Tag Archives: book review

Review: God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

It took me a little while to settle into the Immortal Empire universe.  This is a good thing.  Too often it’s easy to rely on what’s been done before to set your world.  The writing community has gotten lots of wonderful books from that, but it’s fantastic to mix it up now and again.

Also, the fact I’m not much into punk fiction, or know pretty much nothing about London, besides important historical footnotes, was a slight barrier.  However, I could infer most of the meanings easily enough, and I never really felt lost.  This screams well-crafted to me.

The book itself did a lot of things that impressed me.  It actually surprised me here and there.  I’ve read a lot of books, and I usually can figure what’s happening, and when the tide is going to turn.  This time I was caught off guard several times.

I also enjoyed the strangeness of the world, I was transported to.  A plague ridden world where the have and have nots are strongly divided i all kinds of ways.

The main character is a blast to read.  Xandra shouldn’t be.  She’s a bigot. She’s way aggressive, and too impulsive.  Yet, she’s compelling, and has plenty of good points too.   She’s a very balanced character that is being molded by the events in the book.

This book is almost a book of series of What ifs? Which makes it really fun, because I often ask those sort of questions when I read.  In this world the royalty is better than the masses, because they are kick ass vampires, werewolves, or goblins.  As one of the masses, that sounds pretty much like the worst thing ever.  Imagine how easy would for them to lord anything over you.

“How come I don’t know have enough to eat?”  “You aren’t a noble obviously because the plague will kill you, where it turned me into a beautiful creature with super powers.”  Slap in the fact argument right there.

 

Instant sympathy from reader gets that goes around the main character, freakin’ slick writing right there.

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Review: Angel’s Blood

Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

I’ve been trying to read books that normally I’d never touch. As I’m attempting to become a writer, I figure I need to stretch my usual reading.  One of the biggest growing genres is Paranormal Romance.  And, being the least romantic person I know I was like OMG icky.  Romance has never been a huge draw for me.  Not even when I was a teenager.  However….

This is a damn good book. The story is at its heart an emotional journey. Ellie is a deep character, haunted, strong, brave, and vulnerable. Her personality is completely compelling with her strange and interesting descriptions of the most mundane everyday things. I’m pretty sure I could read a hundred books about her.

The book is set in a unique universe where Angels exist, and like kings, or gods. They aren’t sweet, or kind. And, they make vampires who are forced to serve them for a hundred years for the privilege. And, Ellie is a hunter born – a type of human with the ability to track, and scent vampires. She works for the Guild who brings back vampires who dare to break their contracts.

At the beginning of the book she’s considered one of the best. And, she’s hired by an Archangel called Raphael to hunter an angel. She doesn’t understand, because she can’t hunt them. And this mystery plunges her into not only Raphael’s deadly, attractive company, but the danger of lies, secrets, and misdirection.

One great triumphs of the book are Singh makes the angels, barely human, alien in a very real way. Yet, a thin veneer of forgotten humanity clings to them enough. A very fine line was walked. It adds an edge to the story that keeps each word as interesting as the last.

The poses a very quiet, and perhaps I’m imagining it, question.  What truly makes a person strong? Is it physical abilities? Is it age and wisdom?  It is willpower? Is it intelligence?  Does one have great strength at the cost of a deep held weakness?  This book remains me of a quote from Dollhouse (shameless fangirl) paraphrased ‘You see someone running incredibly fast – The first thing you gotta ask is ‘Are they running to something or are they running from something?’ The answer is always both.’  By Topher if anyone is going to check my craziness.

The two main characters Ellie and Raphael are both running in their own way.  And they mirror each other.  This is probably what draws me into the book more than anything else.   So, hat’s off to Nalini Singh for getting me to read an entire Paranormal Romance.

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Review: Mistress of the Empire

Mistress of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurst

The conclusion to this story is fulfilling with the right amount of sacrifice, loss, hope, and triumph.  The only thing I could say as a negative is it almost ties off too many loose ends.  I like my stories a bit messy.  But, I know how much loose end drive a lot of people crazy.

The enemy is insidious and costs Mara more than previous novels.  Easily the darkest and most desperate of all the novels.  It showcases Mara’s steel spine and resolve.

Also, if you love her spy master as much as me you get to learn more about the character.  He is one of the most complex characters in the story.  If you don’t it never overwhelms the main plot more of a running subplot.

This installment is really all about trying to swim upstream.  Mara has had to challenge tradition to survive. She’s admired innovation, and other cultures.  The true test arrives.  She was willing to risk her family, her house, and her life to change Tsurani values.   It is one thing to find different way to do thing, another to be a catalyst.  There has been history who has dared to force society to wake up.  It is always an uphill battle with no guarantee of success.

Inequality is a conflict that speaks to a lot of people.  Everyone has seen some kind of injustice no matter how small.  We wanted it to be different. Here is a woman who does.  That’s a powerful feeling either way you look at it.

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Review: Servant of the Empire

Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurst

Unlike the first book, this one starts on a light hearted note.  A bunch of foreigner slaves are tricking their masters.  The whole scene is extremely well done considering there is barely any dialog.  Now, this scene serves a very important purpose in the novel.  It sets many of the central themes of the novel.  One of which is Mara is an unconventional person, she likes wit, and doesn’t honestly care for the rules.  Two, she doesn’t see an inherent weakness in those of a lower station than her own.  Three, it begins the two men who pretty core  in the story to a strong highlight.

This book’s plot flows as well as the first.  Any hiccups are minor here as well.  The joint authors bring you into the world a bit more, and let you dig your teeth into.  Sometimes, I feel they over explain sayings that are pretty easy to interrupt, but I tend to think less is more.  For most people, this is probably a good thing.

Minwanabi, aka the bad guys, are not two dimensional or boring either.  They have their good points, and their bad.  Tasaio is to me, legitimately creepy, scary, and clever.  You gotta love a well done villain.

One of the main themes is really about the cultural differences between Kelewan and Midkemian.  The cultures are extremely different and hold up to an entirely different set of values.  And, the novel is good about highlighting that both have their positives and negatives.

This is what I love about the book.  There are thousands of cultures, subcultures, mixed cultures in the world.  And, in my opinion, they all have their pros and cons.  You can debate whether not how bad one is compared to another.  But, I want to know about other cultures, what they believe, and why believe in it.  To me this is fascinating and complex matter that always holds my attention.  That’s exactly what this book is.  What makes these two people different, when at their root they are all human?  And, what could make them better, what are their good points, what parts are bad?

It makes me wonder the way I define right and wrong.

Author’s Note-  Okay, so on Thursday was my 100th post.  I failed to realize this, because I was in the fourth phase of one my worst flus ever. Instead, yay, my 101th one post.  It’s been a crazy time, and it’s been fun.

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Review: Daughter of the Empire

Chuck Wendig is starting up the flash fiction challenges on Friday.  Which, I’m way too excited about.  These reviews when I have one will be going on Saturday’s.  This one is only going up on Tuesday, because I don’t have a Flash Fiction.  The reason I decided to do reviews is that fact I read really quickly, and I enjoy talking about books.  These probably won’t follow as reviews necessarily as much as rambles about writing and books.

 Nothing I like more than breaking down what I love about a book. 

 

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E Feist

 

Back in my teen years, many a moon ago, I wandered through the library.   The title of this book intrigued me.  I’d read the whole series and fell in love with epic fantasy.   To start the book reviews, I  thought it’d be fun to go back and read a book I hadn’t read in forever.  I wanted to know if it would stand the test of time.  Would I still love it? Was it really all that good?

And, interestingly enough I found it still be pretty amazing.  The world feels ancient, mired in tradition, with an odd sort of honor.   Everything isn’t exactly incomprehensible, but unusual.  In a completely, awesome way.  One of the things I love about science fiction and fantasy is it puts some place, somewhere, and someone outside of your experience.

The book raises a lot of interesting concepts.   Is it immoral to do what you need to survive, to keep what you love alive?  Would there be a better path?  Even if there is no dishonor in your actions does that make it moral?  Not all books have to be deep, dark, or raise questions covered in gray, but I love it when they do.

Feist also does a really good job at making you feel for Mara, even when she’s making some very questionable moral decisions.  A young girl who was about to become a priestess cast into politics with no real hope and no real training.   Her family’s forces decimated by betrayal, her brother and her father dead.   Everything in her life completely altered changed forever.   Punch to the gut, that is.

The book isn’t as perfect as it had been in my mind’s eye.  I suspected that going in, but it holds up remarkably well.  There is a slight hitch in the flow about the middle of the book.  The slowed pace isn’t terrible, only could be better.  And, the world feels complex, but it almost feels like you can’t quite dig into it.  As if there is a wall between you and it.  None of this ruins the book and all these are pretty minor gripes.

I do not regret picking up this book and giving it another go.

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