This week brought 3 new review copies, but I’m only going to write about 2 of them.  That is because I received the finished copy of a book I already mentioned when I got the ARC.  Also, I will be talking about that book on Monday when I give away some copies!  (Plus I’m reading it now so I’d say this book is already pretty well covered for discussion here, and I don’t want to mention it so many times you all get sick of hearing about it!)

Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa FrohockMiserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock

This debut novel is scheduled for publication on July 1, but it appears to already be available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It is Book 1 of the Katharoi and there will also be a book 2 and a book 3 according to the author’s website.  They will be titled Dolorosa: A Winter’s Dream and Bellum Dei: Blood of the Lambs, respectively.  Chapters 1 – 4 are available to read online.

I’m really looking forward to this one a lot.  It’s supposed to be character-driven dark fantasy, which is a special favorite for me, and I also love to discover new authors to read!

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape!

The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. LansdaleThe Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale

This collection of 20 urban fantasy stories is divided into three main sections, each with an introduction: Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Noir Fantasy.  It will be released in August.

I’m not always a short story person, but the list of authors so intriguing that I’m really excited about reading it.  Here’s the breakdown by section:

Mythic Fiction contains stories by Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Emma Bull, Jeffrey Ford, and Peter S. Beagle.

Paranormal Romance contains stories by Charles de Lint (again!), Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Norman Partridge, Bruce McAllister, Suzy McKee Charnas, and Francesca Lia Block.

Noir fantasy contains stories by Holly Black, Joe R. Lansdale, Thomas M. Disch, Susan Palwick, Steven R. Boyett, Tim Powers, and Al Sarrantonio.

Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-ridden vampires, supernatural gumshoes, or pixelated pixies, these authors—including Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint—mash-up traditional fare with pop culture, creating iconic characters, conflicted moralities, and complex settings. The result is starkly original fiction that has broad-based appeal and is immensely entertaining.

Samus says Women can do SF&F

Today I learned about the Russ Pledge from this week’s SF Signal Mind Meld post, which addressed the importance of it in science fiction today. In case you don’t know what it is, it was proposed by Nicola Griffith and it’s a very simple idea – it simply means making an effort to talk about female writers and their work.  The name comes from Joanna Russ, who wrote the book How to Suppress Women’s Writing.  This has been a hot topic of late, and has also lead to the inception of the SF Mistressworks site.

I wanted to write about my personal experience with this because I actually took this pledge before it had a name, and it is something I strongly believe in.  I had thought maybe it was becoming less of an issue than when I first decided to make an effort to find and talk about women writers of fantasy and science fiction, but these posts, along with the ones that inspired them and a recent post on Freda Warrington’s blog about her research for an Eastercon panel, are making me rethink that theory.  It may just be that the sites I now tend to pay attention to are the ones that do discuss books by women quite often.  Or maybe it really is getting better, but we’re just still not there yet.

Back in the days before I ever even had a blog, I remember a conversation coming up somewhere online that got me thinking about this.  I don’t remember much about it at this point other than it mentioning female authors of fantasy and science fiction – and I realized I couldn’t think of many at all off the top of my head.  So I asked John if he could think of any, and he also couldn’t think of many.  We could think of Nancy Kress, one of John’s favorite authors whose Beggars trilogy I’d also read on his recommendation, and Robin Hobb, whose books we had both read.  I remember wondering if there just weren’t that many women writing fantasy and science fiction.

Later, when I actually did start my blog and was just reviewing every book I read, I came to a realization that most of these books were written by men.  At this point, I was solely reading books I bought myself because I heard they were good, and it seemed like a lot of the fantasy and science fiction books being talked about were written by men.  It made me pay more attention to recommendations for books by women, and I did find out there are a LOT of women writing fantasy and science fiction.  I just had to work a little harder to find them because their books didn’t seem to be talked about as much.  I made it a personal mission to read and review some of these books to do my own small part to try to bring awareness to some of these authors and have discovered so many wonderful writers along the way.  These  include the following (some of which I really need to read more by since there are a few on this list I’ve only read one book by!):

  • Sarah Monette
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Freda Warrington
  • Catherynne Valente
  • Catherine Asaro
  • Joan D. Vinge
  • N. K. Jemisin
  • Lane Robins
  • Barbara Hambly
  • C. S. Friedman
  • Ekaterina Sedia
  • Storm Constantine
  • Vera Nazarian
  • Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
  • Lyda Morehouse
  • Jacqueline Carey

That’s just a few of them – there are so many more with lots more on my list of authors to read a book by!

It’s something I like to try to do in general, talking about books/authors that I’m not seeing discussed as much. That doesn’t mean I only read books by female authors and never, ever read popular books (sorry, all, but when A Dance With Dragons is finally out I’m reading it as soon as possible and I’ll be talking about it right along with the rest of the world!).  But often when trying to decide which book to review next out of a few books I want to read I make my decision based on just how much I’ve seen the book being discussed – and pick the book I haven’t seen reviewed very much.  Sometimes I select a pool of books to choose from specifically because I haven’t seen any of them talked about much.

That’s my view on it, and that’s why I think that this is a real issue.  I noticed it myself and in my own reading habits when I tended to just read the books it seemed I was hearing about the most.  I don’t think the pledge means trying to read a certain ratio of books written by both genders or getting all worked up about making a formula for reading a certain number of books by women.  It simply means being aware of the issue and doing what you can to make a difference just by reading and discussing at least some books written by women.  That’s the only way the cycle of women’s books seeming invisible will be broken – by more people reading them and recommending them so more people read them.

 

Song of Scarabaeus, a debut science fiction novel by Sara Creasy, was nominated for both the Philip K. Dick Award and the Aurealis Award for Best SF Novel.  Its sequel and the conclusion to the story, Children of Scarabeaus, was released earlier this year.

When Edie has to leave lunch to look into a freight car that stopped working properly, she figures it’s all part of the job.  Instead, her guard is knocked out by a woman carrying a weapon and she is informed that it was all a setup to get Edie there – because they have a job for her themselves.

Edie attempts to escape but is knocked out and kidnapped.  When she awakens, she’s informed that they came for her because she is the most successful cypherteck, whose mission is to terraform planets for habitation by humans.  The Crib Colonial Unit (CCU), the corporation Edie has a contract with, is slowly taking over the galaxy with their monopoly on terraforming technology.  In order to keep these planets habitable, those who live there must pay the CCU large sums of money frequently to keep them running. Edie’s kidnappers want to earn some money for themselves working against the CCU.

Edie is given a choice: she must either cooperate with these rebels or they’ll get rid of her.  There’s no guarantee she’ll be as valuable to her new captors, and her life depends on it.  In order to leave the planet she was born on, Edie has to have a neuroxin implant refilled every once in a while containing an element inhabitants of her homeworld receive naturally through their food. If she runs out of neuroxin, she will die.  Edie decides to remain with her kidnappers, but soon finds they are even more despicable than she thought.  While she was unconscious, they linked her internal tech to that of Finn, her new guard, and if he strays too far or doesn’t prevent her own death, he’ll die himself.  Edie determines to at least free Finn from this fate, but soon she also finds herself contending with a world from her past.  The crew’s first mission concerns Scarabaeus, the world Edie considers to be her one failure.

Song of Scarabeus has been on my radar ever since even before it was released thanks to an endorsement from Linnea Sinclair, and since then I’ve heard more and more praise for it.  So when I was looking for a book to read on the way to Book Expo America, I decided it was time to finally read it.  While I really enjoyed it for most of the book, I did find my interest waning as I got closer to the end.  At first I wasn’t quite sure why not other than the fact that I found myself growing less attached to the characters.  After rereading parts of it today I think it’s also because much of the basic storyline felt very familiar to me from some other space operas or even just general speculative fiction I’ve read.

This is not to say there were not a lot of original details, particularly when it came to the science fiction elements in the story.  There is a bit of technical detail overload at times, but the social dynamics and setting are fascinating.  It’s set in a universe in which a huge corporation is monopolizing the galaxy by terraforming worlds and then forcing people to give them large sums of money in order to continue to keep those planets habitable.  Because of this, there is the rebel group who wants to recruit the main character, Edie, a person with a great talent for terraforming planets.  There are also groups of eco-rads, people who kill cyphertecks like Edie because they believe the worlds should be left alone to evolve without interference. There’s a lot of specifics about the ingrained technology that allows cyphertecks to transform these seeds into a world humans can live on.  Also, Edie’s situation was quite interesting – having biological requirements from the planet she was born on that made it difficult for her to leave.  Since she no longer receives nourishment from the food there, she has to wear an implant containing the substance she needs to survive and replenish it frequently.

The main plot elements are rather typical with some tropes, though.  A woman who has a great ability is kidnapped by a rebel group who wants to use her ability to go up against a big, evil corporation.  Not only does this woman have a useful ability, but she is the best ever at it to the point where she is able to perform tasks that no one else has ever been able to do before.  She even surprises herself with her amazing skill.  Yet she can’t do the one thing that would be inconvenient to the plot – cutting the leash that keeps her and Finn together.  This way they get to learn to work together and build trust for each other.  (That’s not to say this book is a romance.  I’d heard it labeled as science fiction romance and also heard it wasn’t really one from people who had read it.  I have to side with the latter – while there is a little bit of romance here and there, it’s not the main focus.)

If the characters had really worked for me, I may have been able to get past this enough to love this book as much as many others have instead of just liking it.  While I found Edie’s stubborn nature and attitude very admirable and really enjoyed gradually learning more about her past, there was nothing about her that really endeared her to me as a character.  She didn’t stand out – she was another heroine with lots of determination, defiance of authority, and an ability better than anyone else. Likewise, Finn was sort of the stereotypical man who may be bad news with a mysterious past.

Song of Scarabeous was an entertaining book with some excellent science fiction ideas and decent enough writing if a bit overly technical at times. While enjoyable to read, I did want more from both the plot and characters, especially as I got closer to the end and became less enamored of it than I had been earlier.  The pacing was decent, but certain plot elements were ones I’d read more than once before, and the characterization also utilized some common tropes.  It had enough going for it that I’d like to read the next book at some point, but I’m not a big hurry to read it with all the other books that are out there.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: I bought it.

Read Excerpt

Other Reviews:

Since this is a few books into a series, there will be spoilers for the previous books in this review starting with the second paragraph.

Magic Slays is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series written by Ilona Andrews, the pen name for a married couple who write together.  The previous four books in this urban fantasy series are (in order): Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds.  There are seven books total planned for the series.

Now that Kate is no longer with the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, she’s struggling to get her own business off the ground.  Unfortunately, she has no clients so she finds herself going in to the office day after day without a whole lot to keep her occupied.

That is, until the day Ghastek calls her to inform her that a vampire is loose and heading her way.  Kate warns people in the area and heads out to prevent it from doing too much damage, leading to a run-in with some trigger-happy members of the PAD.  In order to protect the People, who showed up to collect their wayward vampire, Kate brings them to her office.  However, PAD refuses to go away until Andrea shows up and saves the day by flashing her Knight of the Order credentials.

While Andrea is advising Kate on weaponry, some members of the Red Guard come to visit.  They have a problem and they want to hire Kate to work on a confidential case: the man they were guarding and the device he was developing were both taken.  Examining the scene makes Kate believe the volhvs (Russian priests) are involved.  She can’t go directly to them, so she seeks the help of the witch Evdokia, starting her on the path to learning of a devastating threat to a decent percentage of the population.

The Kate Daniels series has been at the top of my urban fantasy favorites list ever since reading the phenomenal third and fourth volumes.  While I didn’t feel Magic Slays was quite as good as those two for various reasons, I did think it was still very good and better than the first two books.  It also set up a lot for the final volumes, and it ended on a note that made me eager for the next book.  It wasn’t quite a cliffhanger since the main storylines were wrapped up.  However, the way it was wrapped up left me with some questions that are begging to be explored further and with the promise of a storyline from a previous book being followed up on very soon.

As a fan of the series, there was plenty to enjoy since reading Magic Slays was like catching up with old friends – finding out what happened to Andrea, seeing how Kate and Curran manage to not kill each other now that they are officially together, briefly catching up with Saiman and learning how Curran exacted his revenge, and spending some time with Derek.  I love the uniqueness and diversity of the various characters, and I like that there’s focus given to friendships in addition to the central romantic relationship (which has matured since the last book).  There were also some great new additions to this cast with this book’s focus on Russian mythology, which forced Kate to spend some time with Evdokia and the volhvs, who were quite hilarious together.

Kate also retains her trademark sense of humor which makes everything even more fun to read, such as her evaluation of one of the volvhs after noting his dark features and goatee:

 

The overall effect was decidedly villainous. He needed a black horse and a barbarian horde to lead.  That or a crew of cutthroats, a ship with blood-red sails, and some knucklehead heroine to lust after. He would fit right into one of Andrea’s romance novels as some evil pirate captain. If he started stroking his beard, I’d have to kill him on principle. [pp. 126]

When he does indeed start stroking his goatee, Kate informs him:

 

You look like Rent-a-Villain. [pp. 127]

While this novel did have all the adventure, humor, mythology, and characters I’ve come to love, it did take this book a little longer to pick up the pace and it wasn’t until about one third of the way in that I was truly hooked. The very first page had me cracking up and there was some great dialogue within these pages, but there was no real fluidity to the storyline at first.  It seemed to meander a bit from one event to another as it got the people that needed to be together in place and the main plotline going.  The primary reasons I love these books are the mythology and learning more about Kate’s family and abilities.  I fear the amount of this in the last two books may have spoiled me, and I wanted more about them.  Once the main mythology became clear and the witch Evdokia told Kate a little more about her family history, I started to settle in and enjoy it.  From this point on, I had a lot of fun with this book and the last third especially made it nearly impossible to put down.

In a lot of ways, it did still feel a lot like a setup book for the last two even once it got going. It brought up a problem with Kate’s eventual meeting with Roland, and then worked it out to provide a solution (a little too conveniently but I also suspect it will end up so interesting that I won’t care). While a lot did happen, it seemed to actively progress the overarching storyline less than the previous two books did since until the very end it didn’t seem to do much to move the book closer to the finale.  After the appearance of Hugh in the third book and the fourth dealing so much with Kate’s aunt, the books had seemed to be moving Kate closer to Roland. In Magic Slays, there was very little that actually revealed more information about Kate’s abilities and Roland’s history (although there were some interesting tidbits about Kate’s mother and stepfather).  One of the infodumps about Kate’s first relationship and how she had to be careful as Roland’s daughter was even the same story we’d already read before in another book in the series.  What we did finally get for new information about Kate’s magic was pretty intense, though, and this book had one riveting conclusion that kept me on the edge of my seat.  There are some serious implications for what happened at the end of this book and I simply cannot wait to see how they play out in the remaining two volumes.

Although I felt that Magic Slays was doing a lot to set up later books and could have been tighter in the first third, I did really enjoy reading it for all the reasons I love this series – the humor, mythology, characters, and action.  After the last two books, I was hoping for more insight into Kate’s magic and Roland than there was initially, but what there was toward the end promises exciting times ahead.  The last third of the book was phenomenal, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about what the ending means in the next book.

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: I bought a signed copy!

Read an Excerpt

Other Reviews of Magic Slays:

Reviews of other books in the Kate Daniels series:

  1. Magic Bites
  2. Magic Burns
  3. Magic Strikes
  4. Magic Bleeds

This week’s edition of books added to the leaning pile brought 1 review copy and 1 book I had pre-ordered.  Oh happy week as the latter was one of my most anticipated reads of the year (and yes, I’ve already finished it and will probably start working on the review today so hopefully there will be a review of both Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy and that book next week).

The Dread Hammer by Trey ShielsThe Dread Hammer by Trey Shiels

Trey Shiels is the pen name of Linda Nagata, who has written science fiction under her own name.  Two of these scifi works have won awards – The Bohr Maker won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 1996 and “Goddesses” won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2000.  She has been re-releasing some of these books through Mythic Island Press, which she founded last year, and has also recently released her first fantasy book, The Dread Hammer.  It is available both in paperback and ebook (the Kindle version is only $2.99), and an excerpt is available online.

The Dread Hammer looks like a fun book, and I like the sound of a “darkly comic fairytale.”

Ketty is a pretty shepherdess with a contrary nature, who runs away from home to escape an unwanted marriage. As she flees along the forest road, she prays to the Dread Hammer for help-and to her astonishment help comes in the form of a charming and well-armed young murderer named Smoke. As Ketty soon discovers, Smoke is not entirely human. Smoke, too, is taken by surprise at their encounter. He had lurked beside the forest road intending to pierce hearts and slit throats, not to fall in love. But love it is-or it would be-if only he can convince Ketty that marriage is better than death. But just when happily-ever-after seems within reach, Smoke’s past returns to claim him. A deserter from the Koráyos army, his supernatural skill at killing is still very much in demand. Now the army wants him back. The Dread Hammer is an enthralling, darkly comic fairytale of love, war, murder, marriage, and fate.

Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsMagic Slays by Ilona Andrews

This is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series, my very favorite urban fantasy series at the moment (and one of my favorite series period for entertaining reading and endless speculation on what will happen).  The previous four books are (in order):

1. Magic Bites (Review)
2. Magic Burns (Review)
3. Magic Strikes (Review)
4. Magic Bleeds (Review)

I hard a hard time deciding if I wanted to read this sooner or wait longer to get a signed copy.  I ended up pre-ordering the signed copy from Powell’s, and it’s signed by both Ilona and Gordon which is neat.  Even though I just got it this week I have already finished it so hopefully there will be a review up soon!

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be-now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it-and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her may pay the ultimate price…

Eona is the second half of a fantasy duology by Alison Goodman and was on the New York Times Bestseller List.  The first book, Eon, has also been published under the titles Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye, and The Two Pearls of Wisdom.  Likewise, Eona has several different titles depending on which part of the world it is in and has also been released as Eona: Return of the Dragoneye and The Necklace of the Gods.  These books have also been marketed for both YA and adult readers depending on the publisher/country.

While Eona is supposed to work as a stand alone novel and contains the major details from the previous book in infodump form on occasion, I’d recommend reading Eon first.  Eon will give more background on events important to the second book and is a decent book on its own, although I do think Eona is the stronger book. Since this is a sequel, this review will contain spoilers for the first book starting immediately.  To read more about the Eon, go here to read the review.

If you have read the first book or don’t mind having the end of book one spoiled, read on!

Eona picks up shortly after the end of Eon.  Eona has revealed her true identity as a woman to members of the resistance, and Ryko is near death. Since Eona was able to heal both herself and Lord Ido with the help of the Mirror Dragon, Lady Dela is convinced that Eona can save Ryko.  Eona is hesitant to try since she’s still untrained and doesn’t know what will happen, especially considering the fact that calling her dragon has been difficult. Ever since ten of the dragons lost their Dragoneyes, they have attacked Eona and the Mirror Dragon when they are together.  However, Lady Dela is very convincing and Eona feels she owes it to Ryko to at least try to save his life.  She barely manages to with a little bit of surprise help from Lord Ido, but not without consequences for both others around her at the time and Ryko himself.

The effort of healing Ryko knocks Eona unconscious for a couple of days, and when she awakens they are on the way to find Kygo, the true emperor.  They find him, but once he is informed of the ill fate of his mother and brother, he goes into a killing rage.  Most people are afraid he’ll die himself, but are too afraid of laying a hand against the heavenly master himself to stop him. Fortunately, Eona has no such qualms and steps into the fight with her swords, only to discover her ancestor Kinra seems to have put a treasonous compulsion on them that makes her want to kill the emperor.  Eona does what she can to remove these urges (such as not carrying her swords or her ancestral plaque anymore), but she has to get Lady Dela to try harder to decipher the contents of Kinra’s book to find out just what happened all those years ago and why.  Once they retrieve Lord Ido, the only person who can help her learn about being a dragoneye, she has to figure out if he has really changed and can be trusted.  As she becomes closer to Kygo, she also has to decide whether or not she trusts him – does he really care about her or does he just want to be near her because she’s the Mirror Dragoneye and thus his only hope of regaining his throne?

While I enjoyed Eon enough that I found it difficult to put down, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I wanted to, mainly because I never really connected with Eona as a character.  Yet, I enjoyed it enough to pick up the sequel soon after reading it, especially after hearing it was better than the first book.  I was so glad I did because I had a different experience and I absolutely loved Eona, both the novel and the titular character.  It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down and couldn’t stop thinking about when life did force me to put it down.  It kept me up until 3 AM one morning because I just had to know how it ended.  Most of all, reading it made me just as happy as all my previous favorite young adult fantasy books so it gets to join their ranks (those books are Fire by Kristin Cashore, Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, and The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, in case you’re curious).

What made this one stand out more than its predecessor to me was that the characters had more complexity, mainly because they had to act in challenging situations.  The world has already been set up, and now Eona has so much to deal with and so much that tests her as a human being.  She now has to adjust with life as a woman and being treated as a female, but she’s behaved like a man for so long that she doesn’t know how to behave any other way.  The world Eona lives in is very patriarchal, but it’s not a society she understands since she never really got to be a female.  When she played the part of a man, that included not being passive and taking what was hers and now she doesn’t know how to do anything else.  Also, she is in a rather high position as the most powerful woman in the empire, both as Mirror Dragoneye (the first one in about 500 years) and an adviser to Emperor Kygo.  In spite of this, Eona is in a tough spot.  She may appear powerful, but if she can’t learn to master her Dragoneye abilities, she’s not actually that useful to Kygo.  Plus she’s often put in a tight spot where she has to decide whether it’s right to use her power or not.

Others have trouble trusting Eona as well because she did lie to them about being a man in order to attain her status as a Dragoneye.  Some of them don’t care that her master made her do it or that she then had to keep up the pretense or be sentenced to death.  She understands that and tries to be truthful – but she isn’t always.  Eona still has fears and if she feels it’s necessary to her survival to withhold some information, she does. This isn’t to say she lies about everything because she really doesn’t and tries not to – she only does when the consequences terrify her.  It made sense to me when she struggled with the truth, and I liked her all the better for it.  She didn’t always do what a “noble” character would do, but she also didn’t go out of her way to hide the truth or take doing so lightly.  While she had a conscience and was very merciful and kind, she also didn’t tell the whole truth if it seemed like it could lead to trouble.

Eona is not the only character I felt had improved a lot from the first book.  In Eon, I felt Lord Ido was a rather one-dimensional villain, but in this book his character was much improved.  His motives were murkier as well as just how much he had changed since Eona healed him in the last book. He seemed more like a practical person in this one – he did what was best for him, but he never seemed to go out of his way to be evil just because he was a big, bad villain.  If it was in his best interests to do something, he’d do it.  His matter-of-fact attitude, the way he actually made sense when telling Eona about how power worked, and the fact that he got all the best lines actually made him rather likable. To my surprise, I found myself wanting to believe he had changed just as much as Eona did.

There’s also more about Kygo in this book, and his own dilemmas over being a good person like his father would have wanted him to be and doing what it took to regain his throne.  Eona comes caught between him and Ido, both of whom seem trustworthy at times and do not at other times.  It never quite seemed like a love triangle to me, though, because there was never any doubt in my mind which one of the two she actually cared about.  I was just a little bit disappointed to be proven right and have the end make it seem simpler than it did throughout the rest of the book.

The end does also wrap up the mystery of the past, such as why Kinra was so eager to dispose of the emperor and how the dragons and Dragoneyes came to work together.  It’s mostly satisfying, but I would have liked just a little more detail on the sudden disappearance of the female Dragoneyes and how that was handled so that it was essentially removed from historical knowledge.

While I enjoyed Eon, I felt Eona was a big improvement mainly because it was more complicated.  The problems Eona had to face allowed her to shine as she struggled with who could be trusted as well as the right thing to do versus the smart thing to do.  Likewise, the other characters had more complexity, although I did end it feeling like it was less complex than I’d been hoping for.  There was also more revealed about the mysteries of the dragon and Dragoneye relationship, and overall it was an excellent conclusion to the story.

My Rating: 9/10

Where I got my reading copy: Review copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt

Reviews of other books in this series:

Other Reviews of Eona: