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review 2017-07-17 00:50
Devil May Care (Veil #2) by Pippa DaCosta
Devil May Care: A Muse Urban Fantasy (The Veil Series Book 2) - Pippa DaCosta

Muse is a half-demon – though her demon half is restrained by the Institute as they use her to police the supernatural world bleeding over into the city

 

But several Enforcers have been brutally murdered and butchered – and reading the metal confirms the worse: her owner, Damian, has returned. She is not the old demon she was, with the powers now at her disposal promising for a very different showdown. At the same time, Akil, ex-demon Prince is hoping that that same power may elevate him back to his title


And she may co-operate – as he may be the only one who can help her save Stefan from his imprisonment in the Netherworld.

 

 

I think the best thing about this book is how Muse has grown and changed and moved. The last book very much looked at her past; how she had been brutally abused and her trying to find herself and pull herself from that mindset. There was the conflict if her realising her saviour was nothing of the kind and the different ways you can be used an abused but different forces.

 

This book continues on from that – Muse is much more confident in who she is and the newfound power she wields. She’s suspicious, warier and almost comes across as snotty in a Keille Independence, Rebel without a clue kind of way. But it works when we look at her context and her past. Muse is very determined not to give the impression of subservience even to the people around her. Not that she’s completely free from her past – there’s an excellent depiction of how the trauma is still haunting her. The horror of her memories catching up with her, how she desperately tries to resist them haunting her. She’s scarred by her past but it isn’t the entirety of her life. She acknowledges her past, her self-disgust and her internalising the idea she is weak and helpless. It also does weaken her – because trauma isn’t something that is easily cast off in an awesome empowerment moment

 

I really like how this is balanced with Muse – her moving away from trauma but still haunted by it. Determined not to be defined by it but not escaping it just because she wants to – it doesn’t just magically vanish.

 

This feeds well with her relationship with the Institute and their desire to use her while still half fearing and loathing her for what she is

 

There is a good little examination of both her and Stefan and the organisation that is both exploiting them for their demonic abilities while at the same time restraining them and treating them as inherently dangerous or tainted because of them. It’s a well balanced depiction of exploitation and both needing someone and fearing them. Similarly we see this with the wariness of her colleagues who, at the same time, definitely rely on her expertise.

 

Her relationship with Akil also continues to be complicated. He does try to use her and exploit her strength and it comes from a very demonic place. He seems to care for her, but simply doesn’t have the compassion or empathy of a human. Again, it’s a decent balance of both showing he cares for Muse, while also trying to use her and while also showing that even with that human emotion there’s a huge amount of alienness there. Unsurprisingly, Muse herself is also really suspicious of him – and I, again, like the balance here of both being willing to work with him (not out of helplessness entirely, but out of confidence and even a willingness to look at him as an equal rather than a superior) while constantly being suspicious of his motive.

 

 

While I really liked the personal development of Muse and her history, I’m less thrilled by the world. Well, no, that’s not entirely fair. I love the world – I love the concept of the demonic realm, the powers of demons, their demonic parentage, the veil – but these concepts aren’t really expanded on enough. I think we could do a lot more to examine demon politics – and what major powers like the First actually mean. Who founded the Institute, what powers does it have, what is it doing? What about demons living on Earth? Is the Institute being fair – it’s implied they have an unduly harsh view of demons? There’s lots of things hinted at but we didn’t really address many of them – there’s lots of suggestions of world building to come but we aren’t really getting more than just the labels. I need more, I want more; expand this original world more. This feels very unique, very different from what I’ve read elsewhere and I’d love to see those unique elements expanded.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/06/devil-may-care-veil-2-by-pippa-dacosta.html
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review 2017-05-28 15:33
Harrowing and brutal thriller set in Southern Africa
Reconciliation for the Dead (Claymore Straker Series) - Paul E Hardisty

 

 

This novel, based on true events during the 1980s in the Angolan war, deals with human rights abuses by both sides in this conflict. It also covers corruption and conspiracy in South Africa and Angola. The main character, Clay Straker, fights in the South African armed forces against Angolan insurgents and witnesses abuses and events which make him doubt everything that he has been led to believe.

 

The action is relentless, harrowing and brutal and the reader is compelled to read on despite the horrific events, just to see how this turns out. The writing is imaginative and I particularly liked the small descriptions that are fed in along the way of the landscape, wildlife and area.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

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review 2017-05-26 12:38
A solid thriller, with an intriguing dynamic between the lead investigator and the killer. Beware of evil hiding under the appearance of normality.
The Fourth Monkey - A.J. Barker

Thanks to Net Galley and to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for offering me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This novel ticks many of the boxes of successful thrillers: interesting and gruesome crimes (and a pretty bizarre serial killer), police procedural elements (and an investigating team easy to connect with and amusing at times), tension ticking (a girl has been taken by the 4MK [Four Monkey Killer] and she must be found before she dies), twists and turns (I suspect most avid readers of thrillers will guess some, at least, of them), red herrings… It is fairly long, although it keeps a good pace. If I missed anything, it was perhaps more psychological insight. And if we stop to think about it, the police force seems pretty ineffective but…

The story is told in chapters written in the third person from different points of view, mostly Porter’s (the lead investigator in the case although not fully back to work after some time off. We learn the reason later in the book) and Emory’s (the young victim), although there is the odd chapter from one of the other detective’s points of view, Clair. Interspersed with this we have fragments of the killer’s diary, which is found in the pocket of a man killed by a bus at the beginning of the book. The diary, that starts out pretty harmless, as the account of what seems to be a pretty normal childhood, gets creepier and creepier as it goes along and it provides an understanding (or justification of sorts) for the killer’s later behaviour (blood is thicker and all that, but there are also lies, secrets and betrayals. That is, if we are to believe the diary).  That and other aspects of the book (and I don’t want to say much to avoid spoilers) including the cat-and-mouse chase, provide us with some interesting insights into the mind of the killer and emphasise the fact that appearances can be very deceptive. A seemingly normal middle-class family can hide all kinds of dirty secrets. And upper-class families can too, as becomes evident through the book. The revenge/avenging aspect of the murders (the sins of the fathers are visited…) is not new, although it makes the murderer more intriguing.

The other parts of the book help move the story forward and the events are set chronologically, from the moment Porter is awakened by a phone call that brings him back to the police, as he’s been chasing the 4MK Killer for over five years. Although Porter’s point of view dominates the novel, I did not feel we got to know him all that well. Yes, something has happened to him (I guessed what it was early on) and he is suffering and unwilling to openly acknowledge that or discuss it; he is not keen on gadgets and seems utterly out of touch with new technologies and social media, and he is determined and driven, putting himself at risk repeatedly for the good of others. But, although I liked the fact that the team of detectives investigating the case were pretty normal individuals (not corrupt, not twisted and bitter, even when it would be more than justified, not morally ambiguous psychopaths), I still missed having more of a sense of who Porter really is. Clair has little page space and I got no sense of her own personality, other than knowing that she cares for Porter and her colleagues and she has an amusing love/dislike relationship with Nash (who is the character that provides the light relief throughout the book). In the case of Emory, who finds herself in a terrifying situation, we get to share her experiences with her, and it is one of the most effective portions of the book, adding to the tension and the need to keep turning the pages.

The style of writing is direct, with only the necessary descriptions to allow us to follow the investigation (including descriptions of clues and places. I particularly enjoyed the idea of the tunnels from bootlegging times that help bring the setting’s history into the novel). The chronological storyline and the signposting of the different points of view, make it a story dynamic and easy to read, and although it is perhaps longer than the norm in the genre it is a fairly quick read.

As I said, there are plenty of twists and turns, enough to keep one’s mind busy, although I suspect avid readers of the genre will guess a few of them, if not all. I have read some of the comments disparaging the fact that the police seem to be pretty ineffective and they only get to rescue the victim thanks to the clues left by the killer. Indeed, that is so (in fairness, Porter, who seems the most clued-on of the team and the expert on this case, is battling personal issues of his own and not at his best) but, if anything, that further emphasises the relationship between Porter and the killer. What attracts the killer to Porter? The ending (oh, yes, very satisfying, although, of course, it creates intrigue for the next book in the series) highlights that issue even more. I get the feeling that this series will improve as it goes along but only time will tell.

In summary, a story of evil hiding in unexpected places, of secrets and lies that are covered by a thin veneer of normality, and a solid police procedural thriller, with a main character and a killer whose relationship holds the key to more mysteries to come.  Ah, a word of warning. If you don’t like graphic violence and torture, you might want to give it a miss.

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text 2017-05-23 20:31
Reading progress update: I've read 74%.
La chimera di Praga (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) - Donatella Rizzati,Laini Taylor

Mamma mia che bello che è!!!

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review 2017-04-02 15:10
La croce di fuoco
La croce di fuoco (La straniera, #8) - Valeria Galassi,Diana Gabaldon

Le mie belle aspettative si sono desolatamente infrante in una marea di pagine inutili, piene di avvenimenti minuziosamente descritti ma che non aggiungeranno nulla alla storia.

 

Alla fine, verso le ultime 100 pagine, succede qualcosa di interessante, ma viene tutto descritto rapidamente per lanciare l'esca  (sì credo proprio che la Gabaldon ci veda come tanti pesciolini) per comprare il prossimo libro della saga.

 

Peccato, la storia di Claire e Jamie mi è subito entrata nel cuore, ed anche quella di Brianna e Roger, ma  l'idea che l'autrice voglia allungare il brodo a scopi puramente commerciali è troppo chiara.

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