Monthly Archives: May 2014

KayKay #CRB6 Review #19 Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick

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With the release of Sworn in Steel coming out (the second book in this series), I decided to re-read the first book as a refresher on the series- especially since I read it before I started writing more detailed reviews for Cannonball Read.  I remembered that this book had something to do with a thief and his crime organization.  I had forgotten about the plot twists and the action and the excitement of figuring things out with the main character.  I am going to give this book 4 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

Drothe is a “Nose”, which is basically a spy (someone who ‘noses’ around in other people’s business).  When we meet him, he is working for Nicco, one of the crime bosses (aka Upright Man) in the empire. The adventure starts when he finds some scraps of paper on a man he had tortured.  This leads him (and his friend Bronze- who is a part of a special assassin/ fighting group called Degans) around the Empire trying to find the meaning of the code on the scraps of paper.  We find that instead of working for Nicco, Drothe is really a ‘long nose’- which means he is a spy for the rival Upright Man- Kells.  He seems to have some Gray Princes (a step above Upright Men) after him / helping him / trying to kill him.  It seems all he can do to stay alive.  He ends up finding a book, that indicates that the Emperor (who has three avatars) may have not been forthright with his proclaimed divinity.  That perhaps his magicians (Paragons) made split his soul into three because they could not make him immortal.    These discoveries and the associated adventures provide Drothe with a ‘promotion’ to Gray Prince (since he has killed another Gray Prince and an Upright Man).  It also causes him to loose his best friend, Bronze.  Drothe and Bronze had exchanged an oath, and Drothe falls short of delivering his end of the deal.

What did I think about this book?

Drothe is a great character, he’s a mix of knowledge, street smarts, false bravado (a ‘fake it til you make it’ type of guy), he’s an honorable thief and there is never a rest in his adventure.  He’s got a cool power in that he can see at night, but sometimes that hurts him, as if it becomes bright when his night vision is activated, he is blinded until he can adjust.

I loved that the book was a straight timeline.

The world building was unique.  The different names for the roles (Nose, Upright Man, glimmer, etc.) were easy to follow once you knew what they were, but they help establish the setting.

Favorite Lines?

N/A- not because there weren’t good lines, but the Kindle app on my phone does not allow me to highlight lines, just bookmark pages.

Final Thoughts?

The plot was complex enough that I was glad I re-read this one before starting the next book…

 

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KayKay #CRB6 Review #18 Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

Heavens Queen

It seems I was just saying it’s hard to find a good sci fi/ fantasy book with a female lead and here I found two in a row.  Heaven’s Queen is the third (and final) book in the Paradox Series.  Since this is the third book, it’s hard to say much without spoiling the series, so, in general, I’d just say this was a good series with a satisfying (but predictable) ending.  I’ve probably said too much…  I am going to give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

Devi and Rupert are on the run from the Eyes and from law enforcement, with no allies.  Devi has a virus that could either kill her or save the universe.  She wants to save the universe (of course).  She starts to think the phantoms are trying to communicate with her- at this point, the theme started to remind me of the Enders Game series by Orson Scott Card.  That series raised the issue of assuming intent without proper communication.  One of the phantoms does end up sacrificing itself to communicate with Devi.  At that point she learns that though the phantoms were destroying entire inhabited planets, they ended up just being starving creatures looking for plasmex to eat.  They couldn’t get back to their universe because Maat was blocking the portal (to keep additional phantoms out, they were also trapped inside) Devi had to fight / out wit the Eyes to get to Maat.  The entire story was wrapped up with a nice bow, as Devi was able to save herself by giving the virus to Maat, who wanted to die.  She was able to do it in such a way that the daughters who were linked to Maat did not die.  This opened the portal up so that the phantoms could go home.  And the icing on top was that Devi meet the Scared King and was knighted and got to live happily ever after with Rupert.

What did I think about this book?

I enjoyed it.  It was fast paced, great characters.  The ending was a bit too perfect, but I can’t complain too much about that.

I will say that Devi’s suit of armor (The Lady Gray) and her two weapons were like additional characters.  Normally when I read a book I am not thinking about what the characters are wearing, but in this book, it was noticeable when Devi didn’t have her armor on.  I was nervous at her vulnerability without it.  I’m a huge fan of the author’s Eli Monpress series (written under the name Rachel Aaron) and she has a great way of bringing characters- and objects to life.

Favorite Lines?

“I itched to point out that Rupert had stopped my kill, which meant the blood would have been on my conscience, and, unlike him, I had absolutely no problem with that.”

Final Thoughts?

I prefer the Eli Monpress series, but I love the creativity in this series.  I can’t wait to read her next series.

 

KayKay #CRB6 Review #17 Perdition by Ann Aguirre

Perdition

It’s hard to find a good sci fi/fantasy book with a female lead.  Patricia Briggs pulls it off the best with her Mercedes Thompson series.  Ann Aguirre has a pretty good showing here with The Dread Queen.  Dresdemona Devos (Dred) can hold her own against the boys, with or without her chains.  She is tactical, tough and cares about those close to her.  She has some ability to ‘see’ emotions in others auras, which gives her some insight.  In addition to a great main character, the story had strategy, an interesting setting and a good pace.  I am going to give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

This is a story of two people falling in love in a future space prison.  OK, it’s really about more than that, but the love story was more predominant than necessary.  Perdition is a prison that used to be a space mining station.  There are no guards so the place is run by the prisoners.  There are six territories, and this book focuses on four of them, one run by Grigor (The Great Bear), one run by the Priest, one run by Silence (a lady who doesn’t speak) and the main character- The Dread Queen’s territory.  Dred’s territory is the most civil (no cannibals, everyone with responsibility, less senseless violence than the others).  Dred has been in power less than a turn (i.e. year) and recruits Jael off the ship bringing in new prisoners.  Jael is special in that he isn’t completely human, he has tremendous strength, an inability to die and superhuman fighting abilities- all of which are helpful in this prison environment.

The Priest and Grigor decide to team up to take out Dred, so she teams up with Silence to hold on to her territory.  She succeeds in holding on to her territory, identifying and eliminating the spy that Silence planted in ranks, and of course falls in love with Jael. Next steps?  Escape…

What did I think about this book?

I enjoyed it.  Dred was a great female lead.   The setting was original and interesting.  The supporting characters were good (Jael, Tam, Einar).  The story had a great pace.  My only complaint is that the love story was too prominent and perhaps a little silly.

Favorite Lines?

“You want my territory? Come and take it. I challenge you before these witnesses, winner take all. Unless you’re a craven bastard, you’ll take up the gauntlet.”

Final Thoughts?

I’ve already pre-ordered the next book.