Practical Magic

Courtesy of goodreads.comI got this book because I really liked the movie and I’ve thought for years now Man, I should really try that out. I kinda wished I hadn’t bothered. Alice Hoffman wrote Practical Magic and I have to wonder if this is her first book. If it is, I might give her a little leeway. If it isn’t…well, then she’s not a good writer. I really felt that I was reading the equivalent of a little kid going And then, And then, And then the whole book. There was a lot of exposition and not really a lot of pay off.

If you’ve seen the movie, then you know Practical Magic is the story of two sisters, Sally and Gillian Owens, who’s family is comprised of witches all the way back to progenitor Maria. Sally and Gillian are raised by their aunts, Frances and Jet, whose names we don’t actually get until the very end of the book. Otherwise, they’re just referred to as the aunts.

There’s no mention of a family curse against men Owens women marry, which is a key factor in the movie. And you have to admit, a pretty good plot point. The book is just sort of a slice of life look at the Owens women with a little bit of ‘magic’ sprinkled in here and there. Gillian does run away and Sally does marry and get widowed.

However, in the book, Sally also leaves the nameless little Massachusetts town after losing her husband, moving to Long Island where she leads a normal, boring life and raises two kids, one of whom is an extreme bitch and the other of whom has been beaten down to a mousy pulp by her elder, bitchy sister. The younger child is semi-likeable. The elder is not, even taking into account that they’re both teenagers. I found it too hard to care about either of them.

I actually found it hard to care about either Sally or Gillian too, sad to say. Gillian’s life is a mess and she blames everyone but herself, something I’m far too familiar with in real life and don’t want to deal with in a book. Sally is just…uptight. And a little sanctimonious.

I was really disappointed that there didn’t seem to be much magic in the book, just sort of hints to it. And Gary Hallet, who plays a pretty large and central role to the movie, is barely there at all. There’s not much in the way of character development for him either. Nor is there for Ben Frye, who ends up winning Gillian’s heart.

I wish I’d spent my money buying the movie rather than the book. On that note, why in the world is the electronic version more expensive than the paperback version?! That makes no sense whatsoever. Unfortunately, this book was a strikeout for me and there doesn’t seem to be much new on the horizon. Hopefully Peace Talks or the latest Simon R. Green will be out soon. Until then, I’ll be rereading some of my good stuff. Rating: D-. Wish I could return it and it didn’t add anything to the movie.

Don’t Panic

Courtesy of goodreads.comWell, it’s been a while. Switching jobs will do that to you. Now I’m back and I thought how better to celebrate Towel Day than to review The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by the Douglas Adams?

Hitchhiker’s Guide starts out with the relatively unassuming Arthur Dent (whom I now mentally picture as Martin Freeman. The movie sucked compared to the book but Freeman was a great Arthur Dent) going about his morning one day before suddenly realizing that his house is about to be torn town. So he lays in front of the bulldozers and refused to move…until his friend Ford Prefect (you mean this isn’t an unassuming earth name?) came to drag him to the pub. At something like 10am.

Ford, as you may have guessed, is not from Guildford as previously claimed. No, he’s from a small planet near Betelgeuse and of all the people on earth he could save from the coming Vogon construction fleet, he chooses Arthur. I think that says a lot about what Ford really thinks of him. I mean, Ford really could have just left him to die with the rest of humanity, but he didn’t.

Ford takes Arthur to the pub and tries to get him to drink several pints of beer in order to prepare himself for what happens next. Arthur is too miserable about his house to really pay attention. He does, however, notice when the giant space cubes come floating through the atmosphere. Ford manages to get him a towel while Arthur is gibbering and the pair are picked up by the cooks on board just before destruction, simply because it will annoy the Vogons. And really, who doesn’t want to annoy Vogons?

This is where we find out that the name of the book is actually the name of a book within. The Hitchhiker’s Guide is the best selling book in the universe, allowing people to hitchhike across the galaxy on less than 30 Altarian dollars a day. And it has the words Don’t Panic in big comforting letters across the front. It’s kinda funny reading this in the age of smartphones, because the description of the guide sounds like it’s a smartphone or small tablet. 🙂

We’re also introduced to a little creature called the Babel Fish. Those of you familiar with the the website…this is where the name comes from. It’s a little yellow fish like creature that goes in your ear (an image which always gives me the willies thanks to Star Trek II) and translates for you. It lives off the brainwaves put out by other people and excretes (ew) a translation matrix into your brain. Organic universal translator.

Meanwhile, all the way across space (which is mind-bogglingly huge), the galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox is planning the most amazing thing. Not the unveiling of the infinite improbability drive, but the theft of said device – a ship called the Heart of Gold. He and companion Trillian make off with the device after he shows off a bit for the billions of viewers at home.

How are these two events related? Well, in normal reality…they don’t. But thanks to the infinite improbability drive of the Heart of Gold, Zaphod and Trillian pick up two recently spaced hitchhiker’s. Too bad they couldn’t have saved them from the Vogon poetry. In an even more improbable twist, Trillian, Arthur and Zaphod all know each other.

This starts a series of truly wild adventures in which we learn the earth was actually a giant computer, dolphins are the second most intelligent animals on earth (beat out only by mice) and that the answer to the ultimate question is 42. Now, I loved this book and the follow up books. I have a soft spot for dry British humor and Douglas Adams is a great mix of witty and weird. But I will admit that these books aren’t for everyone.

However, if you (for some reason), haven’t ever read Hitchhiker’s Guide, give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And whatever you do, do not watch the movie before or immediately after reading the book. Martin Freeman was excellent but the rest of the cast sucked balls. Rating: A+

Shadow Rites

Courtesy of Amazon.comSo I was off for two weeks, first a vacation to New Orleans and then recovering from said vacation. 😉 But while on the trip (or more to the point on the way to Nola), I decided that what could be more fitting that reading the latest Jane Yellowrock novel since it takes place in the French Quarter? Be warned, this book is fresh off the presses so there will be SPOILERS here!

Jane has the Everhart-Truebloods down (Molly et al) down for the witch conclave. It’s very important that this meeting happens because having the witches on the side of the vampires may mean the difference between war or survival when the European vamps come over.

Scene opens with Jane getting woken up by a witchy scan, something that doesn’t anticipate reacting with Jane’s skinwalker magic. She bolts after a couple witches trying to spy on her house but they get away. Thinking that they’ve seen the last of them for a while, Jane and her partner Eli head over to vamp HQ to report the incident to Master of the City, Leo Pellesier.

Unfortunately, the witch magic lingers somehow and triggers Gee DiMercy into attacking Jane. She’s nearly dies, surviving thanks to vamp Edward and Leo giving her blood. Somehow this translates into Leo giving Edward to Jane. Not sure what Leo’s end game in that is but it should be interesting to see. I like Edward.

Angie, Molly’s daughter, inadvertently (or possibly advertently) makes a vow with said vampire, which freaks her parents and Jane right the fuck out. Which is understandable because Angie’s all of about 6. Edward is knowledgeable enough to realize that he couldn’t and shouldn’t act on the words of a child, but when she reaches adulthood…well I assume we’ll see what this means.

In the midst of all of this, a very old vampire named Ming of the former Mearkanis clan has been found after being assumed true dead in the very first novel, Skinwalker. Someone has been feeding on her blood, keeping her barely alive and pliant enough through magic. Leading to the conclusion that they’re going to hit the witch conclave but who and for what purpose.

This book wraps up some things that have been niggling around since the very first book. I have a feeling that we’re nearing the end of this excellent series and I both really want to see where this goes and dread it ending.

As always, this is wonderfully written. You get tense when it’s tense, you relax when it’s relaxing. And as an added bonus, you get a nice little culinary guide to New Orleans! Check out the Stanley on Jackson Square especially. Best food experience I had on my recent trip. Rating: A+

Tangled Threads

Courtesy of amazon.comYes, I’m still on my Elemental Assassin books kick. So we’re doing book 4 this week, Tangled Threads. This book starts out with Gin taking out small fry guys in Mab’s organization. Naturally, Mab doesn’t just stand by and let this happen. She hires a top notch assassin to take out the Spider, a woman by the name Elektra LaFleur.

Now, kinda lame name aside, it does actually mean something in this assassin bound world, Elektra has the rare elemental ability of lightning which is apparently an offshoot of air magic. And Elektra always leaves an orchid at the site of her kills. She’s not subtle but she’s also never missed. Never. Which makes her a good choice to try and take on Gin.

Gin sees Elektra in action after sensing a pretty obvious trap and taking no action. Elektra takes out one of Mab’s own people in a fit of pique. Doesn’t sound like the most stable of people to me but then again…assassin, so I’m sure that really goes without saying.

So on top of dealing with a very good assassin, Gin also has to deal with Detective Bria Coolidge of the Ashland PD, her long lost sister. At the beginning of the book, Bria still doesn’t know it and Gin is reluctant to tell her after a bad experience with the last Ashland detective she told. She’s worried that Bria won’t accept her as who and what she is, that she’ll be a disappointment.

I find Gin to be a wonderfully complex character, able to kill a bad guy without remorse (and to be patient with it so that she doesn’t get noticed herself) but still be worried about things like whether her sister will like her, whether Owen Grayson really accepts her for who she is.

This book falls around Christmas in Ashland, which apparently can get quite cold. I don’t know much about North Carolina but I guess this can happen? At any rate, after not falling into the obvious trap set by Elektra LaFleur, Gin tracks down who set her up (a bartender at Roslyn’s club) and sets out to make the guy pay for it…only to end up rescuing him after overhearing one of Mab’s people threatening to rape his daughter. Gin doesn’t do kids. Ever.

Gin needs to rescue the kid, kill the assassin and figure out whether or not to tell her sister who she really is. Can she do it? Please! She’s the Spider. She can do anything! This might be my favorite of the series so far. It was a really, really good read. And Gin still hasn’t gone all save me sweet prince with Owen. If anything, she’s usually trying to protect him. I love it. Rating: A+

Venom

51hysbk6ehlAs I’m still on my Elemental Assassin kick, I’m going to move on to book 3, Venom. This book starts out with Jennifer Estep having the crap kicked out of Gin Blanco by Elliott Slater, Mab Monroe’s enforcer. Why? Because Jonah McAllister (rightly) believes that she has something to do with his son’s death.

When beating the crap out of her doesn’t get the response he’s looking for (read: a confession), Mab orders a stop to it. See, she assumes that no assassin would willingly allow themselves to get beaten to a pulp. They’d kill their attacker first.

Ordinarily, they would be right. Gin would be all over that shit. But since she’s smarter than the average bear (or mafioso), and more patient, she does just that. She’s beaten almost to death but a campus cop assuming that he found another dead body (imagine that job. Ugh), calls it in and the police realize that she’s alive despite the strong resemblance to ground chuck.

After Finn brings her to Jo-Jo and gets her set back to rights, Gin decides enough is enough. She is going to go after Mab and her people personally, starting with Elliott Slater. It’s not entirely revenge on Gin’s part. Elliott has recently formed an unhealthy obsession with one of Gin’s associates, Rosalyn Phillips, and everyone is fairly certain she’s headed for an early grave if Gin doesn’t do something.

Not only that, but Gin’s recently rediscovered little sister, whom she thought was dead, has come to Ashland. As the detective taking Donovan Caine’s old place. And Mab Monroe wants her dead with a passion.

Gin has to save her sister, save the girl and take care of the Elliott Slater all without getting dead herself or alerting Mab Monroe to the fact that Gin Blanco is the assassin she’s looking for.

Again, these books are great. We see some real development here of the relationship between Gin and Owen, who knows what she does and doesn’t give her grief about it like a certain police detective. Again, I’m not saying that Caine should have turned a blind eye, but if you knowingly hop in bed with an assassin, you shouldn’t use the fact that they’re an assassin as the reason you need to break up with them.

This book kicks off what we’ve all sort of been expecting since book one, Gin going after Mab fully. It’s a good book, well written and made me jump right into the next book. Rating: A.

Web of Lies

Courtesy of jenniferestep.comOkay, so I have been plowing through these Elemental Assassin books by Jennifer Estep. Seriously, there’s good. Book two is Web of Lies, where Gin Blanco, our anti-heroine, is living with retirement. And she’s not really enjoying it. She’s restless, which his why when someone tries to rob her business, the Pork Pit, she and her dwarf cook Sophia take them down with prejudice.

This sets up quite the series of events:

  1. We’re introduced to Eva Grayson, sister of wealthy Ashland business owner Owen Grayson, who makes an appearance later on in the book.
  2.  We see just how much of Ashland Mab Monroe controls as the son of her lawyer, Jonah McAllister, who just happens to be the lead robber, gets released so quick it’ll make your head spin. We also get our first intro to Jonah himself as he tries to brace Gin into withdrawing her charges. HA! Like that would happen.
  3. Jonah’s pressuring of people to avoid the Pork Pit leads Gin to having the time to help hapless Violet Fox, who comes in looking for the Tin Man (now deceased Fletcher Lane).

With time on her hands, Gin and Finn decide that it’s worth the time and effort to figure out who is going through the trouble to try and torture Miss Violet, a sweet and bumbling college student who just so happens to be fast friends with Eva Grayson. Lot’s of little coincidences in this book.

Gin and her people learn that Violet and her grandfather Warren are being braced by dwarf mining magnate Tobias Dawson to sell their land. If you know anything of Southern culture, you know that a family’s ancestral land is sacrosanct and the Foxes have been there for centuries. Warren won’t sell, especially not to a creepy schmuck like Dawson. Gin and company also learn that the reason Dawson is so keen to get his hands on Fox land is that they are sitting on a literal diamond cache.

Dawson has mined as far as he could but any further and the Foxes would feel the mining equipment going through their living room floor. Gin decides to take out Dawson, if only to keep Violet safe from the torture that Dawson is willing to inflict upon her. This leads to a lot of trouble, including the killing of Jonah McAllister’s son in Mab Monroe’s own home and a couple of near death experiences for Gin.

We also see Detective Donovan Caine bow out of the novels, at least up to the book I’m in the middle of reading. Donovan can’t handle that he’s compromised his principles twice for Gin, so much so that he’d wished she’d died in the elemental duel she’d had with Tobias Dawson, rather than living through it.

I kinda feel like Donovan Caine is a sanctimonious prick. Honestly, you can live with wishing someone you care for dead but you can’t live with the fact that she took out a seriously bad dude? Murder is pretty awful, no matter how you look at it, but it seems pretty cowardly to me to wish for someone’s death because it would make things easier on you. Gotta say, I wasn’t too sad to see Caine go.

Caine’s departure opens up the field for Owen Grayson, who is intrigued by Gin from the get go and has no problem with her former field of work, that occasionally pulls her back in. Owen has the sort of moral flexibility that’s better for Gin and she still hasn’t gone all save me big strong man. A+ for that. As I’ve said, I hate it when strong female characters roll over for the first guy that comes along.

I highly recommend these books. And you don’t really have to read them in order either. You can just jump right in. So go ahead and pick one up. You won’t regret it. Rating: A+

Spider’s Bite

Courtesy of Amazon.comSo I tried the Elemental Assassin series a while ago (read: years) by Jennifer Estep, and I just couldn’t get into it. I think that the little blurb I read wasn’t enough to catch my interest. I recently picked up the first book of the series, Spider’s Bite, and was blown away.

We follow assassin Gin Blanco, through a job at the beginning of a book. A grieving family has hired her to take out a creepy pedo shrink who runs an asylum in Ashland (I think North Carolina?). Said creepy doc seduced a 17-18 year old kid in her care through abuse of her role and he ended up killing herself when she moved on to her next target. Ugh. Gross. She also took out a rapey orderly pro bono.

Gin successfully does the hit, gets away into the wilds of Ashland and heads back to her handler, Fletcher Lane. Fletcher runs a barbecue place called the Pork Pit and was himself a very successful assassin codenamed the Tin Man. Gin is codenamed the Spider, due to the melted silverstone spider run embedded in her hands.

Instead of taking a long deserved vacation with lots of umbrella drinks and skimpily clad cabana boys, Fletcher pushes another job on Gin. It should have been an easy one, but nothing is as it seems with this one. Because of the quick turnaround (1-2 days), Gin can’t do her usual in depth research. She’s forced to make the hit at the opera house and things go sideways.

Because she was taking the time to admire a handsome cop named Donovan Caine, apparently the only honest cop in the city of Ashland, another assassin (Brutus) gets the drop on her. Apparently he was hired to take her out when she’d finished her job (not the cop but the man the cop was trying to talk to named Giles something or other, a finance man for a successful company) so she could take the fall for the whole thing.

Unfortunately for the buyer, Gin is damn good at her job. She gets Brutus and manages to take out his partner before he finishes Gin’s original job. By the time she gets back to the Pork Pit, Fletcher is dead and Gin has to find his son, Finnegan (Finn) before he gets just as dead. She manages it, if only just.

Together, Finn and Gin (heh, that rhymes) have to find out who killed Fletcher and betrayed them. Finn, while not an assassin, is an excellent handler (having been taught by his father). Together, they figure out that an air elemental is behind everything. While hunting her down, the manage to save the life of good guy Donovan Caine, pulling him briefly into their world.

Donovan and Gin have a steamy affair in a broom closet while waiting for an opportunity to get the drop on their bad guy, a marketing chief for her original mark’s company who is trying to get the company back from mobster fire elemental Mab Monroe. She’s also a little nuts.

Gin manages to come out on top of an elemental’s duel and gets revenge for her father figure Fletcher but she doesn’t manage to get the guy. Which I like to see. Not that I think an assassin doesn’t deserve happiness in these books but it’s nice when there isn’t quite a happily ever after. I also like that neither Gin nor Donovan compromises on who they are to be together.

Donovan is just too moral a man to end up with an assassin and Gin is unapologetic about who she is. She isn’t going to change to be with a man and she shouldn’t have to. All too often I see a strong female figure who caves on her ideals at the first sign of a hard cock and some good sex. I hate that trope, which is probably why I’ve already bought and read the next two books in the series and am shortly going to buy the fourth.

This is a world where humans, creatures (i.e.-giants, dwarves, vampires) coexist together. It isn’t perfect, there’s a lot of corruption, but it was fairly realistic for a urban fantasy novel. I also like that there wasn’t some sort of Big Reveal. It really just seems like this mix was just always the way things have been. It’s a nice change.

At any rate, I really enjoyed the hell out of this book and would highly recommend it. Rating: A+

Chronicles of a Demigod

Courtesy of goodreads.comA while ago I bought this book cheap off Amazon but couldn’t really get into it. I think mainly because I was on a steampunk kick at the time and just couldn’t get back into an urban fantasy frame of mind. That being said, Chronicles of a Demigod by Adam McNamee is pretty good.

It starts off with Coyote (the Native American spirit) deciding that his people needed a weapon of godly make, something super cool. Unfortunately there isn’t really a smithy spirit in the Native American pantheons (I say pantheons because while the many tribes believed a lot of similar things, they all have their own myths). So Coyote decides to trick Hephaestus into making him the ultimate sword by playing off his jealousy of Ares.

And it works, sort of. Hephaestus makes the sword…but he curses it so that only a Greek (or a Greek demigod) can wield it. So Coyote takes the sword and, pissed off and a trickster, he gives it to a Greek demigod. One of Ares’ get. 🙂

Enter Ambrose, who lives in Las Cruces and is one of many Greek demigods in the world. As you no doubt already know, the Greek gods were not known for their fidelity. What I like about them in this world is that they can basically live forever as long as they get ambrosia, which is actually supplied by the gods and run around the demigods by Hermes’ offspring.

Ambrose is a son of Ares but he doesn’t fight. Or at least, he hasn’t fought for roughly one hundred years. Why, you ask? Because he fell in love with the daughter of Hades, Selene. Hades made him a deal: you go 100 years without fighting and I’ll allow you to date my daughter. Which first of all, boo. My dad wouldn’t have that sort of say over my love life, why should hers? Second of all, why bother with deals when you’re the lord of the underworld? Can’t you arrange to disrupt the flow of ambrosia or higher someone to take him out if you really didn’t approve?

Anyway, moving on. Las Cruces is one of two areas in the country which are sort of supernatural safe zones. The other being Portland and if you’ve ever been to Portland, you’ll know that wouldn’t be all that far fetched. 😀 Groups of supes live in Las Cruces that normally wouldn’t get to stay in one place. They follow the rules set down by a guy named Alistrov (whom we don’t meet), which ensures the supes stay under the radar and don’t kill each other. Most other places, it sounds like a free for all. And in Portland, the supes are basically serfs of one guy.

Unfortunately, Alistrov disappears and the alpha of the local werewolf pack gets murdered, leaving Las Cruces open for the taking. The supes who live there don’t want to leave. It’s their home and there isn’t any place else in the country that’s as stable and prosperous. So they band together and try to get Ambrose to fight for them, since he’s the only real fighter in the lot.

Ambrose turns them down. He wants to finish out his 100 years and get Selene back. His best friend, a son of Hermes named Dorian, keeps trying to tell him that this deal is not the way to get her back, that it’s changed him but Ambrose doesn’t listen…until Selene shows up and tells him the same thing. And dumps his ass. The reason being that neither Ambrose nor her father consulted with her on this stupid deal, which she would have shot down because Hades can’t make her do anything. Which is kind of cruel when you think of it. She didn’t make the deal so she could have gone to Ambrose any time and told him that. She chose not to and then dumped him. Kind sounds like he’s well shot of her.

With nothing holding him back from fighting, Ambrose decides that he likes Las Cruces too much and he’s a little too mad to not do anything. He agrees to fight their enemy, a bear shifter named Ursa (not original but it’s exactly the kind of name this character would have given himself). And have I mentioned that he’s got to keep his half sister Selia off his back? She wants the Trickster’s Blade like none other but she’s a nasty bitch and Ambrose isn’t going to let her have it. It was a gift from Coyote himself because Ambrose was the Ares kid who was most like Coyote, tricky.

This is pretty clearly a first novel but it was surprisingly good and the world building was pretty decent. I’m a sucker for Greek demigod stories in my urban fantasy, so I ended up quite enjoying this. It definitely ended on an open note, hinting at a follow up book though I haven’t seen one yet. I hope he comes out with one. I really like Ambrose. He’s not your typical Ares kid in fantasy. He’s got layers. Like an onion. 😉 Rating: B+. Good, but could use some polishing.

Brakebills: Hogwarts Lite for America

Courtesy of goodreads.comSo SyFy has this fun new show called the Magicians that is based on a trilogy of the same name by Lev Grossman. The first book in the trilogy is also called The Magicians and it features a late teen boy (17-18) named Quentin Coldwater who lives in Brooklyn and is insanely smart. Like in a school of smart people where he and his friends are all Hermione Grangers. And yes, these sorts of schools do exist and the kids that come out of them are crazy, crazy smart…though not very well versed in social interactions.

I’ve really been enjoying the TV show and I have to admit…I was a little disappointed in the book. This first book is Quentin taking a test and getting into a school for magic. No, not Hogwarts but Brakebills. Brakebills is on the Hudson River in upstate New York and is, essentially, Hogwarts lite.

You enter a campus that no none magic person can find. Magic interferes with technology. You’re not allowed to tell anyone about magic (statute of secrecy!) and you get sorted into a house…I mean, specialty. Seriously, there’s a sorting process, but it’s a not until second or third year so it isn’t exactly like Hogwarts.

Oh, and there’s also an incomprehensible but internationally adored wizard game! Luckily this is some weird form of chess called welters and not something involving broomsticks. There’s also a Hermione Granger (Alice…something) and a Ron Weasley (Eliot…something) and a number of other brave but insignificant character that may play a larger role later on. We’ll have to wait and see.

I think the second book will be more interesting, or at least I’m hoping. There was no real conflict in this book. It was just Quentin being insecure and learning magic. Even HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone had Voldemort show up at the end. Imagine of in that book, Voldemort had never shown up and Harry just had a regular school year. Yeah, not that interesting.

But, seeing as I plunked down 30 bucks for the trilogy (the sample was interesting enough that I thought the first book would have just a little more oomph), I’m really hoping that it’ll get better.  I’m guessing that this is Grossman’s first book. It has potential but he didn’t really need that much character building. Rating: C

Return of the High Fae

Courtesy of Amazon.comReturn of the High Fae by by Tom Keller is the first in the Vegas Fae story arc. And I don’t think I’m going to read the rest. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it read like an episode of Scooby-Doo. It felt just entirely too tropey.

The story is written in the first person from the perspective of our protagonist (natch). Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a story written in first person but from the perspective of, say, a second in command? I digress. So our male lead is a PI named Robert Hoskins. And because of that, I pictured Eddie Valiant the entire time I read this.

Good old Bob is an older gent, former cop with two kids he doesn’t see all that often and a ranch on the outskirts of Vegas. We’re introduced to him as he saves a likely mobster named Eddy Milagre from a kidnapping. During the thank you for saving my life what can I do to repay you portion of the book, Milagre’s mom (I think?) discovers that Bobby is in fact a fae. And a powerful one. Of course.

As is the way of things, Mr. Hoskins is all I have no idea what you’re on but can I please leave with them, and gets out of the meet and greet with all fingers and toes attached. I did mention this is pretty tropey right? So Bob goes about his life until he starts seeing weird people around. He meets a Lilith, a vampire who’s not a vampire (seriously, all the tropes) and some other fae.

He finds out from his German aunt, who can walk through trees because faeries that yes, he really is a fae. And not only that, he’s a High Fae. From what I can tell this is like the faerie nobility, the strongest and most revered blood in the fae world. This, of course, leads him to all sorts of trouble but on the plus side, he’s deaged! He’s now a twenty-five year old instead of a 50 something. Though his friends and family will still see what they expect to see.

There seemed to be several different storylines trying to weave together in this story but unfortunately, it came out entirely discombobulated. I think Keller should have first done a coming into the powers/world of the fae story, either as an introductory novel or even just as a novella or short story. Then he should have done the saving the damsel from her horrible life story followed by the fighting a High Fae bad guy story. There were a lot of Oh hay did we mention this moments.

I found this world poorly built and the characters not compelling in the least. I think my favorite one was the dog, because who doesn’t love dogs? And every once in awhile, I see the second book in the story for cheap on Amazon and I pause…but it isn’t really worth it. Maybe if it were a buck or free. Even then, I think I’d rather re-read a Dresden Files book where the fae are awesome.

Not even Vegas as a background could save this book. If I wanted Scooby-Doo, I’d watch Scooby-Doo (which I love, admittedly). I prefer a book where I can’t guess the ending by the third chapter. Rating: C-.