Fantasy Book Review: Spirit’s End

Spirit’s End

Spirit’s End by Rachel Aaron

Synopsis:
First rule of thievery: don’t be a hero. When Eli broke the rules and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price, but resuming his place as the Shepherdess’s favorite isn’t as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect, and even Eli’s charm might not be enough to stop her. But Eli Monpress always has a plan, and with disaster rapidly approaching, he’s pulling in every favor he can think of to make it work, including the grudging help of the Spirit Court’s new Rector, Miranda Lyonette.

But with the world in panic, the demon stirring, and the Lord of Storms back on the hunt, it’s going to take more than luck and charm to pull Eli through this time. He’s going to have to break a few more rules and work with some old enemies if he’s going to survive.

Review:
Following the events in The Spirit War, Eli has been taken by Benehime who cares nothing of her responsibility any longer. She’s selfish, short-tempered, and incredibly powerful – a bad combination. Of course, the only one who has a chance in stopping her from the destruction of the world is Eli, along with the help of some friends. Aaron has created a fascinating world in the Eli Monpress series. But the characters themselves are what I’ll miss most with this being the end of the series.

Exciting adventure and suspense paired with humor made this an epic finale to an unforgettable series. The final showdown was climactic and unpredictable with a satisfying ending, which made finishing it bittersweet. This is a fantastic story with vivid characters and a completely unique world that no fantasy fan should miss.

Book Giveaway: The Rise of Ransom City

Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends January 25. I’ll draw a name on January 26, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: The Rise of Ransom City

Fantasy Book Review: Magisterium

Magisterium

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

Synopsis:
On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery.

Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go.

Review:
Glenn’s father is eccentric, so when he tells her something unbelievable about her mother living beyond the rift, she thinks he’s finally lost his mind. But when he’s arrested, Glenn and her friend Kevin must flee for their lives into the Rift. But beyond the Rift is nothing she could have imagined. Glenn is a smart level-headed girl thrust into a fantasy world that defies science. But I won’t go into too much detail, for those who don’t like spoilers.

This is a fast-paced adventure that blends science fiction and fantasy that readers of all ages should enjoy. Packed with magic, mystery, suspense, and drama – this unpredictable and often surprising read was pure fun and excitement. Magisterium is a charming journey from beginning to end.

Fantasy Book Review: Polterheist

Polterheist by Laura Resnick

Synopsis:
In the days leading up to Christmas, and in accordance with the rituals of a religion which is not her own, struggling actress Esther Diamond is working as a singing-and-dancing elf at Fenster & Co, a major Manhattan department store. Meanwhile, Detective Lopez, Esther’s former almost-boyfriend, is investigating a series of mob-related truck hijackings of Fenster’s costly merchandise. Lucky Battistuzzi, a semi-retired hit man in the Gambello crime family, is also investigating the thefts, since the Gambellos, who didn’t commit the robberies, are being inconveniently implicated in these events.

Esther becomes aware of mysterious and alarming events at Fenster’s, quite apart from lurking wiseguys, squabbling shoppers, and half-naked elves. Alerted to her concerns, her friend Dr. Maximillian Zadok, Manhattan’s resident mage, soon suspects that Evil is afoot in the crowded department store. Before long, Max and Esther realize that the famous shopping mecca has become the planned staging ground for the rebirth of a voracious ancient demon that’s plotting to take advantage of the winter solstice, when darkness prevails, to escape its amorphous mystical prison and commence a reign of terror in New York City.

Review:
Esther’s latest job is another pride-swallowing, garish experience. But Esther doesn’t complain as much as her peers, since she knows she has bills to pay. After a string of bizarre equipment “malfunctions,” delivery truck heists, and employee disapearances, Esther is convinced something mystical is happening and brings in her friend Max to investigate. The only thing better than Esther’s awkward situations that she always seems to find herself is her vibrant collection of friends. Resnick’s humor makes this a unique brand of urban fantasy that I just can’t resist.

This is the fifth in the Esther Diamond series, but each works well as a standalone. And I guarantee you won’t be able to read just one. Full of fabulously eccentric characters, magical mystery, and a bit of romance, Polterheist is the perfect holiday read for any urban fantasy fan.

SciFi Book Review: The Lazarus Machine

The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley

Synopsis:
An alternate 1895… . A world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference Engine. Where steam and Tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.

It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living. But all is not well. A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as it takes over the underworld. As the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers. Professor Moriarty.

When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, Tweed is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

Review:
Sebastian Tweed was raised to value logic over emotion, but struggles to maintain a balance. And though he and his father are con men, Sebastian would rather make an honest living and tries to make the best of his situation. Both Tweed and Nightingale are brilliant young minds. Octavia is just as driven, and they have a great chemistry.

Crilley’s steampunk version of 1895 London is fun and thrilling. A clever and complex plot, intriguing characters, and an inspired setting made The Lazarus Machine exciting and unpredictable. Packed with mystery, humor, adventure, and cool gadgets – this is an impressive start to a new series. I certainly look forward to more in the Tweed and Nightingale Adventures. This fast-paced steampunk novel is not to be missed.

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