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.
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”→
I love the premise of this book, it had so much potential to be world shattering. However, I felt that the primary focus on romance really hurt the story. Nonetheless, it was still loads of fun seeing the protagonists hop between dimensions and world.
“It’s comfort enough to know that there are infinite worlds. Infinite possibilities.
At the start of the novel, Marguerite’s life has been turned upside down. Her father has been killed, her mother left devastated and her family broken. As her parents were renowned scientists in the field of dimensional physics, Marguerite begins a hunt across the multiverse using the Firebird device to find her father’s killer: Paul Markov. Continue reading “Book Review: A Thousand Pieces Of You”→
I came for the pretty cover. I kept reading due to the interesting premise. I was ultimately disappointed as overall, the book was quite forgettable.
The plot centres around the conflict between the Avicen (a race of birdlike people) and Drakharin (a dragon-like warrior race). These two ancient races have been bitter enemies for centuries, with no end to their war in sight. The fabled Firebird is a creature that once found, will resolve their struggle for good. Echo is a teenage pickpocket who has been raised by the Avicen, through fate she finds the map to the mythical Firebird.
Magonia stars Aza, a teenager who’s been drowning in air ever since she was five years old. She lives in our world, yet cannot be a part of it. However, she soon sees vision of birds, a ship in the sky, and feathers in impossible places. All this ultimately leads her to another world beyond her imagination.
The thing I enjoyed most about Magonia is the creativity that went into its worldbuilding and mythology. YA is a genre often plagued by trends: faeries one year, followed by angels, dystopian universes, terminal illnesses, fairy tale retellings. Magonia stood out like a breath of fresh air, offering us hybrid-bird sky pirates who inspired the world’s first account of UFOs. Yes, the familiar tropes are there: a dying girl, a childhood friend, destiny as the chosen one. However, Magonia had such a fresh take on them that I did not mind at all!
“If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.”
Aza was there with us to experience the strange wonders of this world first-hand. For someone who’s been told she had a timer on her life since she was five, Aza remains strong and curious about the world around her. I also enjoyed reading about her relationship with Jason, who’s an incredibly unique character himself. Though there are hints that he is physically swoon-worthy, but his defining characteristic was his keen intellect and his charming eccentricities. There’s also a strong focus on family ties in this book, I appreciated this as parents are so often brushed to the sidelines in these kinds of adventures. Continue reading “Book Review: Magonia”→