Tour’s Books Blog

June 28, 2010

Short Reviews: Two New Paranormal Urban Fantasy Novels

Paranormal/urban fantasy are very personal genres.  Either you like them, or you don’t.  Within any genre, there are a few authors that manage to do something so appealing, that I pre-order the books – Linda Robertson is one of those authors for me.  Her Persephone Alcmedi books are just that readable.  Here we go.

  • Title: Fatal Circle
  • Author:  Linda Robertson
  • Type:  Urban fantasy/paranormal
  • Genre: Witch, werewolf and vampire in an uneasy alliance
  • Sub-genre:  Search for truth, destiny and balance
  • My Grade: B+  (4.3*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full length novel; about 90,000+ words for $7.99
  • Where Available:  book available at at any book store
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookstore

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love this series and the author has yet to let me down.  Linda Robertson’s third installment in the story of Persephone Alcmedi, Seph to her friends, Fatal Circle, is an action packed event that takes places in just a few days.  It picks up exactly where Vicious Circle left off.

Seph hasn’t told Johnny, her rocker werewolf boyfriend, about the how she reversed the stain on herself by hexing the Master Vampire Menessos.  But time is running out.  The fae lords want to be free of the bonds that keep the worlds separate – or at least the four elementals that are tied to Menessos.  A battle is coming and somehow Seph must seal the gate between the worlds.  But she can’t do that is she’s blindspoken – bound by the witches council and unable to use her power.

Not even the reinforced wards will keep her grandmother and foster daughter safe if something isn’t done fast.  With the aid of Xerxadrea, Eldrenne of the Council, she and Menessos come up with a plan – to save herself and the world, she must appear to break with the witches and her family and become the court witch to Menessos.  But the fairy lords have different plans – and they have a spy – possibly close to Xerxandrea.  So the plan is secret.  Only Nana, Johnny, and the three of them know what’s happening.  To the world, Seph has split from both the witches and her family.

The story in fairly complicated, but as in the previous books, it’s a lot about facing destiny, like it or not, and sometimes painful changes and personal growth it forces you to embrace.  Secrets are reveal and the one about Memessos is a gem.  Johnny’s real place remains hidden, but I expect that might be part of book 4, as will Memessos’ fate.

Ms Robertson’s writing style is equal parts paranormal and urban fantasy, though not quite edgy enough for true UF fans.  Seph’s newspaper column issues worked well in earlier books when they were part of her evolution, but seemed oddly misplaced here.  The battle at the end was unsatisfying on several levels, but without giving away the ending, it’s hard to discuss.  It’s what kept it from an A-.  The plot was intricate enough and left plenty of questions for the next installment and a nifty cliffhanger for a main character.  Highly recommended series that needs to be read in order.  Worth the price!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*****************************************************************

  • Title: Unholy Ghosts
  • Author:  Stacia Kane
  • Type:  Urban fantasy
  • Genre:  Ghosts threaten the world
  • Sub-genre:  Post apocalypse world where the Church (a magic based church) is the defacto ruler
  • My Grade: C+ (3.4*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full length novel; about 90,000+ words for $7.99; 4-for-3 on Amazon
  • Where Available:  book available at at any book store
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from online bookstore

If I couldn’t put down fatal Circle, I had trouble caring about Unholy Ghosts.  No question this is a highly creative, original world and true urban fantasy – the dark underbelly part, complete with loan sharks and all manner of bad guys.  Chess Putman is a Debunker for the Church of Real Truth, a kind of fringe ‘religion’ before the apocalypse and now the only church and the government all rolled into one.  Working for them, even in a low paid Debunker job, is important.

Chess made the near fatal error of doing a slipshod ghost removal and it nearly cost her dearly.  She’s come to rely on various drugs to get her through, illegal drugs, the kind that could get her in serious trouble with the church.  She also owes money to Bump, the local loan shark and crime lord.  Terrible, his enforcer finds Chess and takes her to Bump to pay up.  Suddenly, Bump claims she owes way more than she could ever pay.  He wants something from her in exchange for canceling her debt.  He wants her to see if ghosts are causing problems at a derelict airport her wants to make use of.

The plot is solid and well paced, but my problem here wasn’t the story itself, but the writing style and dialogue.  OK, I understand a writer striving verisimilitude, but please, I hate feeling like I reading the equivalent of a B movie with bad accents and deliberately weird text meant to be important.  A little goes a long way, like thieves cant and Cockney rhyming slang.  There were times it nearly drove me nuts.  My other problem was Chess.  I just could not like her or empathize with her.  Yes, I know she’s a female anti-hero, but come on, a drug addicted magic user is a tough sell, especially to me.  There wasn’t enough reason for me to care what happens to her.  The first problem is a stylistic one, but the second is impossible for me to get around.

Unholy Ghosts is a dark urban fantasy in the kind low class world like Waterworld or Mad Max.  It might have played better as an alternate world rather than post apocalypse Earth.  It’s originality and edginess struggles with deeply flawed, unconventional heroine with few redeeming traits.  Much as I love noir mysteries and their flawed heroes and heroines, this one just didn’t quite cut it for me.

Was it worth the $7.99?  You got your money’s worth in the plot, but you worked for it.  Will I continue the series – maybe.  just too many other series that I like.

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