Abracadaver: An Esther Diamond Novel—Demons and Corpses and Actors Oh My

cover for Abracadaver, an Esther Diamond Novel, by Laura Resnick
Abracadaver, an Esther Diamond Novel, by Laura Resnick

The seventh in the Esther Diamond books by Laura Resnick, Abracadaver is every bit as fun and inventive as I’ve come to expect of this series. A lighter take on Urban Fantasy that I find refreshing after all the gruesomeness that permeates the genre. As much as I enjoy such stories, not every Urban Fantasy needs dismemberment or tortured protagonists—and I do love my tortured protagonists. Esther isn’t tortured. She’s practical.

1—A Normal Heroine

Esther is a normal woman—as normal as an actor can be, anyway. She’s not a martial arts specialist, she’s not an expert with a gun, she doesn’t have great and powerful magic—or any magic at all. Most of her knowledge of the supernatural comes from what she learns from her new friend (in-universe, it’s only been a little over a year since the first book), Dr Zadok, and what information she can find in his specialized bookstore. Continue reading “Abracadaver: An Esther Diamond Novel—Demons and Corpses and Actors Oh My”

A Madness of Angels—Entrancing Urban Magic

A Madness of Angels, a Matthew Swift novel, by Kate Griffin
A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin

You may notice a similarity with the title of last week’s book. What can I say? I was in a particular mood—dark urban fantasy. But A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin (pseudonym of Catherine Webb, pseudonym of Claire North) is a very different book, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring those differences.

1—Life is Magic

These words are the motif of the book, the heart of both its magical system and of its theme. Life is magic, and all magic comes from life. And because the life in and of a city has a particular flavor, so to does its magic. Our hero (heroes?—I’ll get to that) is an urban sorcerer; his magic is instinctual and comes from, as he says several times, his point of view. They see the wonder of the city—London, if you were wondering which one—all around them and in everything of it. They even create a barrier spell by reciting the rules and regulations of a train station. Continue reading “A Madness of Angels—Entrancing Urban Magic”

Conspiracy of Angels: A Novel of the Shadowside—Intriguing in All Senses of the Word

book cover of Conspiracy of Angels: A Novel of the Shadowside by Michelle Belanger
Conspiracy of Angels by Michelle Belanger

Conspiracy of Angels is the first in Michelle Belanger’s new Shadowside series of novels and while almost all current urban fantasy borrows a bit (or a lot) from horror, I wouldn’t call Conspiracy of Angels a horror story. Bordering on it—it’s dark, with plenty of monsters and fighting—but not outright horror. I need usually need a few mutilated corpses for that…though I suppose the zombies might count. YMMV (your mileage may vary). But whether borderline of full-tilt horror, when I finished the book, I was desperate to read the next—which isn’t out yet, dammit. Harsh Gods isn’t due out until October (2016). But on to the review of the first book.

1—Angel Unaware

Zachary wakes up on a lakeshore with no memory of who he is (actually not the first time I’ve encountered this setup) and no idea he’s not human. He’s one of a tribe of angels that reincarnate, and which I’ll get into later. So biologically human, but he’s also got these wings and extra muscles that only show up on the Shadowside, another side of reality. Continue reading “Conspiracy of Angels: A Novel of the Shadowside—Intriguing in All Senses of the Word”

Downfall: A Cal Leandros Novel—Goddam Satisfying

the cover of Downfall by Rob Thurman
Downfall by Rob Thurman

I finished Downfall more than a week ago then had to go back and reread the whole series. I feel like cackling maniacally. The Cal Leandros Novles are such goddam fun. Gory, gruesome, bloody in the best ways, the Cal Leandros books are told from the first person perspective of the eponymous protagonist (as well as some others, but I’ll get to that) as he and his brother Niko try to make a living among the monsters in NYC. Urban fantasy doesn’t get much better and I’ve loved every minute following Cal on his descent into monsterdom.

1—Come Full Circle

Downfall sees a lot of elements from the first book, Nightlife, come full circle. The Auphe—the originals monsters, slaughter made flesh—and the Bae, their second coming. Cal’s monster side coming out to play, first through Darkling possession, now through possession by his own genetics. And of course, all the old friends we meet again. Continue reading “Downfall: A Cal Leandros Novel—Goddam Satisfying”