Note: I received a copy of Corpselight from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Angela Slatter’s works are a perfect fit for my reading tastes, she specialises in distinctive female characters and dark re-imaginings of familiar folklore and mythology. With the Verity Fassbinder duology, she breathes new life into the Urban Fantasy genre. If you enjoyed American Gods for reinterpreting numerous cultural mythologies and their place in America, you’ll love this Australian exploration of supernatural beings. If you loved the Dresden Files butthought there were not nearly enough females taking charge, Verity is the answer to all your woes.
Here’s a list of reasons why you should get into this series immediately:
- The Aussie Setting: There are countless of paranormal fantasy unfolding in the streets of New York or the underbelly of London, they have begun to blur together in my mind. Vigil and Corpselight are set in an alternate Brisbane, affectionately nicknamed Brisneyland. Within these books, I can delight in recognising landmarks such as the stunning Mount Coot-tha, yet still be enthralled by the presence of supernatural mysteries about winged-women and shapeshifters.
- The Dry and Sarcastic Humour: Verity is such an entertaining narrator, partly because she knows how to make me laugh (especially when it comes to the Fassbinder’s Law of Handbag, I can 110% relate). She’s witty and pragmatic, and I love her banter with all of the characters she comes across.
- Well-Balanced Romantic Relationship: While most of the books are concerned with supernatural investigations, there is a sweet love story developing in the background of both books. I find many of the alpha-male characters we often come across in the Urban Fantasy genre off-putting. Verity’s love interest, with his earnest and golden-hearted nature, is a welcomed change of pace. I love the reversal of gender roles in their relationship.
- The Distinctive Worldbuilding: Although there are plenty of books about the hidden supernatural world, Angela Slatter manages to create something unique with the Weyrd of Brisneyland. You won’t find just the regular vampires and werewolves amongst the denizens of Verity’s world. The creatures and beings within the Weyrd community are born of the belief of the multicultural mix within Australia. There are various mythologies from all around the world being used to create a complex and vivid urban fantasy landscape.
- The Intriguing Mysteries: Like the next reader, I adore a good whodunnit mystery – and these books combine the mystery elements deftly with the supernatural ones. If you’re a fan of paranormal investigators such as Harry Dresden, you’ll love the company of Verity Fassbinder and her team. There are twists and turns throughout the novels, and I was kept guessing until the very end with both books.
- A Heroine Who Defies Categorisation: Aside from the aforementioned sarcastic and witty sense of humour, I also love how complex Verity’s characterisation is. She is strong and independent, resourceful and clever, but she’s also riddled with insecurities and prone to rash impulses. She’s perceptive of human nature, yet she also judges people too quickly. In short, she’s flawed and lovable, and I adore how human she remains despite the constant fantastical happenings within her world.
Continue reading “Blog Tour: Corpselight by Angela Slatter”
Title: Who’s Afraid
Author: Maria Lewis
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of this book by Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.
I was excited about Who’s Afraid the moment I read the blurb. It mentioned rural New Zealand (for those who don’t know, I spent my formative years in NZ and have all the love for it), werewolves and promised action. It’s been a while since I’ve read urban fantasy as well, so I was eager to dive back into the genre. For the most part, Who’s Afraid was an engaging read, filled with elements you’ve come to love about paranormal tales, but with enough twists to stand on its own.
Aotearoa – With Werewolves!
For all her life, Tommi’s mother has never been frank about her heritage – hiding her in Scotland with brutal half-truths about her father and his family. With the help of her best friend, Tommi discover he may be a Maori man residing in rural New Zealand. As mentioned above, I was most excited about New Zealand being mentioned in the blurb, and basically could not wait for Tommi to land in Rotorua. From the get go, the setting is fraught with tension – she’s there to find her biological father and alleged rapist of her deceased mum. The truth she finds is even more horrifying, involving a Maori tribe of werewolves (I know! What a premise!) and truths about herself she’s not quite ready to uncover. Continue reading “Book Review & Tour: Who’s Afraid”
Author: Amanda Sun
Series? Yes. 1 of 3.
Rating: 2/5 stars
Note: This is a pre-scheduled post. I am currently on holiday. Apologies for delays in commenting back!
Reading this book was like watching a checklist of of i) preconceptions of Japan via anime/J-drama and ii) a stereotypical paranormal romance. There’s very little here that’s innovative, although I did enjoy the incorportation of Shinto mythology and religious ideals in the text.
The plot of this book is nothing to write home about, you’ve seen it a dozen times before if you’ve read YA Paranormal romance in their heydays of 2008-2010. Except, of course, it’s set in Shizuoka. There’s an ordinary girl who doesn’t quite fit in, and a handsome and mysterious boy who’s more than he seems. They fall inexplicably in love, though there’s very little interactions leading up to these undying declarations. Throw in a flimsy reason to keep them apart, some unrepentant baddies, and a ex-girlfriend – there’s your recipe to a run-of-the-mill story. Continue reading “Japan Blog Series – Book Review: Ink by Amanda Sun”
Title: The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Rating: 4/5 stars
My Halloween reading continues! While some of this book was confusing, I adored the suspenseful writing and the constant mystery which shrouded the story.
For Ori, dancing came naturally, without a nervous stomach or worries she’d forget the steps. She danced like it was meant to be, in a way that couldn’t be copied, no matter how carefully I watched her move, mirroring my body after hers and trying to get my limbs to loosen up and act more free.
Although I don’t watch ballet in real life, previous consumption of the manga Swan and along with the movie Black Swan – has turned me into an ardent fangirl of ballet related drama. Violet, one of the narrator in this book, is one such competitive ballerina. I love the contrast between the beautiful, pink dancers with the darkness behind the curtains. From the get-go, we get a sense of Violet’s obsession with her art, along with hidden layers about jealousy, bullying, and a bloody homicide or two. Violet is not a protagonist you could root for, but she makes for a fascinating narrator – filled with envy, paranoia, and a frustrating tendency to victimise herself in every situation. Continue reading “Book Review: The Walls Around Us”
Title: The Bone Season
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series? Yes, 1 of 7
While I really enjoyed The Bone Season, I felt for every single positive I could list for the book, I found another negative as well. I am just so conflicted about all my reads recently! For this review, I’ll discuss both the goods and the bads to the various factors in the book.
There was no normal. There never had been. “Normal” and “natural” were the biggest lies we’d ever created.”
Continue reading “Book Review: The Bone Season”