Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Midnight Queen: By Sylvia Izzo Hunter

THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN

SUMMARY

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…
REVIEW

Part romance, part fantasy, and part historical fiction, fans of Mary Robinette Kowal and Marie Brennan will thoroughly enjoy The Midnight Queen.

While I ended up liking The Midnight Queen, it was slow going at first. Don’t get me wrong, Sophie and Gray are good characters and as the book moves along Hunter is able to develop their characters even more, but for the first part of the book it was a lot of building without a lot of reward.

Of top of that, while I liked Sophie and Gray, in my opinion they had to carry much of the story, as many of the other characters felt relatively flat.

That said, once the story gets going it really starts moving. Readers will enjoy the chess like plotting and conniving, the disguises and secrets, and the love story aspect.


All in all, while the beginning is a little slow, once you get through the initial  sluggishness the story and the characters develop quite the book. Definitely worth looking into if you’re a fan of historical fantasy.

INFO

Publisher: Ace

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $15.00

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Queen-Noctis-Magicae-Novel-ebook/dp/B00IOE4N52/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409798314&sr=8-1&keywords=the+midnight+queen

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hidden: By Benedict Jacka

HIDDEN

SUMMARY

With his talent for divining the future, Alex Verus should have foreseen his friends’ reactions to the revelations about his previous life. Anne Walker no longer trusts him—and has also cut all ties with the mage community after getting kicked out of the apprentice program. As a favor to Luna, Alex’s own apprentice and Anne’s best friend, he checks in on her only to be told to leave her alone.

Then Anne gets kidnapped. The Council Keepers of the Order of the Star believe Dark mages from her past may be involved. Working with the Keepers, Alex and Luna discover that Anne has been taken into the shadow realm of Sagash, her former Dark mage mentor, and they must find a way to rescue her.

But another shadow from the past has resurfaced—Alex’s former master may be back in London, and Alex has no idea what his agenda is…
REVIEW

When I read Benedict Jacka’s first book in his Alex Verus series I said that Jacka was an author to keep an eye on.

In Hidden he no longer is someone on the road to writing fantastic books, he’s there.

Hidden focuses on the effects of the events in Chosen, particularly Anne and Sonder’s mistrust in Alex and the dissolution of this group of friends who seemingly could take on anything. It is through this mistrust that readers get an insight into the inner working of Alex’s mind, and the beginning transformation from survivor to hero as Alex looks for a kidnapped Anne even though he will gain nothing from doing this (as she still hates him).

Readers will also get a chance to see Anne’s inner workings. Transforming her from a more two dimensional side character to a strong 3D lead character. Anne is a complicated character and seeing her dark side and what happened while she was kidnapped is fascinating.

Of course the biggest change in Hidden is the introduction of a huge new plot point that I’m assuming will drive the series forward in future books. I will not say what it is for fear of spoilers, but let me just say I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next in the series.


All in all, Hidden was awesome. Like the other books in the series Hidden is filled with tons of action, (in my opinion fight scenes with a diviner are pretty awesome), great characters, and a well paced plot. I fully recommend it, and it is perfect for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, and Kevin Hearne.

INFO

Publisher: Ace

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $7.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Alex-Verus-Book-5-ebook/dp/B00IOE4LCM/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409711599&sr=1-7&keywords=hidden

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Morganville Trailer

MORGANVILLE


I'm a fan of Rachel Caine's The Morganville Vampire series and am very excited for the to watch the web series on Geek & Sundry. Here's the first look at the trailer.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shifting Shadows: By Patricia Briggs

SHIFTING SHADOWS

REVIEW

I usually don’t like short stories. I tend to feel that many of the short stories I read are more teasers for the real series and thus lacking substance to reel the reader fully in.

Patricia Briggs’ short stories do not fall into this category.

Now that said, I would not recommend this anthology for newcomers to Briggs’ Mercy series. Part of the magic of this anthology is Briggs’ sensational ability to create compelling stories that fill in much of the eagerly anticipated backstories of many of the secondary characters.

My personal favorite of these stories was Silver which illuminated much of Samuel, Bran, and Arianas’ backstories, thus finishing the story that began in Silver Borne. Readers finally are able to get a taste of Samuel and Bran’s turning, the torture inflicted upon them while they were under the control of Bran’s mother, and the love born between Samuel and Ariana. On top of that, Silver is more of a novella than a short story, spanning 70 pages, thus allowing Briggs is really able to get to the meat of the story. Personally I’d recommend this anthology based solely on this story alone.

Of course there’s more than just this story, some of my other favorites included In Red, with Pearls, which is told from Warren’s POV, Redemption, which illuminates Ben’s backstory and is told from his POV, and Hollow, which is a Mercy POV story that takes place AFTER Night Broken, so fans of the series that are already in Mercy withdrawal can get a fix with some events that take place after the most recent book in the series, Night Broken.

This anthology includes new stories:

Silver
Roses in Winter
Redemption
Hollow

Previously released stories:

Fairy Gifts
Gray
Seeing Eye
Alpha and Omega
The Star of David
In, Red, with Pearls

And some extra chapters from Night Broken and Silver Bourne.


All in all, I highly recommend this anthology for fans of the Mercy series. Many of the stories are closer to novellas than short stories, and if you haven’t read Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, then this is the perfect opportunity as the novella that started the series is included in the selection of previously released material included in this book. Great buy.

INFO

Publisher: Ace

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $26.95

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Shifting-Shadows-Stories-World-Thompson-ebook/dp/B00IOE4M9O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409343344&sr=1-1&keywords=patricia+briggs

The Winter Long: By Seanan McGuiure

THE WINTER LONG

SUMMARY

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It's time to learn the truth.


REVIEW

The first thing I have to say about Seanan McGuire is that her October Daye series gets better with each book. While I’ve liked each book, I’ve found that with each successive book in the series the overall series and each book got better, to the point that now when a new book in the series comes out I have to immediately go buy a copy and often finish it that day.

The Winter Long is no exception to this.

Not only is The Winter Long a riveting mystery filled with more action, magic, and drama than you could swing a Cait Sidhe at, but it also finally answers many of the questions that were posed in the first book in the series.

On top of it all McGuire has done something I’ve seen only a precious few other authors do successfully, turn their entire world upside down. That’s what The Winter Long is, it’s a complete reversal from everything readers and fans of the series have known from the first book in the series. This is the turning point and while McGuire has built upon changes created from previous books in the series, she executed a perfect shift for the others leaving readers utterly unable to control their collective jaws from dropping.

This summersault of the story is not jarring though, McGuire has done a fantastic job balancing the events so that it is possible, believable, and yet still shocking to readers. Thus tricking readers and leaving fans of the series shocked and surprised, a truly magnificent feat for an 8th book in a series.


Through all of this McGuire leaves her readers stymied and eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, and if that isn’t the sign of a fantastic book than I don’t know what is. I highly recommend.


INFO

Publisher: DAW

Published: September 2, 2014

Price: $5.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Long-October-Daye-ebook/dp/B00IOE4JPG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409342080&sr=1-1&keywords=seanan+mcguire