Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Shadow Rites ~ Faith Hunter

Hunter, Faith. 2016. Shadow Rites. New York: Roc Publishing.

Faith Hunter continues her Jane Yellowrock series with the 10th book, Shadow Rites, in which Jane and her entire crew get caught up in some extreme magical attacks enacted by two angry witches out for revenge.  The witches and vampires have hated each other for centuries and have enacted wars to rid the earth of each others' species.  In previous books, the ruling councils of witches and vampires in the U.S. have grown closer to a d├ętente, and in this novel they are scheduled for a formal meeting to adopt new rules for dealing fairly with one another.  There are some witches with powerful magical abilities who refuse to accept the easing of tensions and embark on violent attacks on Jane and her crew throughout this book.

It’s always a good day when I get to spend time in this excellent urban fantasy world that Faith Hunter has created.  Jane has grown and allowed herself to become attached to her unusual slew of friends, which in this book now include a vampire Primo, a werewolf and a Grindylow.  My only negative comment about this latest title in the series has to do with something I’ve noticed over the past couple of books.  The descriptions of the magical workings and other paranormal situations are very complicated and, at times, difficult to follow.  I found myself skimming some of it because it was doing my head in!  The denouement also feels a little rushed, and I would have liked to have seen a final image of how Jane is settling in with the new characters, as well as a preview of the status of the upcoming visit from the European Council of Vampires, which has been alluded to in the past several books.  Other than that, as always, I enjoyed spending time in Ms. Hunter’s unique urban fantasy world with Jane Yellowrock, a skinwalker who shares a soul-home with, and can shift into "Beast," a large puma concolor.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fire Touched ~ Patricia Briggs

Briggs, Patricia. 2016. Fire Touched: A Mercy Thompson Novel.  New York: The Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0425256763. $27.00 USD.

It’s always a good day to get to spend time in Patricia Briggs’ unique urban fantasy world set in the south-eastern area of Washington state.  In the world of Mercy Thompson, a coyote shape-shifter, you will definitely encounter werewolves, fae, vampires and ghosts, along with very creative monsters for Mercy and her friends to overcome.  In Fire Touched, the ninth full-length novel in the series, the action starts off fast and furious when a colossal troll released by some angry fae takes over a cable bridge and begins to use automobiles and their human cargo like Matchbox toys.  The troll was released to create a distraction while the unfriendly fae try to retrieve a missing and powerful “fire touched” boy who has escaped from the fae reservation.

The pace of this addition to the series is brisk and the interactions among the main characters are as enjoyable as ever.  The enchanted Walking Stick makes numerous appearances and plays a major role in the book.  However, the actions of the character Thomas Hao in this novel are based on a continuation of a short story from Shifting Shadows, (an anthology) which readers would need to have read to completely understand, and the penultimate scene in Underhill is too similar to one in a previous novel for it to be particularly interesting.  I always enjoy the books in this series and was really looking forward to the latest. However, I was a bit disappointed in this one as it did not cover much new ground.  And Mercy doesn’t shift into coyote form even once, which really surprised me in a full length novel about….a coyote shifter!  All in all, this is still one of my favorite urban fantasy series, and the books have a tremendous following.  Holds are high in my library.