Sometimes it seems like a series can start to run out of steam after the first trilogy of books. That is definitely not the case with the Demon Squad. The characters keep evolving, the world building gets better with every book, and you become seriously invested in where the story is going. Echoes Of The Past is an excellent addition to the series, and I hope more people discover Frank and company as well. Everyone needs some snark in their lives. I will highly recommend this book, and this series as a whole!
Certain Dark Things is the new, sharply set, novel from Silvia Moreno-Garcia; it bares its fangs right away with action scenes in fast beats under the glow of the neon lights. It’s what twilight would be if it was dark and riddled with bullet holes, if the vampire families were warring drug cartels, not welcome by the human ones that inhabit, run and rule Mexico City. This alternate reality where ten types of vampires will come for you in the night, or day, is sure to keep you gripped.
Well, this review has been a long time coming. Very rarely do I find myself so conflicted by a book, but N. K. Jemisin’s latest, The City We Became, left my emotions mixed and two months later I finally feel I can deconstruct the reasons why. With this book, I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it wouldn’t be an easy read. Despite my suspicions being confirmed, I came out the other side both captivated and frustrated.
The Guardian of Empire City series is shaping up to be an amazing trilogy (or longer) series, much like the Dresden files by Jim Butcher. And the comparison doesn’t stop there. Every book so far is a big mystery to solve and contains urban fantasy (with also) sci-fi elements. So in conclusion, if you’re a rousing fan of big murder riddles set in worlds filled with shiny toys, magic dust and grim creatures of the night, Peter Hartog’s Pieces of Eight should be high on your TBR and is a near perfect sequel to Bloodlines.
I simply can’t say more without revealing elements of the story which I strongly suggest you explore on your own as this second book, Jade War, is as good, if not better, because of its broadened exploration beyond the first book. And like I said and remain steady in my description of this series, if you’re a fan of Urban fantasy deeply set into a world of crime, gangsters and Jade-powered martial arts, Jade War and the remaining book (or all of them if you’ve yet to read the series) will fall right into your TBR. Take Mario Puzzo, a dab of Jet Li and sprinkle it with magic and you’ll get exactly what this book is about. I am excited to complete the Jade journey through the last book of the trilogy.
character, he’s a wizard-private-detective who’s stories are set in a realm filled with nightmarish creatures, and typically centered on a murder or investigation where the character slowly uncovers the clues while battling Vampires, goblins, faeries and probably every living thing you can think of. And this chapter in the entire series doesn’t disappoint.
Nearly a decade after taking mandatory Elizabethan-era English literature classes in university, the iambic pentameter of William Shakespeare has crept back into my life. Unexpectedly though, it came in the form of Chloe Gong’s debut novel, These Violent Delights. Set in 1920s Shanghai, this tale of star-crossed (ex)lovers twists a knife into Shakespeare’s famous tragedy—it weaves familiar story beats with unexpected turns as Roma and Juliette, the two heirs to rival crime families, navigate intense hostilities, foreign colonizers, a strange and deadly contagion, as well as their past romance. As tension and chaos in Shanghai builds toward a fever pitch, the two become entangled again in ways that fuel the story (to both good and middling results). Question is, to what end? The above warning of Friar Laurence to Romeo in Romeo and Juliet rings ever true: such fiery delight—a connection consumed by fire and powder—is likely to end in disaster.
There’s something truly special about finding a novel that speaks to you, the words flowing from page to mind in a symbiotic creative fusion. That feeling of connecting so deeply with a book is priceless, something to be cherished, and it’s even better when that book becomes an author. For me, that author is P. Djèlí Clark. Ever since reading his short works A Dead Djinn in Cairo and The Haunting of Tram Car 015, I was enamored with his blending of the fantastical and historical. That connection deepened when I read some of his short stories, and then even more when I tore through last year’s Ring Shout. Count me lucky when his first full-length novel comes out a mere seven months later—in A Master of Djinn, Clark’s magically-infused Cairo is back and better than ever.
“I’ll make an offer you can’t refuse”; those are the words echoed and mocked in so many movies. But they originated in a little book called “The Godfather” by Mario Puzzo in the late 60s and became a movie phenomenon. When I read “Jade City”, those words came to mind as this book is very much an organized crime novel. And if you add the touch of magic included in the story, from the Jade driven powers the characters have, it feels very much like gangster Urban fantasy.
All the pieces of this jade puzzle worked so well for me. Jade City wowed me with its empathetic characters, engaging worldbuilding and tense action. Jade War amplified that in all the best ways with the addition of an international scope, political intrigue and a more integrated sense of where Kekon and its clans fit within the broader world. And, amidst all of this, the intimacy of the Kaul family bleeds through every page. Fonda Lee has crafted a masterful fantasy world with these two books, gifting me with some of my favorite fictional characters of all time.