Review: The Paladin Caper by Patrick Weekes

The Paladin Caper (Rogues of the Republic 3) by Patrick Weekes

TPCBook Description:  A thief’s good deeds are never done.

Loch and her crew are determined to stop the ancients from returning to reclaim the world they once ruled, but the kidnapping of a friend throws their plans awry. When a desperate rescue turns into a shocking reunion, the ancients return and seize power. Determined to stop them, Loch and the group look for a way to close the gate to the ancients’ world, but this time, they find themselves up against an enemy that has insinuated itself into the highest ranks of the Republic. Cruel, cunning, and connected, the ancients target the crew’s families and histories, threatening to tear friendships apart.

If that weren’t bad enough, Loch must deal with her treacherous assassin sister, her turncoat ancient friend, and a daemon who has sworn to hunt her to the ends of the earth. In order to save the Republic and pull off her largest con ever, Loch will need her friends…and maybe her enemies too.

My Review: I really enjoyed this book. I decided to listen to it instead of reading it because in the past I’ve gotten hung up on the complicated names of the characters. Justine Eyre narrates this series and does a far better job of saying the names than I ever could. So, I was happy to let her entertain me. I enjoyed her narration of this series. She has a dozen different voices in her arsenal which I appreciate. An audio book is a lot more fun when the narrator is very talented.

This books wraps everything up so I think it’s the last one. I can’t say that I was ready for the series to be over but this was a great end. It was also left open so maybe it’s not the end forever.

Patrick Weeks writes fascinating characters and I’m going to miss these characters. My favorite thing about this series has always been the characters. They are balanced and well thought out. I’m not just talking about character arcs. The personalities of the characters are balanced, not just with the other characters but within themselves. The book I read before this one had a strong main character who went completely off the rails. The character began acting in a way that moved the plot along put abandoned all semblance of who the character had proven herself to be up to that point. I stopped reading. It made me appreciate how this story’s characters were constructed.

I was surprised when the end came. I should have known that Patrick Weeks would bring the series together in the same fashion that he does each individual book. I always expect to see how the con will conclude because the author always appears to share everything of consequence. I have never felt as if something was being kept from me but something always has. I guess that’s the trademark of a great storyteller. If this is the last one, I’m going to miss this series.

Lynn

 

 

5 starPGS_round

 

 

 

 

 

Background Image: Falkensteiner Cave by Hans

 

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Review: Prudence (The Custard Protocol) by Gail Carriger

Prudence (The Custard Protocol) by Gail Carriger

Performed by Moira Quirk

PrudenceBook Description: When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (“Rue” to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do — she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding — and her metanatural abilities — to get to the bottom of it all…
My Review: I decided to listen to this book rather than read it. I am a fan of Gail Carriger, I loved her Finishing School series but I didn’t care for Soulless. I read it and discovered that I really didn’t like Alexia. I found her to be loud, whiny, and difficult. (I tried to read Changeless I honestly did.) I felt really bad because the rest of the book was so good. I love Gail Carriger’s smooth writing style, humor, and cleverness. So this series is my do over, my second chance to join the adventure.
 I probably missed a lot by not reading the previous series but I can personally attest that you don’t need to have read the Parasol Protectorate to really enjoy Prudence. Misunderstood and resourceful to a fault, Prudence has her mothers strong will and Lord Akeldama’s everything else. I suspect she enjoys being a wolf best so I guess she gets that from her father. Rue is a unique character. She is less traditional shape-shifter and more shape-borrower. She can become any supernatural being that she touches just so long as she doesn’t get too far away from them.
This book has a varied cast of characters. My favorite relationship is between Rue and Prim. I like the contrast between them. As the audience we get to see Rue in all of her metanatural glory. It never occurs to her that she should wait for one of the boys to help her out. She dives right in to fix what’s broken. It’s interesting to see Rue compare herself to perfect Prim and come up short. The two characters compliment each other in a way only best friends can.
 Can I tell you how much I enjoyed Moira Quirk reading this book? It’s really important to get the right person to read an audio book and Moira Quirk was the perfect choice for this one. You can practically feel the motion of the story. You can actually feel Rue’s exasperation with a certain engineer. She has very distinct voices for each of the characters. For me, that’s the trademark of a truly great narrator. I will definitely look for more books performed by Moira Quirk.
 I loved the characters, the narrator is excellent, and I hope we get at least another four or five books in this series. I love it when an author can create something we haven’t see before, from something that we have.  I’m hooked.
 Lynn5 starPGS_roundThere isn’t really any questionable content in this book. Everything is proper and Victorian.
Background Image: Tree-jungle by Hans

Tricky Twenty-Two

 

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

TrickyBook Description:  Stephanie Plum might not be the world’s greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she’s being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren’t adding up, and Stephanie can’t shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college—and it’s not just Zeta fraternity pranks.

As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it’s good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken’s killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My Review: This wasn’t my favorite Stephanie Plum book. It has an excellent main plot that is well thought out and well executed. It reminded me of the early days of this series. Things fell apart for me in the character relationships. Are we nearing the end of the series? It really felt like it.

Reason One:

I have never been a fan of the relationship between Stephanie and Morelli. I don’t like the character. His biggest failing is that he doesn’t accept her for who she is. It could also be argued that she hasn’t accepted herself. Twenty-two full fledged books; he doesn’t get it and she’s still in denial. That horse really can’t be flogged anymore, its desiccated bones can’t handle it. There isn’t anything left. That’s why the side story in this book bothered me so much. Morelli treats her badly. He always treats her badly but in this book it’s really terrible. The reasons he gives at the end are inadequate at best. Laughable, really. Then she forgives all in a really big way. A really, really big way.

Reason Two:

I am not a Ranger fan either. Until this book it looked like he had commitment issues. He’s hardly in this one and things appear to have completely cooled between them. I think it’s time for a new love interest.

Reason Three:

Stephanie’s mom finally understands why Stephanie likes bond enforcement by the end of this book. The apocalypse is near. What will they disagree about if the proper Mrs. Plum understands her daughter and no longer finds her exasperating? Apocalypse.

Lula and Grandma Mazur are just as fun and entertaining as usual. They are actually more fun and entertaining than usual because of the tense plot. Lula is hysterical as always. There are a few laugh out loud moments but I still think the apocalypse is near for this series. It needs new life. Hopefully in the form of a new love interest. I’ll give it one more book.

Lynn3 starQC-13_round

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Romulus Buckle and the Luminiferous Aether

Romulus Buckle and the Luminiferous Aether

by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

Romulus-Buckle-III-Final-Luminiferous-AetherBook Description: Earth is an icy wasteland, devastated by an alien invasion hundreds of years before. Left with only steam power, the human survivors have formed into steampunk clans. And now these clans are at war.

Reeling from a Founders clan invasion, Captain Romulus Buckle of the Pneumatic Zeppelinfaces a desperate decision. Does he return home to bolster the Grand Alliance or attempt to rescue his sister, Elizabeth, who is prophesied to be the key to winning the war? With only an ancient automaton and the words of a madman to guide him, Buckle leads an expedition to the mysterious underwater city of Atlantis, where mythical monsters and human treachery make every move perilous.

 

My Review:   The Luminiferous Aether picks up where The Engines of War left off. This book takes Buckle and company to Atlantis and it’s not as far out there as you may imagine. The author does a fantastic job of making the idea of Atlantis existing in Snow World appear to be normal.

There is plenty of action and when there isn’t, the characters are still in danger. Atlantis is full of political intrigue. I felt for Buckle. He isn’t on the Pneumatic Zeppelin for this book and you can feel his discomfort. You can tell that Buckle and company are uncomfortable being away from the ship. The fact that they aren’t on the Pneumatic Zeppelin doesn’t mean that Buckle doesn’t find extra trouble to get into however. What I mean by that is, on top of everything else that is going on with the Founders war, he is determined to find Elizabeth.

Speaking of sisters, there are several chapters in this book devoted to Max and her journey. She is quickly becoming my favorite character. I admire her strength and determination. A touching scene between Max and Balthazar illustrates my favorite thing about these books. There is real love between this makeshift family; between Balthazar and all of his adopted children.. The scene made me tear up. It was fantastic. I would probably go so far as to say that the chapters about Max were my favorite in this book. They were a nice contrast to the ones involving Buckle with his cacophony of dangers and general mayhem. That doesn’t mean that they were boring, they were simply smaller in scope since they involved a much smaller number of characters.

Another interesting thing about this book is that we find out why things are the way they are in the Snow World. We already knew that there had been an attack but now we learn how society was rebuilt in the image of the Victorian era. It’s genius.

I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who has read the first two. It is a fantastic addition to the series.

Lynn5 starPGS_round

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feature Background Image: Mountain by Unsplash

 

Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War

I re-posted my review for The City of the Founders on Monday. I re-posted my review for The Engines of War today. Guess what I’m posting on Friday? Answer: Romulus Buckle and the Luminiferous Aether came out in December.

Originally posted Mar 2014

Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War

by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

 

RomulusBuckle-720Book Description:   The frozen wasteland of Snow World—known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization—is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.

Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders’ prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there’s little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.

Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base—and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.

My Review:

This installment is action packed.  It doesn’t stop for even one second.  It opens with Buckle looking for the remains of an airship that went down during the attack on the Devil’s Punchbowl (his home).  He rides up a mountain with an insane guide-in the freezing cold-without Sabrina, Max, or anyone else for back up. I expect nothing less from our hero. Max follows him anyway, and I would expect nothing less from her.

It wouldn’t be a Romulus Buckle adventure if there weren’t beasties so of course Max has to save him and then he has to save her. The thing I love most about these books is that Buckle needs his family. He doesn’t always know it and he tries to keep them safe, but he needs them as much as they need him. I also love that he has an aura of invincibility. It makes it fun to read about the good captain.

The action in this book is breathtaking.  There are out of control animals on the ground and in the air, a ball (the dancing kind), a duel, and even an airship battle.  And Buckle tries get himself blown up again. There is also a touching scene with Imperial leader Katzenjammer Smelt and his children. It’s an important scene because it gives him some badly needed humanity.  I hated him in the first book.

I’ve become a fan of the audiobooks as well. They are both read by Luke Daniels who does a wonderful job. If you love adventure of any kind then you’ll love this book.

Lynn5 starPGS_round

 

 

 

 

 

Background Image: Finland-Snow by Trespa

 

Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders

Originally posted Feb 2014

Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders

by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders lgBook Description:  In a post-apocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California – before it was devastated in the alien war – Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World – and death is quick – Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of noxious mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress-city.

Captain Romulus Buckle must lead the Pneumatic Zeppelin and its crew of never-do-wells on a desperate mission where he must risk everything to save Balthazar and attempt to prevent a catastrophic war which could wipe out all that is left of civilization and the entire human race.

My Review:

This book is one of my new favorites; it was so much fun to read. I also listened to this book and it was better than what was happening in my head.  The audiobook is read by Luke Daniels and he did a beautiful job capturing each character.

Captain Romulus Buckle is probably the youngest airship captain I’ve read about. The entire crew is young but he appears to be one of the youngest. The author danced precariously on the line of maturity and youthful zeal.  He is a mature captain with a complete understanding of what it takes to be a captain.  He fights off, mostly, the part of himself that is impulsive. It was the most interesting thing in the book for me and that’s saying something because this book is full of amazing things.

Everyone wears hats and they are not just a fashion statement. They serve a purpose like all really good steam gadgets.  The hats plug into the airship.  Yes you heard right.  They plug into the airship. Which is just fun. They are described in great detail.  In fact everything is described in great detail and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  The author is very imagenative and I wanted to keep reading about how to navigate the airship.  It was facinating.  I wanted to know more about the animals aboard too.  I wanted to know more about the systems and the hydrogen bags and tanglers.  Tanglers are sky monsters.  Really dangerous and scary sky monsters.

This book is a beautiful combination of steampunk and family drama.  Balthazar isn’t just the Crankshaft leader.  He adopted Buckle when he was very young.  In fact Balthazar and his wife adopted many children and a few of them work on the ship such as the chief navigator and chief engineer. When Buckle cooks up his rescue mission. All of Balthazar’s adopted children want to help.  There is also a mystery regarding Buckle’s biological sister Elizabeth who was killed in an Imperial attack.  Another mystery surrounds his adopted sister Sabrina and why a captured sandpiper freaked out when he saw her.

Even if you haven’t read any steampunk before you will still be mesmerized by all of the detail and easy storytelling. This book will be your gateway drug. It felt like Richard Ellis Preston Jr. built the Pneumatic Zeppelin and told us a story about it.  I loved it.

 

Lynn

5 starPGS_round

 

There are battles and an automaton meets a grisly end.

 

I also suggest:

flash goldHuntedRomulusBuckle-720

 

 

 

 

 

 

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