Genre: adult

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The Queen of Blood: Review

The Queen of Blood: Review

The Queen of Blood is the sort of quiet, more subdued fantasy that mostly feels dreamy and innocent. And then Sarah Beth Durst will turn right back around and remind you at various points that this story has quite the emotional barb. The story of young Daleina, training to be a potential successor to the queen of Aratay, is one in which you will find many of the more common fantasy tropes, but also many subverted. And it’s such an endearing story, and well done in the telling, that I found I didn’t much mind how much of the book follows well worn fantasy paths. Daleina’s world is one full of bloodthirsty spirits. There are spirits for each of the four elements, as well as tree spirits. These pernicious inhabitants barely tolerate the existence of humans; their blood thirst is only ever barely sated. The one force keeping the spirits from… Read more »

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Dreaming Death: Review

Dreaming Death: Review

Dreaming Death is the first in a new adult fantasy series full of murder, mystery, and magic. The story is told through several POV characters, but the narrative mostly revolves around Mikael, a broadcaster, and Shironne, a touch-sensitive. The story-world is rich, and this is definitely the sort of fantasy novel in which a large portion of the novel (especially at the beginning) is spent on explaining the world, its rules, its magic, and how it all works together. I was immediately hooked by the creepy and heartbreaking first chapter in which we witness a murder through the terrified victim’s eyes. This is what Mikael sees when he dreams a death. These dreams come unbidden to him, and are obviously deeply unsettling as he perceives everything as though he himself is the victim. As a broadcaster, the dreams are then sent out to all nearby sensitives. When Mikael dreams, many suffer. Shironne is the… Read more »

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A Promise of Fire: Review

A Promise of Fire: Review

This is such a frustrating review to write. The story doesn’t have bad bones. The writing and plot are fine, and might well have been very enjoyable. There’s considerable action and adventure. But there were two major obstacles that prevented me from enjoying this (and they’re big ones). I couldn’t stand the main character, and I I did not at all care for the romance. Not liking the romance is going to be an instant downer in a book that is explicitly a fantasy romance. Cat is a young circus performer on the run from her abusive past. Cat makes her way in the world as a soothsayer, but her real “gift” is the ability to tell truth from lies. Anytime someone tells a lie in her presence Cat feels a searing pain. Considering the prevalence of lies in daily human interactions she spends the book in much less pain… Read more »

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The Invisible Library: Review

The Invisible Library: Review

Once again I find myself in the position with a book that is practically perfect in its premise, yet I ultimately fail to forge much of a connection with it. This is not a bad book, and I think it has its readers! I mean, it is a book about a great Library that has access to infinite alternate dimensions and universes. It also has werewolves, vampires, Fae, and dragons all romping around and creating magic, mystery, and mayhem in a sort of alternate steampunk “Victorian” London. Sign me way up for that. However, I get this sense of “fuzziness” for lack of better word to describe it with fantasies and other genre works where the world building is not at all clear to me. The Library is a very advanced institution that seems to exist out of time. It has its own Language that allows Librarians to alter their… Read more »

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A Gathering of Shadows: Review

A Gathering of Shadows: Review

I will give Victoria Schwab credit: she sure knows how to build a captivating world full of deftly defined characters, and a creeping, sentient magic. It  also doesn’t hurt that she has in her arsenal the capacity to wield a wicked sentence or two. But it’s a strange feeling when you give a book a 3 star rating, yet still feel as though you are a black sheep. I was absolutely enchanted by the first volume, but this one didn’t quite hit the same mark for me. We pick up the story four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila has taken her adventuring to the high seas in her delightfully audacious quest to see “everything.” Kell and Rhy are left behind in Red London struggling with the consequences of the powerful decisions made at the end of the first book. Their storylines converge when all… Read more »

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A Curious Beginning: Review

A Curious Beginning: Review

If you’ve been itching to curl up with an absorbing historical mystery that will make you laugh and swoon, then A Curious Beginning is right up your alley! I am not usually much one for mystery novels, but the combination of features here, Victorian London, an intrepid and super sassy heroine (also a lady scientist, yay!), and a developing romance hit all the right checkmarks for me. I’m glad I gave this one a try as it really is a super enjoyable set up to what could, finger crossed, be a long and rewarding series! The story begins with our heroine, Veronica Speedwell, burying  her last “relative” and remaining connection to her childhood. A foundling, Veronica had been raised by two spinster sisters, often moving at a whim around the country, causing constant upheaval in her life. Veronica soon discovers, though, that her very life is under attack, with mysterious… Read more »

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Sorcerer to the Crown: Review

Sorcerer to the Crown: Review

In many ways, this book was such a perfect Christmas-time read. It is a Regency-era British historical fantasy that delights in the magic employed within its pages, and the utter charm of its characters and its world. The writing is also a treat; completely in the style of a book that had been written in the Regency era, it more than does its job in conveying the reader so completely to the world on its pages. When you want a book that’s going to wholly transport you, this is the sort you reach for. In the world of Sorcerer to the Crown, Britain’s supply of magic has been on the decline for years. The flow of magic from Fairyland into the mortal realm has all but stopped, as have the presence of familiars, the spirits/vessels of magic needed to make a mere magician into a sorcerer. This being Regency Britain,… Read more »

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