This week I’m back with the first book in an Urban Fantasy series that looking back on it wasn’t that great. It’s Magic to the Bone, Allie Beckstrom Book 01, by Devon Monk!
Plot: The story is much too slow and I want to say unconnected, but perhaps disjointed is a better word. It’s just a confusing mix of world building, drama and interpersonal relationships that really don’t mesh well together. I think the only reason I enjoyed this series was because it’s set in Portland, Oregon which is pretty much my hometown (I live in the suburbs so it’s not technically it, but it’s close enough). The urban fantasy plot feels somewhat generic as well, and the romance is mediocre.
Characters: Allie is our main character and she’s really not that compelling, she’s written to be a tough no nonsense character, but she takes crap from her love interest being cryptic instead of just demanding he answer her. Yes magic and oaths are involved, but if you are at all knowledgeable about the mythos behind magic oaths and what not, you know there is almost always a loophole that can be used to get stuff across without being cryptic or nonsensical. Zavyion is really bland as the love interest, and reminds me of early Buffy episodes where Angel just comes in to save the day than flits off to brood somewhere.
Overall: Not that great a book, but if you are desperate for something to read like I was when I read this you might get some enjoyment out of it.
For those who like: Urban Fantasy, The Pacific Northwest, Drama.
This week for Anime Sunday I’m back with another Spring 2020 series. It’s my In/Spectre Episode 01 Impressions!
Plot: This is a pretty typical Urban Fantasy series, with the usual intrigue and mystery tied into mythology, though unlike the Dresden Files or Demon Accords this one is all about Japanese Mythology. It’s pretty good, although I don’t like the body horror that takes place, so while I have somewhat positive memories of the Manga that I read years ago, I didn’t watch any more than the first episode.
Characters: Kotoko and Kuro are our two main characters, and they are fairly interesting, with Kotoko being the one in the know and the generally kick ass and take names partner of the two of them. That isn’t to say Kuro is a weakling, far from it. The rest of the cast in this episode is okay, but frankly Kotoko is my favorite character.
Art: The studio who does In/Spectre is Brain’s Base and it’s pretty well done, although it’s not close to reaching my gold standard of ufotable.
Music: It fits the series, nothing more need be said.
Overall: A good Urban Fantasy series, but a bit too much body horror for my personal liking. If that doesn’t freak you out, you might enjoy In/Spectre.
For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Action, Interesting Plot, Good Cast of Characters, Decent Artwork.
This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with a rather disappointing book. It’s Soulbound to a Dragon, Pantherians of Azra Book 01, by Kurtis Eckstein!
Plot: The plot is incredibly stereotypical and while there are a few new ideas the fact that the star crossed tragic lovers trope was in full play meant they were not enough to catch my interest or energy to bother getting past a certain point in the book. The setting is okay, it serves as sort of Urban Fantasy/Magitech sort of world, but the fact that the author decided to use the word Pantherian to mean all half breed characters despite the fact that the main character is a female with black hair and cat ears and tail was just the icing on the boring cake. I mean if you use the word Pantherian, you are going to think of a panther. Especially with that cover art. Sure you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but it’s a pretty obvious flaw.
I assume that it was a play on the word Therianthrope, meaning a human who can shapeshift to an animal form, but to have our main point of view character be a panther girl makes the entire word choice completely useless and nonsense when the next major character we meet is a half breed of a human and a freaking dragon. Pantherian doesn’t really fit for a species classification there now does it? Frankly with all that and the stupid tragic lovers trope being played straight for all it’s worth, it just meant I was completely and utterly unenthusiastic to bother reading past a certain point. I used to stick to my rule that I’ll finish out a story no matter how bad it is, but with the amount of stories that I’ve experienced over the years, and that has only increased exponentially since I started writing a few years ago, I’ve since had to modify my rules. Frankly the stereotypical plot and the nonsensical verbage all meant I had little reason to continue with the book. I had enough warning flags going off in my head to tell me not to bother with this story, so I listened to my instincts and didn’t bother reading past a certain point. Normally I don’t do this, as even terrible books deserve my time to utterly lambast them, but I had more important things to do.
Characters: Riel is our main character and point of view through which we see this world of Azra. Frankly she’s much too ignorant and way too pessimistic about her situation. Granted she has every reason to be given how ignorant she is, but it’s such an overdone stereotype that I couldn’t bother liking her all that much. The rest of the cast was little better, with Eli being our main male character.
Overall: Skip this book, it’s really not worth your time when you will likely waste reading or listening to this.
For those who like: Stereotypical Plots, Nonsensical Verbage even for Fantasy.
Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above, or mediocrity.
Hey all I’m back with another Spring 2019 Anime series. It’s my Senko-san Episode 01 Impressions!
Plot: This is a heartwarming, or as some call it “fluffy”, slice of life series, and I’m not just saying fluffy because of the main character’s tail and ears. Honestly this is a pretty laid back and much more subdued series than my usual fare so it’s a nice change of pace for me to have watched this first episode. I’ll most likely get around to watching the entire series sometime in the near future.
Characters: Our main characters are Senko, obviously, and Kuroto who is a fairly gloomy and overworked man whom Senko decides to care and pamper for. The interactions are rather cute, and honestly I enjoyed their relationship quite a bit, if only because I can see the same type of gloomy nature that pervades my own life in Kuroto.
Art: The art is okay, but it’s nothing amazing either and certainly not close to reaching my gold standard of ufotable in terms of quality. That being said it’s not terrible either.
Music: The musical score fits the series perfectly, so I was pretty happy with this first episode in the audio department.
Overall: A solid and entertaining first episode, this looks to be an excellent series if you just want something heartwarming to watch.
For those who like: Slice of Life, Heartwarming Stories, Great Cast of Characters.
This week I’m back with a book in one of my favorite genres. It’s To Serve and Protect, ONSET Book 01, by Glynn Stewart.
Plot: Let me get this out of the way, I absolutely despise this book, I’m not going to pull punches, and the fact that this book is an Urban Fantasy is as bad a blight on the genre as Twilight is. The plot is bland, uninsipired and completely nonsensical in terms of power levels for most of the story. Then there’s the constant repetition of the title phrase over and over and over again. It’s fine to make the title a part of the plot, but it is not okay to constantly bludgeon your readers with that phrase. After about the 5th time every time I saw someone say those words I wanted to throttle Mr. Stewart. By the end of the book I was thoroughly done with putting up with the nonsense title, and the almost complete lack of humor throughout the book was unacceptable to me. For me humor has always been a good sign of writing and the lack of it in this book just showcases how poor a writer Mr. Stewart is to me, especially when some of the best Urban Fantasy books I’ve read have humor in truckloads.
Characters: We get a small town cop that gets roped into the supernatural and is one of the most unlikable main characters I’ve ever read. David White is one dimensional, boring and all around a complete and total tool. The rest of the cast is no better, honestly every time a character died I cheered. I don’t tend to do that for characters ever, but because of the awful writing this book has I couldn’t wait for every single character to die a horrible death if it would spare me from hearing the stupid title phrase again. It’s a pity that David has a boatload of plot armor and does not die some horrible death, which is pretty obvious when you consider that this is the first book in a series about the character.
Overall: Stay far away from this book, series and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say author as well. Mr. Stewart took all the good things about Urban Fantasy and completely and utterly ruined them. If you want a good Urban Fantasy go read the Demon Accords series by John Conroe, it’s actually well written, has an amazing plot and cast of characters and is actually funny without any repetition of the title every single freaking chapter.