Posted by Łukasz


Official Author Website
Order The Anointed over HERE



AUTHOR INFORMATION: Keith Ward has been writing fiction since he was little; in elementary school, he and his friend John wrote a series of skits called "We're in the army now," in which they were raw recruits. They'd write the script early in the week and act it out later in the week. 

For more than a dozen years he's written fiction, focusing on novels and screenplays. In 2012, his screenplay "Deadly Air," about the early days of the U.S. Airmail Service, won a special award at the Astana International Action Film Festival in Astana, Kazakhstan. He's also collaborated on screenplays with a major Hollywood producer.

He lives in Maryland, near Baltimore, with his glorious wife and whatever children haven't yet come to their senses and left the nest.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Xinlas’s life goal is modest: he wants to be a living legend, revered in song and story. And he’s off to a good start. He faced death once, and won. His legend grew -- at least in his own mind.

Fame comes calling on Xinlas again, or so he thinks, when he stumbles on a hidden village. The village has a resource that no one’s ever seen before. A resource that can be used to conquer other lands. A resource that a power-mad ruler will kill for.

Can Xinlas -- with the help of a mysterious orange-haired girl he meets on a river -- stop the man who would enslave millions? It will take a kind of courage found in legendary heroes. 

CLASSIFICATION: Coming of Age.

FORMAT: The Anointed was self-published by the author in December 2017 as a third book in Red Proxy series. It works as a standalone. It's available in an e-book, paperback and hardcover format. 

The book counts 489 pages and is divided into 70 numbered chapters. 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS (LUKASZ): The Anointed shows a lot of promise. It blends well-known tropes/topics (chosen one figure, coming-of-age arc) with interesting setting and unique ideas (transfer of life-span through Proxies). Unfortunately, it also falls short on providing a substantial character development and strong storytelling.

I liked the setting and the concept of lengthening the life. In theory, anyone with sufficient means can reach immortality through Transfers. In the process, a Transfer recipient gains the life Span of a Proxy (usually innocents and children). Getting more Transfers, gives you a longer life but increases the risk of Transfer Sickness that leads to insanity. 

Story’s protagonist, Xinlas, had done nothing noteworthy in his life. As the fortunate son of a rich, influential family, he dreams about becoming a hero. When it turns out his Span was probably miscalculated, Xinlas acts like a typical teenager. It gets him into troubles but it also drives the story forward, especially when he meets Greengrass - a mysterious and strange girl from Peacewood. 

Their worlds have little in common. In Peacewood, everyone works for the benefit of the community and they even don’t have words like money or buying. Greengrass’ driving force is curiosity. Xinlas’ actions steer from ambition, arrogance and angst. Their interactions are usually fun. 

That said, I haven’t warmed up to any of them. As most characters in the story, they felt rather two-dimensional. Their arcs contained uninteresting repetitions and lacked a hook that would make me turn the pages frantically just to learn what happens next.

Even though the story’s bad guy, DuQuall, feels slightly over-the-top, I liked his chapters most. DuQuall is a cold, ruthless and ridiculous ruler who doesn’t care for his people. He’s portrayed mainly through Plionya (his wife) and Jiixe (Span-seer) POV’s. Their parts of the book never lack tension, strong emotions, and good hooks that made me wonder what would come next. 

DuQuall used his children as Proxies. He wants to live forever and he fears his offspring would follow his footsteps and, once allowed to live and age, usurp his throne. I admired Plyonia’s strength and Jiixe’s skill in dealing with him.  

Ward’s utilitarian and simple prose is easy to follow but also repetitive and lackluster. I firmly believe in the power of brevity and I dislike unnecessary description or slowly developing chapters. Ward’s writing didn’t immerse me in the world and the events. Take a look at this quote about a character falling from the skies:


So this is what it feels like to fall off a dragon. Strange. Wow. I’m moving really fast. The ground is approaching quickly. I. Am. Going. To. Die. Nothing I can do about it. I just never thought something like this would happen. What about my destiny?

Maybe, just maybe, someone would actually think those words. No idea, I’ve never fallen off a dragon. But that’s irrelevant. They just don’t convey the danger and the drama. 


OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS (MIHIR): The Anointed is a book that I was super excited to read based on its blurb. The details that the blurb entails are pretty cool as is the spiffy cover. This world has some pretty cool features and dragons. All in all I was very much wanting to read this book.

The story has many POV characters and chief among them is Xinlas, our “hero” and resident problem child. He’s a sole surviving proxy baby which makes him uniquely arrogant. This world as presented is a very cool one, there’s the span concept which basically means that anybody who’s born immediately knows how long they will live. There’s also the fact that nothing can float in this world so potentially any water body is an unsurpassable boundary. There’s also the concept of proxy babies, which is a way for people to increase their life span (in a horrific way). There’s the sudden discovery of a hitherto hidden place which has magical wood which floats which suddenly causes the plot to go into high speed.

There’s a few more things that are bubbling under, but overall the world settings and magic system which really differentiate this story and this I believe is the USP of the story. For me though this book wasn’t an enjoyable read inspite of these interesting characteristics because of its utterly annoying main character Xinlas. This is not a knock on unlikeable characters, I like prefer stories with darker turns and unlikeable protagonists. However Xinlas as a character failed to hold my interest. His dealings with the other characters, his superiority complex as well as his arrogance. There’s also the fact he assaults a female character which supposedly helps him grow as a person. Now I’m not a reader who believes in absolutes. I believe an author should be able to explore any aspect that they want but then they should be able to explain as to why their characters behave as they do. This is where my enjoyment of the story fell apart, Xinlas absolutely comes across as jerk of the highest order and there’s no real reason given for his change. This is not to say that the author doesn’t present the case for Xinlas’ change of heart but honestly it didn’t come through as genuine enough for me.

There’s also the part about the people who have managed to stay hidden for so long who are peaceful beyond compare and also are truthful beyond fault. I failed to buy this aspect of the story, not saying that this can’t happen. But there’s not much of an explanation provided and that really hampered my read. Lastly the story pace is also something that perhaps could have been spruced up. More than two-thirds of the story, things are just tepid. Again in the end, this is my subjective opinion. I feel that I’m unduly trashing this story and that there might be better stories by Keith Ward. Unfortunately for me this one wasn’t to my taste at all.

CONCLUSION (ŁUKASZ)With its strong setting and interesting premises, The Anointed shows some promise. Unfortunately, parts of the book are monotonous, especially when it digs into the repetitive descriptions. It lacks strong chapter hooks that would make me feel the urge of page-turning hunger. 

SPFBO Final Score - 3/10


Savage Love

Apr. 23rd, 2019 04:00 pm[syndicated profile] savagelove_feed

Posted by Dan Savage

Should he out his friend's dad as a suspected pedophile? by Dan Savage

My best friend's father is an avid user of social media. He's retired and spends most of his day posting memes on Facebook and Instagram. Recently, I realized he might not know how Instagram works. I noticed over the past week or so that he has been following, liking, and commenting on a lot of Instagram pictures of young gay men. I don't think he realizes that anyone who follows him can see that activity. At first I was worried, not because he might be gay or bisexual, but because he may still be "in the closet." He's married, with a son (my friend), and to my knowledge, if he is bisexual or gay, nobody knows. I thought about warning him that his activity is public, but then I saw more. Not only has he been liking pictures of younger looking men, he's also been liking and following accounts of very young boy models. Underage boys. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but the evidence is there. So now I've gone from wanting to warn this guy that he may be accidentally outing himself by not knowing how apps work to feeling morally obligated to tell my friend that his dad is into dudes and might be a pedophile. I can only imagine the ramifications this news would have on him and his family.

Best Friend's Dad

"I'm sympathetic to BFD's concerns," said Dr. Michael Seto, director of forensic rehabilitation research at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and an expert on pedophilia and sexual offending. "I know many people wonder what to do if they suspect someone is sexually attracted to children. And I understand how much of a burden it can feel like to keep a big secret, especially from a best friend."

But before we discuss your options and responsibilities here, BFD, let's get our terms straight: If by "young boy models" you mean teenage boys past puberty but under the age of consent, then your friend's father's behavior is icky and inappropriate—but it is not, by itself, evidence that he's a pedophile.

"Clinically, pedophilia refers to attraction to prepubescent children," said Dr. Seto, "though I know it's still commonly used in public to refer to attraction to anyone underage."

Actually, the term "pedophile" gets tossed around so indiscriminately these days that some of my own readers have used it to describe (or condemn) people in their 40s or 50s who are attracted to (or fucking) grown men and women in their 20s and 30s. For the record: An attraction to younger/youngish adults does not make someone a pedophile. If that were the case, almost everyone on earth could be described (and condemned) as a pedophile. Dr. Seto estimates that just 1 percent of men are in fact attracted to prepubescent children. So depending on your point of view—depending on whether you're a glass 99 percent empty or 1 percent full kind of guy—pedophilia is either exceedingly rare or alarmingly common.

"Attraction to underage teens—boys or girls—is more common," said Dr. Seto, "though it's hard to estimate how common because it's a taboo subject. We get hints from the popularity of certain porn genres like 'schoolgirl,' 'twink,' 'barely legal,' and so on. We also have a hint from how so many fashion models begin working in their teens."

But Dr. Seto emphasizes that sexual attraction does not equal sexual behavior.

"The Instagram follows and likes may indeed suggest an attraction to underage boys," said Dr. Seto. "And it may even be pedophilia if the models are that young. But that doesn't mean his friend's father is going to do anything beyond following or liking."

Understanding what separates pedophiles who've offended against children (read: pedophiles who've sexually abused children) from pedophiles who've never inappropriately touched a child is an important focus of Dr. Seto's research, BFD, and his insights could inform your course of action.

"One thing we know is that people who are low in self-control are more likely to act on sexual as well as nonsexual impulses," said Dr. Seto. "That low self-control shows up in other ways, including addictions, problems holding down a job, problems in adult relationships, unreliability, and criminal behavior. My hypothesis is that someone who doesn't show these signs is unlikely to offend against a child. They might look at child pornography, though, which is illegal and problematic, or they might look at legal images of children—like on social media—as a sexual outlet."

Viewing child pornography is hugely problematic because it creates demand for more child pornography, which leads to more children being abused. But even if no new child porn were ever created, sharing images of the rape of a child is itself a violation of that child. And while it may not be pleasant to contemplate what might be going through a pedophile's mind when they look at innocent images of children, it's not against the law for someone with a sexual interest in children to dink around on Instagram.

"Returning to BFD's question about whether to disclose, I don't think it's an easy yes-or-no answer," said Dr. Seto. "It depends on what else BFD knows about the father. I'm required by law and professional ethics to report [someone] if I believe an identifiable child is at imminent risk. This mandatory reporting requirement is NOT triggered simply by knowing whether someone is sexually attracted to children. Instead, I have to consider information like whether the person has ever expressed fantasies or urges about a specific child, whether they work with children regularly, whether they live with children who are in their attraction category, or whether they have ever engaged in suspicious behavior like direct messaging with a child."

Does your friend's dad work with underage boys? Does he sometimes look after underage boys—say, grandsons? Do they have sleepovers with friends at grandpa's house? Has he ever behaved in an inappropriate manner around underage boys—e.g., inventing reasons to be alone with them, offering them booze or drugs, or making suggestive comments offline or online?

"In the absence of these kinds of red flags, what we have here is someone who might be sexually attracted to underage boys but who might not pose a serious risk to children," explained Dr. Seto. "So while not disclosing might mean some risk of a child being harmed, disclosing could definitely cause harm to the best friend, to the father, and to their relationship."

You're in an agonizing position, BFD. You essentially have to weigh the chance—most likely very remote—that your friend's dad would harm a child against the near certainty that telling your friend about his father's behavior would do irrevocable harm to their relationship. Your relationship with your friend would also be at risk; this is definitely one of those circumstances where the messenger risks being shot. Figuratively speaking. I hope.

Personally, BFD, in your shoes, I would err on the side of protecting even a hypothetical child. I would say something to the dad, perhaps via direct message (you could create a throwaway account and reach out anonymously), and I would also say something to my friend. But I would emphasize what the best available research tells us about pedophilia: It's not something a person chooses, and most pedophiles never sexually abuse children. (And not everyone who sexually abuses a child is a pedophile.) So even if your best friend's father is attracted to prepubescent boys—if he's looking at prepubescent children and not teenagers who happen to be just under the age of consent—that doesn't mean he's harmed a child or would ever harm a child. He may need help to avoid offending—if, worst-case scenario, he actually is attracted to children—and being held accountable by loved ones is one way pedophiles avoid offending.

Dr. Seto is the author of Pedophilia and Sexual Offending Against Children and more. Follow him on Twitter @MCSeto.


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Posted by Łukasz


Official Author Website
Order Zero Sum Game over HERE



AUTHOR INFORMATION: SL Huang justifies her MIT degree by using it to write eccentric mathematical superhero fiction. In real life, you can usually find her hanging upside down from the ceiling or stabbing people with swords. She is unhealthily opinionated at www.slhuang.com and on Twitter as @sl_huang.


OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she'll take any job for the right price.

As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower...until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she's involved. There’s only one problem...

She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

CLASSIFICATION: Science fiction thriller.

FORMAT: Initially self-published by the author, Zero Sum Game was republished by Tor Books in October 2018. It's the first book in Cas Russell series. It's available in an e-book, paperback, and hardcover format. 

The book counts 329 pages

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: 

There is something beautiful about the high-speed math of a gunfight. I’ve heard other people opine that gunfights are confusing and disorienting, but to me, they always happen with perfect clarity: every bullet impact leads back to its source, every barrel sweeping through with its own exact trajectory.

Thanks to good teachers I fell in love with mathematics and geometry early in my life. There are art and thrill in reasoning, imagination and finding the truth. 

Zero Sum Game’s protagonist - Cas Russell is a weaponized mathematics genius and a kick-ass heroine with mild psychopathic tendencies. She literally equates her way out of impossible situations and devastates her opponents with preternatural ease and speed. It seems I have a new crush.

Cas is a loner and an outcast leaving off the grid as a retrieval expert. Human life doesn’t mean much to her, and she rarely hesitates to pull the trigger. She trusts only one person, Rio, an absolute and ruthless psychopath whose ability to be lethally effective borders on the unrealistic. 

Her latest job goes wrong. It turns a seemingly naïve drug mule Cas rescued from Colombians is part of a secret and well-connected organization, called Pithica. Despite the evident danger, Cas can’t help digging deeper into the case. Supported by Rio, irritatingly moral PI investigator and a brilliant computer-whiz she faces opponents with augmented psychic skills (telepathy). 

I have a soft spot for unlikable heroes with psychopathic tendencies. Add genius mind to the mix and I’m sold. Cas and Rio are a lethal, terrifying duo. Cas’s mind-bending math skills allow her to dodge bullets, eavesdrop through closed doors thanks to an in-depth understanding of sound waves properties, or jump from building to building through an armed window. People don’t understand her and she doesn’t function well in society. 

Rio is an unstoppable killing machine. He’s unable to experience normal human emotions. For unknown reasons the two trust each other on a visceral level. I hope SL Huang will explore their non-romantic, intriguing relationship in the sequels. 

Secondary characters felt entertaining and well rounded. That said, remember we’re talking about explosive, fast and over-the-top pulp read. Don’t expect these characters to be realistic. Unless you live in a much more interesting world than I.

I choose to turn a blind eye to its flaws - small inconsistencies, open ending, a ton of unanswered questions, cheesy moments directly out of an action B-movie. If such things irritate you Cas’s story will tire and disappoint you. If, however, you love explosive, hard-hitting and straightforward crime fiction with a supernatural twist try it.

CONCLUSION: I loved this book. It has it all. A kick-ass heroine with mild psychopathic tendencies and a genius mind. Mathematics. Preternatural skills. Conspiracies. Breakneck speed. Guns, mines, and grenades. 

Interesting fact Originally, the Cas Russell series (formerly Russell’s Attic series) was self-published by the author and consisted of four books and two short stories. Because of upcoming Tor re-release of the series only book 1 is available for purchase at the moment (with book two Null Set coming out in July). The republished version will differ from the source material on some levels.

Posted by reinadefuego

Happy Easter everyone, and enjoy the chocolate!

This week there are 28 links in 20 fandoms and 4 ongoing prompts.


{Agent Carter}
{fic}
- Theirs Is A Dance by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Peggy Carter/Dottie Underwood **off-LJ link**

{Circe - Madeline Miller}
{fic}
- In Letting Them Go, I Found You by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Circe/Penelope **off-LJ link**

{DCU}
{fic}
- Little Rough Around The Edges by [personal profile]allgirlsarewolves - Harley Quinn/Laurel Lance **off-LJ link**
- Safe and Loved Together by [personal profile] katyastarling - Poison Ivy/Catwoman **off-LJ link**

{Destiny}
{fic}
- Starlight's Embrace by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Female Awoken Guardian/Female Awoken Guardian **off-LJ link**

{Devil Wears Prada, The}
{fic}
- Chapter 60 of A Flawed Fragility by theladyholl - Andy/Miranda

{Fire Emblem}
{fic}
- Two Feathers by [personal profile]kalloway - Hinoka/Minerva (Warriors) **off-LJ link**

{Good Omens}
{fic}
- Hand In Hand by [personal profile]gunsnships - Aziraphale/Crowley **off-LJ link**

{Hannah Montana}
{fic}
- Our Future History by [personal profile]delacourtings - Miley/Lilly **off-LJ link**

{Harry Potter}
{fic}
- Right From Wrong by [personal profile]digthewriter - Ginny/Pansy **off-LJ link**

{House M.D}
{fic}
- This Night, This Thing (We Did Together) by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Allison Cameron/Thirteen **off-LJ link**

{Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell}
{fic}
- Had Me Fast by [personal profile]convenientalias - Emma Pole/Arabella Strange **off-LJ link**

{Joss-verse}
{fic}
- Never Let Go by katyastarling - Buffy/Faith (BtVS)
- Tryin' To Wake The Dead by rebelrsr - Faith/Tara (BtVS) **off-LJ link**
- Boggarts in the Brain by rebelrsr - Faith/Tara (BtVS) **off-LJ link**

{Katekyo Hitman Reborn}
{fic}
- Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice by [personal profile]falkner - Oregano/Sawada Nana **off-LJ link**

{Killjoys}
{fic}
- Worlds Upon Your Shoulders by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Delle Seyah Kendry/Pawter Simms **off-LJ link**

{Magical Girl Raising Project}
{fic}
- Nobody But You by [personal profile]veggiemom - 7753/Mana **off-LJ link**

{Marvel Comics}
{fic}
- Aiming To Fight For A Small Piece of Heaven (With You Beside Me) by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Carol Danvers/Jessica Drew (616) **off-LJ link**
- This Is All Worth Fighting For by [personal profile] lady_katana4544 - Maria Hill/Pepper Potts/Natasha Romanov (616) **off-LJ link**

{MCU}
{fic}
- Higher Further Faster by [personal profile]glinda - Carol Danvers/Maria Rambeau **off-LJ link**
- Hiding in Plain Sight by [personal profile]glinda - Carol Danvers/Maria Rambeau **off-LJ link**
- Something To Fight For by [personal profile]glinda - Carol Danvers/Maria Rambeau **off-LJ link**
- What We Do Here by [personal profile]lady_katana4544 - Carol Danvers/Minn-Erva **off-LJ link**

{Red vs. Blue}
{fic}
- Be Bold Enough For This by [personal profile] lady_katana4544 - Agent Carolina/Agent Connecticut/Agent South Dakota **off-LJ link**

{Wrestling}
{fic}
- Catch and Release by [personal profile]axelmania - Jungle Kyona/Tora Natsuko (World Wrestling Ring Stardom) **off-LJ link**
- Happy Jungle Life by [personal profile]axelmania - Jungle Kyona/Kimura Hana (World Wrestling Ring Stardom) **off-LJ link**

{Xena: Warrior Princess}
{fic}
- Guilty by [personal profile]fucktheg0ds - Eve/Varia **off-LJ link**

{Misc}
{challenges}
- drabble_weekly - challenge 137 - on the other hand
- [community profile] femslashficlets - challenge 206 - tomorrow **off-LJ link**
- hogwarts365 - challenge 290 - mistakes/difficult/return
- slashthedrabble - challenge 523 - prove it

{bingo}
- Round 16 at [community profile] genprompt_bingo is open for sign-ups!

Posted by Łukasz


Official Author Website
Order Witch Who Courted Death over HERE


AUTHOR INFORMATION: Maria Lewis is an author, journalist and screenwriter based in Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 13 years. 

CLASSIFICATION: A dark LGBT friendly urban fantasy with horror elements.

FORMAT: The Witch who Courted Death was published by Piatkus in October 2018. It's a stand-alone novel. It's available in an e-book, paperback and hardcover format. 

The book counts 432 pages and is divided into 20 numbered chapters. 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS (Lukasz): It’s been a while since I read a book about witches. Actually, it’s been a while since I read a genuinely fresh urban fantasy and I read in the genre regularly. The Witch who Courted Death by Maria Lewis impressed me on many levels and I don’t understand why so few people read it. It has it all - a relatable, complex characters, interesting supernatural creatures, magic, spells, charms, covens, mayhem, and romance. Plus, contrary to most books in the genre, the story happens in Europe, in Berlin, Riga, and Cornwall.

Corvossier ‘Casper’ von Klitzing, the world’s most powerful medium, and her twin brother Barastin can speak with and control the dead. For unknown reasons a sect called Oct targets them, kills Barastin and maims Casper. She survives, but she looses everyone she’s ever cared for. She wants a revenge, but before she sees justice done, she must find a witch who doesn’t want to be found.

Casper is an impressive gal. Strong, composed, caring, intelligent and resourceful she makes her plans work by using resources at hand. The hunger for revenge drives her but doesn’t consume her. As a self-aware adult who’s been using her powers all her life, she’s already accomplished the quest for self-discovery and teenage angst is way past her. And I love it. Urban fantasy needs more mature protagonists.

Her relationships with Barastin and the remaining cast of characters felt true, and I loved her interactions with ghosts. Lewis impressed me with descriptions of Casper’s journeys on an astral plane. Very imaginative, and fresh.    

Worldbuilding is the second delight of this story. I enjoy urban fantasy for many reasons, mainly because it introduces supernatural elements to our world and doesn’t have to spend a lot of time on establishing geography, mythology and, well, the world. Lewis impressed me with the amount of supernatural knowledge and research she poured into the novel and that allowed her to keep the balance between two worlds: supernatural and the real one. Caspers’ world has a lot of different beings (elementals, werewolves, ghouls, Arachne) and a complex supernatural hierarchy, sets of powers and behaviors. In places it reads almost like an espionage thriller.

I need to give you an example. Have you ever seen stunning etchings of Gustave Doré? If not, you should. He created beautifully haunting engravings to accompany Dante’s Divine comedy, and one of the most impressive presents Arachne’s punishment. We see her partially transformed into a spider. Similar creatures play a significant role in Lewis’ stand-alone. And they’ll give you goose bumps.



The plot, while engaging, has uneven pacing. The story starts strong and develops fast until Casper visits Cornwall. And then things slow down and the story looses momentum. What started as a darker urban fantasy saturated with humor and pop-culture references suddenly devolves into a romance story. The middle part of the book reads almost as a supernatural slice of life fantasy. I didn’t like it. It bored me. 

The romance is convincing; I guess. The thing is, I dislike romance, and when it becomes the focus of otherwise engaging story, I start to complain. Even though more romantic readers will enjoy this arc, they will, probably see (and if not, I’ll tell them) the biggest problem of this novel - it can’t choose what type of story it wants to tell. For me, revenge and “investigation” parts contrast strongly with unfocused, wordy and unexciting stay in Cornwall and blooming romance. 

That said, if you like romance, I expect your reaction to differ from mine. 

The prose, now. Lewis writes well. She likes descriptions and long chapters more than me, but I have no complaints. Her language conveys the story and paints a clear picture. When needed, she mixes humor with horror. She delivers punchy lines, and excellent descriptions of people, magical creatures and their interactions. Also, the dialogue. Natural, nicely flowing, engaging.   

CONCLUSION: Despite minor issues I had with this book, I enjoyed it a lot. It provides a solid, energetic story and well-needed emphasis on women (not teenagers, adult, mature women). With fine characterization and willingness to spill blood so the reader may understand the stakes, it shines amongst a plethora of generic books published in the genre. Also, it’s a stand-alone, self-contained novel with a satisfying, upbeat end. Highly recommended.

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