Posts Tagged ‘Urban Fantasy’

The Vanishing Throne (Falconer 2) Elizabeth May

August 4, 2017 - 6:36 pm No Comments

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer Trilogy: Book 2)
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 362pp
Release date: 18th Nov 2015
(The third book The Fallen Lingdom was released 15th June 2017) Grab it now!


The first book in this series ‘The Falconer’ introduced us to a post-Regency world of early polite 19th Century society in Edinburgh, where Lady Alieana Kameron plays the game of ‘lady’ whilst tinkering with inventions.
On meeting pixie Derrick and Fae Kiaran, she discovers she is the ‘Falconer’ – the one who is strong enough to fight the fae – who wish to destroy the human world. There is much more to the first book (death, betrayal, love, passion, magic) but – spoilers darling!
Now, in the second book, having failed to save the world in a very Buffy-like manner – she is half dead and prisoner of Lonnrach – a baobhan sith – a vampire-like fae who holds Alieana in the faerie realm sucking her memories dry to find the information he needs to take a throne. The Vanishing Throne.
Time moves at a different pace in the Sith-bhruth – a week there can be months in the world of humans. But every day in her faerie prison is a day of torture – Lonnrach’s bite leaving physical and emotional scars, as his venom runs through her veins. But it is the guilt that consumes her, as much as the need to escape – she is shown visions of a desolate Edinburgh and knows she failed to save it.
Thankfully help comes in the form of Kiaran’s sister Aithinne.
There’s a nice little nod to The Princess Bride in here as Alieana escapes through the forests and rocks with Aithinne.
Though the imprisonment and escape is tense, emotional and intriguing, it was great to move on into Alieana’s normal world to see her reaction, and to see some old favourite characters.
Derrick the tiny winged pixie is particularly funny, as is Aithinne’s jubilant use of ‘normal’ swear words (implied at and stopped at just the right moment rather than expressed) and her sibling rivalry with Kiaran. Never mind Alieana’s love for Kiaran- a powerful fae she is only just getting to know.
When Derrick is drunk on honey he is very productive and at one point makes new clothes for Alieana- who huffs – to which Derrick replies “so just because the world ends you can’t dress fancy anymore?” Point made! I can almost feel Joss Whedon’s influence here, in reflect of sparkling dialogue at the least.
As for Kiaran, he has taught himself not to feel compassion after centuries in faerie, but seeing Alieana again stirs something deep inside, and when she is hurt at one point by another character his anger is cold. Bound from killing humans he still points out, “It’s incredible what the human body can endure without dying.” He’s your ‘Angel’ to Alieana’s Buffy; sexy, brooding, stalwart, strong – and lethal.
As a team, our heroes are formidable adversaries for Lonnrach, each character having different attributes to bring to the party; carrying on with the Buffy analogy – the ‘Scooby Gang’, each one valuable in their own right, with believable personalities to match.
With the gang and the surviving humans forming a truce with the pixies, we see an extraordinary underground city; glittering quartz domes, bee hive shaped houses, obsidian buildings, and food from everywhere in the world, which the pixies can create from nothing. But the sparkling fae disturb Alieana who still bears the scars of her torture.
However, for the reader, the city is awesome; you can smell, taste and feel this place. Stunning. Yet for Alieana there’s something missing that the real world has. Yet that real world is shattered and can’t be returned to right now. That won’t stop Alieana from trying to save the world that exists now – with a fairy killing gun (a blunderbus of her own design) her own innate powers and her team as back up.
This is a hero I can get on with. And here’s why;
“No – I don’t want balls (now now trader! not that type), or parties, or dresses again. No elevenhours or fourhours or being forced into marriage.
Those things all kept me caged …”
This is an awesome blend of Austen-era bad-assery heroines, magical steampunk, fae legend and urban fantasy.

Dance of the Butterfly by Scott Carruba

August 3, 2017 - 7:58 pm No Comments

Dance of the Butterfly by Scott Carruba

Published by Optimus Maximus Publishing on 5th July 2016

337 pages

Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

Skothiam is on a quest for 3 ancient books, his research leads him to a prestige university. Meeting Lilja the curator of the university, she has a passion for the old books and a secret that she wants to keep. Also going on in the town is a vigilante trying to stop Gnegon a crime lord who is involved in human trafficking and a serial killer.

Skothiam is a mystery man and its only as the story progresses do we find more about his life. A man of means he does not flash is cash and is very unassuming. Lilja was a confident, strong woman but only at work, when she was with Skothiam she was unsure of herself and in some case quite naïve, especially when she was discussing BDSM.

At the start of this book I kept wandering were the author was taking me, as you had Skothiam’s story and the vigilante’s story running alongside each other and when a serial killer turned up in the book I was still having my doubts, but the author managed to interweave these stories together to make this an absorbing read. The author had an eye for detail and throughout this book even the smallest feature was explained. It brought a smile to my face whenever the character had a lip ring as their characteristics were so like my daughter who is always chewing on her lip ring.  With human trafficking a major part of the story, there are some dark scenes however this is necessary to the story and explains a lot at the end. This is definitely a book for the adult market, however the sex scenes were tastefully written and did not read trashy, in fact they reinforced the bond between Skothiam and Lilja. As I finished this book I was hoping that I could read more of Lilja and Skothiam as they made a good team and I was pleased when I saw Sword of the Butterfly already to purchase. A great read with a touch of fantasy

The Spawn of Lilith – Dana Fredsti

July 26, 2017 - 8:56 pm No Comments

The Spawn of Lilith
Author: Dana Fredsti
Publisher: Titan Books
Page count: 400pp
Release date: 20th June 2017
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

 

Lee Striga is a stunt woman at the top of her game, working with the legendary Katz crew; the equivalent of stunt person royalty. Her crew is going great until someone places her landing air bag in slightly the wrong position, during a routine high fall.
Lee does the drop, and wakes up in hospital with recent memories eradicated and her body in pretty bad shape. But as she heals, she longs to get back into the business; a business where shifters, fae, goblin and all sorts of supernatural creatures work in Hollywood.
On the road to recovery, Lee gets the chance to work on a film with a semi-decent budget as a stunt worker for annoying pain in-the arse actress Portia. But of course, things dont go quite as smoothly as they should, and pretty soon, people on the set are dropping dead, torn to pieces by god-knows-what sort of being.
Fredsti nails the cheap ‘bad’ film experience complete with ‘script’ excerpts with predictably villainous dialogue from – well – the villain. Think Ming the Merciless on a budget. As for attitude towards females in the industry, never mind the so-called ‘concubines’ in the film Lee is working on, she sees herself as curvy, which is fine but she’s regarded as too big to be a leading actress at a size 8, bearing in mind that’s USA ‘8’ which equates to a ‘6’ in the U.K. The sad thing is that Lee’s observations on the industry are based on Fredsti’s many years as an actual stunt woman. As Lee puts it, when being fit for a costume, “eight wasn’t exactly the gargantuan size she was implying.”
There’s a refreshing honesty here.
Axel the horny demon (literally) makes for great comic relief, but also, unfortunately, an indication of how some men in the industry treat women. Thankfully, all of the men aren’t shallow has-beens; Ben being an example of a solid actor and downright nice guy.
On a set later in the book, past the halfway mark, there’s some great banter between Lee and the producer Dobell about low budget SF/horror movies and being a lover of those films, I instantly recognised the kind of films and could guess the studio she is on about when gems such as “Crocksnake” and “Arachnogator” are mentioned – you might say, the well known low budget studio is kind of a “refuge” for B-Movie actors. There are so many pop culture references and ‘in jokes’ about LA and the movies but the kind a reader will easily get, because they are based around some accepted stereotypes. Which, by the way is when this book gets scary, because Fredsti actually worked in the industry meaning a lot of the arseholes she’s talking about? Yeah, they’re probably real. Sheesh.
As for Lee’s ‘voice’ – well – it hits 10 on the sarcasm Richter scale and I literally snorted my coffee out a couple of times through laughter. You’ll see what I mean when she describes actress ‘Portia’.
In a world where parking meter gods get bribed with Hershey Kisses, burly red-headed bar tenders hide secrets and creatures hide in the dark, Fredsti offers a brand new take on the Urban Fantasy genre.
I adored this book; the humour, the mayhem, the characters and the underpinning mystery.
This is a million shades of movie madness awesome. 5/5

Corpselight – Verity Fassbinder Book 2 – Angela Slatter

July 20, 2017 - 6:26 pm No Comments

Corpse Light (Verity Fassbinder Book 2)
Author: Angela Slatter
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Page count: 400pp
Release date: 13th July 2017
Online: @AngelaSlatter, @MeadOlivia, @JoFletcherBooks,
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corpselight-Verity-Fassbinder-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01INGSVZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1500570659&sr=1-1&keywords=corpselight

This long anticipated sequel to Angela Slatter’s sole debut novel Vigil, starts answering those lingering questions from the first book, from the off.
The primary one being; is Verity pregnant?
Serious kudos for Slatter for introducing the plethora of issues that come into play once a strong kick-ass heroine is expecting a baby.
Yes, Verity has lost her super-strength (her inheritance from Weyrd father Grigori) and yes she’s tired, on enforced rest and riddled with hormones, but that doesn’t stop her from kicking ass.
Arse-kicking comes in many forms and the most obvious aspects of Verity’s qualities are her intelligence, her fire, her compassion and her ability to see and understand beyond the obvious. There’s a reason she’s the ‘go-to’ person when it comes to liasons with the Weyrd community.
That, my friends, still makes her a kick-ass heroine.
However, Slatter would’ve been nuts to miss the opportunity to play around with the ‘Pregnancy stuff’.
She has great fun writing other characters who poke fun at her condition, whilst sharing with the reader the unexpected difficulties women face whilst pregnant; fro, getting in and out of chairs, to tiredness, emotions, cranky moments and not being able to drink coffee.
That, in my mind, is sacrilege.
It makes for some hilarious gags along the way.
In the midst of her rest period though, Verity is getting kind of bored doing nothing, so when the chance to do some investigation crops up, she dives in.
A spirit or Weyrd creature is taking slinging mud to a whole new level in the house of lawyer Susan Beckett. The entity is creating the equivalent of ‘la boue’; a vile mixture of blood, mud and sewage seen in the streets of France in the 1700s. But Susan Beckett is claiming for the third time in a row from the ‘Unnatural Happenstance’ proviso of her insurance yet she won’t let the company send in their exorcism style clean up crew; just the actual poo cleaning crew. So, what is she hiding?
She’s also not the first legal person in danger in the novel and it makes me wonder; ‘is the only good lawyer a Dead lawyer’!
Although officially on pregnancy leave, Verity is tasked with finding out the cause of the poo-flinging and exactly what their client is hiding.
Then, to top it off, drowned bodies are turning up nowhere near water, in places like cafes. And Verity is called on again, for her advice.
This book is a sheer delight, and whether you’ve read the first one or not, there’s enough exposition that you can enjoy the Sisters Norn in Little Venice, Bela (current boss and ex-boyfriend and the love/hate/detest relationship between him and current beau David), Ziggi (Weyrd taxi driver/protector and surrogate uncle) and a whole host of exotic ‘other’ characters from diverse cultures.
And; word is out that the Boatman is still after Verity to get his knife back. Yeah, that Boatman.
As for the Council of Five, who govern supernaturals in Australia, they have been ‘retired’ or moved on due to the corruption found by Verity in the last book. Perhaps the surprising addition to the new council is Theo, the youngest Norn sister and a wild card.
Rhonda McIntyre police liaison to the ‘Weyrd’ community is the one who calls on Verity for help again, in this book.
In Vigil, she had been saved by an angel after Verity had pulled a few strings but it doesn’t make her any less grumpy, so she delights in calling her friend ‘fatso’ now she is heavy with child. The banter between Rhonda and Verity is an example of sublime writing.
The title of the novel refers to a couple of corpselights hovering in Verity’s backyard, aka ‘Will ‘O’ ‘the’ Wisp’ or foxfire. At the beginning we’re not entirely sure how all of these mystery pieces slot together, but don’t worry, all will be revealed.
This is urban fantasy at its best and I truly hope Verity and all of her supporting cast get to grow and develop and that the series gets the longevity of characters such as Toby Daye by Seanan Maguire.
Slatter knows how to build tension, weave plot strands, write interesting and fun characters with sparking dialogue and add enough dark that the squeamish may let out the odd “urgh”.
This is pretty much superlative and I predict awards next year for Slatter.
Bloody well done!

 

So! Win #Vigil #ebook I’ll buy it for you as a gift if you are one of the ones selected.

Share this blog post

Follow @JoFletcherBooks, @BarbarellaFem and @AngelaSlatter on Twitter to be in with a chance by 30th July 2017

The Rogue Hunter

April 12, 2017 - 3:24 pm No Comments

The Rogue Hunter
(Argeneau Vampires book 10)
Author: Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Gollancz
Page count: 361pp
Release date: 10th May 2012
Online: @Gollancz, @Lynsay_sands, @StevieFinegan
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rogue-Hunter-Argeneau-Vampire-Vampires-ebook/dp/B007ZT9PYG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492010640&sr=8-1&keywords=Rogue+Hunter+lynsay+Sands

 

Falling for a man is acceptable, expected even, but falling literally head over heels stumbling all over the place? Well, that’s taking it just a bit too far.
In the tenth instalment of the Argeneau Vampire series, we’ve entered a new story arc following Vampire Interrupted, and Bricker, Decker and Mortimer are on the hunt for a rogue vampire, himself hunting in a lakeside cottage area near Toronto.
Decker has had his cottage home in the area for years and thankfully, has managed to avoid any nosey neighbours. At least until the Willian sisters come to stay for a vacation.
Sam Willan is a workaholic lawyer, lately single from her high school sweetheart, but currently plagued by a recurring ear infection (suspected) that has her dizzy, losing her balance and toppling all over the place. She has reluctantly agreed to see a specialist on her return home, egged on by chef sister Alex and bar manager/university attendee sister Jo.
Of course she would start falling over in front of Mortimer, who’s staying with Bricker at Decker’s cottage, as they hunt for the rogue, who is bleeding humans dry. He at first suspects her falling about is drunkenness and isn’t suitably impressed, particularly as he can’t hear her thoughts, a sign she may be his true life mate. And she’s really not his type; too skinny, too pale. Needs a good meal.
His two Hunter friends watch as Mortimer begrudgingly finds himself feeling protective towards her as they use the trio of sisters to attend a popular lakeside night spot to find the rogue. Whilst on the hunt for the rogue, Mortimer finds himself falling heavily for Sam, whilst she is drawn to him, but harassed by her boss as the daughter of of one of their clients is missing and Sam is tasked with forcing the local sheriff into action.
It’s no surprise that the pair end up getting closer, but fate seems to get in their way in the most awkward of ways when it comes to getting intimate; cue insects, rashes, bumbling about and other disasters I won’t spoil for you.
It’s everything you expect from Sands; romance, action, great characters, witty humour and either a HEA or HFN.
In this case it’s HFN, but with the proviso that we will meet Sam and Mortimer again and see their story complete.
4/5