Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: _Magic Rises_ by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniel’s faces another harrowing situation in her life as she faced dangerous enemies while trying to protect her loved ones. _Magic Rises_ is the latest addition to this urban fantasy series written by Ilona Andrews, a husband and wife writing team. Each book in the series presents a new aspect of the world changed by magic and how the characters are affected by the changes. This book is an entertaining read due to the setting, plot and characters.

The setting of the book gives the story an edge. In this book, the characters must travel to Europe in an area near the Black Sea. Magic has changed this region drastically, leaving a dangerous landscape of vast forests, desolate mountains and wild terrain. There is a feudal atmosphere with a castle as the main focal point. The setting provides a dark, scary tone for the plot to play out.

Next, the plot weaves in the new setting for a change of pace. The children of shapeshifters face the danger of going insane when they first change as teenagers. These children need a special drug to survive or must be killed without it. The drug is made and controlled by Packs in Europe. Kate, Curran and a group of shapeshifters travel to Europe on a job in order to get a supply of the drug to save some of the Pack children. They are supposed to protect a pregnant shapeshifter until she gives birth to her twins in order to settle a territorial dispute. Kate discovers that her father’s second in command is there, which increases the danger for her mate and friends. All these plots culminate into a final battle for survival. The action of the plot helps the characters to grow.

Growth in characters the book and series exciting. Kate, the main character, goes through several crises that make her stronger and resolve emotional issues. By facing a dangerous foe and settling a romance problem, she changes a little to be a better person. Curran, the Pack leader, changes by growing to understand his relationship with Kate better. Most of the secondary character grow too since they face death and survival. The author creates likable human characters for readers to continue wanting to read the series.

_Magic Rises_ by Ilona Andrews is an exciting, suspenseful addition the the Kate Daniel’s series. The author’s use of setting, plot and characters blend together to provide readers with a suspenseful action story. this book has growth in characters, which keeps readers coming back to the series. These entertaining books leave a reader wanting more.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review: _Bedlam’s Bard_ by Mercedes Lackey & Ellen Guon

You are a musician standing on a quiet hillside near Los Angles and begin to play your flute. As you play, the music becomes wild and something strange happens. Later you discover an elf in your apartment. This is how _Bedlam’s Bard_ by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon begins. It is a Contemporary Fantasy about elves and magic in our urban world. Readers will find the book entertaining because of its plot, characters and setting.

The plot keeps the readers’s attention with its fast-paced action. The first part is called “A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows.” A musician discovers that elves exist in Los Angeles. He is drawn into a battle between a renegade elf and the o    ther elves. The renegade wants to destroy the magic nexus and his people. One of the elven knights befriends the musician, asking him for help because he is a Bard. Along with a woman friend, the Bard helps the elves in their struggle. In part two, “Summoned to Tourney,” the trio must stop a shadow creature from destroying the Bay area.

Realistic, likable characters add to the entertainment level of the book. Eric starts out as a hard drinking, drug taking talented musician with problems. He grows throughout the story as he learns to use his magic and finds love. Beth is a strong, clever woman that helps Eric through his growth. The third member is the elf knight Korendil. All the characters are sympathetic and add a strong touch of likability to the book.

Lastly, the settings of Los Angeles and San Francisco give a strong element to the book. The elves settled in these areas with their magic groves. Later, humans built the cities around them. Elven magic contributes to the creativity of the entertainment industry according to the book’s premise. With the backgrounds of familiar places, Renaissance Fairs and urban living, the added touch of magic gives our world a mysterious nuance of imagination.

Mercedes Lackey’s collaboration with Ellen Guon, _Bedlam’s Bard_, about elves and magic in California is an entertaining Fantasy book. The authors provided a good plot, likable characters and familiar setting to make a very enjoyable book. Readers will discover a fun book with a lot of action, love and adventure.