Friday, September 14, 2012

Quick & Dirty Reviews: 2 from my Can't Wait To Read List

One of the problems I've been having with my book blog has been the amount of time it takes to keep up with it.  Working six days a week doesn't leave me with much extra time.  I can either work on my blog or read books but it is difficult to find the time to do both.  I need to read in order to have something to blog about but blogging consistently makes it difficult to find time to read.  Ya see my dilemma?  So, I've been spending a bit of time just reading, attempting to whittle down my TBR pile.  I've managed to read quite a few books including the two reviewed below - both of which were on my can't-wait-to-read list.  Were they worth it?  Read on and see.

Riveted  (Iron Seas, #3) by Meljean Brook
As far as I am concerned, no one writes a better steampunk tale than Meljean Brook.  Her world building is phenomenal and so intricate that, at times, it is hard to keep track of.  Her books are nuanced and complex plus her characters always feel emotionally real.  In the third volume of Brook's Iron Seas series, we meet completely new characters to the series and are taken to the unusual setting of Iceland.  Annika, the heroine, has left her hidden village to seek out her missing older sister.  While considered timid by those she grew up with, out in the real world, Annika has come into her own as an engineer for an airship, developing a quiet strength and capable courage to deal with the dangerous situations she sometimes finds herself in.  The hero is David, a naturalist who is journeying to Iceland to study the island's volcanoes.  Injured in a catastrophic accident as a youth, David lost an eye, his hand, and a leg but this being a steampunk world, they have all been replaced with mechanical prosthetics.  While artificial limbs are not uncommon in this world, David's have made him somewhat of an outsider.  Watching these two characters come together, learning to trust each other, plus the unique setting and action-adventure, made for an enjoyable read.  Brooks has a way with writing main characters that are fully realized, three dimensional people.  It's one of her strengths as a writer.  This strength doesn't carry all the way through to the villain, unfortunately, who ends up being a batshit crazy bwahahaha type with daddy issues.  Still, the action was exciting and the romance sweet.  This is another solid entry to a fantastic - and I mean fantastic - series.  I'm a bit in awe at how good of a writer Meljean Brook is and I thoroughly recommend the previous books in this series as well as The Guardians  series.
Where'd I Get It: Pre-ordered and paid for with my own damn money.

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Engine, #1) by Kate Locke
I was surprised on receiving this book to discover that is was a hard cover as I was expecting a paperback.  It's not much bigger than a paperback, though and it kind of reminds me of the Nancy Drew books I read as a kid.  (Size-wise, not story-wise.)  I also was under the impression that it was a steampunk fantasy but except for some Victorian fashions, its really more of an urban fantasy.  That's fine, though.  I still enjoyed it.   It was a fun, easy read.  I liked the conceit of the world.  It is set in London during the 175th year of the reign of Her Ensanguined Majesty Queen Victoria, the undead matriarch and the Aristocracy is made up of vampires and werewolves.  In this world, technology and magic live side by side.  The heroine, Xandra, is a half-blood, the result of her vampire daddy doing the nasty with a human.  As a member of the elite Royal Guard, she is charged with protecting the Aristocracy.  When her younger sister goes missing, Xandra sets out to find her and ends up uncovering a vast conspiracy There are some super ideas in this story that I found engaging.   Since it's set in Britain, the class systems is a big deal.  Vamps and Weres hold all the power while humans and half-bloods are second class citizens.  So... there are a lot of issues to explore there. Plus they all hate the goblins - one of the few things that unites the different groups.  I also enjoyed the family dynamic between Xandra, her two sisters and her brother.  I've read so many urban fantasies where the heroine is a rebel, a loner, y'know the  I'm-not-like-other-guys-Dottie type; It was nice to see siblings interact with one another in a completely sibling way with the petty squabbles, the family reliance and all the other stuff that binds family together.  I wasn't as keen on the romance.  I wish there had been more complexity to that relationship.  It seemed so easy, too straight forward, especially considering everyone else had secrets to hide and hidden motives.  I kept expecting there to be more there than meets the eye... but there wasn't.  As a first book in a series, God Save the Queen also fell into the info-dump trap that is often hard to avoid.  But, y'know what?  I still enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.  Especially after the way this one ended.  The writing isn't the most complex - the book could easily be marketed as YA - but it was a fun, brain-candy read,
Where'd I Get It:  received via


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