Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quick & Dirty Reviews

I'm working some crazy hours this week so I don't have as much time to write reviews, (although I still manage to find time to read books.)  So here's some brief thoughts on a few books I've read.

Game Over by Taylor Keating:  This is an interesting hybrid of styles.  There are shapeshifters, fae, mystical guardians, a post apocalyptic world, and a cyberpunk setting.  River, the heroine, is a gamer sucked into the VR world she has created for her newest game.  This world is also somehow linked to the virtual prison of the Dark Lord, the big bad.  The Dark Lord suspects River has some sort of power that will help release him from his prison and manipulates the game in order to win River's soul and ultimately, his freedom.  Luckily, River has help in the form of the Guardian, Hawk, who although imprisoned in this virtual world, works with River to defeat the Dark Lord.  There is some nice pacing in this book and a lot of action, plus some steamy steamy between River and Hawk... but, in the end, the book didn't work for me.  The paranormal fantasy and technological elements just didn't mesh.  I felt like I was reading a cross between Lord of the Rings and Tron and the effect was jarring.  There were so many different style elements that it felt a little like everything but the kitchen sink instead of a cohesive, multi-layered world.  I think that if a reader can get past that, this could be an enjoyable, action paced, sexy paranormal.  Unfortunately, I could not and I never fully engaged with this story.  Grade: C .          

Primal Bonds (Shifters Unbound) by Jennifer Ashley:  In Ashley's world, shifters are forced to live in shanty towns and wear a collar that causes them extreme pain when they get aggressive.  They can't own new cars, they are limited in their ability to use the internet, they are forbidden to ride in airplanes, and crimes committed against them are often ignored by law enforcement.  When half fae/half wolf shifter Andrea joins the Austin pack she must first get permission from the authorities before making the move.  Fleeing an unwanted mating with a stereotypical douchebag, she agrees to a mate-claim with Guardian Sean Morrissey sight unseen.  Good thing he's hot, as well as hot for her and ready to turn their mate-claim-in-name-only into the real thing.  Sean and Andrea are a well matched couple.  Both are strong characters and I like the fact that Andrea is able to hold her own with the dominant Sean.  And yet, I'm sorta torn on this series.  One the one hand, I find Ashley's take on shifters refreshing, one the other hand, it is also depressing.  Shifters have very few rights and are second class citizens.  And humanity is the oppressor.  Whenever a character left Shiftertown, I kept expecting them to be the victim of a hate crime.  There is an ugliness to this world and it made me uncomfortable... but I also found it intriguing.  I'll be interested to see where she goes with it.   Grade: B  

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