The Naughty Vixen

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Archive for the category “Dystopian”

Trace of Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis

“You know, ever since I met you, I can’t seem to keep my own clothes on.  Why is that?”

cover52037-mediumTitle:  Trace of Magic

Series: The Diamond City Magic Novels Book #1

Author:  Diana Pharaoh Francis

Rate: A

Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Lock Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.
Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war. 

Thoughts:  Trace of Magic starts off what has become one of my new favorite urban fantasy series – and this book definitely leaves you wanting more!  I can’t wait to get more from these characters and this whole intriguing world.  In this alternate, magical universe, we have a world full of magical abilities, intrigue, subterfuge, deception, greed, etc. – and with Riley herself not even sure of the full scale of her powers, I can’t wait to see where things go with this series.  For book one in a new series, it is really off to a strong start, and this is the most excited I have been about a new author in urban fantasy in awhile.

For those wanting to get a feel for her works, I see the book similar to those along the lines of  the Realm Walker series by Kathleen Collins and perhaps the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance – if you enjoy those, I think this one might be right up your alley…:)  There are definitely moments where it reminds me a bit of Kim Harrison’s Hollow’s series (although this series is definitely not on that scale yet)….particularly when it comes to Riley’s creative uses for magic.  I think this series really has a lot of potential….and Riley really has the potential to became a huge female character that those long-lasting type series are made out of.  I can’t wait to see what the next book brings!

Gun Shy by Eleri Stone

“I’d have credited you with a better imagination than that, Lieutenant. Or at least a dirtier one.”

91ss1MxqmnL._SL1500_Title:  Gun Shy

Author:  Eleri Stone

Rate:  A

Before the cure, Lieutenant Lyle Dalton’s job was simple: kill the Reapers. Now, under orders to inject all captured flesh eaters with the serum that restores their humanity, his Rangers at Fort Dougan face entirely new dangers. Someone wanted the Reaper cure badly enough to spill blood for it, and Lyle needs to steal it back if he hopes to hold the border.

Jane Fisher escaped Scraper crime boss Gideon Moore with only the clothes on her back. What he took from her can never be replaced, but her new home at Fort Dougan is the first safe one she’s known. Or was, until the remaining supply of serum was stolen, flown high into the mountains on Gideon’s command. Serving as Lyle’s guide through Scraper territory means revisiting her own personal hell, but it’s also an opportunity—for closure or revenge, Jane isn’t quite sure.

Beautiful, proud and haunted, Jane is a temptation Lyle’s worked hard to avoid. The mountains are the last place she needs to be. But if Jane can find the courage to face down a man like Gideon for the sake of the fort, no force on earth will keep Lyle from her side.

Thoughts:  I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed with this book – I never am when it comes to Eleri Stone’s books.  But I was excited for this one, since I was such a fan of the first book in this series, Reaper’s Touch – and while reading that one, I had already been feverently hoping for more in this series.  So glad it didn’t end there!

Things have changed a little in this book – thanks to the efforts of Abby and Jake from book one, Reaper’s are no longer slaughtered.  Instead they are captured and given the ‘cure’ – which means much more work for the Rangers.  The ‘cure’ is already hard to come by, but when their last stashes of the drug are stolen, Lyle has no choice but to go after it.  Jane’s familiarity with the area makes her the perfect guide, but unfortunately revisiting her past is not a pleasant experience.  It also puts her and Lyle and much closer quarters and face-to-face with temptation.

I actually enjoyed the whole story and characters in this one a bit more than the first – which is really saying something!  This one can be read as a stand alone, without needing to read the first book.  I happen to like getting all the intricacies of the relationships from reading all the books in a series in order, but you won’t be lost if you don’t.  The downside?  There is not a lot of Reaper action in this one, at least compared to book one, so if you’re looking for a lot of that you might be a little disappointed.  Personally, I still loved it!

The first book, Reaper’s Touch, is available now (which I also rated with an A)

Dissension by K.A.Salidas

91yn2LGniLL._SL1500_Title:  Dissension       

Series:  Book #1 in the Chronicles of the Uprising Series

Author:  K.A. Salidas

Rating:  B-

The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost.
But not all survivors were human.  In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators.
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising…and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever.  Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision – to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind. The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers.  Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both? 

Review:  This novel was definitely an interesting take on vampires and the paranormal genre.  Basically, it’s a dark, dystopian tale about a world in which humans have subjugated vampires, forcing them to life in prisons and engage in life or death battles in a gladiator arena for their own perverted amusements.  Mira is tough chick – spending day in and day out fighting against her circumstances and those of her people.  Lucien, on the other hand, I felt as if we barely got to know before the ending of the book.  Which brings me to my main point of contention with this book – the ending.  There’s a cliffhanger, and then there is just those dump-you-right-in-the-middle-of-a-scene endings that totally rub me the wrong way – leaving you unfulfilled and just thoroughly ticked off.  This one is the latter.  Sure, I’m confident the next book picks right up where this one leaves up, but there is nothing I hate more than an unfulfilled ending to a book.  And the end of this one was enough to almost ruin the whole book for me.  To be honest, I would have rated it higher if not for the ending – so just be forewarned about that before starting it!

 

Reaper’s Touch by Eleri Stone

cover41134-smallTitle:  Reaper’s Touch

Series:  N/A

Author:  Eleri Stone

Rating:  A

Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers-humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers-a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing-until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure-or lose the border, and each other, forever.

Review:  To start off, let me say that this book is unlike anything I have read before.  The vibe it struck with me was reminiscent of a number of things – it’s an odd combination that reminded of the television series of Deadwood, the tv series The Walking Dead, the movie I Am Legend, with a little bit of futuristic sci-fi thrown in for good measure.  I guess the best way to describe it is sort of like The Walking Dead meets the Wild West.  I was fascinated, and throughout the whole book I stayed fascinated.

I originally picked this book from Netgalley for a number of reasons – number one, because of the cover and the blurb.  Number two, because I love anything paranormal – including zombies – but even more so since The Walking Dead.  And third, because I adore Eleri Stone.  I am a huge fan of her Lost City Shifters series, and that’s really what persuaded me to give it a chance.  And I’m glad I did!  This is one of those books that will stand out in my mind for a long time to come.

The creation of this whole new ‘world’ was simply awesome.  For all intents and purposes, it is pretty much a dystopian society that is similar to ours in some ways, yet completely opposite in others.  The characters are amazing and immensely likeable – Abby is honorable, spunky, determined, and stubborn, and Jake sexy, brooding, dangerous, and….did I mention sexy?  😉

They both have a rocky path to travel, not just to make changes in their society to overcome misconceptions and to find a cure for the Reapers that someone doesn’t want found, but also in order to be together despite all the odds and factors against them.  Trust me, you will be cheering both of them on and hoping against hope that things will work out in their favor!

I was hoping to find that this was going to be part of a series….I feel like there was so much more to this story that we just didn’t get.  And that I really, really want!  There are characters I want to see more of, questions I want more answers to, and a world I want to see more of!  So far, no such luck though.  Crossing my fingers though that we get to see more in some future books!  Excellent book!

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