Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

Allegiance of Honour Psy-Changeling 15

February 1, 2017 - 1:49 pm No Comments

Allegiance of Honour
Psy-Changeling Book 15
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: Hardback ARC 478pp
Release date: 16th June 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

www.nalinisingh.com

www.gollancz.co.uk

@nalinisingh

I’ve been reading Singh’s Psy-Changeling series now for quite a few years, and have been engaged with it from the start, but if you’re picking this up for the first time, as a starting point, you will manage, but this brief pointer will help.
It’s the future; 2080s, and there are three races on earth; changelings (or humans who shift into various types of animals such as wolf, tiger, panther).
Psy (pretty much short for psychic, this race also has sub-strands (E – Empaths) for example and Tks, who have telekinetic power. And humans.
Back in the good old 1970s, some of the Psy were prone to madness and there were Psy serial killers. To control the insanity the Psy-Net was established- creating Silence. A cold existence in which Psy are punished for having or demonstrating any kind of emotions. They can be reconditioned for such a crime.
So, that’s the stage set for the adventures to come over the first twelve to thirteen books. But Silence was never foolproof and by book 13 it has fallen, and Psy are trying to cope living with emotion. This would be impossible if not for the mating bonds already created between Psy, Changelings and humans, which started with panther Lucas Hunter of the DarkRiver pack and Psy Sascha Duncan in book one. And the ‘Honeycomb’ a new Psy-net link maintained by the E designations (Empaths) linking Es to various psy and changelings to prevent psychic collapse.
In book fourteen, society is somewhat unstable following the fall of Silence, but the Ruling Coalition are attempting to work with the Psy-force – The Arrows, to police the world. At the end of book 14 Shards of Hope, Arrow leader Aden, recently bonded to Zaira Neve, now, they are trying to start a new life of ‘family’ not just for themselves but for the entire Arrow race; play and school and family units for children, relationships for the adults, bonds, socialising. What was once anathema to them and previous pseudo-ruler Ming LeBon. Aden is the real power behind the Arrows. He is also intent on building strong relationships across the races, so with his instigation, The Trinity Accord is born; humans, Psy Inc Arrow, and changeling working together for a better future.
There are issues along the way; someone or something, an entity known as The Consortium ruled by a hidden identity is causing trouble, kidnapping BlackSea pack members and attempting to kidnap Lucas’ and Sascha’s young toddler Naya. Terrorist attacks are commonplace with the Architect who is part of the Consortium but the Trinity Accord are determined to work together and defeat them.
This sprawling novel brings an end to an era, and the start to another linked series, the first of which novel comes out June 2017. And I for one cannot wait and see what it brings. This novel ends on hope, optimism and at the same time trepidation, with a clan gathering that will ferment the future. And throughout the book we have been reacquainted with characters old and new; Zach and Annie from a novella, seen in both ‘Magical Christmas Cats I believe) and Wild Invitation. Mercy and Riley, Judd and Brenna, Hawke and Sienna (who were mated in my favourite book of the series ‘Kiss of Snow’)
This is a real, satisfying trip down memory lane, which also combines long awaited events that will satisfy long term fans and new readers alike.
A brilliant, riveting, emotional rollercoaster of a ride that ends with a brand new family.
5/5

Shards of Hope: Psy-Changeling 14

January 25, 2017 - 9:13 pm No Comments

Shards of Hope
Psy-Changeling Book 14
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 483pp
Release date: 4th June 2015
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

 

I’ve been reading Singh’s Psy-Changeling series now for quite a few years, and have been engaged with it from the start, but if you’re picking this up for the first time, as a starting point, you will manage, but this brief pointer will help.
It’s the future; 2080s, and there are three races on earth; changelings (or humans who shift into various types of animals such as wolf, tiger, panther).
Psy (pretty much short for psychic, this race also has sub-strands (E – Empaths) for example and Tks, who have telekinetic power. And humans.
Back in the good old 1970s, some of the Psy were prone to madness and there were Psy serial killers. To control the insanity the Psy-Net was established- creating Silence. A cold existence in which Psy are punished for having or demonstrating any kind of emotions. They can be reconditioned for such a crime.
So, that’s the stage set for the adventures to come over the first twelve to thirteen books. But Silence was never foolproof and by book 13 it has fallen, and Psy are trying to cope living with emotion. This would be impossible if not for the mating bonds already created between Psy, Changelings and humans, which started with Lucas of the DarkRiver pack and Psy Sacha Duncan in book one.
In book fourteen, society is somewhat unstable following the fall of Silence, but the Ruling Coalition are attempting to work with the Psy-force The Arrows, to police the world.
No one really knows why Aden became leader of the Arrows who bit by bit escaped the cruel control of former councillor Ming Le Bon, after all, he only registers mid-range on the Psy-plane, and is a medic, despite being a formidable physical opponent. But best friend Vasic, recently mated to Ivy, knows the truth about him. He has indescribable powers not yet seen, though the Arrows truly follow him, because of his loyalty to them. He will fight for every single one of them. The same way he fought for the broken, beat child, Zaira, he met twenty years ago, as a boy.
When Aden and Zaira wake up in a room, both battered and bloody unable to use their Psy powers to call for help, they know they have to escape. So they fight their way out in true Arrow style and find themselves near to death, collapsed in a hostile environment; on the land of a changeling leopard pack ran by Remi. And they must convince Remi to help them survive and return home, because their abduction is just the beginning of a plot to overthrow the Arrows.
Amidst the action, and the sub-plots, is the budding, yet fractured romance between Aden and Zaira, which is the heart of the book. Like many romance heroines, Zaira is damaged, having been tortured by her parents as a child before becoming an Arrow, but where the heroine falls back, Zaira steps forward and fights, but it is this anger, this rage, which she is afraid of. This burning fire is a barrier between her and Aden, so it will take some perseverance to battle through.
The romance, as always with Nalini Singh is believable and passionate, growing in the right way.
But in this book, a whole new world opens up to the reader.
The conspiracy behind the abductions is explored, other races are introduced, new ventures, new relationships, new plot-strands, new futures. And it’s bloody exciting!
Fast-paced, full of action, erotically charged love scenes and humour, this book takes the rule book and throws it out.
It ends on a brand new high, and a new story arc, which I’m sure will continue to grow.
I particularly want to see how Beatrice Gault develops, how the children of all races grow, how romance blossoms between the various factions and I want to sea more if the BlackSea pack.
There is so much more to enjoy here, but in this instance, for the nature of nostalgia (netting old characters again) and the exciting future it foretells, and the sensitive handling of child abuse Shards of Hope scores 5/5.

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau Vampires 23)

November 19, 2016 - 9:27 pm No Comments

Runaway Vampire (Argeneau Vampires #23)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 368pp
Release date: 25th Feb 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Runaway-Vampire-Argeneau-Novel-ebook/dp/B011988RXS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479590701&sr=1-1&keywords=runaway+vampire

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Recently widowed Mary Winslow (62 years old) is driving her RV down back roads at night, with her dog Bailey for company, when she hits something, or someone in the road. But when she gets out to investigate, there’s nothing in the road. Oblivious to the extra passenger hidden in her RV, Mary continues on her journey.
In the meantime, her secret passenger, Dante Notte, (vampire) is in pretty bad shape, mangled in fact, having been run over by the RV in his attempt to flee his pursuers. So now, he’s lying half in the bedroom, half in the bathroom, bloody and bashed, unable to move or call for help. He attempts to enter Mary’s mind to control her and get help, but he’s far too weak.
When Mary finally pulls the RV over, on a mission to find a pay phone and call the police to tell them she may have run something over, she gives in to Bailey’s whimpers, opening her bedroom door to let the dog jump up and sleep on the bed. But as Mary turns on the light, that isn’t what she sees.
Instead of curling up on her bunk, her dog is busy licking blood off the naked man sprawled on the floor; and it’s a sight for sore eyes.
After feeding on the locals at a truck stop diner, Dante is mostly healed, but still distractingly naked, as he sets off in the RV taking Mary with him (for her own safety). He explains that he and his twin brother were kidnapped, and while Dante had escaped only to be run over by Mary, his brother Tomasso is still held prisoner. The brothers, he explains, are part of a task force investing the disappearance of young men and women in the San Antonio area. To Mary, this translates as “Oh God, I’ve run over a Fed.”
At this stage, Mary has no clue that Dante is a vampire, and a member of the Argeneau family either, one of the strongest vampire families in the world. And though she may be a withered, old 62 (in her opinion) she’s still aware of Dante looking at her in a certain way and can’t figure out why. But for Dante, the reason is obvious; Mary is his life mate.
What I really like about these characters and this burgeoning relationship, is that whilst Mary underrates herself, as unfortunately most women tend to do, Dante sees her as we, the reader see her; young at her core, passionate, curvaceous, intelligent and brave. As well as beautiful.
The romance is handled perfectly and believably.
Dear Reader, yes, it is possible to have feelings about another person and/or sex past the age of fifty! They way Dante describes Mary is wonderful –  when she worries about him finding her attractive ‘at her age’ he responds “The scars and marks left by time, show that you have lived life.”
As always, Sands has an excellent sense of humour, particularly with some of the love making scenes. I won’t spoil all your fun, but I do have to mention the condom scene. That is all!
Between the sex, the lighthearted narrative, the intrigue and emotional aspects of the book, this is another hit from the Argeneau vampire series.
Twenty three and still going strong!
4/5

Vigil

July 23, 2016 - 3:09 pm No Comments

Verity Fassbinder Book 1
Author: Angela Slatter
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Page count: 351pp
Release date: 7th July 2016
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

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Jo Fletcher books (an imprint of Quercus) is fast becoming the publisher to go to for high quality, award level genre fiction. So, team up multi-award winner author Angela Slatter with her first full length novel, and you have pure gold.
Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds; daughter of a human — and a Weyrd — she can walk in both worlds. Though she doesn’t have much power herself, her ability to walk between worlds is a valuable asset.  This lands her the job of keeping the peace between both races and ensuring the Weyrd stay hidden.
The Council of Five act as a sort of government of the Weyrd, having arrived over in the past from whatever old country they came from and established themselves. Verity’s  ex ‘Bela’ AKA Zvezdomir ‘Bela’ Vlad Tepes (you may recognise the name) turns up at Verity’s door one eve, looking drop-dead gorgeous as usual, if a little bit goth. He’s arrived in a distinctive purple taxi cab (Verity was injured during her last job for Bela and now sports a limp) driven by Ziggi, her usual chauffeur. Verity clambers into the car, complete with shrunken head Gris-Gris in the window, to find one of the Council of Five sitting there.
Over twenty children have gone missing, some normal, some Weyrd, and Bela is there as chief spy/cop/enforcer to hire her to find out where the children have gone and who has taken them.
This is a solid Urban Fantasy set in an ‘other’ Brisbane where the Weyrd blend in as the homeless, the drunk, the disenfranchised and the alternative community. Angela Slatter’s voice, though distinctively unique and hers, reminds me a little of Jim Butcher (Dresden files) and Seanan McGuire (The Incryptid and October Daye books). Predominantly because Slatter combines high octane, fast paced action with PI Procedural, a whole host of wonderful creatures (not just bog standard vampires and werewolves), a cracking sense of humour and a deeper thread running through it. That thread? Racism, prejudice and treatment of other. Slatter isn’t afraid to veer towards the issue of how ‘other’ is often treated and her cast of characters is wonderfully diverse. Add to this the ongoing tension between Bela and Verity (how can he really beget ex when she blooming well works with him?) and how this affects her, and you have a great addition to the genre, and one I predict will last  the long haul.
Smashing book which kept me reading through the night, as in, couldn’t put down! Splendidly written too.
5/5

A Ghost of Magic

April 10, 2016 - 8:03 pm No Comments

A Ghost of Magic by JL Clayton
Published 30th December 2015
208 pages

The third book in The Chosen Saga and I was surprised where this story took me.
Following on smoothly from book 2, Cris aka Crispin joins Charlie’s school and slowly worms himself into her life. When Kate kidnaps Nikko, everyone including Cris jump into action to try and save him. Going to the fairy realm Charlie has to take a number of tests to get permission to use the portal to rescue Nikko.
Throughout this book I wanted Charlie to open her eyes and realise that Cris was the traveller. Each test was more intense then the last one and you wonder how Charlie could cope with anymore. Asher is his usual sexy cheeky self and Crispin is getting creepier as the story progressed.
The decision she had to make near the end of the book was heart wrenching and the cliffhanger was……….what a shocker
All I can say is I’m dying to know what will happen next