September 30, 2015

Death Comes to Kurland Hall by Catherine Lloyd

T I T L E: Death Comes to Kurland Hall
S E R I E S: Kurland St. Mary Mystery (Nº 3) 
A U T H O R: Catherine Lloyd
P U B L I S H E R: Kensington Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: November 24, 2015
I S B N: 9780758287373
Historical Mystery
As wedding bells chime in Kurland St. Mary, a motley group of visitors descends on the village—and with a murderer on the prowl, some of them may not be returning home…
Lucy Harrington has returned to Kurland St. Mary to help with her friend Sophia Giffin's wedding. But her homecoming is made disagreeable by the presence of Major Robert Kurland, whose bungled proposal has ruffled Lucy's composure, and a meddling widow who has designs on her father, the village rector.
Wary of the cloying Mrs. Chingford from the start, Lucy has doubts about the busybody's intentions with her father. But everyone else seems to think they make an ideal match—until the courtship is curtailed when Mrs. Chingford is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. It's clear that it wasn't an accident, and in hopes of finding the culprit, Lucy and Robert call a truce and begin scrutinizing the wedding guests.
But the widow left behind plenty of enemies, and when one of them is the next to turn up dead, Lucy and Robert discover that the truth is far more scandalous than anyone could have imagined…



     My favorite mysteries to read are those that take place in historical eras and this one is during the Regency period. It was a fun read and in fact, I read it in one night. That is not to say it wasn't well written, it was, and very enjoyable.
     The interaction between Major Kurland and Lucy was humorous at times but also frustrating at times. They both had their stubborn streaks which had me telling them out loud not to be so. However, that is only because I not only wanted them to be together as a crime-solving duo but also as a couple.
     When the victim met her demise, I found myself smiling. I know that may make me seem a wee bit on the evil side, but she was so despicable that I couldn't help it. In my defense that just means the author did what she was supposed to do. When characters are written in such a way that they evoke emotion then it's a job well done. I found that to be true in this story.
      As far as the mystery itself goes, it was one that kept me guessing. I can't say I didn't suspect the culprit before the murderer was revealed, but I did also suspect others. So, nothing was really given away until it mattered.
     There are some harrowing on the edge of your seat scenes and some sprinkles of humor here and there and just the right touch of romance. I look forward to reading more from this author.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


September 27, 2015

Robbed of Soul by Lois D. Brown

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★

  I enjoyed this book a lot. It opens with quite the bang, and keeps a nice steady pace from that moment forward. This novel is an easy read that will hold your interest until the very last page.
     The mystery in this book is very well written. You only know what Maria knows, and nothing more. All too often, I know exactly where a story is going, and more often than not, I figure the mystery out before it’s revealed in the novel. That is so not the case in this story. Well done.
     All the characters are very likable, and the ones you’re not supposed to like, you won’t. The hint of romance along the way is not overbearing, and the development of the relationship stays very true to the characters involved. Another well done.
     I have full intentions to follow this series to see where it goes.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: Robbed of Soul
S E R I E S: Legends of Treasures (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Lois D. Brown
P U B L I S H E R: Levanter Publishing
P U B L I S H--D A T E: February 3, 2015
I S B N: 9781940576053
Mystery, Romance
Rescued but psychologically damaged from a failed mission, ex-CIA officer Maria Branson takes the job of police chief in the quiet town of Kanab, Utah. Rest and relaxation are the doctor’s orders. She gets neither. Instead, a missing mayor, the spirit of a dead Aztec warrior, and the over-confident-yet-attractive head of Search and Rescue await her in a town whose past has almost as many secrets as her own. As Maria investigates a modern-day murder, she disturbs a world of ancient legends and deadly curses. Yet most lethal of all is Maria’s fear someone will discover just how empty her soul really is.
Whether you’re interested in the treasures of Montezuma, enjoy squeaky clean mysteries, or have a soft spot for light romance and suspense, Robbed of Soul fits the bill.

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS

September 26, 2015

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

T I T L E: Time to Die
S E R I E S: Detective Jennifer Knight (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Caroline Mitchell
P U B L I S H E R: Bookouture
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 24, 2015
I S B N: 9781910751428
Mystery, Thriller

He will predict your life… and your death.
Don’t ever cross his palm with silver.
He will reveal your most shameful secrets.
He will predict your death.
He is hiding a secret.
He is hiding a monster.
And all his predictions come true.
Investigating a series of chilling murders, Detective Jennifer Knight finds herself tracking a mysterious tarot card reader known only as The Raven.
As the death toll rises, Jennifer and her team build a picture of a serial killer on the edge of sanity, driven by dark forces. But these are not random killings. And the method behind the madness could be the most terrifying thing of all …
Especially when it seems the death of one of their own is on the cards.



     So often the second book in a series is a let down from the first. Not so with this second installment of the Jennifer Knight series by Caroline Mitchell. I really loved the first book and was looking forward to reading this one. I was not disappointed.
     I was happy to see that the characters continue to develop and are still as likable as they were in the first book. There are a couple of new ones introduced and I liked them as well, at least for the most part. One gets the feeling that there is more to Zoe than appears so far. I am interested to see just what that may be.
     As in the first novel, the villain is quite disturbing and the ravens lend a lot of overall creepiness to the atmosphere of the story. They brought a very Edgar Allen Poe feel to it. Next time I see a raven, I think I will be compelled to steer clear. There are lots of page-turning scenes throughout as well as an ending that I didn't see coming taking me completely by surprise. Loved it.
     This was a thrilling read and provided fantastic supernatural suspense. It was well executed and I can't wait to read the next one.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


September 25, 2015

Lightless by C.A. Higgins

T I T L E: Lightless
A U T H O R: C.A. Higgins
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing Group/Del Rey Spectra
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 29, 2015
I S B N: 9780553394429
Sci-Fi
The deeply moving human drama of Gravity meets the nail-biting suspense of Alien in this riveting science fiction debut. With bold speculation informed by a degree in astrophysics, C. A. Higgins spins an unforgettable “locked spaceship” mystery guaranteed to catapult readers beyond their expectations—and into brilliantly thrilling new territory. Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond—not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship's electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship. While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere on board, his captured partner—the enigmatic Ivan—may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities' most relentless surveillance—and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden. As the ship's systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner's layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan's mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever—if it doesn't kill her first.




     The description was the reason I was drawn to this book but, I am not quite sure that it really is a case of Gravity meets Alien. Perhaps it’s just me but I didn’t see the comparison. Although, I did like the book it wasn’t quite what I expected.
     The book started a bit slow for my liking. Thankfully the pace did pick up in about the last third of the story or so. I would have liked to see that happen much earlier. I think Althea could have used a bit more development, but then I like my heroines a little more on the stronger side. The interrogations got to be a little too tedious as well and I never really felt that much was resolved from them.
     I did like the concept and the plot idea was a good one. The unexpected twist in the last part of the book did make it worth the read and I did enjoy the small bits of science that were incorporated into the story. I was expecting a bit more though since the author has a degree in physics. Having said that I still really liked the book. Unfortunately, I didn't love it but I am interested to see what the next installment in this series will bring. Honestly, I did waver between three and four stars but since I didn't quite love this book, I'm going to have to go with three.

3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

September 21, 2015

The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     The moment I read the title of this book, I knew Laila was going to enjoy it. I was elated upon approval to read and review this book.
     “The description of the book doesn’t do it justice. It’s way cooler than what that description said, mom,” Laila told me when we finished reading it. I agree. When we read books like this, the one chapter a night rule is a real bummer. If I didn’t have that rule in place, we would have read it all in one sitting.
     You find out, rather quickly, that the unexceptionals, are actually exceptional, but in a very different way. Jonathan and Shelly are quite the pair. Shelly was by far our favorite of the duo, but we loved Jonathan too.
     Living close to Washington D.C., where the story takes place, made the book that much more enjoyable for us. The whole novel from start-to-finish was an exciting, and fun read for both Laila and I. We laughed every single chapter. She really enjoyed the "Top Secret" bits.
     As far as reading it goes, Laila would get caught on the dialog tags, which was an odd thing. At one point she asked me, “What happened to good ole’ he said-she said?” To which I had no reply. Other than that, it was easy for her to read and follow. The ending led us to believe this might be a series in the making, and both of us are excited at the thought.
      Both Laila and I agree, this book gets four stars and a big thumbs up because kid spies are cool.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The League of Unexceptional Children
A U T H O R: Gitty Daneshvari
P U B L I S H E R: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 20, 2015
I S B N: 9780316405706
Children’s Fiction
Are you average? Normal? Forgettable? If so, the League of Unexceptional Children is for you! This first book in a hilarious new adventure series is for anyone who's struggled to be noticed in a sea of above-average overachievers.
What is the League of Unexceptional Children? I'm glad you asked. You didn't ask? Well, you would have eventually and I hate to waste time. The League of Unexceptional Children is a covert network that uses the nation's most average, normal, and utterly unexceptional children as spies. Why the average kids? Why not the brainiacs? Or the beauty queens? Or the jocks? It's simple: People remember them. But not the unexceptionals. They are the forgotten ones. Until now!



AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

September 19, 2015

Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey

T I T L E: Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore
S E R I E S: A Haunted Vintage Mystery (Nº 3)
A U T H O R: Rose Pressey
P U B L I S H E R: Kensington Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 27, 2015
I S B N: 9781617732539
Mystery
A hot-ticket charity fashion show is the perfect chance for Cookie Chanel, proud owner of It's Vintage Y'All, to show off her stylistic savvy for a good cause. But when a famous fashionista is fatally flattened, and the ghost of a former private investigator asks for Cookie's help, she has to scurry to sew up a solution. With clever clues from Wind Song, her psychic cat, and sassy suggestions from Charlotte, her ghost-in-residence, Cookie must unravel the sinister stitches of a deadly design--before she becomes the next fashion victim...




     I was looking for something fun to read when I came upon this book. And I was correct in assuming that this would fit that bill. It was a great quick read that was quite enjoyable.
     This was a pleasing cozy mystery with just a splash of romance and a good plot. It held my attention and made me smile which is why I like to read this type of book from time to time. It didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat the way mysteries do, but it was still a fun read all the same.
     The characters were very likable, even the weird psychic cat. I did however, feel that all the descriptions of the clothes became a bit tiresome and even annoying at times. Even though Cookie was a boutique owner and fashion blogger, I think a little less clothing details may have been in order. I also figured out who the murderer was, so unfortunately there was no “wow, I didn’t see that coming moment.” I did still enjoy it though.
     Those readers out there that enjoy cozy mysteries will probably love this book. For those that like a lot of suspense with some scary moments then this may not be for you.


4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

September 17, 2015

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone

T I T L E: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss
A U T H O R: Max Wirestone
P U B L I S H E R: Redhook Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 20, 2015
I S B N: 9780316385978
Literary Fiction (Adult)
The odds of Dahlia successfully navigating adulthood are 3,720 to 1. But never tell her the odds.
Meet Dahlia Moss, the reigning queen of unfortunate decision-making in the St. Louis area. Unemployed broke, and on her last bowl of ramen, she's not living her best life. But that's all about to change.
Before Dahlia can make her life any messier on her own she's offered a job. A job that she's woefully under-qualified for. A job that will lead her to a murder, an MMORPG, and possibly a fella (or two?).
Turns out unfortunate decisions abound, and she's just the girl to deal with them.



    The description was what attracted me and subsequently request this book for review. I love humor and that was the number one selling point for me. I was looking for something that was a bit different to read and that is what I got with this story. While I didn’t laugh out loud, it did make me chuckle quite a lot.
     The characters are a little on the zany side and I don't think there was one that I didn't really like. Dahlia seems to get herself into some odd situations, but she never gives up. She finds herself investigating the theft of a three-dimensional spear from an online RPG, then uncovers a murder using said missing object. Not your average murder or weapon which made this a unique mystery. Kudos to the author for this creative plot.
     I found this book to be entertaining and a fun read. I think it will appeal to those that enjoy a chuckle, love a good but quirky mystery as well as those that are gamers or just a bit on the nerdy side. I'm giving this one four stars.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


September 11, 2015

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights by Salam Rushdie

T I T L E: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights
A U T H O R: Salman Rushdie
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing Group/Random House
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 8, 2015
I S B N: 9780812998917
Fantasy, Literature Fiction (Adult)
From Salman Rushdie, one of the great writers of our time, comes a spellbinding work of fiction that blends history, mythology, and a timeless love story. A lush, richly layered novel in which our world has been plunged into an age of unreason, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights is a breathtaking achievement and an enduring testament to the power of storytelling.
In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor's office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.
Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia's children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.



     Jinn are not creatures that you see often in stories which is one of the reasons that I was drawn to this book. One of the other reasons was that it is written by Salmon Rushdie, a well known if not sometimes controversial author.
     It took me longer to get through this book than it normally would. And so, I'm finding it a bit difficult to actually write this review. The reason for that is not because I didn’t like it or because the writing wasn’t well done, but because the language is formal therefore a bit wordy in some places.
     The information given in the beginning about the Jinn was interesting. However, I never became all that interested in the characters. It was a fantastic concept but the story itself just didn’t grab me. Despite the fact that I felt it was a bit too wordy for my liking I still think it was well done. And I did like the main idea of the story so I am going with three stars on this one.


3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

September 7, 2015

A Perfect Curse by Shereen Vedam

T I T L E: The Perfect Curse
S E R I E S: Rue Alliance (Nº 3)
A U T H O R: Shereen Vedam
P U B L I S H E R: Belle Books/ImaJinn Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 31, 2015
I S B N: 9781611946567
Paranormal Romance
Who needs a prince, when you’ve got a huntsman?
Nevara Wood is desperate to change her life. Plagued by shifting sight, which skews her normal vision and shows her disturbing visions, she’s always felt odd and unlovable. And she greatly wants to be loved—especially by Mark Dimas, the man she has hero-worshiped since the day he saved her life. Her only chance at happiness lies in breaking the curse that afflicts her—and all clues to the source of her torment point to a town in Southern Spain. Unfortunately, her every attempt to travel to that war-ravaged continent is impeded by the very man whose love she wants to win...
Mark Dimas Alvaro is the last in a line of wizards charged by his ancestor, a magical huntsman, to secretly protect Nevara's family. But Mark chafes at his role because it has cost him everyone he loves, most recently his beloved brother. He is certain that if Nevara would simply stay in England and not create any unnecessary magical waves, they could both survive for another generation. Instead, his stubborn charge’s persistent investigation into her past lands Nevara in imminent danger. Mark instantly prepares to wage a magical war to protect the woman he has sworn to protect...and has come to deeply love.
But Nevara's innocent probing has awoken an ancient evil that has held a grudge against her charmed family for three centuries. And it will do everything in its power to ensure that this princess never gets to live happily ever after…



     I requested this book because the description intrigued me. The fact that it was the third book in a series I hadn’t yet read didn’t deter me. Perhaps it should have, but most often you do get a bit of a recap throughout the books so that it is easy to follow along. And truthfully that did happen with this book. However, I found it difficult to connect with the characters. Maybe if I had followed this series from the beginning it would have been easier to do that.
     To be fair, the writing was well done. It was a great twist to the Snow White story and there was much that I did like about it. Having said that it is difficult for me to love a story when I don’t love the characters. For me they seemed to lack the depth that I look for when I read a book. I realize that Nevara and Mark knew each other when they were young, but the description of how he saved her didn’t quite cover the reason why they were so enamoured with each other from the beginning. At least from my perspective. I think I would have liked to see their relationship develop a bit more slowly before they were so head over heels for each other. I can understand a feeling of being drawn to each other quite soon, but again I didn’t read the first two books. I got the feeling from this one though that this was the first time there was contact with one another since they were very young.
     I would recommend this book to those that are looking for a different take on an old fairy tale as well as those that would like to read something other than vampires and shifters for paranormal romance. I do however suggest that you read the first two books in the series before picking this one up.

3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


September 5, 2015

The Humanity of Monsters

__________R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

    Wow, what a book.
     Rocked my socks!
     I can honestly say there isn’t a story in here that isn’t epic. Relentlessly, each of them takes you on a short journey with someone (or something); all of them hold onto you, making it almost an arduous task to stop reading. I read it, walked away, and then went back and read it again. My favorites (Dead Sea Fruit, The Emperor’s Old Bones, Six, Ghostweight, How To Talk To Girls At Parties, Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream, Never The Same, Mantis Wives, You Go Where It Takes You, and Theories of Pain) I read a third time. The thing is, it wasn’t just because each of these short stories are fan-fucking-tastic stories, but because my eyes were so glued to them the first time I read them, when done, I literally asked myself, “What the hell just happened?” I’m not exaggerating.
     I mean, even the Introduction to the book is great. Side note: heed its warning.
     It’s a must read. And for me, a must own. I will own this book; it will sit on my shelf, all pretty like, as soon as they print a hardcover. I may go out and buy a paperback just so I can send it to every person I know. I must infect the world with these outstanding pieces of literature.
     Thanks to anthologies like this, I’ve come to love them. I have so many authors I need to read now. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.



__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________

T I T L E: The Humanity of Monsters
A U T H O R: Chinelo Onwualu, Kaaron Warren, Catherynne M. Valente, Gemma Files, Peter Watts, Indrapramit Das, Leah Bobet, Sofia Samatar, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Sonya Taaffe, Yoon Ha Lee, Neil Gaiman, Joe Lansdale, Rachel Swirsky, Maria Dahvana Headley, Sunny Moraine, Berit Ellingsen, Polenth Blake, Kij Johnson, Laird Barron, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Livia Llewellyn, Nathan Ballingrud, A.C. Wise, Meghan McCarron. Introduction by: Michael Matheson.
P U B L I S H E R: Diamond Book Distributors/Chizine Publications
P U B L I S H--D A T E: January 12, 2016
I S B N: 9781771483599
Dark Fantasy, Thriller

We are all of us monsters. We are none of us monsters. Through the work of twenty-six writers, emerging to award-winning and masters of their craft, The Humanity of Monsters plumbs the depths of humane monsters, monstrous humans, and the interstices between. In stories by turns surreal, sublime, brutal, and haunting, there are no easy answers to be found, no simple nor uncomplicated labels to be had. Only the surety that though there be monsters, you will name them false. And when you meet those who truly are, you will not know them.

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

September 4, 2015

Bryant & May and The Burning Man by Christopher Flower

T I T L E: Bryant & May and The Burning Man
S E R I E S: A Peculiar Crimes Mystery (Nº 12)
A U T H O R: Christopher Fowler
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine/Bantam
P U B L I S H--D A T E: December 15, 2015
I S B N: 9780345547682
Mystery, Thriller
No case is too curious for Arthur Bryant and John May, London’s most ingenious detectives. But with their beloved city engulfed in turmoil, they’ll have to work fast to hold a sinister killer’s feet to the fire.
In the week before Guy Fawkes Night, London’s peaceful streets break out in sudden unrest. Enraged by a scandal involving a corrupt financier accused of insider trading, demonstrators are rioting outside the Findersbury Private Bank, chanting, marching, and growing violent. But when someone hurls a Molotov cocktail at the bank’s front door, killing a homeless man on its steps, Bryant, May, and the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit team are called in. Is this an act of protest gone terribly wrong? Or a devious, premeditated murder?
Their investigation heats up when a second victim is reported dead in similar fiery circumstances. May discovers the latest victim has ties to the troubled bank, and Bryant refuses to believe this is mere coincidence. As the riots grow more intense and the body count climbs, Bryant and May hunt for a killer who’s adopting incendiary methods of execution, on a snaking trail of clues with roots in London’s history of rebellion, anarchy, and harsh justice. Now, they’ll have to throw themselves in the line of fire before the entire investigation goes up in smoke.



     This is the first Bryant & May mystery that I’ve read. Even though I’ve not read any of the others I had no problem keeping up. Not once did I ever feel lost or had any difficulty understanding who the characters were or the dynamics between them. I have one other Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery on my To Be Read List, which, unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to yet. However, after reading this one I will make a point to make sure the other one gets read and soon.
     I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was funny and thrilling at the same time. The plot very clever and well crafted. There were some odd twists that kept me guessing right to the end.
     All of the characters of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are a bit peculiar themselves but very likable. Especially the main characters of Bryant & May who are well-seasoned detectives. Their idiosyncrasies make them all that much more endearing. In a way, they are a bit of an odd pair and very different from each other, which works quite well. I also liked the fact that there was a bit of history thrown in here and there via Arthur Bryant who seems to have quite an amount of knowledge tucked away in that brain of his.
     This story was a great read and I look forward to reading more Bryant & May. I do recommend this book to those out there like reading a good mystery with some slightly eccentric characters.


4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

September 1, 2015

The Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley

T I T L E: The Empire Ascendant
S E R I E S: Worldbreaker (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Kameron Hurley
P U B L I S H E R: Angry Robot Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: October 6, 2015
I S B N: 9780857665607
Fantasy
Loyalties are tested when worlds collide...
Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.
Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful - but unpredictable - magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress's sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire's undoing.
But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?


     I confess, I’m not sure how to begin this review. This book is very complex and not a quick read by any means. However, it is very intriguing as well as quite intense. The reader needs to devote all their attention to this story because if not, in my opinion they could get lost very easily.
     The world building was brilliantly done. There are diverse environments which go from one extreme to another, including a multitude of creatures and plant life which span both the story’s main world as well as the mirror one. There are some absolutely great battle scenes, some of which are quite brutal and the pace is fast which is excellent especially in a book of this scale. There are also social and gender related issues that include the politics of those subjects interspersed throughout.
     As far as characters go, there is a vast number of them. It can be rather daunting and hard to keep them straight. And though, there were so many, I still found it difficult to find even just one to relate to. That’s not to say they didn’t have depth or were not written well, they were. I just couldn’t find any that I liked well enough.
     The scope of this saga is enormous and the execution was technically excellent. I do recommend that readers start with the first book in this series before tackling this one. All in all is was very well written, I just didn’t connect with any of the characters. However, since I find the plot very interesting and the writing so well done, I’m going to go ahead and give it four stars.

4 STAR


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