Monday, March 18, 2019

"The Girl and the Clockwork Cat"
by Nikki McCormack

Maeko is often referred to as a “street rat.” She lives on the streets of London, stealing and doing whatever else she must in order to survive. It is not an easy life and it often seems that everyone is against those who seem to have no other way to survive.

Yes, there are workhouses, orphanages, and jail cells where most street kids wind up spending a lot of time, but these are usually worse options than the streets themselves and are rarely somewhere anyone would choose to willingly go. The local police force, or “Literati,” seem to take a particular dislike to the “street rats” and are far too often rather violent when arresting them and taking them to one of their holding facilities.

When Maeko escapes being caught by the authorities after a botched robbery attempt, she soon finds herself in possession of a cat with a mechanical leg and in the middle of a mystery involving a number of murders that seem to be following both the cat and searching for the man who had created it. She is drawn into the hunt for the missing man and soon finds herself as one of those being hunted. Her life is soon as much in danger as that of the man so many are searching for.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The descriptions of what Maeko went through on a daily basis to keep herself fed, sheltered, and free of the Literati and other dangers made sense. When you need to do just about anything to keep yourself alive, you put up with a lot more horrific circumstances than you might otherwise be willing to tolerate. Maeko often had to do just that and worse.

This was the first book in a trilogy, and I am very much looking forward to continuing on with this series and finding out what further trouble Maeko will have to survive while on London’s streets. Recommended.

Monday, March 11, 2019

"On Bended Knee" by Celeste Bradley

Lysander Worthington had come home from the war “broken” inside. He could barely function and was prone to horribly uncontrollable rages where he couldn’t always remember what happened during those times. His mother was seriously ill & the doctors didn’t seem able to help her. As her condition worsened and it began to appear that death was imminent, Lysander was sent to find his missing brother Pollux and bring him home.

As he passed through a local festival in Yorkshire searching for a blacksmith to repair his horse’s shoe, Lysander had a run-in with a very angry Ram. And while he managed to keep everyone else at the festival from being hurt when the festival shelter collapsed, he wasn’t so fortunate when the building’s roof fell on top of him.

This was the sixth book in the Wicked Worthington series, though I had not read the previous five books in this series. I’m afraid that in the beginning this was a bit of a problem for me as I knew none of the characters or their histories before that point. It left me more than a bit confused as to who was being spoken of or what had been happening up to that point.

As I got farther into the book, I began to pick up some of the things I had missed out on by not having read the beginning of the series, and began to enjoy the story being told more and more. By the end of the book I was glad I did finish reading it, though I still felt a bit like I had been playing catch-up throughout, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so.

This book also could have used another round or two of editing. I encountered a number of typos that I would have liked to have seen caught before publication. Overall though, I did wind up enjoying the story and will likely seek out the previous books in the series to learn at least some of what I felt like I had missed.

My recommendation for anyone just starting to read this series would be to try to read the first 5 books before starting this one if you have not already done so. While it is possible to figure out much of what has gone before if you truly do not wish to wait to finish reading the others first, I believe you will enjoy the story more by reading them in order. Also, please also be aware that this is not a book meant for younger readers as there is a rather descriptive sexual encounter in the story.

Monday, March 4, 2019

"For the Killing of Kings"
by Howard Andrew Jones

For years, the Altenerai have been the protectors of the realm. Many people dreamt of joining their ranks someday, and though the war that made the names of quite a number of their members become almost living legends, there were just as many if not more who were lost, either through death or disappearance. Some believe that the days where one could earn fame and glory as a member of the Altenerai are gone, and currently the queen seems to favor a new corps comprised of mages rather than soldiers as the main defenders of the realm.

When N’lahr’s famed sword Irion is accidentally discovered by one of the Altenari to be a fake, some of the most capable of the realm’s defenders are soon found murdered. Something treacherous seems to be going on in the kingdom, and amidst this mystery someone is killing anyone who realizes things are not as they should be. Soon Kyrkenall, one of the most famous of the remaining Altenari, and Elenai, a squire, find themselves on a quest seeking answers with many of their companions hunting them down and trying to kill them before they can learn the truth.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. The intricate twists and turns of the plot were fascinatingly complex and well thought out, many of which I honestly did not see coming. The growth of the characters was progressive and reasonably earned as they faced challenges that made them start to see things in new perspectives as they sought to find the answers to questions they did not yet know to ask.

I did find a couple of typos in the book, but they were small and far between. In general, the editing of the book was excellent and I often found myself simply reading and enjoying the story rather than noticing if there were other typos as I read.

At this point, about my only complaint is that I’ll need to wait for the next book in the series to be released before I can find out what will happen next. While the book does not end in a cliffhanger, there is still a lot remaining to be discovered. And given some of the plot twists that were happening, I really want to know what else is coming their way! I will very definitely be looking forward to the release of book 2 in this trilogy. Recommended.

"The Girl and the Clockwork Cat" <br>by Nikki McCormack

Maeko is often referred to as a “street rat.” She lives on the streets of London, stealing and doing whatever else she must in order to...