Review: Blameless

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3)Blameless by Gail Carriger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blameless picks up almost immediately after the previous book’s cliffhanger ending. There’s not much external drama in this book — most of what comes up is directly due to Alexia’s situation. I like how she has to slowly come to terms with it instead of automatically accepting it.

The book’s a fun little romp through two European countries, has lots of fantastical steampunkish gadgets, and best of all, has some logical (to the world in the book) explanations of things that happen. I was disappointed that we didn’t get a better glimpse into Floote’s mysterious past, but I assume from hints that it’s to come in the next book.

The best part about this third book in the series is I think it only mentioned Alexia’s ample bosom a few times instead of in every chapter like the previous books.

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Review: Thorn Queen (Dark Swan book 2)

Thorn Queen (Dark Swan, #2) Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead

4 of 5 stars

I dove eagerly into Thorn Queen as soon as I finished reading Storm Born. Richelle Mead is a straight-forward writer and an excellent story-teller. Her descriptions of the other world and supporting characters made it incredibly easy to relate to Eugenie Markham, the main character. (Yes, that’s the main character’s name. I hated it at first, and I still cringe sometimes when I read it.)

So much happened around the main plot in Thorn Queen that it wasn’t until I was halfway through the apex of the storyline that I realized that that was what the book was about. The relationship and internal character angst distracted me from seeing that there was an ever larger conflict and mystery to be solved by the main character.

The last quarter of the book sped by quickly because everything was so tense that I couldn’t put it down till things were resolved. There was action scene after action scene, and then after that, it was a bedroom action scene. I literally finished the book while waiting for a light to change on the street because I was walking while reading. That’s how hard it is to put down.

Even though when I started this series, I thought I’d have trouble believing a story about a woman who spends half her time in the real world and half her time in some other dimension fairy world, it actually works. Towards the end of this book, I started thinking of the fairy world as more permanent and real than the human world that Eugenie also inhabited.

Thorn Queen has enough lead up into the story for people who never read the first book in the series, but I highly suggest reading the first book to just get the emotional baggage and background of all the characters. It makes the interactions in this book all the more worthwhile. Although the plot was decent and the mystery not bad, what I really liked about Thorn Queen was the way characters related and hated each other. It was like fast-paced, magical, soap opera.

SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
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Review: Storm Born (Dark Swan book 1)

Storm Born (Dark Swan, #1) Storm Born by Richelle Mead

4 of 5 stars
I discovered urban fantasy after reading the Sookie Stackhouse series and then reading Felicia Day’s post about the genre. But after reading a book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and not liking it, I wondered if maybe that genre just wasn’t for me. Luckily, I gave it another try and started Storm Born, the first book in the Dark Swan series.

Storm Born stars Eugenie Markham, a typical 26 year old girl with typical 26 year old girl problems, but with an atypical job — she’s a shaman. She banishes fairies, spirits, and various other-worldly creatures from her world as a profession. When I first read that description, I was highly skeptical. It sounded like bad fan-fiction.

But I have to say, now I’m hooked. Richelle Mead writes an easy to read introduction to the series. Her characters, even the fairies (called gentry in these novels) are believable in their interactions and their dialogue flows naturally and even comically in some parts. Best of all, there’s a lot of timely humor and self-referential jokes with regards to the fantasy series. It’s hard not to like a book that makes fun of the genre it belongs to.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good. Some parts were rough to read, and not rough in a good way like the steamy love scenes Eugenie partakes in. Without going into spoilers, when Eugenie Markham learns the truth of her profession the explanation about why she never thought about it was so corny and such a cop out that I almost put the book down. The plot device used is about as unbelievably coincidental as the amnesiac protagonist in role playing games. I’m glad I continued to read the book since the events that followed made up for it, but I’m still a bit miffed that the title of this book was such a spoiler.

Even though I was apprehensive about the book in the beginning, all doubts melted away after I got to the last page. The book makes urban fantasy believable without making the story seem too realistic or explaining too many things away. For me, a fantasy book is good if when I get to the last page, I wish that something like what I just read could really happen.