Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Ahhh, Kelley, you’ve done it again. Somehow you’ve managed to make the third book in a trilogy better than the first two while simultaneously intertwining two parallel story lines. Phew. I’m tired just saying that.

The Rising wraps up the Darkness Rising trilogy, which follows Maya, a mountain lion shapeshifter, and her band of genetically modified friends. They’re on the run from some of the most dangerous cabals in the supernatural underworld and have recently learned that the sleepy life they were accustomed to was all a lie. 11864728

Much to my delight, while on the run, they meet up with the teens from Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy and kinda wrap that whole situation up too. I enjoyed this series wholeheartedly–probably for its simplicity. Everything was as it seemed for the most part and for ONCE an ending didn’t piss me off. Things were as they should be. And this love triangle ended the right way.

Reading these books was like dipping my toes in a lukewarm pool. It was pleasant, relaxing, and I didn’t have to get soaked. Some books cause me so much anxiety that I almost stop reading them out of enjoyment and read them to relieve the nervousness they cause. Like I said, these are easy reading.

Keep up the good work, Kelley!

3 birth marks of 5

Also, I highly recommend reading The Darkest Powers bonus pack one and two. They each contain two or three stories out of the DP world and they are definitely worth your time. They fill in a lot of gaps and add a lot to the overall trilogy and are super cheap for the Kindle. (I actually think KA posts them for free on her website but takes them down as new ones are written…)

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And as another, probably useless, sidenote– I also happened to download her other short story Hunting Kat. As far as I know it’s a stand alone, and hopefully it stays that way. The new vampire/genetic vampire/bitten vampire on the run thing was way too contrived. KA has some awesome work out there and this comes no where close to representing her talent. Skip it.

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The Twice Lost by Sarah Porter

Finally my mermaid trilogy has come to an end! At this point, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. While I fell in love with Luce (and Sarah Porter) during The Lost Voices, my annoyance with her only grew through Waking Storms and The Twice Lost. Her lyrical prose that drew me in was still there, but the delicate beauty the story had at first was soon replaced by blockbuster easy-to-predict action that kind of disappointed me. the twice lost

I just hate how every YA story must revolve around a guy (or two) and how the heroine is influenced by her feelings/weakness for him. I liked the way that Porter ended the series, but throughout the second and third book Dorian continuously pissed me off. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK ANY WOMAN IN HER RIGHT MIND WOULD GIVE UP A MERMAID TAIL SO SHE COULD FOLD SOME DUDE’S LAUNDRY FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE?? NO BITCH, I AM NOT GIVING UP MY AWESOMENESS FOR YOU!

I mean, some girls did end up choosing differently than Luce, but everyone had different reasons for that. I don’t think the reason should be a guy who may or may not love you. That’s just me.

I couldn’t help but feel like The Twice Lost would’ve made a better movie than a book.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Also, during the helicopter scene–when the mermaid were drying out and dying suspended midair–why couldn’t the mermaids who were NOT on “wave” duty start singing a wave to come up and cover the mermaid, or even knock the helicopter out of the sky?? It seemed like the obvious solution and it seemed dumb of Luce (or any of the others) not to think of it. 

I still love Sarah Porter and her mermaids, but I have to say I finished this book more out of anxiety than pleasure.

4 larvae of 5

Added bonus: Back in June when we went back to Florida to visit our families, I got the amazing opportunity to swim with one of Eric Ducharme’s tails! (He was featured awhile back on TLC on My Crazy Obsessions. Check out his site here.)

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Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Prachett

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At only 25 years of age, I’ve apparently lived through at least three widely touted “end of the world” dates. Y2K, the 2011 Rapture, and December 2012. Man… think of how much I would’ve saved on car insurance if I’d switched to Oblivion!

Good Omens (the collaboration of two literary masterminds–Gaiman and Prachett) details the events leading up to the infamous Rapture as predicted by the centuries-dead witch Agnes Nutter. It switches back and forth from a multitude of perspectives, including an unlikely demon and angel duo–who have come to enjoy the pleasures of earth quite a bit thankyouverymuch, a descendent of Agnes Nutter, a descendent of a famous witch hunter, the boy who should’ve been the Antichrist, and the four “horsemen” of the apocalypse. (The four horsemen were absolutely badass and totally my favorite characters!)

With G&P at the helm, one could expect nothing less than an old-fashioned story told in a modern British voice–with more than a twist of dry humor. I’ve realized that part of the genius of NG’s story-telling ability is that he makes it seem so effortless and simple that you catch yourself thinking, I could write just like that! And then wahwahwahhhhh, you can’t.

The story was readable but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a page-turner. My only real complaint was that the multitude of characters sometimes made it hard to remember where you were in the story the following morning. Oh yeah, and I thought the ending had a distinct lack of action. Boo.

3 Freddie Mercury tapes of 5


Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

It’s been a long time coming for the supposedly “last” book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. With a huge fan base and a wildly popular HBO TV series (Alexander Skarsgard, anyone? Nomnomnomnom), Charlaine Harris is living the life that most poor starving authors can only dream of. Unfortunately, she may have been too deeply asleep when she wrote Dead Ever After… Someone needs to pinch the crap out of her! dead-ever-after-by-charlaine-harris-cover-3_4_r560

DEA seems to exist solely to tie up any plot threads that are still left–gasping for air–no matter how weak they may be. Eric, the fairies, Sam, the Weres, Amelia… You name it. Unfortunately, Harris seems to bring up a few new characters and then forget about them–leaving their stories unanswered. But not in a cliff-hanger/spinoff kinda way. More like a “Oh, I totally forgot about that, but oh well my manuscript is due tomorrow! *Send*” kinda way.

Also, as much as I’ve enjoyed the majority of the SS series… Can we please stop detailing Sookie’s mundane day-to-day life?? She literally wasted a whole sentence–awholesecondofmylife!–bemoaning how hard it is to stuff a Digiornio box in the trash. Seriously?? Way to yank me out of the moment. I know plenty about taking the garbage out, not so much about the TrueBlood vamps. That’s what I’m paying you to write about, not pizza boxes.

AND–I DON’T WANT TO SPOIL ANYTHING FOR YOU–BUT… The way she handled Sookie’s love life in this book was very strange. And I would NOT have made the same choice had I been in her shoes. Ew. I mean, woof.

All in all, since I have OCD about this sort of thing–I’m glad I read DEA. However, if this had been my first Charlaine Harris experience… I would’ve run screaming for the hills. I can appreciate a light pool-side read every now and again, but if Sookie’s story gets any lighter it just might float away.

3 bite marks of 5

 


War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

I’m sitting here trying to think of how I felt while reading War for the Oaks and I’m really having a hard time remembering any sort of emotional response. I wasn’t thrilled, I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t really that captivated…. Eh… It was just another in a long line of books that I will probably never pick up again.

That being said, I TOTALLY give it mad props for being what it is—Bull published it in 1987 and really it was one of the first books of its kind. She helped establish one of my all time favorite genres, urban fantasy, and for that I will forever be grateful. Not to mention, she’s made a cameo in some of my favorite anthologies–the Bordertown series, the Firebird anthologies, and The Faery Reel. Love love love.

So honestly, I can’t talk too much smack about it. It was her first book and for the love of god, it was set in the 80’s! Eddi McCandry is part of a wannabe famous rock group, but when her lead singer boyfriend dumps her and the band splits up, she understandably feels a little low. Too bad she doesn’t have time to wallow in it, cause pretty soon all of the Fairy realm comes knocking at her door. Ok, well not knocking… barking. Let’s just say one very annoying shape-shifting phooka gets her smack-dab in the middle of a fairy war. warforoaks

But also gives her the potential to be a member of the greatest rock band of all time!

What to do?? *cue cheesy synthesizer music*

Honestly, when you picture urban fantasy mixed with the 80’s, does anything OTHER than David Bowie’s crotch come to mind? (The Labyrinth, duh). I couldn’t help but giggle when Bull described the character’s outfits and musical stylings. Looking back on the 80’s… they were a terrible time. Bull’s dialogue was a bit cheesy and her characters were pretty predictable, but the Phooka was her saving grace. (By the way, if you claim to have pictured anyone other than Prince to play him in your mind, you are lying).

I enjoyed it, and I thank her for helping to create urban fantasy–but this one I think it’s safe to pass on.

3 puffy sleeves of 5