Fantasy Book Review: Libriomancer

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Official Synopsis:
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

Having read a short story about this character a while back, I was excited for this release. Isaac has a relatable, deep love for books, especially science fiction and fantasy. From this love of books, he discovered the unique ability to reach into the book and pull out magical objects from the story. Isaac has a strong connection to a dryad who comes to him for help. But the way the relationship drama developed and concluded at the end of the book was a bit of a disappointment and left off on a sour note for me.

Thankfully, the highlight of the story is the fascinating Libriomancy magic and the unfolding mystery surrounding the disappearance of Gutenberg. This new urban fantasy reminded me quite a bit of the Harry Dresden Files. Libriomancer is fast-paced, action-packed and full of entertaining humor and suspense. Book lovers will find a kindred spirit in this new hero and will enjoy the numerous references to beloved books (as well as a few cleverly made-up that you’ll wished existed!). Hines has created a fantastic world of magic, mystery and excitement. Don’t miss this promising new series.

Libriomancer releases from DAW Books on August 7, 2012.

Fantasy Book Review: The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill

The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer

Official Synopsis:
Joss McMillan’s perfect life crashes down the night he witnesses his sister’s murder — at the hands of a vampire. He then finds out his family’s secret heritage: They are part of the Slayer Society, a group whose mission is to rid the world of vampires. Joss is their new recruit. As Joss trains, bent on seeking revenge for his sister, he discovers powers that could make him the youngest, strongest Slayer in history. But there is a traitor in the Society, one whose identity would shake Joss to the core . . . if the traitor doesn’t kill him first.

This new series is a spin-off of Brewer’s Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. While they mirror some of the events in the previous series, the Slayer Chronicles can be read wholly on its own. This series focuses on Joss McMillan, a talented but friendless thirteen-year-old who is destined to be the next vampire slayer thanks to the training of the secret Slayer Society. Though Joss wants revenge for his sister, he doesn’t have the unfeeling, uncaring heart that is required to be a Slayer. His training is dark and torturous. And it’s soon evident that the lines of good and evil are blurred.

First Kill is first in a planned five-book series following Joss’s adventures. Joss is a likable character, strong but confused about his treatment by his uncle, a harsh, cruel man. His vengeance drives him, but his conscience often contradicts. A dark, suspenseful story – this first installment follows Joss’s training and entrance into the Slayer Society. There is no happy ending here, but follows more in the vein of a gothic horror geared towards young adults. I loved Brewer’s worldbuilding and strong characters steeped in mystery. I’ll definitely be following this series for the ride. And I haven’t read any of the earlier Vladimir Tod books, though I will be now.

Fantasy Book Review: Blood of Innocence

Blood of Innocence by Tami Dane

Official Synopsis:
A cynic by nature, Sloan Skye wasn’t thrilled when she was assigned to the FBI’s Paranormal Behavioral Analysis Unit. But her doubts are slowly easing, especially when she sees that working on the fringe allows her to use some of her more unconventional tactics. Most of all, Sloan’s grateful her career is on track – because her love life, if you can even call it that, is in shambles. Sloan is searching for a suspect who slays his female victims at night, and bizarrely drains their bodies of blood. Bad enough, but when Sloan learns what the killer is really after, she can barely sleep at night. When the suspect guns for someone very close to Sloan, it’s time to throw out the rules and face her deepest fears…

Sloan is a guarded young woman, who has been through a lot of recent changes in her life and tries to keep the men in her life at arm’s length. She has a couple men who would love to date her, but she doesn’t want any personal relationships to interfere with her position and future at the FBI. Lesser women would break, but she remains strong and determined.

This is the second installment in this riveting police procedural meets urban fantasy series. I haven’t read the first, but had no trouble at all keeping up with the story or characters. Sloan’s current case is a bizarre serial killer that gets bolder and creepier as the story progresses. I was pleasantly surprised by the fun humor, dramatic suspense, and budding romance that flowed throughout. Fans of urban fantasy and police procedural /detective fiction will enjoy this latest exciting installment.

SciFi Book Review: Technomancer

Technomancer by BV Larson

Official Synopsis:
When Quentin Draith wakes up in a private sanatorium, he has no memory of who he is or how he received the injuries riddling his body. All he knows is that he has to get out, away from the drugs being pumped into him and back to the real world to search for answers. His first question: How did his friend Tony’s internal organs fill with sand, killing him in a Las Vegas car crash?

After a narrow escape, he tracks down the basic facts: he is an investigator and blogger specializing in the supernatural—which is a good thing, because Quentin’s life is getting stranger by the minute. It seems he is one of a special breed, a person with unusual powers. He’s also the prime suspect in a string of murders linked by a series of seemingly mundane objects. The deeper he digs and the harder he works to clear his name, the more Quentin realizes that some truths are better off staying buried…

This is a new twist on what feels like a familiar detective urban fantasy story. The main character, Quentin Draith, can’t recall anything about who he is or anything about his past. He only has vague (but accurate) intuitions that help keep him alive in harrowing situation. The fantasy in the story actually takes a turn into science fiction in a wild, complex plot that was fast-paced and full of adventure.

For anyone who has seen the Syfy miniseries The Lost Room (2006), the artifacts/objects in this story will be very familiar. But these objects aren’t as central to the plot as in The Lost Room. This is a promising new series that urban fantasy fans will enjoy. With plenty of humor, suspense, mystery, and a bit of romance – Technomancer was a surprisingly fresh and fun read.

Fantasy Book Review: The Legacy of Tril: Soulbound

The Legacy of Tril: Soulbound by Heather Brewer

Kaya was raised her parents, both Barrons (warriors), who had to flee in order to live their lives in peace. Barrons are forbidden to couple, as Barrons are Bound to Healers who help them keep fighting. The Barrons and Healers have been in a battle with the mysterious Graplar King for ages. But now the Graplar King seems to be targeting Healers. And as a born Healer, Kaya is desperately needed at the Shadow Academy. Kaya will be trained in the healing arts, but is forbidden to learn to fight – not even to defend herself against attacking Graplars. Her only choice is to find someone who will train her in secret. Her Bound Barron is sweet and caring, but cares too much about following Protocol. So the outcast, stern instructor who seems to have a grudge against Kaya may be her only hope.

Kaya is a brave 17-year-old who is forced into the Shadow Academy in order to protect her parents. She’d rather learn to fight than heal, but she has a protective nature. And while fighting doesn’t come naturally for her, she is determined to be able to defend herself against the monstrous Graplars rather than rely upon someone else to save her. Trayton is Kaya’s chosen Barron, and the two have an immediate connection. But Kaya feels an undeniable pull to Darius, the young instructor with a mysterious past.

First in the The Legacy of Tril series, this new fantasy is fast-paced and full of adventure, suspense, danger, and a bit of romance. I love being surprised with a new book, having no expectations to begin with. Soulbound hooked me from the start and didn’t let go till the exciting, cliffhanger ending. Brewer is an obviously talented writer, and I’m now going to have to check out her other series as I thoroughly enjoyed these characters and storyline. If you like medieval fantasy with a bit of romance and a strong female lead, be sure to check out this outstanding new series.

Fantasy Book Review: Wake of the Bloody Angel

Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe

Eddie LaCrosse latest client is his close friend Angelina, who wants his help finding whatever happened to her old lost love… whether dead or alive. Black Edward Tew left Angelina twenty years ago to seek his fortune and became an infamous pirate. The rumor is that Black Edward sank his ship along with an incredible treasure. He doesn’t have much to go on, but with the help of a former pirate, Eddie will sail pirate-infested waters in search of a missing legend.

This is the fourth installment in the Eddie LaCrosse series, though each novel works well as a standalone. I read them all out of order, but had no trouble with the characters. Eddie is a sword jockey – a private investigator/bounty hunter/sword-for-hire. His latest job quickly becomes personal, when it involves his friend – and as it soon becomes obvious that she has been hiding things from him.

Full of swash-buckling adventure, suspense, and a bit of fantasy – this latest Eddie LaCrosse novel is another thrilling read. Fantasy fans should not miss this series. Each new installment seems to get better than the previous, and this was no exception. With plenty of humor, mystery, and fast-paced action – Wake of the Bloody Angel was pure fun and excitement from beginning to end.

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