Sunday, July 29, 2012

Whispers Under Ground: By Ben Aaronovitch




It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.


I really like Ben Aaronovitch. His books are fun, filled with an interesting style of magic, and are very mystery based.

So it wasn’t a big surprise that I couldn’t put the third book in his urban fantasy series, Whispers Under Ground, down and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Aaronovitch does a fantastic job creating interesting characters that readers will want to not only read about but meet and have a pint with. None of the characters are perfect, know everything, or are even all powerful in magic. In fact most of the time Peter, the protagonist, is figuring it out as he goes along and makes a muck of things before he figures it out.

Of course, besides Aaronvich’s take on magic, I really enjoy his writing style and the way he gives a mini history lesson on a subject in each book as background for the overall mystery. This may sound boring to some, but he does it wonderfully weaving in interesting facts into the overall story in a way that builds a much deeper connection between the reader and the world.

So if you don’t like well written books, filled with relatable/interesting characters, a fascinating  take on magic, and a captivating mystery, then this book probably isn’t for you. But if you so happen to like to read an engrossing book that wont let you put it down, then this definitely is the book for you. Another win from the up and coming author Ben Aaronovitch.


Publisher: Del Rey

Published: July 31, 2012

Price: 7.99

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Darklands: By Nancy Holzner



They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.


The Deadtown series is unique, action packed, and just plain captivating. I was hooked from the first book I read in the series and have been waiting on pins and needles ever since for each successive book.

But enough about the series overall (which I do whole heartedly recommend), what made this book, Darklands, so captivating were all the new twists and turns Holzner threw into this mix. First, Holzner had a good deal of the book take place in the land of the dead. This in itself is interesting. While fans can’t yet be sick of the interesting and unique set up of Deadtown, it is always interesting to see a new setting, especially when it has a taste of the medieval to it, and getting to explore a new set of characters and magic isn’t bad either.

Speaking of new characters I can’t say who Holzner brings into this book, but one character in particular is absolutely fantastic! That character is smart, sneaky, and brings a whole new spin into what might happen next in the series. That character alone revitalizes an already exciting series, and I personally can’t wait until the next in the series to see what happens next.

Of course, besides this awesome mystery character there are also fantastic other new and old characters in Darklands. As for old characters it was fun seeing Juliet and Tina, they always bring humor with a bit of zest to spice up the book. That said, it was also great to meet another new comical addition to the ranks when readers get to meet and actually talk to a lower level demon. That demon who was dubbed Butterfly, was fun, whimsical, and too be honest a nice face to show that not all demons are pure evil, the rank and file demon are just like humans or other animals, they just have a different diet.

All in all I really liked Darklands. I’ve been a fan of the Deadtown series and this is probably my favorite book of the series thus far. I enjoyed the medieval setting of the limbo-limbo-like-underworld, the new characters, and the action and new spins on the story. I can’t wait for the next book, and would have no trouble recommending this one to anyone who likes urban fantasy. 


Publisher: Ace

Published: July 31, 2012

Price: $7.99

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Monday, July 16, 2012

God Save the Queen: By Kate Locke



The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.


They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in the case of God Save the Queen, you can bet the book is as awesome as the cover and design of the book is.
The book is a mini-hardcover. It is light and portable yet still maintains the attractiveness and slightly more durable nature of a hardcover. Also besides that little bit of fun facts the cover art is pretty awesome, making God Save the Queen at least LOOK really cool.

But enough about how it looks, here’s the scoop on the actual subject matter of this book. God Save the Queen is a book that fans of Jaye Wells or Patricia Briggs will absolutely devour. Locke does a fantastic job creating engaging and exciting characters. Xandra reminded me a lot of Sabrina Kane from Jaye Well’s series. She is tough, sexy, and dangerous. Of course besides Xandra who I really liked as a character, I alos really liked the Goblin Prince. Readers will get a chance to see the progression of how the Goblins are perceived throughout the book. Their transformation in the eyes of certain characters is riveting, and since he has the most lines of all the goblins my favorite therefore is the Goblin Prince. He is deep, complex, and despised, a really interesting combination.

The thing is, there wasn’t a particular character I was wishing I had more of. Church, Xandra, Vex, and the Goblin Prince are all fun characters that help move the story along, while at the same time provide entertainment to the reader.

Of course besides the characters I just liked the world and plot of the book. It is filled with action, adventure, mystery, and backstabbing. What’s not to love. Plus a modern version of old England with vampires and werewolves running the show is pretty awesome.

All in all I really liked God Save the Queen. It was fast paced, fun to read, and full of interesting characters. The plot was interesting enough and full of enough twists that I was constantly on the edge of my seat. Fans of Briggs and Wells will love, and I personally can’t wait for the next in the series, The Queen is Dead. 


Publisher: Orbit 

Published: July 3, 2012

Price: $16.99

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bared Blade: By Kelly McCullough



Former temple assassin Aral Kingslayer has a price on his head and a mark on his soul. After his goddess was murdered, Aral found refuge in the shadow jack business, fixing problems for those on the fringes of Tien’s underworld. It’s a long step down from working for the Goddess of Justice, but it gives Aral and Triss—the living shadow who is his secret partner—a reason to get up in the morning.

When two women hit a rough spot in the tavern Aral uses for an office, he and Triss decide to lend a helping hand--only to find themselves in the middle of a three-way battle to find an artifact that just might be the key to preventing a war. And with so many factions on their trail, Aral and Triss are attracting a lot more attention than anyone featured on ten thousand wanted posters can afford…


So while I liked Broken Blade I felt like there were a few things that McCullough, the author, could have done better that kept it from a really good novel.

Apparently McCullough is a mind reader though, because most of the complaints I had for Broken Blade were corrected in Bared Blade.

Some of these new highlights that readers may enjoy (I certainly know I did) were; a larger role for Triss (Aral’s dragon shadow familiar), a much greater insight into some of the other magic disciplines, an explanation to a much greater details some of the magic, and it felt like a lot more action.

Now I could be wrong and there was the same amount of action in the previous book or even more, but in Bared Blade, to me, it felt like the action scenes flowed easier in this sophomore novel.

Of course besides the action, Bared Blade continues to create and maintain an interesting set of characters, including and most specifically, Aral. Aral is an interesting protagonist. He’s been broken for the past few years, and only really now in the 2nd book does he really begin to come out of his depression. He is no longer the white knight of justice blindly following his goddesses commands, now he is grey, tainted by the real world, but still striving to do justice, in whatever way he can. And because of this he is almost like a new born duckling, still learning the ways the of the world, unsure of his footing, which is fantastic to read about and to watch the transformation as he rebuilds himself. Of course I’m also a huge fan of Triss, so I was thrilled when he really gets enough lines in this book to be considered a major character as opposed to Broken Blade, where he had minimalists lines that I didn’t feel did him justice. Triss is funny, unique, and breaks the sense of depression that sometimes looms over Aral.

Over all, I was really very happy with Bared Blade. It took the good parts of Broken Blade and maintained them while fixing those weaker spots in the first novel. Further, its full of action, fun characters, and an interesting plot. All in all a fun summer read.


Publisher: Ace

Published: June 26, 2012

Price: $7.99

Link to buy: