2009.06


The Getaway God: A return to classic Sandman Slim

The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey

People are bailing out of LA in droves. It’s Christmas. The city is flooding. An apocalypse is happening, and Sandman Slim’s girlfriend, Candy, is reverting to her predatory Jade nature. The Angra Om Ya, who were the original gods of this reality before they lost it to a confidence-trickster god, are returning, and they aren’t happy. The Golden Vigil, a government-angelic partnership, has begun rounding up supernatural beings and putting them in concentration camps. For James Stark, the half-nephilim arena-fighter and former CEO of Hell, known as Sandman Slim, it’s basically just another Tuesday.

The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey is the sixth SANDMAN SLIM story. As the series has progressed, Kadrey has taken some scenic detours, as he did in Kil... Read More

A Vision in Velvet: This series hasn’t let me down

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES hasn’t let me down. This is a solid series with a fun setting and great characters. Tantor Audio’s versions read by Xe Sands are terrific and I’m certain that her narration adds a lot to my enjoyment. Honestly, I’ve got a bit of a voice crush on her. I wouldn’t think of reading these books any other way.

In A Vision in Velvet, the sixth installment, Lily’s vintage clothing store is thriving, she has made friends with her neighbors on Haight Street, and she’s got a steady romance going. Life is pretty good. But, of course, soon enough Lily manages to get wrapped up in another murder mystery. This one involves a trunk full of old clothes, a velvet cape, a dying tree in Golden Gate Park, some scientists, psychedelic frogs, The Crucible, and an ancient curse. The mystery ge... Read More

Fiddlehead: Suspenseful and satisfying

Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest

In the North America of 1879, the American Civil War is still going on. A deadly drug from the Pacific Northwest is killing people, then converting them into undead monsters. While technological advances burgeoned during the war, both sides are depleted of soldiers, revenue and hope. This conflict can’t continue, especially with the drug disease making its way to the highly populated north-and-southeast. President U.S. Grant, finishing up his second term and preparing a run for his third, has an opportunity to end it once and for all, by unleashing a devastating weapon that will shock the Confederacy into surrender before any more people die. At least, that’s how it’s been described to him.

At the beginning of THE CLOCKWORK CENTURY series, Cherie Priest said that she would end the war by the end of the series. She didn’t say it would be pretty. In Fiddlehead, all the forces are gathere... Read More

The Glass God: Sharon Li is no Matthew Swift

The Glass God by Kate Griffin

The Glass God is the second book in Kate Griffin’s Magicals Anonymous series. These books are set in the same magical London as the MATTHEW SWIFT books, but follow the character of Sharon Li, barista turned shaman turned “community support worker” for various magical beings in the greater London area.

While Swift, a sorcerer, is a loner and a one-person army of anarchy, that’s not how Sharon rolls. She is a shaman, and shamans by definition must function in service to a tribe. As Sharon herself puts it, Swift is “such a bad-ass, such a fire-brand, look at all the stuff he’s blown up,” while she is “so ‘cuppa tea in the afternoon.’” Swift, the Midnight Mayor, the night guardian of the city of London, has recognized his own shortcomings, though (for example, no one would accuse him of having good people skills) and hired Sharon for exactly her “let’s work... Read More

Biting Cold: Feels like a filler episode

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill

Biting Cold (2012) is the sixth book in Chloe Neill’s CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES series. It’s impossible to even give the premise of this book, let alone a useful review, without mentioning major spoilers for books four and five, Hard Bitten and Drink Deep respectively, so if you haven’t read those books, stop reading this review now!

Is the coast clear? OK, here goes. Ethan has just come back from the dead, but he and Merit hardly have a chance to catch up; they must immediately embark on a road trip to stop Mallory before she can reach the Maleficium spellbook and unleash the evil bound therein. But not everything goes according to plan during this trip, and soon they’re back in Chicago with a dangerous new supernatural enemy to face.

The character arc of Mallory is the most compelling aspect of Biting Cold. The showdown be... Read More

Imager’s Battalion: Feels like a textbook, not a fantasy novel

Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

THE IMAGER PORTFOLIO has covered two eras and two separate characters and tied them together with a theme of great power and great responsibility. L.E. Modesitt Jr. has taken the time to show the evolution of magic (imaging) in a low-tech world and has given us some pretty amazing world-building. The challenge for readers, however, is that it has been at times dreadfully boring, endlessly repetitive and so heavy-handed in its statements about the social conditions and the inherent prejudices that exist in that world that even the most stalwart fan gets… tired.

Imager’s Battalion covers the war between Telaryn, the more moderate, socially progressive nation, and Bovaria, the more conservative, aggressive and socially repressive nation. Quaeryt, recently recovered from the typical almost deadly over-exertion of a Modesitt hero, is called back to lead his formation of Ima... Read More

Ashes of Honor: A must-read for urban fantasy fans

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire has caused me to abandon work and kept me up nights more than any other author I’ve read recently. Her work is so compelling that I absolutely must find out what happens next. Ashes of Honor (2012) was no exception to this rule. It’s the sixth and latest in the OCTOBER DAYE series, and offers up new surprises about the knight and hero of the Court of Shadowed Hills, Toby Daye.

Toby is surprised herself when Etienne, another of the Court’s knights, approaches her for help. Etienne never seems to have approved of Toby, as he’s a more traditional sort of guy — one who lives in the realms of Faerie rather than the real world of its approximate location, San Francisco. But when he learns that he has unknowingly fathered a changeling, and worse, t... Read More

My Soul to Steal: One of the better YA paranormal series

My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent

At the end of My Soul to Keep, the relationship between Kaylee and Nash was in limbo. My Soul to Steal opens with Nash recovering but guilt-ridden, Kaylee not quite ready to forgive him, and Nash’s ex-girlfriend Sabine arriving on the scene. Nash and Sabine had an intense relationship two years ago but parted without closure after Tod’s death. Now, Sabine is determined to take advantage of the rift between Nash and Kaylee, and take Nash back for herself.

Oh, and Sabine is a mara, or Nightmare, who feeds by giving people horrible dreams and soaking up their fears. When Kaylee learns this, she’s sure Sabine is behind a new string of tragedies at their high school. The truth, however, may be worse still…

My Soul to Steal is literally painful to read at times. If you’ve been following Kayle... Read More

Brayan’s Gold: A perfect appetizer

Brayan’s Gold by Peter V. Brett

I’m really enjoying these little novellas that Sub Press puts out. Because they’re meant as stand-alone side-stories, they’re a great way for me to get a feel for an author’s world and writing style before jumping into a big series.

Peter V. Brett’s Brayan’s Gold is the story of how Arlen, one of the main characters in Brett’s Demon Cycle, goes on his first solo job and meets a snow demon. The episode is referred to in the story collection The Great Bazaar, but hadn’t been written until Brett’s friend asked him about the story. So, here it is.

Even though I haven’t read Brett’s The Warded Man or its sequel The Desert Spear Read More