The Palace Job ~ Patrick Weekes

  • Title:  The Palace Job
  • Author:  Patrick Weekes
  • Genre:  Fantasy
  • Format:  eBook
  • Source:  NetGalley
  • Reviewed by: Sonja
  • Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Description:  The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.

With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family’s treasure.

It’d be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.

But hey, every plan has a few hitches.

Review:  I picked up this little gem as I was binge watching Leverage on Netflix. Reading this novel while watching that show provided many eerie similarities – but that’s fine – I always root for the little guy.

In this story we have quite the cast of characters trying to steal back an elven manuscript. The team builds slowly and the novel follows each as they are recruited which makes for a somewhat shakey start as the reader tries to understand the various personalities and how they all fit in – very similar to the beginning of Leverage where they show you the thief, hacker, hitter, grifter, and mastermind. Except here, there is magic involved and the plan is . . . well, the plan is constantly being replanned and reformed to match the circumstances that are happening now. I suppose that is what happens when you are flirting with an ancient prophecy.

The story takes a while to take off. I spent the first half thinking – oh come on already, DO something. It really that there wasn’t any action, there was, it just didn’t seem to have any meaning. Then, at about the 50% mark, it takes off. Suddenly, all the characters seem to mesh, the action starts to make sense, and that can’t wait to flip the page hits.

The characters, with the exception of Loch, are flat. They are mostly one-note personalities who bring one quality to the group and they do that over and over again. Loch, however, is constantly surprising and one never really knows what she will do next. Even though the characters are rather one dimensional, the group of characters together is quite entertaining. I believe this is the only time I have ever enjoyed ‘your mom’ jokes. I usually find them juvenile and tasteless. Not really surprising since I am a mom. Here, however, they are presented in an almost satirical fashion. I laughed.

Each set of characters joins the rag tag team in pairs – with two magical exceptions, a unicorn and a death priestess. And, the characters stay paired off, for the most part, throughout. This allows each to work with another they know well and are used to working with. When plans go awry, and they do constantly, it was fun watching the group/pairs try to pull everything back together.

Although the action here was a little slow and the characters a little stale, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Mr. Weekes video game background is evident here as I could actually visualize the story coming together in some sort of video medium, whether it be gaming or television. Or maybe that was just the Leverage influence. At any rate, the ‘what on earth is going to happen next’ aspect of the story never let up and the characters were enjoyable enough that I enjoyed the time I spent with them. I also love a good take down of power grabbing megalomaniacs and watching the good guys win!

I give this one 3.5 stars but I will round it up to 4 for the good guys!

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Ever After ~ Kim Harrison

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  • Title: Ever After
  • Author: Kim Harrison
  • Series: The Hollows #11
  • Genre: UF, PNR, Fantasy
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewed by: Soo
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Description:  The ever-after, the demonic realm that parallels the human world, is shrinking. If it disappears completely, so does all magic. It’s up to witch-turned-daywalking-demon Rachel Morgan to avert catastrophe and keep life from changing . . . for the worse.

Saving the world isn’t Rachel’s only motivation. There’s also the small fact that she caused the ley line to rip in the first place. That little mistake has made her life forfeit unless she can fix it. It’s also made her more than a few enemies, including the most powerful demon in the ever after—a terrifying entity who eats souls and now has an insatiable appetite for her. He’s already kidnapped her friend and goddaughter to lure her out, and if Rachel doesn’t give herself up soon, they’ll die.

But Rachel has more than a few impressive and frightening skills of her own, and she isn’t going to hand over her soul and her life without one hell of a fight. She’s also got a surprise: elven tycoon Trent Kalamack. With this unlikely ally beside her—a prospect both thrilling and unnerving—she’s going to return to the ever after, kick some demon butt, rescue her loved ones… and prevent an apocalypse before it’s too late. Or, at least that’s the plan…

Review:  Ever After may be my favorite book out of the series because it looks like Rachel has finally grown comfortable with who she is. She’s still reacting to events happening around her rather than making a focused effort to be a part of formulating events. Yet, she’s not fighting her very nature or questioning herself in the process. Rachel is great because she has a big heart and she wants to do what’s right for everyone. She has her flaws but that’s part of the charm. The way she gets caught up in the crazy antics of her life, and she blindly makes decisions based on what’s right for the moment. Her taste in men is suspect and what happens to her sucks! Yet, I wouldn’t have her any other way. The chaos that is Rachel’s life makes sense. It would be really dull otherwise!

Events are coming to a head. The Demons are doing their best to do as little as possible and still come out on top. It doesn’t take much to make Rachel the butt end of the plots and have her take all of the blame. She’s the newest member to their ageless race and of course she has to figure out a devious way to get out of it! It’s not like it’s the first time Rachel’s faced with the choices of death or death.

The Demon’s world is shrinking rapidly and no one knows why. All of the Demons know that Ku’Sox is behind it but they’re willing to stay true to their demonic natures and let someone else fix it. After all, Ku’Sox’s target is Rachel and if Rachel can’t take care of the situation like a true demon, she should suffer the consequences. That is the Demon way we all know and love–right?

Totally unsurprised to see jackass Nick pop up in the middle of the chaos. Of course he’s working with Ku’Sox! I just wish poor Jax would come to his senses and come back home to Jenks.

I must say that I like the more subtle layering of events and interactions woven throughout this book. It goes hand in hand with how well the characters are growing more mature without losing the element of fun and carefree joy. Like Jenks and his new relationship that he tries to hide as being a nice pixie. Maybe he’s getting won over by the fact that his new wardrobe is kinda rockin’!

I hate what happens to Ceri and Quen. We didn’t get more than a glimpse of the life they have together. I’m not sure if I believe it was a well planned move to keep the story flowing. It seemed rather abrupt to me.

On one hand, I loved how action packed this story was! On the other hand, I felt like I read three novellas that were patched together into one with a short story about vampire politics that starts off strong and fizzles into a wisp. The book is oddly disjointed but that fits the growing pains. I believe the book is a well placed transition piece of Rachel and gang. The characters and world is growing richer and deeper. The Hollows is changing from a teen into an adult.

Let’s be clear: Rachel and Trent need to hook up and see where the cards fall! That is my opinion as a romantic and wishful dreamer of happily ever afters. Let’s also be clear that I enjoy a well played happily ever after. I know. I ask for a lot. If I was Rachel, I would be holding Trent off with both arms, legs and a ten foot pole! He is such a sneaky, manipulating, devious and arrogant prat of an elf! The Rachel I envision wouldn’t be as willing to do anything with Trent after everything that happens. They’re history is long, awkwardly intertwined and full of heartbreaking moments that fill eyes with tears, heart with joy and rile up emotions like no other.

My Appeal to Kim Harrison:

I totally want Rachel and Trent to end up together. I don’t know if that’s going to actually happen. I hope it does. If you do go in that direction, I only ask that you do it in a way that I can believe it. Cause, I didn’t really believe it in this book. Sure, I want it. But that doesn’t mean I actually bought the story here. The pieces didn’t line up for me.

My absolute FAVORITE scene in all of the Hollows it the climax in Ever After! Whew! Talk about awesome!

Three bits stick out as well crafted scenes in the book. Best of all is the climax. It’s SO good! For the other two, one is when the vampire politics pops up with Felix going a little  psycho and the other is at the very end of the book with three of our favorite characters.

If you’re a fan of the Hollows, you should read this book as soon as possible! Though the story has an clunky feel, so many things happen that you’ll feel like you’re on a crazy ride that takes your emotions from one extreme to another and you won’t have time to really note where the story jumps awkwardly. You’ll spend more time on the big events and be roaring to dive head first into the next!

I can’t wait for the next book. I also can’t believe the series will be coming to an end. I hear there’s only two more books lined up for the Hollows. That sucks! Yet, I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.