Book Review: Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Rating:  ★★★★★

I’m so excited to (FINALLY) be sharing this review.  I read this book almost immediately after I received it in the mail back in July/August, and am dying to gush about it with someone.  Kade takes a very common trope (the chosen one) and imagines what might happen if for whatever reason the chosen one were not available to save the world.

It’s one of my least favorite tropes because it never really made sense to me.  Like are we really saying all the rest of the characters in the world are so incompetent that even working together there’s only one person who could save them all?  Come on.

Eye Roll Gif

By turning that trope on it’s head, we’re already we’re being set up for all kinds of fun surprises.  Like really, what does happen when the chosen one is out of the picture?  Is the world going to end?  I felt like I couldn’t immediately envision the ending.  I have no idea how the ending is going to go.  Could this be the first trilogy which really results in the end of the world?!  I mean I hope not, but I’m on the edge of my seat here.

Aside from a premise that feels completely fresh, I absolutely adored most of the characters.  Aaslo is endeared to the reader from the very beginning.  He is best friends with Mathias.  Mathias is the golden boy, handsome and smart and talented.  Aaslo is no slouch either, but he’s constantly overshadowed by Mathias (Aaslo doesn’t mind, he’s not a center-of-attention kind of guy).  He’s not outgoing, not particularly charismatic, he has no real filter on his mouth, and is not smooth with the women.  Despite all that, he is smart and he is capable with sword and axe.  And maybe he’s not a likely hero, but he has the capacity to become one.

But Aaslo is not the only character I cared about.  We have the rogue thieves, Peck and Mory, the kind Marquess of Ruriton, Teza the barmaid, Dolt the horse, Myropa the reaper… the list goes on.  There just wasn’t a character here I didn’t care about.  I loved them all.

I struggled at first, with how very derivative this all felt in the first fifty pages or so, almost cartoonish in its depiction of fantasy, but once Kade makes the division between all those stories that came before and her own, the result is immediately something familiar and yet entirely new.

AND THE BANTER.  Dear God, the banter had me laughing out loud in some places.  Whether it was Aaslo’s inner monologue, or him bantering with Mathias, or with Dolt.. I had a smile on my face almost the whole time I was reading.  Banter aside, the book in general is just so funny.  There was one scene in particular I remember that felt very slapstick, which isn’t my thing in movies, but always works for me in books.  It’s rare to find something this funny that never felt like it was trying to be funny.

The world building is really great.  I mentioned before that this story initially feels derivative but one of the things that helps it to stand out is the number of different elements from all fantasy sub-genres included.  We have witches and mages, monsters and zombies, gods and goddesses… the list goes on.  In our travels we see cities, forests, swamps, sprawling estates, wide open plains, the setting never gets boring or stale and gives an epic sense of adventure.

If I were to critique one thing, it would be that the prophecy is not very specific. It’s a huge part of the story so I wish I had received a little more information about it up front.  As it stands I’m still not sure what the prophecy even is beside: “The world is going to end. The one marked by the world is our only hope.”  Well how is the world going to end exactly?  Who are they going to war against?  What makes ‘the one’ the only one?  Some of this information does come out in Myropa’s story, which helps alleviate the problem, but still, I found myself wanting for specifics.

It’s a very small critique that I was easily able to overlook in lieu of everything else this book delivered.  I am dying to get my hands on book two and absolutely recommend this to anyone that reads.

Thank you to GoodReads and Tor for hosting the giveaway in which I won this.

Fate of the Fallen releases on November 5, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or pre-ordered on Amazon.

Book Review: Inland by Tea Obreht

Inland by Tea Obreht

Rating:  ★★★★★

“We were bound up, you and I…Though it break our hearts, we had as little choice then as we have now.”

This is one of those books that I’ve been dreading writing the review for because nothing I say can really convey what makes it so great.  I like literary fiction, but it’s rare that I will pick up anything that’s straight up literature.  This particular book interested me for two reasons: the historical, western context, and the promise of supernatural elements.

Inland doesn’t disappoint on either front.  The story follows two main characters, Lurie of the Mattie gang, and Nora Lark of a small town called Amargo, in the Arizona territory.  It isn’t until the very end that the reader comes to understand how and why these two stories are being told side by side.  That’s all I’m saying about that because it’s just better that you know nothing going in.

This is a character driven story, with Nora’s part of it happening over (I think) the course of one day, from morning to night.  She often reminisces on things that happened in the past, her relationship with her husband and people in the town, the birth and lives of her children, etc.  These parts can be very slow, but they all contribute to painting the picture of Nora’s life and the people in it.

Life in Arizona isn’t easy and every day has been a struggle.  There are a few supernatural elements to her story as well.  Her niece-by-marriage, Josie, is a medium, conducting seances with the dead, and her son Toby has been seeing a strange beast roaming their land.  Nora believes both things are just figments of wild imaginations.

“And what did you ever learn from me–save to keep to yourself, and look over your shoulder?”

In contrast to Nora, we have Lurie.  He’s a Turkish immigrant that is orphaned as a child and eventually falls in with the Mattie gang.  He gets on the wrong side of the law early in the book and we follow his story as he runs from Marshall Berger and from his past.  Lurie also has a supernatural ability to see and speak to the dead.  If they touch him, he feels their last wants, and they consume him as his own needs.

The contrast in their stories is brilliant.  Between the two of these characters, it’s easy to assume Lurie would be the least likable, and that the reader would come to care deeply for Nora, the struggling, “innocent”, ranch-wife. But Obreht brilliantly turns this assumption on it’s head by making Nora the more unlikeable of the two.  She can sometimes be cruel to those around her, including her husband and children, but most of all her niece, and she holds some clear prejudices against the local native population.  Meanwhile, Lurie proves himself to be a man capable of caring deeply for others, and a man, maybe, searching for redemption.

“The longer I live…the more I have come to understand that extraordinary people are eroded by their worries while the useless are carried ever forward by their delusions.”

Despite it’s slow pacing, the book is so hard to put down.  Different little mysteries are introduced along the way, while other interesting little connections and reveals are being made (not between Nora and Lurie, but within the narrative of each of their separate lives).  Different story elements and characters in the story return at the most unexpected times, keeping the reader surprised throughout.  It’s a dramatic story that feels perfectly mundane, and I’m still in awe of it.

Lurie’s parts are written in second person, though I won’t tell you who he is addressing.  The writing itself is gorgeous.  It isn’t as impactful as say, The Mere Wife, but it’s emotional, and often left me feeling a little wistful.  By the end of it, I was in tears.

This review has probably rambled on for far too long already, and I haven’t remotely done the book justice.  Just know if any part of this story or review appeals to you at all, it’s well worth picking up and reading through to the end, where the reveals and realizations will surprise and haunt you for a long time to come.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

Inland releases on August 13th and can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

Throwback Thursday: The Just City by Jo Walton

In honor of Jo Walton making my hidden gems list not once but twice, with two books from one of my favorite series, I thought it was time for me to post my review of The Just City.  The Thessaly series is a total genre bender- it has elements of mythology, fantasy, and science fiction.  It’s heavy on the philosophy and will leave the reader with lots of things to think about when it’s all over.

TJC_JW

Rating:  ★★★★★

The end of this book moved me to tears because it was so profound and so beautiful and at the end it sort of just smacks you in the face when you realize how very important and relevant it all is.

I picked up The Just City because GoodReads said: hey- you liked Too Like the Lightning, read this! Well- it both is and isn’t like Too Like the Lightning. There is a lot of philosophy involved but I don’t think the plot was even remotely as complex and the philosophy is sort of fed to you rather then engaging you. I don’t mean this as a fault in any way- I’m just saying, it’s different. (This might also have been a difference of reading solo vs reading as a group.)

It starts out sort of slow. By the halfway point I was thinking it was a solid 3 Star book. Then a 4 Star, and it took me all the way to the end to be able to say it’s a 5 Star read. It’s dense. Be patient with it. It’s worth sticking it out.

The premise is this (chapter one spoilers ahead): Apollo is chasing the nymph Daphne and then rather than be raped she prays to Artemis and asks to be turned into a tree. Apollo just can’t believe that anyone would rather be a tree than mate with him so he decides to become a human to find out why. His sister Athene says, well I’m working on a thought experiment, recreating Plato’s Republic. You could go be a human there and figure out why Daphne turned into a tree. So he agrees and the stage is set.

This is largely a character driven novel. All the characters brought something different to the table. Apollo had the knowledge of a god but didn’t understand human struggle. Simmea is a black child from Northern Africa (I know her grandmother is from Libya but the way she phrased it made it seem like she was not) coming to The Just City while she is too young to question the inequalities of the world. Maia is a woman from 19th century England, a world which does not value women who think. And then we have dear Sokrates, who never gets a POV chapter but was always delightful to read.

(I’m going to try and avoid spoilers here but for those of you that don’t want them, I don’t know if I can say what I want to say without revealing some aspects of the book/plot/etc. so read with caution.)

I adored all these characters and their unique perspectives. I enjoyed reading their dialogues with Sokrates and felt Walton did an excellent job of giving them dialogue that would have come from people with their backgrounds. The workers (robots Athene brought from the future) were an excellent literary device to propose the questions Walton wanted us to be asking and truly proved for some thought-provoking reading. What is personhood? Who qualifies? How do you make everyone equal in practice?

Though I suppose the Just City (the city in the book not the book) succeeds in many aspects, it fails in many others. The practice of labeling people: iron, bronze, silver or gold for example is extremely indicative of inequality. Golds pursue art and philosophy and mathematics all day while Irons do all the work. So we have a system that is just based on ability I suppose but by making the city just we have also made it a city of inequalities. Do justice and equality contradict each other? Is it fair to divide people, not on the basis of skin color or sex or sexuality, but on systems of ability? Does the man who is poor at math deserve to be relegated to field work all day? Do the women who don’t succeed at art deserve the job of raising children all day? Is this what they want to do? And how do you reconcile a desire for personal happiness with justice and equality? (This speaks more to the aspects of the novel which touch on eugenics and divisions of labor.)

The more I think about it the deeper it all goes. I would like to add that as an added bonus, Jo Walton thanks Ada Palmer in the Acknowledgements section in regards to help she gave with Plato and philosophy so of course I was giddy with excitement to read that section.

I loved this book. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a read with more substance than action. I’m now off to go see if my library has Thessaly #2 available for download.

Throwback Thursday: Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

I’m sorry  I’m giving you one of my old reviews when I haven’t given you a new one yet this week.  I do have some new ones coming though (and I’m super excited to share them with you!) I just have to finish reading the books first.

Last Throwback Thursday I reviewed Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade, and while nothing would please me more than to share the reviews of the other three books I think they start to get spoilery and include information from the first book.  If you’d like to read them, you can check out my GoodReads reviews here: (Knight’s Shadow, Saint’s Blood, and Tyrant’s Throne).

This week, I’ve been in a grimdark sort of mood, so it seemed only fitting that I share my review of Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns.  I am planning on reading King of Thorns sometime this year so it makes sense.

PoT_ML

Rating:  ★★★★★

So on to the review. I’m giving it 4.5 stars rounded up to 5. This is not going to be a book for everyone. It just isn’t. The protagonist, is a murderous, traitorous, self serving, evil genius. Nothing is sacred to Jorg but vengeance and victory. Vengeance and victory can come at any cost, and Jorg is willing to pay that price. Loyalty and brotherhood are meaningless to him.

I am okay with this. As to what that says for my own mental state, well, let’s not look at that too closely. The thing is, a character like Jorg is just so damn rare. You’ll cringe every time he throws someone off a cliff. Or knifes a brother for looking at him the wrong way. He’s smug. He’s arrogant. He’s a bastard. If you’re like me, you’ll be rooting for him in the end.

Because his father, the real villain of the story, is somehow worse. I think. Minor spoiler: I don’t know if Jorg would ever stab his own son. Maybe he would. Maybe they are equally evil. For now, the father is worse.

The writing was excellent. This is a story about murder and the destruction of kingdoms and a rise to power and Lawrence makes it poetic somehow. Jorg’s inner monologue is fascinating. He’s evil and he knows it, but he still questions it on occasion. Sometimes he questions if he’s evil enough. Sometimes he mourns the loss of his childhood. Sometimes he seems perfectly happy to be rid of his innocence.

The plot is very action driven, with plenty of blood, gore and battle to go around. The action is also extremely well written, never a dull moment. Jorg always has an ace up his sleeve or a pawn to sacrifice.

There are some plot holes that I’m not sure how to fill. I’m hoping they are explained in later series. Namely, why this marauding band of brothers follows around a fourteen year old boy. It has nothing to do with his Princedom (excepting Makin- maybe). Of what I’ve seen of Jorg in this book I just didn’t get it. I understood a little why the one called the Nuban followed Jorg. And maybe it’s as simple as the brothers were sheep who needed a wolf to lead them. I don’t know. Little Rikey’s situation certainly isn’t explainable.

All in all it was great. I am SO excited to read the next in the series and check out some of Lawrence’s other series as well. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes dark fantasy and doesn’t mind a less than respectable protagonist.

Throwback Thursday: The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer

TWtB_AP

Rating:  ★★★★★

I mean you all knew where Thursday was headed right?  Next Thursday I’ll post a new old review from another series, but honestly only because book four in Terra Ignota hasn’t been released yet. (Also- spoilers ahead for books one and two if you haven’t read them yet…)

Ockham Prospero Saneer pleads Terra Ignota, I did the deed, but I do not myself know whether it was a crime. This sets the tone for the entire book. (As an aside- it really is a fascinating question all by itself.)

One of the issues readers had with Too Like the Lightning, was it’s cliffhanger ending. I’m happy to report that this does not feel like half a book. The wait for Perhaps the Stars will still be long and torturous, but I intend to fill that time with back to back re-reads prior to release (this is still true… come on release date!).

These books are, in their own special way, an art form. These pages are filled with quirky stylistic choices, narrative breaks taken to address the reader (you) who carries an ongoing dialogue both with the narrator, and ghosts of the narrators past and upbringing (primarily, philosopher Thomas Hobbes). Dual columns of text side by side are meant to tell you that multiple conversations are happening at the same time within the text. While MASON speaks, people around him object and these texts are given to you in tandem. Different sets of parenthetical are meant to indicate different languages. I’m sure this has been obvious to some of my fellow readers, but yes, I can be dense, and yes, it has taken me three books to crack the code.

We continue our philosophical search for meaning through the eyes of the Alien, God of Another Universe, filtered through the eyes of a serial killer and a genius, Mycroft Canner. This was an interesting examination of Mycroft. We see a glimpse of Mycroft before this chronicle started. We spy him for a brief moment in that time between his capture and his judgement. His own story, a mirror image of the larger story at hand.

We move away now from examinations of gender and utopia, to the meaning and purpose of war. Perhaps to the purpose of god and religion and its purpose within society. How does a peaceful society take those first few steps to war? Is war necessary to progress? How does society balance the rights of an individual against the greater good? What right does a government have to defend itself or its people against other governments and people? Is this a right we as citizens consent to? Or do we happily ignore it and pretend that peace and the right to live are god granted things that no government can take away regardless of that governments cause?

This may be the last book I have time to read and review this year (in 2017) and with everything happening within my own government I suppose it couldn’t have been more timely. It is highly relevant and highly recommended, and one of the few books I am already looking forward to re-reading because I know just how many things I must have missed.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe_MM

Rating:  ★★★★★

Blurb (from GoodReads): In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus….To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

 

This may very well be the last book I have time to finish this year, and I am not sad for it. This book deserves all the praise that has been heaped on it, and I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical.

There aren’t any words I could say to do it justice. The blurb doesn’t do it any justice at all because it was the blurb that put me off it for so long. Truthfully- it just seemed boring.

It’s not. This isn’t so much a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey, (though in some ways it is) but a saga of Circe, the least loved of all the gods, the least powerful, the least pretty, the least wanted. Time and time again she is thrown low and overcomes it. That is not to say she is without faults- she is far from perfect. But by the end of it, regardless of what she may have done, you can’t help but cheer for her.

The writing is lush and beautiful.  It is everything I would have wanted from a Greek retelling.  It has a sweep-you-away quality that just makes you feel like you’re sitting by a roaring fire on a cold winter night listen to your grandmother tell stories of her childhood.

The characters were also fantastic.  Circe was my favorite and a lot of that is due to the time we spend with her.  Other characters flit in and out of Circe’s life, and they all have their own voices and characterizations, but it is harder to connect with them since they might have only a few chapters they were involved in.

Aside from Circe, there is plenty of other greek mythology to go around. There is the birth of the minotaur, Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, Jason and the Argonauts and the golden fleece and his wife, the witch, Medea. There is story upon story upon story, all beautifully and carefully told. Many of them were easily recognizable and they all brought a smile to my face.

I have been hesitant to try Miller’s The Song of Achilles because I enjoyed The Silence of the Girls so much, but now it’s become a must-read.  If you have ever enjoyed any Greek tale at all- pick this up. You will not be disappointed.

Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older

Infomocracy

Rating: ★★★★

This is a political science fiction thriller set in a future world where countries are replaced by units of 100,000 people called centenals. This is referred to as microdemocracy. Each of these centenals is able to vote on their own form of government, and the government with the most centenals (known as the supermajority) acts as the intergovernmental peacekeeper.

Ken is working on the campaign for Policy1st, who believe that you should vote for them based on policy, and is unique from other governments in that policy rules, not a singular particular person.

Mishima works for Information. Information has replaced TV, radio, and internet. It’s built into handhelds and visual chips. You use it to pay for things, see the history of various objects around you, read news feeds, watch advids. Basically, Information is working to give the people all the information they could ever want. I saw them as truth keepers.

Ken and Mishima are brought together by the circumstances of their pre-election work, and kept together by a twisting turning election conspiracy.

This was a world hopping adventure. We get to visit Tokyo, Lima, Paris, the Adapted Maldives. The settings were kept interesting and worked well with the plot given that country borders aren’t really a thing anymore. I also enjoyed the world building, the tech and gadgetry were cool, but it’s most definitely the societal and political structures that stole the show.

The characters were fun and fairly diverse (more diverse than most books for sure). I adored Mishima right from the start. She’s a no nonsense, don’t take no crap from nobody, kind of character that I couldn’t help but respect. Ken took longer to grow on me I think because he’s sort of just a go with the flow kind of guy. It was hard to know where he really stood on anything.

The plot definitely kept me guessing. It takes right to the end to see how everything fits together, but the ending is the part that I had the most issues with. It felt very rushed, and it sucks because we’d been treated to such a high level of detail prior to that. It was almost like her publisher gave her a word count she couldn’t exceed and as she neared it she just cut chunks out of the ending instead of trimming earlier parts of the novel and balancing it all. Those last two chapters just didn’t fit with the rest of the book.

I still have some burning questions about other details too. A lot of it has to do with the tech. Mishima uses some different tools for her work that are given some misleading names (e.g. crowd cutter?) and I couldn’t piece together what they were or how they worked.

But I mostly enjoyed it and never found it difficult to pick back up or wanting to put it off, so 4 stars for me. I will definitely pick up Null States.

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

TBGD

Rating: ★★★★★

Creeper is a New Orleans teen surviving on the streets circa 1871, but Creeper longs to see the wider world.  When she hears rumors that a Haitian scientist is hiding in New Orleans with a powerful object known as The Black God’s Drums, she sets to work trying to trade that information for a ride out.

I read this in one sitting. It’s only a hundred pages or so, but they are an excellent hundred pages and I am sincerely looking forward to a full length novel with Creeper and Ann-Marie (and the nuns… and Feral… damn it can we just bring the whole gang along?!). Also- please tell me there is a full length novel in the works!

So world building: it’s a like a steampunk alternate history New Orleans- where New Orleans has become its own free territory in the midst of confederate states where slavery still happens. We glimpse a bit of Mardi Gras, a little Cajun and a little creole, a brothel and beignets. I ate the setting up and sincerely wish I had seen more of it.

The characters, though we don’t have much time to get to know them- felt fully fleshed out, with their own voices and insecurities. I loved the little bits of humor peppered through out. The captain is my favorite. But Creeper is a keeper too.

The Orisha gods and magic are outstanding. Reflecting, it’s truly amazing how much Clark crammed into this novella without ever losing sight of what mattered- the story. I loved the description of Oya and her relationship to the other gods.

The story is quick and straightforward- not too many twists and turns but I think it worked here, one because of the length, and two, because he gives us so many other wonderful things to think about.

Now excuse me while I go figure out how much of Clark’s other work I can get my hands on.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

TCS_MRK Rating: ★★★★★

I promise- this is the last time I’ll steal a blurb from goodreads.. maybe: “A meteor decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part.

One of these new entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too—aside from some pesky barriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations about the proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may not stand a chance.”

This was a group read with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club! I read it earlier than planned because it’s due back today but oh my gosh I want to sit here and gush for twenty paragraphs.

The first thing I want to say is that there are other short stories set in this alternate space flight history, and I believe they are all available online for free. I started with: The Lady Astronaut of Mars, and it was absolutely beautiful and a reminder that fiction doesn’t need to be long to be compelling. I do wonder if my reading of that boosted my enjoyment of this or if I would appreciate The Lady Astronaut more if I had started here. (If anyone has any insight- please leave a comment below!)

The research that went into this is amazing, and must have taken months, maybe even years. The result is a novel that fully immersed you in its world and its timeline. The history behind the book was treated with equal levels of importance as the science. The moods, the mindsets, the setting, all of it felt so incredibly authentic, and brought the world to life in a way that I don’t know if even a movie could do. The science is equally impressive and complicated, and while I appreciate it, I’m also not going to pretend I understood it. That is not to say the book was a difficult read- it wasn’t. I’m just not good at physics.

I enjoyed the plot. I wouldn’t call it action heavy- but it never feels boring or bloated. This was a very empowering novel. Elma’s struggle didn’t feel like a private struggle (although of course, it is at times) it felt like a struggle for all women. It made me grateful for the women that came before me, and got us to this point, and also angry that for all their hard work, these are struggles we still have.

I loved the characters. Absolutely loved them. Almost all of them. They all face their own private struggles and have their own flaws. I felt like I was picked up and inserted into this alternate timeline as some sort of mute observer. The relationships between them felt incredibly real- especially that of the relationship between Nathaniel and Elma, but also between Nicole and Elma, Elma and Parker, Eugene and Myrtle, the list goes on.

Ugh- there is so much more I want to say here, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers. I think this book is so important- and I sincerely hope it gets the recognition it deserves in the wider world.

Locke & Key Vol. 2 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

L_K_HG Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb taken from goodreads.com:

“Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father’s murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack’s dark secret.

Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingly familiar face.

Open your mind – the head games are just getting started.”

I think I enjoyed this even more than the first. With the world and the concepts fully established Hill was able to put down whatever amazing ideas floated into his head (or were stuffed into his head?). The idea of this magical house continues to be built upon with this book, adding new ideas and also some new history to the story.

I still adore the characters, especially Kinsey, who came into her own in this one. I didn’t feel that this one was quite as dark as the first- there was plenty of violence, but it was a bit removed from the characters and made for a slightly easier read.

I can’t wait to see what magical keys he comes up with next!