Writings: August Reading List & Reviews by Beth Bowser

Novels by Ilona Andrews, Chloe Neill, Faith Hunter, and Mark Lawrence August Reading & Reviews Click here for a printer friendly version of this page

In August, I was not feeling very authory or writer-like and read more than wrote :( As was mentioned in the previous month's reading list, I first finished Ilona Andrews' Magic Rises, the 6th book in the Kate Daniels series, first and I have nothing great to report. The team heads over to Europe and I disliked nearly everything in the story from that point on. Curran, Kate's lion lover-man has changed completely without warning and us readers have to read about our fearless butt-kicking, name-taking heroine almost navel gazing... Oh Noes! What did I do wrong? Why does he hate me? Is she really that much better than me? The later given reason does not sell it for me. If what is written is true (I know, fantasy fiction with magic and weres so 'true' is not really up for debate), then Curran is no longer a strong lion-man. He's a weak kitten. Disapppointing to say the least.

I had plans originally to read the next in the Kate Daniels series, but I needed a break after book 6 and grabbed instead The Viel by Chloe Neill. The Viel is an urban fantasy, first in the Devil's Isle series. It's a great world setting/idea! There's a veil that separated the magical world from our real world. This veil, placed in New Orleans, is old and torn and no one really understands it. It was broken by supernatural creatures such as faires and silkies and the like which started a war. Fairies and other magical creatures are not good in this novel's world! The book begins after us boring humans won the war. The magical beings brought magic with them when they broke the veil and some humans are sensitive to that magic, meaning they develop powers themselves. These humans are not lucky, however, as they can't necessarily control it and may change into wraiths. This leads to sensitives being locked up in prison even if they did nothing wrong. The wraiths are zombie type beings that don't remember their old lives and just exist to harm. I wish I loved the writing. It wasn't bad, but it didn't grip me. Not sure if the problem was that the book was too slow, or there were too many characters, or the main character was too wooden, or maybe that the romance just wasn't there. I don't know... I will consider reading the 2nd book in the series because I do still like the premise but not yet!

Then I decided to read book 7 of the Kate Daniels series, Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews. It was better than the previous thankfully! Most noticable, Curran is gone for a good part of the book which was good for Kate! Still annoyed me though, for two reasons. One, because I hadn't expected he would leave Kate alone so soon after how horrible he acted to her in the previous novel. Two, I had to read her pining for mister perfect wonderful Curran. Ugh. However, to the good, Ilona Andrews did a good job writing the passages focused on despair. Either it was very strong writing or I am maybe too quick and easy to connect to depression? ANYWAY, I liked the ending of the novel. Great change that she does not somehow have god-like powers that appeared out of nowhere to lay waste to everything. This book read like a series ending almost but there are 3 more books in the Kate Daniels world. I am happy with this end, however and will be taking a break before picking up books 8 and on. I still consider it worth reading the series but maybe skip book 6 :)

Changing tactics, I picked up the next book in an old series that appeared in my monthly reading list previously: Soulwood. Specifically, book 5, Spells For The Dead by Faith Hunter. I had hoped the main character, Nell, would change in the next novel, to get more violent or follow her baser instincts, but it didn't happen. This book seems to have skipped over some of the building of story as we readers just keep running across more dead bodies. Seems to me that PsyLED is pretty bad at their job... Sure, they stick people in null rooms to recover from evil magic eventually, but I'm not a fan of so many deaths, and of people that we aren't even introduced to until they are dead, just to make/continue a plot point. Also, if you had a favorite supporting character, maybe preferred them over Nell, you may be in for some disappointment. If you liked the empath Tandy or cat-man Rick, you may not like this book as they are barely included. In my case, I want to read a novel from T. Laine's, the witch, point of view! She was heavily included in this novel and I now prefer reading more about her than Nell ;)

Lastly, I decided I wanted to read more gritty stuff and picked up Red Sister, the first novel in the Book of the Ancestor series, by Mark Lawrence. He writes masterfully and this novel is no exception! I read it so fast, I had to stop myself and re-read chapters as I was afraid I had, or would, miss important things. Mark Lawrence is a wizard at world building and I felt a part of Nona's world early on. This novel is a 'coming of age' novel. The main character, Nona, gets considerably more powerful as she trains, learns, makes mistakes, etc, but all along has some special abilities that she hides. If you like coming of age style books, you can't go wrong picking up this book! If you don't care for that style, I still sugget you try it as the writing is so good, I still think you'll like it :) Around half-way through the novel, I ran across my first disappointment and it got worse rather than better. Nona appears to have terrible self-esteem or self-worth that she allows people to beat her bloody without complaint. I hated reading those passages and cringed when she got picked yet again for a beating. Not fun to read. I also didn't care for the epilogue. It skips too many important things and forces us readers to just accept everything that changed/happened without giving any reasons as to why. So, while I disliked a few things, the book was so well-written, I will be grabbing book 2!