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review 2020-01-16 20:03
The Darkwood Mask, Inquisitives #4 by Jeff LaSala
The Darkwood Mask - Jeff LaSala

Tallis breaks into a high-security residential tower in Korth intent on stealing as many of the spell scrolls he's been hired to procure as he can carry, as well as any other loose valuables for himself, when he finds himself witness to a political assassination. A single assassin strikes down nine people in minutes, including two young children, leaving Tallis fingered for the crime.


Soneste is an inquisitive with a reputation on the rise. She has recently been involved in two high-profile cases in Sharn so is unsurprised when she is summoned into her agency's office and finds she has been requested for a special case. It turns out to be a commission from the Brelish crown to investigate the death of an ambassador in Karrnath. All she has to do is use her skills to find the killer and she can leave the rest to the Karrnathi government. It sounds simple.


LaSala does a wonderful job invoking the setting and working with its darker elements. Korth is the oldest city in Khorvaire and the capital of Karrnath. Karrnath survived the Last War by throwing its lot in with necromancers, and its culture, including a prominent religion, are centered on the undead and harsh laws. There was little question as to who was behind the murders, the mystery centers on the why. This was a brisk read and a worthy addition to any Eberron shelf.


The Inquistives


Previous: 'Legacy of Wolves'

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review 2020-01-15 22:40
Fall of Angels / L.E. Modesitt
Fall of Angels - L.E. Modesitt Jr.

In Fall of Angels, Modesitt moves deep into Recluce's past to chronicle the founding of the Empire of the Legend, the almost mythological domain ruled by women warriors on the highland plateau of the continent of Candar. He tells the story from the point of view of Nylan, the engineer and builder whose job it is to raise a great tower on the plateau known as the Roof of the World. Here the exiled women warriors will live and survive to fulfill their destiny. Here a revolutionary new society will be born...if Nylan can get the tower built and defenses in place before the rulers of the lowland nations come with their armies to obliterate them all. And if Nylan can learn to control the magical powers that are growing within him. 


In this book, we get the beginnings of Westwind, the kingdom which gave us Creslin in The Towers of the Sunset, which is my favourite of this series so far. We also find out that both the Order and Chaos populations on this fantasy world are originally from elsewhere, marooned on this planet and seemingly doomed to conflict over it.

This “stranded on another planet” plot line is a familiar one. Think of the Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman, the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh, and the Saga of Pliocene Exile by Julian May. The struggles that the small Angel force face when they are stranded were well realized. It would definitely be a challenge, especially coming from a high tech society where so many things are manufactured for you.

It is told from the point of view of Nylan, one of the few men in the Angel population. He is pretty consistent with a Modesitt main character: he’s an engineer, learning about his black mage potential; he is taciturn; he really wants people to acknowledge how much work he has done, but he’s not willing to let people know this; he works himself half to death in search of this approval. Once again, the story is a bit heavy on the description of all of his engineering projects for my taste and a bit light on the interpersonal relationships. But this just seems to be a hallmark of Modesitt’s writing.

Not my favourite series, but not bad either.

Book number 348 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy reading project.

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review 2020-01-15 21:35
Review ~ Entertaining!
Taming Demons for Beginners - Annette Marie

Book source ~ Kindle Unlimited


Robin Page lost her parents to a tragic accident and now she lives with an uncle and others who seem to hate her. All she wants is her inheritance so she can move on with her life. But her uncle is stonewalling her. Robin has no idea why. So she starts snooping. And that’s when she discovers the demon in the summoning circle down in the library. Things get real interesting after that.


Since I love the connected series, The Guild Codex: Spellbound, so much I had to check out this new series. And I am not disappointed. Robin is a weird combination of scaredy cat and plucky nerd. The demon is vastly intriguing. And there’s so much about demons that I haven’t yet seen in the other series, so there’s new ground to cover in a world I already love. The two series mesh together very well. I love the characters, the world, and the storyline so much I already read book 2 (review upcoming). Fans of smart and sassy urban fantasy should really enjoy this one.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2020/01/taming-demons-for-beginners.html
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review 2020-01-15 20:18
Legacy of Wolves, Inquistives #3 by Marsheila Rockwell
Legacy of Wolves: The Inquisitives, Book 3 - Marsheila Rockwell

The more I think about this one, the more I liked it. Rockwell takes some creative risks with the structure and the main characters that mostly pays off. This is a fantasy and mystery novel that rises above expectations.


'Legacy' opens on a dark street in the city of Aruldusk in Thrane, where the bard Zoden and his twin brother are wandering home after a late night. The recent spate of murders are discussed and ultimately they are attacked by...something. Zoden escapes with the cries of his dying brother in his ears.


Zoden's family is nobility and on that strength he petitions the Queen of Thrane for aid. Many being murdered are supporters of the royal family over the theocracy that has ruled Thrane for almost a hundred years. The blaming of the deaths on the shifter community seems racially motivated as well. After some political maneuvering the Queen sets the bard up with a Dwarven inquisitive, Greddark.


Meanwhile, Irulan Silverclaw has come to Thrane's capitol with her own petition. She wants her brother freed from prison. Javi is one of the shifters imprisoned on charges of murdering the royalists (Throneholders) on circumstantial evidence. Through chance she gains the favor of the Keeper (the leader of the Church of the Silver Flame) and is partnered with Andri, a paladin with a dark, broody history.


The two storylines converge and there are false leads and a lot of wheels turning in the background. Rockwell exploits to great effect the turbulent history of Thrane, religious persecution, and the Dragonmarked houses to create background to the story. All four main characters are distinct and well developed.


Ultimately there was only one flat note: the 'surprise' reveal of the murderer wasn't that surprising. But, this is a licensed novel and the creativity on display here while following the 'rules' of the Eberron setting was refreshing and entertaining. 


The Inquistives


Next: 'The Darkwood Mask'


Previous: 'Night of Long Shadows'

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text 2020-01-15 14:35
Reading progress update: I've read 79%.
The Institute - Stephen King

How did this win best horror? I love the King, but this is pretty terrible. And it's just a smashup of Firestarter and some of his other books. But also this is terrible.

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