Yup, it's another urban fantasy book rife with strong female characters, various supernatural baddie baddies, and hints at love-triangles. The sad thing is that if this wasn't written by the same formula as most books in this genre, I would give this a much higher rating. It's not that it's a bad book - it's actually really good and better than much of what I've read in the genre. It's just that there isn't much new or original in the plot, the universe, or the people.
Like most urban fantasy books I've read, this one spends book 1 doing a lot of introducing what different types of critters can do, what their weaknesses are, and setting up a bunch of "unanswered questions". What's in her past? Oooh, why is she an orphan? etc etc
The reading is decent, but some of the characters blended together in my mind and I fault that, at least in part, to the reader. As a first person perspective book, narration by a woman makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, almost every other character in the book is a man and the reader makes them all sound like gravelly jazz singers.
I thought this was a much better book than "Driving Mr. Dead". I found the humor in this book on par with some of Ms. Harper's better books. Characters had interesting backgrounds that made me want to see how things turned out. Yes, the book is predictable in it's final outcome. It's a romcom book. The fun is about the twists and turns on the way there. This book did a good job.
I would recommend reading all the the "Nice Girls Don't..." series first as this book relies heavily on characters from those books and the inside jokes may be lost on you without that.
Finally, the reader, Amanda Ronconi, may have been tasked too hard for this book. I really sympathize as she is a great reader and does many accents well. But, the lead character in this book is supposed to have an accent that is a combination of Boston (think JFK) and Irish. It was at times painful to listen to. Yuck. I don't think Ms. Ronconi blew it as much as that was just a horrible accent to assign to any character - that was all Molly Harper's fault. The reader sounded best at times when she just gave up on trying to put any Boston in and just let Irish roll out. After a few hours you'll get used to it, but wow, it's like adjusting to eating cheeseburgers with chocolate sauce on top. You could do it, but it just hurts to think about.
I feel it's probably safe to say I'm in the minority as a male reader/listener to Molly Harper's works. What can I say, I like a romcom and she is definitely funny. I've burned through pretty much everything she's written about Half Moon Hollow and werewolves in Alaska etc etc. Most of the books are pretty formulaic, but they are funny as hell and satisfying.
This one is just the low point I guess. This book's female lead was just pretty bland and the male character, I found little sympathy for. He just seemed to be a character plucked from any one of the 80's romcoms - aloof, not knowing how to connect.
What generally makes Ms. Harper's books good are a bunch of nearly-Shakespearian mix ups, misunderstandings, and people doing things wholly inappropriate. Aside from boob-painting vandals, this story really seemed to lack that quality.
I wouldn't say, "Don't read this", but I would say, "Only read this when you've got nothing else and you want a fix of fantasy romcom."
We read this as part of our book club and found it disappointing. It wasn't a bad book, but you found yourself often wanting the characters to be better, the plot to be much tighter, and the whole concept less vanilla. It's a sort of twist on spy novel and romance that didn't quite work for me or the other book club members. In my listen, I kept on waiting for something to happen. Not a bad book, just not great.
I just listened to both of Correia's available Grim Noir books and thought they were great! Original, well thought out and, for the most part, the characters were diverse and interesting. I went to the author's website and read him ranting about how he believed that he hadn't gotten some award or another, because of the liberal reviewers or some such and how he was okay with that because he had a big gun collection and a house in Utah. Hey, that sounded bizarre to me as Hard Magic didn't seem to have any sort of political bent at all. Just great fun.
Then I picked up Monster Hunter International and I found out what was going on. I have to say that this book was just simple-minded and had a heap pages wasted on subplot about how the US government wants nothing more than to get in the way of people trying to stop evil monsters. For a plot point, here and there, I think this could work, but Correia just made this more personal vendetta than story. In Ghost Busters, it was great to see the interplay between Walter Peck (the EPA guy) and the Mayor and the Ghost Busters. I get it. This can be funny. But, this book just took it way, way too far.
The point of this book, for me (hey I'm not the author, but I did listen to the whole thing), should be "There's some bad monster dudes, and here is our ragtag bunch of heroes out to save the day". Instead, I found it to be, "The government is actually the only reason we have a problem, because they are whiney liberal idiots who don't let decent Americans shoot things (evil monsters) with guns."
Between that plot and the endless discussion of this gun vs. that gun and which had what size barrel diameter and number of balls of shot in a cartridge and bull-pup configuration or the back blast from this grenade launcher, I was finding myself distracted much more than entertained.
If you just want to hear a book the promotes stereotypical viewpoints about guns and liberals for hours on end, this could be the book for you. I found it to be the work of a writer who has not yet come into his prime that focuses on things that did not advance the plot. This, I find in stark contrast to Correia's "Hard Magic" which was excellent. It's still evident from that book that the author is a self described "gun nut", but it is tempered with an excellent plot, and good writing (in the books, he does a great job of altering writing style to match the perspective of different characters' world view). I suggest that if you're looking for a well-written book that is a great blending of action and fantasy start with that book instead.
Long story short: Read this book, but don't expect Terry Pratchett. The plot idea was fascinating - infinite Earth's you can travel between. This book is really akin to Larry Niven's, "Ring World" than it is Disc World. There are a few humorous lines here and there, but it's mostly hard science fiction. Great! Entertaining! Makes you think. It's a great start to a series and I can't wait for the next.
Um, yeah. This is just not a good book. It's fairly clear that the author just thought she could rehash bits of Hunger Games (post apocalyptic U.S. focused on kids suffering through a dystopian world) and Harry Potter (different houses with different reputations/skills). Not only does the author fail to do a good job in creating something new and interesting, but the writing is mediocre leaving the listener waiting for a reason to keep listening. In the end, I decided to just stop listening and give this one up.
I was thoroughly impressed by this book. Haven't read the author's previous works, but this book gave enough introduction to the mythos and universe that I was able to catch on quickly. This book isn't quite "urban fantasy" as it's more Wild West-themed fantasy, but it's done with some class.
The characters were a bit stereotypical (quiet lawman with a past, silly sidekick, developing you prodigy, etc etc), but the plot was well conceived and the characters fit well into the story. Worth reading, and worth waiting for book 2!
I was really hesitant about this book based on the premise and, frankly, the cover art. My initial fears only seemed to be confirmed in the first few pages when characters seems almost as if they were pulled out of a stereotypical 30's gangster plot and given super powers. But, I found that about 30 minutes of listening, the book started to grab me. The reading was stupendous. I mean seriously some of the best I have ever heard. This novel is full of a cosmopolitan mix of characters from around the world and Bronson Pinchot does a great job of giving them life without making everyone sound trite.
The book has a fast-paced plot without giving up on character development and relationships. I recommend it.
awesome, awesomer, and awesomest!
This was finally the story I had been hoping for! Novik does a great job of exploring the world of 19th century with dragons in it in all of her books, but this was the book that I stayed up until 3 am to finish! Dragons fighting to save England!
I thought this book did a great job of both bringing together the "dragon's rights" struggles that had begun to simmer in the past books with the struggle to save England for Napoleon's forces as they knocked on the very doorsteps of the country.
Great book, well-written and well read!
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