The Sword of Michael by Marcus Wynne
2 to 2.5 out of 5 stars
Marius Winter doesn’t walk the road of the shaman-warrior alone. He has powerful allies in the Other Realms and in ordinary reality. His spirit guides are a Lakota war-chief and medicine man, First In Front; Tigre, a powerful feminine spirit who appears as a white tiger; and Burt, a spirit raven who channels an old Jewish bookie from the Bronx.
Now Marius is targeted by a powerful sorcerer. In the battle for the souls of his friends and lover, he must storm the gates of the underworld and fight through the Seven Demi-Demons of Hell to the deepest dungeons to confront Belial himself.
I found myself skimming and skipping most of this book. The first two-thirds seemed your standard urban fantasy with a supernatural flare, demons and angels, the old Holy War, tied into or growing out of the Fall of Atlantis. The dialogue was forced and re-used one-liner clichés poorly. After about the sixth time I’d read a ‘one-liner’ I just about gave up. I forged on, but the ‘pay off’ didn’t pay as much as just felt off.
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The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
4 out of 5 stars
Fantasy Book Club April 2010 Selection
Read from March 31 to April 04, 2010,
I devoured this book, ravenous as a coreling in the night. Excellent world building, great character development, driving plot and riveting action. I’m panting and sweating just thinking about the last desperate battle.
Some of my favorite bits of the world building include a post apocalyptic setting, almost an alternate history of our own reality, where humanity is facing extinction from supernatural elements (demons) holding people hostage with terror as they roam the nights freely; ward magic lost in the mist of time and only rediscovered sparingly and with great difficulty; and, the presence of religious and racial prejudices dividing rather than unifying at the expense humanity’s survival.
About two-thirds finished, I yearned to give a five star rating because I became so invested in the characters I wept for their pain, misadventures, obsessions and short-sightedness. But the characters I loved were abandoned, left behind, or symbolically sacrificed and reborn into even more crazed incarnations.
The healing of mind and soul attempted during the last few chapters stretch my believability nearly to the breaking point and left me wishing that men really could walk in a woman’s shoes (or her body) before assuming we overcome, endure or recover like men. Without spoiling, I can’t convey how soured I became with the author for that one pivotal event.
Notwithstanding the sour taste in my mouth for that plot point, I couldn’t put this book down or turn pages fast enough. I plan to seek out the sequel, The Desert Spear, when I return this book to the library tomorrow.
A Shot in the Dark by K.A. Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Shot in the Dark continues a few months after A Devil in the Details, with Jesse James Dawson mostly recovered from his last demon death-dance and tornado tango, but still suffering from nightmares of an earlier near-fatal demon fight. His annual Colorado camping trip with his buddies should provide ample opportunity for rejuvenation and recreation… What should have been a relaxing retreat quickly turns into a siege reminiscent of the Alamo . . .
A Shot in the Dark provides a good mystery, a few thrills, a new take on zombies, MacGyver-esque innovations in demon fighting and a peek into the true identity of Jesse’s favorite demon sidekick, Axel (hint: read To Reign in Hell by Steven Brust or Milton’s Paradise Lost). This is a strong sequel to last year’s A Devil in the Details and a great summer vacation read. Just don’t forget the holy water, mirrors and swords.
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A Devil in the Details by K.A. Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wry urban fantasy is not my normal fantasy subgenre, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Devil in the Details by K.A. Stewart. I can savor the supernatural (angels, demons, witches, clerics) but please pass on the paranormal (vampires, werewolves, zombies) and that’s just what Jesse James Dawson did.
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