Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews. ★★★★
Magic Binds is the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series, which is perhaps my all time favorite urban fantasy series. The series starts with Magic Bites. While not the greatest beginning, the series reaches “awesome” territory by book three and has consistently stayed there. Magic Binds is no exception. I expected to enjoy the heck out of it, and I did.
If you’re new to the series, Magic Binds is not a good starting point. It relies extensively on the eight prior books of characterization and world building. I could easily see a new reader being overwhelmed. If you have any interest in urban fantasy, I would highly encourage you to go check out one of the earlier books in the series. Maybe books two or three, Magic Burns and Magic Strikes, if you want to skip over the lackluster first installment. I can promise you some of the most amazing urban fantasy world building I’ve ever encountered, plus a badass female lead who I adore. The rest of this review will contain some spoilers for the prior eight books.
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard. ★★★1/2
While there were elements of The House of Shattered Wings that I enjoyed, it never fully worked for me. I never felt much of a connection to any of the characters, and the plot wasn’t compelling enough to make up for that absence.
House Silverspires is on the decline. Like all of Europe’s houses, it was brought to the brink of ruin by the war. Although it survived, it is now missing it’s leader, the oldest fallen angel of all, Morningstar. Now, Silverspires is threatened by a dark and shadowy magic, and it’s members are being killed, Fallen and mortal alike.
Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald. ★★★
Luna: New Moon is an expansive science fiction novel set among the feuding family companies of the future moon settlement. The story focuses on the Cortas, a Brazilian family headed by Adriana Corta, who built an empire based around helium. As Adriana is dying, the family faces conflict from both inside and out.
The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells. ★★★★
The Edge of Worlds is the fourth book in Martha Well’s amazingly inventive Raksura series, which starts with The Cloud Roads. This is a world without humans, and most of the cast are scaled shape shifters. I would suggest starting from the beginning of the series, to get better handle on the wide number of characters making an appearance in The Edge of Worlds.
The story opens with everyone in Indigo Cloud sharing a dream of the Fell attacking the court. When a sky-ship of strange groundlings arrive, looking for raksura to accompany them to an ancient city, the court realizes that this may be the key to preventing the danger foreseen by the dream.
Company Town by Madeline Ashby. ★★★1/2
Company Town‘s plot didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I nevertheless enjoyed reading it. Hwa’s a bodyguard for a sex workers’ union on a future city built around an oil rig. The city’s being bought out by a single family owned business, and Hwa is offered a new job: guard Joel, the family’s youngest son, who has been receiving death threats from another timeline.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. ★★★★1/2
This was my second time reading Scott Lynch’s fantasy heist novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora. This time around, I was reading it as part of a group read, which was one of the first times I’ve read a book in weekly increments over the span of a month.
When Locke Lamora was a young orphan, he ended up in the hands of Father Chains – a conman who focused his energy on training up a group of orphan thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards. Years later and Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards are raking in a fortune, right under the nose of both the nobility’s secret police and the overlord of the city’s criminals. Yet everything changes when a man known as the Grey King begins battling for power within the criminal underworld.
Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear. ★★★1/2
Steles of the Sky is the final book in the epic fantasy series the Eternal Sky, which starts with Range of Ghosts. Temur is raising his banner as Great Khan and gathering allies against the plot to raise an ancient evil.
Thankfully, the synopsis for Steles of the Sky differed from the formula set out by the last two books. On the other hand, I don’t think my problems with the last book were just mid series slump. I think this entire trilogy suffers from poor plotting and pacing.