Monday, April 01, 2013

2013, Part 2

Calculated in Death by J.D. Robb- When the body of Marta Dickenson is discovered at the base of the stairs in an apartment complex being rehabbed, it looks like it was a mugging- her coat, briefcase and pocketbook are gone. But, worryingly, her wristwatch and jewelry are untouched. And Eve discovers a sign that she was killed in one of the apartments. Marta wasn't just anyone, she was a noted accountant and the sister-in-law of a judge, and her sister-in-law knows Eve's reputation, and is glad she is on the case. It seems that Marta was killed because she was doing audits on several companies. But who wanted a loving and beloved accountant dead, and why? Eve quickly becomes aware that not only has someone killed Marta, but they also want to stop any investigation into her death. And Eve's first tangle with the actual killer makes her an even greater hero, when she prevents the death of a young child the killer literally throws at her. But her survival turns her into even more of a target, and now the killer is gunning for Eve and Peabody as well. As New York gears up for the Premiere of the Icove Agenda, Eve sets a trap for the killer- with herself as bait. I love the Eve Dallas books abd this one was no exception. It has everything you want in an Eve Dallas mystery- horrible villains, twisted motives, and friends and business associates who never see it coming. An excellent story that will more than keep your interest. Highly recommended.

The Song of the Nightingale by Alys Clare- In Hawkenlye, Little Helewise pines for the man she loves, Ninian, son of Josse. But Ninian, once under threat of death for killing a man, has abjured the Realm and fled to France, where he finds a home with the Cathars, a rogue religious sect, helping their young man learn to defend themselves. But the end of the Cathars is coming, as the church and the lords of the Languedoc come to destroy them. At home, Josse is summoned to the Abbey of Hawkenlye by the discovery of three bodies- men found dead in the woods, slain. He gives the Sherriff his opinion on the men but is distracted by conerns at home. Little Helewise has come to stay, but Josse's daughter, Meggie, is desperate to get away from the house and visit the Hut in the woods where her mother once lived. But the famine in the country has made this a great danger as families starve and men turn to banditry and worse. So when the former Abbess Heloise decides to set up a place for poor people to come for help and healing, Meggie is only too glad to go, along with Little Heloise, who has a secret of her own to hide: she's pregnant with Ninian's child. The deaths of the three men is presaged by a sign of a dark-skinned man, who, as it tirns out, is the Prime suspect in their Death. Meggie discovers signs he has taken shelter in the Hut in the woods, and becomes fascinated with him. It turns out that he is from France himself, the son od a Blacksmith, and his reasons for being in England is partly to retrieve the sword of his ancestor, stolen from him by the Wolfsheads. When he is forced to flee ahead of the Sherriff's men, who want him for the murders, Meggie goes with him, and Josse, Helewise and Little Helewise go with him, hoping to find not only Meggie, but Ninian as well. And Ninian, rejected by the Cathars to save his own life, is coming, bearing a great treasure from them to preserve from the forces of the Church. But can they find each other in time to bring Ninian home for the birth of his child? I like this series, a mystery set in the time of King John and showing England at one of its most difficult times, Under interdict and suffering starvation from the failure of the crops. But still, it's an intensely personal story for the characters involved, and red herrings and disappointment abound. Still, it's a lovely and compelling story that brings me back to the first book, Fortune Like the Moon. Recommended, if you like historical mysteries, but read the others first.

The Earl and the Fairy, Book 3 by Ayuka and Mizue Tani- Lydia Carville is a Fairy Doctor, and she is employed by Edgar, the successor to the Blue Earl, an ambassador between human and Fairy Culture. But Edgar is a troubled young man, once a slave to a horrible man who he seeks to overcome. He's interested in Lydia both for being a Fairy Doctor and because she is also a beautiful woman. But Lydia doesn't trust him because of all the lies he has told her. When a girl that the Earl has given a ride to disappears, and it is claimed that it is the work of a Fairy known as the "Fog Man", The Earl shows up at her father's house and takes her to the fair, looking for a fairy Egg. There is a man there, selling them, but Lydia also sees a boggart who causes the fake fairy stones to explode. The boggart loves to cause trouble, but he seems to be attatched to another young woman who is looking to snag the Earl. She, too, owns a Fiary Stone, a real one, but Lydia discovers that the Boggart, though attatched to the young woman, isn't working for her, but a mysterious master. Who is this master, and what does he want, and why does he seem to have it in for the Earl? And will Lydia be able to find the missing noblewoman and clear Edgar's name is the matter of her disappearance? and what is hidden in the tin can that has Lydia's Fairy friend Nico so obsessed? An interesting case for Lydia, although I suspect that she's not as immune to the Earl's blandishments as she pretends to be. The story of the Fairy stones is interesting, though not quite as interesting as real Fiary stones (stones with natural holes in them, or marked with crosses internally. Supposedly, if you looked through the hole, it would allow you to see fairies, but the cross stones were made for protection from Fairies. So maybe Ayuka didn't do her research very well, but it's an interesting story nonetheless. Recommended.

The Earl and the Fairy, Book 4 by Ayuka and Mizue Tanu- Lydia is trapped in a warehouse by Rosalie, the cousin of the Missing Doris Walpole who she has been looking for. But as she looks for a way out, she discovers that Doris is there as well, and the two girls are destined across the sea to be sold into slavery in New York. Meanwhile Edgar has found out about Lydia's disappearance and is searching for her, not knowing that she has been caught up in a slavery scheme run by the Prince, the same man who once imprisoned him. But who is behinf the whole scheme. Is it Rosalie, or someone else close to the two girls? And what do they have to do with the Fairy Egg that used to be Edgar's, and who or what is imprisoned in the Fairy Egg? And why does the Boggart want to kill Edgar? This is the last book in the manga series, which stunned me, because the story ends on such an abrupt note. But through Google, I found out that this series began as a light novel series, so if readers want to read more, they are going to have to read Japanese, as I honestly doubt the series will be translated into English any time soon. Well. it was nice while it lasted, but the ending is so abrupt that it feels like a door being slammed in your face. So, good story, but the ending is painful, and I can't recommend this  series because of how truncated it is. Not recommended.

The Avengers: Avengers Assemble by Thonas Macri- This book came through my hands when I was checking books in at the Library and so I decided to check it out, thinking that it was the novelization of the movie. Sadly, it's not. Instead, it tells the stories of the Avengers from the movies released by Marvel (Captain America, Iron Man 1  and 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor, and then tells PART of the Avengers movie, up to the fight in the forest as they fly back from Germany. Hawkeye and Black Widow's stories aren't covered, and the story sort of abruptly ends after the fight between Thor, Iron Man and Captain America in the forest, implying that they will be fighting in battles to come. I wish I could have liked this book, but it reads more like a recap photo album, with the thinnest gloss on each character, and assumes the reader knows nothing about the characters and hasn't seen any of the movies. It has plenty of pictures of the heroes, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Phil Coulson and Loki, but really disappoints anyone who wants  to read more about the characters who haven't yet had movies, like Hawkeye and Black Widow, and even mischaracterizes several scenes in the movies. So on the whole, for kids who are ignorant of the characters, and haven't seen any of the movies. Not really recommended. But... good photos. Misses out on a lot of the humor in the films, too.

Club CSI: The Case of the Digital Deception by Ellie O'Ryan- The Club CSI members have been solving cases for a while now. So when Corey is approached by Whitney Martino, asking for his help with the case of who defaced her locker, he is glad to help, and brings in the rest of his friends at Club CSI. But when Whitney's best friend Alyssa hands Ben an e-mail sent by Whitney purporting to be bored of the Club and calling them all "losers", they have to figure out what is really going on. And then, later, Whitney comes to them for help once again. Someone used her "You Can Draw It" Account to buy $100 in upgrades, which were charged to her Parents' Charge Card. Can the Club CSI team figure out whodunnit and clear Whitney's name? I liked this story because it shows the perils of being famous at school- people are now more on their guard with the CSIs and it's likely to become more so in the future as they continue to solve mysteries. Also, this case involves digital forensics, which is a new and exciting area to explore. This was a great story with an exciting finish. Recommended.

Neferet's Curse by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast- Emily Wheiler is growing up in St. Louis at the time of the Pan-American Exhibition. But when her mother dies in childbirth,along with that of the son she was carrying, her life quietly disintegrates in bouts of weeping and lying in bed. She is finally pulled out of her funk by her father, who has never paid much attention to her before. Emily is thrilled to be treated as an adult and made the mistress of Wheiler House. But Emily is increasingly isolated from the outside world by her father, and the way he looks at her, especially after drinking,  makes her feel scared and uncertain. As she takes steps to protect herself from her father's wrath and lust, she aliennates her former friends. When when she begins to cough, she has no idea of what could be in store for her, but as a glorious new future opens up for her, will she be held back by the chains of the past? This was a hard book to read, especially because the reader can figure out her father's true motives long before Emily does. But when the story comes to an end, you feel simultaneously vindicated, upset for Emily, and yet a bit disquieted by her cold-bloodedness.and ability to plan something like what she does. And it gives us a greater understanding of Neferet and how broken she is inside and what drives her.. Recommended, but it's a hard read.

Edge of Dawn by Lara Adrian-  Twenty years ago, mankind learned about vampires when Dragos released thousands of rogues all around the world. The Order fought them for years and eventually destroyed them all, but relations between the humans and the vampires remain fragile and fraught with suspicion on both sides. Mira, once a breedmate child with clear silver eyes that hold visions for anyone looking into them, is now a warrior along with the rest, missing the man she was mated to, Kellan Archer, who was killed nine years ago in a horrific bombing. But unbeknownst to Mira, who now has an unreasoning hatred of human rebels,  Kellan is still alive, running a human resistance gang under his new name: Bowman. And when Mira is sent to guard the man who Bowman's gang is interested in snatching, the two are finally reunited. Despite knowing that he must release Mira, Kellen finds himself unable to let her go, and Mira finds herself unable to resist Kellan's touch, which she has hungered for for so long.. But as the endgame to the conflict is the knowledge that someone has made and mastered UV light weapons, which Bowman is trying to get off the streets.. Mira knows the Breed would want this to, so why does Kellan resist coming in from the cold and repaiting his ties with the Breed? And if the scientist behind the UV Light technology isn't behind the weapons, who is, and what do they have against the Breed? Mira is afraid that the weapons will be used at the bteed/human summit, but can she and Kellan keep the people they love safe after the scientist is kidnapped out from under Kellan and his group and killed? And can Mira and Kellan overcome the vision that Kellan once saw in her eyes, promising only death and heartbreak for the two of them? I am not sure how to take this new volume. Yes, it's a continuation of a series that I loved, but at the same time, I though that the way they continued it was kind of awkward and the new villains are just ludicrous to me. Still, it wasn't bad and it may get better in the future. So, recommended nonetheless.

Grave Sight, story by Charlaine Harris, William Harris and Dennis Medri- Harper Connolly was hit by lightning when she was fifteen. Since then, she has been able to sense the spirits of the unburied and restless dead. Becuase she is searching for her sister, who disappeared long ago. Harper uses her gift to find the dead, hoping it will someday lead her to her sister. In the meantime, she takes money from people to find their dead, many of them thinking she is simply a leech or a charlatan- because she can not only find the dead, she can also share their last moments, but never see their killer. And now she has come to a small town to find the body of a missing girl. But no one seems to believe she can do what she says she can. Only when Harper offers up a real dead body, missing and not where it is supposed to be, do the residents of the town take her seriously. But her finding the missing girl's body brings up larger issues, and further murders keep bringin her back to the town to deal with the dsecrets she has uncovered. But someone in Sarne is ready to kill Harper to ensure that their secret is kept just that... a secret. But can Harper and her foster brother Tolliver find out who is really behind the killing? This was a wonderful re-imgining of the original book. I had forgotten how Goth Harper looked, and the cover on the front of the graphic novel makes her look downright scary and undead, so in some ways, I can see why some people are scared of her and call her a freak. Even if it's set up slightly differently from the actual novel, this retelling was compelling and more than interesting. Recommended.

Star Wars and History by Nancy R, Reagin and Janice Liedi- This book examines the background and structures of the Republic, the Empire and the Jedi Knights, as well as the characters in the story as a means of understanding them. The book doesn't cover just a few topics, but looks at many aspects of both Star Wars and History, such as Slavery in the Old Republic, Women as Monarchs and Freedom Fighters. The Real Origins of the Jedi Knights. This is a wonderful book, because it enables fans of both real history and Star Wars to find commonalities between History and find the real life examples that underlie the Story of Star Wars, and the real history that George Lucas drew on to create his wonderful vision. I found this book to be fascinating, if a little dry occasionally. Each section is by a different writer and all are fascinating, some more than others. If you love Star Wars, and history, this is definitely the book for you. Recommended.

The Last Threshold: The Neverwinter Saga, Book 4 by R.A. Salvatore- Drizzt's Pather Companion has been stolen from him and taken to the Threshold of Shadows. So when she is finally returned to him, he doesn't question how or why, but notices her exhaustion. Drizzt assumes she has been wearied by her struggle to return to him, but in truth, the warlord Dragon Quick uses her body to spy upon Drizzt. All is also not well between Drizzt and his new lover, the elf Dahlia Sin'Feinn. She is being tracked by her son, Effron Alegni, who she was forced to bear to a Demon.. But When Drizzt takes it into his head to help the former City of Port Llast rise again, using his new companions Afrafrenfere, Amber Gristle, Dahlia and Artemis Entreri, she feels him beginning to pull away from  her as he remembers his last visit there. But when Dahlia is kidnapped by Effron, Drizzt acts quickly to rescue her. Effron is unsure of how to take Drizzt, and how someone good can stand to be around a women who would murder her own son, but he finds himself coming to trust the Drow, and tells him of Guenhwyvar's true location. Drizzt and his companions, including Effron, set off to rescue the panther, but are captured on the Plane of Shadowfell and imprisoned by Draygo Quick, while Dahlia, Artemis and Afafrenfere are turned to stone. Rescued after some time by Jarlaxle and his Bregan D;Aerthe mercenaries, and with Guenhwyvar returned to him, Drizzt decides to return to Icewind Dales and the Ten Towns, But when he hears of a magical forest that might lead him to his friends who have passed, Drizzt takes the chance to go find it, and what he finds might lead to his own death this time as well. But when Errtu the demon returns tot he Ten Towns to take revenge on Drizzt for his banishment from the Realms, will Drizzt and his friends be there to rescue them, or will they have to look to a different hero at last? I am of two minds about this book. In one way, the ending seems to suggest the end of the series as a whole, but the beginning, where Drizzt is speaking as someone recalling past events (even long past), it just doesn't make sense. And in a way, I wonder. Drizzt and Elminster seem to be the breakout stars of the Realms. The question is, are fans willing to let one of them pass and go?: And are their creators. I can see this book inciting a lot of hate from fans of the series, but should this be the end. I won't mind. He's had a long run, and this would be a good ending.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier- Gwyneth comes from a very strange family, and ever since her father died, her nurse mother and younger brother and sister live with their extended family in London, including with her cousin, Charlotte, who has been trained since she was young to inherit the family gift, that of time traveling. But while Chartlotte has been trained to speak all sorts of different languages, how to fence, and all about different periods in history, Gwyneth has focused on growing up as a normal teenager, interested in boys, movies and her best friend, Lesley. But when it's Gwyneth who inherits the yalent instead of Charlotte, the rest of the family is outraged, and Charlotte's mother, Glenda, is outraged, accusing Gwyneth of conspiring to steal Charlotte's position and legacy away. But Gwyneth's mother, who hid Gwyneth's birthday from the others, says she only wanted Gwyneth's life to be normal. But now Gwyneth finds herself having to go into the past, and deal with the fact that the inheritor of the Power before her, her cousin Lucy, stole thw device that lets the users travel through time from the Society, and now no one seems to trust Gwyneth, or her mother, either. Since only inheritors of the time travel gene can actually travel through time, Gwyneth has to do it with Charlotte's former presumed partner, Gideon de Villiers. But her mother's advice is not to trust any of the Scoiety, nor their leader, St. Germain, who Gwynet meets and fears, because of him trying to strangle her with the power of his mind alone. But there is also Gideon, who is handsome and who fills Gwyneth with feelings she has never quite had before for a boy. Whi can she trust? The Society or Gideon, or her mother or anyone? And what does the Prophecy mean, that Gwyneth's power is of the Raven, and who can she trust, thrust into a world she was never prepared for? Gwyneth has very little time to discover before she's in too deep to climb out.

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier- Gwyneth has been time traveling for a few days now, but even though she is completely out of her depth when it comes to know what is going on with the people she meets in the past, she has begun to feel a tremendous attraction to her partner, formerly her cousin Charlotte's partner, Gideon de Villiers. As Gwen struggles with keeping up with her schoolwork, her friend, Lesley, and trying to meet her grandfather in the past, s well as talking to ghosts and Gargoyles, who claim to be Dead Demons.  But as Gwen becomes more and more interested in Gideon, she finds herself trusting the leaders of the society, especially their true leader from the past: St. Germain. She also feels that her cousin, Lucy, who ran off with her own partner and stole the Chronometer. Plus, she gets drunk at a party in the past, and sings a song from Cats. But someone is telling Lucy and her friends where Gwen is going, and everybody seems to think that Gwen is to blame and this is a result of her becoming the Ruby. Was she hiding her true birthdate because she intended to bring down the Society from the beginning? And if it isn't Gwen and her mother, then who can possibly be behind it? And is Gideon really interested in Gwen as a boyfriend, or is he running a deeper game for his father, Lucy, or for St. Germain himself? And can Gwen even tell who is telling the truth, or will her injured feelings lead her astray? I loved this book, which was the sequel to Ruby Red. And there will be another sequel, Emerald Green. But after reading this book, I honestly have to wonder what the secret all this time traveling is going to uncover, and what it has to do with Gwen's ability to talk to the Dead and Gargoyles. Recommended.

Touch of Steel by Katie Cross- The Wardens of the Realm are the Steampunk version of MI-6 in England, and The Company is the American version of the CIA. Ex-Warden Lucas Grey was captured by the Company, and one of its operatives brainwashed him, making him forget his time with the Wardens and his wife. Luckily, he eventually remembered his former life, but now his ex-partner in the Company, Claire Brooks, has been captured by the Wardens after being shot and thrown off a roof by the head of the Company, Stanton Howard. Claire had more than a falling out with the Company after her brother Robert, also a member of the Company, was killed, and Claire believes her former employers are letting the man who killed him get away with the crime. Claire wants Howard, and the Doctor, who will be permanently changing Stanton's looks so that he can get away with literal murder. Claire's insistence on going after Stanton Howard herself, and the knowledge that comes from having been an agent for more than ten years, along with her willingness to share her knowledge with the Wardens, means that they reluctantly send her along with an agent of their own, Alistair Payne, to capture the two men at a House Party in the country. But a sudden change of plans means they must track their foes on the high seas, or under them, and throws these two would-be former foes even closer together. Claire is looking for revenge, and Alistair is smarting from being nearly suborned by a member of another intelligence service who came close to killing him. But neither can deny their attraction for each other. Can their connection survive the revelations to come, and Claire's eventual return to Warden custody and jail? This was a rather nice romance, and while it didn't really knock my socks off, it was nice reading when I wasn't feeling well at all. It's a nice middle of the road romance set in a Steampunk world.

Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robinson- Celia Wird is one of four sisters whose mother was cursed by her family for being able to fit in better in America than they were. As a result, each sister has a special talent that sets her apart from normal people. Celia is able to shift shapes to any animal but is almost always a tigress. Emme has control over light and can summon enough sunlight to heal or turn younger vampires into dust, Taran can conjure flame, and Shayna can turn any sliver of wood into metal blades. Brought before the Vampire court for killing a young vampire who tried to feed on Emme, the trial is ended when the Vampires discover that the vampire in question was afflicted with Chronic Bloodlust, a condition that makes the vampire's hunger unable to be satisfied, and who must be killed for the good of everyone. However, this trial brings Celia to the attention of the lead vampire in the area, Mischa Alexander. The attention of a vampire is the last thing that Celia wants, but she doesn't get much of a choice in the matter. However, it also attracts the attention of the Supernatural world towards the sisters, and while most of the weres that she meets are kind of creepy, there is also one who Celia would like to know better, if his girlfriend didn't keep warning her off in no uncertain terms. Celia's sisters also find weres who they are interested in, but a rash of Chronic Bloodlust among the vampires demands that the vampires and weres and Celia and her sisters keep busy destroying vampires afflicted with Chronic Bloodust. But what or who is causing the outbreak? And will Celia be able to get together with Aric, or  will his girlfriend come between them? I liked this book. Even though it was a romance, Celia is well able to take care of herself, but her inability to be with a man is known and poked fun at by her sisters. The back of the book makes it seem that Celia is torn between Mischa and Aric, but in the book, she is never attracted to Mischa. Instead, he is interested in her, but she wants nothing to do with him, so don't think this is a more adult version of Twilight with a vampire and werewolf. I also liked the powers of Celia and her sisters, which are refreshingly unique for Supernatural Romance. This was a great book with a good romance. Recommended.

Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin- Haviland Tuf is a space trader who somehow gained the last remaining Ecological Engineering Corps Seed Ships, which was used to bring plague to the planet H'ro  Brana, which once threatened Earth with war. The ship was used to send multiple plagues to the planet, and a group of scholars come to bring it back, but fall out among themselves, and end up killing each other or falling prey to the plagues they unleashed inside the ship as well as without, until the only ones left were Haviland Tuf and Rica Dawnstar, a mercenary, and she falls prey to a trap set up by another one of the groups, while Tuf uses the cloning devices on board to clone of his pet cats, who has been killed by being thrown out into the plagued air by another of his former companions. Then Tuf, who is a vegetarian who doesn't particularly like people, but loves cats, uses his ship to solve the problems of other planets, for a price, while using the powers of the ship and its cloned creatures to intervene in a way which he would the world to go. His first adventure takes him to the world of S'uthlam, where he convinces them to repair the ship, which is old and damaged, in exchange for trying to help them with their food problem- because of their religious beliefs, they believe that engendering children is sacred and nobody should prevent themselves from having offspring. Because of this, their planet is quickly running out of food. But because this comes from their religion, they aren't logical about it, and in the past, they were at war with all the Kingdoms around them because of their unrestrained expansionism. But after he helps them with their problems, the planetary government wishes to take his ship to use in expansionism and helping them feed their people. Only the leader of their space station helps Tuf flee because she disagrees with taking his ship. In other stories, Tuf helps a planet discover who is unleashing plagues of monsters from their oceans on the human settlers, returns to S'uthlam to repay part of what he owes to the people to find that they have used his ideas for how to generate more food to have even more babies and have once again screwed things up for themselves, interferes in a planet where beasts are bred to fight in the arena to end the games by destroying the houses and lands who take part in the games, and takes on a man who claims to be Moses and inflicts Biblical Plagues on an archology whose leaders he is convinced are sinners. But when Tuf is seen as the source of these plagues, can he undo the work of this religious leader who calls himself Moses, and teach the man a lesson as well? Finally Tuf returns to S'uthlam, whose leaders have still not learned from their last lesson, and who are ramping up to war once more to provide an outlet for their ever-growing population. But the solution which Tuf provides is literal manna from Heaven- can he end the hostilities and feed the people of S'uthlam for once and for all? These stories were published back in the 80's and are fix-up stories that attempt to solve problems. But while Tuf is touted as an honest man (or perhaps the only honest man in a universe populated by rogues, I think he sometimes goes a bit over the top in his solutions to problems. At the start of the stories he's just a not very successful trader, but by the end, he seems to be comfortable playing God, destroying a set of people because he doesn't like them using beasts in Gladatorial combat. Perhaps it is that his dialogue has a stilted and roundabout feeling, but I never really got behind Tuf as a hero of the novels. In the last story, especially, I found his proposed solution rather too harsh, in my opinion, rather than taking away the fertility of between 98-99% of the population, maybe scale it back a little, to 85 or 90%, and tell the other Kingdoms his solution instead of basically beating them over the head with his ship and its plague-bringing capability to make peace. It was a good solution, yes, but unnecessarily harsh, even with the intransigence of the people on the planet. Combined with the fact that he was also dampening their libidos, I think he could have had more leeway in the rather draconian solution he chose. A problematic book as far as the protagonist goes, but it does make you think, and so I do recommend this one.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop- Meg Corbyn is a woman on the run, and as a last chance, she enters the lands controlled by the Others in the community of Lakeside, looking for a shelter, only to see a job notice for a Liaison between the Humans and the Others. She applies for the job, thinking she needs food, shelter and money to continue to flee. Simon Wolfguard, the leader of the Lakeside Community of the Others, is being pushed by a young human who wants to have a relationship with him, to have  the position of Liaison, but because that makes him uncomfortable in many ways, he accepts Meg for the job instead. Meg, though, doesn't strike him as a typical human. For one thing, all humans are Prey, and Meg doesn't smell like Prey. It makes him furious, because he knows in one way that Meg is lying to him about who she is, but he also knows that he can make a Liaison disappear even easier than a normal human, so if he hires Meg, that won't be a problem. But Meg isn't a normal human. She has knowledge of objects, but not how to do things, and as she slowly settles into her new job, she finds herself making friends among the Others, and intrigues them all with her "Not Prey" smell. When they discover that her former employer has had her charged with theft, though, she finally confesses that she is a blood oracle. A Human, yes, but considered not to be a person by the laws of humans. She is considered unable to care for herself, and is in the custody of her employers, who sell her ability to see visions when cut for a price to various interests. Meg's name is one she chose herself, because she was never given a name, just a designation. When the others decide to help her and keep her safe from the humans who would otherwise use her, her former owners and a spy named Asia, who is being paid to Spy on the others, try to cause a diversion to get her back. But the others, while they might look and even seem human, are not human, and they do not like humans. In their response to those who would steal Meg back from the life she has claimed for herself, will other, innocent humans, be caught in the crossfire? And can Meg keep Sam Wolfgard, a child of an Other woman assassinated by humans, safe from those who would kidnap him to gain a hold over the Others? And what will be the fallout to the human citizens of Lakeside from this conflict? I loved this book, and it is definitely going to be a series instead of a stand-alone novel, which is wonderful. Even though Meg needs to be taken care of, she undergoes a nice arc of growth. She starts out as so unable to do things that she is little better than a child, but she learns to cook, drive, and do the job she applied for while bringing Sam out of his shell. In one way, she is almost too good, and comes across as almost a Mary Sue- the one who is loved by everyone who matters, all the good people and disliked only by the bad people. This is best seen in the attitude of Asia, the bad/evil female character who is so self-centered that she is willing to poison, kidnap and even kill people to advance her career. When Asia first sees Meg after finding out that Meg has gotten the job of Liaison, she calls her a "Feeb", probably short for feebleminded or mentally handicapped. That's pretty nasty in and of itself, but it cements Asia as a bad person. On the other  hand, Meg could have come off as a pretty weak character, but at least she doesn't serve as a romantic  figure for the others, who think of humans as Prey and/or "Meat". They actually sell human meat in the butcher shop when humans have been killed on Other land and not been eaten or otherwise taken care of by the Others, so that was a refreshing change. I liked that the Others were not human, not emotional or misunderstood or looking for humans as mates. Meg becomes friendly with several of the Others, but I don't think you can quite characterize the relationships she makes as "friends" as the Others are interested in her because they want to know what she is. Several are protective of her after they learn who and what she is, but it's more because she reads as "Not Prey" than because she is a human or a woman who needs protecting. Only one of the Others feels that she is his friend, and that is an artisan named Jason Beargard, a shifter. In short, a brilliant story that makes me want to read more right away, and sad because I can't. Highly recommended for the characters and world building and story.

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