Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Awakening by Catrina Burgess - 3.5 stars

Book 1 of The Dark Rituals
Awakening by Catrina Burgess
3.5 stars

We have Colina, a former healer. When her family is brutally murdered before her eyes, she knows she needs to get her revenge. She decides that becoming a Death Dealer is the only way to get back at the monsters who stole her family from her. It so happens that the men who killed her family also want to kill her so she needs defenses fast.

In this world, people know about different magic groups, or Guilds. Death Dealers have an understandably bad reputation. The connect to the spirit world and force the spirits to become their slaves. It's pretty disturbing but the main character, Luke, is able to justify why they're not so bad. I can see it from both sides of the spectrum.

I understand the need for revenge and I liked the concept of a good person gone bad. There were a couple of twists and I liked the darkness required of becoming a Death Dealer. Colina is instantly attracted to Luke and she was a little obsessed with him. I found this part annoying. She'd just met the guy! If the guy is hot, of course she has to fall in love. ::Eye roll:: There were a lot of cliches throughout the whole thing.

Warning: character death in the end. It was a definite surprise. Still, I didn't really care about it. I had no emotional connection.

The world building was lacking. When I'm reading an alternate universe book, I want to know what's going on. How does society work? What is the culture? What are the powers involved? Is magic considered good or bad? World building is important for me. I need to be able to be immersed in that world. There is a fine line when you're building such a universe. Info-dumps are terrible. But if you do it just right, it's a smooth transition.

This book was okay. Apparently that's not a popular opinion. It was well written but I just didn't enjoy the story line. It's unique but mostly I was bored. It was a quick and easy read for me but I found it slow and there was a little too much insta-love. I'm not planning on reading Possession.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Raining Embers by Jessica Dall - 4 stars

Book 1 in the Order and Chaos series

Raining Embers by Jessica Dall
4 stars

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I went into it with an open mind and I found it really enjoyable. I like the premise of Order and Chaos living through human hosts.

We have two main characters, Briar and Palmer. Both have grown up with some form of a physical disability. Palmer has a hearing problem; he can only hear one thing at a time. Briar is plagued with the smell of rot in her nose, especially during summer. After they are kidnapped, we find out there are reasons behind these disabilities; they are the manifestations of Chaos and Kosmos. Each has their own special abilities and they have been kidnapped so they can learn to use those powers.

The beginning was very slow. I wasn't really sure where the book was going. Briar is the spoiled rich girl living in the palace who likes to get drunk, apparently to help with the rot smell. Palmer is a poor little orphan who just wants to graduate from the Church and leave. There wasn't much world building. We aren't given much of a history. We don't know why the upper class has two last names. We don't really know anything about how the government and the Church functions. Basically, you just have to focus on the characters and not the world they live in.

Once Briar and Palmer are kidnapped, their disabilities disappear and suddenly they're living in a mansion learning to control their power. Then a secret is discovered and Briar and Palmer are on the run with a little girl, Rosette, who has her own special ability.

Palmer was hard to connect with. Briar seemed more fleshed out and had a wider range of emotion. I don't know if this is because of who they are as Order and Chaos but I found myself enjoying the parts from Briar's point of view more than Palmer's. There was some romance between them in the end but it wasn't a major component of the plot.

Overall this book was really good and I would recommend it for people who like fantasy. I'm not sure if this falls under YA or New Adult. Either way, I liked the plot and I am looking forward to the next one.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop - 5 stars

Book 2 in the Others series

Previous Others Series Reviews

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
5 stars

I read this book months ago and I've reread it many time since. After perusing Anne Bishops' website, I've discovered more about the Others' world regarding the layout. We start out with a preface again, introducing us to the world of the Others. This is for readers who may not have read the first book or to give us a little reminder of how everything is set up. Since it's book 2, you can skip it.

This book picks up right after Meg gets home from the hospital in book 1. Simon and Meg have become closer and now share bed every night. This relationship gets complicated after Simon being woken up and shifting back to his human form during the night. The tension that develops between the two affects the whole Courtyard. This is unsurprising as Meg is a key part of the Courtyard.

We see new sides of Simon and his confusion towards his feelings for Meg. He's a wolf that's suddenly having feelings for a human. It's obvious that he loves Meg just as she loves him but their relationship is complicated. You really feel for Simon and Meg. They don't understand what's going on.

There are new characters introduced and the tension between the humans and the Others continues to grow. The Humans First and Last movement that was casually mentioned in Written in Red is now more prominent. There are more and more issues with the drugs known as Feel Good and Gone Over Wolf. These drugs are contributing to the hatred growing between the two races.

I like that we see more character growth in all the primary and secondary characters. I did really miss having Sam in this book. He's so cute and you can't help but love him. I also really like Nathan. He's the watch wolf and we rarely see him in human form but he has a personality anyway. There are many humorous parts which compliment the dark and tense parts as well.

The Others series is one of my favorites in this genre, right up there with Kate Daniels. The world building is excellent and the characters are well developed. This was easily 5 stars. My only complaint is there isn't much fan art out there for me to fawn over.

Next up: Vision in Silver. What's going to happen next?