Mini Swarm Reviews: And so it goes…

Posted 6 October, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review | 14 Comments

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20821206House Immortal (House Immortal #1) by Devon Monk
Urban Fantasy
336 pages, paperback
September 2, 2014
Published by: Roc

One hundred years ago, eleven powerful ruling Houses consolidated all of the world’s resources and authority into their own grasping hands. Only one power wasn’t placed under the command of a single House: the control over the immortal galvanized….

Matilda Case isn’t like most folk. In fact, she’s unique in the world, the crowning achievement of her father’s experiments, a girl pieced together from bits. Or so she believes, until Abraham Seventh shows up at her door, stitched with life thread just like her and insisting that enemies are coming to kill them all.

Tilly is one of thirteen incredible creations known as the galvanized, stitched together beings immortal and unfathomably strong. For a century, each House has fought for control over the galvanized. Now the Houses are also tangled in a deadly struggle for dominion over death—and Tilly and her kind hold the key to unlocking eternity

The secrets that Tilly must fight to protect are hidden within the very seams of her being. And to get the secrets, her enemies are willing to tear her apart piece by piece.…

Ever get your hands on a book, read it, finish it and close it, thinking, “Huh”? In this case, it’s not a bad huh. Much more towards the good side of huh but it’s taken me a while to think of what I want to say and I’m still not sure I’m going to be very articulate. Matilda is about as uncorrupted as a character can be but she’s not naive in the least. She’s a survivor in a world that doesn’t particularly like survivors, especially those who live on the outskirts of the big cities, living on their own terms. She’s also immortal, stitched together out of other creatures, though she resembles (and is) a human girl. She’s new, unlike the other galvanized, created by her “father” out on his farm far away from the political struggle of the city and the Houses. But they’ve finally found her and her life changes completely.

This is such a strange book yet completely enthralling. No, I didn’t get all my questions answered — the world itself is still a little hazy — but I learned enough to know I will be coming back to this series to find out what happens to Matilda and the other galvanized. (Infinity Bell comes out next year.)

18053264The Given (Celestial Blues #3) by Vicki Pettersson
Paranormal Romance
382 pages, paperback
May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harper Voyager

After learning his wife survived the attack that killed him fifty years earlier, angel/PI Griffin Shaw is determined to find Evelyn Shaw, no matter the cost. Yet his obsession comes at a price. Grif has had to give up his burgeoning love for reporter Katherine “Kit” Craig, the woman who made life worth living again, and dedicate himself to finding one he no longer knows.

Yet when Grif is attacked again, it becomes clear that there are forces in both the mortal and heavenly realm who’d rather see him dead than unearth the well-buried secrets of his past. If he’s to survive his second go-round on the Surface, Grif will have to convince Kit to reunite with him professionally, and help uncover decades of police corruption, risking both their lives… and testing the limits to what one angel is really willing to give for love.

In the final installment of the Celestial Blues trilogy, Griff is wrapping up his time on Earth, before he must return to the heavenly realm and leave behind Kit, his modern-day rockabilly love. This is by far the best of the trilogy, with everything built up to this moment. Griff’s past and his future are converging, as he follows the mystery of his murder and his wife’s involvement to its nail-biting conclusion. I highly enjoyed the noir/gangster/old Vegas vibe of it all as well as Kit’s rockabilly lifestyle that permeated this trilogy. Plus, unlike so many urban fantasy/paranormal stories, this one is done-and-done in three books (not that I’m complaining about the longer series but it is nice to have a quick trilogy every once in a while, rather than a never-ending series). Was the series perfect? No. I did have a couple quibbles with this series including the over-emphasis of Kit as a rockabilly and the whole “Pure” angel thing (I could have done without their involvement completely…felt like it just gummed up the works and brought in a religious aspect that I wasn’t quite comfortable with. Well, not religious-religious but enough that I wasn’t a fan). But, as a whole, this series was a welcome change from all the vampires/fae/werewhatevers out there and a well-written murder mystery.

17331828Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa
YA Paranormal Romance
400 pages, hardback
October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Oh, this started with such promise. A deadly struggle in the jungle with big guns, taking down a terrible dragon hell-bent on the destruction of the entire squad. And yet we find out that the dragons in Talon are just trying to survive, trying to save their species from destruction by the human-run Order of St. George. Who’s in the right? Who’s in the wrong? Do either deserve to die? Why can’t we just live in peace and harmony?

Sounds like an awesome set-up, doesn’t it? And it’s written by the fabulous Julie Kagawa. Perfect…right? Wrong. So very wrong. I struggled to finish this cliche-filled story. While it started out with a bang, then we wind up following Ember on her summertime “break” as she learns to interact with humans and…surf. And she meets a boy! And then she meets another boy! Oh, life is good. Except one of the boys is a soldier in the Order of St. George, Ember’s deadly enemy, and the other boy is a rogue dragon, an enemy of Talon as well as St. George. But they’re both so cute! How to choose? Then she has to train in some massive warehouse where humans try to fake-kill her instead of playing on the beach and mooning over cute boys…disaster! And so it goes. I’m out. *sniffles*

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14 Responses to “Mini Swarm Reviews: And so it goes…”

  1. Wow, the first negative review I’ve read of Talon and it’s a bit refreshing 🙂 I always get nervous when a book only gets good reviews lol. It’s on my ‘grab if I see it on the library shelf’ book list, but I’m not actively seeking it out right now 🙂
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  2. I bought House Immortal because I can’t resist the strange fact she’s stiched from other immortal creatures. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! The noir/gangster/old Vegas vibe created by Vicki Pettersson sounds like something I would enjoy as well. And Talon, Oh-No. I’m sorry this one did not work for you. The Dragon aspect sounds like it got burried under the romance. 🙂
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  3. Matilda is made up of other creatures stitched together? Color me curious Mary!!!! I love books that leave me a little off kilter, but off kilter in a good way, where I can’t wait to pick up the next book just to see what kind of beautiful strangeness I’ll find:)

    So sorry Talon was a bit of a letdown for you!!!
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  4. I’m disappointed to hear about Talon – but then Tina says she wants to read it and I haven’t been feeling like reading anything lately anyhow (Though I am reading Poison Fruit by Jacqueline Carey and even made it through 7 chapters last night before passing out)

    I really want to read that Vikki P trilogy – I own all but the last.

    I had thought about picking up House Immortal but I just wasn’t pulled in by the book description.
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  5. I want to read that Devon Monk book and I agree with you on the Celestial Blues final book. That was the book I was hoping for in the beginning. I would have liked to have started there and then move forward. Still, it wasn’t a bad series.

    Too bad about Talon. I have this one coming for review and I’m hoping I like it a bit better than you did. 🙁
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  6. Oh no, Talon was a disappointment? Now I’m worried – I have it coming up for review. *sigh* But the Devon Monk book sounds interesting and it’s the first book in a UF series – that’s almost reason enough for me (all other uf series on my tbr pile are on like # 55 now). Great minis!
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  7. Galvanized sounds weird, in a good way though. Talon looks SO good! I love the wars where I don’t know which side to root for. That’s so sad that the author ruined it making it like every other YA book out there. And I so hate love triangles! Sigh, I guess I’ll wait for the sale rack on this one.
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