Monday, October 25, 2010

Favorites: Thorn Queen (Dark Swan 2) - Richelle Mead

Back cover summary

Eugenie Markham is a shaman for hire, paid to bind and banish creatures from the Otherworld. But after her last battle, she s also become queen of the Thorn Land. It s hardly an envious life, not with her kingdom in tatters, her love life in chaos, and Eugenie eager to avoid the prophecy about her firstborn destroying mankind. And now young girls are disappearing from the Otherworld, and no one--except Eugenie--seems willing to find out why.
Eugenie has spilled plenty of fey blood in her time, but this enemy is shrewd, subtle, and nursing a very personal grudge. And the men in her life aren t making things any easier. Her boyfriend Kiyo is preoccupied with his pregnant ex, and sexy fey king Dorian always poses a dangerous distraction. With or without their help, Eugenie must venture deep into the Otherworld and trust in an unpredictable power she can barely control. Reluctant queen or not, Eugenie has sworn to do her duty--even if it means facing the darkest--and deadliest--side of her nature...

Review (warning spoilers)-

That was incredible!  Definitely one of the best urban fantasy book (if not the best) I've read this year!  The plot was so well crafted, the story was weaved together so elegantly.  The characters were so well layered.  The dialogues were smart and witty.  Thorn Queen is definitely my favorite urban fantasy book this year so far.

At the end of Storm born, Eugenie found herself queen of Thorn land.  In Thorn Queen, she reluctantly comes to terms with her connection to the land, realizing that she heals it and it heals her in return.  Gentry from all over still attempts to rape her to sire the son who is prophesized to rule the world.  That comes to a dark climax probably changing Eugenie in the process.  Throughout the book, she struggles with her love for both Kiyo and Dorian symbolizing her human and gentry sides.

Eugenie is just the perfect urban fantasy heroine.  Beautiful but tough.  She is quite honest with herself about her feelings.  What is good is that she is not so hard headed, maybe even a little bit too indecisive.  Considering that she is supposed to be conflicted between her gentry and human genes, that indecisiveness is forgivable. Her human side loves Kiyo, and her gentry side loves Dorian (who I also love). I guess that is what the series is all about, which side will win. That's why there's all that drama.

Richelle Mead was quite brilliant in her portrayal of Kiyo and Dorian.  She contrasts them quite well.  Kiyo is the animal male, selfish in his needs.  He is selfish in bed and then have the nerve to bury Eugenie  with his cats and dogs. He is all about her understanding him and never bothers to understand what she wants. He would just make her swallow what he thinks is best.  Dorian is different.  He is about artful manipulation. He is patient, like in tying his knots for his binding fetish.  It doesn't mean he is not selfish but he is more artful about it.  He takes his time in bed pleasuring her before getting want he wants. What is good about him is in the process of manipulating Eugenie, first gives her want she wants before taking what he wants. The characterization of Dorian reminded me so much of John Malkovich's portrayal of Vicomte S├ębastien de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons. Very layered, and enigmatic. Brilliant. He is the kind of character that is made to hunt dreams. At this point, I still don't know if he will turn out to be her biggest mistake (I really hope not) or her biggest treasure.

Thorn Queen is an excellent book!  I am so happy that Richelle Mead is only planning on 4 installments to this series.  I don't think I can handle waiting for 10 years for this series to end.  I can't express in words how much I like this book.

Highly Recommended ***** Favorite!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Storm Born - Richelle Mead

Back cover summary - Just typical. No love life to speak of for months, then all at once, every horny creature in the Otherworld wants to get in your pants...

Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy--one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.

Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne'er-do-well, and the ones who don't want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her...

Review (warning spoilers!)-

Storm born by Richelle Mead is a totally absorbing, fast paced urban fantasy.  It has a strong heroin, gorgeous men and heart stopping action.  Probably, this is one of the best urban fantasies I've read recently.

Eugenie was hired to rescue a girl who was kidnapped by Aeston, a fairy king.  Unfortunately, to accomplish this, she needed to go to the Otherworld.  In the Otherworld, she learned about her heritage and the prophecy attached to it which she found very hard to accept. During this journey, she met Kiyo, a kitsune and Dorian, a fairy king.  Kiyo and Dorian of course are her main love interests.  Eugenie slowly learned how to use her powers with the help of the gorgeous Dorian and killed Aeston making her queen of the land that once belonged to Aeston.

There is a plot and I found the characterizations great.  All the characters are very layered and it is difficult to say who the good and bad guys are. Dorian is a very entertaining character.  I can see that he is very layered and unpredictable.  I enjoyed reading him.  One character I also liked is the spirit Volusion.  He was just hilarious!  Great one liners!  Kiyo was okay, I can see that he will be boring me later on in the series.  I veer towards Dorian personally. Kiyo reminds me to much of Richard in the Anita Blake series.

I can't wait to read Thorn Queen (Dark Swan 2).

Highly recommended *****