Faithless – Graham Austin-King (Review)

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In the temple of the Forgefather, fallen priests chant endlessly to an absent god, shaping metal through ritual and half-forgotten arts. Beneath them, in the subterranean city of Aspiration, miners scrabble for ore in cramped tunnels and try to resist the lure of the hungry dark. Continue reading “Faithless – Graham Austin-King (Review)”

Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison (Review)

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It took me a long time to get round to reading Dead Witch Walking. The book gets a lot of praise, but it was first mentioned to me as “urban fantasy about killer tomatoes,” and that description did nothing for me. It sounded like comic fantasy, and the list of authors who can manage to do that well is extremely short.

Dead Witch Walking is not comic fantasy, and killer tomatoes don’t really feature. Instead, a weaponised virus used tomatoes as a carrier, eventually wiping out a significant proportion of the human population. In the aftermath of this tragedy, vampires/witches/et cetera revealed themselves to humanity. The book takes place long after this, in a post-masquerade world where monsters are feared but accepted as part of reality.

Rachel Morgan is tired of dealing with bad assignments and unreasonable orders. For years, she’s been an employee of Inderland Security, tasked with solving supernatural problems – rogue vampires, black magic, that sort of thing. Now she’s ready to strike out on her own.

Life outside the I.S. isn’t easy though. With only a pixie and a vampire as backup, Rachel has to find steady work and stay alive, all the while dealing with demons, drug lords, and an agency that really doesn’t like people breaking their contracts.    Continue reading “Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison (Review)”

Darien – C. F. Iggulden (Review)

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The Empire of Salt has declined and fallen. What is left is Darien – a city ruled through a puppet king by twelve noble families. Magic has faded too, and only the wealthy manage to hoard anything more than trinkets. Plague ravages the countryside, and children steal to survive. Society is old and tired, looking back to an earlier age to avoid thinking about the failures and compromises of the modern day. There’s no pride, justice, or nobility left.

Darien focuses on a cast of characters who want something more. A thief who dreams of a treasure hoard, a girl who dreams of justice. A gang leader with memories of a nobler calling and a general tired of pointless orders. Darien has been in placid decline for centuries, but times are changing. Plans and paths converge, beginning a chain of events that will either destroy the city or redeem it.  Continue reading “Darien – C. F. Iggulden (Review)”

Three parts dead – Max Gladstone (Review)

three parts dead max gladstoneKos Everburning is the god of Alt Coulumb. Faith flows from his people to him, and in return Kos keeps the city heated and defended, keeps lights on and transport running. His power is linked through magical contracts to the defense of other nations, his body acting as a source of, and a conduit for, unimaginable power. Without Kos, the people of Alt Coulumb would suffer, and treasure fleets would be vulnerable to pirates. Everything would fall apart.

Kos has just died. Continue reading “Three parts dead – Max Gladstone (Review)”

Thaumatology 101 – Niall Teasdale (Review)

T101I was warned off from Thaumatology 101 before I started reading it. Reviews are rather mixed – some people think it’s a fun and flirty urban fantasy romp, and some people think it’s objectionable smut about unrealistic cardboard characters.

I thought the massively polarised reviews were fascinating. Normally there’s majority agreement on whether a book is urban fantasy or paranormal romance, and similar agreement on whether it is worth reading.

Ceridwyn Brent is a magical research assistant who can’t do magic. She’s also the heir to a wizard mansion, protected by burning tattoos and with a half-succubus for a housemate. She starts of her series with the kind of assests and confidants that it takes most urban fantasy protagonists at least a trilogy to acquire. Continue reading “Thaumatology 101 – Niall Teasdale (Review)”

The Paper Magician Series – Charlie N. Holmberg (Review)

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Ceony Twill wants to be a smelter – a magician bonded to metal. She wants to enchant bullets and send railway lines across the country. She doesn’t want to be a paper magician, sending letters and making decorations for children’s parties.

But she doesn’t get the chance to pick her material. Faced with the option of no magic or paper magic, Ceony reluctantly begins her studies with the eccentric Emery Thane. Soon, she starts to find that both her instructor and paper magic are far more interesting than she first assumed. Continue reading “The Paper Magician Series – Charlie N. Holmberg (Review)”

Hex-Rated – Jason Ridler (Review)

Hex-rated.jpgJames Brimstone doesn’t want to have anything to do with magic anymore. With the burial of his cruel mentor, all his remaining bridges to the world of hexes and demons have been burnt. He can start work as a private investigator and leave the supernatural behind him.

His first case, predictably enough, plunges him right back into it all. A actress with hideous facial scarring – scarring that tastes of magic – begs for his help. James Brimstone finds himself going up against Nazi occultists, monstrous snakes and rage-filled gladiators as he investigates the seamier side of Hollywood. Continue reading “Hex-Rated – Jason Ridler (Review)”