Monthly Archives: September 2013

Debris (Jo Anderton, The Veiled Worlds #1)

3 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Debris is an imaginative fantasy with a unique setting that has a lot of promise but proved to move too slowly and be too predictable for my tastes. This is the first in a series, so I would excuse the author for not bringing everything to a resolution, but I still found the conclusion rather unsatisfying. The setting is unique. I would be tempted to call it steampunk due to the heavy reliance on fantasy technologies replacing contemporary ones, the dark industrial feel of the cities, and extreme social class disparities, but there really aren’t many gears or cogs in sight, and the technology definitely stems from magical rather than mechanical roots. There is also a heavy reliance on setting-specific myth and legend, which I find a bit tiresome as a narrative device but which works all right here. The protagonist isn’t horrible, but after the introduction I found myself able to predict her entire story arc, which detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book. The supporting characters aren’t really more than set dressing to the extent that it is easy to confuse them with each other. Despite these faults, I would recommend this book for any fantasy fan looking for an interesting, distinct setting and who can forgive a somewhat predictable and uninteresting protagonist and story.

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Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Sorry! (Norbert Landa)

Recommended, Repeatable 

This is such a cute book: well drawn pictures, and a simple, well told story about a rabbit and a bear who are best friends and do everything together. They cook breakfast together, sleep in bunk beds, hang out in tree houses, and are just cute, cute, cute. Until one day, they find something shiny and new (what looks like a broken mylar balloon). They argue over whether it’s a picture of rabbit, or a picture of bear (since they only see their own reflections) and fight, fight, fight. It’s a super cute book, and I particularly appreciated the level of detail: some words are bigger than others (making it easier for your toddler to see and learn certain words), and the mylar is actually shiny (which is again, a wonderful way to capture and keep your toddler’s attention).

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Posted in Children's/Young Adult

Undone (Rachel Caine, Outcast Season #1)

2 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Undone is an urban fantasy fish out of water story. I haven’t seen the two combined before, and I felt like there was a lot of potential there. The protagonist is fairly developed and interesting, and although they lack depth, the supporting cast isn’t entirely uninteresting. Unfortunately, problems plague this promising premise. The main issues are that the author tries to shoehorn in some sort of weird semi-romantic sub-plot that doesn’t really compliment the main story or have enough to it to really please anyone looking for romance, the setting is generic-secret-wizards-urban-fantasy (which quite frankly a lot of authors do a lot better), the antagonist sort of comes out of nowhere for no reason, and this is the first in a series, which leads the author to write probably the most frustrating conclusions I have encountered in the genre. There are quite a few urban fantasy titles that I would recommend before Undone, but if you have exhaustively explored the genre then you might find some justification in picking up a copy.

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Posted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Bride Wore Scarlet (Liz Carlyle, Fraternitas Aureae Crucis #2)

3 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a solid, slightly above average example of historical romance mixed with fantasy. You’ve got all the expected elements: the secret society, the people blessed (or cursed, yes, we have that tired debate continuing) with a “gift,” evil villains who want to misuse said gift, and so on. There’s a tortured hero, a fierce heroine who’s determined to prove that she’s as good as any man (and thus deserves membership into their fraternity), and a romance that’s initially driven by physical attraction. The writing is fine, the plot is acceptable, but there’s nothing particularly memorable about any of it. It’s a quick read, and as I said, slightly above average for this mixed genre, no more, no less.

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Posted in Romance