Okay my lovelies, I have been bitten by an urge to request recommendations from two authors I know almost nothing about, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Now, I have read (and love) Good Omens and American Gods. So, what do the peeps out there in the verse recommend for these two authors? I like the silliness of Good Omens but I also liked the darkness of American Gods. Seeing as I also love Simon R. Green and Jim Butcher, I’m hoping some of you all out there would have some suggestions. Let me have them! I’ll give you cookies!
Thanks to a suggestion on my blog (yay!), I took a chance on this novel, Dead Iron by Devon Monk. This is an interesting steampunk novel. Instead of taking place in England (or Europe in general) this one takes place in America. It’s an interesting blend of steampunk, fantasy and western. Oh, not to mention that one character turns into a zombie. Good times.
So…plot. The plot is that in a little town named Hallelujah somewhere near or in the Oregon Territories, a fae creature is searching for a way home. As soon as I read the name Shard LeFel, I realized this guy was destined to be 1) the bad guy and 2) a fae creature. Yeah, LeFel, LeFay (as in Morgana from the Arthur legend), pretty obvious. But not really the bad kind of obvious. LeFel has a servant of some sort called a Strange, named Mr. Shunt. Near as I can tell, Stranges are some sort of vile, shadowy creature without a natural body of their own. So they build and enchant bodies using a combination of steam tech and magic. They’re very hard to kill and they’re nasty fighters.
On the good side, we have lone wolf Cedar Hunt. And this is meant literally. Cedar, at some point in his ‘mysterious past’, was cursed by an ancient Pawnee god with lycanthropy. As was his brother, whom Cedar presumes is dead. Unfortunately, Monk never explains why the brothers were cursed. Generally speaking, people don’t just get cursed ‘just because’. If there is a sequel, I’d like to see the reason behind it.
Cedar is the protagonist of the book and as such, you’re supposed to feel sympathy for him bearing up with this curse. I suppose he’s likeable in a tough, Chris Larabee sort of way but I felt there was a little bit of doubt as to just how good a man he was. There was allusions to him losing a wife and child (or children) but we never found out if this was due to the curse or if it occurred before the curse.
The other good guys in the book are witch Mae Lindstrom, odd child Rose Small and the Madder Brothers. The Madders are not human. I think they are some sort of dwarf-based creature. They aren’t small in stature but they come from Wales and they speak to and control (to a degree at least) stone. The Madders are trying to stop LeFel’s nefarious scheme (to get home and kill his brother, a fae king). Mae Lindstrom is one of the catalysts for LeFel to open his door to home. Rose Small is a foundling child who can see the Strange.
Together, they have to fight LeFel and prevent the door from opening. It’s an interesting premise and it’s fun to read about steampunk in America. I’d love to read more steampunk in the US if anyone has any suggestions. Overall, I’d say the book is a B. It was worth the read.
Caitlin Kitteridge just released her latest Black London book, Devil’s Business. I like this series because it’s dark and gritty. The hero Jack Winter is a total ass. He’s not terribly likable and yet some how, you root for him. He is the underdog.
We start out the book with Jack getting attacked in a grocery store. The magic users in London (and elsewhere) are not happy with him. He nearly ended the world by releasing a creature called Nergal. It doesn’t sound deadly (rather sounds like a Smurf name I thought) but apparently it’s a death machine. He’s physically recovered from Pete nearly killing him.
So to get him out of London, a number of magic and anti-magic persons attack and/or threaten him. He’s on the outs with Pete (which happens a lot, let’s face it). What’s a man to do? Go to L.A. with Pete to look into some mysterious deaths. Not that it’s Jack’s first choice mind. Pete’s decided to go to L.A. to help out a former police bloke she met sometime ago (how, I’m entirely sure). Jack knows it’s a trap but he can’t convince Pete of it, so he goes with.
So on to L.A. where breathing the smog is like chain smoking cigarettes. They meet their contact, a slimy git named Mayhew. Mayhew is convinced that he has a serial killer on his hands. One that (WARNING) rips living babies out of their mothers. Once every ten years. No one on the force believes him but Pete agrees to help, possibly in part because she is preggers with Jack’s baby.
Except that it isn’t a serial killer, not really. It’s a demon. Or perhaps more correctly, a proto-demon. This baddie (by the name of Abbadon) is what was in Hell before the demons. And the demons don’t want him out and about causing havoc. Enter Belial, Jack’s old demon enemy, who bullies and tricks Jack and Pete into solving his case.
Since the book just came out, I don’t want to get too spoiler-y. Jack gets the crap kicked out of him. Repeatedly. We’re introduced to wraiths and princes of hell. Jack man’s up and Pete realizes that not all the bad shit that follows Jack Winter is his fault. I really enjoyed the book and was rather sad to see it end. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. A.