Category Archives: Ivana’s Reviews
Publisher’s Description: When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I’m Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process. Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city’s subway tunnels. And the murderer’s not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor’s hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year’s Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don’t find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret’s out and everyone’s time is up.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).
Hey Nell! Guess who narrates the audiobook of The Grendel Affair.
Oh, Wait! I know this… her voice is familiar! Where do I know her from?
Johanna Parker narrates The Grendel Affair AND the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris! I just finished listening to the book and it was pretty good. I received this book from Goodread’s First Reads program early last year. Now that the sequel is out, I wanted to read it again to remind myself what happened in the story. I liked the book in audio. You’ve read this book, haven’t you?
Yes, I have. I have read it twice and listened to it audio once. It’s a great world with fun characters. I started the Dragon Conspiracy-I’m about 15% into the book as we speak.
Oh, good. Me, too. I wanna see what nasty monster Makenna and Ian get to fight next.
So, do you think there will be a romance between Makenna & Ian? I’m betting not… he seems too stuffy. What do you think?
I’m looking for monsters and you’re looking for romance. Doesn’t that just describe us both?
I can’t help it. Monsters will always be there, but romance is a fleeting thing.
Nervous Nellie says …
Main characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ At first, I thought Makenna Frasier was kind of wimpy. It didn’t take long – not very long at all- to discover that she was anything but wimpy. She was smart, able to think on her feet and she was a very believable character. She was not Wonder Woman like some protagonists portray themselves. She was just an ordinary woman hell-bent on making this new job work. Ian Frasier, Makenna’s new partner, was very patronizing at first. He was a seasoned veteran of monster hunting and knew that if he didn’t protect Mac, she’d never make it. He had lost a partner and he was not going to let it happen again. He beat himself up over that loss and immersed himself in responsibility, responsibility, responsibility. Mac didn’t want to be anyone’s responsibility. She figured out that she needed to protect herself so she wouldn’t be a liability to her team. She may have a special skill that is hard to find and worthy of protection, but she used her common sense and helped the other monster fighters as best as she could.
Other characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ Kenji Hayashi was my favorite. Technogeek extraordinaire. Vivienne Sagadraco was next. Rolf Haagan was Rambo on steroids – but he kept his sense of humor. Roy Benoit – he I would like to actually meet. I’m a sucker for a southern accent. Whoo-wee. Actually, all the characters were really entertaining. I liked them all – except for the grendels. They were scary.
World: ♥♥♥♥♥ The world is full of creatures that humans do not know exist. It’s SPI’s responsibility to keep those creatures under wraps. Makenna is a seer and she can ‘see’ the creatures for what they are instead of any glamour they might use.
Story: ♥♥♥♥♥ The story was excellent. I loved every bit of it. It was so good that I read it twice and listened to the audio too. The mystery was well incorporated and it was fun seeing New York though Makenna. There is a literary reference to Beowulf incorporated in the story, along with dragons, elves, vampires, and other creatures. I thought there may be a romance with Mac and Ian, but it only briefly hinted. The author really did well with this story. It had humor and seriousness (as serious as monsters invading Times Square could be).
Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥ I enjoyed this book very much. The pages flew by, and it was just as good the third time as it was the first. The characters were very likable and genuine. There is a good-spirited rapport between agents and their ‘trophies’ that they each had on their desks. Makenna was bound and determined she would have a weapon, and her putting Tequila in a squirt gun was just one of the many things she tried to succeed. In the end, she has proven herself as an asset and a darn good one. There was no cliffhanger, and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Invested Ivana says…
Main Characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ Makenna (Mac) Fraser is a likable character. She’s not perfect, she’s not superior, she’s just your average gal adjusting to a new job. She has funny quirks, only one special skill — the ability to see through glamours and veils — and is both afraid and brave. I love the fact that a smear of powdered sugar from eating too many cookies is what helps establish her credibility and that her contribution to the monster-fighting team is to shoot paintballs. The story is told first-person through Makenna, so the reader gets to know her very well throughout the book and is easily able to identify with her and invest in her success.
Other Characters: ♥♥♥♥♥ Ian Byrne, Makenna’s partner/bodyguard, is a professional agent, in contrast to Makenna, and does what he can to keep her safe. At first, I thought Ian was going to be an overly-protective male for the whole book, but that wasn’t the case. Ian is protective, having lost a partner in the past, but he recognizes that he can protect Makenna only so much and that she needs to be able to protect herself. Luckily, Ian has a sense of humor and is able to accept Makenna for who she is, quirks and all. I think the two make a good pair. I really enjoy the rest of the supporting cast as well: Ollie, the self-centered merchant of all things spooky; Yasha, the Russian werewolf driver; Kenji, the Japanese half-elf techie; Vivienne Sagadraco, British dragon and founder of SPI; and Rolf Haagen, the crazy Scandinavian with the prosthetic arm. Ms. Shearin certainly has embraced diversity in her characters as far as nationality AND species.
World: ♥♥♥♥♥ It seems all the monsters exist in Makenna’s world — dragons, elves, goblins, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, leprechauns, grendels, magicians, witches, dopplegangers, and more. One ancient dragon, Vivienne Sagadraco, has created SPI — Supernatural Protection and Investigations — to protect the humans and good supernaturals from the bad supernaturals and keep the magical world under wraps. SPI operates like a private FBI and police force, employing both humans and supernaturals toward the cause.
Story: ♥♥♥♥♥ In this first adventure, a pair of grendels are loose in NYC, ready to rampage through Times Square on New Year’s Eve in order to bring the supernaturals out of the closet and into the power some creatures believe they deserve. Makenna, Ian, Yasha, Rolf, and the others are tasked to bring down the grendels without revealing them to the world. Mayhem ensues. For the most part, I like the story. The time the group spends hunting the grendels in the tunnels under the city seems to drag on a bit. but I really love the scenes in the cemetery and in the crypt under the cemetery.
During the story, Ms. Shearin references Makenna’s first day on the job guarding a bachelor party of leprechauns. This sounds like a hilarous story that can now be found in an anthology called Night Shift. Makenna spends a fair amount of time introducing herself to us in the beginning of the book, where she references her hometown of Weird Sisters, North Carolina — a town that attracts the weird and wonderful. With as much time as was spent on it, I was expecting to either find a short story about Weird Sisters or to have it become important in The Grendel Affair; but neither is true, as far as I can tell. I’d love to see a story or two about Weird Sisters; it sounds like there are generations worth of stories there to tell. The other story I would like to see is how Ian lost his first partner. We know it had something to do with “the ghoul” character that Makenna encounters both at the beginning and the end of the book, and we know it had a big impact on Ian. But we know only what Ian has told Makenna about the incident and we don’t know much about this “ghoul” character at all. I think there is plenty of fodder there for more interesting stories.
Narrator: ♥♥♥♥♥ Johanna Parker, who also narrates the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, is the voice of Makenna Fraser and company. Being a fan of Sookie in audio, this did a couple of things for me. First, it gave me an instant affinity for the story since I liked Sookie and Johanna as her voice. Second, it made me picture Makenna as Sookie for a while. I can separate them in my head now, but I don’t think associating the two characters was actually a bad thing. They are fairly similar; both gals are blonde, Southern, and fairly normal except for one small talent — the ability to sense something others can’t. Neither have any special abilities that make them physically or mentally superior, and they both have faults, make mistakes, and have adorable quirks. It was a smart choice to have Ms. Parker read the SPI novels as it will lead some listeners to associate Ms. Shearin’s world with Ms. Harris’, and who wouldn’t want to be associated with such a success?
Overall: ♥♥♥♥♥ The Grendel Affair is a fun adventure with likable characters and just the right amount of humor. I think I enjoyed listening to it more than I did reading it, particularly because I already have a “relationship” with Johanna Parker. The story is more than fluff, but not a super serious or gritty adventure — it’s a “popcorn flick” of a book that makes for an entertaining few hours.
Our reviews in this series…
- “Lucky Charms” in Night Shift, Book 0.5
- The Grendel Affair, Book 1
- The Dragon Conspiracy, Book 2
- The Brimstone Deception, Book 3
- The Ghoul Vendetta, Book 4
- The Myth Manifestation, Book 5
- The Phoenix Illusion, Book 6 — TBP
If You Like This Book…
One Book Two will be reviewing the sequel, The Dragon Conspiracy, in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that. If you haven’t read them yet, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris would be good for fans of Makenna in either book or audio form. You might also like the Paranormal Scene Investigation series by Laura Anne Gilman or the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. Of course, there is also the Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin, but we haven’t read that one to recommend it.
Publisher’s Description: For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way…
Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the crossfire.
From the reviews I’ve read, a lot of readers have a definite preference for either the Alpha & Omega books or the Mercy Thompson books, even when they like them both. You’ve read both series, Nell. Do you have a preference?
I like both series. Mercy’s world is different than Anna and Charles’s world. The Cornick world is harsher, I think. I don’t know why I feel that way because Mercy was raised in the Cornick world, so she should be very similar, but Charles seems so aloof and severe. I would like to start over from the beginning of the Alpha & Omega series as long as I could skip the abuse Anna receives in the first book. It’s been quite a while since I visited the Alpha & Omega world, but Briggs is an awesome writer. She brings it all to life.
Tell me what you mean by “Mercy’s world is different than Anna and Charles’s world.” Both series take place in the same world, but at slightly different points in time.
Mercy’s world feels a little softer to me…
You mean Adam, Mercy’s mate, is more relatable than Charles, don’t you? Warmer, more personable? Less scary?
Yes! That’s exactly it. My words failed me, but your mind-meld assured that I got my thoughts understood!
It’s true that Adam and Charles are very different characters; they’ve played very different roles in their life and have very different backgrounds. They are both fiercely loyal and capable of being scary, but Charles is more introverted and keeps thoughts and feelings close. Also, Charles doesn’t have to be very “human”–he lives with the Pack all the time and usually wants to be seen as scary to do his job. Adam, on the other hand, is not only surrounded by humans all the time but is the poster child for Bran’s “werewolves among us” campaign. Adam is more extroverted; you rarely have to guess at what he’s thinking and feeling. He probably feels safer to you.
Are you sure you aren’t a psychologist?
No, I’m not, but I play one on TV.
Nell and I are still trying to sync up our reading, so it’s just me again today.
Main Characters: ♥♥♥♥ I am already emotionally invested in many of Patricia Brigg’s characters, including Anna and Charles Cornick, from the previous Alpha & Omega and Mercy Thompson books. Though this book involved Anna and Charles, the main characters of this adventure seem to be the family of Charles’s friend, Joseph. I am tempted to call them the main characters here.
Joseph’s werewolf father, human wife, son, and son’s family feel like real people: they have good and bad traits both, they have strengths and weaknesses, they have desires and secrets and fears, and they love. I think part of Brigg’s success is the richness of her characters; they are “human” and easy to identify with. I particularly like the grandchild, Mackie, and wonder if she and her family will become recurring characters.
Other Characters: ♥♥♥♥ We meet some familiar characters in this book – Bran, Charles’ father; FBI Agent Leslie Fisher, the witch Moira just briefly – and we meet some new characters. I enjoyed Cantrip Agents Leeds and Marsden and hope they appear in future books. In the main part of the story, we don’t learn much about the villain, which is usually a nitpick of mine. However, there is a hint at the beginning of the book that the villain is set in place by other powers – powers whose agenda might not be discovered until future books.
World: ♥♥♥♥ Again, I’m already heavily invested in Briggs’ world. While this book can certainly be read as a stand-alone, I think the writing does assume the reader is familiar with the world and keeps explanations brief. Time not spent on world building is spent describing another world—that of horse shows and competition. If you love horses, this is the book for you.
Story: ♥♥♥♥ The main story is a mystery involving missing children. It’s a good adventure, but in itself doesn’t contribute greatly to the overall mythology of the world, except maybe in a way we aren’t meant to know yet. We do get to see a side of Charles that is usually hidden, and we see Anna and Charles work through the issues of having children. Both of these contribute to the progress of their relationship.
Overall: ♥♥♥♥ Overall, I enjoyed this installment of the Alpha & Omega series. While it wasn’t a world-changing episode, it is a nice adventure, a good visit with old friends, and a fun time with new ones.
Series list and reviews…
- “Alpha & Omega” in On The Prowl, Book 0.5
- Cry Wolf, Book 01
- Hunting Ground, Book 02
- Fair Game, Book 03
- Dead Heat, Book 04
- Burn Bright, Book 05
If you like this book…
Aside from the other Alpha & Omega books and the companion Mercy Thompson books, you might try the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong and the Shifter series by Rachel Vincent. You’ll have to find a few more to keep you company after that since the next Mercy Thompson book won’t be out until next year!
I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
Publisher’s Description: I-Day is near at hand, and soon the Fangborn will reveal themselves to humankind. As a member of this secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles, will archaeologist Zoe Miller be prepared?
Still grappling with the newfound powers she gained after opening Pandora’s box, Zoe shares the responsibility of protecting “Normal” humans. Having long preferred to keep to the shadows, she knows the pending revelation of the Fangborn will set the world on fire. With Fangborn enemies in the Order of Nicomedia forcing their hand, Zoe and her supernatural Family have no choice but to step into the spotlight.
But that decision has garnered the attention of the powerful and otherworldly beings known as the Makers. They claim to have created the Fangborn–not as saviors, but as predators. And it seems they have their own plans for Zoe…and for the fate of all the Fangborn.
The first two books and two novellas of the Fangborn series have been living on my Kindle for a while now, patiently waiting their turn in the spotlight. It’s those Chris McGrath covers that always catch my eye! When Hellbender, Fangborn book 3, came up for review on NetGalley, I was torn about requesting it. Nell assured me that starting a series with the third book would not cause my brain to explode; so, though doubtful, I agreed I’d give it a try. I’m not totally convinced it was a success, even though my brain is nominally intact.
Main Character: ♥♥♥ Zoe Miller has had an extraordinary amount of power thrust on her unexpectedly, so it would make sense that she’s struggling a little to come into her own. That shows in Hellbender, as Zoe will be exclaiming that she doesn’t know what she’s doing one minute, and the next, be calmly handling some crisis based on an agenda unknown to the reader. I’m not sure if that was purposeful, though. Either Zoe is a master at “winging it,” or the author wasn’t quite clear on her character’s development.
There was a bit with Zoe and Will near the end of the book I really liked that, to me at least, represented the direction Zoe was moving. Zoe is telling her friend, Will, why they cannot be an item. It’s not because she doesn’t want him (though I think she wants Adam more); it’s because of everything that’s coming, the danger she’ll put him in, and the suspicion that maybe she has influenced his feelings more than he realizes. She hates that she’s doing it and it tears her up emotionally, but she knows it has to be done. That’s some major stepping up.
Other Characters: ♥♥ Stepping into the middle of a series as I am, I expected there to be characters whose backgrounds I lack. I think I did a pretty good job of keeping track of those folks. But, there are some characters introduced in this book that I wish we’d gotten to know better – the Trips, Fatima, Jason with his crows, Jill and Jack, and Max. I really like Max. We don’t get a lot of character knowledge about these people, and they are very interesting.
I don’t think we get a lot of background on the villains, either. I know there is some background on the Order I’m missing from the other books, but when Carolina Perez-Smith is introduced, there isn’t much background on her, either. We don’t know why she’s involved in the Order.
And then there are the Makers. I’m not sure what to think about them. They seem sophisticated enough to mimic one of Zoe’s favorite college hangouts to make her more comfortable during their talk, but not sophisticated enough to know that screaming in the heads of all the Fangborn will damage and kill some of them and reflect poorly on Zoe? They are supposed to be the Fangborn’s creators and incredibly powerful, but they come off as a bit clumsy and they give up too easily in the end. That makes me suspicious. I LOVE the dragons, though, even when they go crazy for the sparklies.
World: ♥♥♥♥ The Fangborn world is really interesting and not quite like anything else I’ve run across. I like the triumvirate of Fangborn – werewolf, vampire, and oracle. I like the “digs” about the oracles always being forgotten. I like that the vampires aren’t your typical vampires, and certainly not sparkly. And I love that the “monsters” are the ones trying to protect humans. I love that Zoe is hunting up all these artifacts that are being drawn into her as a source of power. And I really like that the bad humans are trying to create their own versions of creatures to fight against what they see as a threat. There are some cool ideas here that make me want to learn more.
Story: ♥♥ While there are a lot of neat things happening in this story, they all happen so fast and seemingly without time to process the event and its meaning. I really did feel caught on a runaway train through most of the book, and it was a little confusing. I’m wondering if there couldn’t have been three books worth of material here – the fight with the Order, the preparation for I-Day, and the conflict with the Makers. I feel there was a lot of detail sacrificed to move the story along, and I need that detail to understand what is going on in the story and to feel invested. As it was, the story felt very rushed.
There were several things mentioned in the book that didn’t seem necessary, either. For example, when the dragons speak, there are many words that are unintelligible to Zoe. When I first encountered that, it made sense but I was expecting it to come back around later. Not only did I assume we’d find out what the words meant, but that they were important. That never really happened, so I wondered why the author bothered. I think it just added to the confused feel.
Overall: ♥♥♥ In the end, I’d like to go back and read this series from the beginning just to be sure the things that bother me about this book don’t stem from my lack of knowledge. If it’s not, then I have to say the lack of detail and the rushed feeling of the book will keep it from being one of my favorites. I hope it is, though. There are some neat things about this world that I’d love to know more about.
Series list and reviews…
- “The Night Things Changed” in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, Book 0.1
- The Serpent’s Tale, Book 0.25
- The Curious Case of Miss Amelia Vernet, Book 0.5
- Burning the Rule Book, Book 0.75
- Seven Kinds of Hell, Book 1
- Pack of Strays, Book 2
- Hellbender, Book 3
If You Like This Book…
Assuming you were smarter than I was and have already read the rest of the Fangborn series, you might like Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.
I received a review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
Kate Connor is your average, everyday mom with two kids, a husband, and one very big secret … she used to be a Demon Hunter. Now retired, she’s more interested in the domestic than the demonic. So when she catches sight of a demon in Wal-Mart, she tells herself it’s some other Hunter’s problem. But when that demon attacks her in her kitchen, retirement is no longer an option…
Warner Brothers Television has optioned the Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom (DHSM) series for the CW Network! To celebrate, for a limited time, you can get the first five books in Julie Kenner’s Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series for only $.99! The Trouble With Demons collection includes:
Though I am not a mom, let alone a soccer mom, I really enjoyed this series. The balancing of the mundane with the supernatural and the attempt to keep such a massive secret makes for really good storytelling. The characters are fantastic — I particularly love Laura, the clued-in best friend; Kate’s daughter, Allie; and Eddie, the adopted “grandpa” and retired demon hunter. The cast of characters in this series is really great.
This is another series I could have erroneously dismissed as “fluff,” but it’s really not. Balancing our responsibilities in life — during the good times and the bad — is something everyone can relate to, regardless of what your “demons” may be. This series not only pokes some fun at the life of a stay-at-home mom, but it also deals with divorce and remarriage, divided loyalties, death, and those slow descents into darkness. Do you protect your children from badness, or prepare them for what is inevitable? What happens when you share your darkest secrets with someone you love? How do you survive when doing the right thing brings your world down around you? These are not “fluff” questions at all.
The only thing about this series that makes me sad is that not all of the books come in an audio format. Only two of the books are available on Audible.com; I haven’t checked any of the other audiobook store sites, though. I found the first four on CD at my local library. But the first four are the only ones recorded. The narrator, Laura Hicks, does such a great job with these books that I actually prefer them in audio, to be honest. I’ve spoken to the author twice about this, and she agrees it would be great to get the rest of the books in audio. Now that she’s self-publishing the books, maybe she can chat with Audible Studios and see what can be done? <hint hint> 😉
UPDATE: All the audios have been rerecorded, are narrated by Carly Robins, and are available on Amazon. They sound AMAZING!
I’m very eager to see what this series will look like on television. I started watching I, Zombie on the CW recently and can see the DHSM series looking something like that. I think it will be a fun series to see on the screen.
Publisher’s Description: Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.
One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead.
But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death…
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).
I finished Half-Resurrection Blues, and I’m very upset. It didn’t even have an ending that would encourage me to read the next book.
What was wrong with the ending?
Sasha’s pregnant, which has got to be a miracle, and she leaves him. It just… ends. Sure, there was a resolution to the bad guy, but it was rather anticlimactic. I really thought, for a first book, there should have been a zippier ending that would lead to me wanting to pick up the next book.
Well, it certainly isn’t a romance book that’s required to have a happily-ever-after. It’s much more of a gritty urban fantasy. Did you like the characters, though? The story?
I liked the story. I liked the characters, except I was expecting a little more depth with Sasha. I mean, if she’s pregnant with Carlos’ child, shouldn’t we at least care about her a little? I liked the twists in the story, but it seemed like I skipped parts when I really didn’t. I had to go back a couple of pages more than once to figure out what was going on and when was it going on. It confused me. I especially liked Riley and Carlos. I could see them in my head as plain as day. Sasha and the rest got murky. I got lost.
I have to agree with you that I got a little lost, and a lot wasn’t fleshed out. I’d read some great reviews about this author’s writing, so I was a little sad there wasn’t more depth to the story.
I feel like I’m really being critical. I’m not normally that nit-picky, but I’m being honest. I felt kind of let down at the end. You know I don’t like sad endings. I can go to my day job and get plenty of sad endings.
Well, the series isn’t over. There’s a very good chance that Sasha will come back, the baby will be fine, and they’ll get their happily-ever-after.
One can hope. I love my happily-ever-afters!
Nervous Nellie says…
Main Characters: ♥♥♥ Carlos Delacruz is a man who was found by a ghost. Carlos was dead… but not. Riley, Agent Washington to some, never sticks his nose anywhere other than the job at hand… except this one time. He discovered Carlos and took him to a ‘house’ ghost who healed him. Riley gave Carlos his name because Carlos could not remember any of his life. When Carlos healed enough to resemble something useful, the Council of the Dead made Carlos an offer he didn’t want to refuse. The Council of The Dead made Carlos an assassin, and he really liked his job. They also told him he was the only one of his kind. It was not made clear whether he was a good guy in life or a bad guy. Not much was ever really revealed and therein lies the problem. If I could have been able to distinguish what kind of man he was – whether it be a gangster, drug runner or maybe even an undercover cop, then that would have helped my progress in the development of the character in my head. As it was, I felt like a fish out of water throughout the story.
Other Characters: ♥♥♥ Riley Washington starts out as a secondary character — one who I felt was not really intended to be in the spotlight much, but as the story went on, he was featured more. Sasha, Carlos’s love interest, was very blurry. I couldn’t get much from her description, and that made her personality seem cold and unlikable.
World: ♥♥♥ The world was interesting. I would have liked it a lot more if the characters were a little more put together. The creatures that inhabited this world were more of nightmares than anything that would bring about a happily ever after. It felt like I was blind trying to feel my way through the whole story.
Story: ♥♥♥ I liked the concept of the story. I liked that Carlos had a love interest, but I would have liked it more if she would have been more solid. She seemed like an unknown subject most of the time. No idea where she was, who she was, what she was or why she was there. The story became clearer towards the ending when Carlos finally got a clue, but the ending was less than satisfying. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, though there was unfinished business that could get solved in the next book.
Overall: ♥♥♥ I will look into the next book if it’s published. I want to find out if Sasha and Carlos really get together or not, but that’s my only motivation. If Carlos becomes a more kick-ass agent, then we’ll see, but right at this point, I am not inclined to put it on my ‘to watch’ list for when the next book comes out. If I find it, I’ll probably research it, but it’s not a story that gave me much in the line of inspiration. Oh, and the guy on the cover? He doesn’t look like a Carlos Delacruz to me–Carlos isn’t white, sorry.
“Bureaucracy’s got its own special language. It’s trifling, of course, the lowest order of poetry, and manages to divest words of all meaning and still weigh them down with extra banality.”
Invested Ivana says…
I’m going to dispense with the formatted review for this book.
I like this book, but I don’t love it. What I love is its potential. The story idea is good—a plot by a mysterious figure to merge the worlds of the living and the dead; a secret history for the protagonist; a ghost bureaucracy. The idea of the characters is interesting—a half-dead assassin; a ghostly council with ghostly troops and commanders; ghosts that encompass whole geographies. This book has all the makings of some really good stuff.
But to me, it felt like I was reading a comic book without the pictures. I know all about the actions of the characters, but I don’t feel I really know the characters that well. I’m not deep enough into their heads to know what their motivations and feelings are, so the actions they take sometimes seem random, and the threat to their lives isn’t as intense. I don’t know the world well enough, either. What is the Council of the Dead? What is a house ghost? What are the inbetweeners, for that matter? Are they zombies? Something else? Why are the villains acting like the villains? What do they want? Older gives me just enough explanation to follow the action of the story, but not enough for me to really feel invested in the people. The story seems to stay on the surface with the plot and the action. The plot and the action are good. Nothing wrong there. It’s just not enough to satisfy me.
I’m going to give this book a three because I really WANT to know more about this world and its denizens. There is a 50/50 chance I’ll pick up the next book when it comes out, but it won’t be an automatic buy or an immediate read. If the next book doesn’t get deeper into the characters and the world, I can see me dropping it in favor of other books. I hope the next books flesh out the characters and world, though, because there really is some good story here and I’d love to learn more.
Series list and reviews…
- Half-Resurrection Blues, Book 01
- Midnight Taxi Tango, Book 02
- Salsa Nocturna: Stories, Book 2.5
- Battle Hill Bolero, Book 03
If You Like This Book …
You might pick up Salsa Nocturna, a book of short stories by Daniel José Older, one of which is about Carlos Delacruz.