Hello readers. I hope you didn't miss me too much since my last WIR post on the 5th June! I did leave you with a review of Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley last week so hopefully that was a suitable replacement. I haven't been doing as much travelling recently so my ability to read has dwindled a bit but I have plans to pick up the pace over the next few weeks. Enough of the excuses. What did I read?
Amazon very helpfully suggested a new series for me - The Dark Arts by Bec McMaster. Shadowbound, book number 1 in the series, has been released and as I have been reading her London Steampunk series I thought I would give this new one a go.
Shadowbound is described as a Victoriana paranormal romance but for at least the first half it verged more into erotica than romance. The story starts when the lovely Miss Ianthe Martin gains the release of the equally handsome Lucien, Earl of Rathborne, from Bedlam. She needs his help and his magical abilities to track down a magical relic that has the power to wreak death and destruction across London. Lucien isn't that inclined to help Ianthe as she was the person who put him in Bedlam the year before, after he summoned a demon that killed his father and seriously injured the Prime (head of their magical order). In order to gain his help Ianthe and Lucien make a blood pact that he will help her during the day and he will help himself to Ianthe during the night. This makes for a steamy start to the novel which leads them on the quest for the relic before everything and everyone they loved are victims of its power when in the wrong hands.
I thought that Shadowbound was OK. Despite the fact I have read McMaster's London Steampunk series which has quite a bit of sex in it there is usually some form of 'stop it I love it' that happens first. I think the sex happened way too early in the story to give the later romance much credibility. Ianthe was supposed to be strong and upstanding yet she allows herself to be treated like an object for Lucien's revenge. I thought that as the story progressed that their relationship improved and as a result they became more two dimensional. The story ends on a cliffhanger with a teaser epilogue which felt rushed to me as what happens to two of the characters doesn't make sense. I can't say more without giving the plot away so you will have to read the book to see if you agree with me.
The Qwillery is very honoured to be part of Mark Lawrence's Self Published Fantasy Blog Off 2016 and I have been reading through some of the entries. I am going to tell you about Aneeka Richins' The Wanted Child. This is the first instalment of the Chaos Gods series which tells the story of the fifteen year old Ki who in order to save her parents becomes a servant of the fallen god Tavk. She has to complete all of his missions and the final one may well and truly be her final one. She is sent to be a the trainer for De, the handsome 18 year old who is fated to be the Hero of the gods. He is also fated to kill 'the wanted child' who is none other than Ki. Caught by her pledge to save her parents Ki is signing her own death warrant by training De.
The Wanted Child is definitely written for the younger reader and I normally enjoy youth fiction as I have read a number of great books in this genre before. I didn't however, enjoy reading Richins' tale of Ki and the fallen gods. It was almost 50% of the way into the book that we learn anything about the fallen lands, any of the other lands and why Ki's parents need protection. This made it very difficult to get into the story and understand why Ki was in the situation she was in. I never really understood why Ki was the only one who could save her parents and why as fifteen year old she was the only one who could attempt it. She didn't come across as being a credible heroine (or anti-heroine) and De was portrayed as very immature and innocent. The dialogue and characterisation really reminded me of a video game by Bioware called The Jade Empire. It was one of the first RPGs that Bioware developed and the plot-line was very linear, the characters one dimensional and the dialogue fairly basic. I quit playing part way through as it was just a bit boring after playing some of their more developed and sophisticated games. Perhaps if I was a teenager I would have appreciated Ki as a character a bit better but as an adult she just wasn't well written enough to keep my interest and helped me to engage with her struggle to win her parents freedom.
That is all for me this week. I plan to be able to tell you a bit more about the books from SPFBO 2016 next week. Until then Happy Reading.