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Phil's Rambling Rants

June 17th, 2010

June 17th, 2010
10:18 pm

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Book review: Raven's Strike
Today's first review, that I've been putting off for a couple of days, is Raven's Strike by Patricia Briggs.

This is the direct sequel to Raven's Shadow.  It tells a complete episode with the characters established in the previous book, and appears to wrap things up, leaving no major loose ends.

This is a fun fantasy romp.  It's at a high enough power level that it strains believability a bit  -- with gods becoming directly involved in the story, the effective power of various characters starts to become a bit arbitrary, with the characters having just the ability they need to do the next thing in the plot.  But the characters are well drawn and interesting, and the story is reasonably exciting.  (We're fairly sure the world will be saved, after all, but it never feels like we're guaranteed that no one will get hurt along the way.)  There's some descriptions of magic that are interesting, providing some original details but without explaining things so far that it starts to sound bogus.  There's some interesting thoughts along the way about good and evil, how power corrupts, and on the nature of myth.

I found the first book of this set slightly disappointing, not quite as the other books of Briggs' I've read.  Although this book is a clear continuation of that one, I found it slightly better.  It may just be that I'd already bought into the main characters, despite the ways that they're a little too good to believe, or maybe I'm in a more charitable mood.

8 out of 10.

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11:11 pm

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Book review: Changeless
Today's book review (the book I finished earlier today; the last post was the one I'd blown off) is Changeless by Gail Carriger.

This is book 2 of the Alexia Tarabotti series which started with Soulless.  It relies on the characters established in the first book, tells a fairly neat and well contained story, and then, instead of ending, hits us with a huge plot bomb, producing a really horrible cliffhanger.  Seriously, the author's website says that book 3, Blameless, is scheduled for release Sept. 1, and you might want to wait.  (Of course, we're not guaranteed that that one will offer a less annoying place to stop reading, but it can't be more annoying.)

The first few chapters of this one didn't have quite as much zing as the first book, but it was entertaining.  We start to dig into the world building a little bit more, with some half-interesting, half-amusing explanations of just how different the book world is from the one we live in.  It makes it clear that it's farther from reality as we know it, but it's actually a little more believable for it; it seems to be consistent and we can clearly stop worrying about some of the science issues because we've clearly explained that this world has some very different rules.

A fun book, not quite as wonderful as the first, but still solid.  The rude ending definitely lops a full point off the rating.

7 out of 10.

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