Reckoning of Dragons

Rob May’s epic fantasy trilogy made for a quick and entertaining read. Even though there were things about it that I didn’t love, one thing made it some of the best fantasy I have ever read: Kal Moonheart is the epic heroine I never knew I wanted until I found her.

We’re all familiar with the character who is living a quiet life and only wants to be left alone until some cataclysmic event forces them to take action and save the world. It’s noble of them, really. But as they hope from danger to danger, it gets harder to believe that they’re doing everything they can to avoid excitement. The lady doth protest too much.

And then there’s Kal. She will leap headfirst into trouble for no other reason than to see what happens. She’s largely motivated by money, though she does have enough of a conscience to help a friend out. Strangers can fend for themselves. Kal isn’t looking forward to finishing one last dangerous task and then retiring to the quiet life. The quiet life bores her silly and has her investigating dangerous intrigues just to break up the monotony.

May’s other characters are equally three-dimensional and interesting. I highly encourage aspiring writers to read this series as an example of how to develop good characters. They all have positive and negative traits, making me like all of them, even if I kind of hated them too.

The one thing I did not like about this book: the ending left me wanting more. There are many more stories to tell with this world. As far as I can tell, Rob May isn’t working on any new books with these characters at the moment, but a girl can hope.

 

(In)Eligible: A Modern Pride and Prejudice

To be fair to Curtis Sittenfeld before I start reviewing her version of Pride and Prejudice, I think retelling someone else’s story in a new setting is really difficult. With that being said, I didn’t really like Eligible.

It started out strong. I thought she captured the Bennet family well, and I found Mr. Bennet extremely entertaining. I thought having Elizabeth and Jane move back home to help in the wake of their father’s health scare was a brilliant way to get all the sisters back under one roof while still differentiating between the younger, free-loading, dead-beat Bennet sisters and the responsible elder two.

 

For all of its promising set up, however, the book fell flat on delivery. Elizabeth takes it upon herself to clean out her parent’s home and put it on the market, as the family can no longer afford to maintain the house. This is supposed to be her shouldering responsibility, but to me that’s just overstepping your bounds. You can’t sell someone’s house behind their back and insist you were just doing what was best for them.

Aside from her interfering in everyone’s life, Elizabeth also lost quite a bit of my respect when she had an on-going affair with a married man. In Austen’s novel, Wickham fools everyone into believing he’s a great guy before Darcy reveals the truth about him. Sittenfeld’s Jasper Wick is just a scumbag and he really drags Elizabeth down with him.

Jane, who is supposed to be the other admirable sister, struck me as something of a non-entity. You’re supposed to root for her and Chip to get together, but I wasn’t real invested there. Part of the fault there lies with Chip. He was a very weak character. In the original story, he gets accused of just doing whatever he is told, but he comes across as a genuinely nice guy who’s just trying to make people happy. In Eligible, it seems more like he can’t make a decision so he just follows orders.

Mr. Darcy, of all people, comes out as the nicest person in the novel. He has never been my favorite Austen hero (Mr. Kingsley for the win!), but I found myself entirely on his side throughout Eligible.

All in all, I would give this 2 out of 5 stars. If you want to read Pride and Prejudice, then just go read Pride and Prejudice.

Twenty Sided Sorceress Recommendation

After just finishing A Promise of Fire and trying to hold off on book 2 of the Kingmaker Chronicles until we’re closer to book 3’s release date, I turned to a more complete series to help pass the time. The Twenty Sided Sorceress series is on book 8 (Dungeon Crawl, which is brand new) and still going.

I’ve only read the first three books of this series to date, but so far I like them. The series is urban fantasy, which I always kind of sneered at for some inexplicable reason before reading Justice Calling (book 1 of this series) and discovering that I liked it.

Jade Crow is a sorceress who channels her magic through Dungeon and Dragons spells. Her magic technically doesn’t have any limits, but she’s still figuring out how to use them. Or, more accurately, she is repressing them as hard as she can because her ex-lover, another sorcerer, is trying to find her and eat her heart because that’s how sorcerers get more power. And you thought your love life was bad.

I waited a long time after reading book one to read book two, but the important points came back quickly. I’m still a little fuzzy on some of book one’s details, but I could follow along with book two and three no problem. With that being said, this is a series you’re going to want to read in order. And also, this is a series you’re going to want to read.