Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Two Kelley Armstrong reviews

Another two reviews in one post! If nothing else it means I will get caught up on the reviews for series I am reading!

Meet the smart, sexy — supernatural — women of the otherworld. This is not your mother’s coven...

Kelley Armstrong returns with the eagerly awaited follow-up to Dime Store Magic. Paige Winterbourne, a headstrong young woman haunted by a dark legacy, is now put to the ultimate test as she fights to save innocents from the most insidious evil of all.. . .

In the aftermath of her mother’s murder, Paige broke with the elite, ultraconservative American Coven of Witches. Now her goal is to start a new Coven for a new generation. But while Paige pitches her vision to uptight thirty-something witches in business suits, a more urgent matter commands her attention.

Someone is murdering the teenage offspring of the underworld’s most influential Cabals — a circle of families that makes the mob look like amateurs. And none is more powerful than the Cortez Cabal, a faction Paige is intimately acquainted with. Lucas Cortez, the rebel son and unwilling heir, is none other than her boyfriend. But love isn’t blind, and Paige has her eyes wide open as she is drawn into a hunt for an unnatural-born killer. Pitted against shamans, demons, and goons, it’s a battle chilling enough to make a wild young woman grow up in a hurry. If she gets the chance.

I am not 100 percent sure why, but I always seem to forget exactly how much I enjoy these books. Even as the books start I find myself wondering why I am continuing with the series, and yet by the end of the book I am really eager to get the next book and see what happens. These two books proved to be no exception to that.

Paige and Lucas are now living together in Portland, Oregon and Paige is trying to create a new coven of witches - women who are willing to learn more powerful magic and who are willing to be part of something less structured and formal than the more traditional witches coven. The fact that Paige is living with a sorcerer (mortal enemy of witches) who also happens to be the estranged son of one of the most powerful cabal families (think organised sorcery instead of organised crime)) and she has almost no hope of getting her new coven off of the ground.

As always Lucas' father Benicio is trying to be a part of his life - and now that that includes Paige he is definitely interested in meeting her as well. Unfortunately, other family members are not so keen on seeing either Paige or Lucas. When someone, or something, starts killing the children of the various Cabal leaders, Benicio asks Lucas to investigate and to get justice for the murdered kids.

Many of the characters from earlier books are back including Elena and Clayton, the vampire Cassandra and others, and also what seems like a major new character by the name of Jaime Vegas. I know that she featured a lot in Haunted, and I am very much looking forward to reading her book!

Whenever I finish one of these books I am almost surprised by how much I enjoyed them, and this one is no exception. Paige and Lucas are great as a couple, and despite a slow beginning to their relationship in the previous book I totally see them together now!

Former supernatural superpower Eve Levine has broken all the rules. But she's never broken a promise - not even during the three years she's spent in the afterworld. So when the Fates call in a debt she gave her word she'd pay, she has no choice but to comply.

For centuries one of the ghost world's wickedest creatures has been loosed on humanity, thwarting every attempt to retrieve her. Now it has fallen to Eve to capture this demi-demon known as the Nix, who inhabits the bodies of would-be killers, compelling them to complete their deadly acts. It'a mission that becomes all too personal when the Nix targets those Eve loves most - including Savannah, the daughter she left on earth. But can a renegade witch succeed where a host of angels have failed?
One of the smartest things that Kelley Armstrong has done in relation to this series is that she doesn't limit the characters to just any one type of paranormal group - we've had books on werewolves, we've had a bit of focus on witches and sorcerers, and this time the focus is on ghosts, angels and demons, with undercurrents of witchcraft and sorcery as well.

This time there was another level to that variety - with the vast majority of the action taking place in the ghost realm, and not on earth, there really were not too many rules that had to be followed in terms of the characters actions. For example, do you want your characters to have to dress up as pirates in one scene and then not long after send them to Alaska - go right ahead. There's nothing to say that you can't do that! Want to have your main characters scare the crap out of some mean boy ghosts - absolutely! Want to send your main character to a really creepy village filled with crazy homicidal killers and have her be chased by said killers - sure....why not. And yet, with all this freedom Armstrong never seemed to forget the purpose for putting her characters in these places. They were fun interludes within the book (well maybe not the homicidal village) but they definitely moved the story forward.

Eve has always been the kind of witch who did things her way. Not for her the minor magic practiced by the covens - she had gone dark, and had learned many of the much more powerful spells of sorcerers. She always was a bit different from the other witches anyway, given that she was a half demon as well. After death, she really was no different. She was not the kind of ghost who would spend time studying to understand the world that she had now become part of. Her main goal was to be able to have some meaningful interaction with her daughter Savannah and most importantly to try and protect her. For three years she has been unsuccessful but that doesn't mean that she won't keep on trying.

Then the Three Fates decide to give Eve a task to complete - she needs to catch the Nix - a demon that can inhabit human bodies and encourage or drive them to commit heinous crimes. The Nix has almost been caught before, and the Fates think that Eve is just the woman to try again - despite enormous risk to herself. Suddenly Eve has to take a crash course in the ways of the ghost realms. Luckily she has Kris to help her as well as an angel called Trsiel - I really hope that we see more of him in future books! What the Fates haven't told Eve is that there is another agenda behind giving her this task, and that the price of success may be one that she is not willing to pay.

At first, I was a little nonplussed by the relationship between Eve and Kris. I understood that they had a shared past on Earth, and that Kris already knew that he wanted Eve back, but for a large part of the book he seemed a little bit like a lapdog (imagine how horrified a sorcerer who comes from one of the biggest cabals in the world would be to hear me say that!). Eve would need assistance, and Kris would come running. Gradually though, I understood that Kris really wanted Eve to get to the point where she would come to him. Kris has his limits though - and one of these is that Eve really needs to let go of her obsession with Savannah.

I did think though that the very end was a little bit of a cop-out in that as the Fates were slowly divulging more and more information about their proposed plan for Eve that Armstrong found herself painted into a corner with no way of getting a resolution for Eve and Kristoff and getting the ending that she wanted. What will be interesting is to see whether the compromise that was reached is used in future books!

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

Romance Rookie


  1. Hi Marg!!

    I love this series, love it :) although Haunted wasn't my favorite. I think that I liked Industrial Magic so much because almost everyone is making an appearance... and Jaime is so entertaining ;)

  2. I hve not much read paranomal stuff. I think I should. Your review sounds good to me.

    And I have tagged you for a meme. Do check it out here:
    non-fiction all the way--a meme

  3. I've just finished Dime Store Magic and I'm currently about a quarter into Haunted. I've actually read Jaime's book already and out of what I've read so far (which is basically all but what's left of Haunted and Broken), it was my favourite of the series.

  4. Jaime is definitely entertaining whenever she appears! I am very much looking forward to reading her book, but I think I am going to read a novella and then it will be Broken and THEN No Humans Involved. Curse this preference for reading a series in order! It will be a few months before I get to it I guess!

  5. I may have to give this author a go now that I am starting to get into paranormals.

    Thea has been pestering me to read a Kelley Armstrong novel, Bitten. Have you read this one?