Friday, 15 May 2009

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand
- Carrie Vaughn

Publisher: US – Grand Central Publishing

Why I picked it up: I’ve been following Kitty’s adventures over the last year and this the latest one I hadn’t read yet

Back Blurb: Kitty Norville, the country's only celebrity werewolf, thinks she's finally got her life sorted. Her radio show is as popular as ever, and she and her cute lawyer boyfriend are the alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack. Now she and Ben plan to tie the knot human-style - by eloping to Vegas. And just to make things more fun, she's going to do her midnight radio show live from Vegas - and on television. In between getting wed and going live on TV, she's also planning on sipping fru-fru drinks by the pool while she works on her tan. So what can possibly go wrong? Well, their hotel is the venue for a werewolf-hating bounty hunter convention. Elsewhere on the Strip, an old-school magician might just be wielding the real thing. The vampire community is harbouring a dark secret . . . and the irresistibly sexy star of a deeply suspicious animal act is determined to seduce Kitty. Sin City has never been so wild, and Kitty has never had to fight harder - to save not only her wedding, but her very life.

What I thought: What I’ve always liked about the Kitty books is just how ordinary Kitty is. In comparison to a number of other heroines in the Urban Fantasy genre she has no big over-arching storyline. She has no mysterious past to repent off and no secret destiny to prepare. She’s not the only one who can save the world – again and again and again. She’s just happens to be a werewolf and a radio host. Kitty is breathe of fresh air in the crowded fantasy genre and Carrie Vaughn makes it seem how ordinary it can be to be a werewolf. That ordinariness both works for and against the series at times. In Dead Man’s Hand – Kitty and Ben run off to Las Vegas to get married and end up tangled with magicians, lycanthrope stage shows and rigged poker matches. Considering the number of extra-ordinary things they find in Vegas, it’s amazing how ordinary the book is. Not much happens and there is little to connect the threads unless you include Kitty herself. However, some interesting things are brought up and it ends on a bit of cliff hanger. And as ever the most ordinary Kitty book is still miles better than the best book of some other authors.

Recommended for: Kitty & Kelley Armstrong fans. Fans of Patricia Brigg would also enjoy it.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, 4 May 2009

Warrior Review

Warrior (Book 2 of Wolfblade Trilogy)
- Jennifer Fallon

Publisher: UK - Orbit

Why I picked it up: It was actually the first Jennifer Fallon book I picked as it was in a second book store and in good condition. Wasn’t till I got it home I realised it was the middle book of a trilogy.

Back Blurb: It's been eight long years since Marla Wolfblade buried her husband and claimed royal power - and its responsibilities - for herself. Now she must teach her son, Damin, the skills he needs to survive as warring factions at Court manoeuvre for power, and ultimately for the throne itself. Damin proves an apt pupil as his mother's advisor teaches him the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power. However, as he nears the age when he will take the throne, his position becomes increasingly dangerous. The head of the Sorcerers' Collective, a powerful and influential faction, decides to either turn the young ruler into a puppet or tear the throne away from him. Damin must decide whom it is safe to trust - and how to claim his birthright.

What I thought: Most trilogies do drag a little in the middle book – carrying on the story and unable to wrap it up. This book does have some of that aspect. The first half continues the story of Marla Wolfblade and her fight for her family and paving the way for her son to take the High Prince throne in the future. The story then jumps forward in time again to Damin’s early twenties and a threat to the country form the neighbouring kingdom. Both parts are strong as Fallon characterisation is her strong point and each character seems to jump out of the page fully formed. Although I liked the political intrigue, the large cast of characters made it difficult to keep everyone in mind at times – especially with the number of stepchildren, cousins, foster sisters and all the other family relations that are cramped into the book. The first book in the trilogy was a perfect introduction to Marla and how she learns to take up the reigns of power. This book, while I enjoyed it immensely seemed to lack that clarity of focus and the telling of one complete story. It ends on a cliff hanger but it is still a marvellous journey and I can’t wait for the next one.

Recommended for: Fans of Karen Miller and Fiona McIntosh

Rating: 7.5 out of 10