Book Reviews 1 - August

Posted by phultstrand // July 28, 2013 // in Books // 0 Comments

A Conspiracy of Alchemists ConspiracyAlchemist.jpg
by Liesel Shwarz

Book Review By Michael Bradley

A Conspiracy of Alchemists combines paranormal romance with more familiar steampunk faire. The protagonist is Eleanor "Elle" Chance, an airship freight pilot picking up some side work in Paris. The story is told primarily from her feminine point of view with reveals on the thoughts of Hugh Marsh, the other main character. The writing is light and easy. I found the story progress slow at first, finding a good pace in the middle. At the end, the climax lasts so long that it becomes anti-climactic at points.

The romance is light-hearted and without many challenges. The main story is easy enough to understand, but by the end you start to question certain elements. For instance, Elle is taken to various places for no apparent reason. The original reasons fall through, but no secret one is revealed. At the end there is a terrible conflagration and crisis that can only be solved by using a tuning fork. While the entire Earth is about to be destroyed, the rescuers talk about it for a long time and then never use the tuning fork. Earlier, when a character is missing and could be killed at any time, days are spent casually looking for them without any feeling of haste.

There is also a strange balance that has to be maintained between light and shadow that just never seems to make sense. If you like supernatural romance, that part works well, but it is G rated without any steaminess. If you like steampunk novels, this will be a quick and probably enjoyable read. The weaknesses lie in the science fiction elements and the villains. The science fiction portion is not well fleshed out. The villains are entirely evil and dastardly with no real distinctions other than their appearance.

The end of the book of sets up the reader to know that more are to come. I believe this is now considered the first in a trilogy. I hope the second explains the science fiction portions better and has more developed antagonists.


Wisp of a Thing   WispofaThing_SM.jpg
by Alex Bledsoe (2013)

If you loved The Hum and the Shiver, you waited for this one as much as I did. This time the struggle between the First Sons and First Daughters breaks out with more action. Tension is high as Stoney Hicks plays his sex games with a stranger and brings the attention of the outside world at a time when internal tensions are already ready to explode. Bliss Overbay's sister had been cursed to become only a "Wisp of a Thing" by Rockhouse Hicks. Her humanity is quickly and quietly slipping away as no one wants to take on Rockhouse who always retaliates with a mean twist that sometimes escalates to deadly force that can never be traced back to him. Only the intervention of a stranger who's in Needsville looking for a song to salve his own wounded heart, and with some help from a local non-Tufa who is also unhappy with Stoney's games, might possibly be enough to save her and restore the balance between Sons and Daughters. We do see Bronwyn Hart, but her part is small (though critical) and we finally learn a lot more about the Tufa. I loved this book and want more - right now!

I finished this in about 5 hours because I couldn't put it down but it took this long to write the review because I couldn't figure out how to say everything wonderful without going on and on and on and ...

Reviewed by
Normalene Zeeman
Adult Services Lead Librarian - Prescott Public Library
www.prescottlibrary.info


The Girls with Games of Blood (2010)  GirlsGames_of_Blood.jpg
by Alex Bledsoe

In this "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" sequel to Blood Groove, two sisters who live to torture each other, meet the vampire and his team of misfits. One sister can live off of the spiritual energy she gets when she plays music but when the other finds out she is back in town, trouble starts and our vampire hero must get involved to protect himself. The interaction between the original group and these new characters is fun to watch and Rudy's attempt to go unnoticed in the modern world is both tragic and hilarious.

Reviewed by
Normalene Zeeman
Adult Services Lead Librarian - Prescott Public Library
www.prescottlibrary.info


 The Sword Edged Blonde (2007)  SwordEdged_Blonde.jpg
by Alex Bledsoe

Eddie LaCrosse, a discredited baron's son who is currently working as a sword-for-hire, gets asked by his old friend, the King, to find out what really happened when his wife was found in a locked room with the corpse of a child that may be their son. After a few zigs and zags, he figures it out; but as we make the journey with him, the tale is intriguing with stolen children, lost goddesses, and lots of adventure. The great secondary characters make for an interesting story with depth and breadth. Number two is Burn Me Deadly; three is Dark Jenny; and four is Wake of the Bloody Angel.

Reviewed by
Normalene Zeeman
Adult Services Lead Librarian - Prescott Public Library
www.prescottlibrary.info 

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