April/May reads

May 6, 2012

This last couple of months I've got through a few good books, and rather than reviewing each individually, I decided to write a post discussing all of them.  On the fourth of May no fewer than four new releases were downloaded to my Kindle, so I am happy I had a week off work to read them all.

Fair Game – Patricia Briggs
This is the next book in the Alpha and Omega series, and it was the usual enjoyable Briggs fare.  Anna and Charles are interesting characters and it's fun to see their development.  I was particularly interested in the end game changer – I understand it's impacting the Mercy Thompson series, too.  I had been surprised that Briggs was planning a new Mercy book.  I'd felt the character had come to the end of her story, but this will add a new dimension.  I look forward to Frost Bitten next year

I gave Fair Game four stars.

The Iron King – Julie Kanawa.
This is an ebook I borrowed from the library.  A Young Adult novel, it is the usual tale of modern teen finds she has an undiscovered past and hidden powers, finds herself in a fantasy world.  It's been done before, and better executed, but the storyline and characters were engaging enough for me to want to borrow the sequels from the library.

I gave The Iron King three stars

Unholy Night – Seth Grahame-Smith
This is Grahame-Smith's take on the three Magi of the Nativity.  As the Magi are only mentioned briefly in the Gospels, the author has created a whole storyline for them.  Personally, I did not enjoy this nearly as much as his previous Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I missed Jane Austen's wit from the former and the genuinely interesting real life story of the American President from the latter.

I gave Unholy Night two stars

Orange as Marmalade – Fran Stewart
I confess I'm a sucker for gentle mysteries where the cat helps to solve the crime, With this one I particularly enjoyed that it was written mainly from the cat owner's point of view, with regular snarky comments from the cat as she tries to make her owner see the clues she herself has found.  I will certainly be adding this series to my "to follow" list.

I gave Orange as Marmalade four stars

Les Dragons de l'Empereur Noir – Anne Robillard
I don't often read in French, preferring to read in my native English, but I couldn't call myself a self-respecting fantasy lit fan living in Quebec and not read Robillard's popular series. I've been meaning to read them ever since I arrived in Quebec nearly seven years ago, but it took publisher Welland's decision to finally publish them as ebooks for me to read them.  This is the second in the series and I adored both this and the first one.  Robillard's writing reminds me in many ways of Patricia Briggs or George R.R. Martin.  All of these writers have a very keen understanding of character.  Whether Robillard is writing from young Kira's point of view or that of the older, experienced knight Wellan, it is easy to understand and empathize with them.  I can't wait for book three to be published in ebook format.

I gave Les Dragons de l'Empereur Noir five stars

The Alchemyst – Michael Scott
It is not very often that I am beaten by a book and do not finish it, but this is one of those cases.  The premise sounded intriguing – a book involving the ancient alchemist Nicolas Flamel – but I had real problems with the execution.  The biggest issue I had was that the author plunged straight into the action without really introducing the characters.  I really found myself thinking why should I care about these people?  In the end I found I didn't care enough to finish the book.

I gave The Alchemyst one star

Red Seas Under Red Skies – Scott Lynch
This is the second in the Gentlemen Bastards series of books.  I knew I was going to enjoy it when five minutes in I was giggling out loud at the banter between Locke and Jean.  This book reminded me more of a buddy road movie than an epic fantasy novel; it hangs on the relationship between these two characters – and Lynch describes it beautifully.

I gave Red Seas Under Red Skies five stars

Insurgent – Veronica Roth
Roth's Divergent series is tipped by some to be the next Hunger Games, and it is easy to see why.  The post apocalyptic world Roth creates feels real – and scary – and her characters are engaging and multi dimensional.  This is the second of the series, and while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first one, it is still an excellent read.

I gave Insurgent four stars

The Serpent's Shadow – Rick Riordan
This is the third and final book in Riordan's Kane Chronicles series dealing with Egyptian mythology.  I have not enjoyed this series as much as the Heroes of Olympus one based on Greek/Roman mythology, but it's still a fun read.  The series is lifted from the banal by the banter and wit sprinkled throughout the pages, but still it is fairly predictable. 

I gave The Serpent's Shadow three stars

Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris
Some reviews on Goodreads criticized the novel for being bloated with too many of the minutiae of Sookie's everyday life.  That wasn't a problem for me personally.  I enjoyed reading about easygoing Southern life.  The mystery was fun if not a page-turner, and Sookie was as annoying as ever with her boyfriend angst and her insistence on proceeding despite multiple flashing, neon warning signs.  I enjoyed the book in spite of these faults.  It felt like meeting up again with old friends.

I gave Deadlocked five stars

What next?
My Kobo reader is away for servicing, so I'm unable to read the next two ebooks I have in mind as they're non-Kindle compatible ePubs.  These are Anne Robillard's A.N.G.E. and the next in Julie Kanawa's Iron series.  In the meantime I'm reading Burned, the next in the House of Night series.

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