Category Archives: Contemporary Fantasy

Daemons are Forever by Simon R Green

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Secret Histories

Book Review: 1 treasure box

Second book in the Secret History Series


The story itself is very interesting and I really enjoyed most of the book, except the ending, which I found a bit disappointing and forced. On the whole, the book has interesting characters and some interesting concepts.

This book continues in classic Simon R. Green style.* In this book, Eddie is now the head of the family and determined to prove himself. He decides the best way to do this is to bring down the other dimensional beings. Once he starts this process he finds out just how dangerous they are and he realizes that if he doesn’t destroy them, they will destroy the world. I liked the other dimensional concepts and descriptions. I found them to be original and well thought out. There are a reasonable amount of fighting scenes although some of them are pretty graphic.

There were a couple of big plot holes about ¾ of the way through the book (why not just use the mirror to go back 3 years in time) that I found to be annoying and if plugged would have really simplified the ending. Although the ending did wrap everything up in a nice neat bow.

*Please see my post of The Secret Histories Series by Simon R Green at: https://books-treasureortrash.com/?p=486 

The Man With the Golden Torc by Simon R. Green

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Secret Histories

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes

First book in the Secret Histories Series


This is a different twist on modern fantasy. The protagonist is Eddie Drood, a member of the Drood family. Eddie has been taught all his life, that the purpose of the Drood’s is to defend the world against various evils and the family is capable of doing this through the use of living armour that when activated makes the individual virtually indestructible*.

Green’s writing is amusing, but sometimes also a little silly while still being entertaining. We learn what the Droods are all about, first what they appear to be and then what they are really about and we learn how the world functions and about all the various creatures and beings that exist in this world.

In this book, Eddie is introduced working for the family but maintaining distance from the family.  He soon discovers that he has become an outcast when he is chased while leaving the family’s estate by various creatures including Elves, UFO’s, attacking Cars and dragons who he manages to evade after a pretty intense fighting scene. Eddie then spends the remainder of the book trying to determine what is really going on culminating with a big discovery and in the process turning the family upside down.

The book was a complete story which is always enjoyable but it also leaves lots of room for the story to continue which it does with the second book, Daemons are Forever.

*See my blog about the Secret Histories Series for more information about this series at: https://books-treasureortrash.com/?p=486

The Secret Histories Series by Simon R Green

Book Review: I have not completed the series yet, so I can not rate it

This series centres around our protagonist Eddie Drood, who is a member of the Drood clan who have special living armor that when activated is virtually indestructible. The Drood clan has supposedly been protecting the world for centuries.

As you read the series you come to know and understand the family and how it works.  There is much turmoil in the family and lots of fighting against evil creatures. The series take place in contemporary times and deals with vampires, werewolves, elves  and magic.  But it also deals with aliens, immortals, demons and other dimensional beings.

The series also is a bit of a parody on the bond movies. For starters his alias is Bond, shaman Bond and the first book is called The Man in the Golden Torc, the second book is called Deamons are Forever and the third book is called The Spy Who Haunted Me. These books are also very much in line with Simon R. Green’s style.   He does not take himself very seriously, and at times the dialogue is a bit silly.   Each book is a stand alone story with a complete story.

The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series The Night Watch

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Second Book in the Night Watch Series
Publisher: Miramax; 1st edition (March 21, 2007), Paperback: 453 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 1401360203, ISBN-13: 978-1401360207


This is a highly entertaining modern fantasy novel that is written in an unique manner. The main protagonist is Anton Gorodetsky, a light magician, who is a member of the Night Watch and as such it is his job to solve problems that occur in the supernatural community, although he does not really appear in the first story. This book looks deeply at the relationship between the Night Watch and the Day Watch and shows what happens when there is not a balance in the level of power between the two groups.

This is the second book written in the Night Watch Series or Watch Series. Sergei Lukyanenko has written numerous short stories, book series and novels. All his books were originally written in Russian and several including this series have been translated to English as well as several other languages. This book is in the contemporary fantasy genre since it takes place in modern times but still involves supernatural beings known as Others. These “Others” include Witches, Magicians, Enchantress/Sorceress, Vampires, Werewolves, etc. The book is told in three different stories each one seemingly stand alone, yet tied to each other and in combination completing a larger story. These stories are told using the third person narrative, mostly from Anton’s point of view but also from the view of other characters in the book.

The first story is concerning a dark witch and a light mage who have both lost their powers, they meet at a children’s camp where they are both recuperating and while neither has any powers they fall in love, with some interesting consequences. The next story introduces a mysterious new character who seems to be growing in power in an unusual manner. Anton is also involved with the individual and the Day Watch’s top boss is trying to manipulate Anton, through all of this there are some interesting scenes and discoveries. The final story is an investigation by the inquistors (the Day Watch and the Night Watch police*) into the first two stories and ultimately shows the relationship between them  and shows some interesting conclusions.

This is the best book in the series. An enjoyable book with the introduction of a number of new interesting concepts.This story again shows the power struggle between both the Night Watch and the Day Watch with both sides trying to manipulate people and events to swing power their way as much as possible.  It also shows that the Others are trying to ensure that the power between both sides stays about equal to ensure that balance is maintained in the world.

The world that Mr. Lukyanenko has created is intriguing and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.  This is a stand alone book that comes to a satisfying, if somewhat sad conclusion. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fantasy with a likeable male protagonist.  The best things about this series are the uniqueness of the story concept, plot structure and the characters.

*See my blog on the Night Watch series

 

To Purchase: “Day Watch” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

The Twilight Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series The Night Watch

Book Review: 2 Treasure Box
The Third Book in the Night Watch Series
Publisher: Miramax (June 13, 2007), Paperback: 416 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 1401360211, ISBN-13: 978-1401360214


This is a highly entertaining modern fantasy novel that is written in an unique manner. The main protagonist is Anton Gorodetsky, a light magician, who is a member of the Night Watch and as such it is his job to solve problems that occur in the supernatural community. This book deal primarily with the concept of a book which will turn all humans into others, it looks at what would happen if this happens and the story is Anton’s search for this book.

This is the third book written in the Night Watch Series or Watch Series. Sergei Lukyanenko has written numerous short stories, book series and novels. All his books were originally written in Russian and several including this series have been translated to English as well as several other languages. This book is in the contemporary fantasy genre since it takes place in modern times but still involves supernatural beings known as Others. These “Others” include Witches, Magicians, Enchantress/Sorceress, Vampires, Werewolves, etc. The book is told in three different stories each one seemingly stand alone, yet tied to each other and in combination completing a larger story. These stories are told using the third person narrative, mostly from Anton’s point of view but also from the view of other characters in the book

The first story is where Anton is sent in disguise to solve a mystery around an Other who can supposedly make humans into Others.  This is a huge problem because if used it would cause a disasterous shift in the balance between light and dark. In the second story Anton is on vacation, but while there he discovers something amiss, which he decides to investigate.  When he is looking into this he meets an un-registered witch and then finds more clues pointing to the ability to change humans into others. Both stories once again show the manipulations of both Watches to try to swing the balance. The third story once again brings up the ability to turn humans into others with Anton as the catalyst of solving the problem.  Which he does solve, but in a very interesting and thought provoking manner.

This book reveals some interesting facts about the Day Watch and the Night Watch, it takes a good hard look at good and evil as well as intent. This story also explains that Others are actually people that have no magic in them, but can siphon magic from humans who all have varying degrees of magic but to such a small degree that they can not really do much with it. Therefore an Other who has zero magic in them has the ability to be an extremely strong mage because they can siphon unlimited amounts from the humans around them. The book also brings up the issues surrounding the light and the dark, previously the light was shown as good, even though it was just as manipulative as the dark, but the light’s methods were always without malice. But now it is realized that the light is really no different that the dark, with the power coming from siphoning off of humans, how is that any different than a vampire sucking blood? Anton is now at a crossroads, feeling disillusioned with his work in the Night Watch, but once he talks with his boss he is at peace. He sees where the members of the Inquisition come from, they are either Light or Dark Watch members who no longer differentiate between the two, but who see the need for balance.

There were a couple very interesting developments in this book, it was a good read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. This is a stand alone book that comes to a satisfying, if somewhat sad conclusion. The book also brings forth many interesting philosophical questions.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fantasy with a likeable male protagonist.  The best things about this series are the uniqueness of the story concept, plot structure and the characters.

To Purchase: “The Twilight Watch” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series The Night Watch

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
First Book in the Night Watch Series
Publisher: Miramax; Tra edition (July 26, 2006), Language: English, Paperback: 464 pages, ISBN-10: 1401359795, ISBN-13: 978-1401359799


This is a highly entertaining modern fantasy novel that is written in an unique manner.    This book introduces Anton and shows his induction into the Night Watch.  It also explains the world he lives as well as the premise of the Others and the Twilight.  The main protagonist is Anton Gorodetsky, a light magician, who is a member of the Night Watch and as such it is his job to solve problems that occur in the supernatural community.

This is the first book written in the Night Watch Series or Watch Series.  Sergei Lukyanenko has written numerous short stories, book series and novels. All his books were originally written in Russian and several including this series have been translated to English as well as several other languages. This book is in the contemporary fantasy genre since it takes place in modern times but still involves supernatural beings known as Others.  These “Others” include Witches, Magicians, Enchantress/Sorceress, Vampires, Werewolves, etc.   The book is told in three different stories each one seemingly stand alone, yet tied to each other and in combination completing a larger story.  These stories are told using the third person narrative, mostly from Anton’s point of view but also from the view of other characters in the book.

The Night Watch centers around the Others who are on the side of the light (good) and whose supposedly main purpose is the keep watch over the Others who are on the side of the dark (evil.) But in actuality in this book the head of the Night Watch is doing everything in his power to swing the balance more towards the light.

The first story in the book introduces our protagonist Anton Gorodetsky, who is a mage working for the Night Watch.* While he is out on a mission tracking down vampires he meets a seemingly human with a curse on her head. The second story has lots going on and is very interesting, it ends showing that both the Day Watch and the Night Watch manipulate people and events as much as possible to change the power to their side. The third story centers around the same individuals and seems to be unrelated to the first two, but it actually pulls together all the events from all three stories in a very interesting and unusual manner.

It was a good read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.  This is a stand alone book that comes to a satisfying conclusion where Mr. Lukyanenko skillfully pulls all the threads of each story together into a well weaved story. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading contemporary fantasy with a likeable male protagonist.  The best things about this series are the uniqueness of the story concept, plot structure and the characters.

*See my blog on the The Night Series which explains more about the people and world this book takes place in.
To Purchase: “The Night Watch” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Codex Alera Series

Book Review: 3 treasure boxes
Book one of  Codex Alera
Publisher: Ace (June 28, 2005), Paperback: 672 pages, ISBN-10: 044101268X, ISBN-13: 978-0441012688

An unexpected attack from the Marat, shows the depth of Tavi’s character right from the start. This leads to Tavi and his uncle uncovering a planned invasion which threatens the empire. Before long Tavi becomes integral in the battle as he gets pulled into the political and military intrigue.

This is a new and interesting concept in Fantasy. The series is about a country called Alera on the world of Carna, where there are elemental beings that can control metal, air, water, earth or fire, they are called Furies. Some of these beings are wild and can do harm, but when they are wild they do not seem to have a lot of intelligence. There are also several peoples who live there. They all have different physical looks and abilities.

Furies of Calderon is the first of six books in the Codex Alera Series. This is a High Fantasy taking place in the Aleran Empire in a society similar to that of ancient Rome. This book is told in the third person narrative from the various different characters point of view, but primarily from that of the main protagonist Tavi. Jim Butcher has also written numerous Contemporary Fantasy books, primarily the Dresden Files.

The story starts with plenty of intrigue, showing how the current social & political structure is not working. We are introduced to Tavi, the main protagonist, who is very resourceful especially since he has a disadvantage in that he is unable to utilize any furies, which is the main source of magic.

The first book was very exciting almost from the first page. It does a great job of introducing and developing the characters, all who are well rounded. There was plenty of action and some innovative ways to resolve conflict. The story also subtlety deals with prejudice.

There is a good satisfying conclusion, with a good stepping stone to the next installment. I really enjoyed the book and I am looking forward to Academ’s Fury. I recommend this book, it is original and fun to read.
To purchase from Amazon, click here or on picture above

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Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series The Hollows

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
The Hollows Series, book 1
Publisher: HarperCollins ebook, 658 KB (432 pages,)


This is a fun book to read.  It introduces the three main characters who live and work together.  Rachel is a sassy and independent Witch, she is also a good fighter, Jenks is a hunkie 4″ Pixie who lives in the garden with his wife and large brood of kids.  Ivy is a sexy, dangerous undead vampire who has the hots for Rachel.  The premise of the book is established where Rachel is setting up as an independent runner (like a private investigator,) working with both Jenks and Ivy. Rachel hasn’t yet been hired to do any work, but she is trying to clear her name, so she can remove the death threat against her. (Hence the name of the book.) In the process she is getting in and out of all kinds of trouble.

Dead Witch Walking is the first book in The Rachel Morgan/The Hollows Series. Currently there are nine books in the series, with another three or four expected to be relaesed in the future. This series is a modern day story that centers around inderlanders: witches, weres, vampires and others including the occasional demon, so it falls into the Contemporary Fantasy or Urban Fantasy genre. It is told in the first person narrative from Rachel Morgan’s point of view, she is the main protagonist.

We learn about the world they live in where Inderlanders and humans live side by side.  We also watch the development of the relationship between the three main characters and we meet new characters and experience new situations with the characters.  It is highly entertaining, with lots of action. This is a stand alone book with a good build right up to an exciting conclusion.

I really enjoyed the book and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you enjoy reading contemporary fantasy novels with a sassy witch as the main protagonist, then you will enjoy this book.

 

The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

3 Treasure Boxes

Good looking sexy characters with spunk.  The protagonist is an earth witch (a witch who draws her power from the earth, rather than a ley line,) named Rachel with a 4” hunkie pixie side kick with attitude named Jenks and a gorgeous sexy and dangerous undead vampire (a person who has the vampire virus, but hasn’t died yet so is still partially human,) named Ivy.

This series is a modern day story that centers around Inderlanders: witches, weres, vampires and others including the occasional demon.  The story line for each book is around these three characters who are runners (kind of like Private Investigators for Inderlanders.) There is a reference to the Ever After, another dimension connecting their world to an underlying world where ley line power runs through both connecting the worlds.  The Ever After is where the Demons reside. The series is interesting, captivating and fun to read.

First Book: Dead Witch Walking, Second Book: The Good, The Bad and the Undead, Third Book: Every Which Way but Dead, Fourth Book: A Fistful of Charms, Fifth Book: For a Few Demons More, Sixth Book: The Outlaw Demon Wails, Seventh Book: White Witch, Black Curse, Eighth Book: Black Magic Sanction

The Night Watch Series by Sergei Lukyanenko

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series The Night Watch
2 Treasure Boxes
This is a highly entertaining modern fantasy novel that is written in an unique manner. This series was originally written in Russian and then translated to English.
It takes place in Russia and the story revolves around “Others”. “Others” are people who have the ability to access the “Twilight”, which allows them to use Magic, but at a cost.  These “Others” include Witches, Magicians, Enchantress/Sorceress, Vampires, Werewolves, and others.  With each individual having different levels of power.
There are basically 3 power structures within the “Others”, there are those who are on the side of the light, those on the side of the dark and inquisitors, who are on neither the light or dark side, but rather are above both and monitor both.  The circumstances surrounding a human being when he/she becomes an “Other” will determine whether they are a light other or a dark other.
All 3 power structures main purpose is to maintain an equal balance between the light and the dark. The books all revolve around the protagonist Anton Gorodetsky. Each book has 3 separate, complete stories which are all related to  create a larger story.  Each book is complete unto itself, which is very nice. It takes a little while to get used to the writing, since it was originally written in Russia.

Book 1: The Night Watch,      
Book 2: The Day Watch           

Book 3: The Twilight Watch,

Book 4: The Last Watch