It's tough being a faery in New Orleans, a city fraught with vampires...especially when their very existence drains your life force.
Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void is having a rough week. Four years after her twin brother's mysterious death, Willow's life is threatened and the director saddles her with a new partner - her ex-boyfriend, David. To her horror, he's turned vamp, which causes her physical pain whenever she touches him...and any other specimen of the undead.
In order to save Willow's life, David agrees to turn double agent against the most powerful vampire organization in New Orleans. Or so he says. And she's convinced they know something about her brother's death. Unsure where David's loyalties lie, she turns to Talisen, her childhood crush, to help her solve the mystery.
Caught between two gorgeous men and a director who'll stop at nothing to control Willow's gifts, she'll have to follow her instincts and learn who to trust. Otherwise, she risks losing more than just her life.
©2013 Deanna Chase (P)2013 Deanna Chase
This book screamed for a more emotional performance and better character development. I have tried to avoid books narrated by Gabra Zackman because her voice is not suited for changes in character or highly emotional scenes. Her character voices are never more than a slight, weird change in inflection otherwise, it's a monotone reading. She has a beautiful voice, although more suited for hypnotherapy audiobooks.
Irritated. The synopsis was interesting but the heroine Willow was whiney, weak and hard to get behind. I found myself getting irritated and wishing she'd grow a backbone. The plot was scattered and had no real purpose. Some of the main elements of the story e.g. the reason she was able to turn David, were never explained or even resolved...hinted for the next book in the series....nothing.
So, I Read This Book Today . . .
I first came across Deanna Chase in 2012 with her book Haunted on Bourbon Street. The book, featuring Jade Calhoun, was set in New Orleans and features Jade, an empath, and a creative and interesting group of friends, including a couple of strip club owners, a coven, and couple of ghosts with very different agendas. Since then, I happily enjoyed both Witches of Bourbon Street and Demons of Bourbon Street. There are still two more (that I know of) in the series that I have already purchased and are sitting in my TBR pile waiting for their turn. And I am very much looking forward to them.
Influential Magic is also set in New Orleans, and is the first in a series subtitled Crescent City Fae. This new series stars Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void. Oh, and she is also a faery – complete with wings and flight capabilities. Well, when she isn’t around vampires, whose walking death drains her earth magic, and thus her life force. A very uncomfortable position to be in when your evil faery auntie, who is also the Director of the Void policing agency partners you with a vampire in order to investigate dastardly deeds by the local vampire corporation. Especially when that vampire happens to be your ‘used-to-be-human’ boyfriend. A boyfriend, who suddenly dumped you with a quick text message (jerk!), then turns up later turned – literally.
What happens to Willow in this volume of the Crescent City series is a neat bit of creative urban fantasy, but it also carries an undercurrent of politics and xenophobia which reflects what is happening in this world, this reality, even now. I am, admittedly, not a ‘vampire groupie’ as so many are these days. Been there, done that, would really like for that whole ‘cold, dead, walking corpses’ to be over already. I mean, come on – have you ever felt a real corpse? Gross. I couldn’t imagine kissing cold, dead lips, much less getting down and dirty with other parts! However, in Chase’s alternate universe, her vampires are, though still cold and walking dead, much more ‘real’ people than others in the genre, with lives and families whom they love – even if they are still overwhelmingly entitled, making them both vicious and brutally efficient killers when crossed.
Overall, I really liked Willow. She takes a lot of damage, both physically and emotionally in this first book, and overall she handles it well. I did find her rather naïve at times, railing against those who would take care of issues in a vigilante fashion, while openly acknowledging that the governmental agencies are deeply corrupt. At the same time, I honestly admired her for understanding the siren song of power and how it can so easily corrupt.
The fantasy storyline is creative, well written, and believable as an alternative reality of a world which evolved under magical conditions, while still aligning closely with our own. There is a bit of a triangle aspect, between Willow and David, the vamp ex boyfriend and Talisen, her childhood friend and mentor who is another faery. The triangle seems to correct itself at the end, and I honestly hope that the concept doesn’t carry on through the other books, as I find those sorts of story lines to be crutches for poor story development. However, the Shih Tzu that turns into a wolf? Awesome! And I hope that Willow will be spending more time in her bakery, creating magically infused cupcakes, and more time with her best friend, Phoebe, a witch. There were a lot of ends left free, leaving room for a great deal of really good story development as we learn more about Willow, her skills, and her family and friends. And having listened to the Audible Edition, narrated by Gabra Zackman, one of my favorite narrators of all time, there was a whole other level of enjoyment that I was able to gain from the book. And right now, Influential Magic is only $1.99 for the Audible Edition! What's not to like? Especially when it is also text-to-speech enabled for the Kindle edition. I prefer the Audible editions, as I can download them onto my Zune and pop it into my pocket while I am doing other things, but having it in both editions means I can read it any way I wish. Cool...
Yes I love this story and I have been enjoy Deanna Chase books for a while but I have to say I am excited to see were this series goes. I liked the story and also the people in this book. I was worried it would be closer to the other series but Deanna did it again and surprised me and I happy to say this is a great book and can't wait for the next one.
I so look forward to the next book I hope we don't have to wait to long.
Make the main character stop and think before jumping to so many wrong conclusions. She also used poor judgement and didn't seem to have any sense at all. She just wasn't a very likeable character to me.
Fae - Vampires - Action
I'm a fan of Deanna Chase's Jade Calhoun series, so I was anxious for her new series to come out. Fae, vampires, witches and a shih tzu that phases into a wolf . . . what more could you want? Throw in murder plots, double agents, twists and turns, a love triangle, and magically enhanced cupcakes and you've got yourself quite the ride. This isn't a paranormal romance though. The love triangle is in the background, which is exactly where it should be for this action-packed adventure. I could totally see this as a tv series, and I can't wait for the second book!
Writing characters that are believable. If I was doing magical research and someone hired me because of that, why would I also need a job at finding vampires? If my life was being threatened I would head for a safe house, not run out on a mission to figure out who was using my magical donuts to do evil. If an ex shows up and someone partners me up with them, I am going to need something other then "they are a double agent" to convince me it's ok. If i hate vampires and they slowly drain my life force, I am not going to risk my life just because i am told to without a back story of why I must. If a master vampire calls my body guard son, i think i would figure out thats the guys maker. I think it's also not believable that I would accept a "we will talk about it latter" response and drop it never to be mentioned again untill the great reveal. If someone almost killed my dog I would not instantly forgive them. If someone I did not trust was helping me find info I would ask basic questions like where are we going and why. If someone tries to attack me and starts to reveal some kind of secret but gets cut off for whatever reason, I would notice. The writer forces the story line foward using flawed character logic.
In the first few chapters the narrator was having a hard time transitioning from female character to the monotone used to give information. It's ok now and then but it should never happen in the begining while a listener is getting to know characters. Audio samples tend to come from this part of the book so it's vitally important to get it right.
After reading the Bourbon Street series, this was a little bit of a change of pace, Willow, the herione is much less engaged with the human world than Jade. She is a faery and is in the thick of all things non-human from page one as she is employed by the government agency that deals with the non-human world.
This was a very engaging read, a real page turner just like Deanna Chase's other books. Fun and easy to read but quite emotionally rich. For those who come from her Bourbon series, like me, this book is much less explicit both in the violence and the relationships, but it is still a great plot and the characters seem to have a lot of potential, I like the key players and I am looking forward to reading more about them in the rest of the series.
I think my favourite aspect of this book is the how the world has a lot of complexities that take away the black and white of good and bad. We never doubt Willow's goodness but there are many things that can make a bad guy seem less clearly bad and a good guy seem to have questionable motivations, it certainly kept me on my toes the whole time who was at the cause of each event and whether all was as it seemed to Willow (as the book is narrated from her viewpoint). While the ending gives closure, I was left keen to continue the story in the next book.
I would certainly compare it with Deanna's other series, although it has distinctive differences including the lack of adult only scenes and the fact that the book has a heroine who is not attached for much longer in the over arching story.
I think she is terrific, the right amount of character voices without being over the top, she is great at getting her tone and inflection perfect to communicate what I think the author wants to say. I seemlessly swap between reading it on kindle and listening to it on here and the voice in my head was just the same feel as this narrator. Really liked her.
I would've like to have seen better character development and story depth. The supernatural parts of the story were fun. I see potential in the series. I hope the sequels provide what was missing.
"Flat characters & storyline"
Potentially yes, the author might have developed since this book. But it depends on other reviews and the storyline.
The storyline reminded me too much of reminded me too much of True Blood. That on it's own wouldn't have been bad if the characters had enough depth. But I couldn't relate to them at all. The author worked with lots of cliches and the actions and descriptions of the personas seem forced into said cliches.
It is easy listening.
David. I know he's necessary for the storyline but I find his actions make no sense.
Unfortunately I bought this book based on positive reviews. I should have listened to the negative one - the two stars are for me finishing the book.
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