The Shadow Throne

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ShadowThrone

It’s probably been almost a month since I’ve read this book, and as is typical for me, a lot of the specific details have already faded.  This will be a sort of mini-review instead.  You can read my review for the first book in the series here.

The main trio of characters – Winter, Marcus, and Janus – have made it back to the capital.  Political shenanigans are afoot, and they most help thwart the ambitions of the Duke Orlanko.  Princess Raesinia is introduced as a new character that the readers follow, and she too is trying to undermine Orlanko’s schemes.

I had mixed feelings about this book.  I liked a lot of the soldiers from Winter’s regiment, but most only appeared briefly in this book, assuming they appeared at all.  Winter was given a task to do separate from Marcus and Janus, and when she actually left to do it, her character felt isolated from the rest of the story.  I didn’t like her as much in this book as I did in the previous.

Janus’ pragmatism is awesome to the point of being almost comedic.  If I had to guess, I’d say the time/world in this book would parallel the East India Trading Company and The Three Musketeers; so 1600’s.  Some of things women got to do – and that Janus allowed/supported – are highly unlikely for such a time period.  Even Marcus’ “old-fashioned” beliefs aren’t realistic.  But then again, there are plenty of books stuffed with sexism, violence, and other such things, so if you need that in a book to enjoy it, just read a different series.

Winter’s plot was disappointing, but Marcus and Janus had some funny lines and the end of the book was exciting.

Rating: 7.5/10

SpoilerAlert

Winter is sent by Janus to infiltrate a group of women, where she crosses paths with her former [female] lover.  They had some drama and some flirting, and I had just as little interest in their romantic story line as I do with the vast majority of romantic story lines.  In the first book Winter had to put on a brave face and be smart and creative to overcome obstacles, but in this one it felt like she was Nero, fiddling over stupid emotional “dilemmas” while Rome/Vordan burned.  I’m very unforgiving regarding romance though, so some may like it.

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River Road

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RiverRoad

This is the second book of a supernatural/fantasy series set in Louisiana.  My review of the first book is here.

Several years have passed since the events of the first book, and in that time, apparently nothing has happened.  DJ hasn’t talked to Jake or Tish, and Jean Lafitte hasn’t called in her debts to him.  After some serious mixed signals between them, DJ and Alex are still just partners/co-sentinels.  The only difference is that DJ is now renting a space in a strip mall to act as her office.

Right from the start, the author has irritated me.  Either DJ has horrible coping mechanisms to go along with her chronic stupidity, or the author is lazy.  I’m inclined to believe it’s a combination of the two.  DJ is flaky enough that I could see her thinking avoiding situations is a good way to handle them, but I also suspect that the author didn’t want to deal with explaining events that happened between books.

Once we get past the “introduction,” we learn there are two clans of mer-people living in southern Louisiana, and they’re getting sick from swimming in the Mississippi River.  Both clans insist the river is poisoned and blame each other.  DJ is asked to step in, mediate between the clans, and figure out what’s going on with the river.

As the book progressed, we were treated to more examples of the DJ-brand stupidity and tepid “romantic intrigue” I disliked from the first book.  We also got hints that DJ is a speshul snowflake, shoving her into firmly into Mary-Sue territory.  My already less-than-impressed opinion of her slowly ticked down throughout the book.

Yes, this book was set in Louisiana.  Yes, it had magic and supernatural stuff and a potentially interesting story idea.  But while I could tolerate it in the first book, the flaws seemed more glaring and the missed potential more depressing in this book.  Unless you are a fan of YA romance triangles like Twilight, I’d suggest you steer clear.

Rating: 4/10 (At least I finished it)

SpoilerAlert

It’s already obvious to the readers that there’s something between Alex and DJ, even though Alex is supposedly seeing someone else.  At the end of the book – after DJ has been on dates with both Lafitte and Jake, mind you – Alex makes it clear he intends to pursue DJ too, to which I said “fucking finally.”  Not because I was interested in whatever feelings they might have for each other, but because I was so damn sick of the waffling and dancing around each other.  Maybe other people think it’s cute or romantic, but I thought it was just dumb.

Along with having some elvish blood, DJ’s magical elven staff is apparently rare and famous in the elven kingdom.  Because, you know, being pretty and having 3 good-looking guys interested in her wasn’t enough to make the readers see that DJ is awsum-sauce and that they should want to be her, so she had to have a speshul weapon too.  A speshul weapon that let her circumvent the restrictions/limitations of other Green Congress wizards, because wouldn’t it be boring if she had to use her smarts and creativity to deal with those limitations instead?

Considering what’s happened thus far, I’ll make some predictions about the rest of the series:

  • In at least one more book, Jake, Alex, and Lafitte will all continue to show interest in DJ, and there will be more waffling.
  • DJ’s ability to use the staff will prove significant.  Likely it will be because it’s a sign that DJ has a lot of untapped power/magic, that she’s descended from some royal elven bloodline, and/or because there’s a prophecy associated with the staff.
  • DJ’s heritage will eventually be a key plot point.
  • A hot male elf will appear at some point, and will be interested in DJ too.
  • DJ will play a pivotal role in a war between factions of the Beyond and the wizards/Elders.

I don’t intend to read the rest of the series, so if someone else does, maybe they can let me know if I’m right.