inquisitor by R.J. Blain
Ok, maybe my title is misleading...obviously I am not talking about the Spanish Inquisition. In R.J. Blain's new urban fantasy, Inquisitor, we are looking at a completely different brand of inquisition....one that's coming after the supernatural creatures living among us.
If you missed this feature on The Weekly Newbie post a while back, here's the back cover blurb:
When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fiancée at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer or she'll be put to death for the crimes she didn't commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves.
On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses.
There's only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison's desire for self-preservation may transform into a quest for vengeance...
Ok, so I liked this book! While I always enjoy a good werewolf book, it's definitely a sub-genre that's been tackled a lot and it's hard to avoid covering territory that's already been done. I think Blain does a great job of setting up a story/world that's a little different than some of the other werewolf novels out there. While there are some similarities, there is enough to make itself stand out in the genre. While the existence of fae beings are hinted at, Inquisitor, focuses on witches and werewolves (hence the series title....) which is a combination I haven't read before.
The main character, Allison, was an interesting one as well. I found myself intrigued by her. I wanted to know more about her backstory and her plight. Allison definitely carries this novel...and she does so pretty well. You are introduced to several side characters (I hesitate to call them "background characters" because some of them play pretty big roles) throughout the story and I do wish that we had learned more about them. Now, I believe this is book number one in a series (at least, with that ending it had, it had better be part of a series!) and it could be that we learn more about the side characters in later installments. Even with that possibility, I do wish we had learned a bit more about them in this go-around.
To go hand-in-hand with the side-character development, I did find myself wanting a little more worldbuilding. Worldbuilding can make-it or break-it for me and I think setting up a supernatural side-world in the midst of reality can be challenging. You don't want to have too much worldbuilding because you want to read an urban fantasy. Too much focus on the fae/supernatural side can sometimes turn the story into pure fantasy. Plus, in an attempt to worldbuild, some authors tend to info dump rather than gradually set up their world. Blain doesn't info dump (no worries) and I definitely could see the structure of an interesting world (what with the Inquisition itself, werewolf pack structure, the interesting relationship between witch and wolf, etc...) forming throughout the story. I found myself, however, wanting more established world building toward the beginning of the story so it could then, in turn, frame the rest of the plot.
As far as the story itself...holy plot twists, Batman! I thought I had the book figured out about a quarter of the way through...then Blain threw the first curveball at me. Then the twists and turns kept coming and I didn't know what to expect anymore. Which is good. I hate being able to telegraph the plot of a book. The story is quite interesting and there are some plot elements that are very intriguing (yes, I'm being vague so as to avoid spoilerage). Inquisitor held my attention to the very last page.
All in all - Inquisitor is a fun, four-star read! Definitely a fun read for fans of urban fantasy featuring strong, female leads!
The one by Kiera Cass
And....this season of The (Dystopian-ish) Bachelor is now concluded.
I finally have my answer...Aspen or Maxon? Maxon or Aspen? Which dude does America end up with? And now I know. But you shall find no spoilers here...and don't go peeking at the end of the book to find out, either - it will definitely take a lot out of the story ('cause let's face it...the decision between the two is pretty much the whole story).
So, other than finally knowing who America ends up with...this was an ok book. Not my favorite of the three...I think I enjoyed the first book the best. I enjoyed the different characters floating in and out of the first installment. This final installment is (obviously) focused on wrapping things up and bringing the story to its conclusion. As it should. But there were parts that seemed flatter than I would have liked...lots of talking and whining (if I had a nickel for every time Maxon whined/wavered/wimpered, I would be a rich lady. Or I'd have a few bucks at any rate...enough for a frappucino at least...). Not as much plot movement in my opinion. Oh, a lot happens...it just wasn't as layered as maybe the first one was.
The One is still immensely readable and absorbing, just as the first two were. I enjoy Cass's writing style - it makes for a quick, fun read. I found myself wanting to know a little bit more about the conclusion than was written. The conclusion was satisfying, but I think it could have been fleshed out a bit more (especially with certain characters) to where the ending seemed all the more complete than it already was...and maybe tie up a loose end or two. I really can't go into detail lest I let something slip.
One thing I wish was tackled more in the trilogy as a whole (and definitely in the final installment) was the issue with the Northern and Southern Rebels. The potential was there to really delve into the worldbuilding and the politics, but we were given just enough to make it a plot point and then we moved back to the Selection. I understand...the trilogy is about the Selection, not the Rebels...but I think it could have added more depth to the story and given it an actual dystopian feel. As it stands, it's categorized as dystopian fiction, but without an emphasis on building the dystopian world it really just turns into a literary version of the Bachelor.
Which I am obviously ok with...because I devoured these three books. But still...the world building could have been more structured and detailed.
So, four stars for this one.
Divine by Mistake by P.C. cast
Oh...I so wanted to like this book. Diving by Mistake is my second foray into P.C. Cast's writing...and it's the second time I've had to put a P.C. Cast book down (the first book was Goddess of Spring).
It's not that I didn't like the story...I mean, check out the back cover blurb:
The most excitement teacher Shannon Parker expected on her summer vacation was a little shopping. But then her latest purchase--a vase with the Celtic goddess Epona on it--somehow switches her into the world of Partholon, where she's treated like a goddess. A very temperamental goddess... It seems that Shannon has stepped into another's role as the Goddess Incarnate of Epona. And while it has some very appealing moments--what woman doesn't like a little pampering now and then?--it also comes with a ritual marriage to a centaur and the threat of war against the evil Fomorians. Oh, and everyone disliking her because they think she's her double.
Somehow Shannon needs to figure out how to get back to Oklahoma without being killed, married to a horse or losing her mind...
I mean...sounds interesting, right? I thought so. Definitely not your run of the mill marriage-to-a-horse (turns out to be not as creepy as it sounds) romances. Plus, I've seen Cast's writing style compared to Anne Bishop's as well...and since Bishop is one of my favorites, I definitely wanted to check Cast out. Well, there are similarities between the two...namely the strong female lead (but Bishop writes stronger leads), sense of humor and fondness for animals. But Cast's book didn't catch me like Bishop's books do.
With this book and with the previous Cast book I tried to read...I just couldn't finish it. Not that the writing was painful and not that the plot was bad. In fact, I started this book reading at a furious pace because it was funny, clever and really interesting. Then it went from 80 mph to a standstill in about five pages flat. It's like the book was stuck in mud spinning its wheels. The switch from "I care about this character" to "yeah...whatever" happened almost as instantaneously as well. What's weird is that the same exact thing happened with Goddess of Spring as well.
I have a feeling that the story/writing/everything picks back up eventually (because there's a lot of plot out there that needs to be wrapped up)...but I just couldn't make myself wade through the mire to get there.
So...had to put this one down. I would say, though...if the synopsis looks interesting to you then definitely check it out because you may not find the middle part to be sloggish like I did. Maybe I just picked up her books at the wrong time? Even though I didn't finish this one...still giving it two stars because of how much I did enjoy that first bit.
I have some exciting news in this week's Weekly Newbie post! Today's post features the newest from R.J. Blain - Inquisitor - an urban fantasy that delves into the world of werewolves. Not only am I excited to preview this ARC....but I am very excited to announce that Ms. Blain will be doing a guest post on the blog within the next few weeks! Definitely stay tuned for more info!
And now...on to the book.
Available for Purchase: May 16, 2014 from Amazon.com
Back Cover Blurb:
When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fiancee at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer and quick, or she'll be put to death for the crimes she didn't commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves.
On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses. There's only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison's desire for self-preservation may very well transform into a quest for vengeance...
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning. When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She also has a tendency to play MMOs and other computer games. In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.
Can't wait to really get into this one! I do enjoy a good werewolf novel... I started it yesterday and so far it is proving to be a promising read. Stay tuned for R.J.'s guest post and for the review which should be posted on or around the release date!