Orbit Urban Fantasy Trio

October 9, 2014 - 6:28 pm No Comments

Cursed Moon

Author: Jaye Wells
Release Date: Sept 14
Publisher: Orbit
Page count:
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Described as The Wire with wizards, Cursed Moon is the second book in the Kate Prosperous series, and only two books in, author Jaye Wells proves she is an Urban Fantasy force to be reckoned with.
Kate Prosperous is a cop and a magic user, but unlike most magic users, Kate is ‘off’ the magic; she is recovering AA (Arcane Anonymous) member who hasn’t used magic for ten years. Or at least that’s what her sponsor and her team believe, because Kate was forced to ‘cook’ a spell in the first book of this series in order to save her little brother, whom she is now sole carer for. With a complex history including a problem ex, spelling abuse and the death of her parents, and now the new moon, or the ‘cursed moon’ is coming to her town of Babylon, causing all sorts of disruption and mayhem; sex potions thrown about by Leprechauns, temples being robbed and murder.
This was my first experience of Wells’ fiction, and wow, what an introduction! Her narrative virtually leaps off the page; Prosperous is an engaging, and real heroine, the humour is rife within the text and the action doesn’t stop. Wells is also very respectful towards her transgender characters and the subject of addiction, which is prevalent throughout this novel. A cracking new Urban Fantasy series. I can’t wait to read more.

The Ripper Affair
Bannon and Clare Book 3
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Publisher: Orbit
Page count:
Release date: 19th Aug 14
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Debuting in The Iron Wyrm Affair two years ago, Emma Bannon and Archibald Clare are
the ‘Sapphire and Steel’ of Steampunk; intrepid adventurers, explorers and investigators who rely on each other in extreme circumstances to fight for Queen, country and the ‘good’. In their third adventure, things literally start with a bang, as mentath Clare is the only survivor of a court explosion, where he loses assassin and companion Ludovico, shattering his confidence and logic. Equally moved by the event, sorceress Emma Bannon takes Clare under her wing in an attempt to return his stability. But they aren’t given time to sit on their laurels and rest, for Londinium (an alternate historical London) is in danger. There is a violent serial killer lurking in Whitechapel and their Queen, Victrix, needs them to put aside all fear, doubt and anger and help her hunt down the killer. But Clare has been through much; following the events of The Red Plague Affair, the second novel, he is a changed man now immortal, and Bannon has moved heaven and earth to ensure his safety. But how can he deal with the changes she has wrought on him?
Delivering a delightfully original Steampunk universe, Saintcrow has created a duo to equal that of Holmes and Watson, Challenger and Roxborough, or a nineteenth century Mulder and Scully. Bannon is supported in her endeavours by her ‘Shield’ Mikal, who has an unswerving loyalty and love for her. As well as Mikal, Bannon has a number of diverse ‘souls’ in her employ, and she feels honour bound to protect them all.
To the best of my knowledge, Saintcrow isn’t English, yet her recreation of a Victorian alternative England feels very authentic, with dingy, fogged streets, an overwhelming stench and poppy dens.

Night Broken
Author: Patricia Briggs
Release Date: Sept 14
Page Count: 341pp
Publisher: Orbit
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Number eight in the ever popular Mercy Thompson/Hauptman Urban Fantasy series, Night Broken takes mechanic, coyote shifter and wife of local werewolf Alpha Adam, to much darker territory. Adam’s ex wife Christy and mother to their daughter Jesse, has been in veritable pan in the ass for Mercy for quite some time, but she becomes even more if a pain when she phones her ex husband in the middle of the night begging for help. Christy has a stalker, handsome one night stand Juan Flores, who just won’t take no for an answer and sets fire to her apartment complex.
Christy has a way of manipulating people, making them desperate to protect her, so it isn’t long before she’s ensconced in the Hauptmann household, the werewolf pack at her beck and call, as she hides away from her dangerous stalker. If that wasn’t bad enough, Mercy is called upon by cop Tony to help investigate a number of brutal ritualistic murders of blonde women; women who bear more than a passing resemblance to Christy.
Sassy and strong, Mercy has retained her status as a powerful pack member and independent woman throughout this series. Briggs’ dialogue is sharp and witty, Mercy is a fully realised character and the other characters within the novel are equally well drawn. Christy is crafty in her attempts to win back her ex husband, Mercy’s half brother Gary Laughingdog is enigmatic and funny, the father/deity Coyote is mysterious and threatening, and the whole cast is more enjoyable through its sheer diversity. After all, Mercy herself is mixed race as well as being mixed species, Gary is similarily blessed, Tad is part fae, and Warren is a gay werewolf. And Briggs doesn’t shy away from exploring the hatred such diversity can engender. On top of that, her books are wonderfully entertaining, fast pased, emotional and fun.
Whilst I love the whole series however, Night Broken does flag in the middle a little but this does not detract from another satisfying addition to the series, with a cracking battle or two. Overall, I got a lot from this book, as I always do with Mercy, who is both a woman and a character I can relate to. I thoroughly look forward to Shirting Shadows, the new collection of Mercy stories coming this month from Orbit.

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