Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review # 7: Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

I had never heard of the work of Ellen Kushner before discovering Swordspoint through the Vaginal Fantasy book club. The other pick for June was Tripping the Velvet, which I knew didn’t have any fantasy elements, so I went with this tale about a master swordsman. Also, George R.R. Martin vouching for it seemed promising.

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The swordsman in question is Richard St. Vier who takes his work & matters of honor quite seriously. He may be a sword for hire, but he is careful whom he fights. He strives to ensure the fight will be clean and legal. All in Riverside, the dangerous part of town, know and respect him. His lover, Alec, the drunken university drop out is merely tolerated by his association with St. Vier. They spend the days boozing and gambling away all the coin from Richard’s fights without a care in the world. That is until they become caught up unwittingly in a power struggle and more than a few secret love triangles amongst the nobles of the kingdom. Events escalate and Richard’s honor is in question after killing one of the nobleman (who really had it coming). He could had let the offence go, but that really isn’t the way of a true man of the sword apparently.

I really enjoyed the main characters – Richard and Alec. Kushner didn’t make a big deal out of the homosexual relationship. They simply were together without question, no melodrama. And it wasn’t just them, many characters had sexual appetites for both sexes. My main gripe was the she spent page upon page outlining the power structure and intricate relationships between the nobles. It bored me to tears. I even gave up on the book 3x, only reading halfway in time for my book club meeting. I expected lots of swordplay thrills. Instead, the action played out in double entendres in public and machinations behind closed doors.  And in the end, Richard’s strict code seemed to get him into more trouble. He could have explained the full situation and probably saved himself in a manner of minutes. But he was stubborn and refused to detail events as he would have to reveal who he was working for, which is against his rules.

All in all, I’m glad I finished the book. The two accompanying short stories were fantastic giving further background on Richard and Alec. I would recommend this book for fans of this ‘mannerpunk’ genre (definition below) and books focused on Machiavellian power struggles. However, I think I’m more of a fan of action & mystery oriented tales.

Mannerpunk is the fantasy genre’s arena for the comedy of manners. Its worlds involve elaborately complex social hierarchies, and its plots revolve around its characters’ interactions within those hierarchies in the traditions of Jane Austen or Anthony Hope.

If you’re so inclined, feel free to check my writing and musings on my blog.

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Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review #6 – Red, White & Blood by Christopher Farnsworth

Red, White and Blood continues the adventures of Nathaniel Cade, undead vampire protector of President and his human partner, Zach Barrows. This third outing sees them fighting an ancient enemy – The Boogeyman. Cade and this monster have faced off before with Cade ending out on top. But as the myth goes, he’s never really dead, is he? A political enemy resurrects the monster to hunt down Cade and the President while on the re-election bus campaign trail.  

I would recommend this novel for lovers of horror, political thrillers and satire. I bet the Daily Show & Stephen Colbert writers would get a right kick out of it. 

Read the full review on my blog.

Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review #5: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

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At the end of January, I finished off The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. As expected, Shadowfever picks up mere seconds after the end of Dreamfever (see my previous review) so I was waiting with bated breath for the book to arrive in the mail. Mac is still stuck in the other world, led by The Beast who has been protecting her in its own wild way. She assumes it was sent by Barrons, but in a swift turn of events she kills the creature and pushes him off a cliff. To her dismay, the Beast is revealed as someone very important in her life. Once again, Mac is alone and full of grief, shaking her fists at fate. Except this time around, she stops the moping and rises to the occasion. She becomes renewed with a sharp, cold vengeance. She vows to end this apocalyptic treasure hunt for the book and use its power to avenge the death of her loved ones.

This book clocks in at 671 pages, much longer than previous ones in the series. And oh boy was it wild ride where all the mysteries were revealed. We find out what happened to the Unseelie King, whether Mac is truly human, what the hell is Jericho Barrons and all importantly, who killed Mac’s sister, which started this got this whole crazy train a’rollin. I had to re-read the ending twice to comprehend all the ramifications of what took place. The reveal of the King was quite unexpected, but everything was in its right place in the end.

I would recommend this book series to paranormal romance fans in need of a new series to consume. I never actually read the first book and have no regrets.

Read this review and other waffle on my tumblr.

Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review #4 – Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After is the last instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse book saga. The novel begins with Sookie fretting about her relationship with Eric. He’s been incommunicado after the events of Deadlocked. She is abruptly summoned to Fangtasia where they have a vampire divorce ceremony because Eric has to marry that new vampire Queen of Oklahoma. Before Sookie can descend into a puddle of sadness, she is accused of the murder of a local woman (& ex-friend) who is dumped behind Merlotte’s bar. Turns out, the devil is in town bringing together Sookie’s enemies from books past to string her up with a murder wrap. In a predictable turn, Sookie makes bail and aims to solve the case with the Bon Temps Scooby Gang.

Read rest of the review on my blog.

Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review #3: Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey

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Thicker than Water is the fourth tale of Felix Castor’s trials and tribulations in modern day London. Fix as his friends call him is a freelance exorcist with a problem with authority and penchant for chaos. Demons, ghosts, zombies and werewolves are very real and aren’t hiding in the shadows these days. Nevertheless, Fix can barely make enough money to pay his eccentric landlady and confidant Pen.

This time, the case is personal – a bully from his past named Kenny Seddon has written “F..Castor” on a bloody car window where said bully had a party with a couple of straight razors. Fix is already on the Met’s radar for past indescretions and is promptly dragged into the case. One cop in particular really hates Castor, which thrusts him upon an unwanted walk down memory lane to clear his name. And if that wasn’t enough, his estranged brother who is Catholic Priest striving for sainthood is somehow mixed up with the case and refuses to show his cards.

Read the rest of the review on my blog.

Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 review #2 – Incubus by Carol Goodman

Incubus (also known as The Demon Lover under the Juliet Dark pen name) is the first book in the Fairwick Chronicles. Callie McFay has just finished her degree, specializing in myths and folklore with a nice emphasis on the vampire genre. She is a NYC gal and would love to settle down teaching at NYU. Mysteriously, she ends up taking a job at her second (back-up really) choice – Fairwick College, nestled in a remote NY town. She is drawn to the beautiful house of her favorite author, Dahlia La Motte. Not to mention she is experiencing lust-filled memories of a dream she had of beautiful man from her childhood. She can’t resist the temptation, so she takes the job and even buys her literary idol’s house!

Read the rest of the review on my blog:

http://teresaelectro.tumblr.com/post/45915212405/cbr5-review-2-incubus-by-carol-goodman

Teresaelectro’s CBR5 Review #1: Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

 

Book 4, MacKayla Lane series by Karen Marie Moning

Ok let’s get this Cannonball 2013 going, shall we?

Dreamfever is the fourth book in the MacLayla Lane series from Karen Marie Moning.  Mac, our darling protagonist, is a sidhe-seer. This is a fancy celtic-y way of saying she can see the Fae (fairies!) in their true form. Over the course of four books, Mac discovers even more supernatural powers as she seeks revenge on those magical beings who killed her sister, Alina, in the first book.

At the beginning of this installment, Ms. Lane is certifiably down for the count. The walls between the Fae world and our reality have come down. All hell has literally broken loose, y’all. The big bad who likes to be called the Lord Master (how cliche’) has enslaved Mac with the help of 3 (or maybe 4) evil fairy princes. They obliterate her mind with sex and made her Pri-ya, a fate worst than death which has no cure.

Read the rest of the review on my blog.