Tower of Thorns (by Juliet Marillier)


Blackthorn has lost everything. All she has left is a small cottage on the edge of an enchanted forest, her companion Grim and a promise made to the Fae to never turn away someone who asks for her help. So when Lady Geiléis approaches the prince with a tale about an enchanted tower Blackthorn does everything she can to avoid being asked for help.

Then an old friend shows up, a friend from the time before, the time she was a different woman and she finds herself agreeing to help Lady Geiléis despite her misgivings. But as she travels north to the Tower of Thorns her misgivings turn into suspicions that all is not as it seems.

The only person she can trust –– the only person who can save her is Grim, but in order to complete the task she will need to push him away.

Tower of Thorns is in no way an easy book. It’s a great book but definitely not easy. The story builds slowly and requires a commitment from the reader, but for those who have the patience it’s all worth it. Blackthorn and Grim are at the top of my list of favorite fictional characters and I just love these books.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmMany thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide

The Unleashing (by Shelly Laurenston)

Urban Fantasy

When she returned from Afghanistan, Kera took a job in a café just to make ends meet. Then one night as she is taking the trash out to the dumpster in the back alley she runs into a man attacking a woman. She steps in and is stabbed in the chest. As she is about to take her last breath, the Norse goddess Skuld makes her an offer. If she joins with her minions, the crows she can have a second chance at life. But the price is she must deliver Skuld’s judgement to humans who are deemed deserving of death.

So, that sounds promising and there are definitely great moments. Moments that could have been pulled right out of a favorite graphic novel. But the book is a bit of a mess. It suffers from way too many POVs, things happen for no apparent reason, and there are characters whose purpose for being in the book is tantamount to a child being given the role of a mushroom in the school play. Who knows, maybe they’re important in the coming books, maybe the many POVs start to make sense as the series develops … but this book needs to stand on its own and I’m sorry to say it didn’t.

And the icing on the cake is a cover that makes no sense. I mean presumably that’s supposed to be Ludvig, and I guess he’s the hero, though really secondary character. He’s also described as scruffy, hairy and having a beard. That isn’t a beard. That’s designer fuzz.

OK maybe I should quite bitching….of wait. Bitching. The number of times one female character refers to another female character as “bitch” is close to 50. So maybe it’s just me but aren’t we better than this? Haven’t we moved on? It really doesn’t add anything to the story and honestly I was kind of over it after the third “get the bitch” before page ten.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.21.53 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Hidden Trump (by Mark Henwick)

Urban Fantasy

Amber has accepted that she’s Athanate (a vampire) and is making her first hesitant steps as the head of her own House with responsibilities and kin. Making her already complicated life even more complicated a rival Athanate House is hunting her down and plans to run medical experiments on her. Keeping her head down would be the smart thing to do but she finds herself once again in the middle of things and she’ll need every skill the army taught her if she’s to have a chance of getting herself and her kin out alive.

This book is perfect –– I just can’t think of a single bad thing to say about it. At 600 pages it’s longer than your typical Urban Fantasy but it’s one of those (rare) cases where longer doesn’t translate to yawns. I finished the book and was kind of sad that it ended, I really think I could have gone on indefinitely without a care in the world.

For this series I’ve been listening to the audiobooks. Book 1 Sleight of Hand was released in late 2014, This book came out about a week ago, and Book 3 Wild Card is on the way. Hidden Trump introduces a new narrator, Julia Motyka, and she’s perfect. She does both male and female voices well and she completely owns Amber Farrell.

If you want to try some on some great urban fantasy, Mark Henwick is definitely worth the effort.  He’s one of the few authors who make me so happy I could jump.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: red-orange-yellow-guide