Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke

17333781Rating: 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.

The Conquering Dark by Clay and Susan Griffith

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Crown & Key #3

Simon was still trying to cope with what happened to him at the end of The Undying Legion. If he can’t find a way to fix things, the world could be in danger. Two ancient forces are at war. Simon needs to defeat them, but he can’t do it alone. He had amassed an unlikely group of allies, and he would need all of them to help him fight.

Maybe it was because it was a big change of pace from the type of stuff I’ve been reading, but I loved the way the romance was done. It was an important part of the story, but it was still low key. Their love was shown through actions and the way they treated each other rather than through thoughts and deep expressions of love. I had been afraid going into the series that there would be a love triangle, which luckily did not happen.

The conclusion to the Crown and Key trilogy was excellent! It was action packed. Nothing was left unexplained. Kate and Simon finally understood the connection between their fathers and what they were trying to do. The character development was great. All of the characters grew and changed without altering the core of who they were. I will really miss these characters now that the trilogy is over.

The Undying Legion by Clay and Susan Griffith

Rating: 3 stars

Series: Crown & Key #2

Ritualistic murders were occurring in London. Simon, Kate, and Malcolm worked together to determine why they were happening and to stop them. Eventually they realized the murders could unleash some dangerous forces. Simon was getting unwanted attention due to his involvement in the murders. It didn’t deter him although the consequences might be more than he imagined.

The story began to focus on the minor characters more, which led to some good character development. Malcolm had a bigger role. He still had his dour attitude, but I definitely warmed to him. Working closely with other people was beginning to have a positive effect on him; he was finally starting to see that everything isn’t black and white. Charlotte and Imogen were in the first book but not enough to know them. This time their personalities were able to shine through.

The Undying Legion was damn good. It did have a slight case of middle book syndrome i.e. when the second book in a trilogy isn’t quite as awesome as parts 1 and 3. It was by no means worthless filler. Some issues were resolved, but all of the major ones were left for the next book. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this, it didn’t grab my attention the way the first one did either.

Thanks to netgalley for the ARC! The review is my honest opinion of the book.

The Shadow Revolution by Clay and Susan Griffith

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Crown & Key #1

Something strange was going on. Simon Archer and his friend Nick Barker discovered a werewolf causing problems in London. Both of them had powerful magic but could barely escape from the werewolves clutches. In the process of hunting the werewolf, Simon was introduced to Kate Anstruther. Family problems of her own caused her to work with Simon to figure out what was going on in London. Malcolm MacFarlane the werewolf hunter assisted them in their fight against a common enemy.

My favorite part of this was the banter. Everyone spoke in a manner that seemed appropriate for high society people, which is something a lot of authors don’t get right. Many of the characters especially Simon were witty. Simon was quite funny at times. I laughed out loud several times, which was not something I was expecting.

There is some romance in the story, but it is not the type with strong declarations of love and lusty thoughts. It was nice for a change to read about characters who were attracted to each other without endless paragraphs about how stunning the characters looked. The romance was the slow burning type, which is preferable. I was afraid from the synopsis of the book that there was going to be a love triangle but luckily that was not the case.

Most of the time the first book in a series is weak, but this wasn’t. Enough was explained that the world building was not confusing, but there was enough left unexplained that makes me want to read the next one. There were some steampunk elements, but I’d say this was more a blend of fantasy and steampunk. The Shadow Revolution was a great start to a new series!

Thank you netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!

The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Rating: 3 stars

Series: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #2

Since I had luke warm feelings about Phoenix Rising, I was hoping I’d like The Janus Affair more, but it wasn’t any better or worse. Once again it had a good storyline. Something about the style made it drag on in parts, which is weird considering there is a fair amount of action. The descriptions can be too lengthy, which is something I loathe in literature. The chapters although there are not many which focus on characters other than Braun and Books aren’t interesting. Those chapters do add more to the storyline, but interrupt the flow of the main plot.

Books and Braun are likable characters, but I don’t get enough of them. Their backgrounds are discussed but not in great detail. The budding romance between them is very slow building. To move it along an old flame of Braun’s was introduced. I hate it when one character is used to make someone realize they really have feelings for someone else.

This isn’t a bad series, but it’s not the right series for me.

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Series: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #1

Wellington Books and Eliza Braun were both agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Books had been kidnapped and Eliza rescued him, but the two had to work together to escape. They made an unusual pair. She was adventurous, bold, and skilled with weapons while Books was an intelligent, introverted bookworm.

As punishment for not following orders, Eliza was ordered to work with Books in the Ministry archives. Between some unsolved cases in the archives and some clues Eliza’s old partner left for her, they decided to conduct an unofficial investigation to figure out what the Ministry doesn’t want them to know. All the while the people who kidnapped Books were still after him.

There was quite a bit of action, but the story dragged a little. I liked Eliza and Books, but didn’t get to know them well. More character development would have been good. They did have chemistry although there wasn’t any romance. The potential for them to be in a relationship later in the series is there. Phoenix Rising was a decent start to a series. Aside from Eliza and Books, I’d like to continue reading the series because there are people working against the Ministry and the director of the Ministry is hiding something. There could be some interesting developments later on.