August 24, 2009

Mini-Reviews Abound

Well, after falling off the radar for three weeks, I have returned. I don't have a lot to say, however. Mostly, I just felt the need to post a blog. So, today, you get some mini-reviews of all the books I've finished recently:

1. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent: I absolutely loved this story. There are so many paranormal YA novels coming out of the woodworks lately involving love affairs of vampires, or werewolves, or vampires AND werewolves, and one of things I love most about the My Soul to Take series is that there are no vampires. Or werewolves, for that matter. Kaylee sees the shadow of death around those who are about to die. At first, she thinks she's crazy, but she discovers that she is in fact a bean sidhe, what we would commonly call a Banshee. Rachel Vincent writes a gripping tale encompassing young love (it is a YA, after all), unconditional friendship, and dysfunctional family foibles that I just couldn't put down until I was done.

2. Storm Front and Full Moon by Jim Butcher: The first two novels in the popular Dresden Files series, Storm Front and Full Moon are both good quick reads. Harry Dresden if fairly sardonic, which I always enjoy, and is the only practicing wizard listed in the Chicago Yellow Pages. His forays into crime fighting and detective work always land him in the hospital (and he always certain any given situation is going to get him killed), yet he is driven to do the right thing. He is preoccupied with proving to his detractors that he is in fact one of the good guys, while he is constantly being tempted by the dark side. I highly recommend this series.

3. The Age of Misrule by Mark Chadbourne: This is a three-part series taking place on the Isle of Britain during the End of the World. I've read the first two so far, and I must say that Chadbourne tells a good tale, but for me, the story is hard to stick with. The story follows the five Brothers and Sisters of Dragons (and their trusty side-kick, Tom), a group destined in Celtic mythology to save the planet during the Apocolypse. They battle demons while angels sneer in contempt at their humanity, and they screw up a lot. Because, hey, they're only human, right? So, like I said. It's taking me a while to get through them, but I'm enjoying the story pretty well.

4. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novak: This book is one of the free e-books currently being offered through Kindle and other e-book sellers, mostly as a hook to get people into the series, and hopefully, the genre. The story is set in England during the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, with one interesting little twist: Dragons form a division of the armed forces. Navy Captain Lawrence finds a dragon egg on a French vessel during a military engagement, and when the egg unexpectedly hatches, he finds his life turned upside down when the dragon chooses him to be its rider. Novak's prose moves me, and a couple of weeks after finishing this book (and finishing others), I still find myself thinking of Temeraire and his Captain. I will most certainly be purchasing the remaining books in the series.

5. The Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb: Again, this was a free e-book I downloaded through Kindle, and again, I enjoyed it. The story is of a bastard child of the King-in-Waiting, and how he is thrust into the political spotlight simply because of who his father is rather than any effort on his part. He is continually put in difficult situations of other people's making, and he continues to do his best, proving himself an intelligent and honorable boy. And again, I will be purchasing the remaining books in the series. Good call, Amazon, good call.