Bright (2017) – Review

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Two thousand years after the fall of the Dark Lord, America still bears the scars of the conflict. Elves are the rich and powerful elite, living in secure, gated communities in the human cities. And orcs are the underclass – distrusted and feared, stereotyped (often accurately) as brutal gang members.

Ward (Will Smith) is the cop who’s unlucky enough to get partnered with the LAPD’s newest diversity hire: Jakoby, the first orc on the Force. Together, they have to deal with racism, corruption, and the constant threat of death. Also, someone might be trying to bring the Dark Lord back.

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Slouch Witch – Helen Harper (Review)

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Ivy is a talented witch. Talented, but extremely lazy. So much so that she’s not really a practicing witch at all; instead, she’s a taxi driver who happens to do magic occasionally. Doing magic professionally would involve working with the Order, and their stuffed-shirt early-morning way of doing things is definitely not to Ivy’s taste.

When Ivy ends up magically bound to work with Nicholas Winter, the most stuffed-shirt of all the Order witches, she is less than thrilled. Tracking down a stolen scepter involves danger, diplomacy, and waking up before dawn, three things she would rather not be involved with. But with the binding in place, she doesn’t have a choice. She has to either find a way to break the powerfully magical bond, or to work with the irritating and irritatingly handsome Winter.

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Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich (Review)

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Lizzy Tucker makes cupcakes. And cookies and other baked goods, but she’s really good at cupcakes. That’s her talent. She works in a bakery, and leads a quiet life free from troublesome pets or romantic entanglements.

Her quiet life is disrupted when two dangerously attractive and simply dangerous men appear in her life. They think she has another talent, one that’s more significant than baking. They think she can find magical objects, the sort that might bring about the apocalypse.  Continue reading “Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich (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)”

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)”

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)”

Tough Travels – Assassins

Tough TravellingEvery month, Fantasy Faction runs a feature where they seek out examples of fantasy tropes. Other bloggers are welcome to join in, finding their own books to match the given topic. This week’s topic is assassins:

Assassins are ubiquitous throughout fantasyland. Sharp-eyed readers (or even dull-eyed ones) will notice that their hooded forms often adorn book covers, and that they frequently appear – rather improbably – not to mind being the sole focus of our attention. Whether they’re spotlight hogs or camera-shy and brooding, most assassins will have trained for years and are very, VERY good at their job (i.e. killing people for money).

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