storytimewithbuffy

Posts Tagged ‘Mike Shevdon’

The Road to Bedlam

In Book Reviews on August 3, 2014 at 6:00 am
Angry Robot 2010

Angry Robot 2010

This is the second book in The Courts of the Feyre series. The first one is Sixty-One Nails. Feel free to click on the link to read my thoughts about it.

Nutshell blurb: Niall Petersen has just received word that his daughter has been involved in an accident and he has to learn how to deal with her death as well as his new role within the Court of the Feyre.

This book is definitely better than the first one. I really liked Sixty-One Nails, but, as I mentioned in my post on that book, there was a lot of exposition which is a bit off-putting. It’s a tricky thing as an author, I think, trying to weave the rules of your world into the story rather than just telling us what you want us to know. We found out about the rules in the first one so this book is all about the action. And there’s a lot of action.

One of the things that I really liked about the first book is that it took place predominantly in London. I love books that describe the city in which I live. Especially an urban fantasy novel. When I see those places in my travels throughout the city, it makes me wonder if there is more going on than just what I can see. It makes my surroundings seem a bit magical and mysterious. The Road to Bedlam takes us out of London as we travel with the main character to solve a mystery involving some missing women. This mystery is a bit of a tangent from the main story but the court needed to get Niall out of the way because he had the potential to interfere with their politics. It’s still a great story, but I did miss London a bit.

Blackbird is pregnant and therefore cannot use magic lest she hurt her unborn child. It’s a bit frustrating that she has a smaller part in this story as I like her but being pregnant and unable to use magic doesn’t make her helpless in any way. She’s really resourceful and can hold her own, which is something that I really like. I just would have liked for there to be more of her in the story.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, there is a lot of action. Niall has been going through combat training and has gone from a soft office worker to a sword wielding badass. (As an office worker, this appeals to me greatly.) He’s much more comfortable with himself and his abilities and uses them often.

I really liked this book. The world is inventive and unique and the characters are interesting. I’ve never read anything quite like this and I’ll definitely pick up the third book, Strangeness and Charm.

 

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Sixty-One Nails

In Book Reviews on October 20, 2013 at 6:00 am
Sixty-One Nails

Angry Robot 2009

The tiny motes left hiding there were consumed almost incidentally as the flood of dark power swept through the the debris, the dark-spore sparking tiny flares in the roiling darkness as it was consumed. In those flares, I heard the echoes of distant screams as they boiled away.

It made me smile.

Nutshell blurb: Niall Peterson collapses on the London Underground and is revived by a woman who goes by the name of Blackbird. She is one of the Feyre and he must help her ensure that an ancient ritual is performed in order to prevent all of humankind from being enslaved by the Untainted.

I’m following Ben Aaronovitch on Goodreads and I saw that he read this book and gave it 5 stars so I thought I’d check it out. I can totally see why he did. This was an engaging read that kept me gripped. Anything that keeps me reading during times when I’m not meant to be doing so can only be a good thing.

There were a couple of things that kept me from giving it 5 stars (I gave it 4). I felt like there was a lot of exposition in this story. One character in the book gave us complete histories of the Feyre and various aspects of this other world and I just felt that it happened way too often. Sometimes it felt as if this woman was talking through the entire book and it got a bit tiresome.

I guess the question is: how do you convey the finer points of your world to your readers without straight out explaining every detail? (If you know, please tell me because I’m world-building in my own writing.)

There was another point that made me scratch my head. When Niall and Blackbird first met, she gave him the name Rabbit because names have power and the Feyre and Untainted don’t give out their names for fear of giving others an advantage over them. However, throughout the book she constantly calls him by his given name but it never really seemed to have any consequences.

Those were a couple of things that bothered me. Nothing too earth-shaking.

On to what I liked.

The hidden world and the folklore of the Feyre and Untainted were really well thought out and completely absorbing. It is really rich in detail which is hugely appealing. The characters are interesting and believable. I loved that the main character is a forty-two year old man with an ex-wife and daughter.

What I really loved is that it’s set in London. As with Moon Over Soho¬†(if you haven’t read my post about it, you can find it here) I totally dig the mixture of fantasy with modern day London. There were so many places that I ‘recognised’. The story starts on the District Line which I take every day to work. I love reading about various places and picturing where they are in my head. It adds an extra level of detail that makes it even more charming.

Definitely a great read. Unfortunately, Goodreads doesn’t allow 1/2 stars or I would have given it 4 1/2. I’ll just have to settle for giving it 4 1/2 stars in my head.

I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for the second book.

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