MandaBerry's Books

One person's thoughts on a whole lot of books

Tag Archives: supernatural

Review: Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat

Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat

From the inside flap of the book

New Venice – the “pearl of the Arctic” – is a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate sled-gondolas and elegant Victorian garb, of long nights and short days and endless vistas of crystalline ice.  But as the city prepares for spring, it feels more like qarrtsiluni – “the time when something is about to explode in the dark.”  Local “poletics” are wracked by tensions between the city’s security forces – the Subtle Army – and the Eskimos who were there first; by suffragette riots led by an underground music star; and by drug round-ups led by the ruthless secret police, the Gentlemen of the Night.  Meanwhile a mysterious black airship hovers over the city like a supernatural threat – is new Venice about to come under assault, or is it another government ploy? At the root of it all is an anonymous pamphlet calling for revolt, which the Gentlemen suspect was written by one of the city’s most prominent figures, Brentford Orsini.  But as they tighten the net around him, Orsini receives a message from a lont lost love that compels him to radical action.  What transpires is a literary adventure unlike anything you’ve read before.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (Extra star for the incredible book design)

Bookshelf: No

How I Got It: Borrowed

Book design by Kelly Blair.

This wasn’t one of my favorites.  I just couldn’t get into it.  The setting was fantastic. I mean, the Arctic, really? Wonderful.  It was exciting to keep guessing whether or not a revolution would occur. The book design is absolutely beautiful.  The cover is awesome and the drawings inside the book add a very nice touch.  But that was about it.  I couldn’t help feeling like I was missing something.  The characters in the book talk about events that happened prior to the beginning of the story, and what happened is never really explained.  It wouldn’t be a big deal, but this event keeps getting brought up.  I would have like to have known what happened.  I didn’t really care for any of the characters – good or bad.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the characters did interesting things, but I just wasn’t that interested after a certain point.  I think it may have to do with the writing style.  I’m not saying that the writing style is bad, it’s just a certain type that I’m personally not that fond of. This reminded me of two other authors – China Mieville and Tim Powers.  I haven’t actually finished a Mieville book, but what I have read was similar to this.  This definitely reminded me of the two Tim Powers books I’ve read.  If you’re a fan of either Mieville or Powers, I think you definitely might want to take a look at this.

Advertisements

Review: Iron Angel by Alan Campbell (Deepgate Codex #2)

Iron Angel by Alan Campbell   (Deepgate Codex #2)

From the back of the book

After a destructive battle, the ancient city of Deepgate has been overtaken.  Most of the chains that suspend it have given way, and the temple now dangles upside down above the once-uncharted abyss.  The victorious Spine have initiated martial law and are ruthlessly tempering all survivors.  But amid the turmoil, two captives are returned: the young angel Dill, now toughened by war, and traitor assassin Rachel Hael.  Incarcerated in the crumbling temple, the prisoners await their fate – while ghosts rise through the abyss from the open gates of Hell.  But as the city teeters on the brink, plans for vengeance are set in motion.  And in the coming battle between gods, it is the world of men that is at stake.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I Got It: Bought

Don’t Click Here If You Haven’t Read Scar Night!!!

Review: Scar Night by Alan Campbell (Deepgate Codex #1)

Scar Night by Alan  Campbell   (Deepgate Codex #1)

From the back of the book

In the city of Deepgate, suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, there are two angels: one, an untested boy, the last of his line; the other, a psychotic murderer mad for revenge – or redemption.  When one of the city’s own turns against its people, bringing enemies to its doorstep, both seek a powerful magic at the bottom of the chasm – and learn that what lies below is far more sinister than they’ve been taught to expect…

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I Got It: Bought

I’ll admit I was really confused at first.  The opening scene takes place years before the rest of the story, and I always find that confusing, especially since I’m not yet familiar with that world.  I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.  I enjoyed the action, and suspense.  One of the characters is pegged as “a psychotic murderer” and rest assured some grisly scenes are included.  I liked most of the characters, but Dill is my favorite.  There were some interesting characteristics of the angels that were new (at least to me), and they added a lot to the story.  I’m not quite familiar with the mythology of angels, so I fear that some of the bigger story or references may have gone over my head.  That being said, I still went out and bought the next book as soon as I was finished with this one.  This could be considered Steampunk, but only just barely.  There’s the whole “city on chains” setting, and there are a few interesting machines, but not enough to be definitively classified as Steampunk.

Review: Keeping it Real by Justina Robson (Quantum Gravity #1)

 Keeping It Real by Justina Robson  (Quantum Gravity #1)


From the back of the book


The Quantum Bomb of 2015 changed everything.  The fabric that kept the universe’s different dimensions apart was torn and now, six years later, the people of earth exist in uneasy company with the inhabitants of, among others, the elven, elemental, and demonic realms.  Magic is real and can be even more dangerous than technology.  Elves are exotic, erotic, dangerous, and really bored with the constant Lord of the Rings references.  Elementals are a law unto themselves, and demons are best left well to themselves.  Special agent Lila black used to be pretty, but now she’s not so sure.  Her body is now more than half restless carbon and metal alloy machinery – a machine she’s barely in control of.  It goes into combat mode, enough weapons for a small army springing from within itself, at the merest provocation.  As for her heart…well ever since being drawn into a Game by the elven rock star she’s been assigned to protect, she’s not even sure she can trust that anymore either.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bookshelf: Yes

How I Got It: Bought

Awesome! Elves, cyborgs, magic, action, fairies, and tons of other stuff. Seems like it would be too packed with supernatural beings, but it makes sense in the story. I enjoyed the multitude of action scenes, and the snappy banter between the characters (including the Lord of the Rings references!). There was more sex than I usually like in my books, but not enough to feel like I was reading smut. This ties into the whole “why I don’t like romance in my novels” discussion.  The sex scenes didn’t take away from the story, but were very much part of the plot (well, except for one, but I’ll overlook it).  I haven’t read any books before that featured a cyborg as the main character and I really enjoyed it.  It tackled some cyborg-related issues, such as “how much machine does it take to no longer be considered a human” and the “where do I fit in now?” issue.  This was a very fun read and I can’t wait to read the others in the series.