Urban Fantasy

The Turn – Kim Harrison

3 Stars

I wanted to like this story much more than I actually did. I’m a big fan of The Hollows, and was excited to learn more about Trent Kalamack’s parents. We certainly learn about them, and they are disappointing.

Trisk is a brilliant geneticist outshone by her mediocre and conniving rival Kal. Everything to do with Kal is boring, except for his interactions with Orchid, the pixy who thankfully doesn’t feel like a knockoff Jenks. And then Harrison shoehorns them together. It’s not clear why Trisk and Quen can’t be together despite obvious chemistry, and it’s even more frustrating that Daniel is thrown into the mix to make it a love quadrangle, rather than just a love triangle. (JUST a love triangle isn’t a sentence I relished the thought of ever writing.) In the book and as a character, Trisk still manages to shine despite her counterparts in the story as she perseveres against an incredibly sexist society.

The end of the world scenario was interesting at least – it will be interesting to watch society rebuild itself. I can only hope the next book is more compelling than The Turn.

The Turn is the first book in a series by the same name, a prequel series to Harrisson’s hit Urban Fantasy series The Hollows.

A version of this review was first published on Goodreads on June 26, 2017.

Anthology · Urban Fantasy

Urban Enemies – Joseph Nasisse

4 Stars

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Urban Enemies is an anthology containing 17 short stories from a slew of big-name authors in the Urban Fantasy genre. The authors contributing to this collection had a fine line to walk. Each of their stories is set within their own larger universes, so they’re tasked with writing a story that will 1 – not alienate readers new to their universe (and maybe even convince them to pick it up?) and 2 – satisfy readers already familiar with their characters and storylines. I felt like most of the authors pulled this off. I will note, that I was somewhat disappointed that not all the stories were actually about villains – some were just anti-heroes.

I’m not going to do a story-by-story rating, as I might if these stories were standalone because it wouldn’t be fair. I’m already biased to prefer the stories from authors’ whose series I read – Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin Hearne – over the authors who write series I haven’t even heard of.

Of the authors I’m already familiar with, I really enjoyed Kevin Hearne and Seanan McGuire’s contributions. Both were satisfying and added dimension to their universes. I was disappointed with Jim Butcher’s contribution – not because it was a bad story but because it’s a reprint. Not a new story, it’s been printed in earlier anthologies.

About half of the authors I wasn’t familiar with I was intrigued enough by their villain or worldbuilding that I plan to check out at least the first novel in the series. In particular the stories by Craig Shaeffer, Caitlin Kitteridge and the editor Joseph Nassise. Other stories were either major turnoffs or just not my thing.

Overall though, I enjoyed the collection. I didn’t read anything particularly standout in either direction as good or bad (it’s hard to like stories about unlikable characters.) If you’re a fan of any of these series, check this collection out. If not, these stories may not be the easiest entry point into these universes, but you might find one you like (or like to hate.)

Urban Fantasy

The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch

 

I received an e-ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I also purchased the Deluxe Signed Edition from Subterranean Press, which was released June 30. A non-deluxe release is planned for September 8, 2017. 

5 Stars

A fun installment in the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series, The Furthest Station is a satisfying jaunt away from the main thread tying the series together. In this novella, we spend time with Peter’s cousin Abigail – who I was delighted to see more of – and learning about ghosts.

A photo of the cover of The Furthest Station.
My copy of The Furthest Station.

As with the rest of the series, Aaronovitch spends an unusual amount of wordcount describing locations and buildings for an Urban Fantasy series. However, since geography and locality play such important roles in the overall series, it doesn’t feel like wasted space. I always finish a Rivers of London story having learned something new about architecture (though if you take note of Peter’s opinions, you’d think England had nothing but terrible buildings throughout).

If you’re a fan of Rivers of London/Peter Grant, definitely pick up The Furthest Station – it’s a satisfying story to tide us over until the next installment of the series comes out, whenever that may be.

The Furthest Station is a novella set between books 5 and 6 of the PC Grant/Rivers of London series.

This review was originally published on Goodreads April 20, 2017. 

Urban Fantasy

Magic for Nothing – Seanan McGuire

5 Stars

I was lucky to receive an ARC copy of this book.

Magic for Nothing is easily my favorite installment in the InCryptid series. (So far.)

A photo of the cover of Magic for Nothing.
My copy of Magic for Nothing

Antimony Price Does The Right Thing But She Is Not Happy About It. She leaves everything behind to clean up the mess her sister has made for the Price family by declaring war against The Covenant of St. George on live TV. She does it because she’s the only one who can and it’s her duty.

While following her on her (mis?)adventures, I fell in love with Antimony. I already liked Annie from the short story Blocked, but I really fell for her hard in this one. Since this book is from her PoV, we have the opportunity to see her siblings Verity and Alex through her eyes, and boy do we get her Point Of View. Annie doesn’t hold back, and I found her unfiltered commentary enchanting. Her relationship with Verity reminds me – almost painfully – of my own relationship with my younger sister and gave me a new perspective on how my own sister might see me. Eye opening, let me tell you.

This book is still 100% an InCryptid adventure – full of action, fun and Aeslin mice. Everything I loved about the first five books is there, but Seanan adds a depth to Magic for Nothing that hasn’t really been present in earlier installments, to the benefit of the story and the overall series. It’s still not a /serious/ series (and it doesn’t need to be) but there’s a new richness that makes Magic for Nothing so very satisfying.

Magic for Nothing is the sixth book in the InCryptid series. The cover of the next installment, Tricks for Free was revealed earlier this week! Check it out at Tor.com!

This review was originally posted to Goodreads March 6, 2017.