Rating: 3 stars
It was really good at first. Then it fizzled out about half way through. In the beginning, there was some goblin lore, and it all seemed like it was building up to something fascinating. About halfway through it became a straight up romance. All of the other storylines were dropped. The goblin lore no longer mattered. Some things seemed completely pointless in hindsight such as Hans being the story at all.
The writing was beautiful, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of other things. There weren’t enough details about the world and the goblins. Some things were alluded to but never followed up on. The pacing was too slow. The book really could have been shorter. So much page time was spent on Liesl’s obsession with music. I did not give a shit. It was boring as hell to read about.
Liesl was admirable in her desire to put others needs before her own. It was cool that she wasn’t a great beauty although several characters mentioned that she was, but the emphasis was on her plainness. Putting herself in great danger wasn’t something she generally did, but she had a habit of not thinking things through, which got on my nerves at times.
The goblin king was the best part of the book, but even he wasn’t too interesting by the end. His misery and history were not explored enough. At first he was mysterious, charming, and manipulative. By the end he was just a sad guy.
The ending was unconventional, but it wasn’t satisfying either. It was one of those weird things where it was sad and happy at the same time. It didn’t feel complete. There were still things I wanted to know. This ending would be okay if it were the first in a series, but I believe this is a standalone. Then again even if this were a series, I didn’t like this enough to want to read the next one.
Rating: 3 stars
Series: The Immortal Empire #3
The plot was bad. It was very similar to Up From the Grave although in all fairness this book was published first. I liked the plot even less in Up From the Grave. At least in this book the problem was dealt with the right way. A young, crazy killer appeared, and she looked just like Xandy. Just take a wild guess as to who the killer was.
Something about psychotic, killer children being developed in labs from stolen genetic material isn’t interesting to me. Being a mother I understand the desire to protect your kid, but I can’t relate to it in a situation like this when the kid is a lab experiment gone wrong and is a complete danger to society. There isn’t any humanity in them to save.
The characters in this series needed more personality. Xandy did have personality, but she was a queen. She needed to tone it down and be more regal. Everyone else was bland. Vex was too damned perfect. He always did and said the right thing. Having a guy like that IRL is great but in literature it’s fucking boring. William was a lot like Vex except he wasn’t a love interest. Frankly I couldn’t understand why either of those guys were invested in Xandy.
I never really understood why Xandy was a queen anyway. She didn’t have the right temperament for it. William was the one who was knowledgeable of goblins and their ways. She could walk in sunlight when the others couldn’t, but how did that make her worthy of being queen?
Xandy was a racist. She hated humans. Most of them weren’t nice to any of the supes, but it’s not fair to judge a whole race on the actions of some. It was rather hypocritical of her. Being a halvie she was looked down on for most of her life just because of what she was, but she didn’t seem to be capable of relating to others in the same situation. It was this issue more than any other that made it really difficult for me to like her.
The world building was the main thing that made this series stand out. It was in London with an alternate history where only some modern technology existed. Vampires, werewolves, and goblins were all known about by humans. Each faction has their own hierarchy although vampires were the ones who ruled the humans. It was original, which is damn hard to find.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: The Immortal Empire #1
I’m not sure why this is generally labeled as steampunk. It did have some minor steampunk elements like alternate history, but major things like dirigibles or mechanical anything were absent. In many aspects it read more like urban fantasy.
The world building was a little confusing at first because there was a lot of information to absorb at one time. My comprehension hasn’t been the best lately, which may have had something to do with it. From the start vampires, werewolves, half-bloods, and goblins were introduced. Not enough time was spent on any one creature except for the half-bloods to completely understand what they are capable of doing.
Xandy Vardan was a half-blood meaning she was half vampire, half human. Her sister was missing. When she finally found her, she got more than she bargained for. Xandy learned that most of the people in her life had been keeping secrets from her, and those secrets altered what she knew about everything.
During the first half of the book Xandy was more relatable. By the end her world had been flipped upside down, and she embraced it all rather quickly. It felt like she should have been rebelling against what she had learned just from the shock of it. Sadly there weren’t many likable characters in the book. For one reason or another I pretty much hated every person in Xandy’s family. None of them treated her well when she would have given her life for theirs. Vex McLaughlin was the only other character I liked. As a romantic interest he was almost too good to be true. Vex and Xandy’s relationship developed quickly, so I wasn’t deeply invested in them. I like them together, but I wouldn’t care much if they split either.
There were a few things I had issues with. Xandy was special and unique. It’s gets old reading about people that are capable of things no one else is. It was too predictable. The clues dropped about what was going on with Xandy were easy to figure out. By the time she figured it out, it was old news to me. Too much was revealed in one book. Some of the revelations should have been spread out over a book or two. All of the major issues were wrapped up in this, so it’s not imperative to read the next one to know what’s going on. I was disappointed with the end. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I don’t really get why she was held in such high esteem. Plus the ending just added to her specialness, which I could have done without. Regardless of those issues, I’d still like to read the next one.