Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire

tricksRating: 3 stars

Series: Incryptid #7

This series has always been hit or miss for me. It’s probably because each book takes place in a different setting with new side characters even if the main characters are the same. Each book can have a totally different vibe depending on those things. I loved the last book along with Antimony but didn’t feel the same this time around.

Antimony made one bad choice after another. Her reasons for staying away from her family made sense, but she could have used Mary as a good between if she wasn’t comfortable talking to them any other way. Maybe she wouldn’t have made some of the stupid choices she did if she had tried to confer with them. As much as she complained that she isn’t loved like everyone else in the family, it seemed contradictory that she wouldn’t let them know where she was because they would risk everything to get her regardless of the danger. I felt like her immaturity showed strongly. Although she’s strong, brave, and reliable, she lacks good forethought. Whenever something happened she jumped into it without thinking of the consequences or developing a plan, which really screwed her in the end.

I was bored for most of the book. It was around the 60% mark that it finally felt like something interesting was happening. Except for one thing, nothing relevant to the overarching plot happened. That one thing will have a big impact on Antimony later. I’m going to have a hard time feeling bad for her because it was her choice. The whole Lowryland thing didn’t do it for me. It was lacking compared to the carnival in the last book. I didn’t care much for the side characters. They were dull, and I didn’t trust any of them until the end of the book. It was weird not having the Aeslin mice around despite not liking them much in the first place. Sometimes they are annoying, but they added a quirky quality; it wasn’t right not to have that there.

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Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

37769929Rating: 3 stars

Series: The Four Horsemen #1

I wanted more of everything: emotion, depth, plot, character development, history, and most importantly world building. Pestilence is the first of the four horsemen of the apocalypse to terrorize the world. A plague spreads wherever he goes. Sara draws the short straw and sacrifices herself in an attempt to kill Pestilence. She waited for him to come as if she actually would have known which road he’d ride in on. Then she violently proceeds to kill him somehow being deluded enough to believe she is doing the right thing and is the first one brave enough to try. Amazingly enough he’s immortal and can’t die. As if I didn’t see that one coming.

From the very beginning of the book I did not like Sara. The way she attempted to kill Pestilence was extremely painful and sick, but it was okay in her mind because she was doing the right thing for mankind. Doing something evil for the right reasons does not negate the fact that something evil was done. She never even saw the hypocrisy of her situation. My first impression of her was not a good one. It didn’t help that she was immature. My opinion of her didn’t change because she didn’t change much. It was hard to believe that someone who had been alive since the beginning of time would find her of all people throughout time to be the only interesting one. Yeah freaking right.

The world building was severely lacking. Pestilence never explained anything because he couldn’t speak for God. All he gave was a brief description of his very long existence. There was never any explanation for why he felt the way he did about humans or about what his purpose in the grand scheme of things is. I desperately wanted to understand him so he would seem like more than a bastard who wanted to wipe out mankind for some unspecified reason. For most of the book I had sympathy for him because he was in a shitty situation; he was hated and reviled for being what he was meant to be. The end of the book ruined things for me in regards to how I feel about the characters. I have spoilers that explain more about this in my review on goodreads.

There wasn’t much of a plot. Pestilence went around spreading the plague. Sara, his captive, went with him and complained about it the whole time. People would try to kill him and hurt Sara because she was with him. Then they’d go onto the next place where the cycle would repeat. For a book that revolved around death, it wasn’t highly emotional. It was about suffering, everyone’s suffering, but the only suffering I felt was having to get through this book.

Shoot the Messenger by Pippa DaCosta

downloadRating: 4 stars

Series: The Messenger Chronicles #1

I would have given this 5 stars but the ending left me feeling betrayed. It was meant to. I’ve never been fond of unreliable narrators. I don’t like getting to know a character intimately through their thoughts and feelings to find out I have been lied to. It’s totally different if they lie to other characters or themselves as long as it’s understood that’s what is going on. I prefer it when their thoughts are honest. IDK how to feel about Kesh. She was honest in her thoughts but not forthcoming. The things she withheld painted her thoughts and actions in a different light. She’s not a character I can trust. Kesh will have to prove herself to me before I can say I trust, understand or like her.

All of that aside, it was rather good. I was hesitant going into this. Books about space, even fantasies, aren’t my thing. The world building was excellent. The fantasy and space aspects were blended seamlessly. Everything was explained well enough that all necessary information was given as needed, but there is so much more to learn. I can’t wait to learn more about the different planets and races. I really liked how the world worked in regards to tek and magic, two opposing forces unexpectedly working in concert.

The characters were compelling whether good or bad. Each had their own hidden backgrounds and motives. Kellee seemed to be the most straightforward although I doubt it’ll stay that way forever. Damn did I like him. He was tough, strong and unique. It was great that despite his history he was determined to move forward and make things right. Sota was barely in the story but I was desperate for him to come back.

Honestly reverse harems have never interested me. This is a Pippa DaCosta novel so I had to read it. I prefer two people to be focused on each other romantically. There wasn’t much romance in this. Kesh did only seem interested in one person beyond sex, which made the multiple lover bearable. Kesh wasn’t deluding herself into thinking she actually cared about the three men in this. It didn’t seem like what I assumed a harem would be, so I gather more lovers will enter the series later on. Although I haven’t minded the reverse harem aspects of this, it hasn’t inspired me to read others. It has inspired me to continue with this series. Part of me wishes I hadn’t read this yet because it’ll be months before the next one is released and the cliffhangers gut me every time.

The Hunt by Chloe Neill

the huntRating: 3 stars

Series: Devil’s Isle #3

Chloe Neill’s books may not be for me. I gave up on CLV, and I’m about ready to give up on this series. For one thing the pacing is slow. I never got invested in the plot. It took me a few days to get through this. Every time I put it down I had no desire to pick it back up again. After 3 books, I’m not deeply attached to any of the characters. I like Liam and Claire, but don’t care about anyone else. Although I like Liam and Claire, they are not unique.

This picked up a few weeks after the last book. Liam had taken off after the battle. Claire was coping with him being gone without having heard from him. Then Liam was framed for murder, and Claire and Gavin had to find him. They knew he was innocent, but proving it would be hard.

Liam and Claire reuniting was not all I hoped it would be. I understood why he left, but it was still a total dickhead move. I was hoping there would have been something more drastic behind his motivation to go into hiding. Claire forgave him, but I’m not sure I have. Even once they reunited, he was distant for most of the book.

The quest to prove Liam’s innocence was ridiculous since Claire and Liam repeatedly did stupid things. Liam going back to New Orleans was not a good idea. Containment was hellbent on framing him. He should have let Claire and Gavin look into it. Going to the scene of the crime ultimately helped but caused lots of problems. Claire’s actions regarding a certain new character were not smart. Without the piss poor choices the two of them made most of the developments with the plot would not have been possible.

It didn’t help that Claire was also wanted by containment for her connections to Liam. They casually walked around New Orleans, went to some of their usual haunts, and hung out with their usual crew. All of these things would have made them easy to find, which is not good since they were on the run. Neither of them wanted to be caught and sent to the dreaded Devil’s Isle aka the least scary prison on Earth. It’s actually more like an internment camp than a traditional prison. Other than not having an abundance of supplies, the people in devil’s isle aren’t treated poorly. Plus it seems like it would be easy to escape if someone was determined. The ultimate threat to them should feel more threatening.

Winter’s Reach by Craig Schaefer

23508962Rating: 4 stars

Series: Revanche  Cycle #1

Epic fantasies are not my favorite. Unlike most epic fantasies, this wasn’t weighed down with overly complex world building, which made it easier to get into. It did have a lot of characters, but not so many that it was hard to keep track of who they were and how they were related. However it didn’t grab me from the start. I had tried to read this 3 other times and never got more than a few chapters in. I’m not sure why it interested me this time. Maybe I needed to be in the right mood for it.

The pope is dying and wants his worthless son to take over when he dies. The other clergymen weren’t blind to the son’s faults and knew letting him be in charge would be disastrous. Many other powerful men and ones wanting to get more power were taking advantage of the situation in the church and playing their own manipulative games.

I didn’t love any of the characters. Some are definitely better than others, but I have the feeling we’ve only scratched the surface in regards to what these characters are capable of. It doesn’t appear that this is a series with clearly defined good and bad guys; these people have varying shades of gray. I am curious to see how all of this plays out because knowing Craig Schaefer, things are bound to take a few unexpected turns.

Lost Boy by Christina Henry

61siwssh-el-_sx329_bo1204203200_Rating: 4 stars

Peter Pan has never been one of my favorite stories. Everything I know about it comes from the Disney movie and Finding Neverland. I never read the original. With that said, I did like it, but it took awhile for me to get into it. The first half of the book was slow moving. It was obvious Peter was a selfish ass, but I kept waiting for more. Once the story got going, things got crazy.

Peter’s issues went far beyond being an extremely selfish child. He was a psychopath in the truest sense of the word. It was hard for me to understand the love any of the boys had for Peter but Jamie in particular. He was never charming or kind. Manipulation made his island of lost boys possible, but it was almost like his magic made them blind to his faults.

This is the story about how Jamie aka Hook finally saw Peter for what he was. Jamie was the good guy. However he wasn’t truly a good guy; he was just good in comparison to Peter. Despite all of the good things Jamie did, he had lots of blood on his hands, most of it for no reason other than to please Peter. The worst thing about Jamie was that he did not see Peter for who he was for well over 100 years. Everything Jamie did was out of love, even when he did horrible things for Peter. They loved each other as friends but it was more like obsession for both of them.

At first I was annoyed by Charlie. The island of lost boys felt extremely domestic because of him. He was the driving force behind the story, which was obvious by the end. Sal was a great addition. There were a few unexpected twists and a few heartbreaking moments. The end was not a happy one, but I hadn’t expected the story of two friends becoming enemies to be happy. It will probably never happen but I’d love a sequel where Hook gets the upper hand.