Thursday, April 26, 2012


The quick and dirty:
Rating: 4 stars
Length: Nicely long without getting bogged down (434 pages)
Publication: February 2, 2012 in trade paperback from Headline Ome; February 8, 2012 in hardback from Grand Central Publishing

At a guess, the weirdly close release in these formats is a marketing move.  
Premise: Pressia Belze dreads her sixteenth birthday, the day when she'll be kidnapped from her grandfather and conscripted. Partridge Willux dreads his future of being mentally and physically recoded, and the faint hint that his mother might actually be alive drives him to escape the Dome that has sheltered him for years. The years since the Detonations have left both of them adrift and unsure of the truth, and the journey that follows when they finally meet teaches them more even as it unravels the little they thought they knew for sure.
Warnings: some fairly traumatic backstory on both sides, brief scene with maiming
Recommendation: I'd say to buy this one in paperback, especially if you have a soft spot for dystopian coming-of-age stories. Odds are it'll be available at plenty of libraries given the huge marketing bubble, though, so take a look there first.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Child of Fire

I really wanted to enjoy this one, since the urban fantasy part of my rotation is normally a heap of mysteries, chase scenes, and great pacing. And besides, I'm always in favor of pyromaniac cover art. 

The quick and dirty:
Rating: 2.5 stars
Length: Solidly moderate (357 pages)
Publication: September 29, 2009 from Del Rey
Premise: Ray Lilly is freshly out of prison for his involvement in a mysterious series of murders and working for Annalise, a frighteningly dangerous magic user who would love to kill him....if the tasks she assigns him don't help do it first. Their investigation begins when they see a child burn to death by the side of the road; worse, the boy's parents forget about their son's very existence only moments later. On the surface, the town of Hammer Bay is a success story for small business and community. When Harry and Annalise start asking questions, the seemingly ordinary townspeople start raising the stakes to hold their conspiracy of silence together. 
Warnings: lots of children burning to death quickly, plenty of casual brutality and gore
Recommendation: There's so much potential for an interesting universe, but it rings hollow. Put this one at the bottom of your list for a rainy day, or move it up if you're short on decent urban fantasy with a male lead. I got it from the library, and in all fairness, it's a not bad way to spend an afternoon. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Midnight Never Come

The quick and dirty: 
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publication: June 29, 2008 from Orbit Books
Premise: In the heart of London, Queen Elizabeth reigns in splendor; in the earth below her, Queen Invidiana rules the Onyx Court of the faeries with cruelty. Deven, a young courtier appointed to Elizabeth's guard, and Lune, a faerie who has fallen from Invidiana's favor, struggle to ferret information that will ferry them to the heights of their courts. But both the mortal court and the fairie Court are full of treachery....and ruled by capricious Queens who have bound themselves together in a pact for power. Intrigue runs deeper on both sides than anyone had guessed, and taking a step toward the other realm means risking the perils of both.
Warnings: a fairly nasty death scene? This one doesn't really have anything horrible.
Recommendation: Try this one out, especially if you can find it on sale; much though I don't love Amazon's ripple effect on local bookstores, it's pretty cheap there. If you like faeries or Elizabethan England, absolutely don't miss it. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Giant Thief

The quick and dirty:
Rating: 2.5 stars
Length: On the long side of average (381 pages)
Publication: January 31, 2012 from Angry Robot Books
Premise: Easie Damasco is caught stealing from a supply train belonging to the army of Moaradrid, a barbarian warlord bent on seizing the throne with the help of giants he has coerced into service. He is saved from hanging only to wind up in the disposable unit and winds up in command of a giant named Saltlick in the middle of the battle. They escape together, stealing a few more things on the way out, and soon find themselves over their heads between the army, a rebellion, and more chase scenes than either of them ever wanted to experience.
Warnings: One instance of attempted rape as a plot point
Recommendation: If you're absolutely going to die without a new book featuring a thief-protagonist, go for it, but for a save-the-kingdom adventure it's pretty average. 

There's one moderate spoiler in the red pen section for an event that occurs about a third of the way through the book. I can't really say I apologize, because it's a stupid plot point, but you've been warned: skip the paragraphs on Mounteban if you're worried.