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review 2015-09-10 00:32
Infinite (Ignite #3) by Erica Crouch
Infinite (Ignite) (Volume 3) - Erica Crouch

Pen and Azael can no longer avoid their final confrontation – which they cannot both walk away from. Driven to reclaim Michael’s soul, Pen cannot avoid Azael and Azael is driven to bring his sister back to his side – or destroy her and everything else in the process


But while they are focused on their epic show down, Lilith changes the whole nature of the game: there’s a new ruler of Hell and sibling rivalry is not part of master plan.





I loved one excellent element of this book – Lilith. Oh yes, I loved Lilith. I loved how her mythology was so centrally part of her story. I loved that she was the character who would not submit, who plotted so very excellently and whose defiance should, as she pointed out, have definitely being predicted. She is Lilith, the woman who would not submit, who would not be secondary to any man. The death of her children was just the last straw – just the idea that she was a gentle, submissive servant means anyone who falls for it thoroughly deserves the stabbing they get.


Her backstory, her depiction, her craftiness and, even to a degree, how she seems to slowly degrade down the same path when she gains power herself. It’s really well done, contains a lot of challenges against misogyny and is fascinating to read.


The introduction of Lilith as an independent force added a new layer to this series that, while sorely underdeveloped (more on that later), really widened the story. This is in addition to the ongoing examination of why Heaven failed and how it lost its way – expanding on what was already established inEngage.


On top of that we have some really nicely written action scenes and lots of hacking and slashing. We had Kala and Ana – a previously excellently established same-sex couple, one of which is a Black, disabled angel – with a lot of excellent depiction of her furiously objecting and fighting back against any idea that she is weaker or less capable because of her disability. We also had some nice debate about Ana’s pacifism – and how it can really only work for her and her campaign because she is surrounded by people who are willing to fight on her behalf.



It did have some really good elements that I enjoyed


Despite all this I find myself curiously dissatisfied with this book and after much internal deliberation, I think the problem is with the actual structure of the book.


A huge amount of this book is spent telling the story from multiple points of view. And part of this works because we see the events how they’re actually happening as well as from the point of view of each character. We get to see how things surprise them, how they operate in completely different realities and it quite works artistically and stylistically…



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/08/infinite-ignite-3-by-eric-crouch.html
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review 2015-06-21 18:50
Engage (Ignite #2.5) by Erica Crouch
Engage: An Ignite Novella - Erica Crouch

Kala is a guardian angel – but not considered a very good one. She is derided for her disability but, far more, she has a pesky belief that humans should set their own destiny. And that the hard morality of Heaven is too limited and lacking in nuance for the real world.


The angels do not approve – something has to change.





This book is an excellent short story in that it brings a whole new angle to the original series – it’s not an essential angle, you can read the whole series without this short story but it brings some excellent depth to the book series. For me this is exactly what I want from a short story – not an essential part of the ongoing meta (therefore not a necessary read) but also not entirely pointless or off topic


The main series is told largely from Penn’s point of view. Which means we see hell and demons and the many many many reasons why she isn’t happy with either and only affection for her brother and having nowhere else to go keeps her bound to hell. We know why she rebels. We know why she is desperate to find another way. We know why she is rebelling


But Heaven? We’re told it’s rigid but beyond that thrown away line we don’t really know what exactly is so wrong with Heaven. What are the angels so rigid about? What real reason do the angels have to rebel? What was so bad that it would drive angels and demons to ally together in their rebellion?


This is the book that fills the gaps. This shows us heaven, it’s rigid rules, it’s outdated resistance to change, it’s savage refusal to accept any kind of nuance or grey morality. It’s utter rejection of any kind of free well, it’s vicious judgemental nature, it’s constant quest to control humanity down what it considers the true path and, in many ways, Heaven is almost unable to even identify good and purity any more, just adherence to rules.


And backed by all of this is Heaven’s brutal purges of its own, of any angel that dares to be independent, to think of themselves, to make their own judgement – or, almost as bad – allow anyone else to make their own judgments.



Through their story we see why Heaven is just as bad as Hell – rather than just being told and expected to accept it. On top of that we also get to see something else that was only told but not shown – why Pen is so essential to the rebellion and why they need her on side.


This is all told through the lens of Kala as she meets Ana. The exploration of the world happens as their relationship develops and as they both develop and grow as individual characters (with there philosophies also developing as they look at Heaven, see its flaws with ever clearer light and put together their ideas that slowly grow into the rebellion. It’s really well done for both the characters and the story together



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/06/engage-ignite-25-by-eric-crouch.html
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review 2015-05-21 13:33
Review: Incite
Incite (Ignite Book 2) - Erica Crouch,Mickey Reed

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Unfortunately this is DNF for me at 15%. I'm just not enjoying it at all. I remember I really liked the first book and the prequel novella I read in this series, but I think its been well over a year since I read either of them, and to be perfectly honest, I simply just can not remember at all what happened in the first book. I haven't got a clue what's going on in this one, and I think that is a big factor in the fact that I'm not liking this book much.

I was hoping I might get a refresher once I started the second, but I'm not. I'm finding it overwritten. I don't care about hearing that the the sky is moody and the sun won't show for three or four paragraphs and then be mentioned again a chapter later. The characters over dramatic and annoying, I don't need to hear the bad guy say I'm bad and evil and in charge and you answer to me now over and over. And anyone who was a bad enough leader in Hell shouldn't really have to keep asserting that they're the one in charge (at least in this reader's opinion).

The whole plot idea has been done before I'm just not interested anymore really.

Thank you to Netgalley and Patchwork Press for approving my request to view the title, even though this book was not for me.

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review 2015-05-21 00:51
Incite (Ignite #2) by Erica Crouch
Incite (Ignite Book 2) - Erica Crouch,Mickey Reed

Hell has invaded Heaven and won. Azael is the king of hell, Lucifer sits on the golden throne and the Earth is in ruins

Among these ruins the demon Pen and Archangel Michael try to survive the forces of heaven and hell both of which are hunting them.

While they are running, seemingly doomed, they do find one thing to give them hope: New Genesis, angels and demons who are no longer willing to align with Heaven or Hell. Maybe there’s space for a third way.

I am glad that we got on to the rebellion in this book about half way through because for a large part of this book (and, to be honest, the first book) we didn’t seem to have much to rest on. Azael hates Pen because she betrayed him and how terribad awful is that. Meanwhile Pen and Michael love each other forever and ever because… reasons. Yes, reasons, because they have only been together for such a very short period of time.

It’s rather lacking as a plot line. It’s not even a plot line, it’s just a list of emotions. I’m not even sure of the actions it pushes them into. Why are Lucifer and Azael so invested in hunting down Pen? Why are the angels so invested in gunning for Michael given everything else is going on? It doesn’t help that these heavy emotion doesn’t help these characters. These characters are supposed to be thousands of years old, they’re supposed to be older than humanity itself. And I just don’t see it. They’re so emotional, they’re so over-dramatic, they’re so out of control, they’re so inclined to monologue and angst and… they feel like teenagers.

So all of that wasn’t sold to me - but the rebellion? This I like and I hope it is developed a lot more in future books because it badly needs it. The Rebellion and the whole idea that both Heaven and Hell have lost their way and that the rigid black and white thinking simple doesn’t work in this shades-of-grey world. It adds context to Pen and Michael defecting because it wasn’t just about true love, it was about being deeply disillusioned with their own side.

The rebellion brings a number of demons and angels who are inspired to follow them because they have equally seen the flaws of Heaven and Hell. And it’s well done - it’s not just done for the rebellion as well, it’s also shown through generally unaffiliated angels and demons as well, breaking their traditional loyalties or clearly having no loyalties at all - just doing what they want because neither Heaven nor Hell serves them.

This is an excellent new angle and does a lot to widen the world and the story of the main characters. I just wish there was more focus on it, on the rebellion, on the motives of it, on the state of the world and the humanity who are being caught up in the cross fire of the apocalypse.

But there isn’t a huge amount of focus on it. They join the rebellion but even then nearly all the focus is on Michael being menaced by Azael. The rebellion is, if anything, treated like a tool by Pen. Not only am I not convinced he is swayed by their chosen goals, but I’m not sure she even cares - because MICHAEL TWU LUB.



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/05/incite-ignite-2-by-erica-crouch.html
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review 2015-04-04 09:01
Grimm Memories
Grimm Memories (Grimm Tales Book 2) - Janna Jennings,Erica Crouch

Sometimes they say, if you've read one you've read them all...


I wasn't really enthusiastic about the first book, A Grimm Legacy in this series, but since I already had an ARC for the second book in the series, I wanted to give this book a chance. Unfortunately it suffered from the same problems as the first book. Reading them almost back to back probably didn't help, as near the end I was quite fed up with the story, even though these are relatively short books.


I still liked the idea of mashing up all the fairy tales and introducing readers to lesser known fairy tales, but that's about it. I still didn't care for the characters, or the plot, really. They felt very interchangeable. There's a bit more world building, but not enough to answer the questions I had. The writing isn't that good either, or at least it wasn't a style I particularly liked.


I think some people might enjoy this series as 'snackbooks'* but for me it wasn't working. Any more books in this series, I think I will pass on them.


Grimm Memories is the second book in the Grimm Tales series. The first book in A Grimm Legacy.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


*Snackbook: An easy book to enjoy without needing to think to much. =)

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