Books, fantasy, great reads, Reviews, scifi, steampunk

Clockwork Boys T. Kingfisher

Really this is a review on Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine since they are just one book that has been chopped into two. One really doesn’t work without the other, it’s one of my pet peeves but more on that later.

 

I just recently read these books by T Kingfisher, I have heard of this author before, this is just the first book by her that I happened upon. Yes I am going to refer to it as one book since they are basically a 600 page novel cut in half. Here is the blurb for each:

Clockwork Boys first..

A paladin, an assassin, a forger, and a scholar ride out of town. It’s not the start of a joke, but rather an espionage mission with deadly serious stakes. T. Kingfisher’s new novel begins the tale of a murderous band of criminals (and a scholar), thrown together in an attempt to unravel the secret of the Clockwork Boys, mechanical soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that promise ruin to the Dowager’s city.
If they succeed, rewards and pardons await, but that requires a long journey through enemy territory, directly into the capital. It also requires them to refrain from killing each other along the way! At turns darkly comic and touching, Clockwork Boys puts together a broken group of people trying to make the most of the rest of their lives as they drive forward on their suicide mission.

 

The Wonder Engine next.

Pull three people out of prison–a disgraced paladin, a convicted forger, and a heartless assassin. Give them weapons, carnivorous tattoos, and each other. Point them at the enemy.
What could possibly go wrong?In the sequel to CLOCKWORK BOYS, Slate, Brenner, Caliban and Learned Edmund have arrived in Anuket City, the source of the mysterious Clockwork Boys. But the secrets they’re keeping could well destroy them, before the city even gets the chance…

Alright the good first. I really liked T Kingfisher as a writer. The style was well done, the characters, though their background wasn’t always explained, always had me engaged and I found the world believable.

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Okay to be honest I was thrown off by the title at first, I thought there would be some boys that would be called the Clockwork Boys (yeah not even close) but she sold me on the whole idea of the world and the villains. The first scene in the prison, I LOVED IT! Sold me on two of the characters for the rest of the book, don’t know why, so that alone help you see that T Kingfisher knows what she is doing.

Which brings me to my next point. Why is this two books? 

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It is literally one story and together it would make about a 600 page novel. If that seems daunting the last three books I read were 619, 402, and 465. I don’t care if you kept every word just keep them together!

In the end I did enjoy this “book” and am planning on reading T Kingfisher again. So I guess despite all my ranting she still sold me.
Books, fantasy, funny, Out of the Box Blogs, paranormal romance, scifi, steampunk, Urban Fantasy

Should Villains Really Be That Bad?

YES THEY SHOULD!!

Today is going straight into rant territory everyone so if that is not your thing I don’t want you to feel obligated to read. I love you all equally!

Still here? Okay then..

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Has anyone else noticed a new tread of long running series, no standalone here, trying to redeem villains or making a good character suddenly bad? I’m not a fan. I don’t mind a gradual change, like someone slowly slipping into madness, but what I’m talking about here is a hard shift for a character all in one book. So let’s talk about it.

And I also want to be clear we are talking about series that are 6,8,10,20, etc books long and the characters are WELL established.

Let’s start with the heroes, the good guys, the best friends, the reliable side kicks, the one we all want to win or at least always dreamed would get there very own book or novella. But then with a careless action on their part, or something ridiculous from another character they go from good to bad. From one of your favorites to one you wish never existed. Why? To make someone else look better? To further the current plot? Who knows, but I do know this, I have dropped series because, my favorite character isn’t always the main one so destroying a fan favorite sometimes just seems illogical or cruel. Sometimes I wonder if we have come to love them too much and we shouldn’t….

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How deliciously bitter but ultimately disappointing. I like characters that I have developed a relationship with to stay where they belong so honestly I wish it would stop. Good guys are good, not secretly horrible.

Now the villains, the bad guys, the bitches everyone loves to hate, my favorites…

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A good villain, evil to the core, destroying dreams every day, and willing to do things to keep making you hate them. I’m talking anything, even make you throw a book across your room. A properly constructed bad guy will go to such lengths that sometimes we wish they would be killed off already! I digress though because we are talking about the new trend, where nonredeemable characters suddenly show you a character flaw, or a weakness and we are suppose to see them as redeemable. But see that there is the problem, we have been convinced they are horrible, evil people, terrible to their very souls which is what allows us to despise them. So why the sudden attempts at redeeming these characters? And why must the redemption of these characters many times cost us characters we have grown to love? Is it feared boredom from the fandom? Is it boredom from the author?

Look some of my favorite books involve antiheroes or even a story told from a villains prospective. But I like characters that I enjoy to stay what they are presented as. So the question is am I asking too much?

Do you like it when someone who has been good for so long suddenly become bad? And not a bad boy in a good way but truly evil, a character meant to be hated. Or when a author starts to redeem a bad character (again not just a bad boy with a good heart but a truly evil being) and tries to make us sympathetic to them or accept them as good?

Thoughts?

Books, fantasy, great reads, Reviews, scifi, Urban Fantasy

*Audiobook* Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

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I LOVE THIS SERIES!! I didn’t want there to be any doubts. But I’m not a huge audio book person, and I will admit when it comes to the first two books of this series I tend to skim some when I reread, so when give the opportunity to review this, I thought this was a great chance to be objective. First and foremost, the blurb..

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

This book is a well written, has fantastic world building and some of my all time favorite characters in it, but when forced to actually listen to the whole thing I must admit it isn’t the strongest in the series. That’s not to say it isn’t amazing, how about we just break it down..

Pros: The book leaves no doubt where you are and what the world is about. You are in this post magic Atlanta and you never doubt the world building in it.

There are some fantastic character introductions in this book, and a lot of them remain key for many books to come. I understand who Kate is and I get her purpose. Also it is so nice to have a strong female lead that doesn’t have to be mean or crazy. She just kicks ass, I love her.

Story. I love that, though this becomes a 10 book series, this is a self contained story. It has a beginning (will talk about that) a middle and an end. No cliffhangers or underdeveloped plots.

Now remember I said this wasn’t the best of this series, so let’s talk about what I didn’t like about it.

Cons: It can be very slooooowww, especially the beginning. I’ve developed a very deep liking for Kate and her band of misfits so I have patience for anything she is doing but if you don’t know her (and for all intent and purpose you don’t since this is book one) the beginning does tend to drag. Hang in there!

World building. Wait wasn’t that on my pros list? I know this is one of those quirky things that was both a pro and a con. You see when I originally read this book there was already three books out and I knew I was going to read them. This world building is A LOT for just one book. Is it necessary for the series? Hell yes! Is it too much if this is the only book you read? Maybe. So just don’t let it be the only one, you are only hurting yourself.

This was an audio book so I would also like to comment on the narrator Renee Raudman. I thought she was fantastic! I thought a first she was a little dramatic, but then the more she read the more I fell in love with her. What an amazing job, I hope to hear her again soon.

If you like to listen to your books grab this audio here http://www.audible.com/search?advsearchKeywords=magic+bites+kate+daniels&sprefixRefmarker=nb_sb_ss_i_1_11&sprefix=magic+bites

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Questions on Multiple Series

How many series can an author successfully write at one time before the series start to suffer?  When do you know it is time to let a series go?

These are questions I have been pondering for some time and I am interested in opinions that you guys may offer, especially anyone who may be an author. Please understand I am not an author so I approach this only from a reader’s viewpoint.

Can an author successfully give multiple series the attention each deserves without any of them suffering?  I have been reading an author for many years, but this author is now writing five series—the fifth series just started with book one a week ago.  I really enjoyed this book and will write my review very soon.  The series I started with is now nearing release of book number 30.  Personally, I feel this series needed to be ended some time ago, but we now have new characters whom will undoubtedly have books written for them and the overall story arc is still not finished.  It is the series that will never end!!  I also have to wonder, in the author’s defense—how much of this is the author and their muse and how much of it is the publisher continually trying to capitalize on an author’s popularity.

I read several authors who have multiple series, and it is normal for those authors in my experience to release one book a year in the series.  When we are talking about  3 or more series, how can that possibly happen?  Therefore, we are probably looking at over a year between books.   One of my favorite authors generally writes one series at a time and we get a book usually every 6 months and then they start another series.  Granted, these series usually contain 4 to 5 books.  However, the series is completed and then we get to start another one.  With the author who is on book 30, I could literally be in my mid 60s before it finishes and I am already 53!! Some of the recent books have disappointed me with much repetition—hence question 2—when do you know it is time to let go?  I have many years invested in this series and I want to see the end, but I’m tired and don’t receive the level of enjoyment that I used to.

Have any of you faced a similar dilemma and how did you decide?  Looking forward to your thoughts.