Review of Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

28220785Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. ★★★★

Certain Dark Things is a gritty, fresh take on vampires set in an alternate version of Mexico City.

Domingo is a homeless seventeen year old who makes a living collecting garbage off the streets of Mexico City. But then he meets Atl, a young vampire on the run. Her clan of Aztec descended vampires was obliterated by another vampire clan who was muscling in on their drug trade. Mexico City, a “vampire free” sanctuary, looked like somewhere she could lose her pursuit, but now she’s risking both rival vampires and the gangs and police of Mexico City.

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Review of Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

24819482Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen. ★★★1/2

Trigger warning: rape

Wake of Vultures is a fantasy Western novel. I found it a mixed bag. Basically, I found the thematic content far more interesting than the plot itself.

Nettie Lonesome is a mixed race sixteen year old working for people who treat her like a slave, even if they don’t call her one. She dreams of getting out, but nothing in her life looks like it’ll change until she gets attacked by a stranger. When she stabs him with a piece of wood in self defense, he… crumbles into sand? Soon Nettie learns that she’s gained the sight, and she starts encountering weird creatures out of myths and folklore everywhere. To add to everything, an dying woman binds her to go seek out and kill the monster that’s been killing local children.

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Review of Hellbent by Cherie Priest

9842559Hellbent by Cherie Priest. ★★★1/2

While Hellbent is a sequel to Bloodshot, I don’t think it’s strictly necessary to read them in order, although I’d suggest it if you can. The plots are largely independent, and Hellbent has a recap type thing to fill you in on what you need to know. Namely, that Raylene is a vampire thief living in Seattle. For most of her existence she’s been solitary, but within the last six months she’s moved in with a blind vampire (Ian) and two homeless kids and gained an ex-navy SEAL drag queen (Adrian) as a best friend.

The renovations to her building have cut into her supply of cash, so Raylene accepts a job that’s supposed to be totally easy – steal a box of bones out of an everyday home. Only, turns out a schizophrenic sorceress is also after them. And if Raylene didn’t have enough going on, the patriarch of Ian’s old vampire House has died, and the new regime needs to make sure that Ian can’t be in the running for succession.

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Review of Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

8140731Bloodshot by Cherie Priest. ★★★1/2

Bloodshot might not be particularly deep, but it’s just the sort of fun beach read I was looking for. Raylene, our anti-heroic protagonist, is a neurotic vampire thief. Another vampire, Ian Scott, hires her to retrieve some documents for him after the US army experimented on him and took his sight. What follows is a whirlwind hunt across the United States as Raylene discovers more and more about this government conspiracy.

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Review of Of Scions and Men by Courteny Sloan

26538150Of Scions and Men by Courtney Sloan. ★★1/2

On the surface, Of Scions and Men looks like it could be really cool – a dystopian urban fantasy world ruled by vampires. However, it’s poorly executed and often feels like a collection of little thought out tropes. If I weren’t reading this with the intention to review, I would have quit part way through.

Rowan Brandy is a vampire’s scion – someone who becomes a vampire’s servant in blood bag and gains a psychic link that allows them to use the vampire’s powers. She normally works tracking down vampires who take blood illegally, but then bodies start turning up suggesting that a vampire is trying to make an off the books scion.

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Review of Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

64221Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett. ★★★★★

Carpe Jugulum is the twenty-third book in the Discworld series and the sixth following the witches. I’d suggest starting with the witches at Wyrd Sisterssince you’ll get more out of the book if you know the characters ahead of time.

Carpe Jugulum is witches vs. vampires. Lancre is preparing for the naming of their new princess, and the  king sends out an invitation to a neighboring family of vampires. And once they’ve arrived, they have no intention of leaving…

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Review of Marking Time by April White

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Boring.

Marking Time by April White. ★★★1/2

I was debating with myself what rating to give this. Maybe four for the first half, three for the second?

Before I get any farther, I should not that I read the second half in various planes and airports, which might be related to my lessened involvement with the book.

Marking Time follows Saira Elian, a seventeen-year-old tagger who knows parkour. She’s an incredibly cool lead character, and I really enjoyed spending time inside her head. In my experience, young adult fantasy and science fiction often tends to produce heroines who feel essentially the same, but luckily, Saira felt distinctive.

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