Review: Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells

Review: Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye WellsGreen-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #3
Published by Orbit
Pages: 400
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Also in this series: Red-Headed Stepchild, The Mage in Black, Silver-Tongued Devil

The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. She has to save her sister from her mysterious captors. And in order to do that, she has to broker a deal between the mages and the vampires before all hell breaks loose.

But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won’t be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about, she’s got to save herself from the ghosts of her past. Because the past is haunting her. Literally.

Thoughts: It’s no secret that I am a fan of Jaye Wells – a big fan. This woman can make me laugh and cry and squee in delight, I love her. Green-Eyed Demon was fantabulous: lots of snarky dialogue by characters that I have grown to adore. It was not quite as strong as the first two books in the series, but I blame that on the fact that I read it on my computer… and I never love things I read on a computer. It’s my reading equivalent of watching a film on a plane – distracting and unpleasant. So that I loved it as much as I did? Pretty impressive.

Sabina is still as kick-ass as ever, although she has really grown since the first time we met her. Her first instinct is to killkillkill, but she is gradually starting to get that under control. She also takes quite a few “grown-up” decisions regarding her relationship with Adam. I am so proud of this chick for getting her act together while still remaining true to herself. However, there were a few times when I felt like the development was a bit too explicit: Sabina would compare “Old Sabina” to “New Sabina” and my eyes would glaze over in boredom. *sigh*

But Wells takes strides developing Adam and Maisie. They seemed to have it all in the first two books, but the events of Green-Eyed Demon will spark a profound change both of them. I can’t wait to see what Wells does with them in the next book, Silver-Tongued Devil. I am so glad that her series was extended another two books and can’t wait to see what she has in store for us!

I also adored the New Orleans setting in this book – drag queens, voodoo . I adore New Orleans – y’all probably don’t know, but I was born in the city and a bit of me never left. Jaye Wells just gets the deep south in a way that I didn’t think a non-Southerner could (sorry Ms. Wells, but Texas doesn’t quite count). If you love the Sookie Stackhouse books and you will love this installment of the Sabina Kane series.

Above all, it’s the humour which makes this series stand out. Jaye Wells is as snarky and flat-out hysterical as she’s ever been – mocking Twilight, making some kick-ass Star Trek references, giving a brief glimpse at a funny-yet-crazy-disturbing orgy, and giving demon!cat! Giguhl some lines that you will want to draw hearts over.

Bottom line? Sakina Kane still kicks some serious ass. Wells’ frank, tell-it-like-it-is style will have you chomping at the bits for more.

Review: The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells

Review: The Mage in Black by Jaye WellsThe Mage in Black by Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #2
Published by Orbit
Pages: 326
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Red-Headed Stepchild, Green-Eyed Demon, Silver-Tongued Devil

Sabina Kane doesn't have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother, leader of the vampire race, wants her dead.
So when she arrives in New York to meet her mage relatives, the reunion puts the fun in dysfunctional. Not only is mage culture completely bizarre, but everyone seems to think she's some kind of 'Chosen' who'll unite the dark races.

Sabina doesn't care who chose her, she's not into destiny. But the mages aren't Sabina's only problem. In New York's Black Light District, she has run-ins with fighting demons, hostile werewolves and an opportunistic old flame. Sabina thought she'd take a bite out of the Big Apple – but it looks like it wants to bite back.

Thoughts: I absolutely adore Jaye Wells.  Her writing, her characters, her blog – everything.  She writes snarky-but-serious urban fantasy that is violent but amusing.  It is a flawless combination that can hook even the most skeptical of UF fans. Honest to God, if I could only read one urban fantasy author for the rest of my life – it would be this one.

Mage in Black picks up right where Red-Headed Stepchild left off. Wells introduces a dozen new characters within the first few chapters – including Sabina’s long-lost twin and her vampire ex.  Both of these characters has serious potential to make me hate them – I mean, really, how could I like a competitor for Sabina’s attention when she has the sexy hexy Adam after her?

That I loved both of these so-easy-to-hate characters?  Friggin’ awesome.  Her sister is adorable and her ex is – frankly – swoonable. (despite being slightly sociopathic – but hey, on Slade it was hot).

Everything I loved about RHSC was in this book – especially the humour!  Demon/Cat!Giguhl is back in action – complete with inappropriately violent funnies (Rule #1! You do not talk about Demon Fight Club!).  There is also a ton of Sabina Kane character development.  She is still the gritty, distrusting and jaded Sabina from RHSC – the words “emotionally traumatised” have nothing on this girl.  But she is fundamentally good – or, well, at least not-evil – and watching her start to get that was amazing to read.  I am relatively certain that one day she will have a rock-solid moral code.

Until then, this is the Sabina we get to enjoy:

“Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your need for blood without harming anyone.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, but where’s the fun in that?”
– Chapter 6, The Mage in Black

One of the things I love about Wells’ writing is that the humour is just so natural.  It doesn’t feel like she is trying to write a “funny” book – instead, she’s writing a book with funny characters.  That’s how the series manages to remain an oh-so-serious!UF/Horror novel and not a chick-lit paranormal comedy.  Wells can make you want to cry and then have you in hysterics a few pages later.

Even though I gave RHSC 5 stars, I’d say this book is even better than the first.  5.5 stars, if you will.  Ok, there’s not as much Adam (*woe is me*), but the villain was 100x more badass and Sabina’s character development goes into the sky-high levels of awesome.

Bottom line? The Mage in Black is gritty, bloody, painfully tragic, kick-ass and hystericalGO BUY IT.  And then lament the fact that the third book in the series, Green-Eyed Demon, doesn’t come out til March 2011.

Give this book to a boy!  If you are looking for male-friendly UF, try Jaye Wells on an unsuspecting guy.  Unlike a lot of UF out there, Sabina has no one-twu-wuv waiting at home.  And no one could claim Sabina was at all “girly” about her feelings.

At least, not without getting their ass kicked.

Review: Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Review: Blood Bound by Patricia BriggsBlood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Published by Orbit
Pages: 336
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Moon Called, River Marked
Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places - and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary - and neither is the demon inside of him...

Thoughts: I absolutely loved Blood Bound. It had everything I could want in a good book – a great plot, a kick-ass heroine, a believable love triangle, and wolves.

But what makes the Mercy series so amazing is Mercy herself. Unlike a lot of protagonists – both male and female – she shows a fair amount of common sense. She doesn’t run in looking for trouble, errs on the side of caution, and refuses to sit around whining about her problems. Not to mention she has a work ethic I would pay good money for. Just because she was almost killed the night before is no excuse for not turning up to work the next day! Seriously. Mercy is one of the few characters whose judgement I trust implicitly.

Blood Bound focusses on the vampires in Briggs’ world – meaning Mystery-Machine-driving!vampire Stefan played a much bigger role than he had in Moon Called. Vampires are never good news in Briggs’ world, and Mercy finds herself thrown into the middle of yet another muddle she desperately wants to avoid. We learn so much about the verse in this book – and Mercy learns an awful lot about herself.

On the romance front, the triangle gets a bit of play while still remaining only a sub-plot. What I was most impressed at was Briggs’ ability to actually make me like Samuel. Even though I had long ago made my mind up that Adam was the one for Mercy, Briggs manages to make me understand Mercy’s hesitation in choosing. For me, this is pretty much a miracle (usually authors who mess with my OTP usually make me want to throw things.) The action in this book would have gotten it a 4.5 stars – but the romantic tension brought it up to the bloody spectacular level!

Bottom line? There is a reason this series is so damn popular. You need to start reading it… now.

Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Review: Moon Called by Patricia BriggsMoon Called by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Published by Orbit
Pages: 288
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: Blood Bound, River Marked

Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself.

Thoughts: Moon Called was brilliant!

Mercy is fierce yet knows her limits, independent but understanding of Alpha (literally) males, sweet but sexy, funny and, well, just plain wonderful. It is so hard to find a heroine that you can love just for themselves – and Mercy is one of them. Whatever she says or does, I trust her because she is Mercy. Even if she did something I would never, ever do – instead of sitting there chastising her, I understand her. It really is a wonderful feeling to have, especially in a book told in the first person.

Lots and lots of plot. Romance comes very much in the background to this story, even though it is still there. Brilliant universe construction that in no way dragged – I was sucked into the verse without being yanked. Amazing, really.

A triangle is set up in the book – and while at first I was apprehensive – Briggs pulls it off. Neither one of her heroes is perfect, and Mercy is not willing to bounce back and forth between them. I know the triangle becomes more fleshed out in later books, but in Moon Called it was a rather minor role.

Bottom line? Amazing start to what is going to be a great series. I’d highly recommend this to everyone I know. If you are looking for a book to introduce you to Urban Fantasy – this would be a great one to start with!

Review: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells

Review: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye WellsRed-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #1
Published by Orbit
Pages: 304
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: The Mage in Black, Green-Eyed Demon, Silver-Tongued Devil

In a world where being of mixed blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn't really fit in. And being an assassin - the only profession fit for an outcast - doesn't help matters. But she's never brought her work home. Until now.
Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family, and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life changing, but together they could be fatal...

Sabina Kane: She's down, but she's not out.

Thoughts: I LOVED this book! This is my first five star read this year, and to come from an author I knew nothing about, well, it is a pleasant surprise!

Where to start? Well, RHSC is really pure, action-packed, no-frills urban fantasy. But it is just plain funny! Even though this was a tough book, it was also really hysterical. Jaye Wells has a great sense of humour and here is one scene that I just have to share:

“Why haven’t you exploded yet?” The demon was closer now, only a few feet away. I opened one eye to look at the arrow. Blood bloomed from the site of impact, just over my left breast.

“I—I don’t know.” Holding myself up became difficult as the seconds passed.

“Hmm. I wonder if I should stake you just to be sure.”

“I’d really prefer it if you didn’t,” I said. “I’m sure I’ll ignite any second.”

The book only gets funnier from there. Jaye Wells manages to fit in humour in the most unlikely of places – a lot of it coming from her astounding secondary characters. I was head-over-heels with the demon!cat Giguhl and the mysterious!hot!mage Adam.

The universe is a super complicated one and even though we are tossed straight into the action, it is still an easy verse to get a handle on. She somehow manages to incorporate humour, world-building, appropriate sexual tension, and politics into her faeries, mages, vampires and demons.  Wells says she is inspired by Kim Harrison, and while I can see that in her work, I have to say that I much prefer her work over what I have read from Harrison so far.

As for Sabina, well… it took a while for me to warm up to her. She is cold as ice at the beginning of the book, and I wondered if I could like a character who seemed – at least to start with – to be utterly devoid of a concience! But it meant that watching her open up – even a little bit – to new people with different ideas became very satisfying. Although I am still not in love with Sabina,  I understand her. I see masses of potential in her and can’t wait for the next book!

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