Our protagonist, Oona Crate, is smart but troubled by tragedies in her past. She has clever helpers, a crow who carries all the world's knowledge in it's scattered brain, and an elf.
She lives on the border between our world and fairyland. She has a dilemma to face - to go on developing her talents as a wizard or become a detective which she dearly desires.
This is the story of how circumstances force her to face her fears and move forward. A wonderful growing up story, told charmingly.
The story is fresh, original, and convoluted enough to make it a satisfying mystery.
The author has written a richly detailed mystery that is satisfying (and scary) to read. The narrator sounds like an adult woman, which is rare in audiobooks these days.
Most of us make life choices for reasons besides what's actually good for us. We compromise and make the best of decisions that seem rather self defeating.
Rather than explain the plot, let's just say that Edie Spence is doing the best she can with a life that seems to be off the rails. She puts up with a low paying, high stress nursing job in the county hospital because it keeps her junky brother alive. And not only does he not know what sacrifices she's made for him, he still seems determined to destroy himself.
But this book is not a soap opera. It is well designed urban fantasy complete with vampires, ghouls, shape shifters, and "others". The setup simply serves to put Edie into the path of these creatures. A patient leads to a mystery which leads to much danger and a gripping story.
And boy does she get involved. From rescuing patients from a syphilitic dragon, to rescuing a vampire princess, she goes deeper into her patient's lives then she ever intended. Edie is not a larger then life heroine. She is a person who makes mistakes, like most of us, but she does try as best she can. She does get by. I am not a nurse, but the details of the daily grind in a hospital ring true to me.
I highly recommend this book and the sequel (I've listened to it twice already and will return to it again sometime when I can't find something new to listen to).
Loved the alien. Loved the trip to Florida theme parks. Loved the Roswell visit.
Not wanting to spoil the plot, I'll just say it was the kind of writing that reminds you why you keep reading - to find gems like this.
Hours of on edge of seat excitement with intermittent humor. A joy to listen to. Makes me wish for the good old days of the space race. Too bad, currently it looks like the Chinese will be the first Martian adventurers.
Only at one point was I yelling at the narrator - "Duck tape, use duck tape." But he finally thought of it.
If you want to convince someone that math is important, let them read this. The man's life depends on the math he uses to decide how to use his resources and stay alive. Fantastic!
The story is imaginative and interesting but takes a long time to get anywhere. We are looking forward to the point where the spacefaring humans meet the mage and it takes forever! Actually very near the end of the book. Until then we mostly witness the mage's painstaking steps to get into space. At the end is an enemy that is actually not very interesting, even if very powerful.
Another book that could be reduced to an easier to swallow short story or novella.
Trite characters battle a lackluster plot. Questions are not asked, because if the characters were smarter the story would never happen. How can a man, after being interrogated about a recent murder, not ask ANYONE who died? Or, anything else about the murder - all leading to misunderstandings and lots more bodies? This is just the beginning of a bunch of contrived plot points that leave the listener to shout at the absent writer.
The cliches mount up, just as the body count, and the reader needs some chemical assistance to enjoy it.
This is a prequel for novels already published. Fans of the swordplay of previous Riyria novels and forgiving of less than sparkling dialogue, may enjoy returning to the Riyria universe.
In a sort of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" style, two men of opposite types are brought together to form an improbable partnership. It could have been fun but here the story is trite and contrived.
A number of vignettes are loosely tied together in a disjointed way that never comes together as a satisfying whole. Characters are moved around like chess pieces, maneuvered by a central character instead of allowing natural events to bring them together.
The result is flat rather than entertaining. The final chapter leaves the reader feeling manipulated. I was looking forward to this story of how the main characters originally met but it did not live up to it's potential.
Followers of the Liaden Universe series will be thrilled to have a new installment, but the performance is a real disappointment. Readers may decide they would rather read the print version.
It's time for the apocalypse, isn't it? All the signs are lining up: wars in the mid-east, the anti-christ has been selected, and six of the seven books about that boy sorcerer and his friends have been published.
So why is Christine always in the right place, at the right time, to do what? Is she supposed to help or hinder? In fact, it's not really clear who is in charge and what they are trying to accomplish. Angels seem to be operating at cross purposes.
As Christine bounces around the world to interview the general for Israel, her house is being vandalized. Why would anyone use ketchup to draw a backwards swastika on her carpet? And, because it's backwards it doesn't count as a hate crime? Oh, well, now she has a new linoleum floor in her breakfast nook, thanks to the premature death of a neighbor. At least it is a "welcoming" pattern ...
Don't miss the apocalyse vs flooring theory of history. Countless times flooring issues are ignored because of the expectation that it won't matter anymore soon, only to have to deal with it after all because the Apocalypse fails to appear on schedule. Again.
The book has a great assortment of characters, acting rationally and irrationally. Humor abounds and it even all makes sense, in the end, mostly. Don't miss the cherubim who works for tips - tips he insists on giving out such as "ants walking single file means rain".
The story flows well without slow spots. The reader is well matched to the material to bring the whole squirrely thing to life. It does for the apocalypse what "Caddyshack" did for golf.
I can't tell you what culture inspired this fantasy, (Vietnamese,Chinese?). The real joy of this book is that it is from the opposite side of the world from western traditions, making for a refreshing new slant on magic.
Every person has an animal spirit that shows up in their childhood, sort of like The Golden Compass. But the resemblance to that book ends there. (If you read Golden Compass after watching the movie, you will be very sad. The movie ended before the horrible ending inflicted by the author.)
Kai Zou's animal spirit is a pig, a smelly pig with a smart mouth. He is usually right, which annoys Kai Zou no end. There are lots of other spirit animals, a (dead) stone griffin, and there are dragons - ghost dragons, of the occidental type.
Kai Zou is a street lord, with a small gang of friends, each of whom have strengths and weaknesses. Kai Zou's mother owns a magic shop and teaches magic; Kai Zou has to help out, creating conflicts between his street life and home life.
In the previous book, Kai Zou gave the Princess her impossible wish. This book is the fall out from that wish. This book stands on it's own but it would be nice if the prequel was read by this same reader. I give the reader high marks for the accent, as well as the reading, which contributes to the oriental atmosphere.
And the food they eat sounds great. Wish the restaurants were in Tucson.
This book is on my list of best of 2012 (that's when I found it) along with "The Wizard of Dark Street", and all time favorite "Fly by Night".
Here's hoping for sequels or companion books.
This is the standard that all audiobooks should aspire to. Clever story telling and a great performance. The most enjoyable audiobook I have ever heard. Period.
If you are familiar with A. Lee Martinez then you know that I can not do justice to the story by recapping it. Suffice to say it is one of the author's best books.
If you are not familiar with the author but know you enjoy horror with an irreverent twist, and total off-the-wall bizarreness, then listen to the clip, and then buy the book.
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