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R. Ditzian (Victoria, BC)
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The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1)
The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1)
by Kelley Armstrong
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.24
20 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Really Excellent Urban Fantasy - Aimed at YA, but I Loved It!, April 13 2011
I really love urban fantasy and I am a huge Kelley Armstrong fan. However, I was apprehensive about reading this book because it is a YA book and I thought that since I am almost 40, I might not enjoy it. I was so wrong!

I think that one of Kelley Armstrong's strengths is getting at the humanity of a character, whether the character is fully human or not. What I really enjoyed about this book was that there were a lot of twists and turns and it was not always obvious who the "bad guy" was.

I really enjoyed the main character's personality and her ability to empathize with those around her.

There were also some big surprises. I don't want to give things away, but it was extremely interesting and I ordered the second book right away.

Magic Bites
Magic Bites
by Ilona Andrews
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
77 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Great and Plot Flaws Abound, April 12 2011
I am a huge fan of urban fantasy novels. I read this authors' reviews and I thought she might be a new find for me.

However, I could not have been more wrong. This book was a disappointment. Here are the problems I had with the book and WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD:

1. The main character had magic powers which got her out of trouble sometimes, but in other similar situations, it did not even seem to occur to her to use the same magical powers although no specific limitations on these powers were discussed other than that they took a lot of magical energy.

2. There was one part where the Beast King was very upset with her for having suggested that her suitor was the bad guy (I don't want to give too much away here), but I went back and reread and confirmed that it was actually he who suggested it, not her. So she went through a bunch of angst and shame over having suggested that her beau was the bad guy when actually the Beast King suggested it. I was surprised the author missed that on proofreading.

3. The plot was quite linear. There were not a lot of surprises, plot turns, or subplots.

4. The final battle scene was confusing. They all knew the way to kill the enemy and yet this knowledge was not actually used until the last minute. Why not? One character seemed to die and then did not die and how he survived was never explained.

Okay, so those were the things I didn't like.

Why did I give it two stars? It was an interesting enough story. I read the whole book (i.e. it was not boring and it kept me turning the pages). The pacing was good. There were some interesting mysteries raised (but never answered - maybe in future novels?) about the main character and that kept me intrigued.

It is the sort of book that can keep an avid reader going while they are waiting for the next book to come out from one of their favorite authors. Ilona Andrews writes fair urban fantasy. It's not great, but it's worth reading if you really love the genre and you don't have anything else to read.

I love Kelley Armstrong and Patricia Briggs and I also enjoy reading Vicki Pettersen and Kim Harrison.

I think that, with some additional proofreading and a few additional twists in the plot and maybe some subplots thrown in, Illona Andrews COULD be a great urban fantasy writer, but as it stands, she fall sub-par and I don't understand why there are so many positive reviews. It truly puzzles me.

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