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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018


Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018


Welcome to August. I can't believe that 2018 is already half over. Where does time go?  Some of you may have seen on the news that the UK is still in the grips of a heatwave. This summer has actually been a summer! I also can't believe that it is August and the weather is still in the high 20's and low 30's. The downside of all this lovely weather (despite sweating buckets at work) is that I can't concentrate on reading. I usually feel a bit like a wet noodle and can't pick up a book. I have however, read 1 book this week that I can tell you about. So what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018
Berkley has published the 4th instalment of Karen Chance's Dorina Basarab series - Shadow's Bane. Not a lot has changed for the newly appointment Senator as her life is just as wild and crazy as ever. When the nephew of one of her fey friends goes missing and presumed sold into slavery Dory is on the case. She discovers that slaves are being bought and sold to take part in illegal fight - a sort of underground fight club. Well this is what it seems on the surface. Dory and her alter ego Dorina are determined to find the missing fey and put the slavers out of business, permanently. All this while fending off assassins who want to take her place on the council and the growing dominance of her true vampire self, Dorina.

I prefer this series to Chance's Cassie Palmer series mainly due to the pace. While the pace is still frenetic at least Dory has the opportunity to eat dinner and have a heart to heart with her bestie Claire. Dory isn't as driven by her sex drive as Cassie is and there tends to be more of a plot in this series. It was interesting, that  while Dory is supposed to be the star of this story, it is Mircea that steals it. Dory's present day story is interlaced with chapters dedicated to Mircea's story back in the 1400's when he was trying to find a way to separate Dorina and Dory to help his daughter survive. It is through these back flash chapters that the background to the story's whole plot starts to unfold. We are also given insights into Dorina's real powers which add another element to the plot in the present day story.

The prominent theme in this instalment is one of belonging or perhaps more about family. Dory worries that Dorina is becoming more dominant and that she will take over and destroy everything that she has tried to hold onto like her relationship with the hunky vampire Louis-Cesare. There are a few sideline plots with her roommate Claire and the battalion of fey soldiers that are living in their back garden protecting Claire and her baby (and heir to the Light Fey throne) Aiden. Dory desperately wants to belong and keep hold of the community of friends she has started to think of as family. In the past Dorina, when she takes over, she manages to destroy any relationships that Dory has tried to build....until now. In between the Dory/Dorina elements of the plot is a lot of action. Usually with Dory getting her butt kicked and ending up with bruises on her bruises. Saucy scenes  between Dory and Louise-Cesare are still there but these are more like filler between the slaver plotline and the Mircea POV chapters. Overall, this was a good balance between action, romance and plot. A few of the characters that have been missing in previous books return along with the introduction of new ones. It did kind of feel like a final book as there was a resolution to a number of plot threads from previous books. It seemed like things were being tied up for Dory so I don't know if this is the last we will hear of the 5 foot nothing, hard as nails dhampir.


I hate to sound like a Hugh D'Ambray groupie but I bought the audio version of Ilona Andrews Iron and Magic.  I loved the narrator - Steve West  - who did the voice over for Galahad in the video game The Order 1886 (which I also loved.....a must play for any gamers out there). He has a very swoony voice and it worked perfectly for Hugh. Some of the female characters didn't sound anything like I imagined they would but he did such a great job of Hugh I wasn't too disappointed.


The temperature is going to drop a bit this week so hopefully I can get some of my reading mojo back. Until next week Happy Reading!





Shadow's Bane
A Midnight's Daughter Novel / Dorina Basarab 4
Berkley, July 31, 2018
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 624 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018
Half-human, half-vampire Dorina Basarab is back–and facing her biggest challenge yet in the next urban fantasy in the New York Times bestselling series.

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir–half-human, half-vampire. As one of the Vampire Senate’s newest members, Dory already has a lot on her plate. But then a relative of one of Dory’s fey friends goes missing. They fear he’s been sold to a slaver who arranges fights–sometimes to the death–between different types of fey.

As Dory investigates, she and her friends learn the slavers are into something much bigger than a fight club. With the Vampire Senate gearing up for war with Faerie, it’ll take everything she has to defeat the slavers–and deal with the entirely too attractive master vampire Louis-Cesare….





Previously
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Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018
Book 1
Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018
Book 2
Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018
Book 3

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews


Iron and Magic
Author:  Ilona Andrews
Series:  The Iron Covenant 1
Publisher:  NYLA, June 28, 2018
Format:  eBook, 322 pages
List Price:  US$ 6.99 (eBook)
ISBN:  9781641970358 (eBook)

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.



Melanie's Thoughts

Hugh is back but this time not as Roland's right hand man. He has lost everything  - his job, his wealth, his power, his immortality but more importantly the man he considered a father. He has nothing and no where to go. Along with his 300 elite soldiers - the Iron Dogs - Hugh is desperate to find a base and a purpose to keep on living. The White Lady, Elara Harper, has almost everything - a community devoted to her, a fortress and a lot of power. What she doesn't have is protection for her people. Elara is about to understand the saying 'better the devil you know' when she agrees to an alliance with the devil himself - Hugh d'Ambray. Their enemies won't know what hit them if they don't kill each other first.

When I first read that Ilona Andrews was writing a book about Hugh I thought that it was a joke. I couldn't believe that Andrews would spend time writing about the biggest baddie who murdered his way through at least three of the Kate Daniels books. I couldn't understand how the authors could make Hugh a credible hero after all of the things that he did to Kate and her friends. However, I dutifully read the sample chapters that Andrews put on their blog and when I saw that the eArc was available on NetGalley I dropped everything and rushed to download it.

I was a bit more than pleasantly surprised with Iron and Magic. Hugh is everything that I was expecting - arrogant, violent and driven. A brutal killer who seemed to have no moral compass. Through the story and his interactions with Elara we get to see a different side of Hugh and the man he wanted to be rather than the one he was. Hugh doesn't make excuses for his past behaviour which made him a more realistic, genuine character rather than turning into a 'baddie turned hero by the love of a good woman'. Had Hugh been written in any other way the story wouldn't have been as good, in my opinion.

Elara and her people are the newbies in this story that has so many characters from the Kate Daniels' series. She was referred to, not by name, in book 9 of the Kate Daniels series (Magic Binds) as the abomination and I wasn't certain how Andrews was going to weave the two stories together. This was done in a very clever way that both connects Elara to characters in Kate Daniels world but also serves to develop Hugh's character and backstory at the same time. I liked Elara. She was an interesting character that was as dominant as Hugh but in a much more subtle way. I am looking forward to seeing what direction Andrews' will take this character.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book which I think was partly down to the fact I didn't think I would. I like a good surprise and Iron and Magic gives you a few of those. Due to the nature of the main characters this book seemed a lot more violent than any of Andrews' other books. In retrospect, it probably isn't any more violent but just seems that way because Hugh is such a dark and broody character who has murdered his way through the last couple of books on Roland's behalf. It's not as sexy as I was expecting which I prefer. I never like when characters find the time to get all hot and sweaty in the middle of a big battle or in life or death situations. The steamy scenes in this story are fitting to both the characters and the plotline. I won't say that this is a prefect novel. I noticed a couple of lines borrowed from other books and other series written by Andrews which I am hoping will be sorted out before the book is published. This doesn't detract from the plotline but could have had the characters not been so strong. This is a great teaser to Magic Triumphs and I can hardly wait, even more now, for that instalment to come out. While Iron and Magic is billed as it's own series I don't think you will get that much from it if you haven't read at least the first 5 or 6 Kate Daniels' books. These are books you can read over and over so start from the beginning. For die hard fans get Iron and Magic on pre-order now!
Melanie's Week in Review - August 5, 2018Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

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