Oh lord, friends, where do I begin? Firstly, with a plea for you to read the first book, “Imber”, in this epic series first and foremost. You have to or nothing else will make sense, but it's worth it, so, so worth it. Once you do that, come back, sit down next to me, and let me tell you about all the heart strings that “Tellus” is going to pull, because it will pull them and pull them, break some, but then give you more because there are moments so achingly sweet mixed in with the pain our dear heroes face. What kind of pain? Oh, just the fate of the world, no biggie. “Tellus” picks up pretty seamlessly from where “Imber” left off: Nat has failed to retrieve one of the Scepters that is keeping the Titans locked away. There are 2 more left, but they don’t know where they are, or who could be conspiring against them, keeping Nat from her throne and risking the life of her family—by blood or no.
This is one of those series that is borderline a guilty pleasure for me at the moment. I can tell that this is one of those series that was 1. Maybe hurt by the hype train and my inability to read books in a timely fashion so things end up getting kind of spoiled, and 2. That it’s also one of those series that only really gets good come the third or fourth book. In “Crown of Midnight” Celaena is firmly the King’s Champion, though she’s fairly good at not having to assassinate anyone for an assassin. The King gives her a list of people she needs to eliminate, and she goes off and pretends like she does, but things get complicated when the King wants her to kill a blast from her past because he suspects that he’s leading a rebellion. This person is a courtesan of sorts, and Celaena doesn’t believe her old friend would have the guts to do something like the King claims given the life of luxury he leads. So, on her quest to figure out who is really involved in this rebellion, Celaena uncovers more secrets in the impossibly large underground passages of the Glass Castle—like seriously, there’s at least 3 castles within this one castle that are just completely abandoned. Ultimately, this is very much a book about moving pieces and characters into the right places so the main plot of the series can finally begin.
Raise your hand if you enjoy supernatural creatures living in the “real world” alongside classic fae characters like Queen Titania and Oberon (yes, most widely known from Midsummer Night’s Dream), and some epic battle scenes? Oh good, that’s most of you! “Heir of Doom” is the second book in the Roxanne Fosch series, and this is one of those series where you absolutely have to read the series in order. If you haven’t done that yet, go on with your bad self then mosey on back and we’ll discuss this sequel, I’ll wait. All caught up? Excellent! In book 2, we watch Roxanne try to fit in to her new life as a Hunter, a preternatural group of predators who police others of their kind regardless of which clan they belong to. After the dramatic events of the first book, Roxanne is kind of hoping that’s earned her some good will—she did save her clan leader from horrific experiments after all—but it has the opposite effect. She’s still hated by her own people and Roxanne cannot figure out why for the life of her—still. It’s frustrating, but at least with this second book we discover more as to why Roxanne is the clan’s punching bag, and new information about why the fae want her, why Remo wants her, and why Logan is so different in this book from the previous gets clarified.
“Kingdom Come” is a bit like Supernatural, or, rather Shadow Hunter Academy with God and Christ in the forefront. If there are demons, they are Satan’s creatures plain and simple. Unlike some of the other paranormal books out there that use demons as their villains without any religious aspect to them, that’s not the case in this novel. Our main character is part of an elite demon hunting academy based in Vatican City, developed by the newest Pope Quintus. Their goal is simple and straight forward: kill all demons, and go where the Church needs them to battle the forces of evil. Everything from complex exorcisms, to full out war for the Vatican, the DH is there, each team with their own unique characters and powers, reminiscent of a video game class system. Jason struggles to find his place on the team, often insubordinate when his instincts tell him to act, often with dire consequences. He’s a character on a journey all in the service of God. So, obviously, if you don’t want or like Christian Speculative Fiction mixed in with your fantasy, this won’t be the book for you, because Coogle never shies away from the fact that his book is all about the glory of God.
I tend to waffle on zombie books. I can get burned out on them real fast because they are just so popular; they seem to be the go-to epidemic for apocalyptic books, that or hunger game levels of dystopian. But “The Afters” was an awesome read, and all because of the narrative voice of Charlie, our main character. O’Connell had me laughing within the first chapter of introducing us to Charlie, and in a genre where most everything has been done 80 different ways, but often the same way (I’m looking at you, Walking Dead), it was so refreshing to have such a strong character. Because that’s what you need at this stage when almost everything else has been done before: a unique, strong voiced character that you are invested in, but is also incredibly sarcastic and funny in an otherwise super dire situation. Charlie lives in a very loose community of survivors, he’s an awesome scavenger and hunter of the undead, but he also is a good guy, a softie, a romantic, and his attachment to Bertha, Trey, and Ellie was both sweet and entertaining to follow.
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