Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gargoyle Knight, by William Massa

Artan, an ancient Irish King of Kirkfall, defeats his brother Cael and his army of gargoyles by sacrificing his humanity to get close enough to Cael to break a magical ruby, the Eye of Balor, from which Cael draws his evil power. Thousands of years later, an archeologist brings the ancient Celtic world alive inside a museum, highlighting what he believes to be an ancient myth. His daughter, Rhianna, cuts herself on the edges of the split ruby, thereby healing the Eye and awakening the gargoyle hoard that has been locked in stone for centuries.

Artan awakenings from his prison of stone in a New York City park, fully aware after centuries of watching the world pass by around him. Unfortunately, his brother Cael also awakens and he's on a hunt to uncover the Eye of Balor and finish what he started all those centuries ago - bringing the demon-god Balor into our world.

Artan is a heroes hero. He loses all those he loves, sacrifices for his people, and even in serving up the winning blow, he is punished along with this brother in the form of a centuries long internment in stone. As I was reading, I had no trouble following along with the story as is, and enjoying every minute of it. The ending came upon me too quickly and didn't give me enough Artan/Rhianna. As the only real contributions to this story from Rhianna was bleeding on the ruby and helping Artan find a mystical sword, I really felt like there should have been much more of the romance angle played up. The girl barely gets a kiss in this book.

After I finished the story was when I thought about how things would have played out if this had been written by a couple of my fave urban fantasy writers and I can tell you, this story would have been twice as long, with some hot and heavy scenes written into it. When you bring back a muscle-bound bad boy with more than a hellishly cool accent and a magic sword, Mary Jane should get more out of it than tied to an altar as a sacrifice. I'm just saying.

Still, very cool premise. Loved the story and the mythological history twist into the contemporary world. I wish the ending had been longer, but the book was well worth my time.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Silver Tongue by Evelyn Ink

Belin has a few problems. She’s engaged to the Crown Prince of the realm – and doesn’t want to be. It seems her ability to diplomatically smooth over her friend Chloe’s verbal gaffes and being overly nice to the prince to compensate for not actually liking him have both worked against her. How does one go about turning down a future king? It simply isn’t done.
The young man she is in love with treats her like a little sister and when she determines to run away from it all, Belin finds out firsthand what’s happening to all the youths going missing in the realm. Posing as her maid to make her get away, she is kidnapped by the rebel force that’s seeking to overthrow the current king. Unsure whether being found out to be from a family of consequence will work for her or against her, Belin stills that tongue of hers and falls in line with the other girls to work the mines.

But she doesn’t curl up and whine. Belin puts some callouses on those hands, uses that silver tongue of hers to make some friends, and begins to plot how to stop a rebel army bent on revolution.

Silver Tongue is the second book of a series begun in Ill-Fated. I was expecting the characters from Ill-Fated to move forward with their next adventure. Instead, Ink delivered a second story inside the same fantasy world build. This one has an element of steampunk and like the first, action, action, action. The good guys are smart, tough and heroic – and the bad guys are working their devious plot. All of the characters are completely believable, fitting into the world and their roles effortlessly. This is YA well done.

The ending felt rushed a bit to me. I wanted more with Belin and Sender, but maybe I just wasn’t ready for the story to end. I love that I expected a completely different story and within a chapter realized I was just being silly. Can't wait for book three. There's a book three, right?