Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3)

Fair GameFair Game
by Patricia Briggs
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 0441020038
Series: Alpha and Omega #3
Publication Date: March 9, 2012
Pages: 293
Genre: Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace

While still a great read, probably my least favorite of the three (and a half) so far in the series. A crises of faith, of sorts, is visited upon Charles and the readers are the spectators as he makes every obvious, clichéd mistake on his path to enlightenment.  Fortunately, while this is a main theme in the story, it’s not constantly front and center – there’s too much of the main plot going on for Charles’ crises to feel cloying.

The plot was amongst the darkest I’ve read of Ms. Briggs books. Torture, the feeding-off of pain, misery and agony. Very distasteful themes. The ultimate villain was immediately obvious to me, but it didn’t detract much from the story, because I was reading the book for the characters: Charles and Anna. Without these characters, written as well, and as likeable as they are, I’d never have started this series.

River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6)

Great read. As usual, the humour and wit shown in these books offsets the sometimes dark themes the plot lines incorporate. I loved the American Native Indian focus to this story; learning about Mercy’s heritage, and the introduction of Coyote. I hope he’ll be a recurring character in the remaining books. The River Devil was over the top towards the end, but the whole story was enjoyable, nevertheless.

Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)

Love love love this book. Love this whole series. Ms. Jones has a unique ability (IMO) to take a very dark subject matter (or matters) and make it bearable to get through it. Charlie has had every bad thing thrown at her in this series, and they are all written graphically, and without holding back. Normally, this would cause me to run rapidly in the opposite direction, but she also writes with such compassion, humour, and scathing wit. I find the latter helps me get through the former.

 

The mythology(?) of Charlie’s world comes together in this book and I was totally sucked in – and relieved that what she’d been led to believe about the future was inaccurate. Questions are answered in this book, in between solving murders and other mysteries. I can’t wait to see what happens with all of these people coming together: Cookie, Uncle Bob, Garret, Quentin, Reyes, Sister Mary Elizabeth. Charlie is getting herself a gang. As for Reyes and Charlie, well damn. Hot damn. Literally. Just taking these two and their relationship into consideration, this is by far the best book of the series so far.

 

Thank you Ms. Jones, for writing a story/series I can lose myself in and come out of grinning like a fool.

Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, Book 5)

This was my favorite book of the series until the last fifth or so the time spent in Elphame and that only because fae is my least favorite of the supernatural, I think. Still, this was an excellent read and I loved it. I really enjoyed the time spent on developing Mercy and Adam’s relationship, the pack, and definitely on Samuel. This book felt a lot less high-intensity than the ones before it in many ways, and I appreciated the break.

 

I can’t say a whole lot about the plot beyond what’s written on the back cover without going spoilerish. As I mentioned above, not a fan of the typical fae mythology – although I really like Zee and the way the author weaves the truth behind the fairy tales into this series. I just prefer them more when they aren’t taking center stage and this book – at least the last half, they are definitely center stage.

 

I have the next one on it’s way to me now and I can’t wait to read it.

Biting Bad: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel #8

My favorite of the UF/PF series I read, and Biting Bad was excellent. It felt a bit like Christmas, having everyone together and getting along; no dramas between Merit and Ethan, Mallory back to being a main character, Catcher back – the gangs all here!

 

I’m certain I’ve said this in every review for every book in this series, but the character writing is just excellent. Dry wit, sarcasm, excellent timing, all make the dialogue just flow beautifully, and reading about the Chicagoland vampires is like being there with them. I have such a detailed image of Cadogan House, Grey House, Little Red – even Merit’s parents house (well, until her mom redecorated).

 

A lot was happening in the plotlines of this book: riots, political strife, family interference, McKetrick. But I never had any trouble following anything that was going on; the story flowed smoothly and once I picked it up, I didn’t put it down again until I was finished (Thank goodness it was a Saturday!). As one thread of the overall story arc is resolved, another one starts to unravel, taking us into the next book. I cannot wait.

Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson Series #4)

I was prepared to dislike this book, as the synopsis didn’t sound all that interesting to me, but the author did an excellent job defying my expectations.  I was dreading the whole aftermath of the last book, but found myself admiring the way she handled Mercy’s recovery. I also dreaded the whole vampire-revenge storyline, but the plot-twist was excellent! I genuinely enjoyed the first 80% of the book. The part I liked the least was the end, which, I suppose, wasn’t written to be liked. Ms. Briggs does evil well. However, she gets points for not dragging the ending out so very long and I liked the way everything wrapped up quickly and satisfyingly. I’m looking forward to reading more of this series.

Sleeping With The Entity

A quick, entertaining read, provided you don’t expect too much of it. Likeable characters, formulaic plot. The author did a very good job with setting and description – I could easily imagine the street in Chicago where the vampires called home. Her descriptions of the cupcakes were almost fattening themselves.

 

All in all, a fun read the held my attention.

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3)

I was dreading this book because I knew what was waiting for me in it, but I had just finished a Janet Evanovich, and if that isn’t inoculation enough against a dark, intense read, I don’t know what is, so I picked Iron Kissed up off Mt. TBR and started reading.

 

There’s no doubt that this is a great series with excellent characters. I enjoyed the slightly stronger focus on Samuel vs. Adam and I’m happy that this triangle isn’t going to drag on indefinitely. I also really enjoyed finding out a bit more about Zee and some of the fae folklore, although the fae as a group don’t hold a lot of fascination for me.

 

Iron Kissed is closer to a traditional murder mystery than the first two, and I have to admit I had the evil pegged from it’s first scene, but there’s so much going on in this book that it didn’t at all matter – I’m not even sure the author’s first goal here is to keep us from knowing who the evil is.

 

Finally the scene I dreaded the most: I was relieved to find the author didn’t feel the need to be disgustingly graphic about the physical brutality, but she does manage to convey the horror and creepiness of the scene vividly by exploiting the mental angle. I think of all the disturbing scenes of the overall horror, the one in the car ride over to the garage was the most disturbing for me. In just two (maybe 3?) short sentences, I’m completely creeped out, and horrified by the lack of free will Mercy suffers. The garage scene felt a bit jagged – like a film clip that was missing frames – but I was completely ok with that. I was happy to have details filled in when needed after everything was over and the body parts swept up.

 

This isn’t a series where I’ll be reading the books back-to-back until I catch up, but I’ll definitely keep on reading.

A Cursed Embrace: A Weird Girls Novel #2

3 stars only because I’m not in any way a fan of demons in my stories. They’re just too one-dimensional/single-minded for me to find them interesting, but they make good adversaries, I guess.

 

This book is quite a bit darker (see demons, above) than the first book, but it kept me riveted because of the characters. The sisters are that perfect dynamic – each with their own very unique personality and gift and their wolves, the same (I think Koda is my favorite). I can’t say I really much cared for the ending although, way to stop my heart re; Shayna!!! VERY well done!  Although I knew a conflict was coming, the author has set it up in a way that if feels like a happy ending of some kind is inevitable, and that’s what will keep me reading. In the meantime, I’m loving Misha – his name, his looks, his attitude – and I’m looking forward to seeing how the dynamic between Celia and Misha plays out.

 

Thankfully, the next book will be out in just 7 months or so, and I’m looking forward to reading it.