Books I read this week: Vol 31, Aug 12

White Hot

Author: Ilona Andrews

Series: Hidden Legacy #2

Tags: Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, superpowers, elementals, psychics, telekinetic, kick ass heroine, The Dangerous One, private investigator

Format: audiobook

Rating: SUPER YAY!

 

*Discreetly jumps up and down and gurgles with childish glee.*

 

Love. It. Love. It.

Love.

It.

 

While Buns was highly anticipated, and kind of a let down, White Hot was highly anticipated and I was super pleased!

 

I am loving these characters. Each book adds more and it is a fun ride all the way. "Mad" Rogan is fleshing out, Nevada is coming into her own, her siblings are showing their colors, and side characters!

 

Item 1: Cornelius!!!

(Yelled in plaintive manner of Leeloo from Fifth Element)

One of the first scenes that stuck out for me in this series was when Nevada goes to interview Cornelius in the the first book Burn for Me. He is preparing a cup of juice for his daughter. Since he is an animal mage, he has a raccoon waiting for him to bring it to her. 

Cornelius washes the juice box in the sink, and tells Nevada that if he doesn't the raccoon might. He can't override the natural instincts of his animals, and the raccoon can't tell the difference between a kitchen sink and toilet water.

It was one of those scenes in a book that hit you with HD clarity. Wow, I thought. This is some amazing storytelling.

How imaginative, interesting, unique. I love that his magic is unique, and has limitations. I remember wanting to know more about him and see him in more scenes.

 

Well, I got my wish! Because he is a supporting character in this book with possibility of becoming a permanent fixture. 

His story is sooo heartbreaking. I feel for the guy. His wife was murdered, which is bad enough, but ALSO animal mages have difficulty bonding with humans: the ability to bond psychically with animals detracts from their ability to form relationships and attachments.

So, Cornelius knows not only that his beloved wife is now dead, but that he may never be able to create such attachment again.

SAD!

 

Item 2: Cornelius's Rag Tag Band of Adorable Animals

Omg. When animal mages come out to save the day, there is a high probability of cuteness overload. He sends in a covert team of ferrets to grab an important guarded item, and it just can't get any cuter. Augustine (side character, reluctant alley) is disgusted with the adorbs and keeps cracking jokes about Disney movies and ferrets jumping over red lasers.

So. Great.

 

Item 3: "Defend The Castle" Fight Scene

Have I mentioned the awesome misfit band of family side characters here? No? Let's do it:

  • Grandmother: magically mechanical. Works freelance to upgrade private and military vehicles. Names come to her for the cars: i.e., a tank named Romeo.
  • Mother: magical sharpshooter. Enlisted in the military, leg injury left her disabled. She limps, but still fucking powers through if the family's in trouble. It rankles her that she can't support her family anymore.
  • Nevada: (main character) magical truth seeker. Took over the family private investigative business at the age of 18 to save her family from destitution.
  • Bern: College student, computer genius (possibly magically?)
  • Annalise: high school student, magical abilities only mentioned at the end of book 2.
  • Leon: magical abilities revealed middle of book 2.
  • The name of one sister that I can't remember: magical abilities revealed end of book 2.

Look at three generations worth of kickass ladies!!!

Their warehouse/business/home is under siege by the bad guys and it is so fun to watch them work together to bring the bad guys down.

 

Item 3: "Mad" Rogan Doesn't Know How to People! 🙁

The story is told all through Nevada's POV, but through Rogan's actions you get the impression that he is more than just attracted to her and he had no idea what to do with it.

After fucking up royally by the end of book 1, he tries various ways of courting her that are 98% creepy and 2% actually courting.

You get to see more of his past, his previous relationships. The most eye opening is when the nurse who works for him talks about him at the beginning of his military career.

 

Item 4: The Genetics

I may have said this before, but the magic-genes discussion is way interesting. Parents can pass down their own powers, and/or their powers mix to make some permutation of the original powers. For instance, a telekinetic and an empath might be able to make a person who can feel when someone is watching them.

Also, most people have primary and a less powerful secondary power. 

 

Item 5: The World

The 1% here are the people with the highest magical powers: the Primes. But Nevada comes from the 99%, so you see the mythos that surrounds these powerful, untouchable people. In this world, there is a section on LinkedIn where you can put your level of power (average to prime). There are also movies, romance novels, gossip columns, and fanfic that feature Primes. They are the dukes and billionaires of this world.

Nevada knows a particular fact about Primes from reading a romance novel.

See?!? Isn't this amazing?

 

Let me tell you, nothing pisses me off more than when a character exists in a vacuum. When the author writes the character as if the side characters, the people around them don't affect their thoughts and actions. Or, if they do, they are just sounding boards, metaphors, or spiritual guides to where ever the main character is trying to go.

You see that a lot in highly cerebral writing, in (I'm going to say it) fiction written by men, and in short stories written by fiction 101 students.

The Two Strangers Meet On a Street, Have a Thought Provoking Conversation, and Then Go Their Separate Ways type of story.

 

People don't live in a vacuum. No matter who you are, the people around you, the situations in your life have molded you to the person you are. And those people are affected by you, and they affect others, and so on, and so on...

It is so much more difficult to take into account the feelings and thought processes of more than just the main character. To treat every character as a main character, with independent thoughts and motivations, not just some appendage of the main one.

 

Which is why I GET SO GODDAMN EXCITED about stories like this, that start with a "what if?" and allow the one change to cause ripples throughout all of society. 

Well done.

Have I told you lately that I love Ilona Andrews?


 

Red Wolf

Author: Jennifer Ashley

Series: Shifters Unbound #10

Tags: paranormal romance, shifters, stutter, childhood friends, free love cult

Format: audiobook

Rating: yay!

 

Stutter! Sad face!

 

This is the latest is the long running Shifters Unbound series, almost all of which I have consumed. I've read a lot of Jennifer Ashley (also conquered the Mackenzie Clan series), and let me tell ya, Ashley LOVES those "me no talky" heroes. I mean, whether they have nebulous Victorian autism, PTSD, or were raised in a lab to become a hybrid super soldier, these heroes are strong and silent with an emphasis on SILENT.

Dmitri is less silent/a reincarnation of Tarzan than others, but he's still a bit of a kicked puppy.

And yes, spoiler, his stutter does get mostly fixed by the end. Not out of love of a good woman, but a Hitchcockian collision with his traumatic past.

 

Jaycee, the heroine, is a rough and tumble one-of-the-boys type girls. She's meh. They are both meh. Mehs all around, really.

I got really excited when Xander came back. Xander! The super weird polar bear shifter! I miss him.

 

Also, here's a thing about this world. Shifters solve problems BY HUGGING.

EVERYONE HUGS. HUGS ALL AROUND.

 

There's this "touch of a mate heals" thing, but also, touch is just soothing to them.

Are you hurt, scared, or angry? Come on in for a cuddle.

Just resolved a dominance battle? Hug it out, bro.

Meet another shifter you don't know? These arms aren't hugging themselves, ya know.

 

Families of shifters all live together in one house, and like to lounge together, sometimes in their animal form, sometimes not, no restrictions on gender or age. They seek physical comfort from their alphas, so big stoic badasses like Kendrick the white tiger end up going down the line, hugging everyone in their clan. Big full body hugs, too. Ain't no side hugging in Shiftertown.

When two alphas come together and share a long full body hug, something inside me goes Dawwww...

 

Also, in this latest episode of The Most Monogamous Magical Beings in the Paranormal Romance Genre, the shifters encounter a "free love" cult of shifters.

Ashley's Shifters Unbound series is great for that immediate Wham Bam Mate Bonded story line. The insta-couple. So how exactly is this polyamorous cult gonna work in a world where they are genetically predisposed to have actual love at first sight?

Not well, apparently.

I didn't quite get it. I mean, ten books in there isn't a single representative of anything other than heterosexual monogamous relationships, and suddenly polyamory is something they can explore?

I feel Ashley shied away from that story line. She could have explored it more. But the only couple we met from the polyamorous group are way sad, and it seems like the guy only went into it for the girl's sake.

 

Surprise of the century: the religious group that practices free love is a cult that has nefarious underdealings with the fae world. 

Oh man, nobody's motivations seem to make sense. But the cult thing brings up a good point: these shifters crave authority, physically crave it, the vast majority NOT alphas. How easy would it be for someone charismatic and evil to use their high sense of loyalty against them?

Watch out, shifters. Y'all will be in trouble.

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