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review 2015-05-26 01:03
Testosterone laden thrill ride between past and present Magic!
Crimes Against Magic - Steve McHugh

"I know what you are. You’re the thing the monsters fear.” – Ivy, The Hellequin Chronicles


“If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy, then you will probably write melodrama.” – Lillian Hellman


“So, Nate, I’ve heard rumours that you’re actually alive.” It would have to be rumour. You see, even Nate didn’t know that he really was Nate. He only had a piece of paper with the name Nathan Garrett on it, in what he discovered was his own handwriting, when he woke up in a filthy, shuttered warehouse ten years ago. Was that his name? Well, it was a good enough name, and he needed one. That’s what happens when you have no knowledge of your previous life, not the slightest memory.


Fast forward and Nate is a thief, taking the hard jobs, the unusual jobs, for an odd fellow living in a ‘lost’ section of the London underground rail tunnels, his jobs managed and recommended by his partner Holly, daughter of Mark and Lyn O’Hara, Mob Bosses Extraordinaire and two of the most dangerous people in London.


Well, if you don’t count the psycho gargoyles, nightmares, and various other things that go bump in the night.


This is my first reading of a Steve McHugh Hellequin Chronicles book. I have put them off for a bit, as the main character is male and I have really been wanting to read female heroes, but I am glad that I picked it up sooner than later. The settings are marvelously well done. The story moves back and forth between time periods, from the modern day, to ten years previously when Nate first lost his memories, and further back, to the 1400’s as Nate’s memories begin to return. The characters are sharply written and realistic. McHugh knows his Greek Mythology, and it shows in his deft handling of gods and monsters, sorcerers and just folks. The book has that dry, British delivery that I adore, interspersed with a sort of subliminal humour that I completely enjoyed.


The idea of magic actually taking over the sorcerer if he uses it too much was spectacular. Nate is very conscious of the power of magic, as well as the dangers – but a man can only take so much when the lives of innocent women and children are on the line, threatened by monsters with no compunction when it comes to savage murder of innocents. When he finally loses his shit, he is absolutely glorious!


If you are of the mind to read a solid modern fantasy with that sharp, dry ‘Brit Wit’ some British authors carry off so amazingly well, I would highly recommend the series. I have already downloaded the next, though honestly I don’t know when I will get to it with the huge backlist I have. But it will be worth it when I do, I have no doubt.


Highly recommended. Very minimal sex, some really nasty violence but not overdone, and a strong grasp of history makes the warping of history just right. Homer may have written the Illiad – but you know he did it several hundred years after the Trojan wars. “History is written by the victors who have hung the heroes.” – Sr.William Wallace


4.5 stars for minor editorial issues

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2014-11-25 16:20
Review: Henge by Realm Lovejoy

Henge (Le Fay, #1)Henge by Realm Lovejoy My rating: 4 of 5 stars


***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***


Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.


Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.


Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.


But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.


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review 2014-01-12 00:00
The Prince and the Program (The Mordred Saga, #1)
The Prince and the Program - Aldous Mercer
I was afraid to read this book.
And after the first chapter I knew, it would be something special.
And I knew that it would be CRAZY, WIRED, DIFFERENT.
And it was.

My thoughts during reading it:
"WHAT did he take/drink/eat to write SOMETHING like this??"

Because I wanted it too.

Not every day for a breakfast.

But I want to take/drink/eat it every Friday.

And hope it'll bring me through my grey weekends.

A joke. A bad one probably.

Because the writing of Aldous Mercer is like drugs.

The quote of S.Dali can describe his writing almost perfectly.


And now all I can say- IT WAS BRILLIANT. I'M SPEECHLESS.

if (You're a fan of a science fiction genre):
You have to read this book;

elseif (You appreciate a great writing)
You have to read this book;

elseif (You want not ONLY to be entertained but make your brain WORK)
You have to read this book;

elseif (You admire the ability of unusual thinking)
You have to read this book;

elseif (You want to read something nothing compare with)
You have to read this book;

elseif (You have no idea about a programming and you have never heard about Alan Turing)
You have to read this book;

elseif (You want to FEEL in a totally different dimension )
You have to read this book;

elseif (You want to broaden yours horizons)Could you have imagined that the Shakespeare Programming Language was not invented by Aldous Mercer for this book but exists in the reality??
You have to read this book;

You FUCKING have to read this book;

end if;


P.S Aldous, it is for you!
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review 2014-01-08 21:24
The Sunbird- Elizabeth E. Wein
The Sunbird - Elizabeth Wein

Book three of Wein's Arthurian/Aksumite series takes up the story of the next generation, with Medraut's twelve-year-old son Telemakos as protagonist. Unlike the first two books in the series, it is told from the third-person point of view, and unfortunately, I think that made it less interesting. The protagonist was less complex than in the other two books and the plot less original in structure, though in substance it was quite interesting: the very young Telemakos becomes a spy to figure out who is breaking quarantine during a plague in order to profit from the situation. Even though the main villain is a bit obvious, he is also genuinely scary, both in his venal motivation and his very creepy actions and speech patterns- he constantly refers to Telemakos as "it."


Ultimately this book felt geared for a younger audience than the first two books. The interpersonal relationships were more obvious- Telemakos yearns for his voluntarily mute, trapped-in-the-past father to live in the present and speak to him, paralleling his namesake's desire for his father's return. The climax once again spells out too much explicitly. On the other hand, Goewin and Medraut's relationship continues complex, and the new character Sofya is sharp-edged, sometimes sympathetic, sometimes a jerk, and all in all a worthy addition to the cast.


Telemakos's reactions to his tribulations are realistic, his gift for hiding something he practices and works at, and his final confrontation with the villain spellbinding. I would recommend this to readers 10-14, but it's not something I would have picked up if it were not for the rest of the series. It's very satisfying to see how Goewin grows while remaining the same character, and she plays a major and thoroughly enjoyable role. It also wraps up some outstanding issues about Medraut. The book stands alone, but makes reference to the events of others; Medraut and Goewin's conflict refers back to what Medraut did in The Winter Prince and what Goewin considered doing in A Coalition of Lions.


This is where I would recommend a younger reader (someone Telemakos's age) to start, but while it's the author's favorite of the series, I think that while it's very good at what it does, what it does is less interesting than what the previous books do.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-05 05:19
A Coalition of Lions- Elizabeth E. Wein
A Coalition of Lions - Elizabeth Wein

Sequel to The Winter Prince, though focusing on a different protagonist. The first-person voice is beautiful and gripping, but without the tension and darkness that make The Winter Prince unique.


I was nervous after the first few pages, where most of the characters from the previous book are killed off, but

fortunately Medraut makes a comeback,

(spoiler show)

and if I hadn't known that going in, I wouldn't have continued.


Unusually, this is a book without a villain- there are antagonists, but as the title intimates, they are not defeated but rather brought into alignment with the protagonists via compromise. There are no irredeemable or even wicked characters, but rather people with differing flaws and agendas struggling to get their way and believing themselves in the right. Goewin, the main character, even identifies with and at times parallels the villain of the first book.


The setting is also worth noting- ancient Ethiopia, where the British Goewin flees from her war-torn country, in a neat reversal.


Many tropes from the first book repeat- fraught sibling relationships, the problem of lesser royalty, accepting you won't rule, physical abuse and punishment, defiance, the rulers mishandling relationships but then redeeming themselves, a hunt on which loyalties are tested and forged. The plot and setting, however, are quite different.


Edited to add: You have to love a YA book where the main motif is the Song of Songs, and the female protagonist is described as "terrible as an army with banners."

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