Urban Fantasy

Iron and Magic


Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Review:

“Iron and Magic” takes place in the Kate Daniels universe, but Kate and most of the people in her books are hardly in this. There is a small bit with the Bouda clan alphas, and Kate is mentioned several times as well as Roland, but this story is about Hugh and Elara.

Before this story, just based on what we already knew about him, I wasn’t a fan of Hugh. Honestly, I was looking forward to this book because it’s Ilona Andrews, but I wasn’t in a hurry to read it because I didn’t care about him. He’s blood thirsty and seemed evil from what we’d seen in Kate’s series, I’m also tired of the whole taking a villain and making him not bad anymore. However, by the time I was finished with this book I’d had a complete change of heart. I can’t help but love a broken badass.

Elara is still a mystery, her powers and history are only hinted at in this story never given too much detail. She seems to be possessed by some kind of god? Or maybe she is a god? She’s super powerful but can be wounded and killed, her people can pray to her, and apparently she’s terrifying in her powerful form. She loves her people and wants to take care of them and so she marries Hugh because he can provide protection she can’t.

The couple fight constantly and Elara is forever withholding information that Hugh needs to do his job. She second guesses him, puts roadblocks in his way, and is very much like his nickname for her, harpy. I was not a fan, there’s being strong because you have to be and then there’s just being stupid. I understand that she’s having issues trusting him, but come on, she married him, she signed a contract, she had to trust him to do all of that, but she was one of the biggest obstacles in the story.

Hugh does his own withholding, but it didn’t feel like the same level. He was a pretty massive baby about some things, though. Honestly, they’re both super flawed and deserve each other, but Elara’s flaws bothered me more.

There’s definitely a spark of romance between the two and there’s a pretty hot sex scene that happens right after an intense fight with an army of tough bad guys. I guess being a healer means that Hugh doesn’t need as much sleep as a normal person.

Lots of unanswered questions about Hugh and Elara have me interested in what happens next but I’m glad that it’s only going to be three books. Hopefully, it’s not a trilogy like the Hidden Legacy series was a trilogy where we don’t get a proper ending with the third book.

4.5/5

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Burn Bright

Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega 5) By: Patricia Briggs

Plot:

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

Review:

Like all Patricia Briggs books I put off reading this as long as I could because I wanted it to last. Unfortunately, for the first time from her, I was disappointed.

When last we left Charles and Anna they were thinking about expanding their family, it wasn’t even brought up once in this book. It starts off with Anna feeling slightly dissatisfied with her life, since she became a werewolf nothing that she’d planned turned out how she wanted. I was hoping for some movement there but the book ended without really addressing it. Basically, she realized that she was going to live a long life so there was plenty of time to get around to doing what she wanted. Which is kind of stupid because the rest of the book was spent with Charles protecting her or almost dying.

Charles is really starting to annoy me, he’s forever thinking about how awesome his mate is, how strong and capable, and then he protects her from everything. I understand he’s an alpha werewolf and protects, but it’s just become too much for me.

I did enjoy getting to see more of the workings of Aspen Creek, but even that was a bit disappointing. A character that had been introduced in previous books ended up being a traitor and a new evil was presented but it was all a bit sloppy.

Burn Bright ended up dragging a fair amount for me. There was lots of talking and walking and buildup and while the last fight and revelation were good I was disappointed in the book as a whole.

Obviously, I’m still going to buy Patricia Briggs books day one, but I’m kind of concerned about the future for both of the series.

3/5

Year One By: Nora Roberts

Year One (Chronicles of the One #1) By: Nora Roberts

Plot:

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

Review:

I know what the blurb sounds like, post-apocalyptic paranormal horror, I realize that but—but—it’s Nora Roberts. She writes romance. She gives me happy endings. There has to be some of that in the story despite what the blurb sounds like, right?!?

Actually, nope, there doesn’t have to be. In fact there is almost no happiness in this entire book and it definitely does not end on a happy ending or even set up a happy ending. It is nothing like I hoped and everything that the blurb advertised. Is it fair for me to be disappointed? I don’t know.

The story starts out following several different people, you see the Doom and the decimation of the human population from their different views and eventually they all meet up together, only to have the ending abandon all but one person. I found that frustrating because the person that we wound up with was one of the most boring, even though she was a witch. We don’t even know who all is alive because of how they separated or even if we’ll see them all again. It felt like my time was wasted following those people only to have them abandoned.

The world was awful, there was no point of hope that wasn’t tainted by the awful either. It was depressing and what you would expect from the genre, but because of the author I kept hoping for more, for some bright spot.

Everyone was from New York City, which is annoying. They would vaguely mention the government and that people were being rounded up, but you never saw any of that. You saw the Raiders and the religious nut job group, but never the military. Only good people seem to die and stay dead, while the evil came back. Apart from the magic everything was just too realistic human wise, which I disliked because of the addition of the magic. Why does that always have to be the most real? Why can’t people be good? Or not horrible and evil?

Oh well. The book was mostly well written, I thought some sections could have been edited out, but then since I don’t know what’s coming out next they might actually matter latter. We’ll see, I’ll probably read the next book, but I definitely won’t be buying it in hardback. Probably.

3/5

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) By: Ilona Andrews

Horrible cover

White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2) By: Ilona Andrews

Plot:

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice . . .

Review:

Oh my god!!! Ahhhhh!!!! Why is it over already? Why? Arghhhhhhhhhhh

I’m going to try and pull myself together, but I’m finding it difficult. When White Hot came out I decided to re-read Burn For Me again since it had been a few months. It actually came out way back in 2014 but due to a missed deadline and a packed scheduled the sequel, White Hot didn’t get released until May 30th 2017. That’s a pretty big gap, especially for Ilona Andrews, because of that the third book, Wildfire, is coming out in July. So I don’t have long to wait, which is nice, but still I’m already thinking about re-reading them both all over again.

I really, really like this world. I like the magic system, love Nevada, and I really love the supporting cast. Mad Rogan grew on me, though, he’s still the weakest part, in my opinion. He’s getting fleshed out, but I’m kind of getting tired of the supreme badass thing. He’s a not as cool Curran, which is the main dude in her Kate Daniels series. Maybe given a few more books he’ll really grow on me, but this is currently only planned as a trilogy so who knows.

Man, I really hope this is more than three books. I really love the characters and world a lot and don’t know if I’ll be done with them after three books. We’ll see. I vaguely remember Ilona Andrews saying they’d write more books whether Avon, their publisher, published them or not. I’ll have to go back and find where I read that to make sure it’s not just wishful thinking.

Once again, I’m sorry, Ilona Andrews book reviews for me are pretty horrible. For whatever reason reading their books is like taking a hit of cocaine, or so I imagine, and I just can’t think of anything other than holy fucking shit that was awesome!

5/5

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) By: Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) By: Patricia Briggs

Plot:

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…   Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…   Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…
 

Review:

I put off reading this book as long as I could because I just knew that it would swallow me whole and I wouldn’t want to do the things that I needed to do, like take care of my children. When I finally did start reading, I didn’t have a difficult time putting it down. Part of that was because I’m so behind on sleep and some of the time I was reading was during night time nursing sessions. The other part of that was because I just didn’t like the story as much.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I love the characters, Mercy, Adam, and all the side characters, but most of them weren’t even in the story. Mercy was in Europe because she was abducted by the Lord of the Night or whatever he called himself. He’s been mentioned in other books and I was expecting someone super scary or something and he was a major let down. Adam was of course there, but the rest of the pack wasn’t. Also, I totally guessed the big “twist” and wasn’t shocked by it at all.

I love Patricia Briggs and everything that she’s written and I’d really love to give this book 5 stars because it was still good, but I almost feel like it was a paint by numbers Mercy Thompson book. Coyote showed up, Mercy got into trouble, she got herself out, Adam nearly lost control of his wolf because he was worried about her, etc… The formatting was also different in this book. I didn’t mind the jumps from point of view from Mercy to Adam, but the fact that the POVs didn’t line up was annoying and I honestly didn’t see why it was done it added nothing to the story.

All in all, the book was good, better than most urban fantasy out there, but I don’t think it lived up to the quality I’ve come to expect from Patricia Briggs.

4/5

Side note: I’m a big new Doctor Who fan but I thought the references were overdone. Matt Smith? Even the title is a call to one of the big bads. It really dates the story, I know there are pop culture references in the other books, but for whatever reason they were too much for me in this one.