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Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Recent Reads
« on: July 30, 2010, 02:55:50 PM »
Reviews

1)This post; Nightrunner Series 1-4 by Lynn Flewelling (6/10)
2)This post; Sandman; Preludes And Nocturnes by Neil Gainman (6.5/10)
3)This Post; Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (7.5/10)
4)Soul Mates; Bound By Blood by Jourdan Lane (2/10)
5)Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett (4/10)
6)The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling (4/10)
7)Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs (7/10)
8)Captive Prince by Freece (9.5/10)
9) Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs (5/10)
10)The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan (2.5/10)
11) Sunshine by Robin McKinley (7.5/10)
12) Joust by Mercedes Lackey (3/10)
13) Masques by Patricia Briggs (5/10)
14) The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas (5/10)
15) A Companion To Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (8.5/10)
16)Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (8/10)
17)The Painted Man by Peter Brett (5.5/10)
18) The Doctrine Of Labyrinths series by Sarah Monette (9.5/10)
19)Bent by Sean Michael (1/10)
20)The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (3/10)
21)Shadow Unit 1 by Will Shatterly, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette/(7/10)
22)Storm Front by Jim Butcher (8/10)
23)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (7.5/10)
24)Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (7/10)
25)The Last Days Of Newgate by Andrew Pepper (2/10)
26)Ash by Malinda Lo (6/10)
27)My Fair Captain by J L Langley (3.5/10)
28)Louisa The Poisoner by Tanith Lee (7/10)
29)The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (4.5/10)
30)The Bone Key by Sarah Monette (9/10)


The Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling

Spoilers for the Nightrunner series
A fantasy series following the adventures of two thieves/spies called Seregil and Alec, made up of five books, the first four I have read and the fifth I am actively attempting to attain. I don’t know what brought the series to my attention in the first place, but I am pleased to have found them – though not elegant or very stylised they have some very refreshing aspects that make the books not only readable but re-readable.

Luck In The Shadows, the first book of the series, is a wonderful hook. Filled with intrigue and adventure, it delivers beyond what the cliché title implies. A beautiful introduction to multifaceted main characters, wonderfully sculpted minor characters and a beautiful show of setting and culture. World building and character creation is a great strength of Ms Flewelling, though she does have her weak points, which unfortunately shows in several dull segments of the series, and continuity flaws.

The first book starts in the northern country, Mycena, where Seregil saves Alec from torture and slavery. They help each other as they work their way south, Seregil taking Alec on as an apprentice in the trade of nightrunning. After many trials, they reach the capital. Once recovered from the journey, they are set on the trail of a conspiracy against the crown. The first book merges smoothly into Stalking Darkness, the plot leading the characters into hostile territory of Plenimar and culminates in the death of a secondary character, in a wonderful and heartbreaking twist. The third book, Traitor’s Moon, is a leap of two years or so into the future, and again leads the characters from Skala and the life of nightrunning to Seregil’s homeland Aurenen. I found this book to be the weakest of the series so far, as there was little of the spy-craft that interested me in the first two books. The fourth books briefly have the duo doing a little clumsy thievery before they are sent off again to Aurenen then whisked away to Plenimar and split up for the most part of the novel.

Though I do enjoy the series, the direction it is headed in disinterests me. I fully intend to read the fifth book, but unless the Nightrunner series returns to nightrunning, I think I’ll give up on it. I think the author might rely a little too heavily on the novelty of having bisexual main characters to sell her books rather than the plots or adventures her heroes have. The first and second books are far superior than the third and fourth, and the characters have slowly started to turn towards tired cliché.

I dearly hope Ms Flewelling can salvage her style before I lose interest in Alec and Seregil.

Book by book, my ratings for them are as follows;

Luck In The Shadows
Characters: 8/10
Setting: 6/10
Plot: 5/10
Dialogue: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Stalking Darkness
Characters: 7/10
Setting: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Dialogue: 9/10
Overall: 8/10

Traitor’s Moon
Characters: 5/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 3/10
Dialogue: 4/10
Overall: 4.5/10

Shadows Return
Characters: 6/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 6/10
Dialogue: 5/10
Overall: 5.5/10

Nightrunner Series overall: 6/10

Author's Website




Sandman; Preludes And Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

An urban fantasy series consisting of eleven books, the first of which follows the capture and imprisonment of the King of Dreams, his eventual escape and subsequent quest to reclaim his stolen items of power: a helm; a bag of sand; a ruby.

I have been aware of Neil Gaiman for years, mostly due to my younger sister who is an avid fan, though I have personally never read a book of his due to his large fan base, but what I had heard about the Sandman series intrigued me, and my sister gave me the first novel of the series as a gift. 

I’m quite leery of graphic novels, the quality of the artwork (or lack thereof) often distracts me from the storyline. The artwork of Sandman stayed true to form, undermining the wonderfully imagined network of worlds and characters, making it a struggle to keep focused. I did enjoy the mixing and melding of folklores and legends, and the original characters were all beautifully constructed. The darkness of the plot rubbed me in all the right ways, and Morpheus/Dream/Sandman made me smile multiple times. I’m not sure if it intrigued me enough to pick up the next book, but it has finally made me interested in reading Gaiman’s novels.

Characters: 9/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 4/10
Dialogue: 6/10
Overall: 6.5/10

Author's website




Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

A steampunk novel based in the 1910s and revolving around the viewpoints of the two main characters, Aleksandar Ferdinand and Deryn Sharp. The first book of a trilogy that I have been obsessing about since I first saw the artwork for it on Keith Thompson’s website.

Minor Spoilers
Alek’s story begins in the dead of night, dragged from his bed to learn how to pilot a Walker – a two-legged machines of war – while his parents are away, but as he is instructed to move the Walker away from his home he soon becomes suspicious. As the son of the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his father has many enemies, including the Emperor himself. Sure enough, when he tries to escape he is overpowered and drugged.

Deryn’s side of things start with her preparing for the admission test into the British Air Service. The test luckily doesn’t include a physical examination, as women were not permitted to sign up. Unluckily, the test includes going aloft in a hydrogen filled live jellyfish called a Huxley. A storm blows in and Deryn is soon in trouble, the Huxley panicking and going into a steep dive. To save herself and the Huxley, she unties the anchor line and is dragged into the storm, blown towards France.

Their stories continue separately for a good portion of the book, showing how the characters develop with their new responsibilities, showing brilliantly the two factions – the Clankers who believe in mechanical superiority and the Darwinists who tamper with animal DNA to create fabricated animals (or Fabs). When they come together, each stays true to character and interact wonderfully.

The plot is simplistic yet elegant, the characters interesting yet lacking in depth, the world building sheer brilliance. A very enjoyable and light read.

Characters: 6/10
Setting: 9/10
Plot: 6/10
Dialogue: 8/10
Overall: 7.5/10

Author's website



Currently reading

Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett – a fantasy novel based of four main characters – Rook, Thom, Hal and Royson
The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling – the sister/prequel series to the Nightrunner series
Soul Mates; Bound By Blood by Jouran Lane – an erotic urban fantasy           
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 12:06:42 PM by Dim Hon »

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 06:16:25 PM »
Bound By Blood by Jourdan Lane

An urban fantasy novel centred on Peter, a human bartender and Lucien, a master vampire. The first book of the Soul Mate series which there are currently another four.

From the moment I picked up this book I knew I was in trouble. It's trashy, poorly written, filled with characters with unbelievable tempers and personalities. The main characters have two states of mind - horny or angry. What plot there is is disjointed and highly cliché, the only purpose it serves it to get the characters from sex-scene to sex-scene. There is never one moment where the characters get to relax - either some major drama happened in the two seconds anyone gets to catch their breath or the author leaps forwards in time without any warning.

And yet, as awful as it was, I couldn't. Stop. Reading.

I think it was something to do with the sex. No, Ms Lane cannot write plot or characters who would be classed sane in the real world, but can she ever write a steamy M/M (and I mean M/M - both Peter and Lucien are both quite dominant and their power struggles are enrapturing) I just wish I could have liked the characters, or at least understood them. Also, the fight scenes and gore is quite sterile and 2D which just makes those scenes boring. In fact, any time there is not sex happening, it's boring. It's a shame, and frustrating when so much of Ms Lane's ideas are either overused or not followed through with.

Though I am tempted I will not pick up the second book. PWP is fine for a game but not for a book, and there was an agonising lack of women in the book. The only one I noticed was an enemy vampire who got shot twice in the face. It really grates and the story suffers from their absence, though I assume there might be a tissue-thin excuse in the second book as the evil villain mocked Lucien for his male harem. It still doesn't excuse the fact that the only boobs in the book are the impressive pair Lucien has on the cover.

Characters: 3/10
Setting: 2/10
Plot: 1/10
Dialogue: 4/10
Overall: 2/10     

Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:22:58 PM by Eden »

Offline Marguerite

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 06:25:03 PM »
God, the cover looks horrendous.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 12:22:04 PM »
I've read the Nightrunner series and can agree with you. I also can appreciate the literary impact of a m/m fantasy novel being accepted as a fantasy novel and not glbt in nature (which happens so often). I don't think you'll like the newest book. I ordered it on Kindle and read it. It is not nightrunning, but does provide quite a bit of background story into the creation of Alec's little creature and ties together things I've wondered about since starting the series.

I recommend you give the other series a try if you haven't read it - Tamir's Trilogy. It takes place before the Nightrunner series. It's a historical look at the lands and fascinating from that perspective. I really applaud Flewelling for her creation of the world. It is quite detailed and understandable.

Thanks for your reviews Eden - I love them  ;D

Offline Rhoddo

Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 07:08:12 AM »
Thanks for the review, Eden, I will be looking for these books to read. I recently read the Tamir-trilogy, and I agree with alxnjsh that it's a very good series. It's not your typical good/bad, it's a better mixture, it feels more real because the main characters have recognizable emotions, and there's no superwizard. On the cover (the Dutch cover that is) of the Tamir trilogy were words of praise by Robin Hobb, and it's something that attracted me to the book, convinced me to read it. The style of the book even resembles IMHO the style of Robin Hobb, without being a copy. No great heroes that save the world/planet, but people struggling with life.  They're also books I enjoyed reading commuting to work - see also my introduction thread, my ultimate test for a book. At home, reading is simple, it's quiet, comfy, but on a train, I want a book where I can plunge in, and form a sort of invisible barrier with the rest of the commuters.

At the moment, I'm reading Stormfront by Jim butcher (Dutch translation), about a wizard in the present time, who's in the yellow pages of Chicago. It's not a big work, but it reads easely and it keeps my attention. I like it a lot.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2010, 08:11:00 AM »
The Dresden Files are an excellent series of books.

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 04:25:31 PM »
Thanks, and I am giving the Tamir series a try. I'm halfway through the first book, or a little over it. I want to like it, but I think I might have over-saturated my mind with her work lately as I'm finding it difficult to keep concentrated on it.

Aah, I've read Storm Front. Jim Butcher's style is very masculine, and I thought there was an uncomfortable lack of emotion on Harry's part but I do have the complete series at hand so I'll probably give it another try in the future. I hope you like 'em!

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 05:15:35 PM »
Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

The first book of a fantasy series (the third recently published) set in an Empire called Volstov, this book follows four separate characters: Royson, a Margrave (or wizard) in exile; Hal, a clever young country bumpkin; Rook, the loud and antisocial rider of Havemercy, a mechanical dragon; and Thom, a 'Versity student charged with teaching the dragon riders manners.

I've been aware of this book since before it was published, as these authors did the impossible - they were picked up by a publisher because they wrote fanfiction. They created The Shoebox Project, a Harry Potter fanfic that had a huge following. I've wanted to read their published work for years but I don't think it ever came to print in the UK. As it was, I only go hold of a copy this summer, and I started reading eagerly.

Is was surprising how much I struggled to get into it. The book starts off on the wrong foot, with a pages-long info dump that was gruelling to get through, let alone understand. It didn't help very much that the POV changed every half-dozen pages, with a new info-dump to get through. The one character I liked from the off was Rook. His dialogue, his thoughts, his actions were all so vibrant and strong. The other three characters seemed to blur somewhat here-and-there, but Rook was unique and always interesting.

As a whole, I feel it failed to deliver any real satisfaction. The relationship that blooms between Royson and Hal feels fake and is the most tedious thing I've read since Twilight. There is a lot of 'I think only of you, I adore you, I must have you - but no! It is forbidden and we must not!' happening. Not even hot-and-cold, just tepid-and-lukewarm. It is like that until the last three chapters. It really pissed me off that so much time/space was dedicated to this and their wooden dialogue. In retrospect, the relationship between Rook and Thom is a lot more dynamic - and a hell of a lot more sexual, but that aspect is apparently accidental on the author's behalf as
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
they are brothers

Relationships are the meat of the book. Some are interesting, some are not. The characters are very well developed and I found myself half in love with some of the side characters (Greylace - unf) but the true thing the book is in dire need of is action. There are nearly no scenes where magic is seen used - I think the most we get is a table exploding. There are some good parts where Rook is flying Havemercy in battle but otherwise there is little violence. Royson spends most of his time in bed, with Hal fluttering over him, in the most dull hurt/comfort scenarios I've come across. The way Hal saves the day is really, really pathetic. I don't think a book has annoyed me this book in a very long time.  I don't know if I'm going to pick up the second in the series, Shadow Magic. There are four different characters in that one, so I won't have to suffer through Royson/Hal - but saying that, Rook will be absent. It was a good concept, but it just failed to deliver any satisfaction for me.

Characters: 7/10
Setting: 4:10
Plot: 3/10
Dialogue: 6/10
Overall: 4/10

Authors website



Currently Reading
The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 12:08:59 PM by Dim Hon »

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 07:08:50 AM »
The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling

The first book of the fantasy series ‘Tamir Triad,’ which follows the life of Tobin, the rightful queen of Skala whose gender was magically switched to keep her uncle, the King, from killing her at birth. It is the sister/prequel series of Lynn Flewelling’s ‘Nightrunner’ series, set several hundred years before it. I came across this series while searching for The Nightrunner series, but I was uninterested in reading it due to the poor copy of my edition, though after completing Ms Flewelling’s original series I was less picky.

Her style remains consistent – it lacks anything distinguishing and comes off as quite bland at points, though she does have her moments of brilliance in several areas. The Bone Doll’s Twin is a lot darker than any of the novels in her Nightrunner series, but despite that I found its pace dragged for much of the book. It’s a coming-of-age series, following the protagonist from before her birth to her 13th (ish) year.

There seems to be a lack of plot that is contained within the scope of the novel. A lot of stuff happens to the characters, but there is no tangible build-up, nothing that peaks the curiosity, no climax. The book ended but it didn’t feel like it should have done.

There is also a lot of angst. Good things rarely happened and when they did it only heralded something worse to come. I don’t believe every book or movie should have a happy ending – but to ask a reader to get through 400+ pages of woe and anguish surely some reward should be given to them for making it that far instead of adding to the despair. It has dissuaded me from picking up the next book, as many of my favourite characters died with very little page-time.

There are good parts to the book – the dialogue never feels dry or forced, the characters are vibrant and deep, the history and worldbuilding is a joy to explore… but there is little action or intrigue or, as I said, plot to flavour the experience.

I wish I had more positive things to say as I think Ms Flewelling is capable of brilliant, beautiful work – but this isn’t one of them. I feel it’s a jumping block for the rest of the series and she did an injustice to herself and her work by not making the plot of this novel something more compelling. Watching characters develop is great, but it does run dull without any action happening.

I think I will give Lynn Flewelling a break for a month or so, as I crave something crass and gory.

Characters: 6/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 2/10
Dialogue: 7/10
Overall: 4/10 

Author's website



Currently Reading
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:21:59 PM by Eden »

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2010, 06:42:30 PM »
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs

The first of the Hurog duology, this book is a coming-of-age adventure of a youth called Wardwick who is declared unfit to rule Hurog, his family’s lands, after his father’s death. To regain his birthright from his well meaning uncle and persuade the king to rescind his writ, Ward and a group of strays head south to prove he is ableminded by helping drive back the Vorsag raiders.

Okay, the idea really isn’t that original – but Mrs Briggs makes up for that by having some very amazing characters: Ward, intelligent and manipulative, his whole life focused on Hurog in a rather crippling obsession; Oreg, a diminutive and somewhat sullen ghost, he holds more power than any living wizard and is plagued with PTSD; Garranon, the child of one of the king’s dead enemies and his lover, he uses politics to protect his brother while he plans revenge… The faults of the characters are so real, they balance it all beautifully.

There is just something about Mrs Briggs’ style that just sings. Everything I’ve read of hers seems to leap so willingly from the page. The words have such a lovely flow to them, I think I could read her forever and never tire. This isn’t the first time I’ve read this book and it won’t be the last.

However, it isn’t without its faults. Most is a very messy editing job and a couple of very blatant mistakes I’m shocked got through the author/agent/editor net – I think two full scenes or at least two very important conversations are missing from the novel. Not just missing I-think-this-should-have-been-included sense but missing what-are-they-talking-about-I-think-I-need-to-read-that-chapter-again sense. Oreg’s backstory deserves a lot better that such a shoddy mess it got.

Other than that, it is a truly lovely thing and one of my favourite books. I finally have the second half of the series, Dragon Blood, and will be leaping into it right away. Please don't be put off but the atrocious typography on the cover!

Characters: 8/10
Setting: 5/10
Plot: 6/10
Dialogue: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:21:40 PM by Eden »

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 07:43:41 PM »
Captive Prince by Freece

A free-to-read work-in-progress, Captive Prince is fantasy epic (I think that word is right in there, as the action takes place over several countries) it centres on Prince Damen, the heir to the throne of Akielos, how he is betrayed, enslaved by his half-brother and sent to Rabat as a gift to Prince Laurent. It is a very high quality piece of work, and earmarked for self-publication. I came across it in my wanderings on LiveJournal and had to read all 22 published chapters as fast as I could.

For so long I have wanted to read something that would satisfy my itch for a twinning of elegance and grit – I am so surprised to find it online for free and cannot wait to purchase a physical copy. Freece (note; 'Freece' is only a user handle and 'S U Pacat' is a place holder for the author's real name) has a beautiful, sweeping style, weaving deep world building with rich, multi-facetted characters and such a gorgeous way with dialogue – but that is just dressing for the aching brilliance that is the plot.

Oh, the plot! The synopses offers only the merest outline of what the book is about. The action and intrigue, the spar of tongues and swords, deception and debauchery… there is no moment that drags. Freece knows it can’t be all go, but the moments of calm are not dreary but are used masterfully to enrich the characters and deepen the reader’s desire for more.

The point-of-view is solely from Damen’s perspective, which builds a very strong mystique around the second main character, Laurent. Their relationship is, in a word, enrapturing. Both highly dominant characters, yet Laurent holds the reins in their interactions – and has control over every sexual encounter Damen is permitted to engage in. Hate is the foremost emotion between them, but as the story progresses other emotions arise.

The book is just passed the midway point, the 22nd chapter of an estimated 38 is up on Freece’s blog, the current wordcount breaching the 100k mark. I have absolutely no criticisms to offer. It is without a doubt one of the most stunning pieces I have ever read. I highly recommend it. 

Chapter Index (complete with content warnings)

Characters: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Dialogue: 10/10
Overall: 9.5/10

Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:21:21 PM by Eden »

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2010, 10:48:34 PM »
Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs

The second of the Hurog duology, this novel follows four years after Dragon Bones, covering the political fallout of what happened in the first novel. The King’s writ was never rescinded so Ward gets carted off to an insane asylum and civil war looms.

Again, Mrs Briggs takes a cliché of the fantasy genre and writes it well. Her characters are skilfully portrayed, each with their own personality, strengths and weaknesses.

The story’s POV is mainly focused on Ward but occasionally jumps to Tisala, the daughter of a politically powerful rebel lord, and Garranon. It helps keep the reader in the loop of what’s going on when, but can be slightly distracting to keep pace with.

As with the first book, there were several places where the book was lacking. I didn’t bound through it like I thought I would. There was less action than I had anticipated and a lot more slow-going scenes heavy on description. The battle that was being built up to throughout was anticlimactic and the king’s younger brother was underused as a character, which is a shame as I was interested in the poor bugger who had been entombed in a small, dark room for over a decade. The reason for his imprisonment wasn’t touched on in this book, and barely mentioned in the first, and there was so little seen of his personality I fail to see the reasoning to it.

I was, in the end, quite let down by what I read. The charm the first novel had was missing in its sequel, and only my own curiosity for the characters urged me to keep reading, not the plot. It could, and should, have been stronger, more compelling. Wonderful characters deserve nothing less.

Characters: 7/10
Setting: 5/10
Plot: 4/10
Dialogue: 8/10
Overall: 5/10 

Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:20:58 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 11:53:30 AM »
The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan

The first in the Black Magician trilogy, a coming-of-age tale focusing on a girl called Sonea, a commoner who’s power is so strong she is able to work rudimentary magic (something that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years, as magic must be unlocked.) The first novel follows her from the gutter, to a minor riot, to a cat-and-mouse game between herself and the magicians and then finally her inevitable capture.

This book came out clinging to the coat-tails of Harry Potter, though offers none of the action or humour. The style of writing is smooth – so much so I want to call it airbrushed. It is so carefully non-insulting it’s dull. Pleasant enough but there is nothing that throws sparks in the mind. Nothing that bursts with flavour. It’s also far too fussy at times. Ms Canavan for some reason can’t call an ox and ox. That goes for spiders, sheep, cows, wolves, rats and mice. It is so redundant when the animals are obviously things with familiar names.

There is also the issue with humour. I know not everyone can write it, I myself have a similar issue, but Ms Canavan disguises the fact in the most jarring, irksome way. Take one scene, where Sonea is spying on a lesson within the Guild. She can hear the teacher loud and clear, but when the students make a joke she can’t hear a word.

The male characters have some interesting points, but Sonea is very, very badly created. She is stupid but thinks herself clever, she is oddly reserved and polite for someone who grew up in the slums and she is uninteresting to the extreme. They all seem to be very hollow and 2D.

And then the culture. The city the book is set in apparently didn’t have organised thieves until fifty years or so before. It’s been standing for over 800 years, and the thieves only seem to hang out in the slums. Why, when no one in the slums have anything worth stealing? There is so much potential and it’s just fluttered at meekly. It’s so very frustrating.

For itself, the book is, well, boring. The chase doesn’t climax until over midway through and the rest is dedicated to persuading her to become a member of the Guild. It lacks plot and action. I have no idea what possessed me to purchase the entire trilogy. I seem to remember the next books being a vast improvement, which I hope is correct.

Characters: 2/10
Setting: 3/10
Plot: 2/10
Dialogue: 3/10
Overall: 2.5/10
 
Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:20:24 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2010, 01:18:32 PM »
The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan

You're right - the other two books do get better, the first is somewhat slow. But, I would highly recommend the author's second trilogy, The Age Of Five. Sooo much better than the Magician's Guild trilogy.

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2010, 01:26:46 PM »
I remember reading the first novel of that one and not being at all impressed. I have the first of her newest trilogy, the one set several centuries before the Black Magician trilogy, so I'll see how that one reads.   

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2010, 01:57:54 PM »
Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Sunshine is an Urban Fantasy that focuses on Rae (AKA Sunshine), a pastry chef/baker for a family run café. Told from her point-of-view, we don’t learn her name until we’re well into the book, and only get a barest hint of her appearance much, much later on. The blurb is somewhat misleading, the way it is written so very different to the style used, it seems to target the wrong crowd.

Those familiar with McKinley’s work will know how to handle her style. Those who don’t – ah. It is gloriously different. Very meandering, very info-heavy, very internal. Sunshine (the character) has a brain and enjoys thinking about EVERYTHING. It was once my most favourite book.   

It’s been a while since I had the will, the energy, to pick up a book and get through it. Since finishing The Magician’s Guild I have picked up quite a few different novels, but I kept getting bored and put them down, and lost the energy to read on. It might be because I have been getting more satisfaction from reading fanfic lately, or it could just be another sign of how lazy I truly am (I have been re-listening to the audio-recording of the Harry Potter series) that just moving my eyeballs became too much exercise to manage.

For whatever reason, it has been exactly a month between finishing novels. I have been experiencing a certain lacklustre to published and mass acclaimed books. I had attempted to read The Book Thief prior to Sunshine but I didn’t understand why a Death entity/narrator would be interested in the main character, as I found her excruciatingly dull. I had all sorts of hopes and expectations.

I also got rid of quite a lot of books earlier this month. My Wind Singer series, His Dark Materials, The Edge Chronicles in its glorious, hardback entirety, the last four or five never read. Several other books that had somehow squirmed out of being thrift’d as soon as I read the first page – gifts for the most part that had lived quiet, shameful lives on the bottom shelf, holiday picks that seemed to be okay in the over hot tourist traps yet turned out to have hidden (or not so hidden) clichés, and an odd smattering of literary flotsam that seems to collect in my home – enough books to carve a tree out of, yet not so many to make a dint in my collection.

I love books. I’m addicted to all forms of fiction. Yet… over the years, ever since I started to truly appreciate the power and freedom books could grant, I’ve been feeling an itch. A craving.

A need for something that is just not there.

Once, Sunshine relieved that itch. Oh, in the multitudes of sappy romantic quagmire that had become Urban Fantasy, it was just perfect. Almost. Close enough to it to make me not give up on the genre entirely.

I don’t remember when I first picked it up. My copy is very much dogeared, crumpled and water damaged, more so than nearly any other book in my collection. I’ve not even owned it for ten years.

An old favourite. I feel it no longer makes the cut of ‘most favourite’ after this re-reading. I still adore it and McKinley’s unique style, but damnit all so little actually happens. It’s not over 500 pages long but as a physically large book I feel it is more padding than plot.

Of course, as soon as write that I thinh, ‘Really, it’s not an action.’ It’s a slice-of-life, even thought it’s a slice taken at the very crux of Sunshine’s magical awakening (can you come-of-age at twenty-five? Traditionally ten years too late but it holds that same feel) but full to the brim of homely detail.

All that detail draws some deep, delicious characters you can just sink into. No one is two-dimensional, with the exception of Bo who is the bad-guy and is literally made of evil. Sunshine is, yes, as is typical of Urban Fantasy, high-powered and kickass, but without being arrogant or matter-of-fact about it. She not only yearns to be normal, she is normal, the book showing her struggle to keep her power from interfering with her existence. Unfortunately, after using it to act as a parasol for the vampire, Con, at the start of the novel, the Big Bad is really curious about her.

My favourite characters have got to be Con and Mel. Con is like an ugly Mr Darcy (seriously, he’s ugly as sin) and Mel is a stoic motorbiking sorcerer (okay, the last part is speculation). It is such a treat to read them, and Sunshine’s thoughts about them. I also loved the slow-building relationship between Con and Sunshine. From desperation and mutual disgust at the start, through almost grudging respect, to the utter freak out after the ten second thing between them, to the very, very sweet (non-sexual) relationship they have at the end. It’s done with such a hesitant grace it’s perfect.

And then, oh, the world-building. Just – yes. So very, very yes. A world where magic and science twine and warp, where humans and ‘demons’ live side-by-side and try to stave off the threat of vampires. Vampires who are not just humans with an unfortunate diet.

Aside from the lack of action (or, rather, the large gaps between the action), I’m always petulantly miserable about the lack of sex. Oh, she has it. She just doesn’t think for very long about it. And as the reader is trapped inside Sunshine’s brain for the entirety of the novel, it really isn’t very satisfactory.

I’m trying to think exactly why Sunshine is no longer in my favourites. I think I have simply bored of Urban Fantasy. The idea saddens me as was the genre that first showed me how to drown myself in words, first with Harry Potter, then with LJ Smith’s pre-Twilight Twilight, Vampire Diaries (not as bad but only by virtue that they were shorter) and on to the Anita Blake books that led me to Role-Play, Mnem, and, consequently, E.

Reading Sunshine feels like saying goodbye. I’ve passed being titillated by night-stalking fanged fiends, I’m beyond the thrills of prey-vs-predator. I don’t think there could be a better out-tro. It’s not a forever goodbye, more like a moving-far-away-and-will-see-you-on-special-occasions goodbye.

Of course, it could be just that I hate Halloween and will fully resubmerge myself once the local chavs take out their fake fangs.

Characters: 8/10
Setting: 8/10
Plot: 5/10
Dialogue: 7/10
Overall: 7.5/10             

Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:19:54 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2011, 01:54:07 AM »
Joust by Mercedes Lackey

A fantasy following the fortunes of a serf called Vetch, Joust is the first book of a four book series, all of which are available. In the first novel, Vetch is a land-bound free-born slave who is being worked to death by his owner, until he is stolen away by a Jouster – a dragon-riding elite warrior called Ari. So begins Vetch’s new life as a dragon-boy.

Mercedes Lackey is far from a favourite of mine. Something about her style grinds at me. I have read several of her earlier works, but it is Joust (and its sequel) that I find bearable. I have only read the first half of the series and it is unlikely I will read the second half due to my dislike of Ms Lackey’s works.

It took me a month to get through this book, which is not a good sign by any standards. Oh, she’s very imaginative and valiantly dives into world-building with fervour, but there is a self-constructed problem that hinders the reader’s engagement from the off. The main character, Vetch, is more-or-less confined to one place for the whole novel, and is quite antisocial when it comes to characters that can talk back. There can be pages and pages of info-dumping or internal thought or interactions with dragons (which isn’t as tedious as the rest) – with very little dialogue to be had at all.

I think the series as a whole is a coming-of-age, but for this novel Vetch is in his early teens. I struggled to connect with him, due to his solitude and his quite flat personality. He likes dragons – great, so do I. But he never does anything else, think of much else, talk of anything but… it gets old. The book drags on with very little really happening. The characters are not deep of varied – three love dragons, the rest are pompous. The aspect that seems most concentrated upon is the dragons themselves, and I found myself becoming rather fond of Kashet, the only undrugged dragon of the compound, and I was intrigued by Ari, his rider. I wish I could have liked it more, it seemed to be just my thing with slavery and dragons, but the age of the protagonist and the lack-lustre characters made it dull.

Characters: 2/10
Setting: 5/10
Plot: 3/10
Dialogue: 4/10
Overall: 3/10     

Author's website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:19:10 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2011, 02:37:55 AM »
Masques by Patricia Briggs
The first book of the Sianim sequence, Masques follows Aralorn, a shape-shifting mercenary spy and Wolf, her lupine companion as they stumble into a rebellion against the great and outwardly good Archmage who has dethroned a king in his quest to attain… a plotpoint. It has recently been revamped and re-released – which is a mercy for Briggs fans – and with a spanking new sequel that I am drooling to pick up. 

This fantasy romp is a huge, quivering cliché that somehow manages to weather its own predictive plot and blooms with a simplicity that I so enjoy with Briggs. Yes, the book has faults (and some ones that jar, such as a pair of overused turns-of-phrase that I wish she had adjusted) but for a début novel it is sweet and endearing.

This book holds so many of Brigg’s favourite tricks that come out in her later novels – a heroine of plain looks, a shapeshifter, a potential love triangle, a penchant to put action before romance, wit – oh, it is a treat to read witty dialogue – wolves, dragons, displaced kings and doublecrossings. As a fan of hers I adored it, though the weaknesses that have been skilfully patched are still apparent in the altered work.

We only get to know two of the characters very well, the rest are muted and somewhat bland by her standards (though by another measure they are still vibrant and unique) and a lot of interaction is rushed through. A pair of twins that appear in the start of the novel are barely met by the reader though have been known for years by Aralorn, come to some grief in the latter half. I was unsure what to do with it because while the protagonist suffered well I felt very little for them myself. I may be just use to her twisting heartstrings from her Mercedes Thompson series (it’s fabulous) and I can sense that her younger self was attempting to do the same – but it failed to stir much anguish. There were several other instances of the same attempt-and-failure because we come in on Aralorn’s life after she has made these bonds, or because the plot just plunges on without much interaction between the main characters with minor ones.

As a Brigg’s novel, it is very raw and very clumsy and yet still captures her style to a tee. Wolf is most defiantly a new favourite of mine, flaming Larry Stu that he is. Dragon Bones has not been displaced, but I am very pleased with this novel none-the-less.

Characters: 7/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 4/10
Dialogue: 8/10
Overall: 5/10

Author's website



Currently Reading
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:18:48 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2011, 05:45:29 AM »
The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas

The first book of the Memory Of Flame series, set in a fantasy world where the land is divided under the Dragon Kings and Queens and ruled overall by the Speaker Of The Realms. The book follows several storylines that weave in and out of one another, some twined tightly while others only touch each other distantly. The two main lines follow the escape of the white dragon, Snow, while the other follows the sly political manoeuvrings of Prince Jehal. These two plots never overlap, but they influence each other from afar.

As Deas’ début novel suffers several flaws, the greatest of which being the lack of character development shown in anything that isn’t a dragon. Those who were grasping for power at the start of the book are grasping for it at the end. Those that were weak puppets remain so. I hope it is something that Deas can improve upon, as it is a shame.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book – something in the mix between the type of characters, the high mortality rate and the style of the dragons just didn’t do it for me. As a story, it was refreshing, however. The short chapters kept me from becoming bored of one character’s POV, and there was always something happening or being planned. I can’t quite forgive the author for killing off my favourite character half way through, and aside from him there was no other character that intrigued me, but his style is rather lovely. I don’t know if I want to continue this series, but there are some relationships that I enjoyed watching – the arranged marriage, the man seeking revenge, the bloodless battle between Jehal and the Speaker – those parts are very delightful.

Characters: 5/10
Setting: 6/10
Plot: 4/10
Dialogue: 6/10
Overall: 5/10 

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The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:18:00 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2011, 08:02:49 AM »
A Companion To Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabth Bear

The first book of the Iskryne World series, the second of which due to be published this summer, is set in a Nordic fantasy world where villages and towns are protected from the predation of trolls and wyverns by groups of warrior men and their huge wolves. These packs of warriors are looked upon with awe and distrust by most, rumours of what goes on in their halls seething in the mind of one Lord Gunnarr.

The story follows four years of Lord Gunnarr’s son, Njall, who is taken as tithe at the age of sixteen and trained as a wolfcarl and bonded to one of the alpha female’s cubs. Instead of having a distinct plot it runs more like a slice-of-life, as is Monette’s style. This might annoy some who depend of structure, but it never feels slow in pace or lacking in direction.

I have been an avid fan of Sarah Monette’s, ever since I picked up the Doctrine Of Labyrinths series, though I was a little hesitant to purchase A Companion To Wolves, as I feared a co-written novel would lack quality. I am so glad I decided to ignore my worries.

It is one of the only co-written books I have read, and fully expected the perspective to swing back-and-forth between two (or more) characters as Havemercy did, but unlike Jones and Bennett, Monette and Bear have only one main character. It suffers none of Havemercy’s failings (though did have several of its own) as it didn’t read like a glorified role-play. It was smooth and polished as a work and gritty and rough as an experience. The realism of it made it beautiful. The only creatures described with any beauty were the wolves, the men all had lice, the women were worn from the harsh life and imposed gender roles. And the character development is slow but natural.

A few of the faults lie in the action. The battlescenes are quite bland and hollow, not described or fraught with tension at all. It is a shame, as that would have made the novel perfection. Another problem I had with the book was the names of people. I am not good with them to start with, but faced with hoards of side characters with difficult to pronounce, difficult to remember names I strain to keep them all aligned. It doesn’t help that, once the tithe boys have bonded with a wolf, they choose a new name for themselves. This isn’t really a fault with the book, as the names reflect the Nordic influence on the world, but a minor grievance with my own mind.

Overall, I enjoyed every page. While it is a coming-of-age tale, it didn’t feel like it. It is more an exploration of the meaning of honour and love, with gay Vikings and huge kickass wolves. Actually, not gay. I don’t think Njall thinks much of either gender, and is still working through the maze of his father’s disapproval, his she-wolf’s needs and his own desire. By the end he finds a kind of peace though he is still on the fence. But yes, this is one series I will be following with great attention and eagerness. Bear has seemed to have tempered Monette’s lust for angst, and I will also be looking out for Bear’s other novels too. I am very impressed by them both.

Characters: 9/10
Setting:8/10
Plot: 8/10
Dialogue: 9/10
Overall: 8.5/10

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« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:17:34 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2011, 11:12:20 AM »
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner’s debut novel set in the Riverside series, which consists of three other novels and half-dozen short stories. The world of Riverside is an odd place, slightly renaissance Italy, slightly Shakespearian London, the city and state left unnamed by the author, the people free of rule of a king but festering under a maze of law that keeps a firm caste system in place.

This novel and the three short stories included in the back all focus on the swordsman, Richard St Vier. We first meet him fleeing through snow, leaving a trail of fresh blood that isn’t his, running from a nobleman’s party back to the Riverside – a notoriously rough section of the city where he resides.

Richard St Vier is a master swordsman, the best there is in the city, possibly the best in living memory and in the view of a handful the best there ever was or will be again. Cliché as his silhouette may be, he has faults that make him one of my favourite characters. He has a dangerous anger, and is quite literally insane, though he keeps himself in check for the most part.

Another character that I adore is St Vier’s lover, Alec, who has quite a few Snape-like qualities that just made me grin at some points during the book. Alec is a mysterious scholar who left the Hill (where the rich reside) and the University to find his own death in the Riverside but instead found St Vier. He is cold, abrasive, rude, arrogant and on occasion suicidal and while the love between the two men is not written plainly is it a ferocious and beautifully scripted thing. They are not perfectly made for each other, but they are perfect with each other and sweet in the most realistic of ways.

As a love story, I adored it. As a story about courtly politics it was quite boring but infused with so many wonderful and deep characters I didn’t care for the most part.

I have read Kushner’s work before, Thomas The Rhymer, and enjoyed it though I was not left with the same yearning to buy the rest of Kushner’s works as I feel now.

For a book written a year after I was born, and a début, I was expecting it to be lacking in quality. While there are some issues it surprised me. I found I was deeply engaged with the characters and enjoyed the world building very much.

One fault I was continually struggling with was the switching of points-of-view that happened without warning between any character in the scene. It gave the book a very raw feel to it, and did distract somewhat but was never too abrupt or confusing to truly detract from the novel’s quality. Another issue was sometimes the author didn’t give the reader enough information about where a character stood in a room, and that was a little bemusing, especially in one of the swordfights. I was confused as to how St Vier could be sitting and having a swordfight at the same time at one point. This, however, I can make excuses for. It is stylistic and I have grown rather fond of it.

Some parts of the book I found rather dull, but for the most part I loved it. It was a very satisfying mix of gossip, swordfighting, strange love, insanity and warped laws. A shame there wasn’t much in the way of sex scenes, but eff it, I have a healthy, pervy imagination.

The short stories that accompanied it were much the same, the first two wonderful glimpses on St Vier’s and Alec’s life together and the last one so bittersweet it left me heartsore and miserable.

I defiantly plan on bolstering my private library with more of Kushner’s novels. She has a new fan in me. (Also; having a debut novel with gay main characters in the mid-80’s makes her very kick-ass in my opinion.)

Characters: 8.5/10
Setting:8.5/10
Plot: 6/10
Dialogue: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Author's website



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The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
The Painted Man by Peter Brett

« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:17:13 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2011, 07:53:41 PM »
The Painted Man by Peter Brett

Mr Brett’s début novel (I seem to read an absurd amount of début novels) is the first book of the Demon series, set in a world that has reverted back to feudalism after an age of industry due to a plague – of demons. These creatures only emerge at night and are held back by wards, near impossible to kill and ferociously hungry. Due to this constant threat, the human population is thinning, keeping to the heavily warded cities or to cowering hamlets.

The story focuses on three characters as they come of age, the first being Arlen, a farmer’s son with a skill at warding, the second is Leesha, a down-trodden girl hoping to escape her mother’s abuse through marriage, and Rojer, an inquisitive and quick-learning boy.

There are parts of this book that follow the well trod path of adventure stories, but the author manages for the most part to keep the tale well grounded and vibrant with the cultures of the folk. Magic is not the only power, which makes for a refreshing change – drugs and music and fear all give the story more depth. The characters are interesting and kept my interest as they matured and developed. The side characters had a way of blurring, though such a thing is forgivable when every life is dictated by fear.

There isn’t any one single character that leaps off the page, however. They just do what they need to do to continue the story, their characteristics either trite or annoying. It is the world that really fascinated me, the breed of magic Brett imagined. The dwindling of the human race is very nicely done, too.

As a whole, it left very little impression on me. I’m rather uninterested in the characters and couldn’t care less what they do next.

Characters: 5/10
Setting: 7/10
Plot: 3/10
Dialogue: 6/10
Overall: 5.5/10

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Melusine by Sarah Monette
   
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:27:48 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2011, 03:22:14 PM »
The Doctrine Of Labyrinths series by Sarah Monette

Monette’s debut novel (told you) is the first book of the Doctrine Of Labyrinths series, which if anyone has asked me ‘What’s you’re favourite published book?’ I would say without hesitation this series was it. The series contains four novels (as of yet – a fifth is swimming in the brain of the author as I hear it) centric on the goings on of two characters, Mildmay The Fox and Felix Harrowgate, and their misadventures. If you like a definitive plot with all the strings tied up neatly, this is not the series for you. It is rugged and deep and hints at hundreds of other stories just around the corner that are merely brushed as the two characters move around their lives. It is its own maze.

The series is fantasy, even clockpunk if you are so inclined, due to the odd workings that lay scattered throughout the series' scape. I cannot remember what brought my attention to the series, but I was looking for more m/m fantasy after reading the Nightrunner series. They swiftly became, as I mentioned, my favourite works to date. Nothing I've read compares to the beauty and ugliness I found in the pages of these books. The series is rife with angst, deep minor characters, wonderful switches of perspective, richly woven cultures, such beautiful, gritty writing it feels like you’re looking through the eyes of the characters. Truly an awesome and brilliant book. I can find no fault with it, but that the sex scenes are not recounted with the detail I crave.

Mildmay is a cat burglar and ex-assassin of great renown. Felix is a wizard of huge magical strength and devastating sharp tongue. It is almost cliché – the brains and the brawn – but like so many potential clichés in the series, Monette stamps all over them and twists them back onto themselves. Mildmay hasn’t evaded the Dogs through dumb luck, and Felix is not invulnerable. Their interactions with the minor characters and each other are wonderful, though somewhat rare in the first book, Melusine, as Mildmay is a miser with words and Felix has… issues for most of the novel, as the main plotline is an attempt to journey to a far land to heal Felix from severe mental and magical trauma.

The Virtu, the second book, is the journey back and the setting to rights of some of the troubles that occurred in the first book. The Mirador is Mildmay's book, focusing on his darkest point and his recovery from that, while Corambis is the book that is for Felix. I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling it, but there is no book that is less than the others, each with its own brilliant points.

Book by book, my ratings are as follows;

Melusine
Characters: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Dialogue: 10/10
Overall: 9.5/10

The Vitu
Character: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Plot: 10/10
Dialogue: 10/10
Overall: 10/10

The Mirador
Character: 10/10
Setting: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Dialogue: 10/10
Overall: 9.5/10

Corambis
Character: 10/10
Setting: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Dialogue:10/10
Overall: 9.5/10

The Doctrine Of Labyrinths series overall rating: 9.5/10


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Currently Reading
The Blade Itself (still, yes)
The Last Days Of Newgate[ by Andrew Pepper
 

If there are any book you would like me to review, feel free to mention one here.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:32:08 PM by Eden »

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2011, 12:53:47 PM »
Bent by Sean Michael

Bent is a contemporary M/m erotic  novel that follows the relationship between Dr Jim Upton and Marcus Goodfellow, the first book written in the Hammer series, of which there are eleven books.

I’m not a fan of contemporary, but I decided to give this book a go because I liked the title, the cover and I was really, really bored. I really wish I hadn’t chosen it. The book is downright disturbing. The dom, Marcus (who is, of course, tall, muscle-bound and bald) stalks and kidnaps a stranger he saw in a bookshop – Jim. He then, despite repeated ‘No’s and ‘Let me go’s drags his victim into his house, spanks him and lets him go. He then stalks Jim some more.

Jim is in a very vulnerable state of mind, being on anxiety medication, living in a cramped apartment he hates, without support from his family or friends. He has no one to turn to. He can’t even go to the police because his trust in them was torn away.

What follows is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a thriller or horror. Marcus repeatedly harasses Jim, who is pressured into one date then taken back to Marcus’ home and spanked until he orgasms. All right, it was a hot, well written scene, but it was still very disturbing when the guy was screaming no at the top of his lungs. Magically, after orgasming, he’s all fine with whatever Marcus wants to do with him.

What really, really creeps me out about this book, it’s not trying to be scary or creepy or negative. It’s trying to show what a healthy BDSM lifestyle looks like. With a dom who can’t hear no, who doesn’t tell his sub to pick a safeword until after he’s raped him a few times, who cuts Jim off from his lawyer, his psychologist, hides his meds - who talks about pushing through Jim’s barriers. Any sub worth their salt knows that last is a trait that should send you running far and hard.

The storyline made me feel physically ill. The characters were cliché and annoying and had the depth of a puddle. The dialogue was repetitive and dull yet still terrifying. The sex scenes were hot... but not when they were surrounded by the casual disregard for the sub’s wellbeing. The structure degenerated about a third of the way in, falling away from being something like a novel to being a series of short stories randomly jumbled together.

I hated it, cover to cover.

Characters: 3/10
Setting: 1/10
Plot: 1/10
Dialogue: 3/10
Overall: 1/10

Author's Website
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 03:34:22 PM by Eden »

Offline Dim HonTopic starter

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Re: Recent Reads
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2011, 05:11:07 PM »
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
The first book of the First Law series, a multi-perspective epic fantasy that wasn’t all that long, my edition being less than 500 pages long, yet took me seven months to read. To say it was difficult for me to get through is an overstatement. It was high fantasy, with magicians and mythic creatures and huge barren wastes of circular politics. It was not an enthralling mix.

To tell you who the main characters were would take up more energy than I deem worthy to exert, but let us just surmise that out of a cast of a good dozen, only one was a female. While I did gather the heavily misogynistic culture was the reason as to why there are so few women given page time let alone blessed with dialogue or POV, it would not stop gouging at my mind.

It’s alienating, and not only to the female reader. It felt unbalanced from start to finish, unsatisfactory and ridiculous. I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, because they felt so utterly fake. Caricatures of who they were trying to be. I was so very disappointed.

The plot, I feel was something barely approached in this novel. The First Magi was gathering some adventurers like a D&D gamesmaster before taking them on the quest. The only thing that HAPPENED was a competition to discover who the greatest swordsman of the year was.

I cannot think of anything positive to say about it, and I found it so utterly brain-numbingly dull I cannot force myself to write anything further about it.

Characters: 4/10
Setting: 2/10
Plot: 3/10
Dialogue: 3/10
Overall: 3/10   

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Currently Reading
The Last Days Of Newgate by Andrew Pepper
My Fair Captain by J L Langly
Shadow Unit 1 by Will Shatterly, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 05:15:23 PM by Eden »