REVIEW: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

REVIEW: The Magpie Lord by K.J. CharlesThe Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by KJ Charles
Published by Samhain Publishing (2013), eBook, 200pg
Filed under: Fantasy, Fiction
Got my copy from: Bought
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell.

Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn't expect it to turn up angry.

Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude... and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.

Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn't the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.

My friend Memory, who is a total book enabler, talked a lot of positive talk about The Magpie Lord earlier this month. I stared at the cover for a few days and then finally took the plunge and bought it once my other friend, Jenny (also a book enabler1) started talking it up, too. Turns out I am very susceptible to peer pressure!

Current feelings about this book can be accurately represented with this gif:

round of applause gif

HOLY HELL was this book fun! It has a lot of things I like in it, all wrapped up in a big ribbon of YAY. It has magic and romance and mystery and FANTASTIC WRITING! A historical setting! A grumpy valet sidekick! Terrible family history leading to misunderstandings leading to SEXUAL TENSION leading to teaming up to fight the baddies! Sexytimes that do not interrupt the flow of the story!

Yay!! And then…

REVIEW: The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson

REVIEW: The Chaos by Nalo HopkinsonThe Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (2012), eBook, 256pg
Filed under: Fantasy, Fiction, GLBTQ, Urban Fantasy
Got my copy from: Scribd
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf.

two-starstwo-stars

An acclaimed fantasy author navigates the world between myth and chaos in this compelling exploration of identity, told with a Caribbean lilt.

Sixteen-year-old Scotch struggles to fit in—at home she’s the perfect daughter, at school she’s provocatively sassy, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can’t be removed. While trying to cope with this creepiness, she goes out with her brother—and he disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large, until it seems like everyone is turning into crazy creatures. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this supernatural situation ASAP before the Chaos consumes everything she’s ever known—and she knows that the black shadowy entity that’s begun trailing her every move is probably not going to help.A blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore, at its heart this tale is about identity and self acceptance—because only by acknowledging her imperfections can Scotch hope to save her brother.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did! The first third of the story is kick-ass: contemporary setting with wonderful characters, strong protagonist voice, and mysterious foreshadowings. Then the rest of it happened, and I lost the plot.

Part of the problem is that the first third is so VERY strongly rooted in contemporary YA language/style. It’s Real Life and it’s totally convincing. And then the Chaos incident happened and things got weird. And then…