Tag Archives: werewolves

Legacy of the Devil Queen (Eve of Redemption #4)

Title: Legacy of the Devil Queen

Author: Joe Jackson

Series: Eve of Redemption #4

Kari has a million things to do, but she’s going to have to learn to delegate. Pregnancy keeps her bound to a more local, administrative job for now, which is irritating because something is razing small villages and leaving no survivors. So the Silver Blades must go to figure out what kind of creature is responsible, while Kari handles trying to root out whoever is leaking the Order’s plans and secrets to outsiders. Because if she can’t find the traitor, the demon kings have an even greater advantage. . .

This is mostly split between two storylines, and both are strong. The Silver Blades have what seems to be a straightforward mission, except the demon—is it a demon?–they’re hunting is like nothing they’ve ever seen before. And it’s capable of killing highly trained warriors before they can even strike a blow in return, which presents some complications to the usual strategies.

In addition, Erik’s father is finally back in the picture. No one’s ever said before why his parents split apart, but now we have some of the reason, and the fumbling attempts at reconciliation.

I also loved the followup on various things from previous books, whether it was the situation with the brys or how Ty can find new purpose after his devastating injuries. Kari’s actions resonate in ways no one could have expected.

And I’m thrilled that werewolves play into the ongoing plot. They’re an intriguing addition and I hope to see a lot more of them as this tentative alliance deepens.

The humor is also on point. Some favorite bits:

“Should be just like old times,” Aeligos said. “Hi, you two! We’re headed into a possible war; would you like to join us? It’ll build character!”

Or watching Erik’s reaction to a certain mayor was also comedy gold (and Kari’s letter about it is just as funny).

Or the werewolves:
“Thank God for that,” Gil said. “I’m terrible with keeping track of titles, proper forms of address, and all that. Out in the wilds, we have three titles: friend, foe, and prey. And the last is only for food animals.”

Overall this is another strong installment in an excellent series. I rate this book Highly Recommended.

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Serpents Rising (Eve of Redemption #3)

Title: Serpents Rising

Author: Joe Jackson

Series: Eve of Redemption #3

Karian Vanador has spent her life hunting demons–but the more she’s learned about her Order’s involvement with the syrinthians, the more she’s convinced they don’t know enough about the foes they’ve been fighting for hundreds of years. Eli told her of a promise made to the syrinthain high priestess to go to the underworld to rescue her daughter, a promise still unfulfilled. Kari intends to honor it. If, that is, she can figure out a way to get to the underworld, find the one person she’s looking for, and get back without getting killed. Fighting demons is one thing, but invading their own territory is quite another . . .

This picks immediately after White Serpent, Black Dragon. Kari’s still reeling from everything that happened, but that’s part of what fuels her determination to honor the promise made to a dying woman to rescue her daughter. The Order just doesn’t know enough about the demons to be anything more than a stopgap. Kari is determined to change that. People can go and come back from the underworld, even a demonhunter, so it has to be possible.

It takes a while to get into the actual underworld, but it doesn’t feel slow to me. Kari is appropriately cautious about the whole endeavor. She’s aware not only of how much she’s risking but also how much she stands to gain. And even researching how to get there provides a lot of fascinating information. For example, this isn’t going to be a stereotypical fire-and-brimstone underworld, or something in a big underground cave system.

I liked how the plot keeps twisting around. Getting a syrinthian girl away from a demon king that Kari has already offended won’t be easy. Kari’s got a different group of companions yet again. Some, like Uldriana, keep her guessing. Uldriana in particular became a favorite not just of this book but of the entire series. She has such a big impact, and such inner strength. I like how these characters feel so real, so well-defined, so that when the surprises come up I’m laughing or crying along with the rest of them.

I can’t really talk about my favorite parts without spoiling something crucial, so I’ll just say this was an amazing book and possibly my favorite of the series so far (it’s only hard to choose because they’ve all been really good). I rate this book Highly Recommended.

White Serpent, Black Dragon (Eve of Redemption #2)

Title: White Serpent, Black Dragon

Author: Joe Jackson

Series: Eve of Redemption #2

A serial killer is stalking the streets of Barcon, and the Order has been approached for help by none other than Kaelin Black, Barcon’s infamous Earl. Since the killings might be demonic in origin, Karian goes to investigate. But nothing about this case is simple. What is going on with the Lord Black? Is he innocent, as he claims, of the long list of crimes everyone suspects of him? What has the Order–and its last Avatar of Vengeance–been doing behind everyone’s backs?
And what do the demons stand to gain from this killing spree?

Set three years after the end of the first book, this one finds Karian in a much different place. Now married and a mother, she’s taken on a more administrative job to allow her to fulfill those roles more effectively. But a complicated problem calls for a high-ranking hunter, and it doesn’t take long for Karian to get back to her original job.

This, like the first book, isn’t as black-and-white as things first appear. Karian has to reevaluate her own beliefs often, and her initial disdain of the previous Avatar of Vengeance’s underhand methods comes against the fact that the real world isn’t nearly as simple as she thought. The mystery has a number of surprising twists, too, and it will take more than just Karian to untangle it.

I liked the fact that Kari’s healing from her childhood abuse is an ongoing thing. One piece that worried me about the first book’s resolution to that was that it felt like a one-and-done event, when she’s had years of trauma. Thankfully, that was more of a turning point than a total healing. Kari still struggles, but she’s moved past the place where it owns her. I also liked that she finds unexpected common ground in this with someone else, and how it helps the both of them to be able to support each other.

I also like that we’re getting introduced to more people outside the Order. And I REALLY like that there are so many different kinds of people, animals, and monsters that show up…. gnolls, werewolves, griffons, to name a few of my favorites. Or, as Eli puts it:

“So we’ve got assassins, demons, necromancers, and werewolves all involved here,” Eli said. He and Kari were headed toward the graveyard to see if they could find any other clues about whether the necromancer might be mixed up with the succubus. “Now we just need a vampire to show up, and we’ll have a nice little miniature apocalypse.”

All in all, this is a great continuation of an excellent first book. Start with Salvation’s Dawn, but definitely read this one next! I rate this book Highly Recommended.

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1)

Title: Hounded

Author: Kevin Hearne

Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #1

Atticus O’Sullivan is a 21-centuries-old Druid who would prefer to be left alone. But a sword he happened to acquire in his younger days is still being sought by its original owner: the Celtic love god Aenghus Og. Atticus has been on the run for centuries, but this time, when the fight comes to his doorstep, he might be ready to try to end this for good.

This urban fantasy contains a lot of the usual suspects: vampires, werewolves, witches, gods and goddesses. And a few of the not-so-usual in the form of the main character, a Druid (who conveniently avoids most of the less savory things historical Druids have been known to practice in favor of a more earth-worshipping religion). It was also a nice change of pace that most of the gods showing up were Celtic.

The story moves quickly, as Atticus finds himself at the center of a storm of attacks designed to either steal the sword or kill him (or both). I did like his lawyers, and how all of them are deadly in their own ways. And the dog is a lot of fun.

Mostly I wasn’t too swayed one way or the other by this. It’s a decent urban fantasy, but nothing particularly grabbed me and made me want to keep going with the next book. The worldbuilding is probably the best part, but the “everything goes” mindset was annoying because it fails to provide any context for how wildly disparate belief systems can all be equally true. I would have preferred some kind of baseline that could then show how various things worked within it. I rate this book Neutral.

The Invisible Library (Invisible Library #1)

Title: The Invisible Library

Author: Genevieve Cogman

Series: Invisible Library #1

Irene is a Librarian for an unusual Library, one that exists outside time and space and worlds, in its own reality. Mostly she infiltrates alternate worlds and collects unique books for its collection. But her latest assignment reeks of secrets and politics, and may be rather more dangerous than she’s been told. She’s supposed to train a junior assistant, the book she’s looking for has already been stolen, and the Library’s greatest enemies also want what she’s after . . .

This was mostly fun, with a few places where I just had to roll my eyes. Fun stuff first. Irene is a very likeable lead. She tries hard to stay cool and in control even when the situation has exploded away from her. She’s aware of what being a leader entails, and she tries to be responsible to that ideal. Kai’s presence tends to exaggerate that in her, too, as she both wants and needs to be a good superior for him. I was particularly impressed that she refuses to bed him after his explicit invitation (although other aspects of that scene were part of the eye-rolling bits). It wouldn’t have been a good idea, but I can’t say I remember the last book where that actually stopped the characters.

The world she ends up on has a lot of steampunk with a dash of mad science. Mechanical creatures! Zeppelins! Victorian fashion sense! Also werewolves and vampires and Fae (who are creepy, dangerous, and strongly magical). And I really liked the detective she meets, and how he engages the mysteries before him with his own skills, even though he’s got no idea of most of what she’s caught up in.

I wasn’t all that fond of Kai, though. His character is all over the place (although to be fair, Irene notices this too and remarks on it). Once more of his secrets come out, some of his behavior makes even less sense.

And the few personal nits: why does Kai have to be devastatingly handsome, with perfect looks, perfect voice, etc? I’m getting tired of “perfect boyfriend” type characters. (Irene subverts this somewhat by falling for the detective instead of her trainee, which made me very happy.) And the scene where he invites her to bed involves the two of them comparing the amount of sexual experience they’ve had, which also makes me roll my eyes. For one, it absolutely doesn’t suit Kai, whose nature is order, whose firm commitment is to family no matter what, to be such a player he might have spawned half a hundred offspring without knowing it. And then just moved on. Because the family he’s so emotionally invested in apparently doesn’t include people he sleeps with and definitely doesn’t include himself as a possible father. Does this strike anyone else as a total betrayal of the character’s deepest beliefs? The alternative is that he’s lying about said experience, which I don’t really buy either, or he wouldn’t have been so casual about asking Irene. And the way the whole scene plays out feels really pointless, except to have both the characters bragging about how much sex they’ve had, as if that somehow makes them better people. It has nothing to do with the story.

Overall this was a pretty good adventure, and although things wrap up in one sense, the deeper threads point towards a series. I rate this book Recommended.