Sunday, January 15, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - January 15, 2017

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. After many green winters with last year being almost balmy, it finally snowed in England. Many of my colleagues were cheering as big fat flakes pelted down amongst even fatter freezing rain drops. They were incredulous that I wasn't excited about the thought of getting cold and wet. I had to listen to the accusations of 'but you're Canadian, you should be used to this'. It's a bit different trudging around in the snow in inappropriate footwear and an umbrella than it is to jump into a nice warm car and drive to your destination. Ho hum. Anyway, enough of my weather report what did I read?

I was super lucky to receive The Thief Who Wasn't There from the publisher. This is the fourth in Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series. I read the first three in quick succession and was practically biting my nails for number 4 to be released. I wasn't left disappointed.

At the end of Book 3 - The Thief Who Knocked on Sorrow's Gate Amra has disappeared from the mad wizard's tower in her home town of Bellarius. She isn't gone and forgotten as her boyfriend and mage Holgren is left behind, desperate to find her. In this instalment the story is told mainly from Holgren's POV. He is determined to find Amra and we find out just how far he is willing to go and the extent of his power. Holgren doesn't have to battle just to find Amra, he has unwittingly positioned himself as one of the contenders to rule Bellarius. There are battles on every front between the other factions within Bellarius and the dark magic that has taken Amra. He is willing to do anything and everything to get her back....even to go to Hell in back. Will he succeed? I will let you find that our yourself.

I enjoyed The Thief Who Wasn't There and think that having the story told by Holgren 'mixed it up a bit'. I like how ruthless he is and what he is willing to do in order to get his girlfriend back. When he says that it's Amra who makes him a nice person you realise pretty quickly that he isn't wrong. I also thought it was clever how McClung explains/re-introduces the story of gods and goddess and Amra's role in fate. However, I didn't find this book quite as polished as the others. I felt the transition between the Holgren POVs and Amra's a bit abrupt. Likewise with the change of story from the tower in Bellarius back to Holgren landing back in Lucernis. I had to go back and re-read the start of each of these chapters just to make sure I hadn't missed anything like an announcement of Holgren intending to travel or the subsequent journey. Otherwise, it was a great story and I am really looking forward to finding out what happens next.

I received a lovely Qwill care package towards the end of last year and in that was Thunderbird which is the fourth book in Chuck Wendig's Miriam Black series. I was really looking forward to continuing this series as Miriam is one of those characters who dares you to like her. In this instalment Miriam is on the road to find the one person who is rumoured to be able to remove her ability to see how people die. Miriam has been trailed through all of the books by 'The Trespasser', a malevolent being she can only see who goads her and torments her about her abilities. Taking the form of those she has loved and lost (and sometimes those who she hated and lost!) The Trespasser is determined she won't give up her psychic abilities. During her travels Miriam finds herself in the company of a group of people much like herself with individual talents. They aren't, however, intending to use their powers for good but have plans which put them in the league of other terrorist organisations. Miriam is torn between wanting to defeat them and finding the woman who can remove her curse. What's worse is when she discovers that they are one and the same. Who will prevail? It's Miriam against a whole community of psychically enhanced nut-jobs. Go Miriam Go!

I would love to be able to say I really enjoyed Thunderbird but this is a hard series to enjoy, in the traditional sense of the word. Miriam is rude, crude, a user and can be at times extremely self centered. She has also had a terrible life with people being abusive and cruel to her. She has had an zealously religious mother mentally abuse her, has been chased and captured by mad men and just discovered her saviour and love Louis is engaged to someone else. Miriam seems to be permanently enrolled in the university of hard knocks. She is however, trying to be a better person, to rid herself of her visions so that she can lead a normal life. What she fails to realise and weirdly what The Trespasser is trying to convince her of, is how she can use her visions to change fate. What I didn't find as obvious this time was the relationship between the title and what happens in the story. Previous titles of Blackbirds, Mockingbird and The Cormorant started to make sense as the story progressed but I didn't really see the connection, or mention of a thunderbird in this tale. Perhaps this is a Wendig subtlety that passed me by. This is a dark, dark tale and the ending is very stark. I hope Miriam gets a break in the next book and that Wendig wraps up this story. Great book, but in my cover snob way I really miss the previous covers. I could stare at them all day and always found something new hiding in the background.

That is it for me this week. Hoping you have a great week and get to enjoy a book-shaped something special.

The Thief Who Wasn't There
Amra Thetys 4
Ragnarok Publications, November 15, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 348 pages

Bellarius, saved from utter destruction, is now plunged into vicious civil war. Amra has vanished, and while Holgren has a plan to find her and bring her back, his plan teeters between impossibility and insanity.

Before he can even implement it, Holgren will have to deal with three separate armies vying for control of Bellaria, all of which view him as either a threat, an inconvenience, or a potential tool.

Meanwhile, Holgren seeks to trap one of the monstrous rift-spawn — abominations born of the Telemarch's madness and power — and bend it to his will. Then, he intends to descend into the eleven hells to steal an ancient artifact of incredible power from the dire halls of the Black Library.

Oh, the things we do for love.

The Thief Who Wasn't There is the fourth volume in Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series.


Miriam Black 4
Saga Press, February 28, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

In the fourth installment of the Miriam Black series, Miriam heads to the southwest in search of another psychic who may be able to help her understand her curse, but instead finds a cult of domestic terrorists and the worst vision of death she’s had yet.

Miriam is becoming addicted to seeing her death visions, but she is also trying out something new: Hope. She is in search of another psychic who can help her with her curse, but instead finds a group of domestic terrorists in her deadliest vision to date.



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