The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

I stayed up late last night to finish The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith. That right there should tell you how much I liked this book.

In the second book of the Vampire Empire trilogy (I think. It could be intended to go further.) we find Adele and the Greyfriar separated and Adele scheduled to be married to Senator Clark. Adele has also been continuing her geomancer training with Mamoru. Needless to say things don’t go as planned. Greyfriar hears of a plot to assassinate Adele during her wedding ceremony so he hustles off to Alexandria to save her. I’m afraid if I say anymore I’d be spoiling the fun you’ll have reading it for yourself.

In my review of the first book I mentioned how a lot of the characters seemed pretty one-dimensional. That’s changed with the second book. Well, except for Clark. He’s still just a jerk who wants to be Emperor. We sadly didn’t find out any sort of motivation for him in this book. The rest of the characters I’m happy to say have been much more fleshed out. Caesar especially gets a lot more interesting with this book. Which leads me to my only quibble with the book. MORE BAD GUY CHAPTERS PLEASE. There weren’t nearly enough chapters dealing with the vampires. I’m hoping we’ll see more from that point of view in the next book.

All in all this was a fantastic read and the series is quickly turning in to one of my favorites.

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I’d like to start this review of The Name of the Wind by saying I really, really enjoyed this book. Why am I making sure I’m pointing this out right away, you ask? Because I’d like to follow that up by saying good grief do I not like the main character very much at all.

Kvothe annoys me. Kvothe annoys me a lot. From being repeatedly told how smart he is, to the constant reminders that women want him but he’s too naive to realize it, et cetera, et cetera. Seriously. Is there anything the guy isn’t the best at? Argh. The dude drives me nuts. Yet – as I said – I really, really liked this book.

The setting of the book is great, I absolutely love the magic system that Rothfuss has created (sympathetic magic for the win!) and I found each and every other character in this book interesting and well-drawn and I want to know more about all of them. Which also means I suppose I kind of do like Kvothe. As the book is – for the most part – told from Kvothe’s point of view I have to give the character credit for telling a damn good story.

All in all Rothfuss has written one of the more original fantasy stories of the last few years and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Lennox by Craig Russell

Finished Lennox by Craig Russell last night. I liked it.

In a nutshell, the book follows Lennox (duh), who is a private investigator in Glasgow with has some serious demons he’s working through. The book begins with a mid-level crime boss getting killed and the Three Kings – who are the main crime lords of Glasgow – want Lennox to investigate. Standard stuff, right? Not so fast. Every time you think this book is going to use a standard thriller trope, Russell throws a curve or uses the trope in such an original way that you can’t help but nod your head in appreciation.

As an aside, while I am fully aware that Glasgow is a major city in Scotland, I had a mental issue with the book taking place there. Why? Because I have grandparents in Glasgow, Missouri. So every once in awhile it would take me a moment to switch from the tiny, rural farming town I knew as a kid to the bustling city in Scotland. Is it just me or does stuff like that happen to anybody else. Probably just me. Anyway…

Lennox has a scope that is far more broad than what you find in most crime fiction. While 90% of the action takes place in Glasgow, there is a heckuva lot going on elsewhere as well. It was also interesting seeing how World War II changed many of the main characters in the book, for better and worse.

Since this is a crime novel there are of course many twists and turns in the plot, but that isn’t what kept me turning the pages. Russell’s characters, mainly thanks to his excellent dialogue, all feel like actual people and not just plot movers and Lennox’s point of view had me chuckling on one page and shaking my head in sympathy at his underlying sadness the next.

I’d love to discuss the plot further, but doing so would spoil half the fun for a reader coming fresh to the story. Overall this is an easy book to recommend.