The continuation of the Lower Earth series, a dystopian fantasy set in a world where men are dying out after ‘The Mist’ and Queen Ariane continues her cruel reign.
Thousands of innocent genetic deviants. One Queen who wants them dead.
Leadon long believed Lower Earth was a promised land.
But now that crop killers have become commonplace and Queen Ariane systematically obliterates those she deems unworthy, Leadon learns the hard truth about life on Lower Earth.
Humanity is scarce. Food is even more scarce. Ariane is driving Lower Earth to the brink of disaster.
When Leadon bears witness to an extreme act of cruelty by the Queen, she is torn between loyalty to the Ganese people and the morality of Lower Earth’s original peoples.
Thousands of innocent lives hang in the balance. One word and the Queen will have them destroyed. Leadon must convince her enemies that they should combine forces and work toward a common goal, or risk the promise of tomorrow for all.
In Selfsame, Lower Earth had to look itself in the eye. In Culling, Lower Earth must run from its own reflection.
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series ( with Spoilers)
Author Laurel Hamilton
Genre : Urban Fantasy
The first book in the series: Guilty Pleasures
I love books in series-. I can’t describe the joy of jumping into a new book but knowing about the main characters – their strengths and weaknesses, their unique personality quirks, their loves and enemies. I enjoy picking up in a world that is familiar with secondary characters you have grown to love just as much as the hero or heroine over the course of several books. But most of all, I like the fact that I know exactly what I am letting myself in for when I start reading the first chapters- no nasty surprises.
So when I read Book 10, Narcissus in Chains, of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, I thought I had picked up a book from a parallel universe and remains one of the biggest disappointments in my book reading life.
While I understand that a character can’t stand still over a period of a time particularly in a long standing series but a complete change personality and morality is a little hard to accept.
I loved this epic fantasy influenced by Medieval India with not one but three complicated, morally grey women fighting and plotting to overthrow the patriarchy with no guilt or regret.
Princess Malini plots her escape from an inescapable temple after being imprisoned by her despot brother Chandra with the help of maidservant Priya. But Priya is a temple child- powerful in her own right and wants to save the people of Ahiranya. Together, can they save the empire of Parijat?
This is a sweet romance set in a fantasy setting with a feisty, heroine and a tortured hero but I really wanted to learn more about the world and the Thief King and his kingdom.
Larkyra is one of the Mousai, a trio of sorceresses, who just happens to be sisters. The Mousai helps the Thief King reign over his kingdom where magic exists hidden away from the rest of the world. Larkyra power lies in her voice, and she can slay monsters with her voice but this is a gift she uses sparingly. On becoming an adult, she is given an assignment to pose as the Duke of Lachlan’s potential bride to stop him stealing drugs from the Thief Kingdom then using this to fuel his magic and abuse his tenants. But of course, her mission is complicated by her growing attraction to the tortured ( literally) Darius who happens to be the Duke’s stepson.
There are vivid descriptions that bring the world of Aadilor to life- I loved the description of the thief kingdom as seen through Darius’s eyes when he visits the land for the first time. I was really intrigued by the premise of the weather being permanently stormy and grey in Lachlan as a result of the Duke’s sadness. The story is told from both Larkyra’s and Darius’s viewpoint, so there we know straight away Darius is a good man, who cares deeply for his people and is horribly abused by his uncle instead of having to wait several hundred pages for the Larkyra to find out. The romance between Darius and Larkyra is sweet but runs a predictable course and in my view is the main focus of the story rather than part of it. The Duke is an unpleasant villain and truly creepy leaving me genuinely feeling sad for Darius and the awful childhood that he had.
If you wanted a book with a strong romance in a fantasy setting with interesting characters then this is a perfect book for you. But if like me you wanted more fantasy and more action, then you may be disappointed. I really wanted to learn more about the Thief King and his Kingdom- how did he manage to create an invisible kingdom, why is it invisible and more about the people who live there but most of the book was set outside of the Thief Kingdom. I was expecting a lot more intrigue and ninja action from Larkyra and her sisters especially as Larkya was sent to spy on the Duke.
Descriptions of cutting, self-harm.
Yes. Lots of angst, deep looks and flirting.
No cliffhangers and no overriding series arcs that I could pick up on
Perfect for Fans
Anyone looking for a strong romance in fantasy with vivid and descriptive writing.
4 stars, this book wasn’t for me but I’m sure other people will love it.
The inhabitants of Atalanta have been forced out of their homeland to create a new city called New Atlantis when the humans discovered their existence and, of course, declared war. The city is ruled by the Arcana, based on the tarot cards ( or were the Tarot cards based one on leaders of Atlantis!) with their own courts and powers. Rune St John is the Last Sun, the sole survivor of the House of Sun after a devasting attack on his father, his father’s court when Rune was fifteen. Rune was left alive but only after surviving a deliberately brutal ordeal. Now Rune, works with the Tower a powerful Aracana along with his companion Brand, with diminished resources before he takes his place on the Arcana while trying to solve the mystery of why and who attached him and his family twenty years ago
I had lost interest in urban fantasy, as many of the books followed the same old pattern, the snarky main character, sexual tension with the antagonist, well you know the drill but while this series still has the snarky main character, there is so much more that is different. The magic system based on Tarot cards and magic linked to objects is fresh but there are other magical creatures as well, some old and some new. I like books with political intrigue and the second book delivers this with plenty of court drama amongst the action. There is an overlying mystery as to who the person coordinating all the evil including the night of the brutal attack on Rune and the mystery of what Rune did that night.
The friendship between Brand and Rune is well written and intense with a good explanation as to why it is. There is also a sweet romance between Rune and Addam, a Lord from another Arcana that Rune rescues from peril but this is not the focus of the book which is good as I do lose interest when romance and sexual tension takes centre stage in a non-romance book. The humour is provided by the younger characters- Quinn, Max and later Anna in book two.
The plots in the books race along with the action scenes leaping off the page with a good dose of magic but there are enough quieter scenes that made me care about all the characters
The books are predominantly filled with strong and sensitive diverse male characters of all ages but there are no equivalent female characters particularly in the first book. But this is in the second book and third book with more strong and vibrant female characters
I found Rune’s flashback to his brutal rape when he was fifteen a bit too graphic and while I can under the need for this scene in the first book to show his motives for revenge, it still made it difficult to read. This is referenced to in the second and third book but not so graphically. Drug addiction.
No, but there is an overriding mystery as to the evil arcana who is pulling the strings causing havoc in Rune’s life.
Perfect for Fans
The Dresden files, Fetch Phillips, Rivers of London or any urban fantasy with a male main character
I have just finished reading the next thrilling instalment in the Chorus of Dragon series and it continues Kirhin’s and his friends’ story following the devastation in the final battle of the Memory of souls. Now, I can’t wait to read the next book to see how Kirhin’s story ends.
Kirhin engages in a continuous cat and mouse chase with Vol Karoth in the hope he can make the monster whole again but also to keep his friends and family safe and hopefully safe the world. Will Kirhin succeed or will the people who love him lose him forever?
The book starts where the third book in this series, House of Always, ends just after Kirhin is stabbed by Talon in a desperate attempt to fix Vol Karoth. As with the other books in this series, there are multiple viewpoints from several characters over several periods before neatly converging into one. It was great to find out more about Galen, Xivan, Talea and Kalinda in their own right and not just their connections to Kirihin. Thurishavar has more to do than be just a narrator and Qown gets his chance to redeem himself. There are some lovely and not so lovely relationships between many of these characters. The relationships between the main players are unconventional particularly the polyamorous relationship between Kirhin, Teraaeth and Yanel and I found myself rooting for all of them to work out.
The action never stops and the pacing is much better in this book than the last book with scenes of action, romance, and introspection well balanced out. Jenn Lyons’ prose brings Kirhin’s world to life with vivid descriptions of the food, clothes, people and it is so easy to lose yourself in this world. I wasn’t expecting the final outcome at the end and was pleased that I can still be surprised at the end of a book
( as I seem to spend most of my time guessing what the twist/denouement is going to be).
As with the other books in this series, there is plenty of diversity- not just sexual and racial diversity but also gender and( could I call it? )species diversity- not all the characters are human. How did I miss Janel’s distinctive colouring in the other books?
The plot is complex and the narrative structure is linear but complicated and you do need to focus to take everything in with so many secrets, betrayals and desires are revealed in the most public of ways to all the main characters.
Kirhin remains one of my favourite characters and I like how his story doesn’t follow the usual chosen one trope and his constant battle to keep Vol Karoth from harming his friends was riveting. I secretly adore Talon and her devious ways and we learn a little more about her slightly softer side in this book
Not much. Janel is a lot less irritating but possibly because there are so many characters to take the focus away from her. There is a bit of romantic angst in some of the relationships and there is a scene between Xivan and Talea that made me queasy. The focus is on the younger characters in this book but I missed Khaeriel, Therin, Thaena and the other older characters from the last book
A certain scene between Talea and Xivan made me uncomfortable, and I really couldn’t see the point of it.
There is lots and lots of romance and complicated relationships in wonderfully diverse ways.
The main story is resolved but the overall arc needs to be resolved.
5 stars, it’s going to be a long wait for the final instalment
The City of New York takes centre stage in this urban fantasy.Here is my review of The City We Became by NK Jesmin.
Series The Great Cities Trilogy
Genre :Urban Fantasy
Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.
But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
The idea of a city coming to life is urban fantasy in it’s most literal sense and is really well described and vivid with language that grabbed me from the start. The book is told from the viewpoints of the ‘boroughs’ of New York, most of these characters are diverse in their race, sexuality and in age. Bronca is an older woman, a grandmother and a general badass. Brooklyn is the mother of a teenager and former rapper but motherhood is not the only feature that defines her.Brooklyn and Bronca are the reasons, I kept reading this book-it is rare to read about women of a certain age in fantasy,
This was an interesting and novel concept, with engaging characters in an unusual urban fantasy, but full of real-life problems that made this really hard for me to get through- I read fantasy for escapism from real-world problems. I finished the book but it was really hard work to get to the end and has put me off visiting New York as a result.
I couldn’t get into the book. It was a hard slog to get to the end and I suspect if I hadn’t treated myself to a hardback copy, I may have given up. I found it hard to warm up to many of the main characters especially Staten Island. I bought the book after reading a chapter in another book as I liked the energy of that character ( the avatar of New York) but he only appeared in the first and final chapter.
Use of racist and anti-Semitic language (considerable), misogyny.
Perfect for Fans
American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The city and the City by China Mieville
This was an amazing concept, a range of diverse characters and a great climax but far too grounded in reality for me but others will no doubt love this book for those reasons.
I have been an obsessed reader of fantasy and sci-fiction for years particularly those books that form part of a series- books with their own worlds, universes and intricate magical systems. But I stayed from a few well-known authors that I thought were a bit too sword and sorcery and this included the famous Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson even though I loved his Reckoners series. I finally picked up the Final Empire a few weeks and have to agree this is a book ( and trilogy ) that lives up to the hype.
The overriding story arc
This is the story of Vin and Keisler with their dedicated friends whose initial goal is to start a revolution to free the Skaa (an almost slave like population) from the Lord Ruler and the nobility. The Lord Ruler had defeated an evil called the Deepness but keeps his empire under his tight control. He has rewarded his allies and their descendants with magical abilities derived from the ability to burn metals called Alllomancy- people with the ability to burn one metal are called mistlings and the rarest of them all is The Mistborn, someone who can use all metals. Vin is possibly the most powerful Mistborn of them all and possibly the only one who can save the empire from the Lord Ruler and the evil he once defeated.
I loved the fact the three books had completely different themes. The Final Empire describes what happens when a beloved ruler becomes a tyrant and how to start a revolution. The Well of Ascension describes the aftermath of a just revolution, and how overthrowing an existing order isn’t always the answer and the Hero of Ages describes the sacrifices a leader has to make to keep his people safe.
Vin, a half skaa girl and Mistborn is the main character of all the books and we follow her journey from an abused teenager to a confident, leader. There are several interesting characters and my favourites are Keisler, Spook and Sazed. We also follow Elend, a young noble who dreams of utopia but finds that the reality of power completely different.
The magical system in the Mistborn series is intricate with its own rules and systems. Readers are rewarded in the Hero of Ages, origins of the system are shared as are the origins of the Kandra, Mistwraiths and Koloss and it makes perfect sense.
I always appreciate authors who reward readers who pay attention to detail and foreshadowing in the first books in a series and then explain why a certain object like a single earing was so important in the last book and this series does this by the bucketful.