Book Review: Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour #1) by Matt Wallace (Three Stars)


Book Review: Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour #1) by Matt Wallace

(Three Stars)

“I’ll just come right out and say I’m not good with it. It’s the difference between serving demons and being one.” “That’s a pretty fine distinction.” “No, it’s not.”

Good urban fantasy concept: down-on-their-luck muggle cooks happen onto a food service which carters to supernatural clients. Essentially a novel-length expansion of a one-line joke, but well done.

“Demons can die?” “Everything dies, little one.”

Lots of kitchen humor, which folks who’ve seen Ratatouille will get. Whether it’s better is debatable.

“All things are possible. Illusion is often easiest.”

Quibble: “How did she make the eggs.” Betrays a basic lack of knowledge about chickens; no rooster necessary for eggs—just fertile eggs. My chicken expert opines, “Roosters are nothing but trouble.”

“Business as usual. Which is to say our only god is chaos.”

Lost a star for gratuitous profanity.

I’m not sure we want to find out why a billion-dollar corporation needs a magical lock.”

Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Three Stars)


Book Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Three Stars

“All the stories are true,” from a certain point of view.

Don’t read the foreword. It’s one big spoiler.

“The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.”

A fresh approach to urban fantasy–based on magic, disease and genetics, not the supernatural. Lots of Bible allusions, but not related though there is a Paradise Lost vibe. Many mistaken identities; some intended, some not. Enough unrequited love and star-crossed couples to please a Shakespeare.

“To love is to destroy, and to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

Generally well written. Point of view and speakers shift within paragraphs making it hard for the reader to follow who is saying/doing what. Hokey story-driven plot and strategy points. Kept knocking the reader out of the spell of the story. Lost a star.

“You are young. The past is nothing to you, not even another country as it is to the old, or a nightmare as it is to the guilty.”

Quibbles: Why are teen heroines always emotion-driven idiots? How can Jace be so clueless to pop culture? Something seemed to happen only because they needed to for the story, but because they made any kind of sense.

“You cannot save others until you first save yourself.” “This fortune cookie stuff is getting really old.”

Book Review: A Line in the Sand by K. A. Stewart (Four Stars)

Book Review: A Line in the Sand by K. A. Stewart

Four Stars

“The only reason I’m alive is because I listen when my heebie jeebie alarm goes off.”

The rating is provisional. The Jesse James Dawson novels have a chronology but can  be read independently. In fact, Stewart does a better-than-average job informing the new reader without insulting returnees. This volume, however, explicitly demands another. But, unlike so many others, this book includes a satisfying conclusion to the current work.

“My first defense is always sarcasm.”

Stewart once again proves herself the master of tongue-in-cheek urban fantasy with a soul. (Pun intended; read the book.) Her mix of the banal and the fantastic manages to come down squarely on the side of Continue reading

Book Review: Tricked by Kevin Hearne (Two stars)

Book Review: Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne

Two stars out of Five

Same old, same old. Hearne has a good formula, but it is a formula and, by book # 4, it’s stale. And predictable. He fluffs it up by shifting locales and mythic traditions to the Navajo Nation. Still, too many tales told.

I listened on audio. The voices were good, except for Oberon, Atticus’ dog. The whole business of Oberon conversing with the druid doesn’t work for me, but it gives Hearne a sock puppet to ask dumb questions and comic relief. It also distances Hearne from sillier lines, “[Francis] Bacon is the way and the truth.” A line which Oberon repeats.

Will probably not delve further up this tree. (Though the attached sample chapter reveals that Book #5 is set twelve years after Book #4, which raises all sorts of continuity and consistency questions about the first books.)

For those who wish to venture further, #7 comes out next month. Get reading.

Book Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Hounded by Kevin Hearne stars out of five)

A fun read. Silly, but fun. With a well-received dash of humor. An urban fantasy about a druid allied to a pack of werewolves and a vampire battling the denizens of the spirit world (mostly Irish) with the hindrance and help from various witches . . . in contemporary Arizona.

Yawn, it’s been done, right? Not so fast, what sets this urban fantasy apart is the storytelling. The POV character is a 2100 year old druid, who has the perspective and insight to see both the dangers but also the humor in his situation.

Reading this book I recognized that I look for Continue reading