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Search tags: fae-fascination
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review 2018-07-19 10:16
Strange Fascination (Essex Witch Museum Mystery, #3)
Strange Fascination - Syd Moore

Consider my enthusiasm for this series dampened.  This was a very average effort, with a number of problems I couldn't overlook.

 

The biggest is the MC, Rosie.  I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and say she probably has a long-range plan for Rosie's personal growth, but if so, she's not executing it well.  The MC has a chip on her shoulder about being from Essex and the stereotypes involved in being an "Essex Girl"; the chip is big enough to sit firmly in soapbox/crusader territory, as she frequently fights the good fight against the idea that an "Essex Girl" is cheap, trashy, and dumb.  And then proceeds to refer to vegetarians as "nut-nuts".  And utterly dismiss someone's conversation about ecology, because ... who cares?  And when people fail to fawn over her best friend for being the "black urban goddess" she is, her knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss them as backward conservatives. (They were polite, mind you, they just didn't fall to their knees in awe.)  Not sure how she can find the time to fight the Essex Girl stereotype when she spends so much time stereotyping everyone else.

 

The author also seems intent on making Rosie a bit of a dim bulb through the use of scenes and dialog that are obvious choices to highlight her ignorance without showing any desire to correct it.  Again, it's hard to square this with Rosie's righteous mandate to stamp out the cliches.

 

She also spends a lot of time drunk.  Absolutely pissed.  Bottles of Prosecco at a time pissed.  Now, I don't care what socio-economic class you are in or are perceived to be in by others - being a drunk is not classy.  I understand some cultures enjoy the plonk more than others, but sorry, drunk is tawdry in any culture and economic class.

 

So.  MC with contradictions.  It happens, and as I say, the author might have a master plan I'm just not seeing.

 

Unfortunately there were some egregious editing issues too.  Poor and odd word choices (she kept referring to the ground as the floor - is this a common interchange in UK English?), and poorly copyedited, this 3rd instalment felt rushed to press.  The pace dragged too, and the plot was all loosey-goosey.  A more severe editor would have done this book more justice.

 

I liked the story though, once I was able to dig through all the extraneous dead-ends.  I enjoy the factual elements of historical record the author uses, tying them and local legends into her modern day murder plots.  If the author dropped the hypocritical chip on the MCs shoulder, matured her up, dried her out, and tightened up her plotting, she'd have a hit series on her hands.  She might yet, but this book won't be a contributing factor.  I'll be taking a close look at the fourth one (if/when it comes out) before I commit to reading further in this series.

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review 2018-07-13 18:55
Once Broken Faith / Seanan McGuire
Once Broken Faith: An October Daye Novel - Seanan McGuire

Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches.

Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.

Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.

As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.

Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.

 

Thank goodness for Toby Daye. Yes, she’s a Fae hero who spends more time than she wants to rescuing the unwary and binding the wounds of her friends. And she even helped me—it’s true, this novel saw me through the last bit of the worst headache that I have had in many, many moons.

When I’m not feeling well, I reach for urban fantasy. It, along with pain killers, coffee, and soft lights, will see me through whatever is wrong in my world. This series is a particular favourite because I am also nuts about the Fae. Love ‘em. It all started with Patricia Briggs—I first encountered the Fae in her Mercy Thompson series—but it may culminate in McGuire’s October Daye series.

These books have perhaps become a bit predictable—Toby will end up covered in blood at least twice and will probably die/be on death’s door once. Two or three of her Buffy-like circle of friends will have something dire happen to them, which Toby must defy death to fix. Fae royalty will have to be told to get their heads outta their butts. But you know what? When you’ve got a migraine, predictable is good. It doesn’t take your best literary analysis skills to appreciate the book.

I enjoy all the various forms of Faerie found in these pages—someday I have to find time to read some folklore and get caught up on Selkies, Pixies, Coblynaus, etc. I also must reiiterate my fondness for the sea witch, the Luidaeg. She’s fierce and loving and uncompromising and loyal. And she’s got plans for our Toby girl. I’ll be reading on in the series to learn more about that, you betcha!

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review 2018-02-27 17:13
An Enchantment of Ravens / Margaret Rogerson
An Enchantment of Ravens - Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

 

Actual rating: 4.25 stars. Better than your average Fae tale, but not quite up to the same bar as Cold Hillside by Nancy Baker, which for me sets the standard. I’ve been addicted to the Fae ever since I ran across them in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series and I am fortunate that so many authors continue to indulge my fascination!

This is the Fae the way I like them—dark, powerful, tricksy, slippery, unreliable and unaccountably interested in humans. As a portrait artist, Isobel must always be careful in her requests for payment, as a Fae spell can work for you for a while, but twist into something damaging later. She is always aware that she is only seeing the glamour of her portrait-sitters, not their true appearance—and they seem fascinated to discover exactly what Isobel sees. Does she see too much? As a seventeen year old, is she too innocent for her own good?

I am almost sad that this is a stand-alone volume and I will definitely be picking up anything that Ms. Rogerson publishes in the future.

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review 2018-02-26 18:20
The Lost Plot / Genevieve Cogman
The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman

In a 1930s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force, fedoras, flapper dresses and tommy guns are in fashion, and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon vs dragon contest. It seems a young librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him there could be serious political repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai find themselves trapped in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail and fiendish security systems. And if this doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences for Irene's job. And, incidentally, for her life . . .

 

I admit I am very much a fan of Irene Winters and the Invisible Library series. So much so that I will actually be purchasing a copy of this, book 4, to become part of my Nursing Home Collection (all those books that will make the transition with me to said nursing home when the time do come).

I read too damn fast—The Lost Plot went by much too quickly. It is action-packed, putting Irene in many tight spots, between gangsters, plotting dragons, and unpredictable fae assassins. Luckily, she and Kai have been through several of these rodeos before and they are pretty good at judging what their partner will do.

The ending, while obviously leading us on towards book 5, was nearly perfect! I know that I’ve previously been a fan of Irene + Vale, but after book 4, I am really shipping Irene and Kai. It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind!

Ms. Cogman, bring on book 5! And could I be lucky enough that you are planning more?

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review 2018-02-22 21:58
The Cruel Prince / Holly Black
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

Holly Black is my latest author crush. It helps that many of her books feature the Fae and Fae characters are one of my favourite things.

The Cruel Prince was one of those books that I asked my public library to order and then fidgeted while I waited for it to arrive and to be catalogued. It was worth the wait, in my opinion. It may be a young adult book, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying it too.

I like Black’s version of the Fae—they don’t play nice, they aren’t always fond of mortals, and there are rules that both sides have to follow. Jude is a mortal girl, living in the Fae world, trying to fit in despite the sneers of her contemporaries at school. She and her mortal sister are picked on and disparaged by the princes and princesses of the Realm of Faerie. And, of course, there’s a boy—Prince Cardan, the cruel prince of the title—who captures her imagination, though maybe not in a good way. Jude decides that if she can’t be accepted by playing nice, perhaps she can scheme and plot her way to a protected position in her adopted world and she proves to be highly adept at it.

It’s pretty obvious where this story will be heading in the second book—Jude & Cardan obviously have some chemistry, despite the rather evil trick on Cardan that Jude indulges in. However, it’s not immediately clear how Black is going to change these passionate enemies into a couple. Now I just wish there wasn’t a whole year to wait for the next installment.

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