Monday, April 12, 2010

The Rogue Mage Trilogy by Faith Hunter

This is my new favorite trilogy and my new favorite author. I can't say enough good things about this trilogy. I couldn't put the books down. I really, really didn't want to finish the last book because I didn't want the trilogy to be over. The characters were so real to me.

The trilogy is set in a post-Apocalyptic world where the Bible's apocalyptic prophecies came true. Angels, seraphs appeared on Earth and carried out plagues of disease and famine. Now, there is a fraction of the population still living, angels appear periodically, mages have been born, and law is kept by church officials.

Throughout the trilogy, there was a question of whether or not the Seraphs were truly agents of the Most High God or if they were aliens who had used Biblical prophecy to their advantage. I like the books that make you question your beliefs--I think it is healthier for your faith to question, ponder, and reaffirm the things you believe than to remain stagnant. That was one of my favorite things about the trilogy.

Thorn is a mage living in North Carolina. She is in hiding because she is an unlicensed mage and cannot live in the mage enclaves because she can hear the thoughts of all the other neomages. She is a stone mage with an affinity for gemstones. While angels have come to Earth, so have demons. Unfortunately, they live under the mountain next to Thorn's haven.

Thorn and her friends battle the darkness living under the mountain, meet seraphs and cherubim, use magic, and generally have great adventures in the three books. I don't even want to share any of it because I know that whatever I have to say won't do it any justice! Please, go get these books and read them! You won't be sorry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Steamed by Katie MacAlister

I hadn't heard of this book until my lovely friend Red over at Texas Red Books reviewed it. Steampunk has hovered at the edges of my sci-fi interest for several years, but I'd never really made a foray into the genre until recently. During my trip to DragonCon last fall, there were quite a few people dressed in Steampunk gear. The most amazing, awesome Steampunk gear was someone who had kitted out his wheelchair! It was so well-done.

My dad was caught up in the Steampunk trend and since getting back home has made his own Steampunk jewelry. I'm glad that he's found a new hobby, and I keep hassling him to get his things up on Etsy. Once he finally does, I'll post a link for all those who might be interested. I think he does a great job, and I hope everyone else does, too!

Anyway! The book! I love the cover art to begin with. It's so well done! I feel like it really captured the essence of Steampunk. I was expecting a book that was set completely in an alternate Steampunk universe, but this book wasn't. Two of the main characters were catapulted into the Steampunk universe through an accident of nanotechnology.

I found the point of view rather confusing. MacAlister used first person and switched between telling the story from the girl's point of view to the guy's point of view. It was hard to keep track of who was telling the story sometimes.

I also ended up feeling like MacAlister was advocating the advantages of living in our universe as opposed to a Steampunk universe. I don't feel like that was true to the Steampunk "code," so to speak. If I read Steampunk or dress Steampunk or write Steampunk, I believe in Steampunk. I believe that it is better than the way we live. That wasn't the feeling I got from MacAlister.

I got a sort of deux ex machina feeling from the book as well. The heroine always knew just the right person in order to pull their bacon out of the frying pan each time. It felt just a little too contrived for me.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, even though I had some criticisms. I enjoyed the foray into the Steampunk world, I enjoyed the romance, and I hope that MacAlister is going to continue to tell the story of the Steampunk universe she has created.