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review 2018-07-17 23:25
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (audiobook)
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger,Moira Quirk

Series: Finishing School #1

 

This was a kind of cute young-adult steampunk story about a tomboy in possibly Victorian times (there's talk of a telegraph device and gas lighting) who gets packed off to finishing school to try to polish off her rougher edges. As it turns out, however, the finishing school in question is only teaching the finer aspects of moving about in society in order to create expert intelligence agents, which is much more to Sophronia's liking. She can get behind fashion choices when they're used for camouflage, basically.

 

So the concept is kind of cute and silly but also somewhat entertaining. Sophronia reminds me a little of Flavia de Luce although she's a bit older. I think I'll see if my library has the next one in the series.

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review 2018-07-15 23:01
Audio/Book Review of The Assassins of Altis by Jack Campbell
The Assassins of Altis - Jack Campbell

Trapped within the dead city of Marandur, Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain must escape both merciless barbarians and the pitiless Imperial Legion. Beyond those dangers lie the mightiest and most unforgiving powers in the world of Dematr: the Great Guilds that rule the world with iron fists.

 

Mari's Mechanics Guild and Alain's Mage Guild have always been enemies, but they are united in wanting to kill their rogue members before Mari can fulfill the ancient prophecy of being the one who will finally overthrow their power. Mari and Alain must risk those dangers because halfway across their world lies a place where truth has long been hidden. A place that could explain why their world's history begins abruptly, with no hints of what came before. A place where they might learn how the Mechanics Guild came to control all technology and how the Mages manage to alter reality temporarily. A place that might tell them how to achieve a task that appears to be impossible.

 

Never before have a Mage and a Mechanic worked together, and their combined talents offer their only hope. But she and Alain must first survive the deadly and implacable Assassins of Altis.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

 

Mari is a fantastic character, and I liked her from the moment she was introduced. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is now a nineteen-year-old Master Mechanic, though her guild is determined to take her life as she poses a threat to their hold on the world of Dematr. Mari has been foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds. As she tries to accept her role, she finds herself on another dangerous mission while trying to avoid death at the hands of assassins.

 

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

 

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. The story is once again narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

 

This book continues a few weeks after the end of the second story and sees Mari and Alain travelling to the island of Altis, where a long-hidden secret has been kept. With both the Guilds chasing them and now the Imperial Legions for their incursion into Marandur, Mari and Alain face many dangers, including a deadly snow storm. However, what they find on Altis will change everything.

 

This story introduces a couple of new characters into the series. One is Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation). He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally (who is mentioned in book two but not introduced). Another character introduced is, Mage Asha; this is a character who is hard to explain without giving spoilers. Suffice it to say, she was a friend of Alain's from their early acolyte days, before all the emotion was beaten out of them.

 

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. The reason for this becomes apparent as this story unfolds. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt completely emersed in it? This happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, and the audio version has a preview of the next book in the series, which I am now looking forward to reading/listening to. I will be listening to The Pirates of Pacta Servanda as soon as I can.

 

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

 

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-07-11 07:22
Lackluster ending
The Kingmakers - Susan Griffith

***Possible spoilers you've been warned***

 

I don't know what happened in this one. The first two books were excellent and fun to read. It got you looking forward to the final installment and wanting a nice close to the series. This one falls short. Drastically.

 

You get smidgens of action here and there but the bulk of the novel is Gareth and Adele having cheesy love sick conversation about their relationship and what the future holds for them. The setting changes throughout the book but they keep talking about the same bloody thing over and over again. It's a bloody record that's been scratched and you can't turn it off.

 

Adele goes on the major pity party and gets whiny. I don't know how she managed to pull this 360 when the first two books she was an excellent character to read. Now all of a sudden it's "poor me" and "What about Gareth?" "Everybody is leaving me. Wah. Wah. Wah" Oh lordy Adele. Shut up. You're an Empress. Act like it.

 

The geomancy theory was okay and interesting but there wasn't much to it. Sure Adele, let's destroy the vampire race right? okay good. Save humans. Yay. Oh wait your boyfriend is a vampire but hey! he's okay with the massive genocide you're doing. Yeah! that's great! Thumbs up Gareth! we're voting for you next time around!

 

The most disappointing factor of all was the inner vampire plotting was left to a few pages here and there and it lacked any substance. Cesare barely made an appearance and if he did it's all about "Bwahhaah my plot is unfolding" several more scenes later: "Bwahahaha my plot is still unfolding" it's like the villain who talks to much and doesn't actually do the deed he's supposed to do.

 

I was severely disappointed with this final book. It's unfortunate to see such great characters come to a lackluster end.

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review 2018-06-21 03:18
Chainbreaker: Timekeeper #2 (Part 1...because it doesn't end)
Chainbreaker - Tara Sim

This book has no ending. For real. It just stops. I'm not even sure I can classify it as a cliffhanger it is so abrupt. And with a page count approaching 500 that really yanks my chain.

 

On the plus side this book is mostly set in India, which was a nice change from the well tread streets of London. There are airships, fallen towers, and some action. I liked the side characters introduced, and I enjoyed getting to know Daphne more. The world continues to amuse me.

 

On the down side the pace is glacially slow. This isn't helped by long passages of flashbacks, or that chapters alternate between POV characters instead of staying where the action is. Danny and Colton are separated for almost the entire book, so if the romance element is important to you, well, sorry, you're just going to get pining. And, as I mentioned, there's no ending.

 

This book frustrated me. But, and here's the thing, I'm planning to read the third in the trilogy. After that build up I need to see what happens. So if you go into this book just be prepared for it to be part 1 of 2, and for a slow burn.

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review 2018-06-21 03:06
Timekeeper: Or, what if clocks controlled time
Timekeeper - Tara Sim

This was a cute queer teen romance with some really interesting world building. I find the idea of time being run by clocks, and all the implications and complications that entails, absolutely fascinating. I can honestly say I've never encountered a setting quite like this one before. Heck, I didn't even mind that this had strong historical fiction elements (which is not something I generally enjoy). The central mysteries held the book together fairly well, and kept pages turning, despite being pretty obvious. There was even some action thrown in, though not a lot. I also enjoyed Colton and Danny's budding relationship, and found them very cute.

 

On the flip side, the story lagged in places and tended to repeat itself. The writing was fine, but nothing terribly special. Some of the conflicts could have easily been solved by people just talking to one another, which is a pet peeve of mine, but not all of them so it wasn't too exasperating. This was one of those books that I enjoyed, but didn't really capture me to the point where I was thinking about while I wasn't reading it, nor yearning to pick it back up again. I liked it. I'm going to read the next in the series. But all in all I found the ideas are more memorable than the story.

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