The Prophetess by Desy Smith

the prophetess

Fallen from Heaven and forced to live amongst the humans in exile, angel Ezekiel bares the tragic fate of a disgraced angel. Having overheard the rebellious Lucifer’s plans to rise up against the sanctuary of Heaven Ezekiel remains silent. For his inaction he is cast from the pearly gates and into the unforgiving lands of the mortals. Two thousand years pass  and  Ezekiel resigns himself to his fate.

However, in the year 2016 the winds of fate begin to change and Ezekiel is given a chance to return to his home. If Ezekiel can stop Molach from helping Lucifer return he will be welcomed back into Heaven. However, there is more than just a demon in his path. Ezekiel must uncover what else fate has in store for him, including a lovely solitary Prophetess named Isabelle and the endless possibility for joy and whimsy she offers.

My review of The Prophetess

The Prophetess by Desy Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m struggling to give a rating for this one. I enjoyed the story but there are a lot of issues with it.

It’s massively in need of a good editing. There’s a lot of spelling mistakes, and some layout issues that make it difficult to tell which character is speaking. A lot of the action doesn’t flow, it jumps between scenes and things don’t logically follow on from each other. I think it’s self published though so I can forgive things like this, a good editor will sort things like this.

I had major issues with Isabelle. Meant to be 23, she acts like she’s 13. Rude, aggressive, immature and completely unlikable. Branding other women as whores because they give a man their phone number (or for any reason really) is inexcusable. Knowing your own mind and standing up for yourself is good but whinging and throwing insults around doesn’t achieve anything.

Ezekiel is the saving grace in this book. I liked his character, and I enjoyed reading his viewpoint. And I loved the thing with the gold dust from his wings!

There’s a decent story in here too as much as I disliked Isabelle I was enjoying the romance that was building up between the two of them. I genuinely felt a bit angry when the book ended because I wanted to see where it was going! There is some good world building in places, but most of the scenes ended up too focused on Isabelle instead of on what was happening. A lot of chances at creating atmosphere or pulling the reader into the story were missed.

I hated Isabelle but I liked the story and Ezekiel is lovely. I’m think I’m going to have to go with three stars, simply because of the feeling when it ended. Surely that’s the best judge of a book?

I received a free copy from the author in return for an honest review.

The Prophetess
Desy Smith
Urban Fantasy
170

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Sunshine Cover

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it’s unwise to walk. But there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.

Until they found her…

My Review of Sunshine

SunshineSunshine by Robin McKinley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Somewhere in here lurks a decent story, but it’s so overwhelmed by the ramblings of Sunshine that it’s almost completely lost. In the first five pages, I know where Sunshine works, where she lives, her Monday movie nights and all about her landlady’s niece, but I still don’t know why she’s all on her own at the lake.

I liked the actual story, but it does start to drag. The vampires are satisfyingly nasty and mean, like in the film Lost Boys.

Sunshine is likeable enough, but by the halfway point I just really wanted her to stop talking. Cut out all the rambling and the repetition (how many times do we need to be told no one ever gets away from vampires?) and the book would be less than half the long 405 pages it actually is.

The author spends so much time explaining the world that it’s hard to believe this was ever intended to be standalone. So many concepts are explained in depth that are then not actually relevant to the story that I’m convinced this was the setup for a longer series, more like True Blood.

After all the long, long build-up, the big fight with the main villain is almost a non-event after all the talking. The villain himself is a moustache-twirling cartoon style villain, with some seriously dodgy dialogue. And he doesn’t do anything. Disappointing.

Could have been good, but needs some serious pruning to remove all the irrelevant rambling.

Sunshine
Robin McKinley
Urban Fantasy
November 30th 2004
Kindle
405

Darker than the Storm (Blackbird #5) by Freda Warrington

Darker than the storm cover

The towers of Niankan-Siol soared skywards, all blue and gold and glass, seeming as light as air. Walkways, weightless and swaying, threaded between the pinnacles and spires, while winged creatures and air transports flitted and looped among the glittering heights.

My Reviews of Other Books in the Series

A Blackbird in Silver (Blackbird #1)

A Blackbird in Darkness (Blackbird #2)

A Blackbird in Amber (Blackbird #3)

A Blackbird in Twilight (Blackbird #4)

My Review of Darker than the Storm

Darker than the Storm (Blackbird, #5)Darker than the Storm by Freda Warrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Darker than the Storm is the fifth in the Blackbird series. It’s set between the second and third books but as it’s a self-contained story I think you could read this without having read the other books.

This book tells the story of Ashurek after he has settled down on Ikonus with his wife Silvren and their daughter Mellorn.

Ikonus is a peaceful planet, but Ashurek finds himself restless. Overcome with a strong feeling of depression he breaks the law of Ikonus and opens a way to Jhensit, another planet. He is found out and as punishment Gregardreos, the high master of Iknous, sends him to set to investigate the odd energy that Jhensit is emitting.

Ashurek lands on Jhensit in a city split into two. Nianken-Pel is the main city, Nianken-Siol is a city above the city, a glittering place of blue glass where the ruling class live. They are the Siol, and they have enslaved the Pel, the people of Nianken-Pel and persecuted them for their religious beliefs.

Blaming the Pel for all their problems the Siol are ignoring the real problem: Jhensit is a planet slowly being consumed by a maelstrom, a corrupt energy that warps the land and creates monstrous creatures.

Ashurek only wants to observe and take back information to Ikonus, but he finds himself unwillingly drawn into the conflict. He must face up to his past and make moral choices as he tries to save Jhensit from being destroyed.

Ashurek was a strong but silent type in the first two Blackbird books so I wasn’t sure that he would be able to carry a whole book on his own. But he works well as the main character, he has a dry sense of humour and a compelling voice. He knows his own faults and his strengths and isn’t afraid to take action when needed. He’s interesting to read about!

There was just enough world building to get a sense of Jhensit. I would have preferred a bit more maybe, about the two cities and the contrast between them. Nianken-Siol, the city in the sky, sounds like a beautiful but cold place full of glittering glass and I would have liked to know more about it and the people there.

The story is well paced, it moves fast without being confusing and stays interesting. It reminds me a bit of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. They’re quite different stories but it has a similar sort of idea of a floating palace in conflict with the city below, and both of them are beautifully written. Darker than the Storm is a lot older though, it was released in 1992, 25 years ago!

I recommend this to anyone that likes fantasy stories and is looking for something a bit different. It’s crammed full of ideas that all merge into an original and exciting read. I couldn’t put it down!

Darker than the Storm
Blackbird
Freda Warrington
Fantasy
1992
Paperback
304

A Blackbird in Twilight (Blackbird #4) by Freda Warrington

A Blackbird in Twilight Blurb

The great Serpent M’gulfn is dead, all save one of its demon-servants destroyed. Now is the time when the power of sorcery might be harnessed for good or for evil.

Journeying disguised to Gorethria comes Melkavesh, daughter of Silvren and Ashurek, eager to use that latent power for good. It seems she is too late, for a ruthless usurper, Duke Xaedrek, has already seized control. Aided by a demon with malign intentions of its own, he intends to restore the evil Gorethrian Empire.

To save the Earth of Three Planes, Melkavesh must defeat Xaedrek – even though their conflict may claim innocent victims and bring other lands to ruin. And can she withstand the temptation to reclaim her birthright – the dark throne renounced by Ashurek – or resist the all-too-seductive charm of Xaedrek himself?

My Reviews of Other Books in the Series

A Blackbird in Silver (Blackbird #1)

A Blackbird in Darkness (Blackbird #2)

A Blackbird in Amber (Blackbird #3)

My Review of A Blackbird in Twilight

A Blackbird in TwilightA Blackbird in Twilight by Freda Warrington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a ride! This has taken my emotions up and down so much it’s taken me three days to be able to start writing a review.

A Blackbird in Twilight is the fourth book in Blackbird series, and the concluding part of the story started in A Blackbird in Amber.

Mellorn / Melkavesh has raised an army to repel the Gorethrian army. But her sorcery has been no help to her, and the Gorethrian Emperor Xaedrek is using the power of the last remaining demon to strengthen his soldiers and power his war machines.

But they all fail to see that the biggest threat to Earth is the demon, who has dark plans of their own.

There is some serious character growth in this book! The characters are all imperfect shades of grey.

Mellorn wants to stop the Empire enslaving the whole continent, but she also has her own ego. She sees herself as a saviour, as a leader and an Empress, and she can’t see her own faults.

Kharaan thinks of herself as a coward, but over the two books, she has evolved into a strong and resilient woman. She acts as Mellorn’s conscience, putting the brakes on the sorceress’ ego.

Xaedrek is doing some very bad things and has allowed himself to be controlled by the demon. But his motivation is his love of Gorethria, and he is sensible and logical and capable of caring. We see all sides of him and he comes across as a real person, not a cardboard cutout villainous Emperor.

The first Blackbird book I enjoyed, but you could see Freda Warrington’s inexperience as a writer, and I found it a little bit naive. Her writing was good from the first book but also improved massively over the series. This fourth book is multilayered and deeply thought out. It’s well written and atmospheric and full of difficult decisions for her characters. There are no right answers here, no obvious rights and wrongs

I can never guess where the story is going to go next, what the characters will do, how they will deal with their problems. And yet, when it happens, when things are resolved, it’s hard to see how it could have happened any other way.

Don’t read Freda Warrington if you don’t want a bittersweet ending. I feel heartbroken and yet happy at the same time. And she is so very good at making her villains so human you understand their actions, and even sympathise with them.

This is the most enjoyable fantasy series I’ve read in a long time, and this book has easily earned its five stars.

A Blackbird in Twilight
Blackbird
Freda Warrington
Fantasy
1988
Paperback
387

A Blackbird in Silver by Freda Warrington (Blackbird #1)

A Blackbird in Silver Cover

Blackbird in Silver Blurb

From Forluin, green, half-fabled land of beauty and peace, has journeyed the gentle Estarinel, bearing tragic news.

From the terrible Empire of Gorethria rides Ashurek; a lean and deadly warrior, once High Commander of its Armies, scourge of the Earth, hated and feared across continents.

The third is known only as Medrian. Coldly wrapped in her cloak of sorrow, her eyes deep-shadowed with suffering long-endured, she will explain nothing of her reasons.

Theirs is the Quest. They must slay the great Serpent before it lays waste and utterly destroys the Earth. Together they must seek its lair in the far frozen north, battling peril and nightmare until they face the ultimate, indestructible foe.

Three warriors. An epic Quest. They are the world’s last hope.

My Reviews of other Books in the Series

A Blackbird in Darkness (Blackbird #2)

A Blackbird in Amber (Blackbird #3)

A Blackbird in Twilight (Blackbird #4)

My Review of A Blackbird in Silver

A Blackbird in Silver (Blackbird, #1)A Blackbird in Silver by Freda Warrington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three mismatched companions start out on a quest to find a way to kill the great serpent M’gulfn that is trying to destroy the Earth. The serpent is slowly spreading despair and anguish, causing wars and laying countries to waste so nothing can grow or survive there.

I first read this book about 20 years ago, and it’s survived 4 house moves, my years at university and many, many book clear outs.

It’s rare that I remember much that happens in books I’ve read before, and I don’t remember how it ends or how it started, but what I do remember is the feeling I got reading this series.

That’s stopped me getting rid of the books many times over the years. I always meant to re-read it, but in a few months I’m going to a convention where Freda Warrington will be appearing so I thought I should read it again before I take it to get it signed.

The way it’s written reminds me of how Ursula Le Guin or Tanith Lee writes. It’s quite simplistic in style, almost in the way a children’s book would be, though the content is very adult and the characters find themselves in some dark situations.

The three companions that set out on the quest have rich and detailed backstories and don’t instantly bond.

Ashurek’s story is very detailed and he is a very complex character. he’s been through a lot and done some very bad things but even though he realises this, he also knows it’s M’gulfn’s influence that sent him on this path. He wants to make amends but he’s not consumed by guilt.

Medrian I remembered from the first time I read the book, the cold, pale, dark haired woman that won’t explain her reason for joining the quest, I also remembered what her secret is. That’s probably affected my re-read, I’m not getting the sense of mystery or confusion over her behaviour that I probably should be. But she is still my favourite character in the story, quiet and withdrawn and acts almost like she is in constant pain, but she still comes alive when in danger or in a fight. We see rare smiles, glimpses of what she would be like if she weren’t carrying these dark secrets.

Though the basic story elements are standard fantasy fare it’s taken in a different direction. It has strong, unique characters that carry the story and I found myself engrossed in their stories.

Things get very dark, with some almost horror elements finding their way in, demons, torture and dead soldiers raised to fight for the enemy. There’s a hopeless, desperate feel that permeates the book.

There’s also a bit of sci-fi mixed in, but I won’t go into that because I don’t want to spoil the plot!

These things make it stand out from the norm, it’s something a bit different if you read a lot of fantasy books.

It’s a hard one for me to rate, I would normally say 3 stars, but I still think about this book 20 years after reading it and that has to lift it to a 4.

A Blackbird in Silver
Blackbird
Freda Warrington
Fantasy
March 5th 1992
304

Minion (Vampire Huntress #1) by L.A. Banks

minion

Minion Blurb

All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a spoken word artist and the top act for Warriors of Light Records. But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons—predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy.

When strange attacks erupt within the club drug-trafficking network and draw the attention of the police, Damali realizes these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. Soon she discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire Damali has ever met—a seductive beast who is coming for her next…

My Review of Minion

Minion (Vampire Huntress, #1)Minion by L.A. Banks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

dnf at page 148.

I had high hopes for Minion, I really wanted to like it. But the story ripped straight from Buffy, the confusing writing, too many viewpoints, and a cast of bland characters meant I got bored and gave up halfway through.

Nothing about the world or the background of the characters was explained, we are dropped straight into the middle of the action with no reference points or understanding of what’s going on.

Halfway through the book and there was still have explanation of what they’re fighting or why they’re doing.

The confusing writing doesn’t help, some sentences just didn’t make sense no matter how many times I read them.

Maybe it gets better later on, or in the next book, because this is a popular series. But for me it’s not worth the effort to even finish this one.

Minion
L.A. Banks
Urban Fantasy

Street Magic (Black London #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

Street Magic black London #1 review

Street Magic Description

Pete Caldecott was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life  mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes.

Now a detective , Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tip has led police directly to the child but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack.

Strung out on heroin, Jack is a shadow of his former self.  But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey.

Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago.

My Review of Street Magic

Street Magic (Black London, #1)Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The writing was a bit clunky and awkward. I found it was often difficult to follow what was going on, and why they are doing things.

There wasn’t much of an atmosphere to it, I didn’t get a feel for London itself, and Black London was brushed over. Pete and Jack dipped in and out of it but what it is and what it’s like wasn’t explained so it never came to life for me, I couldn’t picture it

The magic was hard to understand too, but it is a series so maybe it’s explained more in later books.

Main character Peter grated on me. I’m not convinced she is really an Inspector because she acts more like an impulsive child, shouting and whining and making daft threats to criminals. She never did any actual police work so it was hard to understand the professional side of her.

And some of the things she did were odd, like why didn’t she report the first tip off from Jack? Why keep it a secret?

I can’t remember that she what she looks like was described either. She was just a bit bland. Towards the end of the book she was getting a bit more badass, so again maybe she gets better later in the series!

I did like Jack, but I don’t understand why he holds such a grudge against Pete? He dragged her into something she didn’t understand then got upset when she ran scared. And he’d held on to it for 12 years then suddenly changed his mind?

I also liked attraction between Pete and Jack. It was building up towards the end of the book with some moments between them that sparked. I think it holds potential for future books.

Overall there just wasn’t enough magic and not enough of the police work I’d been hoping for. It didn’t hold my interest and I ended up speed reading the last third.

View all my reviews on GoodReads

Street Magic
Black London
Caitlin Kittredge
Urban Fantasy

Made For Sin by Stacia Kane

made for sin book review

Description

A lot of bad hands get dealt in Vegas, but E. L. Speare may be holding one of the worst: He’s cursed with the need to commit sins, and if he misses his daily quota, there’s hell to pay—literally. Fortunately, his hometown affords him plenty of chances to behave badly.

But Speare’s newest case really has him going out on a limb. The right-hand man of a notorious crime boss has been found dead in a Dumpster—minus his right hand, not to mention the rest of his arm. What catches Speare’s attention, however, is that the missing appendage was severed clean by a demon-sword, a frighteningly powerful tool of the underworld.

Speare’s out of his element, so he turns to a specialist: Ardeth Coyle, master thief, dealer in occult artifacts, and bona fide temptress. Ardeth’s hotter than a Las Vegas sidewalk on the Fourth of July, but she’s one sin Speare has to resist.

The dismembered corpses are piling up, unimaginable evil lurks in the shadows, and if this odd couple hopes to beat the odds, Speare needs to keep his hands off Ardeth, and his head in the game.

My Review of Made for Sin

Well I really enjoyed reading this one, it was one of those books where I could happily have turned the world off and stayed at home curled up on the sofa until I’d finished it.

I liked Speare and Ardeth, they were both interesting and the attraction between them sizzled nicely. I want more of them, it can’t end the way it did! And I want to see Ardeth again, using her thieving skills more, and generally being clever and winding Speare up.

The only thing that felt a bit off for me was that I couldn’t picture Speare very well. Near the end of the book it says that he’s tall but other than that I didn’t get a good mental picture of what he looked like.

View all my reviews on GoodReads

Made for Sin
Stacia Kane
Urban Fantasy
August 30th 2016
266