“Demon’s on the Dalton” is the second in the Hell Hole’s serial trilogy, and picks up pretty immediately from where the first in the series left off. Although, this book spends a decent chunk early on recapping and re-familiarizing the reader with what happened in the first novella, so if you don’t read the first one, I don’t think you’ll be totally lost, though I do think the excitement of the first book is higher than in the second. We get Angela’s perspective this time as our trio of survivors race across the Dalton. The majority of the story is spent with our characters in their vehicle, barely able to stop to pee on the side of the road before all manner of hell spawn is on top of them. Their mission is still primarily to survive, to get to Fairbanks, and safety. But as the U.S. military mobilizes and starts their counter attack, their mission shifts, becoming more than just survival, but helping the powers that be to end the unending wave of demonic creatures that are pouring into our world.
If you haven’t read “Shadow and Bone” yet then, 1. I don’t know why you are reading reviews for “Siege and Storm” and 2. Stop reading this review now because, while I’ll do my best to avoid all the spoilers, inevitably there will be some in here that will pertain to the first book in the trilogy, but not this book in particular. So, if you’ve read the first book, then I welcome you! Come, sit next to me while I tell you my thoughts on this dark YA fantasy. So, book 2 starts pretty much right where the first book left off, with Mal and Alina on the run, trying to find safety in far off shores, away from Ravka, and the Grisha and the Darkling who Alina abandoned to the Fold. But within the first few chapters, the safety Alina thinks she has is shattered, and she’s plunged back to where she was before, struggling to free herself of the Darkling’s physical and mental hold on her, and to save Ravka from the tide of darkness the Darkling will bring with him. But, in order to do that, Alina will need more power, and that makes Mal pout CONSTANTLY. Like, seriously, can we be done with Mal yet?
“An Honest Policy” is a satirical commentary on the American voting system that was inspired by Reddits’ Writing Prompts boards. It’s a quick novella full of snarky wit, humor and an eldritch god-like entity who has decided he—it?—has had enough of the lies and the extremes of the political parties. Qym—the god’s name is much longer, so hopefully he doesn’t kill me for the abbreviation—is running on one very honest and straight forward policy: if elected president, he will murder everyone. No foreign policies, no questions on healthcare or family values, everyone will be equally dead. Tom, the Conservative extreme-esque opponent to Qym and a seasoned politician, has only ever lied to people. He’s only ever done and pandered to who and what is necessary in order to achieve his political goals, including having a fake family. Tom may not be honest, but he’s also not promising murder, so he’s pretty caught off guard when he starts losing to this ancient deity, and badly. So the question becomes if Tom can win and “save” America, but really, the story’s focus is on the circus that is politics and the echo chamber that prime time media allows us to fall into. The commentary is not subtle, no “side” is right, no one is good. It’s frustrating, but very entertaining, and unnervingly close to home—minus the murderous god thing, of course.
“The Legend of Nariko” feels a lot like a classic Greek myth but with the back drop of a feudal Japan. You have gods and demi-gods battling, picking champions to go forth and do their bidding and to fight their enemies, and you have the remnants of a war where families have been torn apart, but are still trying to establish a new normal. In the tyrannical kingdom left mostly untouched from the initial revolution, more conflict is brewing as the wounds left from the Artemis war still fester, and the evil ruler of the land preys on his female population. One war may have already been settled, but another is looming that will—hopefully—put the world back to rights. There is A LOT going on in this story between the different conflicts, the characters and their hidden histories and personas, and a ton of action packed sword battles. While I enjoyed the uniqueness of the story, it was sometimes hard to follow with all the characters and their multiple guises.
I honestly wasn’t too sure what I’d be getting with “The Trace” and it’s Metahumans—a group of people with some X-men like vibes with their superpowers—and the Grifters—disgusting looking creatures who are morally opposed to the good guys. I wasn’t sure where a story like this would take place that would make it suspenseful or exciting. But Thorne delivers so many wonderful surprises that I was enthralled and excited and entertained and any other positive E word you want to add in there. We follow young Ella Kepler, normal high school girl one day, the next? She discovers she’s a metahuman and has super speed and strength, and the Grifters want her for reasons she doesn’t understand. Whisked away when the Grifters attack her home, Ella is told the truth about who she is, what she can do, and introduced to a secret society of sorts right under her nose that’s raging a war against the Grifters to keep humans safe. How cool is that? This book has so many enthralling (ha, there’s another E word for you) moments alongside its secrets, that I was hard pressed to put this book down and pick up others for book reviewing purposes!
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