Give me magic, gadgets, monsters, zombies, everything that seems impossible, and throw in some tough chicks with swords. That's the stuff.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some New UF/Fantasy Reads

We have a new UF series, a Middle Eastern fantasy from a new author, I finally read book 1 of a fairytale-inspired Princess series, and there is the final book in a favorite paranormal steampunk  series.

Discount Armageddon (Incryptids 1) by Seanan McGuire

This is the start of a new series. I've read book 1 of the Toby Daye series, and also book 1 of the Newsflesh series (written under Mira Grant), and I can truly say that this one is it's own thing. It does have what I've come to expect from McGuire's work - a very creative, well-crafted, and realistic world (and I think that the "realistic" part is of supreme importance when your world is inhabited by talking tribal mice, harpies, and boogeymen).

Verity Price is young, living out her dream of a professional ballroom dancing career, and also comes from a long line of cryptozoologists. This means that her family studies and tries to conserve the creatures that are mythology for most "normals": Sasquatch, harpies, boogeymen, gorgons, shifters, even some dragon princesses.Her family has been in hiding for generations, since her great grandparents split with the Covenant - a group dedicated to wiping out "unnatural" creatures.

Verity encounters a solo Covenant Hunter, cryptids start vanishing, and there's some weird lizard people in the sewer. And I'm stopping here, because I am not going to spoil anything for you.

I had a lot of fun reading this one. I liked the action (Verity has been in training her whole life and has an interest in parkours). I also get Verity. She is young, on her own for the first time. She wants to carve out her own niche, but at the same time she has this family calling. I loved all of the descriptions of the different creatures and how Verity interacts with them. I'm reserving judgement on Dominic, the Covenant Hunter.

I also must give a shout out to the Aeslin Mice - talking tribal mice who have been with the Price family for generations. They are very religious, and their ceremonies tend to coincide with events from the Price family history. I am not going to spoil it for you, but I can't be the only one who wants some of these celebrations on a t-shirt.

I will definitely be reading the next one.

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

You have foul ghuls, horrific death, blood magic, a fight for the throne, an evil that will devour everything in it's path, and a small band willing to risk their lives to fight it. It's also a fantasy that does not take place in a European setting, something I enjoyed very much.

I liked the the main protagonist, Adoulla, is an old man who has devoted his life to ridding the world of evil creatures that feed on mankind, but now that he's at retirement age, and basically "too old for this shit" he's regretting some of the things he had to give up, and wondering if he really wants to go out fighting monsters, or in his home surrounded by loved ones. I liked this perspective, and then when we get to meet Litaz and Dawoud - a couple who have fought side by side with Adoulla through the years, you get a sense of how much they have all lost by trying to be heroes, using their powers for good. Especially when the very people they protect seldom appreciate it. It's so bittersweet, and I really appreciated that element.

In fact, if the book had focused more there, I would have rated it higher.

While I liked the characters of Raseed and Zamia (a dervish highly trained to fight evil and an "angel-touched" girl who can transform into a lion), I would have been happier not having passages from their perspective. I got their idealism - they are the youthful counterparts, just starting their fight. But they couldn't really match the POV of their elders, so I found myself wanting to race through the parts that were in their heads.

The Stepsister Scheme (Princess #1) by Jim C. Hines

I enjoyed this one very much. Kick-ass princesses, and nothing is really "Happily Ever After."

Danielle's (Cinderella's) stepsisters have abducted the prince, so Danielle gets pulled into her mother-in-law's circle of crusading princesses - Talia, the harsh and still angry at all fairies Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, who had to escape her homeland when she killed her mother.

There's magic swords, fairy bargains, and Danielle begins to learn that being famous enough to have your own legend doesn't mean your life is necessarily sunshine and roses.

I also loved the details of how difficult Danielle found the adjustment to palace life - even though she was a princess now, everything around her reminds her of her former life - stains on clothes, dust in corners, etc. I did like how each Princess used her strengths, and enjoyed Danielle finding hers.

Will be continuing on in this series.

Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5) by Gail Carriger

Seems fitting that the last review in today's post is also the last book in this series. And as a fan of Alexia, Connal, Lyall and Akeldama, I have to say that it was a glorious sendoff.

It's been 3 years since the events in Heartless and things have more or less settled down. Or at least, they have settled down as much as they can when you are a preternatural with a very special child who lives with both vampires and werewolves. Then Alexia gets a summons to visit a very old vampire queen in Egypt. What better cover than to follow the Tunstell's acting troupe on a tour?

There is also a side story with Lyall, Biffy, the Scottish pack, and murder. I enjoyed this one as well. It was bittersweet, but I have no doubt that this particular thread is not over. Perhaps we will see more of it in the series set in the future (about 20 years if I recall).

I also love how Biffy handled Felicity. FINALLY.

The ending with Conall and Alexia put to rest some thoughts I'd had since book 1. Not going to share how, just that it was beautiful and fitting.

Fans of the series should be very happy with how it all turned out. I know I am.


  1. Did you see Jim Hines as a new books/start of a series coming out?? I'm intrigued! I didn't care much for the Princess series, but I loved his Goblin one so I'm looking forward to the new series!

    1. YES! Libriomancer out in August. It is one I'll def be checking out!