Demon Kin by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In this second outing with Mel Morgan we’re treated to a nice mystery as a wealthy man who recently lost his wife hires Mel to find his missing daughter. There are a number of nice twists and turns without the mystery ever becoming too overwrought or confusing and in the end the pieces fit together well.
But that mystery is hardly the only thing going on in this book. We check in on Saleem’s search for his mother, get more info on Mel’s hope of one day finding her sister, a new conundrum for Mel to figure out and some solid character development. Oh, and we also get a substantial visit from Kai Odell the panther shifter from Ayer’s other series set in her Dark World universe. Don’t worry, though, she provides enough information about what’s happening in Kai’s story to make sense of what’s going on even if you aren’t reading that series as well – without overloading those who are with info they already know.
If, however, you are reading both the Soul Tracker and Skinwalker series, be sure to read the first three books in Skinwalkers (Skin Deep, Lost Soul, and Last Chance) *before* reading this book as it contains several spoilers for Last Chance.
As I’ve come to expect, Ayer keeps the story moving along at a steady pace and I really appreciate her ability to fill her stories with multiple subplots and interesting characters while still making it easy to follow the action and not just remember who’s who but also be able to find points of connection with them.
On to the next one!
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Gears of Fate by Wilbert Stanton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review.
“Gears of Fate” is a fun read, but it gets off to a bit of a slow start. The world the story takes place in takes a bit of explaining, and the idea of the Norse and Greek Gods working together felt a bit odd to me – though that may be more a function of my great love for the Norse Gods and their lore than anything else. The biggest hurdle for me to overcome, though, was that the lead female character came off rather spoiled and self-centered, leaving me wondering how enjoyable taking a journey with her would be. Thankfully, once the preliminary “setting up” of the story is done and we’re off to the adventure, we see that there’s much more to her than that initial impression suggested and I quickly succumbed to her charms.
The slow-ish start aside, the only real issue I had with the book is that while the steampunk elements work beautifully in the sky-city setting, there are times when the characters are on Earth that it feels a bit tacked on. So much of the Fae world has a natural and organic sense to it that having a creature need its engine wound or seeing a fairy with metal wings jars a bit, though by no means did it stop me from enjoying the story and the world in which it is set.
I particularly liked the way that the author avoided many of the tropes found in the young-people-on-an-impossible-quest genre, and he does a nice job of providing just enough foreshadowing that when a late-in-the-book twist is revealed, it doesn’t feel like it came from out of nowhere.
While this book is subtitled “Forgotten Gods #1” I was quite pleased to find that the story didn’t leave me hanging, waiting months to find out how things turn out. In fact, I initially thought it was a stand alone book, though there is easily plenty of room left for more stories to be told, and I look forward to visiting this world and these characters again.
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Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m fairly new to the steampunk genre, and “Etiquette and Espionage” is providing me a warm welcome. The clash between manners and spycraft provides copious opportunities for good-natured humour, and the steampunk elements support the characters and the story without dominating them as I’d found happening in a couple other steampunk books I tried.
There is a “Harry Potter-ish” feel to the story, being as it is about young people in a highly specialized school running into adventures they try to resolve without the staff catching on, but the characters themselves are fresh and engaging, and the villains are written with enough dastardliness to make you want to see them get their comeuppance, without being so over the top you want to roll your eyes every time they open their mouths.
I’m definitely signing up for the next term at *this* finishing school!
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