After a long time thinking that my standards for fantasy might be a little too high, this book comes along.
Setting: This book looks only superficially like a European fantasy. There are certainly European or English flavorings, but everything is a little bit different from the religion to the general philosophy of the people. Hulick certainly knows enough about his culture to paint a perfect picture for his audience.
Plot: This is one that will keep you guessing. There is more political intrigue than in any other similar book I have read in the past half of a decade. Enough to make you want more, but not so much that you think the author is just throwing things at the audience.
Characters: OK, there are perhaps a few too many characters, but only by a handful. Since it's fewer characters than many similar books I am not going to complain too much.
If you love books about swashbuckling, swindling, and magic this is for you. (also check out with a single spell by Lawrence Watt Evans)
Now the Bad news: Book two is taking forever to get here.
If I had not read her Nocturne City books I would believe that Kittredge was unable to write a good story. Having read them, there is no excuse for a book this bad. Pete is one of the saddest female leads with her inability to do anything without her worthless junkey boyfriend. Her main investigative technique through the series is to throw a tantrum until she gets her way or to wait to get rescued. For those of you reading from the Isles, Pete is a CHAV. The boyfriend is a drug adict, and that should explain why he's so beefy and why he's generally more clever.
So what about the villians? Nergal is a two dimensional prop that Kittredge didn't even research, Naughton was better in book two where he was basicly forgotten about because the characters had better things to do.
The inquisition? Where do I start? Early in the book Pete is almost raped by one of them, but lets it go because she won the fight. Seriously? Their leader even offered to punish the guy.
Every author deserves to be forgiven for one bad book though right? I did. I read about a quarter of the next book. It actually gets worse. And that's why I gave this book one star. The next book deserves 1/2.
Imagine little house on the prairie, only with all of the life sucked out of it. In place of the joy were some gears glued on. Not many gears, but some. If you think that it's going to be a cool book about zombies you may be disappointed. The zombies are anything but interesting. If you think this is going to be a weird west or steam punk book, well, I can confirm the book part.
I may be overly generous with the number of stars I gave this book considering that everyone I know who has picked up the book has put it down before page 80.
Don't you just hate when an author only consults a wiki page as research for their book? This is not one of those books. I do not believe that this author consulted a wiki page as research. Unfortunately that would have been too much work.
Our hero is a know it all douche who doesn't know he isn't particularly charming. He impresses a girl from small town Montana with the massive amount of area NY city takes up rather than, I don't know, all of the actually impressive features of the city. The girl, who has been to several large cities is impressed.
The book is attempting to rip off the Dresden files and failing miserably. The actual writing style isn't bad, but the content leaves much to be desired.
I'm an avid reader, and if you like books, this book is one. If you like books with good pacing and engaging story lines, well this book might not be for you.
I obtained the book thinking it would either be a Victorian fantasy romance or a steam punk book. It is definitely not steam punk unless you count anything that happens to be set in a Victorian setting. Cogs and gears are mentioned (eventually and mostly in conjunction with the supernatural), but that doesn't make it steam or punk.
As for the plot, I can tell you that for the first 160 pages there isn't one. After that I put the book down. I have quite the reading list, and giving the plot 160 pages to go somewhere was more than generous.
Read this book then stop. The next book is bad. The one after is worse.
Jack is a muscle bound fit and active drug addict. He barely has enough money to live on but apparently has enough money to jet off half way across the world. Pete is a CHAV who is involved with the police who can also jet off across the world on a moments notice. The pair spend half the book investigating one case only to abandon it when something more important comes allong.
OK, that sounds like a really bad book, and for the most part it is badly written characters doing dumb things. For this book though it seems to work.
I read quite a number of supernatural romances / urban fantasy novels. One thing that this book is ~not~ is a mystery. We are introduced to the bad guy early on, and as the bad guy at that. Then the main character proceeds to not really investigate anything.
It's not a romance. The social dynamic between the main character and the various romantic interests is nonexistent.
So what is it? Well our main character dresses in leather pants to go to work as an exorcist. She works closely with people who are possessed by entities called demons. The defining feature of demons seems to be an obsession with pain, both giving and receiving.
Our main character has never heard of BDSM, but is thrust into the world of supernatural BDSM. S&M is even used as a way to interrogate someone at one point. (Honestly, I'll give the author that one. It's a common enough mistake to make when one knows nothing about modern and historic interrogation methods.)
Not a bad book overall, but this series is beginning to wear on me. This book is better than most in that the monster of the week isn't something stupid sounding. It's an ancient automaton.
Where this series begins to wear is the characters. This book is particularly bad about making all of the characters two dimensional. Any character can be described by combining "super bad ass" with a quirk. Niko is a super bad ass who is good at everything. Cal is a super bad ass who can form gates. Rob is a super bad ass who has had sex with everything. etc. Rob's favorite character is also named Rob, and her love of him is rather obvious in this book.
There are no plot twists. There are no big surprises. If you expect it to happen in the first third of the book it will by the end.
If I were to write up a list of the best series I had ever read, this would be in the top five. (Black Company by Cook, The Damned Trilogy by Foster, Obsidian Chronicles by Watt-Evans, Amber by Zelazny, and Uplift by Brin)
One thing that each of those series has in common is that each author knows how to write a realistic character. Watt-Evans is perhaps the best of them at understanding the way people's minds work. Characters are not paragons of good or evil, but real people who will not always do exactly what you expect them to do.
Each of the authors on that list can also write a fantastic and unique setting. Don't get me wrong, I'll read derivative books and love every page, but reading something new AND well written is always a pleasant surprise.
The setting holds true internally. Don't you hate books where the characters are great, but the world simply wouldn't work? Well this isn't one of them. Watt-Evans thought the laws of this universe through and stuck to them through the entire series.
If you have made it this far and still like the series, then by all means continue. It's more of the same, but where the earlier books simply stole the plot of Star Wars or Aurian, or The Belgariad, this book steals from Atlas Shrugged. (If you haven't read atlas, let me sum it up: Communism doesn't work.)
Anyhow, this book basically continues where the last one left without really building upon the world or drawing in the reader in any way.
As with her first book, if you are expecting a new and original never been done book, then why are you reading Urban Fantasy?
Craft is an unaligned fae (Lost girl) who advises the police (take your pick) and speaks to ghosts (again take your pick). On the other hand the actual plot is not ripped off of something else, and even the elements of the story are completely different takes on familiar themes.
So it's not original exactly, but it's also not a rip off.
The book was surprisingly well written all things considered, but there were a few minor problems when you think hard about it. Why does the US government allow agents of two sovereign nations to collect citizens on American soil? And often slavers come from fae. Is the American stance on slavery different than in our world?
So all told there are far more good than bad and it is much better than most books in the genre.
I wasn't expecting much when I picked up this book. I had read several negative reviews. The odd thing was that the negative reviews didn't dissuade me in the least.
Grave Witch is derivative: True enough, but that can be said about the Dresden files, The Garret files, the Nocturne city books, and pretty much the entirety of Urban Fantasy / Supernatural Romance.
Every aspect of this book was done by other authors better: True. It did remind me of everything I loved from other Urban Fantasy authors, but all in one book rather than a little glimmer here and a little glimmer there.
Poorly written sex scenes: true, but I happen to like poorly written sex scenes. At least it didn't take over the book like certain other authors are known for (Goodkind, Hamilton). That being said I thought the romance was rather forced, but then I'm a guy. What do I know?
Rob Thurman is an excellent author. Really she is. If you are reading this review you have probably read the first trickster book and know how good she can be. If you want to see more examples of her at her best you should go and read her Cal and Niko books. What you should not do is read this book.
Here's a little run down. The bad guy from the Percy Jackson books wants to kill a boat load of demons so that he can kill Satan and take over all universes. There are numerous references to the Cal and Niko books, so if you haven't read them you will be frequently confused. The frequent references to the penis of a character not appearing in the book are an example of this. The Norse gods are around, but the Greek gods are pretty much all dead.
Thurman has obviously conceived of a vast and intricate universe, but she doesn't really show this universe to her readers. Instead we are shown the antics of an ex angel and an ex demon. They aren't even entertaining antics.
I gave this 1/2 of a star. I have read worse books and given them higher ratings, but really this was such a badly written pain to read that the disappointment dropped the rating down by an entire star. If you have never read her work before, then don't start with this book.
Like the first book, this is a good read. The main characters are tough but at the same time human. The pacing is good, and the action scenes are well done. I recommend it to anyone who reads Urban Fantasy.
Technically, I have heard that this is categorized as a Supernatural Romance. If that's what you are looking for, you might be disappointed. There isn't much of a romance in the book at all.
I can't quite give it five stars, but it is almost there. The character is a believable character but also extraordinary in both spirit and abilities. The setting has werewolves and other creatures known to the public, but it might not have been fully thought out. There are implications to having murderous werewolf packs in a society with rules and law. That's the only knock to the series however. The plot is good. The side characters are good. The police work is good. Even the city, made up though it is, is mapped out rather interestingly.
I absolutely loved this book. This is in the Urban Fantasy genre. It's allong the same lines as books like the Dresden Files by Butcher, the Nightside series by Green, or the Nocturne City novels by Kittredge. (all good books in good series.)
The characters are deep and completely human (even those who are not human). The story progresses at a comfortable pace. It's plot is not bogged down by people acting stupid or otherwise unbelievable.
I would appreciate a nod in the direction of the mythology that is being borrowed from in some places, but other than that minor quibble I have no problems at all with the book.
I've read the first two, I'll be reading the next as soon as I get my hands on it.
Our main hero Tylar is a crippled disgraced knight who starts the story saving a girl from being raped and as a result he is nearly raped himself. He then sees a god being killed and gains super powers which he uses to kill his attempted rapist.
Meanwhile our secondary hero is a young girl (virgin) who is raped. Her rapist is then killed by a dog that is powered by the blood released in her rape.
At one point Our hero is captured by an evil god who threatens to rape one of his virgin companions.
This isn't the only rapist god though. Near the end the main bad god is revealed to have raped one of his assistants. His seed burned her insides leaving a hollow shell that is used as a puppet.
You get the idea. That's not all that is wrong with the book though.
Other than all of the rape you also have other problems. There are characters from a foreign language that are used in the beginning of the book, but which is quickly abandoned. You have the most generic fantasy world ever complete with random monster encounters and airships. The political intrigue is badly done, and predictable. The main characters are 'cursed' with all powerful super powers that activate when they are hurt.
On the other hand I did finish the book, and I have read worse. It's something a young adult might have written plot wise, but the prose are good.
This is the one that made me put the series down and put everything I own by Rob Thurman up on swap. Her books are usually a little bit loopy, but this one goes off the deep end.
The monster of the week in this book is springheeled jack. The original SHJ was an old Victorian era extra creepy rape ghost with springs for heels. Here he doesn't jump at all, has no apparent sexual urges, or resemble anything anyone would think to call spring heeled jack. He actually is a serial killer much like jack the ripper. No wait, he's actually a storm spirit of some sort. No wait, he was infected by a storm spirit. He's actually a (spoiler)
a damaged angel who has been infected by a storm spirit. But don't worry, angels are actually crystalline beings and storm spirits are really parasites.
And if that mess were all, then it would not have been that bad, but everything else is also getting a little over done. Cal is getting more and more over the top as the author tries harder and harder to wow the audience with how bad ass the character is, but at least his character develops from book to book. None of the other characters do.
The series has been going down hill for the last few books. It has had its moments, but it's just time to give it up.
I'm expecting the monster in the next book to be Frankenstein's monster who is really the greek god hadies, who is really an elephant, but not really an elephant because what we think of as elephants are actually reptile people, and the monster is clearly a giant organic spaceship built by the Navajo who was just worshiped by the ancient Greeks who named it Frankenstein's monster.