A Perfect Blood

**SPOILERS**

So I just plowed through Kim Harrison’s latest Rachel Morgan novel, A Perfect Blood. It was good and yet in parts of it I wanted to wring the main character’s neck. We’ve had quite a few of these books and apparently Rachel Morgan still goes off half-cocked with no plan and no back up only to be surprised when she gets captured by the baddies!

In this book, she’s essentially spayed herself magically speaking because she’s afraid of how people will treat her as a full powered demon. Not to mention she doesn’t want to live permanently in the ever after with Al and the other wacko demons. So for half the book or so we watch Rachel trying to continue working as she had before…but without any of her demon abilities because while she’s come out as a demon, apparently she just mentally has not accepted that her life will change.

And now we have a new group of bad guys who, while clearly focusing on Rachel for something, are more into the destruction of anything non-human rather than Rachel specifically. This makes a nice change from the previous books where the bad guys seem intent on wiping Rachel out simple because she’s Rachel.

At any rate, her life is changing and she’s getting frustrated that she can’t keep up. Ivy and Jenks are moving on with their respective others and Rachel is just a bit jealous because she doesn’t have one. She’s trying to talk herself out of a clear crush on elf Trent Kalamak and I’m note entirely certain why. He’s a bit of a dick, sure, but he’s also helped her out of quite a bit of trouble. Those two need to shag and get it over with already.

Eventually Rachel reaches a breaking point where she HAS to regain her demon powers by removing her charmed silver bracelet. From there, she ends up kicking her ass in her usual Three Stooges way. Let’s face it, she can fight and she can spell but she really has little common sense. She never waits for backup and she purposefully limits herself by dampening her powers. I really do like these books but sometimes Rachel Morgan just seems a little too cliche to me.

Rating: BB+

Doubletake

**SPOILERS** Do not read if you don’t want to have some plot revealed!

Rob Thurman is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. I really like her Cal Leandros and Trickster books. I just finished the latest Cal Leandros book, Doubletake. It starts out with our favorite brother Cal and Niko (I love this name by the way, don’t know why) getting hired by everyone’s favorite puck Robin Goodfellow to act as bouncers at apuck family reunion. If you think think your family reunions are awful, just imagine having 75 physical identical men, all con artists, trying to kill each other in the midst of an orgy. Yeah…just a bit disturbing and yet, funny as hell how it was written.

After that, we get introduced to Niko’s long lost father who is trying to get the brothers to help with some ancient Vayash (Romany clan) burden. No one believes that he’s here to reconcile with his son and everyone treats him quite like a leper. What is this man really after…? Read the book! Since it’s brand spankin’ new, I won’t give away the end! 😀

And then we find out what was in the empty cage at the end of the last book. A half Auphe who named himself Grimm who is trying to connect with Cal as a brother/fellow half-Auphe. Grimm is a total psycho who is bent on world domination. Yeah, a little cliche but its less that he wants to rule the world and more that he wants to tear it down and dance on the ashes. VERY good book and I can’t wait for the next one on either this series or the Trickster series. Rating: A+

Audiobooks?

Okay, so I love James Marsters voicing the Dresden Files audiobooks but I’m looking for some ideas for some other audiobooks in the urban fantasy genre. Can anyone out there recommend a good audiobook? I’m thinking about Stephen Fry reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or possibly one of the Nightside novels. Suggestions for iTunes welcome (I don’t have Audible)!

500 Kingdoms-The Fairy Godmother

And I’m back! Its been a while, I know but  its been busy, busy so far this year! Both good and bad I guess. 🙂 At any rate, I just plowed through Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms novels recently. Normally I don’t go for the sort of pure fantasy novels. I prefer urban fantasy with guns and cars and pop culture jokes. Shallow of me perhaps but there you are. But I could not put these books down! These six books are new retellings of classic fairy tales that we all grew up with such as the Snow Queen and Sleeping Beauty.

Each book can be read on its own, which his nice, but they all tie together as well. The 500 Kingdoms are affected by a force called the Tradition. The Tradition is basically what happens when a story gets told and retold so often that it starts affecting the lives of people. Little girls with a nasty stepmother and two nasty stepsisters will find herself in a Cinderella type situation. Unfortunately, the Tradition isn’t perfect and doesn’t really care what the people themselves want. Sometimes the potential Cinderella will be a young lady who lives in a kingdom with an infant prince. She can’t have a happily ever after like that so what happens then? Why the Fairy godmothers of course! Godmothers are just very powerfully magic human women (though there are some real fairies in these tales) who are Tradition scholars and can manipulate it into a happy ending. They can transform a Cinderella into a Sleeping Beauty if that’s what it takes to get a happy ending.

The first book is The Fairy Godmother and it starts out with a sort of traditional Cinderella tale. The main character Elena Klovis has the nasty, wasteful stepmother (think Baroness de Ghent in Ever After) and the two nasty stepsisters and the deceased father. And, as hinted above, the prince in her kingdom is an infant. But Elena is far from helpless. She’s smart and determined to escape her currently life and make a better one for herself. She gets her chance when the stepmother decides to run from her creditors with her two daughters and try to marry them to quality in another kingdom.

Once the stepmother leaves and the creditors ransack the house, Elena goes to the town square to try and set herself up as a housekeeper. Everyone in town knows that Elena can clean, cook and mend and yet at the end of the day not one of them offers her a job. Just as you start feeling sorry for Elena, the ubiquitous ‘mysterious woman’ comes along and snatches her up. Of course, this woman is the Fairy Godmother for Elena’s kingdom. Since Elena was in a failed Cinderella story, the Tradition forced so much magic into her trying to make her fit a set path that Elena has the opportunity to become a Godmother and not just a mere servant. So the woman takes Elena to train

There is quite a bit of cliche in these books but I suppose one can only do so much to refresh well known fairy tales. Most of us could probably recent at least the gist of these stories in our sleep by the time we reach adulthood. Lackey keeps it from being a really yawner by throwing in a bunch of monkey wrenches at once to the newly minted Godmother Elena.  At this point you’re wondering if Elena will keep her cool and fix things or break down like so many typical female characters in a variety of stories and media. Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

I think this is definitely aimed more towards women than men. Not that there isn’t good fighting and puzzles but really, it’s fairy tales. I’m pretty sure my husband would find these stories dreadfully dull. 🙂  All in all, I’d rate this book a B+ and I really think that they get better from here, since this book really had to lay out the whole world Lackey created.