Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review #7 Fire Study by Maria Snyder

Fire Study by Maria Snyder is the final book in her Study Series. I read the first one last year as part of the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout group on Goodreads and I actually really enjoyed it. (Although there were some pretty healthy criticisms to be had about the love interest). Anyway. Just as a warning this review will contain some spoilers for the two earlier books. 

This book picks up about two months after the previous book. Yelena is still living in Sitia the southern country she was born in where magic is practiced while her boyfriend? Lover? I dunno. Life mate sexin’ partner is living in Ixia, the country where she was raised in and where magic is banned. In this book she spends a lot of time running around the country with her brother and spiritual guide trying to find a serial killer. She is trying to learn about her soulfinder powers, and prevent a war between Ixia and Sitia. 

I really had some problems with this book, mostly stemming from the fact that Snyder is really rehashing stuff from the previous books. Sometimes I felt like I was nearly rereading the same book. It was the same issues, the same bad guys, the same themes and imagery repeating. The same conflicts. It was really tough for me to get through the first part of the book. It picked up about half way through. We finally got a real big bad, and Yelena got her act together. I’m glad I finished it because I wanted to have some closure with the characters. I think Snyder was trying to make the character grow, she was making mistakes and being stupid. It was so obvious, to me as the reader, that until she confided in the solid group of allies she’s built around herself, she wasn’t going to be able to solve the conflict of the book. It was frustrating to have a character not see it. I think if Snyder had dropped a few less massive bombs about what needed to happen I could have believed Yelena’s mistakes. Instead I was just frustrated that the main character kept failing to solve these conflicts. The big bad she has to fight is this fire mage guy and he attacks her through fires. Even though she has a mystical sage who is trying to help her find a way to defeat fire guy she instead just decides to avoid fires. It’s stuff like that. In the previous books she never shied away from the conflicts like that. In the first book she is being attacked by people who want her dead and she learns martial arts! In the second book she almost kills herself to use her magic, that she doesn’t really understand, to save a girl who has been attacked. It just seems odd that the same girl who almost died to save someone can’t face her fears (and the fear is death) to do it again. 

All in all it’s a good little fantasy series as a whole and I enjoyed reading it. I was happy to have a conclusion that felt really solid, and the world building is pretty interesting. It just felt kind of sloppy to me. I give this book 2 out of five fire mages, but the series gets 3.5-4 out of five magical soulfinders. 

You can buy this book here or at your friendly neighborhood indie. 

Review # 6 Last Dragon Standing by G.A. Aiken

Last Dragon Standing is the fourth book in the Dragon Kin series aka the sexy dragon books. The couple in this book is Ragnar the Cunning and Keita the Red Viper Dragon of Despair and Death.  Have I mentioned how much I love the names in these books? These books follow in pretty quick succession and they really build on the events of previous books.  I’m going to try and review the book without talking too much or spoiling anything. 

Ragnar the Cunning is the current leader of the Northern Lighting Dragons. He likes to dress himself as a monk and fancies himself quite the scholar. Last time he tangled with Keita she seduced most of his cousins and gave him a nasty chest wound. Keita is the youngest girl-dragon of the Royal Dragon family and is definitely treated as the baby. She has a very tempestuous relationship with her mother (honestly it’s because they are so similar). Keita is also a huge slut. And I’m not trying to shame her. She is very sexual, and uses her sexuality to trick men into either giving her what she wants or causing trouble. The dragon queen summons Ragnar and along the way he runs into Keita who is then manipulated into coming along. Soon they learn that all is not well in the Kingdom. Keita’s aunt has gone missing and there are more assignation attempts on the human queen Annwyl than usual. Ragnar is really attracted to Keita but he thinks she’s a silly pampered royal. We (along with Ragnar) eventually learn that not only is Keita much more than that, but she is very very clever. 

I didn’t expect to like Keita as much as I did. She comes off as really bitchy and mean in the other books. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about her talents in this book. She is kind of a BAMF. She’s not the huge warrior that many of the other women are in the book, but she is capable of handling herself and the troubles she tends to create. I also wasn’t really expecting to like Ragnar as much as I did. Aiken sometimes writes her heroes as way too Alpha male, and while Ragnar is not beta, he loves Keita for who she is. He never tries to make her change or bend her to his will. I really loved the way they got together in the end because it’s not something you see too often in romance novels.

And just to illustrate why you need to read these books in the opening scene Keita has been flirting with a noble in the country. She sneaks into his room to kill him but finds that a girl has already gotten to it first. The guards rush in a just that moment to find her poised over the body with a vial of poison. Despite her pleas that she didn’t do it (how could he be dead if her vial was still full of poison?) she gets thrown into prison. Well, she never had breakfast and manages to scare the whole castle by eating a fucking dog in prison!! What?! This is why I love these books. I said it in my previous review, but these books are total crackfic for me. They are so fun, and so silly. 

I give this one 4 out of 5 tasty puppies. 

You can buy this book here or at your friendly neighborhood indie

Review #5 About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken

About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken is the second in her “Dragon Kin” series which I will be referring to as the sexy dragon books. There are 6 books in the series and I’ve read the first 4. I actually started reading this series because it was part of the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout on Goodreads.
The first thing you have to understand about the sexy dragon books is that they are basically crackfic. If you read fanfic you’ll know what I’m talking about, but crackfic is basically completely out there bizarre crazy stories that are supposed to be funny. Usually crackfic is just bad, but the sexy dragon books are brilliant. I’m not even sure I can explain this book series. But I’ll try.

The sexy dragon books are about the royal family of dragons and the people who love them. It takes place in an alternate fantasy world that has two suns. This royal dragon family has 6 siblings and the books follow their romantic exploits. The thing I love about these books is that it’s this huge family of siblings, cousins and parents and they’re constantly getting into each other’s business. The later books in the series actually get a bit overwhelming because there are so many side characters that reappear in each book. I love that they’re messy and loud and constantly beating each other up. I’m pretty much always giggling when I’m reading a sexy dragon book and I just can’t put them down. It’s the kind of book where when you start you just can’t stop, yes, they’re Pringles.

This particular book follows Briec the Mighty and Talaith the Nolwenn witch. Briec’s brother Fearghus the Destroyer (yes that all have ridiculous names, and yes they’re hilarious) got himself a girl in the previous book and Briec is wondering why he can’t find a nice human gal to at least bone. That is when he comes across the lovely Talaith about to be burned at the stake. He rescues her and then carts her away to his cave so that he can seduce and then bone her. However not all is well since Talaith is being blackmailed by an evil goddess and someone is out to kill the queen. (Who is Briec’s sister-in-law, Annwyl the Bloody married to Fearghus the Destroyer). Come on! Look at that sentence I just wrote! There is just so much WTFery all over the place. The basic plot is that Talaith needs to be saved from the clutches of the evil goddess, and Annwyl has stop the assassin.

Things I liked about this book:
-The sex. Aiken can write some seriously hot sex. Her couples have the greatest sex, and it happens frequently.
-Briec and Talaith’s arguing. – They actually start to refer to is as their foreplay. It’s kinda cute.
-Appearance of gods and goddesses. This is a fantasy novel so there is magic, but Aiken portrays the pantheon in a very interesting way, the gods are seen as super powerful nuisances. Every character would really prefer if they didn't have to deal with the gods at all.

Things I didn’t like
- The courting between Briec and Talaith. He pretty much just captures her and then she gets Stockholm syndrome and they bone. It’s not my favorite way a couple falls in love.
- The writing. She is hilarious, but not a good writer. It can put a damper on the book.

Over all I give this book 3 out of 5 cans of Pringles. So far this has been my least favorite book in the series. But this series is amazing, the next book has an atheist who talks to gods. Come on! That’s great! 

You can buy this book here or at your friendly neighborhood indie