Sanctuary Review

Sanctuary by V. V. James

The small Connecticut town of Sanctuary is rocked by the death of its star quarterback.

Daniel’s death looked like an accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died.

Then the rumours start. When Harper insists Dan was guilty of a terrible act, the town turns on her. So was his death an accident, revenge – or something even darker?

As accusations fly and secrets are revealed, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a trial that the whole world is watching

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I read Sanctuary a while back but had a backlog of reviews, so only doing it now. My bad! Because this book was a wild ride and it kept surprising.

The only thing to consider is that this is a book about a witch hunt, a “murder” and contains rape of a minor by another minor (slightly older). There’s a lot going on in this book.

I found this book a wild ride because the beginning is a hit in the face, and then it shifted from a muder mystery/investigation to a bit of “The Real Housewives of Sanctuary”. This was the part that took me the longest to get through, as it is exactly that type of drama and relationships that I try to keep myself away from and do not particularly appreciate in personal relationships (Vic wrote it brilliantly, which is why I struggled with it, it was too “real”).

The concept of a “small” town full of secrets was very intriguing and it was good to see the secrets reveal themselves a little through Maggie but also to get them from each of the characters involved and then seeing different sides of the same story. And seeing characters suddnely connect the dots and go “oh dear”.

Abigail and Michael drove me up the wall, but I have known people like them and yeah, wide berth. No wonder Daniel was as he was.

I liked Sarah and one part I wanted to know more of was the magic system, the Conclave, everything. It is a world where being a witch is allowed and technically not persecuted (the nuance on how it can be a useful but slightly complex skill and how to use it, plus the implications on keeping records, and what actions you can do or not, was fascinating. I could read a book on how it is meant to work, or more details of it, seriously).

To be fair, in general, the characters kept me wondering or hating them very much. For some I just wanted them to stop being so obtuse, and the ending was good, as was the explanation of the mystery and if it was a murder or not. Plus all those layers of secrets on secrets and lies on lies were very intriguing and kept connecting the story throughout. Shame that the children sometimes end up having to live through everything the parents have done and undone.

Still, if you want a good witchy scary feminist book, with a murder and a mystery, go for this book. it won’t disappoint!

Fallible Justice Review

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Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso

In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.

Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. These origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely, and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent.

So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?

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I discovered this gem of a book thanks to Louise Walter Books (who kindly provided me with a proof copy of the book and that gorgeous postcard) and Asha (who thought I’d love it because Yania, the main character has EDS, she was right, of course).

Now, if you don’t want to read the whole review, I can shorten it for you. It reminds me beautifully of the place I wish Dresden files had gone. It also evokes Patricia Briggs and Charles de Lint (making me want to read them again) and a bit of Anne Bishop.

If you are wondering who all the previous authors are, then you’ve missed out on a wonderful genre called Urban Fantasy (UF). Seriously, give it a go.

Now back to this book, and expanding on the “short version”. It is the story of a paranormal detective, and if you just go by that then it sounds a like a variety of UF books out there. However, I have to say that the writing itself is very good, the words flow and don’t get in the way of the story. There are descriptions but they aren’t shoved down your throat (thankfully) but rather you discover as you go.

The Old/New London concept was refreshing (she isn’t the first one to write communities of humans and others/magical beings coexisting) but for me, who lived in London for a bit and go there for work about once a month, it made it more “real”.

The lack of romance in the book also got bonus points for me(not that there isn’t any but rather it isn’t added as an afterthought or to attract you into it and be predictable)! And this makes the partnership between Yania and Karrion so much better.

Obviously I really appreciated the way Yania describes the pain of EDS, as someone with Hypermobility this was precious. I actually stopped after a paragraph and turned to my boyfriend and said “you should read this, it puts into words just how difficult living with this is” (he said he would if it was that important). So kudos for representation.

I could go on, which doesn’t happen a lot in my reviews because I dearly try not to spoil the story, and somehow, in this case I can skirt around the story and still praise this book a lot. I can’t wait for Echo Murder to come out (even though I haven’t even received my preorder of Fallible Justice yet, woops).

One last thing, I have a soft spot for Wishearth.

Moon recommends

Go buy Fallible Justice and read it of course. And maybe try the other authors I mentioned? Jim Butcher (Dresden Files), Patricia Briggs (my favourite is The Hob’s Bargain even if her closest work to Fallible Justice is Moon Called), Charles De Lint (The Riddle of the Wren) or Anne Bishop (Written in Red)

 

 

The Girl With Ghost Eyes Review

I love urban fantasy and I have a tendency to forget how much I enjoy it until i finally end up reading a new book and voila!

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The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

It is 1898 in San Francisco. When a sorcerer mainms Chinatown’s Daoshi exorcist, only his daughter Li-lin can protect the immigrant community. With a peachwood sword and a sarcastic talking eyeball to help her, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.

Full of creepy Asian monsters and authentic Chinese rituals, this critically acclaimed urban fantasy also tells the story of a young immigrant trying to find her place. In a Chinatown torn between tradition and modernity, one woman might be the key to holding everything together.

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Even though the synopsis has a slightly misleading bit in it, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. (I chose it because it was recommended by Patricia Briggs, and she’s one of my favourite Urban Fantasy writers).

It starts off with Li-lin meeting a sorcerer and entering very quickly the spirit world, and it gets a bit confusing at first if you’re not completely familiar with Chinese spirit lore (I knew some of it but not as much as there is here). It felt a bit overwhelming at first, and confusing because I kept waiting for the synopsis to happen and it just didn’t so I was doubly confused. However, it got interesting quite quickly and the “complicated bits” got easier and more familiar the more I read.

It was hard to put down as there was a lot of action, and I have to say I absolutely loved the ending and was surprised by several of the twists that happen in the book (and surprising me so much is hard to do nowadays).

Moon recommends

If you like urban fantasy and Chinese folklore, give this book a go. You can also try Written in Red by Anne Bishop, or any book by Patricia Briggs (the first one I read from her was The Hob’s Bargain and it is still one of my favourites).