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review 2014-03-07 06:51
The Magpie Lord - K.J. Charles

The Magpie Lord was an incredibly enjoyable read-- one which I welcomed after a lengthy and tedious dry spell of books (which I attempted to fill with smutty Drarry fanfiction). It is such a rich and lovely book with "a certain je ne sais quoi". The intrigue was deliciously twisty and good lord the dialogue *whimper*-- I could get a boner from that, and this is despite my obvious lack of the necessary equipment. But even better than that was the wit of the dialogue which so cleverly accompanied the brilliantly colourful characters. I could smooch them all. Seriously. The Magpie Lord is an imaginative and intelligent book which managed to simultaneously uphold a strong Victorian atmosphere, this immense, sizzling sexual tension (oh god I want to see Lucien and Stephen fuck properly and for chapters on end), charming and humorous dialogue, and wonderful writing-- all with my utter and undivided attention watching it like a magpie fixated on a shiny.

I await the sequel with grabby hands. 

And I want to see Shanghai!Lucien/Merrick.

Rating: 4.25

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review 2014-03-07 06:46
Brute - Kim Fielding

An absolute, sheer fucking delight. There's no other way of going about it. I honestly cannot pick any aspect of this book that I didn't want to treasure and hug a thousand times over. The world, characters, sights, scents and everything in between-- it was all so enchanting and powerfully rendered.

Kim Fielding has painted a fantastic world in which the polytheistic worship of very real Gods and Goddesses is still at large, and magic is a subtle but realistic presence. She weaves this world with some incredible, charming characters, and others not so much, but all true-to-life with more layers than the conventional black and white of good and "evil" which completely endeared them to me. Despite the romantic, fairy tale-esque atmosphere, we are presented a confronting, raw insight into the reality of human nature through Brute's eyes, who has suffered constant exploitation and cruelty throughout his life, firstly due to his mother and father (whore and thief respectively) and later due to his appearance and size.

Brute-- Brute is an amazing person. Genuinely kindhearted and humane and totally oblivious to the fact, there are few characters that have given me so much hope for the world, and I'm infinitely grateful that he managed to find someone equally as special. Grey Leynham is just as wonderful of a character; he is so immensely human, his flaws and mistakes a product of youth stupidity which irrevocably shaped his life, where, in the present time of the book, is as a royal prisoner on grounds of treason against the crown. Reading about their slow crawl towards love was both gratifying and heart warming. The sheer magnitude of their love and need for each other really makes one believe that mountains would and rivers would part in their presence. Which, in the book, it pretty much nearly does.

The fantasy aspect of Brute was intriguingly executed, although mostly it didn't manifest very strongly in the novel, apart from in religion and barely mentioned abilities. The recurring myths of Gods and Goddesses added a really nice touch to the story, and tied in fantastically with the plot, where a very traditional romantic theme of Love Conquers All came through (My heart: *melts*).

Not only that, the writing is deliciously smooth, without being overbearing, with lovely sensory imagery. Brute's POV was so tender and raw. And he loves books. Just try to tell me you don't love him. I dare you. *glares and waves around metal bat* 凸(⊙▂⊙✖ )

Verdict? READ *points imperiously* You won't find a more tender and heartful book in a long long time, especially not one that easily reduces you to a lukewarm pile of blubbering goo.

Rating: 4.75 ♥(✿ฺ´∀`✿ฺ)ノ

P.S Brute reminds me bit of Al from Muscling Through

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review 2011-11-28 00:00
Sea-Kings of Mars - Leigh Brackett Well, this was quite a hefty collection containing many stories and a couple of novellas, mostly set on Mars or Venus.

In some ways, Leigh Brackett carried on the tradition of swash-buckling adventures in space started by Edgar Rice Burroughs but it's not just more of the same. There is a progression with more complex and imaginative stories and characters. Like Burroughs' John Carter or Carson Napier, she has her enigmatic heroes such as Eric John Stark but her characters are more well-rounded, warts'n'all. Frankly, they are less nauseating.

Having said that, not all of the stories worked particularly well for me although the collection seemed to get better as it went on (the stories are in bibliographical order). The novella "Lorelei of the Red Mist" that she co-wrote with Ray Bradbury wasn't that great but "The Sea Kings of Mars" felt like a cross between "Star Wars" and "Raiders of the lost Ark" and was great fun. One of the stories near the end particularly struck me, "The Tweener" as it was very different from the rest being set on earth and more of a psychological horror.

I would say that if like science-fantasy adventures but want something a little more well-rounded than Burroughs, this will be your cup of tea.
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