Friday, July 20, 2012

Jack Kursed by Glen Bullion (Urban Fantasy)

Jack Kursed by Glen Bullion  

Enjoyment **** Plot *** Interactions *** Characters **** World ***** Originality **** Grammar **** Style ****
Review Format

I have no idea what the cover of this book has to do with the story, but it is a good story.

Jack Kursed started out life in the Eighteen hundreds as a poor farmer.  His life takes a turn for the different when out of kindness he invites a woman said to be a witch to stay with him for the night.  Turns out she is actually a witch and she feeds him a potion that renders him immortal and sleepless.

Advance the story two hundred years and the only thing Jack wants to do is die. He is a cold hearted, angry, bitter, pitiless, self-centered bastard, who has kept himself out of mainstream human life and views 'mortals' as little more than vermin.  If they die now or in fifty years, who cares, they are still dead. His one goal in life is to die.

Jack Kursed is an anti-hero whose only friend is a vampire twice his age.  Unlike him, she's enjoying life and is fully immersed in it. She drops in to visit him after a hundred years grudge on his part has kept her away.

The lion's share of the story takes place in the present day and follows Jack's completely unsubtle and un-empathic methods of dealing with problems.

Jack likes to live a simple, uncomplicated life and just be left alone, but of course, events conspire to pull him back into the world.

Watching Jack struggles is both appalling and appealing. He's a serious jerk, but by the end of the story you end up sort of liking and envying the guy his freedom to indulge in his particularly pragmatic and bloody style of judgement.

This book takes place in the same world as other's of Mr. Bullion's books which feature Kursed's beautiful vampire friend.  The history is laid out enough that you don't feel lost, but feels rich enough to make me want to investigate the other books, none of which I've read.

The pacing of the book is not frantic, but moves along nicely.

Strong character development, believable dialog, solid writing.  Lots of other books to read by Mr. Bullion.

Given the premise, there is not a lot of ways to take a story like this, so it is a little too predictable.


Solid 4 out of 5 stars for entertainment value.  It kept my interest and had a satisfying conclusion. All in all, I would recommend this book to enjoyer's of Urban Fantasy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Enjoyment *** Plot ** Interactions *** Characters **** World *** Originality *** Grammar **** Style ****

Review Format

Once a Witch is a young adult contemporary fantasy about a girl, Tamsin, who comes from a family of 'witches'. Every member of their family, except Tamsin, has a Ttalent' or a magic ability. At her birth, Tamsin is proclaimed to be very special, but by the time she is 8, by which time every other member of her family gets their talent, Tamsin still doesn't have one.

Tired of being pitied by her Talented family, Tamsin escapes to New York to attend school there and be around 'normal' people.

On one of her frequent trips home, Tamsin is working at the family store when a man comes in looking for someone who can find an old clock that was lost by his family many years before. Tamsin takes his job, even though she has no Talent and starts a terrible chain of events.

This is the start of a whirlwind adventure for Tamsin where she unexpectedly finds her 'Talent' and comes face to face with a man who would see her entire family destroyed.

This book had most of the right pieces in place to be very enjoyable for me. The prose was clear and the characters were sympathetic and enjoyable but ultimately, the plot disappointed me. There are lots of dark hints and secrets which Tamsin has to deal with as she tries to resolve her troubles, but in the end, when the secrets are revealed, I felt many were anticlimatic and not resolved in a clever way by the author or Tamsin.

It was fun to spend time with Tamsin, but nothing else made me jump for joy.

I probably will read another book in this series to see if it delivers a bit more on its promise.