Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Up In Smoke"

Book Two of 2009 100+ Challenge

I've finished my second book of the year. I'm really off to a slow start, but we'll see how things go as time goes on. This book was the second in Katie MacAlister's Silver Dragon series. "Up in Smoke" follows the adventures of May Northcott who is the mate to the wyvern of the Silver Dragons, Gabriel Tauhou. She is also a doppelganger and is bound to a demon prince by the name of Magoth who, as the book begins, is arranging to make her his consort so he can have access to the mortal world so he can wreak havoc.

Along the way May needs to help her twin, Cyrene, regain her naiad status from Neptune. The story also includes some of the plottings and politics of the Dragon community, and Aisling and Drake, from the Green Dragon series, are in the book, but only as very secondary characters.

The story has many plots and numerous situations that in the end never get resolved. I enjoyed the book, but I wouldn't recommend it without first reading the books that came before, especially the Aisling Grey series. There is a lot of detail that isn't included in this book that you can get from the previous releases. Additionally, I'd wait to read this one until the next is out. It felt like the book ended before the story. The situation with Magoth isn't resolved, nor is the problem of May being the dragon shard vessel. We still don't really know who the dragon in the shadow world is or why he's there, and the wyvern of the Blue dragons is still up in the air. The only thing confirmed in this book is that May and Gabriel love each other.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Swallowing Darkness"

Book One of 2009 100+ Challenge

I just finished Laurell K. Hamilton's "Swallowing Darkness". This is the seventh book in the Meredith Gentry series that follows the life of Princess Meredith NicEssus , a half-human, half-fae would be queen of the Unseelie Court of Faerie. She is pregnant with twins from at least three different fathers. This should give one a good idea of the suspension of reality that occurs throughout this series. Anything and everything can be different because the lands and magics of Faerie itself make it different. Those magics are growing and powers that were thought gone forever are returning through the Princess and her connection to the Goddess.

This installment in the series, and it is an installment, there will be more, shows Meredith making truly royal decisions and coming into her new abilities with a vengenance that is truly a trademark of Hamilton's. Hamilton continues with her colorful descriptions and fantastical imagery of the beings and magics of Faerie to such detail that you can almost believe it is real.

Sex has been a huge part of this series since Princess Meredith comes from a line of fertility gods, but it is considerably less in this book. So much less that the one scene that comes to mind seems almost gratuitous. Characters from a previous book appear suddenly and the scene moves quickly into one of sex. There is precedent and purpose for the actions, but it feels disjointed to me and as if it had been added later on. I could easily see reading the story without that scene.

If you are a fan of this series, this book does a lot to develop Meredith's position and powers, I think you will enjoy that aspect, but it still leaves many things hanging. The end of the book comes suddenly and abruptly. I felt like we were missing a few chapters. If you haven't read these books, I still would recommend them. Hamilton creates a wonderful urban fantasy world that is so visual and real that you can't help but see it in your mind's eye. She has the ability to grab a reader and take them along for a kind of wild ride that is hard to find.

For a taste of the series, visit these links to Laurell K. Hamilton's site where you can read sample chapters:

Kiss of Shadows - chapter one

Caress of Twilight - chapter one

Seduced by Moonlight - chapter one; chapter two

Stroke of Midnight - chapter one

Mistral’s Kiss - chapter one; chapter two

Lick of Frost - chapter one; chapter two

Swallowing Darkness - chapter one

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Slow Progress

I have not forgotten this challenge, and as I work my way through my daily life I have found a few snippets of time in which to begin reading. However, I am behind and haven't even finished one novel as of yet. I am about ten chapters into "Swallowing Darkness" and will probably finish it in the next two days as it has gotten me hooked. Stay tuned for a brief review!