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review 2016-05-28 10:00
Wet (Elemental Series Book 1) by Rose Wulf

 

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review 2016-05-17 04:49
Wet (Elemental Series Book 1) by Rose Wulf
Wet (Elemental Series Book 1) - Rose Wulf

Despite the fact that his family’s secret should be kept, Blake Hawke can’t resist telling Brooke about this ability to control water which is a good thing when he suddenly finds himself trying to protect his family and the woman he’s falling in love with from an enemy he never knew he had in this exciting paranormal romance. The author has created a fascinating world full of interesting characters with intriguing abilities which Blake uses in some amusing and some sensual ways that add flair and depth to the story. I was completely enamored with Blake and his family and I am looking forward to finding out what happens next.

 

“Copyright Night Owl Reviews”©

 

  

See my full review at:

https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Reviews/Evampire-reviews-Wet-by-Rose-Wulf

 

 

 

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review 2015-12-28 19:48
Magic of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain
Magic of the Gargoyles: An Elemental Fantasy Novella - Rebecca Chastain

I liked this alright. It's quite short (being a novella), ringing in at just under 80 pages. It's quite well-written, though the constant, heavy descriptions of magic use were exhausting at times. Every time Mika - whose name it took me half the novella to learn because this is first person - uses her magic it is described in excruciating detail of threads and weaving and whatnot. There are books like Harry Potter, which basically say "magic happened and it was quite difficult," and there are books like Eragon which wax poetic about how the magic happened. Note that the use of Eragon here is not at all related to the plot of this novella, which is not Star Wars in Middle Earth.

The plot is quite good, though it seems to be middle grade. Or at least, it had that feeling to me, as there weren't any real consequences for the protagonist. In fact, I think this storyline would work really well with some neat illustrations for the MG crowd! It is dark at times, but no more dark than Legend of Korra, which was allegedly a show for children.

Unfortunately, fantasy worlds with guns are not something I can get behind without suspending literally all belief. It's like walking into a Michael Bay film - you go for the explosions, and try your hardest to pretend there is a plot (again, do not confuse this with criticism of the novella's plot). This goes double due to the amount of focus Mika has to put into using magic at all. If magic seemed to be instinctual and reactive, then guns wouldn't seem out of the question. As it stands, the danger doesn't seem real, because there are no consequences for anything. The Joker dangles Batman off a cliff but doesn't drop him because without Batman he has nothing else to do. You know the protagonist won't get shot because the story isn't over yet. Guns, in my opinion, work far better as a tension device in films, and even then it's iffy when nobody ever gets shot. They feel more like set dressing than what they are, which is a hair trigger death.

Double marks for not ending on a cliffhanger. It's gotten to the point where a cliffhanger will make me set a series aside nine times out of ten. It's cheap.

In all, I did like this, though I do strongly feel that this would work better for a middle grade audience due to the utter lack of consequence. Then again, I like my characters amoral and my plots bleak. If you are one for a happy ending, this novella will delight you to no end, and don't let me Grinch all over your happiness.

Solid 3/5.

Thank you to the author, who provided a review e-copy to me in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2013-12-12 13:03
Early Review: The Spider by Jennifer Estep
The Spider - Jennifer Estep

I’ve often wondered about Gin’s early days and how she learned how to be one of the most lethal assassins in the Ashland area. The Spider goes back 10 years as we watch a young Gin Blanco go after her first target.

 

The story begins in the present when a mysterious package arrives. When Gin finally opens the package (after checking for magic, explosives, and explosive magics), she finds a bouquet of black roses inside with a cryptic “Happy Anniversary” message. Only one person would send Gin those roses and Gin begins to reminisce.

 

Gin tells the story of her first hit on the Vaughn family. Gin was still living with Fletcher and was learning her trade from The Tin Man himself. Finn provided the financial background and assisted during fight training. When Fletcher is approached for the hit, something just doesn’t feel right, but Gin continues to tail her mark.

 

What follows is the story of Gin’s early days when she was younger and more naïve. Gin gave her heart easily to Sebastian Vaughn, the son of her target. It was nice seeing a happy and more care-free Gin. As an added bonus, many of the supporting characters from the present day series appear in cameo roles. Owen appears as a knight in shining armor (well, he had a car and he was in the right place at the right time). Gin even meets a young girl who was a dead ringer for Bria.

 

You can really see the growth in Gin’s character from this book. Gin is young and more impulsive. She really wants to prove herself. Now she is much more meticulous and takes the time to properly research her marks.

 

The writing is kind of fun. The author likes to describe everything, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you may want to skip this series. Gin likes to cook and some passages read like recipes. Have a snack ready as you read. I wish the author would go ahead and publish the Pork Pitt cookbook already. There is still a lot of repetition of eye colors but that’s just the charm of this series. The story is good and it should keep the reader engaged.

 

The Elemental Assassins series is full of magic, corrupt officials, and really good barbecue. If you have not yet had a chance to start this series, give it a try. Gin is one kickass heroine.

 

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/early-review-the-spider-by-jennifer-estep
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review 2013-12-05 04:30
The Emperor's Knife by Mazarkis Williams
The Emperor's Knife (Tower and Knife) - Mazarkis Williams

I started reading this during my vacation, figuring that it was different enough from my other vacation reads that I wouldn't get everything confused. One review I read described it as being like George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, except set in a fantasy Middle Eastern world. Unfortunately, although some of the magic and political intrigue was interesting, it turned out to be a bit of a slog. I couldn't connect with the characters and had trouble caring about what was going on around them.

The politics and character relationships were complicated. Years ago, when Emperor Tahal was in power, everything was better. When he died, someone (maybe Tahal himself? I can't remember) arranged for all of Tahal's sons to be killed by Eyul, the Emperor's Knife, in order to avoid future power struggles. The only ones spared were Beyon, who became the next emperor, and Sarmin, who was locked up for the rest of his life, in case he was ever needed (fantastic idea, right?). In the book's present, Beyon has become a respected but sometimes brutal emperor. By his command, anyone found to have been patterned (mysterious pattern marks spontaneously appeared on their skin) is put to death. However, there are rumors that Beyon himself has the pattern marks and may eventually become a Carrier, a dead shell used as a tool by the Pattern Master.

I was a little confused about who was trying to accomplish what, and how. I think Nessaket, Beyon's mother, was doing whatever she had to in order to remain the most powerful woman in the palace, but she also potentially cared for her sons...maybe. Tuvaini was definitely trying to overthrow Beyon, put himself in power, and claim Nessaket as his wife (he seemed to both lust after her and hate her). Eyul wanted to serve the empire but wasn't sure whose orders would best help him do that. Sarmin would have done anything to protect his brother. Mesema, Sarmin's future bride, just wanted to figure out what was going on, learn what the patterns meant, and stay alive. I think I followed all that well enough, but I couldn't always keep the assassination attempts and reasons behind them straight.

It probably didn't help that there wasn't a single character I really cared about. There were some characters I liked more than others, and yet it didn't upset me at all when a couple of those characters died (don't worry, no spoilers). Of them all, Sarmin probably appealed to me the most, but having been locked alone in a room for nearly his entire life meant he wasn't the most comfortable of characters. When he first began exploring his magical abilities, I wasn't sure if what he was dealing with was actually magic or if he was as insane as Tuvaini said he was. After all, his advisers were faces he saw in the walls of his room. And he had almost no experience interacting with others. I thought his excitement at the thought of eventually meeting Mesema was nice and kind of sweet, until I realized that he viewed her as something like a present, someone that would belong to him alone.

I wish I could have liked Eyul, Amalya, and Mesema more than I did. Eyul, the world-weary assassin, was fascinating at first. However, he spent much of his time away from the palace, and I had trouble remembering why anything he did was important to the overall story. Some of the reasons why he disappointed me were also tied into my disappointment with Amalya.

Almost across the board, women in this world had little freedom and power. Even Nessaket, the most powerful woman in the palace, couldn't leave the palace grounds. She was powerful because she was the emperor's mother and previous emperor's wife, and, if Tuvaini got his way and became the next emperor, she hoped to stay powerful by becoming his lover. There was no way for her to be powerful that did not involve some sort of connection to a more powerful man.

The only women who had anything resembling power and freedom all their own were mages, and there were only two female mages in the entire book: Amalya and Mura. Mura was mentioned so rarely I had to look up her name just to include it in this review. She was the one female character Tuvaini met that he didn't view in terms of her sexual attractiveness to him, primarily because he was uncomfortable with the knowledge that a wind elemental was trapped inside her. Amalya was a much more prominent character than Mura, but unfortunately she didn't amount to much more. She used her fire elemental's magic a little, but it was mostly Eyul's skills that kept them safe. Amalya's greatest skill, it seemed, was cooking, and her primary purpose in the story was to give Eyul someone to fall in love with. She had so much potential, and it was all wasted.

I wanted to like Mesema more than I did, but she kept doing things that annoyed me. She supposedly loved Banreh, a man from her tribe who escorted her to her new home in the Cerani Empire, and yet she frequently insulted him. Years ago, he'd shattered one of his legs and could no longer ride well – not good in a culture that prizes riding skills. Mesema sometimes called him Lame Banreh. At one point, she said “You are barely more than a woman yourself...” (13.5%). Later, she thought of him as a “thrall” not once (41.3%), but twice (45.9%). There was also occasionally some pity in the mix.

And I was supposed to believe she really loved him? Had they interacted more and had Mesema done some groveling, then maybe, but instead I was left feeling like she just latched onto whoever was uppermost in her thoughts. When she wanted to go home, she loved Banreh best. When she was in the thick of things at the palace, Beyon began to attract her. Even though she was there when, earlier, Beyon threatened to kill Banreh.

It's possible that this series gets better, but I doubt I'll ever read the next book. I didn't like the characters enough to risk another slog.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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