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A Girl In Time by John Birmingham

The ancient and the modern collide in this fun time travel adventure. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would do as well as Cady in Victorian London or in Ancient Rome!

This review is of a purchased copy; however, the author is a client of Jen Edits, which is an affiliate of this site.

a-girl-in-timeTitleA Girl In Time
AuthorJohn Birmingham
Series: stand alone (so far)
Publish Date: December 9, 2016
Genre: Time-travel fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: The past is another country. A dangerous one.

On the eve of a huge, breakout success, a poor but brilliant young game developer is pulled out of her world, and time itself, by a cowboy desperately searching for the daughter he lost two hundred years ago.

Cady McCall is ready to be rich and famous. She’s sacrificed everything, putting her work ahead of family and friends. Now with mad success and huge wealth so close she can taste it, her life is blown apart by Deputy Marshal John ‘Titanic’ Smith, the man who rescues her from two muggers, only to carry her off into history. Lost on the seas of time, Smith is desperate to get home to his family in 1876, and now Cady is lost along with him, facing danger and finding love in Victorian London, Ancient Rome and in the near-future America of President for Life Donald Trump.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator says…

This book surprised and delighted me in all the right ways. We get a glimpse into Cady’s life and how she’s on the verge of a big payout. I waited to find out what she would do with the money, but had to keep waiting because her adventures start before she can get the big payday.

The book divides itself into three parts. Part I is about the present and Victorian London. I think this is the slowest part, but it’s needed to set the scene and those to come. The author does a great job exploring and showing us Victorian London and how foreign someone from the present would find it. The smells would be offal (pun most definitely intended). For a modern woman to go back, though, it would have to be scary. It’s why I can forgive Cady not being as strong as I hoped she would be, because other worries come crashing down. Once that is complete, we move forward to Part II.

Part II is an alternate history of the present. Without getting too political, it posits that everything bad that Trump said he would do has been implemented in a few short years, and that’s where Cady finds herself. The author cleverly switches points of view here so that now we are following Smith, who needs explanation as to what is happening. That was a good choice as it gave the author the ability to explain some changes to us in a natural way and keep the story going. I was happy that Cady was able to gain her strength back and do what she needed to do and was more of the driving force.

Part III sees our travelers in Roman times and the author switches as needed between the two main characters. This works well for me and the story. Now, both of them are in a world that is foreign to them and they have to work together if they ever want to get back home.

badge5v4Through it all, there are a few sidebars about the time travel and a bigger picture with time travel. These don’t come together as well, as many things are left hanging about an aspect of it, but hopefully, we will learn more in another book. Between that and a few quibbles I had with the characters, I would give this a four and a half stars but will round up to five. A good read and I look forward to reading more.

This review is of a purchased copy; however, the author is a client of Jen Edits, which is an affiliate of this site.


Two (2) Dave vs. The Monsters Shorts by John Birmingham

In the first three “Dave vs. The Monsters” books, we meet a hard-living, redneck, jerk of a guy named Dave Hooper, who just happens to gain superhero-like powers after killing a disgusting creature that invades his oil rig. Now, in two new novellas by author John Birmingham, we get to see some of the same events from the first three books through the eyes of other characters, all of whom have their own opinions of Dave.

Protocol2Title:  A Protocol for Monsters
Author: John Birmingham
Series: Dave vs. The Monsters (Dave Hooper) 1.5
Publish Date:  May 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: The much anticipated companion volume to Emergence, the story of Dave Hooper’s superhero embiggening. When an oil rig drills too deep under the Gulf of Mexico it breaks the capstone separating our world from the UnderRealms – home to monsters, daemons and dark magiks. The nightmares of our long ago come flooding back into the world where they are met by automatic weapons fire, heating seeking missiles (they’re hell on dragons, don’tcha know) and one drunken, dissolute son of a bitch called Dave.

But this is not Dave’s story. This is the story of the poor bastards who had to put up with him while he saved the world and acted like a jerk.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

God, I love the description of this novella. Plus, it uses the word “embiggening.” How often do you run across that word?

This novella focuses on the three folks whose job it is to study the daemon problem in the States: Professor Emmeline Ashbury, Professor Raymond Compton, and Captain Michael Heath, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Special Programs Division). Each character has a different perspective, a different specialty, and a different challenge.

We meet these three characters just after the fight between Dave and the daemons on the oil rig, as the government responds to the event. Profs. Ashbury and Compton head out to the rig while Captain Heath goes to get Dave. They all end up in New Orleans for the big battle.

badge4v4Though we get to see Dave interact with these characters, the novella isn’t about him, really. It’s about how these three characters respond to the daemon invasion. Prof. Ashbury is dealing with Aspergers; I find it really fascinating to read about her interactions with others from this perspective. Prof. Compton can’t see past his own MASSIVE ego, as we know from the Dave books. And Captain Heath is quietly and steadfastly attempting to deal with the professors, Dave, other goverment entites, and even civilians just to do his job. It’s actually interesting to compare the perspectives of all three of these folks on the same event as well as go “behind the scenes” of the Dave books.

A Soul Full of Guns2Title:  A Soul Full of Guns
Author:  John Birmingham
SeriesDave vs. The Monsters (Dave Hooper) 3.5
Publish Date:  May 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: When monsters and dark magicks came back into the world it looked like Dave Hooper, aka ‘Super Dave’, might be our only hope. Thankfully not. Super Dave is dumpster fire of regret and disappointment for anyone who relies on him.

Colonel Ekaterina Varatchevsky of the Russian GRU doesn’t want to rely on him. A deep cover agent operating in the US as Karen Warat, a successful New York art dealer, Karin is gifted with superpowers courtesy of killing a Threshrend Daemonum which attacks her gallery and eats rather a large number of Manhattan’s 1%. Now she doesn’t have to rely on Dave any more.

She has to target him.

This is her story. Not told by Dave. Because you can’t trust that guy.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

If you’ve read the Dave books, you know that he isn’t the only one who gained superhero powers by killing a daemon.  A Soul Full of Guns is the origin story for Karen Warrat, a.k.a Colonel Ekaterina Varatchevsky of the Russian GRU.

Posing as a sophisticated art gallery owner in the US, Karen would conduct missions for the GRU. Until a daemon crashes one of her gallery parties and she’s forced to defend herself by killing one. It just so happens that the party was under serveillance by a US government agency at the time.  So now the US knows about her powers, and her own government wants her extracted—keep her away from the US, get her safely to the Russian embassy, give her a new assignment. That new assignment happens to be Dave; but he comes looking for her before she can even start.

badge4v4I really enjoyed Karen’s story. She’s a great character and I hope we get to read more about her in future books. I’m really looking forward to the origin stories of the other “superheros” as well. This novella gets a 4.5.

Our reviews in this series..

Ascendance: Dave vs. the Monsters by John Birmingham


Dave Hooper gets a well-earned reality-check in this third installment of Dave vs. the Monsters series.  Dave is no longer the only one with special powers, and the war finally gets personal.  The daemons are getting trickier and more skillful and everyone has to step up their game to protect the world.

TitleAscendance: Dave vs. The Monsters
Author: John Birmingham
Series: Dave Hooper Book 3
Publish Date: June 30, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: Kids, there are no monsters under the bed. They’re in the front yard.

As a hardworking monster-slayer, Dave Hooper tries not to bring his work home with him. But nowadays it’s hard to keep them separate. Email, cellphones, empath daemons, they never let a guy rest.

The Horde has been raising hell and leveling cities from New York to Los Angeles, keeping Dave and his fellow monster-killer, Russian spy Karin Varatschevsky, very busy. But when the legions of hell invade the small seaside town his boys call home, Dave has to make a call. Save the world? Or save his family?

Not as easy a choice as you’d think, since Dave’s ex-wife expects to be saved too. And there’s no convincing her that the supersexy Russian spy isn’t his girlfriend. She’s just his sidekick—and an assassin.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

Invested_Ivana 50Okay, Nell. I told you Dave Hooper gets his slap-upside-the-head in Book 3. Do you agree?

Nervous_Nell 50I do agree. I feel less frustrated with Dave this time around. I am not sure that it will “stick”, because in my experience people rarely change.

Invested_Ivana 50Sometimes they do, especially in fiction. What did you think about the “big reveal” about Dave’s past? I don’t want to give anything away, but wow, huh?

Nervous_Nell 50The reveal was so totally on the money. The explanation rang true and with Dave’s background, southern upraising, father that was disrespectful to his wife and sons as well as abusive. Dave is not only fighting himself with how he feels in his heart, he’s fighting what he was taught by his no good, rotten excuse for a man that is supposed to be a moral compass.

Invested_Ivana 50Whoa. You have some daddy issues, don’t you, Nell?

Nervous_Nell 50OH, you have no idea.  I think Dave’s dad and mine must share some DNA.

Nervous Nellie says…

Ascendence is war at its pinnacle.  Humans vs. the Daemonum is on the ticket with odds fNell 100avoring a draw.  That’s pretty much the only good thing that comes out of this mess.  “Threshy” is a master stratagist and is only so because of eating Compton.  I say “yay” on eating Compton, but “nay” at the intel the other side gains.  Luckily for the Wonder Twins, Karin and Dave, they have the US military on their side as well.  Humans are holding their own, but just barely.

Dave plays a “grown up” much better in this book than the last, which I am happy to see.  So many times in the past books, I’ve just wanted to punch Dave’s lights out.  He steps up responsibility and even recognizes that everything does not revolve around “Super” Dave. Professor Boylan is absent from this episode, which saddens me.  We could have used some comic relief after witnessing the massacre of so many humans and monsters.  I will tell you that Dave saves his “boys”, Jack & Toby – just in the nick of time.  I would love to see Dave win his family back, but I just don’t know if it will happen.  He’s screwed over a lot of loved ones in his life just by being selfish.  Speaking of loved ones, I learned more about Dave’s brother, Andy, who died in service of his country and why Dave feels crippling guilt over Andy.  It makes sense now, and I should have seen it, but I was too caught up in the carnage.

badge3v4The ending isn’t exactly a cliff hanger, but it does lead up to the next book.  There are now 5 “champions” – a female chaplain, a female sheriff, a female Russian super spy, a male military and Dave.  I got a bad feeling that even though Heath has 4 out of the 5 champions, Trinder has the fifth.  Yikes.

I do not have information on when the next book will be released, but I will tell you this:  If you hated Dave and his moronic escapades in Book One, just hold on.  Mr. Birmingham will reward you with better superheroes and a better Dave as time goes on and the war escalates.

ivana 100Invested Ivana says…

In Ascendence, the daemonum are learning more about the humans, and with the ingestion of Professor Compton’s knowledge via the little Thresh daemon, they are improving their battle tactics.   At the same time, Dave meets up with Colonel Ekaterina “Karen” Varatchevsky, a Russian spy posing as an American art dealer, who has become a Champion like Dave by killing one of the Threshrend empath daemons.  Dave and Karen fight together against the daemon invasion of Manhattan, but by watching Karen’s battle tactics and occasional disregard for human life, Dave starts to examine himself.  Karen, being an empath, smacks Dave on the head with the truth of his own thinking, which challenges Dave’s world view.

Of the three Dave Hooper books, I enjoyed Ascendance the most.  Dave seems to take things more seriously in this book.  He is being intellectually and emotionally challenged by Karen and the daemon’s improved tactics, and he is forced to face the consequences of his own actions.  This time, there is no distance, work, or substance abuse available to hide behind; the cost of his actions is bloody, visceral death all around him.

Through all three books, I have enjoyed the perspective of the daemons and the UnderRealm.  It’s been very interesting learning about their culture, about their traditions, and seeing the human world through their eyes.  The little Thresh daemon that serves as the bridge between worlds is my favorite character.  In Ascendence, Threshy is starting to feel the strain of being a daemon with the thinkings of many humans in his brain.  Not only are we learning about the demon world through Threshy’s perspective, we’re learning a lot about who Professor Compton was – before he was eaten.  The conflict between daemon and human in Threshy – and sometimes where there is NO conflict between the daemon and the Compton personality – is very good storytelling.

I am sad we didn’t get to see any more of Professor Boylan.  Boylan is a great character. NOTE:  I didn’t say “hilarious” or “funny”, or anything that implies humor.  Okay, Paul?  Surely, “great” is okay.  You can get behind “great,” can’t you, Paul? 🙂

I was disappointed that there is no real ending; as with the first two books, the ending is “To Be Continued.”  After the emotional and time investment of three books, I didn’t get the payoff I wanted in Book 3.  I was hoping for some sort of satisfying closure, some sense of completeness.

badge3v4Despite the non-ending, I’m happy Dave went after his family (though I would hate to be anywhere near Dave when he realizes Heath used his family as bait), and I’m intrigued by the introduction of two more Champions.  According to the story, there will eventually be twelve, and now we’ve met four of them.

If you have a strong need for closure, I will say this series will frustrate you.  But if you like action, snark, and fantasy, a hero that’s not very heroic, and can wait for a complete ending, you’re going to love this series.

Other reviews:

If you like this book…

If you like Dave, you might look up James R. Tuck’s Deacon Chalk series.  Chalk is another diamond-in-the-rough, kick-ass hero.  Nell tells me that the Monster Hunter International series by Larry Corriea would be good for Dave’s fans as well.

Resistance: Dave vs. The Monsters by John Birmingham

ResistanceTitleResistance: Dave vs. The Monsters
Author: John Birmingham
Series: David Hooper Book 2
Publish Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey Spectra
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Perspective: Third person

Publisher’s Description: When you drop a monster-killer on the Strip, all bets are off. 

Holed up in Las Vegas after the tumultuous Battle of New Orleans, Dave is enjoying the VIP perks afforded a champion monster-slayer. He may be a superhero of swag and the toast of the town, but if some fire-breathing dragons have their way, odds are everyone will soon be toast. As the hordes from the UnderRealms regroup for their next attack, Dave parties with celebrities, lunches with A-listers, and gets his ass lawyered up—because his hellacious ex is looking for a piece of that sweet, sweet action.

It’s all good, until new monsters roll in, looking to parley with “the Dave.”

WTF, monsters. Do you think the Dave can’t spot a trap before he falls into it? And when things go to hell at warp 10, a suit from a shadow operation swoops in to offer Dave a deal he can’t refuse. Now Dave’s about to face off against an opponent who makes battling bloodthirsty behemoths look like child’s play—a ravishing Russian spy with a few superpowers of her own.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

Invested_Ivana 50Ya know, I have a pretty good picture of Dave in my head by now, and as much as I like the covers to these books, Dave in my head does not look like the guy on the cover.  My Dave has more of a Duck Dynasty/Hell’s Angels look about him.  How do you picture Dave?

 Nervous_Nell 50I see the image you are going for, and I think you are right, I can’t help but feel the character too. I get the Hell’s Angels vibe from Dave, but he’s more ill-mannered and insolent than the Duck Dynasty boys. Dave is course, disrespectful, self-important and vulgar, and I’m leaning heavily on the self-important. I think he might have “grown up” a tiny bit since the last book, what do you think?

Invested_Ivana 50I think he’s getting around to it.  As of yet, he hasn’t really been challenged.  He’s “the shit” right now.  Wait until he faces a real challenge.  Then we’ll see if he mans up.

 Nervous_Nell 50What do you think of the newly introduced character at the end of the book?  I think she’ll be really interesting.  Truth be told, if Dave & Karin team up, they would be unstoppable.

Invested_Ivana 50I’m kind of excited about Karin.  Here’s Dave, thinking he’s the big cheese and all, and in comes someone like him, but who was hot shit before she got super powers.  It has to challenge him.  And there’s that prophecy that says there will be twelve champions, so Dave really won’t be the big cheese after that.  Might whip him into shape.

Nervous_Nell 50I can only hope.  I missed that whole prophecy thing – I bet that happened when I was skipping the gory parts.  I know…..not supposed to skip.  It grossed me out, though.

Invested_Ivana 50It’s okay.  It is pretty gory, and I know you wouldn’t read the book unless you could skip the gore.  Such a girly-girl. 😉

Nell 100Nervous Nellie says…

“Nothing is as secret as a secret secured within the chamber of secrets that is attorney-client privilege” –Professor X Boylan

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ I still don’t like Dave.  He’s an arse and not because of his vulgarity.  Vulgarity does not measure intelligence or compassion for others.  Dave has a master’s degree so he has intelligence, just no compassion. It’s all about him.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥   Igor, Heath, Ashbury and Allen are all very deep characters.  They all have a background and I can relate to them all.  I’m only going to give a slight nod to Compton, because he’s an arse too.  Professor X Boylan, attorney at law, is an interesting character.  He’s obviously brilliant, but he’s also an attorney, which makes him a wordsmith.  He is very funny without meaning to be funny. Lastly, we have the poor little Thresh. He takes the personality of the person whose brains he ….. um….*gag* sucks.  He is a funny little character though.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ I liked the story. It was action packed and interesting most of the time.  There was a lot of goriness that occurred in the UnderRealms that I had to skip.  Sorry, Mr. Birmingham, I couldn’t help it.  I can handle monsters being ripped apart, but people are harder. The whole sucking of brains was really hard to watch. I measure books by feeling and I was totally helpless in the battle scene.  Dave is so arrogant as to make decisions that endanger more lives than he can imagine.  Like I said, Dave is self-important and thinks only of himself.  Grow up more, Dave.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥   It was a good read. I liked it and I’ll have to read book three just to see what happened.

ivana 100Invested Ivana says…

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Our not-so-bright hero finally gets a little character development in this second installment.  At the beginning of the story, Dave is stuck in Las Vegas and living out his very male fantasy—horny hot chicks begging for his attention; all the food, booze, and drugs he wants; and seemingly worldwide adoration.  I wanted to slap him with his own Lucille.  He gets knocked down a few pegs, though, when he gets called out for his behavior and decisions over and over by people he respects.  I’m hoping there is some significant character development in Book Three so we feel good about calling Dave a hero by the end.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Again, I think the Thresh is my favorite secondary character, particularly this time around as the little empath daemon eats the brains of, and thus absorbs the knowledge and personality of, a few humans.  When the Thresh starts talking like a stoned surfer-dude, it really is hilarious.    Professor Boylan, the tenacious but cowardly attorney who attaches himself to Dave, turned out to be a favorite, too.  Both the Thresh and Prof.  Boylan make great comic relief.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ After the first battle at New Orleans, dragons and daemon armies are erupting from the Earth all over the world.  We learn that Dave’s oil rigger cracked the capstone that kept the UnderRealms contained, and now fissures are opening up everywhere.  We also learn a lot more about the daemon world and its politics.  I think I enjoy the parts of the story from the daemon’s perspectives almost more than from Dave’s.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dragons are attacking airplanes, a huge daemon army turns up near Omaha and in many other places around the world, and the world is in love with Dave Hooper, Monster Hunter.  Well, most of the world, anyway.  Dave, being the endearing but dick-headed man that he is, ends up leaving Heath and crew in a snit and gets snapped up by a not-so-altruistic branch of the government.  And all the while, the daemons are learning more and more about how to fight their former food source.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ I have to wonder if Dave vs. the Monsters was originally one book; the first two books don’t feel like complete stories in their own right.  Not that they weren’t enjoyable; they were!  But I’m really glad there isn’t a long wait between episodes because each book ends with a “to be continued” feel.  Perhaps it’s just the “leave ‘em wanting more” theory at work.  I do want to read more, so I guess it’s working.  🙂

Other reviews:

If you like this book…

If you like Dave, you might look up James R. Tuck’s Deacon Chalk series.  Chalk is another diamond-in-the-rough, kick-ass hero.  Nell tells me that the Monster Hunter International series by Larry Corriea would be good for Dave’s fans as well.

Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Emergence: Dave vs. The Monsters

Author: John Birmingham
Series: Dave Hooper Book 1
Publish Date: December 3, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Perspective: Third-Person

Publisher’s Description: Dave Hooper has a hangover from hell, a horrible ex-wife, and the fangs of the IRS deep in his side. The last thing he needs is an explosion at work. A real explosion. On his off-shore oil rig.

But this is no accident, and despite the news reports, Dave knows that terrorists aren’t to blame. He knows because he killed one of the things responsible.

When he wakes up in a hospital bed guarded by Navy SEALs, he realizes this is more than just a bad acid trip. Yeah, Dave’s had a few. This trip is way weirder.

Killing a seven-foot-tall, tattooed demon has transformed the overweight, balding safety manager into something else entirely. A foul-mouthed, beer-loving monster slayer, and humanity’s least worthy Champion.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).

ivana 100I finished Emergence, Nell.  It was a good story, but I have to say … either the protagonist or the author has a “thing” about male reproductive parts.  They are everywhere in this book!

Nell 100In my experience, I think that is just the way oil riggers, some construction workers and meat packers talk.  They live a hard life so they talk hard too.  I think the more vulgar the talk, the more points they racked up. Maybe shock value?  IMHO I believe that it’s the culture of the profession.

ivana 100Okay, if you say so.  What did you think of the cover?  I see that the Australian cover of the book is very different.  But I like the cover on my copy.  The cover design is what really caught my eye.

Nell 100Yeah, I liked the cover.  It reminded me of James Tuck’s Deacon Chalk.  I think the cover was the one piece that sold me.  It looked like he was a seriously effective monster hunter, but in the story he was just a guy. The title of the book didn’t do anything for me, but it did fit the book.  What was different in the Australian cover?  I didn’t look that closely. 

ivana 100It’s a view of the ocean showing the oil rig, helicopters, a storm, and waves.  It’s not a bad cover, but it certainly wouldn’t have made me think there was anything supernatural about this book.  But maybe the Australian audience is different.  Dave is quite a character, huh?  Such a smart ass!

Nell 100The cover depicted him as badass, but in reality, he was not as bad and more of an ass. I loved the dialog – the author did a good job with that – but so many times I felt like he was a little boy when he should be a man.  I think I may be judging him too closely to Deacon Chalk and that’s not fair.  Nobody is as badass as Deacon Chalk, Quincy Harker or Harry Dresden, but I did think Dave would become….I don’t know….more responsible?  You know….scared straight?

ivana 100He may yet be.  The whole book takes place in a very short amount of time, and the last we see of Dave, he’s passed out from overusing his powers.  He’s been in crisis mode for the whole book.  We’ll see what he does next.Nell 100

I thought the monsters were interesting.  You are the scientist among us – do you believe that much time could go by (from caveman times to now) without the creatures evolving at all?

ivana 100I guess. Evolution occurs when creatures adapt to their environment.  If the environment doesn’t change, creatures won’t adapt, and thus no evolution.  But I do find it hard to believe there could be actually creatures living under the earth for that long that we wouldn’t have discovered.  I don’t think they were really underground; I think they must have been in a different dimension.  Otherwise, how would the Thresh have recognized a flying creature?  Creatures underground and in caves don’t fly.Nell 100

There could have been pterodactyl kind of flying thingies, you know…

ivana 100Not underground.  Even flying dinosaurs need sky to fly.

But underground there is still an up…..right?  Bats fly in caves and some of them are underground, right?

Then only little flying things could have existed in caves, and the Thresh would have been astounded at the size of the helicopters.  He just took their size in stride, which tells me they were really in an alternate dimension.  Besides, the flying thingie at the end of the book sounded huge.  It just couldn’t have lived underground.

Nell 100Is this the part where I lecture you about suspension of disbelief like you usually lecture me?  Huh?  Huh?  Is it??  😉

ivana 100Blah, blah, blah.  Whatever.  Are you going to read the next book?  I got it from NetGalley, so I better get to reviewing it pretty soon!

I guess I am kind of curious as to what happens.  Maybe I will look into the next book.

Nervous Nellie says…

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dave Cooper. “Soooper Dave” as I sarcastically call him.  I can honestly say that I like the character up to a point.  He was wearing kind of thin by the last quarter of the book.  He swears a lot, which doesn’t bother me one bit, but it feels like he never grew as a character.  He acts like a frat boy when he’s supposed to be a man my age.  He’s overly self indulgent, hard partying guy with college degrees. *Shrug* Like I said, he wore a little thin by the ending.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Professor Compton is a self important, arrogant, mean-spirited little man who is so full of himself he’s lucky he doesn’t split his seams.  The monsters are hard to envision especially with their manly parts being right up in my face with nearly every chapter.  What is also hard for me to envision is a society where everyone knows what everyone else thinks.  No one can have their own identity because each and every one of those monsters are slaves.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The world is interesting.  It’s a totally believable oil rig and the personalities of those people who work on the rig are right on the money.  The military aspect is very easy to imagine and I have no doubt that in our “real” world, Dave’s threat would have been dealt with in a lot more hostile manner.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The story was fantastic.  I think it had great potential when I started reading it, but I lost the steam about ¾ through the book.  That’s really rotten of me to say because at ¾ of the book is when the “battle scenes” start taking place and I had a hard time staying focused. It felt like it went on forever and never resolved anything.  I know this is a trilogy and Dave has ample time to improve, but with all the stuff he’d been through with the monsters as well as being a well-educated engineer, I really thought he’d “grow up” quicker.  The writing is fun to read.  I highlighted so many awesome quotes (most I can’t share here with this being a PG crowd and all) just for the pure entertainment value of going back and reading them again and again.

Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ The ending was a little abrupt, I thought.  The battle was raging and then “poof” and it’s done….or at least until the next book, I would guess.  It wasn’t a cliffhanger exactly, but it did lead to the next book.  I think I would recommend this book, simply because the dialog was such fun.  The story had potential, but it just ran out of steam for me.  I think if you are a person who likes a rough (and I mean REALLY rough) and gritty redneck who obtains super power and knowledge through a monster he kills, then this would be for you.  I can’t comment on whether I’ll get the next book or not. I just don’t know at this point.  One of the things that is holding me back is the price point.  I spent some coinage on this story and walked away with some minor disappointment.  Another thing is that there was a short sample of the second book at the end and the first scenes of the second book didn’t impress me much.  Maybe I am on “sooooper Dave” overload.

Invested Ivana says…

Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dave Hooper is, at heart, a good guy who suffers from poor impulse control.  He’s rough and blunt, bad at interpersonal relationships, and quite self-indulgent.  But he’s strong as hell and somewhat stupid in the face of fear, which makes him a great asset when demons attempt to overrun the world.  Part of Dave’s appeal is his shock value – he says and thinks outrageous things, especially when faced with educated military officers.  Part of his appeal is his attempts at being a good guy, especially when he doesn’t quite manage.  Dave does have a self-pitying streak, though, and while it isn’t quite overstated, it comes close.  If you’re familiar with addiction-in-denial, you’ll probably recognize it in Dave.

Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ Snatched up by the military as the only person who seems to know anything about the demon invaders, Dave is surrounded by Navy SEALS, SWAT team guys, and military researchers – most of whom are also trying to defeat the demons.  Surprisingly, my favorite secondary character is the little demon, or Thresh, who gives us the demons’ perspective of our world.  I really like the way the demons’ perspectives are written and the hive-like mind sharing of demon thoughts and feelings.  The hive-mind is a great device for showing us the demon’s world and their view of us.

World: ♥ ♥ ♥ For the humans, the demon invasion is “first contact” with anything supernatural – at least in written history.  The demon world, however, is interesting, even though we don’t get a full picture of it quite yet.  The demon world has a ruling queen, a caste-system supported by biology, and a warrior-mindset.  It is apparently located inside our own world, though how they recognize flying creatures in that case is beyond me.  Demon myth says that they once ruled Earth and preyed on early, cave-dwelling humans until the humans prayed to their god for deliverance from the demons.  The god banished the demons to the Underworld, giving the humans a chance to grow and thrive.

Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ Dave is the head of security on an oil rig off the coast of Texas.  When monsters invade the oil rig, killing many of the workers, Dave is the only person who can defeat the demons.  From this encounter, Dave seems to absorb the memory and knowledge of the demons and some awesome superpowers.  The military snatches him up for testing and, when the demons emerge again in New Orleans, use Dave as a tool for fighting them off.

The final battle in New Orleans goes on for 107 pages.  If you like military strategy and battles, that might be okay; but, it was a little long for me.  One of the reasons I don’t read as much traditional fantasy as I used to is the LONG battle sequences and focus on military tactics.  But to be fair, the battle is very cinematic with Dave showing off his new powers and facing off against the demons.  The last time we see Dave in the book, he’s passing out from overuse of his powers.  Good thing I received Book 2, Resistance, from NetGalley so I don’t have to wait to find out what happens to Dave and New Orleans!

Other reviews:

If you like this book…

Though this book is being marketed as similar to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, I don’t really see much similarity to either.  Not to say that fans of those gentlemen won’t like Emergence – they probably will.  But, while Harry Dresden and Atticus O’Sullivan can be explosively dangerous, they can also be complex and subtle – two things Dave Hooper has not yet demonstrated.

But if you like Dave, you might look up James R. Tuck’s Deacon Chalk series.  Chalk is another diamond-in-the-rough, kick-ass hero.  Nell tells me that the Monster Hunter International series by Larry Corriea would be good for Dave’s fans as well.

No promotional consideration was granted for this review.

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