The Copper Promise (The Copper Cat #1) by Jen Williams

There are countless stories about the caverns beneath the Citadel. Stories of riches beyond measure; of vast stores of knowledge left by long dead mages; of gods imprisoned in the darkest depths.

For Lord Frith, the caverns are the key to his vengeance. His home and family were cruelly taken from him and he has survived against all odds to make sure the persons involved pay dearly. For Sir Sebastian Caverson and his companion Wydrin of Crosshaven, the Citadel seems like just another job. They’ve been promised gold and adventure; and perhaps even a good story or two.

All three have heard the stories and as they delve deeper beneath the Citadel they quickly learn how much truth there actually is. And sometimes its best to let sleeping gods lie.

The Copper Promise is fantasy in its truest form. There’s magic, sword fights, action, and most importantly – dragons. It is a roller coaster ride from start to finish and one I found immensely enjoyable. Like a roller coaster there are some slow stretches where the action is less than in other places. This certainly not a fault, but instead allows for the proper build up to the action scenes when they do occur. And they do occur.

The three main characters are well fleshed out; each having their own wants and needs as well as their own time to shine in the narrative. Not one of them is perfect and there are no apologies made for the imperfections – they are human and each has their human foibles. We are able to relate to them; to consider what we would do were we in their place.

Some of the fight scenes can be a little gruesome. It might not be to everyone’s taste. Yet if one is looking for a good old fashioned fantasy tale, I recommend The Copper Promise. I will certainly be looking for the other books in the series.

 

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

Global warming has changed the surface of the globe and its politics. Wars are now fought over water and China is a ruling state. It rules over the majority of what was known as Europe, including the old Scandinavian Union where Noria Kaitio lives.

Noria is following in her father’s footsteps; learning to become a tea master with all the responsibility it entails. Tea masters are keepers of old ways and of great secrets – the greatest being the source of hidden water that once served the whole village.

Secrets, however, almost never stay that way for long.

Memory of Water was a very interesting read. So often we do not realize how vital something is until that thing is taken away, in this instance water. It is the stuff life and is kept under strict control.

Like the water that is so precious in Noria’s world, it is mimicked in Itäranta’s writing style. Words and emotions ebb and flow; sometimes running smoothly and other times crashing down abruptly. Noria is in a constant battle with herself and with the government she has come to fear.

Memory of Water is a quick and somewhat satisfying read. The ending is not quite happy and open ended enough for the reader to consider what likely happens next. Set in an interesting world, I would enjoy seeing it revisited sometime in the future in a possible sequel.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. In Norse Mythology, he returns to the source by presenting his rendition of the great northern tales.

From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman for some time, and like him I was introduced to the original Norse mythos through the Marvel comics. When he announced he was working on a collection stories based on the original myths, I was understandably excited.

Unfortunately, as I began reading Norse Mythology I found myself more and more disappointed. Even though this claims to be a retelling, it is little more than that. Gaiman has not done anything new, has not added any unique twist that is often so familiar in his works.

Worded in an easy to understand manner, it will certainly appeal to a wide variety of readers. From young to young at heart, any can easily handle this book.

Hardcore Gaiman fans will definitely want to add this book to their collection. More casual fans will likely want to wait for the paperback.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke

Queen Victoria rules with an iron (and immortal) fist.

She rules over a Britain where the Aristocracy and ruling classes are made up of vampires and werewolves. A Britain where goblins literally live underground and mother’s know better than to let their little ones out after dark. It is a world where magic and technology live side by side.

It is 2012 and Pax Britannia reigns.

Alexandra Vardan is a member of the Royal Guard; an elite group whose purpose is to serve and protect the Aristocracy. When her younger sister goes missing however, Alexandra puts her life on hold to try and locate her. The search takes Alexandra down a path that causes her to question all that she knows and believes and eventually uncovers a secret that could topple the empire.

God Save the Queen is a perfect example of why one should never judge a book by its cover.

Head on over to Goodreads and you’ll see that there are two different covers to this book. One shows a saucy looking red-headed woman in a vaguely steampunk type outfit, the other shows a stylized skull and crown. The first cover I had come across in my local library and passed it by. I came across the second cover in a recent foray to the bookstore and I picked it up. It’s the same book from what I can tell, but I had to very different reactions.

All that aside, I found God Save the Queen to be quite enjoyable. While the book itself is touted as steampunk, I found it to be more of a fantasy type tale. Typically steampunk stories focus more on the technology where here it took a back seat to the characters. While mentions are made of the technology of the day, it is just that – mentions.

I had a few small qualms with God Save the Queen, but none of them are terribly major. I wasn’t terribly fond of the romantic subplot and thought the story could have done very well without it. I also found it a bit disconcerting that Alexandra felt it necessary to describe her clothing (albeit not in great detail, thankfully) whenever she dressed. I found it just disturbed the flow of the narrative and took me out of the story for that brief moment.

One the whole, I found God Save the Queen to be fairly enjoyable. Die hard steampunk fans will likely have trouble but the more casual fan – such as myself – should enjoy it. Don’t make my mistake and pay no attention to the cover; it is the story in side that counts.