Net Galley Wrap Up #2

Friday 2 October 2020

 This time around, my friends, I'll be reviewing audio books I've had the opportunity to listen to thanks to Net Galley. Quick reminder for those who don't know, each of these books was provided free of charge by Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

The Genesis Game by Andrew O'Kelley

This is a LitRPG book about The Black Seraph who rose to power in the World Dungeon. The World Dungeon was the herald of the end of humanity and because of it, Seraph

Never before has a book taken me through such a roller coaster of interest. At first I found the narrator and the audio effects to be too cheesy. Then I started to like the story and the narrator. But each time I started to really get into the story, something would happen to make me loose interest.

I almost DNFd this a few times, though I am glad I saw it through to the end just so I can give a review saying that i finished it.

The story moves way too fast. So fast that I don't care about any of the characters. If Seraph died I would not have cared. If Seraph's dad died, I wouldn't have cared. The characters were bland and boring.

Seraph is supposed to come across as some dark and broody bad ass but he's just an a-hole. We meet his father but we get so little of their relationship that I think the Lindbergh baby would have been closer to his father than Seraph and his dad.

As a LitRPG book, it was woefully lacking. Other books like The Chaos Seeds series or The Rogue Dungeon series are better examples. At times it felt like Andrew O'Kelley forgot what his genre was and that maybe, just maybe, the rules should be explained just a little.

Despite all the negatives i still kind of enjoyed it, but not nearly enough to finish the series unless I can get it through Net Galley

The Genesis Game gets a 4 out of 11

Blood And Ash (The Jezebel Files #1) by Deborah Wilde

Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake. She wasn't counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn't possess.

The first book in the Jezebel Files feels like if Jim Butcher or Patricia Briggs decided to take on a new magic system based off Jewish folklore. The bare bones of this book is very typical of the genre. A wise cracking PI who is usually in over their head, has a love/hate relationship with an authority figure, is barely making ends meet, is somehow both weak and strong in terms of special powers, and they just have to do the right thing.  If you change a few details this could easily be a Mercy Thomoson or Harry Dresden book. But as typical as it is,  its also very interesting and unique. A cool power system and a great magic world come together to make this a good book.

Blood & Ash is typical in the ways you'd expect of the genre but different in the ways that count. Its a fun book that's good for anyone who is either already an Urban Fantasy fan or even new to the genre. This is an adult book as there is both sex and swearing. The narration by Hollie Jackson is solid. Each character has a unique voice and i never struggled to follow who was talking. Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde is a fun book.

Blood & Ash (The Jezebel Files #1) gets a 7 out of 11

By Sea & Sky by Antine Bandele

Writing a premise for this book seems difficult as the one provided by the publishers seems to give away a big part of the story. I’ll try my best to come up with my own. 

Zala is a pirate. Her and her husband are pirates by necessity as they need money and resources to brew a remedy for an affliction her husband has. When the ship is attacked, Zala’s life is thrown into the biggest upheaval ever and she’ll need to use her wits to get her husband, her friends, and herself out alive. Karim is the second-in-command on the first even naval airship. Their mission? To test out the ship by hunting pirates. He knows he can do a better job than his captain, but has to sit back and watch as more and more bad decisions are made. Can he help the ship and crew complete its mission?

 This book captured my attention and it did so fast. I’ve never been a huge fan of pirate stuff but I love me some airships so I decided to give this a shot. I’m glad I did. This book could have easily been sucked into a downward spiral of pirate tropes and Jack Sparrow rip-offs, but author Antoine Bandele knew what he was doing. The original premise for this book says that it’s “inspired by the West Indies, The Swahili Coast, and Arabia,” and these inspirations are easy to see. The greatest part is that Bandele may have taken inspiration, but he’s made his story and the world it takes place in, his own.

 Zala is a great main character but there were times where she frustrated me. It seemed like she didn’t know how life on a pirate ship should work. Maybe, just maybe, don’t continuously question the captain and disobey orders. That could be mutiny. The good news was that each time Zala did something dumb or made a mistake, she was either called out for it, or it didn’t go well and she had to learn from her mistakes. A main character that’s not perfect AND learns from their mistakes? What more could I ask for?  I could ask for Karim. A character who has a little in common with Zala (They’re both exceptionally smart, smarter than their captains and want to prove so,) but is more than just a passing thought. Karim and his story was just as fleshed out as Zala’s so we get two stories that intertwine at certain points but can each carry the story when their apart.

 Bandele did a fantastic job with this story. He created wonderful characters and put them in a colorful world. I never felt overwhelmed with information like some books can do when they infodump everything you need to know at the beginning and hope you remember. The knowledge came fluidly as the story progressed. My only gripe is that I still don’t know much about how the magic works and I would gladly have read (or listened to) a slightly longer book if I got a better grasp at how it works, but that was really the only down side. Well, that and the pirate songs were a bit cringy.

 I experienced as an audiobook and the narrator, John Rogers, did a great job. Each characters voice was unique and the accents were fantastic.

By Sea & Sky gets a 9 out of 11

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