Magic Study – Review

I RATE THIS NOVEL, FOUR OF FIVE STARS!

So I have to admit, I read 200 pages before even starting this review. I was just so into it after the first book that I almost completely forgot about writing a review. But Maria V. Snyder captured my attention and imagination with Magic Study, the second book in her Yelena Zeltana series. 

Whether there are spelling, punctual or grammatical errors, I couldn’t see any. The story was once again good enough to pull me away from the part of my brain that edits everything.

So after we left the first book, Yelena went on an adventure to discover her roots. She leaves Ixia behind and all of her friends with it (not for good though). When she finds her family, she is met with a warm and loving welcome, except when it came to her brother.

It didn’t take long for Yelena to wind up in trouble again and her adventure became wrapped up in plenty intriguing situations, one of which is joining her fellow mages in trying to uncover the identity of a serial rapist and murderer who targets young women. All while learning the art of magic.

Yelena stays true to herself but softens in the more friendly part of the world called Sitia. She meets new friends and is treated with much more kindness than she was in Ixia.

Damn you, Maria, nearing the end you made me cry like a baby (and It was in public too). Your ability to tell Yelena’s story is wonderful.

Now for the bad. throughout this book, Yelena grew more and more arrogant. She also seemed to forget her cautious nature, deciding that since she has magic now, she can take on the world. I hope she loses her arrogance and starts to acknowledge the fact she’s not invincible.

And Valek, poor Valek. Did your love for Yelena really ruin you so much? I love the love they share, but not only did he get soft, but he was also captured and almost killed. If we meet him again, I hope he becomes the Valek I grew to love.

A book worthy of four stars.

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Magic Study – Review

Poison Study – Review

I RATE THIS NOVEL, FIVE OF FIVE STARS!

Over the last two months I haven’t read much, and this month I finished reading my first book in that time. I chose a book from my shelf, Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study and boy was I impressed.

I have to say, a book in first person, especially from a female’s perspective isn’t something I’d usually read, but the concept intrigued me enough to keep moving forward.

Imagine you were a slave, oppressed by your master. Lead to believe you were special but was abused sexually, physically and mentally for years. Until one day, you killed your oppressor and ended up in prison with your sentence to be an execution. But, instead of being executed after a year of imprisonment, you’re given a choice, become the commander’s food faster (to check for poison) or be executed. What would you choose? That’s the choice the main character, Yelena is given.

The thoughts that go through Yelena’s head are logical and reasonable in pretty much any situation she ends up in throughout her story. The dialogue between characters worked well and I believe the story was a sad, but beautifully told one.

Now, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy, but they hardly lower the overall quality of the story.

Right away, on the first page, in three paragraphs, there was an excessive use of the word “had”. About eight or nine in all, that’s around three per paragraph and it took me out of the world already. By the end of the novel, I couldn’t even pick it up if this kind of thing happened again, I was so into the story that my proof-reading mind switched off. Which is honestly pretty hard to do to me.

I do have to say that she knows too much though. I mean that in a sense that we’re in her head and she seems to know so much about the world even though she grew up in an orphanage of sorts. It’s been said in the novel that she’s well educated, but I doubt with what she’d been through that she’d learn as much about the world around her as she has. From animals to politics. It just doesn’t feel realistic.

All in all, I had to say that first person from a female perspective wasn’t my kind of thing before reading Poison Study. After reading it, I can say I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really get surprised throughout the story but the content was original and fantastic to read. Since I already have it, I plan to read Magic Study, the next book in the series for my next read.

I can’t really rate it higher or lower when it comes to content, I’d say it’s five out of five, but writing style has me at about four. So I’d set it in the middle at four and a half out of five if I could actually put that as a rating. So I guess Poison Study, for me, is a solid five stars!

Poison Study – Review

Stealer of Flesh – Review

I rate this novel, Three of Five stars!

Stealer of flesh is another free ebook that I gained by being a part of Book Barbarian, a great newsletter for discounted fantasy and science fiction novels. It sends out a newsletter everyday with a new bunch of discounted books, some being free! But enough about that, here’s the review.

This is the story of Kormac, a slayer of evil, a man of strength and conviction. The story is something I enjoyed, but the way it is told didn’t particularly appeal to me. What did appeal to me was the darkness of the story, great dialogue between characters, interesting plots, fantastic creatures and enough suspense to keep me reading forward. Now, for the parts that didn’t particularly appeal to me. If you don’t want to read complaints and my little annoyances I had with the story, then don’t read on.

Almost right off the bat, I noticed punctuation errors, which would usually cause me to put the book down. But for some reason I continued on, part of me is thankful and the other part thinks it should have been put down.

Another thing I noticed was a large amount of info dumping the author slid into the book as soon as he could.There were times where characters sounded like history professors rather than who they were and descriptions that would lead to a paragraph or two of history.

There was often a lot of “telling, not showing” going on and it sometimes dragged it down. So many “there was’s” “he had seen’s” and “had been’s” spanning the pages and it became quite tedious to read at certain times.

Just a short break from all this to complain about a few pieces that got me wanting to stop reading:
At one point, early in the novel, Kormac says that the man he’s after has one day ahead of him. Afterward, he leaves and follows tracks through the snow. Tracks in the snow, after a full day there are still tracks… seems as though the writer got lazy there.
Too many times was something explained, ” His hand went to the hilt of his sword. If Razhak was present he would need to defend himself.” Of course, why else would someone go for their sword; to put out a fire? To chop some wood? I don’t think so.
Then, a little later, “…men stood stone faced as sentries, their faces like stone…” a little too redundant for my liking.

The main thing I want to say is that it could have been done better. Information could have been added more slowly so the plot advanced faster when it needed it, tense remaining consistent throughout the story (that one really got me a few times…), less vague descriptions, better/proper use of grammar and punctuation, randomly added words in dialogue and narrative (such as a, as, of, them, etc.) and words swapped out for others (there are quite a few of those. Like using ‘clearing’ instead of ‘clearly’ and other such things. Who would say that a werewolf has talons? Not me at least, claws are definitely what they have).

Often times while reading this book I wondered whether the book was professionally edited or not. If not, the author probably should have, If so, the author should hire a better editor.

I apologize for my condescending review, I quite liked the concept of the story told. I just think the delivery was poor. The saving grace was the concept of the story and the fluidity of the action scenes, if not for them I may not have been able to finish the book at all.

One last thing to add, when I finished the novel, I realized that the author’s first language is not English. Knowing that now, I think the story deserves more than what I put it out as in the previous paragraphs. A better editor of the translated work is definitely in order, but once that happens, for either this book or others in his future career, I think his books will become even better. I feel compelled to read the next books in the series one day in the future and will probably do so one day.

Stealer of Flesh – Review

The Machine – Review

I rate this novel, Four of Five stars!

First off, I will have to say that I had never read a Steampunk novel before finishing The Machine. I had no idea where this journey was going to take me or what kind of world I was diving into.

I was able to quickly see the hard work and love put into the words I was reading. The beautiful descriptions of both the scenes and characters had me drawn into this written world. I am not usually one for romance. Not in books, television series’ or movies, but somehow, The Machine kept my mind craving more of the story the longer I read. It wasn’t the romance but the mystery, the intrigue, the detailed scenes and the character development that kept me reading. The dialogue between the characters was realistic and each character had their own touch to their dialogue just like any real person would.

Larissa, the main character, is a store clerk that gets whisked away on a wonderful and fear inducing journey that she never could have expected. She grows as a person when she faces the challenges ahead and Larissa keeps pushing forward. It’s a beautiful tale filled with loss, action, suspense, mystery and awe.

E.C. Jarvis was able to keep this beautiful story well-paced and easy to follow while it kept you guessing as each mystery opened itself up to you or a new twist began to form. If I didn’t have my own commitments I would have read the entire story in a day or two, so I very much like it.

The only reasons this isn’t a five-star review is for a few, small mistakes in the story. Be it a small plot hole needing to be filled in by imagination or the occasional grammatical error (I encountered several grammatical errors, perhaps twenty or so in total). I read the words, lurch, lurching and lurched five times all up in a single chapter and it really threw my out of my enjoyment. And, because every now and then, a character would say or do something a little out of character or didn’t react as I thought they would in a situation.

I did mention the fact that this story has romance, if you are a romance lover, this book may not be for you as there is very little romance. It has a fast pace, full of action and intrigue. All in all, I would have to say I was glad to have had the chance to read E.C. Jarvis’s The Machine and will probably buy her next book in the series.

The Machine – Review