Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

“I’m not going to ask you to come with me. That would be like stepping in front of a moving train and saying, ‘Hey, honey, come stand next to me.’”
I hopped off the wall and stood next to him. “Anytime.”
He just looked at me.
“I’ve never killed a train before. It might be fun to try.”

Book six in the Kate Daniels series by husband-and-wife author team Ilona Andrews expands upon the "Post Shift" world. All the previous books have been set in and around Atlanta, Georgia, after magic returned to the world, casting it into upheaval. This time, Kate and her honey, the shapeshifter Beast Lord, are traveling across the treacherous ocean to Europe. Tangled up in the savage politics of the Continental shapeshifter packs and being manipulated by a deadly figure out of her family history, Kate is walking a knife's edge.  

The characters never fail to be engaging and the settings are rich with their own personalities. Not exactly the best writing ever, but certainly an enjoyable chapter in the saga. This story features the death of a major character, but also introduces a new one that definitely promises to be entertaining. And the ending left me grinning. Can't wait to read the next one!

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Victoria, Technical Services

The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

A zeppelin in an orange sky over flat cracked ground with the backlighting-blurred silhouettes of people walking under its shadow, more figures fading into the distance

"[A] silence was falling across all the Long Earth..."

The Long War is set about a decade after the events of The Long Earth, which introduced the world-wide discovery of innumerable pristine parallel Earths, only a 'step' away thanks to simple technology disseminated quickly over the Internet. Pioneer celebrity Joshua Valiente is approached by his old travelling companion and cantankerous frontierswoman, Sally Linsay, with a mission - return to the original Earth (called Datum) and argue for the rights and protection of one of the Long Earth native species, the benevolent natural 'steppers' called trolls. Traveling thousands of worlds with his wife and son, Joshua is pulled back into the machinations of the enigmatic Lobsang and the ubiquitous and innovative Black Corporation. Meanwhile, colonists on distant Earths agitate for revolution, two more sinister species conspire to stifle the human diaspora, and a disaster of another nature entirely lurks on the horizon.

I was disappointed by this book. I love the world(s!) introduced by the first book in this series, The Long Earth, and further explored here. The world-building alone is worth the read. But most of the characters aren't very personable, even when they're supposed to be. I got through the spotty storytelling okay up until about fifty pages from the end, when a lot of things happened very quickly and not very sensibly. One character is badly maimed (twice in rapid succession, actually) and everyone just sort of ..shrugs and carries on - including the injured character! The ending was also just as much an unresolved cliffhanger as in the first book - I can only hope that in the next book they address the impact of this cliffhanger better than the first one. Still, there were points of humor, the setting is fascinating, and I greatly appreciated the return of Sister Agnes, the strong-minded, motorcycle riding Catholic nun.

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