I enjoyed this book. However, this is NOT a paranormal or urban fantasy book (in other words, DON'T go by the cover). If you are not a sci-fi fan, you will probably NOT enjoy this book. This book has been marketed by the publisher incorrectly. It is akin to marketing a murder mystery as a romance because the detective has a love interest. That is how badly the marketing of this book has missed the mark.
This is straight up sci-fi of the cyberpunk variety. Apocalyptic. Dystopian.
I thought the writing was lyrical and evocative. The book is written from multiple points of view, which was unexpected and jarring at first, but I think, in the end, it added to my enjoyment of the book. It adds to the mood and atmosphere.
I would have given this book 3.5 stars until the very end.
It feels like there were 2 or 3 chapters left out of the end of the book. One of the central conflicts in the book was apparently resolved without any explanation at all. None. I truly feel as if there is some content missing from the book, I've never read one where 1. there is a central conflict that drives one of the characters and 2. everything is different and apparently resolved without explanation when you turn the page.
Specifically, here is what's missing:
1. The scene where the hero realizes he loves the heroine.
2. The scene where the heroine realizes she loves the hero.
3. The scene where the hero and heroine decide what to do about it.
4. The scene where anybody at all deals with the villain (yes, the villain just disappears from the story for no reason, never to be mentioned again)
5. The scene where anybody at all questions why the "maybe/maybe-not" villain allows something to happen (yup, another completely unresolved thread).
6. The scene where the heroine resolves one of the driving conflicts of the book (not with the villain).
I don't think these problems are actually due to bad writing ... because these things just aren't addressed at all. It's really more like chapters got left out of the book. I went back and checked the page numbering and chapter numbering to see if there was a mis-print or something (apparently not from what I could tell) so I think the problem happened when the book was typeset. Somehow some of it got left out and they didn't catch the mistake.
It's not even as if the author left some open ended scenes that you can guess are going to be addressed in the next book in the series. Nope. Nothing like that in this book.
Pretty standard Showalter fare. Funny/snarky dialogue, lots of action, fairly decent for what it is. A quick, light, entertaining but eventually forgettable read. Every problem is solved by alien superpowers, and the characters are ready to get married after, maybe a couple of weeks of elapsed book time.
I really enjoyed this book. I have read other this author's other series (Chris Marie Green's Vampire Babylon, which is typical urban fantasy. Thought it was pretty good, not great. Very typical of most urban fanasy, though).
This book is the start of a new series which is set in a post apocalyptic world ... unlike most UF or PNR which is typically set in a more or less modern world, so if you come to this book expecting it to be like typical urban fantasy or paranormal romance, you will probably not like it.
If your reading background has included much horror or apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy, however, you might very much enjoy this book. The characters are familiar in the post-apocalytic fiction genre, paranoid, secretive, guarded, slow to welcome outsiders. The world-building in this novel was extremely interesting. The plot was OK. The romance was appropriate for the characters in this novel (again, very different from how a romance unfolds in the modern world setting). The transformations that the characters undergo were interesting.
The main detraction was the ending of the book ... it was a little too much "tell-all" instead of a reveal thru the plot. I do dislike when major plot points are told to other characters instead of shown through action. However, in this case, the other good and interesting things about this book made up for that small annoyance.
I will be reading the next novels in this series, and I also recommend them to others, although with the caveat that if you have only read UF/PNR set in the more or less modern world, you probably won't recognize or appreciate the traditions that this novel comes from.
I really enjoyed this book, it is a fast-paced horror/thriller, with an interesting plot. Better written than most books of this type. Although, it is a little explicit, so if you are bothered by reading about more unusual/deviant sexual situations, this probably isn't the book for you!
I picked this book up on a whim, not knowing what to expect.
I ended up really enjoying this book! I was hooked from the first words:
It was not the first time Lady Westington had awakened tied to a bed.
It was not even the second.
and it proceeded from there with a story that is not exactly identical to every other romance out there. (OK, its not exactly unique, but then a unique romance is impossible to find. But it's different enough that I didn't have any vague notions of already having read the exact same plot many times over already). I think this particular book is a cut above the rest. The author really managed to write about realistic characters, and she captured their feelings about falling in love with a partner that is unexpected. I thought the writing of the romantic scenes was particularly well done, the author managed to capture not just the passion, but the fun and playfulness as well.
I'm keeping this book, and I plan on checking out the others by this author to see if they are all this good.
Like the title, this book has a certain charm. The story was cute if very predictable.
But overall, I wasn't impressed. The romance was the type where by page 60, after the hero and heroine have spent approximately 10 minutes together, she is wondering if she might be in love with him. The author has created no basis for the romance, all of a sudden these characters just have strong feelings for one another, based pretty much on minimal interaction.
I will not be seeking these books out, but I would probably read another if I came across it.
I've been enjoying Zoe Archer more than I thought I would. This book starts a new series (historical paranormal romance), and it's a good kickoff with an interesting premise .... 5 friends unwittingly release "The Devil" from a two thousand year imprisonment, and are rewarded with their deepest heart's desire.
What I like: Archer writes a very strong heroine without being "too" contemporary (although she does not avoid contemporary mores completely, which some might dislike in a historical); the romantic relationship develops based on the personalities of the characters (rather than falling in love with the face); and the paranormal plot is dynamic, interesting, and integral to the story (rather than being stuck onto the book, or an afterthought).
This is the last Stardoc book, and nicely wraps up the series. Overall, I felt the series was a little bit uneven, with my least favorite books being some of the first ones in the series (inconsistent characterization, confusing storylines), but by the time Viehl was writing the later ones, she had improved tremendously as a writer, and the later books in the series are much more consistently good.
I felt very satisfied with the series ending, the story wraps up in an interesting way, consistent with the other books, and thank goodness there is an epilogue, as, having spent 10 books with these characters, I'm glad to know how they all end up.
I realize this is vague on the actual story, but as I dislike reviews of later books in a series that give away the endings of earlier books, you will just have to take my word for it ... a great ending!
I wanted to review this book to provide some perspective on this book in the context of all 3 books that make up this trilogy. Some reviewers have stated that they did not continue with the series. The second and third books are vastly different from Empress and completely change the context and understanding of the first book.
The trilogy itself is the story of the rulers of two lands ... Mijak and Ethrea, the completely different political and religious systems that they have evolved, and the war that they eventually fight.
Empress concentrates only on Hekat, who becomes the Empress of Mijak. The second book concentrates 98% on Rhian, a princess of Ethrea. The third book concentrates on the war between the countries, mostly from the perspective of Rhian and others in Ethrea.
I thought Empress was very interesting as a study of how evil looks from the inside, and how religious fervor makes certain actions seem OK. (You don't really understand this perspective completely until you read books 2 and 3 and you gain additional information about Mijak which is not known to Hekat in the first book.)
No matter how you feel about the first book, I strongly recommend at least picking up the second book and giving it a try before you give up on the series, as the different perspective in the second and third books radically changes the understanding of the first book.
I've read all the Stardoc novels (10) and this is my least favorite one. It is just badly written, to be honest. The characters perform actions in this book that are completely out of character and the entire conflict in the book could have been solved with a 5 minute conversation between the characters. I wanted to reach into the book and slap them.
Having said that, book 4 improves drastically, and the last half of the series are excellent. Sometimes you get tired reading about the same characters in the same situations after multiple books in a series, BUT without giving away any spoilers, Viehl manages to freshen up the characters in the Stardoc series in an extremely interesting way, and I couldn't put the books down after book number 6 (Rebel Ice).
So, if you hated this one after reading the very interesting first book (Stardoc) and the OK second book (Beyond Varallan), don't give up on the series. Viehl improves tremendously as a writer, the book following this one is much, much better, and the ones that follow after that are very decent reads.
I've read this one and the first one in this series, and overall, I would say that they are heavy in fairy politics and you have to follow a lot of characters names who are not characters in the story, in order to even have a hope of following it. The politics are kind of boring, too, and not very well explained.
And there is not enough interesting stuff to make up for it. Not much action, not much romance, not much magic. Just a lot of the main character going places in different glamours and people tell her stuff. I had to make myself finish it, I didn't really care how it ended as long as it did end, and soon.
I've read the Connor Gray series by the same author, which is set in the same world, and I like those more. The main character is just more interesting, there is more magic and action in them, and although there is lots of fairy politics in them too, it is both easier to follow and more sidelined in the Connor Gray books.
I thought this book was pretty good! Decently written, interesting characters, well plotted. I am interested in reading further in this series. The main character solves his problems through cleverness, instead of being more powerful than anyone else.
It is reminiscent of The Dresden Files, of course, but in a good way. And, while the world is similar, there are some new and interesting things about this world that make me want to read further with these characters, and see where the overall story goes.
I would recommend it for anyone waiting for the next Dresden Files book to come out.
Although I consider The Heir, by the same author, to be a definite keeper, I was disappointed in this book.
There was no real reason for the hero and heroine to fall in love, other than the hero knows how to change diapers. Very underwhelming in the romance department, too.
You really don't get to know much about either character at all. (Here is what I know about the heroine: She loves her brothers, and she wants to be alone sometimes. Here is what I know about the hero: He has a family, somewhere. And he likes to travel. Yup, that's about it for the character development).
There is a lot of burping the baby and feeding the baby and changing the baby's diapers, and putting the baby to sleep, and playing with the baby, and carrying the baby, though. The baby is also a magic baby, because everyone who spends any time with him (like 2 minutes or less) falls in love with him instantly.
So, if a romance that features mostly a burping, pooping baby is your cup of tea, this one fits the bill!