I can't believe December has come and gone and we are now in 2019. I think time is flying at warp 9! Pretty soon it will be time to tell you what I read in January. I am a bit tardy with this post as too much merriment over the holidays meant that I didn't have time to write this when I thought I would. I did however, manage to read a couple of good books so lets get to it!
First up is Genevieve Cogman's The Mortal Word
which is the 5th instalment in her Invisible Library series. Irene is enjoying her new life - stealing books for the Library, helping her friend - the great detective Peregrine Vale and enjoying the company of her former apprentice/hunky dragon prince Kai. After almost dying at the hands of the evil Alberich things are looking up...well almost.
After centuries of fighting the Fae and the Dragons are going to make peace and the Library have been asked to mediate the summit where the historial peace treaty is due to be signed. When one of the Dragon delegation is found murdered Irene and the Great Detective are brought in to steal a book and solve the case. Sounds easy? It never is. Irene and friends are in a race against time to find the book, identify the murderer, get the treaty signed and not get killed in the process.
I do love this series, as who doesn't want to work for an invisible library that has portals to alternative worlds? Also, Irene is a great female lead and barely ever needs Kai or Vale to rescue her. However, I was a bit hesitant about reading book 5 as I didn't love book 4 - The Lost Plot
. In my opinion, The Mortal Word
is a stronger book than its predecessor as I felt the plot picked up elements of the 'Alberich' plot arc and used them effectively. Alberich has a small part to play in the nefarious happenings at the peace summit that both develop Irene as a character and highlight the changes in the Library since he tried to destroy it back in book 3 - The Burning Page.
Through the plot we get to learn more about the background and society of the Fae and Dragon races and of the Librarians which makes Cogman's world (or worlds) much more rich and interesting. The ending does feel like it is the actual ending of the story but I believe Cogman will be publishing more books in this series so more opportunities for Irene to get into trouble. Overall, this book was very entertaining as it had just about everything you need for a satisfying read - great characters, a good murder mystery (I only guess quite near the end who 'dunnit'), the right amount of action, and some humour.
I discovered in my trawl through Kindle recommendations that the next instalment of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk: The Blueblood Conspiracy - To Catch a Rogue
had been released. With their leader captured by the ultimate baddy - Balfour the Company of Rogues find themselves in the Crimson Court all the way in Russia. Joining them on this dangerous mission is Lark who we meet in the original London Steampunk series. She has been brought onto the mission by the Rogues' youngest member Charlie who broke her teenage heart and who was responsible for the death of her beloved caretaker - TinMan. Lark also has a few secrets to hide herself and the Crimson Court is the last place that she wants to be. Can she keep her secrets and help to save the Duke before it's too late?
You can't beat one of McMaster's London Steampunk series if you need something quick to read that has a distinct formula so know what to expect. The Company are down to their nearly final member to get teamed up in a 'I used to hate you now I love you' romance. This time it was Charlie who needed to be paired up with some romantic entanglements and the only other teenager who fit the bill was Lark. While Lark's secret past had some depth to it the romance with Charlie was a bit lacking. Both characters are in their late teens so all the 'heaving and throbbing' was a out of place with these virginal teens. If I was the Duke I wouldn't have been too happy that my captivity at the hands of my arch enemy was lengthened because Charlie and Lark had some serious flirting to do. One of my fave characters from the previous series plays a part but I won't let it slip who that is. This is a bit of a filler story and I wonder if this is down, in part, to how many books McMaster releases in a single year. The story felt bitty and rushed. I hope that she spends more time with book 5 and impassive Duke Malloryn.
The final book I have to tell you about is Todd McAulty's The Robots of Gotham
. This has been sitting on my TBR for some time and I thought I needed to give it some space between it and the last book I read about robots taking over the world - Sea of Rust.
These two books are nothing alike, luckily!
In McAulty's world sentient robots have taken over much of the world forming governments in some countries and as dictators in others. The US has been torn apart by the war of the machines with Manhattan annexed into a robot monarchy and other parts are under foreign rule. Barry Simcoe is in occupied Chicago when a rogue machine almost kills him and many others. This attack set of a chain of events that will change Barry forever. During the drama that unfolds following the robot attack Barry befriends a Russian medic in the Venezuelan military and a damaged robot 19 Black Winter. Barry unwittingly discovers a robot conspiracy to kill off the rest of humanity by releasing a deadly plague. Barry and his two new friends need to work together to stop this from happening and to try to uncover who is behind it all. It's an epic race against time for not just Barry but the rest of the humanity as well.
I am still a bit tired out from reading The Robots of Gotham
as there is so much action and intrigue that I couldn't put it down. The chapters are rather long and filled with action and plot developments so it isn't an easy book to read while commuting. I would often find myself reading while walking down the street so I could get to a natural break in the plot....not easy especially when you are walking down busy London streets!
I loved Barry as a character and he is supported by a great cast of both human and robot companions. 19 Black Winter was hardly your typical robot so prepare yourself for his caustic sense of humor and witty responses to some of Barry's questions. Apart from Barry, I thought it was the non-human characters in this story that are the most interesting. Even though you know who the ultimate baddy is McAulty keeps you guessing until the very last pages to find out if Barry will save the day. It's tense! You have been warned. This was a great book and bit of a surprise how much I liked it. Looking forward reading more about Barry and hopefully 19 Black Winter.
That is all for me for 2018. I hope you enjoyed this post and the new format to my mini-reviews. Until the end of January, Happy Reading!