Book Review – ‘Reckoning’ (#5 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

A supernatural finale that flounders, just a little…

Reckoning (#5 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 307

From Goodreads:

Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha — rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires — the worst is yet to come.

Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice.

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Another entertaining read from Lili St. Crow!

From the outset, the Strange Angels series has possessed an urban grittiness and an underlying note of darkness and sadness. Just like our protagonist Dru and her kind act in isolation from the rest of the human race, there is a sense of loneliness that seeps into your bones. I was really hoping we’d get some connection before the end, but it was anything but tenuous.

With an end battle surmounting all the relevant epicness of a final battle, there was something about how this rounded up the series that was lacking. The tone and afterthought was a bit lacklustre and did not give me that wow factor.

The biggest reason is around Dru and her decisions… or lack thereof. It felt like her character hadn’t really come that far. But then in other aspects she’d grown into this amazing person. Maybe because she’s still growing up, and has a long journey ahead of her, the story is not over by a long shot. So it ended with a “…” Which, practically, is a great note to end on; but since I’ve invested my time and money over 5 novels, I was hoping for something more definitive. I won’t get into any more details in fear of spoiling any new readers, but if you’ve read this series you may understand my view point.

I was a little shell-shocked, because as far as epic endings go, there is always mess – and I’m still not sure how to wrap my head around it all. Was it necessary? What did it all mean? It felt a bit rushed. Endings are always ‘big picture’ books aside from the epic battle. The series needs to answer some philosophical questions to put the hero’s journey in perspective.

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Dru’s love interest, Graves, ever the smiling puppy dog hero went out with a whimper in my eyes. I wanted more justice for his journey throughout the novels and sticking by Dru’s side.

Christophe, the annoying boy-model leech that Dru could not seem to resist or get rid of frustrated me even more in this finale. I never connected with him and had an even less opinion of him by the conclusion. I think that is another element of my dissatisfaction with the ending.

There’s still the sarcasm, the sass, and plenty of action.

But St. Crow can craft action scenes like the best of them. I was lifting my feet, swerving in my seat and steering my book like I was playing a computer game at times. Bravo!

A new element of the Marajai was introduced… and then we get a bit of development of this arc before the series ends. It left me wondering if St. Crow intended to continue in this universe with a second series or do a spin-off.

So, while loving the writing, the action, and totally immersed in the Strange Angels universe, by the end I was still left wanting – and that’s not what you want to feel after reading a finale. St. Crow has an edgy writing style that always had me coming back for more, and I am definitely going to check out more of her titles. I’d easily recommend the Strange Angels collection to anyone loving sassy protagonist and paranormal YA fiction.

Overall feeling:…was that the end?

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I’ve had this collection on my shelves for years and finally gotten around to reading them. A lot of fun and paranormal action. It is satisfying the yearning for some Buffy-like action.

Book Review – ‘Defiance’ (#4 Strange Angels) by Lili St. Crow

Defining the YA paranormal genre…

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

No. of pages: 272

From Goodreads:

Now that sixteen-year-old Dru’s worst fears have come true and Sergej has kidnapped her best friend Graves, she’ll have to go on a suicidal rescue mission to bring him back in one piece.

That is, if she can put all of Christophe’s training to good use, defeat her mother’s traitor, Anna, once and for all, and manage to survive another day…

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Nothing much happened in the first half of the book except for training and general boring stuff… I was worried this book was going to be a complete write-off. Then for the second half it was like everything just exploded.

Misdirection. Lies. Confrontations. Epic battles. I had a lot of fun reading this… if only the first half hadn’t lagged so much this would have been perfect.

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleDru annoyed me a bit in this one, she charged like a bull at a gate at just about everything, after being so strategic in previous volumes of this series, it felt like a big step backwards. But it did lead to an ending with suitable dramatic flair.

I still don’t like Christophe (as a character or Dru’s love interest) too much, he feel like a smooth operator, maneuvering people around him like chess pieces. I understand his feelings may be genuine, but don’t think someone like him is good for Dru. Graves is my pick for Dru… poor guy is being put through the ringer.

My favorite character is still tortured werewolf Ash, that she is trying to mend back to health – maybe it’s the dog-lover in me 😉

Sergei is the perfect antagonist: mysterious, powerful, egotistic and conniving. Though I’m feeling he is a bit two-dimensional being so enigmatic and evil. Though I can’t wait for a showdown between him and Dru. Though adding Anna to the list of baddies really ups the anty against Dru. St. Crow can really craft an engaging plot.

The writing style was the same breezy, sarcastic tone, though there were moments of repetition. Words recycled, descriptions reused. It felt a bit lazy on the editor’s behalf.

Another easy and quick read. Loving Lilli’s writing. Short, entertaining, and chock full of twisty and angsty goodness. She also writes mean action scenes.

Only one more book left in the series and can’t wait to get into ‘Reckoning.’

Overall feeling: You got me there girl!

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Defiance (#4 Strange Angels) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘The Taking’ by Dean Koontz

 An alien invasion that will blow your mind.

The Taking Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction, Paranormal

No. of pages: 391

From Goodreads:

On the morning that marks the end of the world they have known, Molly and Neil Sloan awaken to the drumbeat of rain on their roof. A luminous silvery downpour is drenching their small California mountain town. It has haunted their sleep, invaded their dreams, and now, in the moody purple dawn, the young couple cannot shake the sense of something terribly wrong.
As the hours pass, Molly and Neil listen to disturbing news of extreme weather phenomena across the globe. By nightfall, their little town loses all contact with the outside world. A thick fog transforms the once-friendly village into a ghostly labyrinth. And soon the Sloans and their neighbors will be forced to draw on reserves of courage and humanity they never knew they had. For within the misty gloom they will encounter something that reveals in a shattering instant what is happening to their world–something that is hunting them with ruthless efficiency.   

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It was good to get lost in a Dean Koontz novel again after so many years away. ‘The Taking’ left me unnerved throughout the first half. That cold shiver, glancing up at every little noise. It’s been a while since a book has managed to illicit that response from me.

I live in a rural area, surrounded by bush, and at night there is nothing but shadow outside, and reading ‘The Taking’ had me deliciously nervous about dark scary things looming just outside my window.

Our protagonist, Molly and her husband face an alien threat so unusual it can be perceived as magical or supernatural – but not the good kind. This was the gory, creepy, flay-your-skin-off kind. I loved it. It felt a little short, or possibly ended too quickly. I wanted a bit more story other than just a survival tale.

I think when I say I wanted more story, I meant that it felt like it was missing something in the guts of the novel. A purpose, a surety… and it’s the alienness, randomness and the bizarre which threw me for a loop. There is an underlying current of spirituality and human spirit, but without the surroundings of the familiar I thought I was missing something. I know that sounds a bit vague, but it’s the best was that I can articulate the sense I got after completing the book.

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There were times where the narrative got a little long winded and I sped read past. Other parts were so graphically and expressively described, I was just about slack jawed in awe. Koontz has such a special turn of phrase at times that it leaves me gob-smacked.

It does end on a note to leave the reader to form his/her own opinions about the events that take place, and I actually really enjoyed that element.

The big take home message to this novel is ‘question everything.’ And it took me a while to catch on, and when I did, the story felt even more brilliant.

A great creepy read I’d recommend to anyone who’s a fan of science fiction, horror, suspense and a good survival story. Dean Koontz had been a staple in my library since I was a tween, so I’ve never been disappointed with this writing.

Overall feeling: Had me sufficiently creeped out.

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.