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review 2017-09-07 11:40
Review: Daughter of the Burning City
Daughter of the Burning City - Amanda Foody

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had no idea what to expect with this one, and was pleasantly surprised to find out I completely loved this book. Definitely on my top ten for this year so far. Its premise and characters are so unique and interesting, and it appears to be a stand-alone, which is rare in YA fantasy.

 

This fantasy novel tells the story of Sorina, an illusion worker at the Gommorah travelling circus. Sorina has no eyes but she can see. She creates illusions. The illusions she creates are so real they have become almost as real as real people, to her, they are her family, and together they perform the carnival freak show. Each illusion has it’s own special ability. Sorina has also the adopted daughter of the festival proprietor. She is the heir and will take over running the whole show one day.

 

The festival is travelling across their land, they are from Down Mountain and travelling Up Mountain. The Up Mountain people appear to be the rich snobby people. There’s a war brewing between the two factions hinted at throughout the novel. Sorina’s illusions are being murdered. Each stop a different illusion dies and the novel tells the story of Sorina’s investigation into the Murderers and the truth behind the Gommorah Festival.

 

The writing is incredible, it’s quite a dark fantasy really. Sorina becomes enamoured with another illusion worker – a poison worker, Luca who’s unique talents make him impossible to kill. His show involves festival goers paying to try to kill him. The characters are all so different and well written. The plot is very twisty and impossible to predict. I was very surprised when the truth was revealed.  Sorina learns quite a few shocking home truths as her investigation progresses. The family connection was brilliant, how they all came together, not without drama and plenty of emotion wound through as various family members were brutally murdered.

 

Not a lot to recap as it would be really spoilery. There was hints of a romance but it wasn’t the sole focus of the plot and the characters were all delightfully diverse as well. Really interesting world building as well. A political undercurrent later on as the war brewing takes alarming shape. Morally questionably acts. It was quite violent in parts.

 

Over all it was excellently written. A fantastic read. I loved it so much I bought a finished hardback.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Stories for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-06-13 11:45
Review: The Turn
The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death - Kim Harrison

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Since The Hollows is one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and probably one the series that got me hooked on urban fantasy in the first place, a prequel to the Hollows was a must have. I put in a Netgalley request as soon as I saw it. (Even though I’m only up to book 7 in the series).

 

Though after reading it, I can’t honestly say I liked it all that much. It was okay, somewhere between a two and a three star read for me. The first half of the book was full of science stuff that I found incredibly boring and a slog to get through. I’ve never DNFed a Kim Harrison book before, so series and author love made me determined to finish it.

 

 I found it quite confusing, it didn’t help also that I could have sworn there was a Trent Kalamak in the Rachel Morgan series. It was only when I was reading reviews on Goodreads and saw the questions about this book section that someone else had asked the same thing that was puzzling me. Not the same character, two different characters (though there was a ding! moment towards the end of the book that made me go aaaah, that’s why).

 

One or two familiar characters also popped up, demon Algaliarept (who’s name I can’t pronounce to save my life) was his usual delightfully obnoxious (and somewhat amusing in a snarky way) self and Quen.  One of the vampires makes an appearance towards the end as well.

 

This is all about two dark elf scientists who are fighting it out for funding, Trent and Trisk, both of whom hate each other, Trisk’s created a genetically engineered tomato that will supposedly end third world hunger. Forced to work together each have their own separate agendas. As I said, the first half was all very technical and the two of them playing off each other to get to their own goals. (I had to keep reminding myself this was set in the 60s as well). Favourite classic songs are on the radio as new music.

 

But of course, jealousy rears its ugly head and one thing leads to another, something goes hideously wrong. This resulting in a wide spread disease that nearly wipes out the human race, bringing out the fear and repercussions of a bunch of vampires, witches and other species trying their best to get head of it and survive as well.  While at the same time Trisk and a companion, the Dr who created the virus in the first place, there’s links to her genetic tomato, and Trent trying to keep on top of things.

 

The second half was much more exciting as things went from bad to worse and Trisk and her friends try to fix the problem. There’s something – satisfying is not the word I’d use – but there’s definitely a so that’s how it all happened feeling about now knowing how The Hollows all started, but it’s certainly not a favourite novel. Though I am glad I read it, and would certainly recommend to Hollows fans.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-12-07 11:39
DNF: Cast in Angelfire
Cast in Angelfire: An Urban Fantasy Romance (The Mage Craft Series Book 1) - SM Reine

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Since I can't find an approval request email (I always save those so I can thank the publisher when I finish) I wonder if I got this one as a read it now. I really can't remember.

Unfortunately, this is one for the DNF list. Didn't capture my attention at all and after 21% I don't really have any desire to go back and finish it. The world building is confusing, it seems to be dystopia mixed with urban fantasy. For starts there's confusion around the heroine's age, it states in the blurb she's eighteen, but there are several references to the start of the book that peg her as seventeen. This could be because she's got no memory and no one really seems to be able to identify her. But it still didn't sit right with me that the text says one thing and the blurb says another, though I'm not interested in the actual plot enough to find out one way or another.

The novel starts with the premise of two assassins hunting a girl with a huge bounty on her head. Paranormal creatures are clearly part of the every day norm for the world this book is set in. The girl kicks their asses easily with some sort of super powers. Then the next thing we know she's waking up in hospital with no memory of how she got there.

Another thing I found confusing is that the heroine claims at one point when she wakes up in hospital that she only speaks French, and the doctor who helps her uses a translator app to speak to her. Smart! Though she seems to develop a very quick attachment to this doctor. She won't let the nurses help or take any blood or do any of her lab work - this one doctor only! She seems very blunt for someone with no memory and seems to think she can order people about. The doctors and nurses are clearly used to treating paranormal beings.  I just didn't like this girl. There's clearly still a bounty on her, the cute doctor helps her escape and unless I missed something (which is entirely possible because this novel annoyed me so much I didn't pay that much attention to it) she and the doctor seem to be conversing in English. One minute she can only speak French and then suddenly English?

Don't buy it. And don't have any interest in picking this one up again.

Thank you Netgalley and Red Iris Books, but this one wasn't for me.

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review 2016-05-13 11:40
DNF: Midnight Taxi Tango
Midnight Taxi Tango - Daniel José Older

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Not for me. DNF at page 69. Initially the blurb in this one got my attention, I haven't come across any new adult urban fantasy in a while and this sounded pretty good. I didn't realise that it was the second book in a series (but then again I've gone in on book 7 of urban fantasy series before and just about got the gist of what was going on). I did end up purchasing a copy of the book as well because by the time I got around to reading it, the kindle file I had from netgalley had weird formatting and title had already been archived.

 

It was certainly one of the most creative and diverse urban fantasies I have come across in a long time. Highly original concepts and characters and a brilliant sense of place and setting. Unfortunately, I just don't like it. As good as it is, and brilliantly as it's written it feels like there is far too much going on and I can't seem to connect or get a particular liking for any character enough to continue.

 

So DNFing. Definitely an author I would read again, I already have another book of his to read at some point in the future, but this particular series is not for me.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-01-26 11:32
Review: Truthwitch
Truthwitch - Susan Dennard

There comes a point when I have to just accept that a popular author is just not for me. Truthwitch has been one of the most hyped up books on my book feeds, particularly my twitter feeds since BEA last year. I love the author, I think she's a wonderful person, and I really do admire her social media presence and the time and dedication she has to her fans. She seems like a really lovely person. However, it would appear I just don't get on with her books. This is the second book by the same author that I have found only okay and mediocre at best. Which really sucks when I really want to support the author.

 

I entered every give away I saw for this title, I've had it on pre order since May 2015. I even considered applying to join the street team on this one. The enthusiasm and hype surrounding Truthwitch has been amazing. Now at the point where I have muted everything Truthwitch related from my twitter feed.

 

On finally getting to read it, it would appear I am a black sheep. I did not love this book. I didn't like it much at all really. I will certainly say it's very creative in its characters and world-building. However, the world building I found to be lacking in description and confusing as hell. I didn't get much of a sense of place or any sort of background or history. You're pretty much thrown into the setting and away we go. It's certainly vivid and colourful and definitely original. But, I just didn't connect to any of it.

 

Partly I think because I just could not stand the main character. For most of the novel Safiya drove me up the wall. Didn't like her much. I didn't get invested in the barely there romance much at all. Stepped up quite a bit at the end, but still didn't really work for me much at all. Starting this novel I was under the impression that Safiya's power - she can tell a truth from a lie in anyone - was pretty much the most sort out and desired type of witchery in the novel.

 

However, her power isn't as awesome as it seems. Very early on she looses all her and her friend's money in a card game. Which had eyebrows arching immediately - if your power is to discern who's telling the truth and not surely you should be able to know who's cheating in a card game? Apparently there are ways Safiya's powers can be fooled. (This point does actually come up at some point towards the end of the novel).

 

Certainly fast paced and full of action. I liked most of the supporting cast. Particularly the best friend Iseult. Who was pretty awesome. One thing I really did like was the two female protagonists, Iseult was not just regulated to a BFF side character. She had a huge roll to play in the story and the friendship between her and Safiya is one of the best things about the book. The rest of it... still just okay. 

 

The second half of the novel was a lot easier to follow once they were out of the city and onto a ship. The plot picked up quite a bit and started to make a lot more sense. Some fairly interesting character interaction. But once you get past the ship and onto the next destination, there's another plot twist thrown in involving some sort ancient prophecy and the role Safiya and Iseult are supposed to play. But again - there's no background or anything to explain this! It's tell and nothing to even give much history on this prophecy or anything. It's pretty much from those who know about it we've known about this forever and this is it, it's happening now. Very confusing. I'm assuming this is something to be explored in further books. 

 

 

Not entirely convinced it's a series I want to continue, really. 

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