Blood and Bone: One of the best in this series

Blood and Bone by Ian Cameron Esslemont

Blood and Bone is the penultimate book of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s main MALAZAN EMPIRE series (I say “main” because he has just begun a prequel trilogy) and while it has its issues, it easily ranks in my top three of the main series’ six titles thanks to a few well-drawn characters and, especially, thanks to its relatively unique setting.

That setting is the jungles of Jacuruku, one of the as-yet-unexplored continents of the Malazan universe. The continent is mostly split in half, with one side under the dominion of a group of sorcerers known as Thaumaturgs and the other half, referred to as “Himatan,” is ruled by the powerful and mysterious Ardata, worshipped by some as a goddess and by others as the Queen of Witches. As has periodically hap... Read More

Wrath of the Bloodeye: Tom gets a new master

Wrath of the Bloodeye by Joseph Delaney

Wrath of the Bloodeye is the fifth book in Joseph Delaney’s very popular LAST APPRENTICE (or WARDSTONE CHRONICLES) series for middle graders. This book has also been released in other countries, such as those in the UK, under the title The Spook’s Mistake.

Tom has been John Gregory’s apprentice for a couple of years now. In the last book, Attack of the Fiend, three witch clans worked together to summon the Fiend (the Devil). Now he roams the earth and would like to kill Tom because the rumor is that Tom will be the most powerful spook in history. Or maybe it would be better for the Fiend if he befriends Tom...
Call me what you will, Tom. I have many names... But none adequately convey my true nature. I’... Read More

The Rhesus Chart: Bob takes on a clan of vampire bankers

The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross

The Rhesus Chart is the fifth and most recent novel in Charles Stross’ LAUNDRY FILES. Bob Howard has been moving up the ranks in the Laundry — not due to any particular motivation or ambition on his part, but just because he has managed, so far, to stay alive as he and his fellow agents battle the eldritch horrors who are trying to find their way into our universe so they can eat us.

While doing some data mining in his office one day, Bob happens to notice a small but statistically significant outbreak of an illness that looks like Mad Cow disease in an area of London. Curious, he begins to investigate by consulting a neurologist, looking at cadavers, and tracing the habits of the people who’ve died of the disease. Eventually this leads him to a small group of data analysts who work for a London bank. One of them accidentally progr... Read More

Princeps’ Fury: Regresses

Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher

Tavi and his companions are escorting the Canim back to their home across the sea. When they arrive they find that the Canim’s land has been invaded by the Vord. Back home in Alera, unbeknownst to Tavi, his countrymen are also being overrun by the Vord and Amara, Isana, Bernard, and the First Lord are on the front lines. Will the Vord conquer both Alera and Canim, or can Tavi and Isana negotiate alliances with a couple of Alera’s enemies so they can fight the Vord horde together?

Princeps' Fury is the fifth book in Jim Butcher’s CODEX ALERA series. For the most part I’ve thought that this traditional epic fantasy was diverting but ultimately forgettable, though the fourth book, Captain’s Fury, actually elevated CODEX ALERA into the “enjoyable” category. It was better than the first three books — the writing was better, the action was more exciting, and it ... Read More

For a Few Demons More: Outright emotional turmoil

For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison

For a Few Demons More is the fifth entry in Kim Harrison's series about Rachel Morgan and the Hollows. I would say that this book is easily the best since book two — the action kicked off literally from page one and there were enough plot twists, complications, heart-pounding sex scenes, arguments, comedy moments, and terror to keep the pages turning at a vigorous pace!

Here Rachel realises that the Focus isn't quite as securely hidden as she originally thought — she wakes to find herself being possessed by scary mad demon Newt, who seems to be searching for the Focus. This, alongside the murder of various Weres, starts a plot that takes Rachel to some very dark places.

For a Few Demons More was the first of the Hollows books that caused me ou... Read More

The Phoenix Endangered: Silly and boring

The Phoenix Endangered by Mercedes Lackey

I got through about three quarters of The Phoenix Endangered on audio. This was a sluggish and clunky second installment in The Enduring Flame trilogy. The writing was dull and not much happened to advance the plot. By the time a battle finally started, I couldn't muster up enough interest to participate.

Even more than the last book, this one was full of two teenage boys brooding, bickering, whining, and being noble. Half of what they say is said "sulkily," "rudely," "darkly," or "huffily." I got tired of hearing how they didn't want to be heroes and didn't want to kill anybody (even when a huge evil army which had destroyed a few cities and killed thousands of people had them under siege).

And the plot (what little there was) was just plain silly. For example, it is considered extrem... Read More