Anyone who is a fan of text based role play video games will geek out over “Lycopolis”. The story is about seven people who all play together in an online world created by a young man with a sinister ulterior motive. But when the demon they summon in game doesn’t stay there, the characters begin to adopt their online personas in the real world in order to fight a force they have difficulty believing in. The paranormal aspect of the story is fun and unique in and of itself, as the book switches a bit between what’s happening in the online realm and the real world, but I enjoyed the flawed characters, and the greyness around Seth, and Edwin most. I love sympathetic villains! I love heroes with dark pasts! Basically, I like characters who you can identify with, so no matter if they are doing good or bad things, you get where they are coming from and ache alongside them.
Confession time: I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. A period piece novel set just after the Great War with some Downton Abbey society vibes, a murder mystery, oh and magic. Yes! Magic! “Magic Most Deadly” follows Maia and Lennox as they bump into each other at a roaring house party, only to stumble across a murder, a plot to bring Britain to its knees once more, and that not only is magic real, but it’s been working in the shadows to keep society from going off the rails for decades, if not more. Now Lennox, who was undercover to try and discover the plot Maia witnessed, finds himself partnered with the fledgling magician—who is also a fiercely independent woman who constantly keeps Lennox on his toes. The tone of the characters fits so flawlessly with the time period and setting that I was immediately swept away and ended up adoring these characters and the rather cozy mystery they embarked on, while also trying to teach Maia about magic—oh, and keep it a secret from everyone else, naturally.
“Covenant of the Hollow” is a reverse timeline fantasy focusing on two women from very different times, backgrounds, and locations. Annalise lives in our current world and, at nineteen years-old, is running for mayor of her small town outside of Seattle. She’s Puerto Rican and faces a great deal of racism and push back because of her origins and the mistakes of her father. Elizabeth Bathory is a Hungarian noble in the 1500’s who did actually exist and is credited as one of the most prolific female serial killers—which the author plays off of wonderfully. Elizabeth wants to secure her families line with a well-made marriage and will do anything to ensure her name goes down in history. Which is why she makes a deal with a mysterious, dark entity who she is half convinced is the devil. This dark force is present in Annalise’s time as well, tempting her and her friends with granting their every wish and removing all obstacles in their path. All they have to do is give up their fear and everything they want is theirs with no consequences. Or so the demon-like entity says. But things don’t exactly work out that way for any of them, and really, is anyone surprised?
“Victor” is the second book in the Eden East series, and you really do need to read the first book before jumping into this story, as Black doesn’t do a ton of recapping, which I like! I don’t like spending chapter after chapter just going over past information, but at the same time, I did have a bit of a hard time remembering some of the smaller characters… Still! This book picks up right where we left off, with the slain Victor coming back to enact his revenge and to push Eden and her Balancer (think husband/soulmate) towards a prophecy that will change their world forever. Black has an incredible ability to make each chapter gripping and leave you wanting more. The world of Truintor is fascinating and the struggle Eden finds herself in is extremely compelling; I felt all the feelings during this book and enjoyed it a great deal more than the first book, which is saying a lot as I enjoyed the first book! There are only a few things in this story that left me a little less than satisfied.
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