Sunday, August 31, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - August 29, 2014

I have decided to mix it up this week with a little blast from my past. Yes, friends I am channelling one of my favourite childhood shows - Sesame Street (stick with me it will make sense in a minute). While I was reading this week this favourite song kept twirling around in my head - 'One Of These Things.

Three of these things belong together
Three of these things are kind of the same
Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?
Now it's time to play our game (time to play our game).

So can you pick it out?

After a diabolical week last week in what I chose to read, I succumbed to my Amazon recommendations and an author whose books I have enjoyed before. I downloaded Balanced on the Blade's Edge. This is the first in the Dragon's Blood series. This first book introduces us to Sardelle, a sorcerer, who has been asleep for 300 years in the middle of a mountain. She wakes up to find herself the only one of her race still alive, in a world that fears magic and to make matters worse the mountain is now part of a prison, mining colony. Apart from surviving in a prison colony Sardelle needs to reach her soul blade, a sword containing the soul of a young woman. The hero of this tale is Ridge Zirkander, a famous pilot in the air force who has been punished by being made to oversee the prison for a year. He is drawn to the mysterious Sardelle who is mistaken for a prisoner. Magic, mayhem and mechanical monsters are all part of this fantasy/steampunk romance.

I read this book really quickly, it only took me a few hours. I liked Sardelle and Ridge and was kind of surprised that the hot and heavy started quite early in the book. Buroker's other series The Emperor's Edge was much more a tease in the romance department with the hero and heroine not really getting together until quite late in the series. This book has no big surprises and I thought it ended quite abruptly but I did like it.

Book number 2 is Deathmaker. It was actually the cover of book 2 which drew me to this series. If I am not mistaken the model is Jason Momoa (from Stargate Atlantis and Game of Thrones). If I am wrong than Mr Momo has a twin that is a model for fantasy novels. Anyway I digress. This book centers on Lieutenant Ahn, one of Zikander's crew, who has been shot down in enemy territory. Just when she thinks that being beaten and imprisoned by the evil Cofah couldn't get any worse she gets a new cellmate - The Deathmaker. Tolemek, a warrior and scientist (not your regular combination) has killed hundreds with his concoctions but is an outcast by his own country. He needs to escape prison before he ends up the victim himself and engages the help of the plucky lieutenant. Airships, poisons and more time in prison cells is the focus of this instalment.

I think this novel is a bit weaker than book 1. Tolemek and Ahn barely stayed any time in prison and if you go by the book summary it sounds like the whole plot is set there. I know that Tolemek is quite misunderstood. He is in fact quite the goody two shoes in comparison to what his moniker suggests. Ahn is a bit stereotypical and reminded me of one of the characters in the Buroker's Emperor's Edge series.

By Tuesday I was onto book 3 - Blood Charged. Everyone is back in book 3 - Sardelle, Zirkander, Tolemek and Ahn. Back on base Zirkander is worried that Sardelle's powers will be exposed and a secret mission into enemy territory on behalf of the King seems like the perfect place to hide for a while. The characters are developed a bit further as Zirkander and Sardelle are joined by Tolemek, Ahn and a few new characters. Book 3 was a bit Indiana Jones crossed with James Bond with 'the gang' breaking into a Cofah research facility trying to find the dragon blood the enemy have weaponised.

It seems like there is more action in this book than that other two but I don't think this was necessarily the case. A lot happens to all the characters in book 3 but it is mainly action and not character development. We learn relatively little about any of the main characters and Buroker really misses a chance to round out her characters. Overall, it was a quick, enjoyable read. I guessed a lot of what was going to happen but it wasn't boring and the characters were inoffensive. My only criticism was with the cover. What on earth is coming out of Zirkander's head?  I know what it looks like. Sorry it just does. Now I just have to wait until for book 4 to be released.

My final book this week was Evernight the fifth book of the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan. This instalment finds Holly Evernight living a solitary life locked in her own home, afraid to go outside after being the prisoner of crazy demon who forced her to rip out other supernaturals hearts and replace them with a mechanical one. One of the victims is William Thorne, renegade and assassin whose mechanical heart is turning him into the 'Tin Man'. He sets off to rid the world of Miss Evernight but ends up protecting her instead. Holly is fighting to stop Thorne from turning into a machine while he fights with what his heart is telling him - that Evernight is the woman for him. This love story is all set in the backdrop of a London where supernaturals stay hidden in plain sight and fight to stay that way.
I hate to admit that I completely forgot what had happened in the previous books of the series. In fact, I thought it was another series when I bought it. (oops!). I did enjoy it but it took me several chapters to remind myself what was going on. I think I may have to go back and re-read the last book. There was your fairly typical 'stop it, I love it' romance but Evernight was quite feisty and determined that the handsome Thorne wouldn't get the better of her. As I had forgotten quite a bit about the previous books I would almost suggest that Evernight could be read as a stand alone novel. The best part about this book was the covers. I LOVE the cover to the left, which was the one I had on the e-book version. It is very stylized and much more interesting than the other version.

It was quite a productive week for me and much more enjoyable that last week. Now have you figured out why I was singing 'One of these things?'.  That is it for me. I hope you have had a good week and to all my friends and readers in the States - Happy Labor Day weekend and Happy Reading.


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