

These books are interesting reads for me, because most of the books I really like I enjoy because I can become emotionally invested in the characters. I don’t particularly like Eliza Jekyll or Lizzie Hyde. Eliza is too proper, and she makes some outrageously stupid decisions for a person smart enough to become a doctor. Lizzie is more crude than I can handle. The plot is good though. In this novel, Eliza and Captain Lafayette are searching for a murderer who is killing his victims using a horrifying ritual. I like steampunk novels, and I think Eliza’s talking mechanical dog is adorable and a nice touch by the author. So far, the books are fine.

Now here’s the part that really makes me want to read these novels: Viola Carr’s imagery is SPECTACULAR. I should have made notes of some specific examples, but of course I didn’t think of that at the time, and now the book is back at the library. The one moment I remember because it was so brilliant was Carr’s description of the sunlight as “gritty.” There was much more to the description of the scene than just this one word, but this stuck with me, because while it is not a word you generally associate with the sun, I understood exactly what she meant. Every single one of her descriptions is this perfect. It really takes her story writing to the next level, and it inspires me to make my own writing even better.

Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to fans of steampunk, the supernatural, and really brilliant imagery. The third book in the series, The Dastardly Miss Lizzie, was just published in April and I looking forward to reading it.

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

discovery-of-witchesDiana, scholar of history and alchemy and reluctant witch, is working in the Oxford library when she discovers a very magical book. Having spent most of her life denying her powers, Diana ignores the book and tries to go about her life. But Diana’s contact with the book has attracted the attention of the rest of the magical creatures, including witches, daemons, and one very powerful and attractive vampire, Matthew de Clermont. Witches and vampires have been mortal enemies for as long as anyone can remember, but Diana has no choice but to work with Matthew if she wants to stay safe while she figures out what’s so special about the book and why everyone is after her.

I liked this book because it was so different from what I had been reading, lots of long high fantasy books with complex worlds and magic and I needed something lighter. This book was an interesting take on magic and magical creatures. The story takes place in present day all over the world–England, France, and New York. Witches are powerful beings who can control several different kinds of powers, although it appears each generation of witches is less powerful than the ones before. Vampires are immortal blood-drinkers, generally considered evil and hated by the witches. We don’t learn much about daemons, aside from the fact that they are brilliant, into the arts, and typically go insane. Most importantly, the 3 species of creatures hate each other and never almost interact.

These distinct lines between creatures begin to blur when Diana begins working with dangerous and infamous vampire Matthew to figure out why the book Ashmole 782 is special and why every creature on the planet (except Diana) is interested in it. While working together, Diana and Matthew eventually fall in love, causing even more problems because relationships between different creatures are strictly forbidden. Naturally, this makes all the search for answers even more important and makes even more creatures hate and want to destroy both Diana and Matthew.

While I did enjoy this book, and really sympathized with Diana and Matthew and thought their relationship was interesting and well developed, the plot was tricky. It started out about the mysterious alchemy book, then became about Diana and Matthew’s relationship, then became about Diana learning more about her past, and then a secret and ancient society of vampires became involved, and then it was about Diana learning to control her powers she had been ignoring since she was a child and…. I’m sure I’m missing something. Probably several somethings. Knowing this book is part of a trilogy, I’m sure some of this information could have waited. It was too much. By the end of the novel, I had almost completely forgotten about the mysterious book that started it all, and if I wasn’t so interested in the characters (including all of the “side” characters, who I was equally interested in) I may have given up. I still intend to read the next book, Shadow of Night, but I am hoping it will stay on point and not wander quite so much.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for fans of urban fantasy and magic who also have an interest in history. I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as “historical fiction” but I did enjoy the mentions of history and secret societies.

Happy reading!

-Branwen

Tempt the Stars by Karen Chance

This review will contain spoilers for the 5th book in the Cassandra Palmer series, Hunt the Moon. If you haven’t read it, don’t read this review!

For real, I’m about to reveal the ending of Hunt the Moon. Here it comes.

Hunt the Moon ended on this epic cliffhanger. Cassie was dying, and Pritkin used his demon powers to save her life. This violated Pritkin’s agreement with his demon-lord father Rosier, and he was immediately taken to the hell dimension, never allowed to return. This doesn’t fly with Cassie, who is furious that Pritkin sacrificed his freedom for her, and immediately shifts off to save him.

tempt the stars coverTempt the Stars picks up almost immediately where Hunt the Moon left off. Cassie is searching for a way to help Pritkin, only it’s tricky because she has no idea how to even get to hell. Cassie spends most of the book whining about missing Pritkin, and running around trying to find a way to save him. She even goes back in time and gets Pritkin to help her find her mother, the goddess Athena, in the past so she can save Pritkin in the future. Talk about confusing. It felt like this book kept leading up to something and never quite got there.

As usual with Cassandra Palmer novels, and actually all the Karen Chance, novels, this book was action-packed and never slowed down. There were some crazy new sorts of magic we hadn’t seen in this world before. And we finally got to meet Cassie’s father. The bad news was, Mircea was almost totally absent from this novel, except for this one weird fantasy shower sex scene. And (don’t hate me) as much as I like Pritkin, I am firmly in the Cassie-and-Mircea camp, especially after reading the Dorina Basarab novels. I really wanted to read more Cassie and Mircea together (and honestly, just more Mircea in general) and I was super disappointed that he was barely mentioned. And then, the ending of this book was no better than the ending of Hunt the Moon. It wasn’t even that I minded that it was sort of a cliffhanger, that’s pretty much to be expected from these books. But it felt like nothing changed from the ending of the last book. There was almost no point to this story at all, from my perspective. I liked it because it was a Cassie Palmer novel, but I didn’t like it because I almost got the feeling nothing happened.

Long wait for a disappointing book. I hope the next one, whenever it comes out, is better, and has more Mircea!

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

OnceBurnedI love the back-of-the-book summaries for paranormal romance novels. They are always so dramatic. Anyway, I read this book partly on the recommendation of Liza Barrett over at Classy Cat Books and partly because Vlad is one of my favorite characters from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost and I desperately wanted to read more about him. I have to admit, this book was not what I expected.

The book was told from the POV of Leila. Leila is a young woman (I could never quite figure out how old she was, which bugged me. I thought she was like, 18, and then at other times she acted more like 26. I can’t explain why this was such a problem for me, but it was). After a gruesome accident when she was a teenager, Leila mysteriously gains the power to channel electricity and also read other people’s past and sometimes their future with a touch. Maybe someone can explain to me how touching a downed power line can imbue someone with psychic powers because I couldn’t figure it out. I was able to buy in the channeling electricity thing. But seeing the future AND also being able to “link minds” with other people was a huge stretch for me. This bummed me out, because she was a cool character with a no nonsense attitude that I appreciated and enjoyed. I did think her attitude and reactions to some things was a little stereotypical and I got a “it’s been done feeling” but otherwise she was decently written.

I wish parts of this book would have been told from Vlad’s perspective. We get a very few glimpses into his memories from Leila’s weird power, but that didn’t tell us much. All the descriptions from Leila were colored by her trying to figure out whether or not she was in love with him. It wasn’t very creatively done, and I didn’t feel like I got to know Vlad any better than I already knew him from the Night Huntress books. He didn’t seem like the same character as he did in those books either. I was expecting a bit more of a sense of humor and less evil-vampire type-casting. Seemed a little overdone to me.

The cameo by Cat, Bones and company was a nice touch but didn’t make much sense. It didn’t help me understand where in the Night Huntress timeline this book fit in (I guess after Night Huntress book 6? I don’t remember if Leila was mentioned in that book or not). Seemed like Frost just threw the cameo in because she felt like she had to. I would have liked more interaction between Leila and Cat. That would have been interesting.

I feel like I spent this entire review complaining haha, but I did like this book. It was action packed and I did like the way Frost added parts of the Dracula and Vlad the Impaler legends, including actual locations that exist in real life. I’m definitely going to read the next book in this series, because even though I didn’t love this book I still can’t get enough of Vlad. I just hope he’s a little more interesting in the next book Twice Tempted.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. But so far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing… 

furys-kiss-coverDory is used to fighting hard and nasty. So when she wakes up in a strange scientific lab with a strange man standing over her, her first instinct is to take his head off. Luckily, the man is actually the master vampire Louis-Cesare, so he’s not an easy kill.

It turns out that Dory had been working with a Vampire Senate task force on the smuggling of magical items and weaponry out of Faerie when she was captured and brought to the lab. But when Louis-Cesare rescues her, she has no memory of what happened to her.

To find out what was done to her—and who is behind it—Dory will have to face off with fallen angels, the maddest of mad scientists, and a new breed of vampires that are far worse than undead…

Fury’s Kiss is the third installment in the Dorina Basarab series by Karen Chance. I’ll be honest, I read these books because I am absolutely in love with the Cassandra Palmer series, and I like these extra visits with Mircea and Louis-Cesare. They keep me hanging on while I wait for the next Cassandra Palmer book to come out. Which, by the way, came out at the beginning of the month, Tempt the Stars, Cassandra Palmer #6. But since I am not a book buyer, more of a get-books-from-the-library-er, I haven’t been able to snag a copy yet. Hopefully soon! Anyways back to the current book. 

I stole the summary from Goodreads because after reading this book I’m still not entirely sure what happened. I mean, I know Dory was in it. And she was struggling with keeping her “vampire half” under control. And there were lots of portals involved–the kind that went to Faerie, and the kind that connected various places in the vampire world, including the ones in Dory’s house. The house she shared with her half-fey roommate Claire, who is some sort of royalty, and is in trouble because of her royal son and what he’s supposed to inherit. Or not inherit, I wasn’t really sure about that part. Dory’s father Mircea showed up every once in awhile too, to tell Dory to stay away from the vampire problem, and also to use his master vampire powers to read Dory’s mind and figure out what she knows that can help the vampires win their war. So, you can see, this book was a little confusing. There was just way too much happening. I couldn’t keep it all straight. On top of the 497 plot points, a new race of characters, the Irin who claim to be fall angels, was introduced. For no reason that I could discern. I’ll admit, I did read part of this book at night in bed when I was sleepy. But I certainly wasn’t sleepy enough to lose all powers of reading comprehension. There was just too much to comprehend!

There were some things I liked about this book. We did get to read about Louis-Cesare and Mircea, even though it wasn’t as much as I would have liked. More of Mircea and Dory’s past was revealed, and how hard Mircea worked to keep Dory safe and protected from those who thought all dhampirs should just be put down, and also from her own mind. We even saw Dory become closer to Mircea, despite her best intentions and efforts. There were some impression fight scenes in this book, too. Again, the problem was almost the entire book was fight scenes. Some of them rambled on a bit and didn’t make much sense. I was also sort of bored with them by the end, and just wanted to get to the point and find out who the bad guy was. 

This was not my favorite Karen Chance book, but it did get me excited for the next Cassandra Palmer book, which I hope to get my hands on soon. And while I’m excited to read more about Cassie and Pritkin, I have to say the Dorina books have made me love Mircea more. Can’t wait for Tempt the Stars!

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

haunted coverFormer supernatural superpower Eve Levine has broken all the rules. But she’s never broken a promise—not even during the three year’s she’s spent in the afterworld. So, when the Fates call in a debt she gave her word she’d pay, she has no choice but to comply.

For centuries one of the ghost world’s wickedest creatures has been loosed on humanity, thwarting every attempt to retrieve her. Now it has fall to Eve to capture this demi-demon known as the Nix, who inhabits the bodies of would-be killers, compelling them to complete their deadly acts. It’s a mission that becomes all too personal when the Nix targets those Eve loves most — including Savannah, the daughter she left on earth. But can a renegade witch succeed where a host of angels have failed?

Haunted is the fifth book in the Women of the Otherworld series. I go back and forth about whether or not I like this series, mostly depending on which character is the lead in the particular book I am reading. I didn’t like Elena the werewolf so very much, but I definitely liked the witch Paige. I actually put off reading Haunted for awhile because I didn’t think I would like Eve Levine. We met Eve briefly in other novels, but all we really knew about her was that she was teenager Savannah’s mother, a half-demon who essentially went “to the dark side” of witch craft and died because of it. She popped up at the end of book four, when she made a bargain with the Fates in the Underworld (easy for her to do, being a ghost and all) to save the lives of the guardians of her daughter, Paige and Lucas. That bargain gets her in her current mess, where she is sent by the Fates to track down an evil demon who is causing humans to commit terrible (and often serial) murders.

The good news is I ended up liking Eve much more than I thought I would. While she was one of “those” characters who never followed any rules, she wasn’t overtly obnoxious about being a rebel. It didn’t get on my nerves that she was never doing what she was told.  Eve also had a good sense of humor and the ability to have revelations about herself that led her to make good decisions. I also enjoyed Kristof. Kristof, one-time lover of Eve and father of Savannah, was a sorcerer and leader of one of the evil Cabals in life, but now works as a lawyer in the Underworld, and spends his free time trying to end Eve’s obsession with Savannah. He desperately wants a relationship with Eve, and works hard to help her and keep her safe while trying to prove she needs to let go of her old life and accept him as part of her new life. I liked Kristof, and I liked watching his and Eve’s relationship grow.

The ghost world was pretty cool in this book. As a ghost, Eve still had all the witch, sorcerer and demon powers she had in life. She also had the ghostly abilities to walk through solid objects and teleport. She was not the sort of ghost who could effect anything in the living world (the insurmountable problem in the way of her being able to take care of Savannah, which we hear about probably more than was really necessary). I think this is the first paranormal book I have read that was actually told from a ghost’s point of view. Oh wait, no its not, Ghost Story by Jim Butcher is also told from a ghost’s POV. OK, so it’s the second ghost-narrated book I have read. Point is, it’s not something you read very often which was cool.

My only real gripe with the book was that it started out pretty slow. Lots of running around trying to figure out how to solve the problem, rather than take any action to solve the problem. Once the action arrived though, it was great. There is a second where Eve must enter a hell dimension to gather information about the demon she is chasing. Those were some very scary scenes when Eve is running from and fighting creepy murdering psychopaths. The lack of action in the first half of the book was definitely made up for by that point. My other gripe was that we barely saw any characters we met in the previous books. Some were mentioned (like Savannah) and the necromancer Jaime popped up a few times, but that was all. I missed Paige, and even Elena a little bit. Leads me to wonder if this book and Eve’s story is really important in the grand scheme of the series. I guess I will find out when I read the next book.

This was a good urban fantasy/paranormal romance, so if you’re into that genre you will like it. It was nothing mind-blowing or exceptionally special though. You don’t have the read the first four books in the series to enjoy this one (though I would strongly recommend reading those first four books in order, whether you read them before this one or not). Next up in the series is Broken, book six.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

this side of the grave coverCat and Bones are back in the fifth installment of the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, and they and all their friends are getting into trouble once more. I had been ages since I read a Night Huntress novel…so long I hadn’t realized TWO new books had been published without my noticing. (Shame on me!) I enjoyed this one so much I’m sad I waited so long to read it.

Cat and Bones are drawn into a conflict that effects (affects? I think I was right the first time…) the entire undead portion of the supernatural community (which, now that I think about it, might be the entire supernatural community. At this moment, I can’t recall any mention of weres or shifters or any kind of witch or fae characters in this series, but I could be mis-remembering). Tension is mounting between vampires and ghouls as a far-too-over-zealous ghoul Apollyon riles up the rest of his race and tries to spark a species war. Knowing a war between vampires and ghouls would not only decimate both of those populations, but cause plenty of trouble for mortals as well, Bones and Cat vow to figure out what’s going on and stop Apollyon before its too late.

Not only was this an interesting story (most supernatural novels don’t deal with ghouls very often) but leading lady Cat grew as a character. She learned things about herself through the past four novels, and even tried to teach those things to others. She was a heroine who actually came out and said something to the effect of “Going off on your own is never the answer, even when it seems like you have really good reasons to do it.” I almost applauded. Main characters making the same mistakes and stupid decisions over and over gets extremely tedious (Rachel Morgan, anyone?) The supporting cast in these novels is excellent as well. I believe there are some companion novels I have missed, in addition to not realizing books 5 and 6 came out, since two of Bones’s vampire friends acquired girlfriends since the last book. Mencheres, two-thousand year old Egyptian vampire is a favorite of mine. Just being very very old and Egyptian would endear him to me, and he gets badass powers on top of that, and Cat likes him. I like Vlad too, who we find out is the reason for the Dracula legends. Somehow Frost manages to write him as scary in a very sexy way, which I love.

Speaking of which, Frost writes some really excellent sex scenes. Yes, they are gratuitous, but honestly, isn’t that why we’re reading them? I mean, even if it’s not the only reason, it’s definitely a perk.

I’m looking forward to reading more about Cat and Bones (and hopefully Vlad) in One Grave at a Time, Night Huntress #6!

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

This book was recommended to me by a librarian friend, one of the best kind of friends to have if you read like crazy, which I do. We were lamenting the fact that so many paranormal romances tend to be written to a “form,” and don’t have enough plot or interesting happenings to make up for it. She promised me this series was not like that, so I went out and tried it, and she was right!

slave to sensation coverSascha Duncan is a Psy–a young woman born to a race with incredible mental powers but no emotions. She knows if anyone finds out she is “flawed,” and has been hiding the fact that she has been feeling emotions since childhood, she will be sent to “rehabilitation,” Psy-speak for brain death that will leave her unable to function. Her world is already beginning to fall apart, when she meets Lucas Hunter, changeling and alpha of the local leopard pack. Changelings hate the Psy, holding their entire race responsible for the serial murders of several young changeling women. Sascha meets Lucas when they are forced to work together for a business deal, but soon Sascha begins to feel a definitely illegal attraction to Lucas which she knows could be the death of her. Meanwhile Lucas, despite knowing he is supposed to be using Sascha to learn about the murdered, realizes there is something unique about her, and vows to get to the bottom of why this Psy is so different from the rest, and why he is falling desperately in love with her.

I really liked the Psy race in this novel. I haven’t read anything like them before. A race with incredible psychic powers, like telepathy and telekinesis, that chooses to  train the emotions right out of their children, and eventually creates an entirely race of people that don’t feel anything. (Reminded me a little of Vulcans, except creepier, what with their constant telepathic connection to the rest of their race–talk about lack of privacy!–oh and their propensity to become serial killers.) I can’t imagine not feeling emotions, or knowing if I did feel them I would be destroyed by my own family. Trying to put myself in Sascha’s shoes really made me like her and sympathize with her plight. To hide your emotions for so long and then suddenly have so many new ones all at once must be overwhelming, and the book definitely read that way. Believable and intriguing in a way that kept my attention.

Lucas and the changeling race were believable well-written too. I have read tons of novels with were and changelings, so I understand how difficult it must be for an author to come up with news ideas when you want characters that change into animals in your novel. I liked the variety of changelings in this book (even though we only met a few of them) and how each animal had different personalities and cultures but they all had similarities that connected them as well. Best of all, the two main races put aside their differences to work together, without losing their individuality.

You could say that this book did follow the typical paranormal romance form. Two wildly different paranormals meet, want to fall in love but experience extreme conflicts and irreconcilable differences that almost end their relationship before it starts, but then (almost magically) everything comes together and they all live happily ever after. But I didn’t mind, or even really notice, in this book because I was so intrigued by the characters and their desperate attempt to stop a Psy serial killer–which Sascha didn’t even believe was real at first–before he brutally murders another changeling. See? That sentence alone was probably enough to make you forget the “paranormal romance form.” And I hear (from the librarian friend) that the rest of the series only gets better from here. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Wrayth by Philippa Ballantine

wrayth coverLife continues to get more difficult for Merrick, Sorcha, and Raed in Wrayth, the third installment in the Book of the Order series. Sorcha, one of the most powerful Active Deacons in the Order of the Eye and the Fist has not been able to move or speak since her last battle, and her Sensitive Merrick cannot do anything to help her. Raed–Sorcha’s love and heir to the throne–is missing, and even his crew does not know where he has gone, but his friend Aachon intends to look for him. Aachon does not intend to bring Deacon Sorcha with him, until Sorcha’s former friend Garil pays Aachon to take Sorcha out of the Mother Abbey without informing anyone, including Merrick, who she cannot contact. They escape onto an airship and begin looking for Raed. Merrick is trying to help Grand Duchess Zofiya with suspicious men in the palace, and is not in the Abbey when Sorcha is secreted away in the night. Meanwhile, Raed is searching for his sister in the Shin palace far away from Vermillion and the Mother Abbey. The Rossin, the geistlord who lives inside him and occasionally transforms him into a beast, is now sharing head-space with Raed and conversing with him, helping Raed and helping himself at the same time. They find Raed’s sister, but find something much more devious in the Shin palace. Somehow, Sorcha, Merrick, and Raed must come together to save the empire from enemies both new and old, while protecting each other from the evil around them and the evil inside them as well.

I love this series. The world building is excellent, and Raed, Merrick, and Sorcha all make for excellent leading characters. I especially like Sorcha, a strong-willed female leading character who learns difficult, tragic things about herself, but picks herself up and uses what she learns to help her friends. Merrick stands by her through all of it, keeping her grounded, and using his own powers and intelligence to fight. Raed is probably the character that changes the most in this novel I think. Although it could also be said it’s not so much Raed that changes, as it is the Rossin inside him developing his own voice. To stay alive, Raed had to allow the Rossin more control over him. The Rossin can speak to him, even carry on conversations Raed knows nothing about. The reader gets to learn more about the Rossin and geistlords in general, which is cool since they are such a big part of the novel. We learn the Rossin has his own agenda, and is much more powerful than anyone else realizes. I am very interested to see what happens next with him.

Like most series, this one gets more complex as it goes along. Sometimes by the third book in a series, things get too complicated and I lose interest because I can no longer follow the main points. That didn’t happen in this book. A LOT of things changed, and the next book will be very different, but this book was a good turning point. I know that was exceptionally vague, but I don’t want to give anything away. This one is too much fun to read for yourself for me to spoil it. I think the series is only going to get better from here.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Kalder Mar is a grifter, thief, and agent of the Mirror. He lives in Andrianglia along with his cousin Cerise Mar and her changeling husband William, who were offered sanctuary by the Mirror once they ended the fued between the Mars and another family in the Mire. Unfortunately, the feud managed to attract the attention of the Hand, Louisiana’s secret service. Kaldar hopes to gain his revenge against the Hand for the death of several of his family members by working for the Mirror. Kaldar’s skill as a negotiator, and when negotiating fails, a thief–make him the perfect agent to recover items stolen from the West Egyptians. It doesn’t sound like a difficult job until he meets Audrey Callahan. Audrey is a professional grifter, born into a family of con-artists and practicing her special magical talent to open any lock. Without realizing what she was getting herself into, she helped steal the items that Kaldar is trying to recover–items dangerous enough to start a magical war. Adding to her difficulties is Audrey’s terrible family: a drug addict brother who tried to sell her for drugs, a mother who disappeared, and a father who only cares about fixing his son. Audrey doesn’t want anything to do with the magical world, and certainly not with Kaldar. But they must work together to stop a disaster that will affect everyone.

FatesEdge coverFate’s Edge is the third book in husband-and-wife-team Ilona Andrew’s The Edge series. My favorite part of this book was definitely how involved Jack and George were in the story. We met Jack and George back in the first Edge novel, On the Edge. Jack is a changeling who can turn into a lynx at will, and doesn’t quite understand human emotions. George is a powerful necromancer struggling with being an “Edger” in the “Weird” where bloodlines and etiquette are everything. Scared that Jack will be sent away to a military school, Jack and George stow away on Kaldar’s wyvern when he leaves on his mission, and are forced to tag along since Kaldar cannot bring them home. Jack and George are so dynamic and interesting, and it’s so much fun to watch them grow up and learn about each other and life. They have tough lives and a strong bond as brothers. We have been waiting since we first met them to learn more about them, and I hope they have a large role in the next book as well.

I also liked the cameo appearance Cerise and William made in this novel. They were the heroes of the second Edge novel, Bayou Moon. I was very emotionally invested in their story, and was disappointed when I discovered they weren’t the main characters of the next book. I realize I haven’t really mentioned Kaldar and Audrey, the main characters of THIS book. This isn’t because I didn’t like them, but more because I just didn’t connect with them the same way I connected with Cerise and William. I did like Kaldar, but not so much Audrey. I can’t really say why, there wasn’t anything wrong with her, I just wasn’t emotionally invested in her life or problems. The plot was alright, and the enemies were the very special extra kind of evil Ilona Andrews reserves for the Hand in these Edge novels. But I was really reading this book more for the side characters than the main ones. We’ll see what happens in the next (and I think last?) Edge book.

Happy reading,

-Branwen