Monday, July 30, 2018

The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle

3 Stars

Night's Masque #2

So the adventures continue for Mal, the swordsman/bodyguard/spy, and his valet Coby.  This time they're joined by Ned and Gabriel from the now defunct theatre company of book one.  Maybe it was that I read the first book back in February of 2015 and didn't remember as much as I should have, but I found this second volume of the series to be a bit disjointed and at times to be going around in circles, plot-wise. 

I wanted to know more about the skraylings and felt rather short-changed in that respect. Then there was the whole thing with the spying that Mal was supposed to be doing for Walsingham that quickly became a more personal thing as he explored the part of him that holds part of the skrayling Erishen and his relationship with the Venetian guiser he hooks up with.

I'm not so invested in the 'love story' between Mal and Coby and the whole deal with her growing into her adult feminine self and losing much of her disguise as a boy.  At least it was because she wanted to and not because Mal wanted her to. 

I don't know... I liked my read but it left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied. It won't stop me from reading the next one though.  This time, I'll try not to wait over 3 years to do it!  *LOL*

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

4 Stars

The Powder Mage Trilogy - Book Three

And so the saga of General Tamas et al draws to a close and our tale gets a highly satisfactory ending.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this trilogy and what was my introduction to what they call the Flintlock Fantasy sub-genre. 

There were so many plotlines that had to come together and that we needed to get answers to, and I think that the author managed to do all of that successfully - at least to my satisfaction. :)  Yeah, there were a few small questions that I would have preferred have better answers or maybe more involved answers, but they were few and far between.

I loved the characters and had so many favourites.  But I think Taniel Two-Shot was my #1 favourite with Bo, his best friend, being a close second and I was quite happy with the way their stories panned out. 

I'm not really a fan of short stories or even novellas, but I will say this - I will be looking up the many stories and novellas that the author has written about these characters.  And I will be reading his newest trilogy, set in the same world. 

Anyway, if you like Djano Wexler or Brian Stavely or even Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe" books, you'll enjoy this author. 

Oh... and the covers of all three books are TERRIFIC! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Conspiracy of Whispers by Ada Harper

4 Stars

Whispers - Book 1

This was a fun, action-packed, sexy, romantic, delightful read!  Recommended on Twitter by Bree, one half of the Kit Rocha writing team, it seemed this was the book EVERYONE in Romancelandia was reading last week.  :)  I had a bit of a worry at the back of my mind that this could be another case of me hating a romance that everyone else was head over heals for (ie: The Bollywood Bride), but quite happily, I loved it!

So it's a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, hints of fantasy book, peopled with a truly diverse cast of characters.  Two nations, very different in most ways, one a very technical, almost robotic type of nation and the other more future-medievalish.  The heroine is a trained assassin from the former and MAN, is she one helluva badass!  The hero is the brother to the leader of the latter, the general of her armies and he's pretty damned badass himself! 

Not only is there all the action part of the story - plots, wars, fights, murders, espionage, escapes etc...; there is also the theme of consent and equality and possession and justice for everyone that runs through it.  And you're not getting lectured, thank God, 'cause I'd have DNFed it right away had I felt I was being lectured, it's just the tale of these civilisations in the beginning of a period of upheaval being told. 

It was a great story, peopled with endearing characters, a tale of love and soulmates (which I don't normally go for, yet, it worked for me here) as well as friendships and found families and I totally enjoyed it!  Looking forward to the next book!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

4.5 Stars

The Sixth World - Book 1

Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed this book. Way more than I expected to, if I'm honest. :) Why? Because I'm not such a huge fan of contemporary, urban-ish (I say ish because it doesn't really take place in an urban environment) fantasy. But this book kept popping up in some of the oddest places on my Twitter timeline and recommended by a few folks whose taste I trust and since the price was right (I did a price-matching thing on Kobo - it was $2+ cheaper at Amazon) I went ahead and picked it up.

So what we've got is a post-apocalyptic (after the Big Water) world where a reformed Navajo nation, Dinétah, is the setting for a Mad Max Fury Road - esque tale. The Diné mythology is thick and fascinating. And is a nice change from all the fairy and elf urban fantasy. I admit to only knowing wee bits and pieces of this mythology and I think some of I know is coloured by what I know about our Canadian First Nations, so I found myself doing a few google searches to clarify things for me. And that's good! I was learning stuff! Never too old for that.

The main character is a young woman, Maggie Hoskie, with a well-earned but not well-respected reputation as a Monsterslayer. Life's not been easy for her when we first meet her and it's about to get even tougher as she deals with monsters, gods, clan magics, secrets and betrayals. I liked her. And I liked the characters around her too.

I liked the pacing of book too. It read well, kept me turning pages (virtually, 'cause I was using my Kobo) and I did the just one more chapter thing more than once.

So all in all, this was, for me, a really fabulous read! I highly recommend it.