November 16th, 2014

_Seventh Grave and No Body_, Darynda Jones, SPOILERS run or the HELLHOUNDS WILL GET YOU!!!!!

Well, this isn't sacred, consecrated or holy ground, but it'll have to do. I think we are safe from people who fear spoilers, amirite?

This is book 7 in the Charley Davidson series, set in and around Albuquerque. Charley and Reyes move from expecting and "affianced", as Charley says over and over and (over and over and over) you get the idea. Charley's use of "affianced" as a verb and a noun is so relentless and annoying, that I'm really thinking about giving up on the series at this point. I'll probably change my mind some time after book 8 comes out and I have another cold. I seem to read these books when I am sick.

Where was I? Oh, they get married, nixing Gemma's improbably complex plans for a wedding.

Charley develops new powers. She _has_ healed people in the past; in this book, she gets past her total denial of that ability and starts using it consciously, not to say wantonly, up to and including resurrection. Rocket comes to chastise her about it because he has to erase names from the walls of the asylum. Poor Charley.

Bunch of stuff with dogs, including Artemis and the hellhounds. The demon killing knife gets deployed in improbable and, when it happens, you definitely expect the outcome ways. More confusion surrounding the prophecy. Garrett as baby daddy gets to reconnect with the mommy and kid.

But the real theme of the book is basically the theme of the whole series: Charley, you need to set better priorities. Charley, you risk yourself for really dumb things. Charley, you need to start acting like a real grownup now. It's like this thing is squarely marketed at the quarter life crisis crowd. Since I'm middle aged, and I don't think anyone has ever told me I need to grow up any more than I already have, this isn't really aimed at me. Which is a pity, because there is some high quality violence in this series. I continue to find the sex kind of meh, especially as it gets more and more supernaturally involved. Turns out I like my sex scenes to be high on the biological detail and low on woo woo stuff.

Don't start with this book. And make sure you've knocked your IQ down a few points (sleep deprivation, illness, mind altering substances all should work fine) before attempting to read them. Because if you think about them for any length of time at all, they don't make sense. [ETA: Specifically, given Charley's life history and powers, if Charley didn't engage in relentless self-stupidification, why would she need anyone else? So why do her friends want her to "grow up"? The author and Reyes are both aware of this, which actually makes it even less fun.]

Also, it turns out that the sentences in Dutch that Reyes periodically utters towards Charley Do Not Amuse Me.

_Cast in Flame_, Michelle Sagara, SPOILERS RUN or the ANCESTORS WILL GET YOU

The Tower will protect us, right?

This is book 10 in the Chronicles of Elantra. Kaylin Neya is living at the Imperial Palace with Bellusdeo since their apartment got all blowed up by the Arcanists. Neither is happy there. Over the course of the book, Kaylin and a variety of other people explore possible new places for Kaylin and Bellusdeo to live. Antics ensue.

Kaylin is recently returned from a visit to the West March with Teela, Severn and Nightshade/Calarnenne. They brought back some of Teela's lost compatriots from a previous, much more tragic visit to the regalia and it turns out those compatriots have sort of ... changed. Kaylin brings Bellusdeo and once of the old buddies on patrol and they stop in at Evanton's, where Mandoran (you know, I would not be surprised if I spelled one or more of these names wrong) manages to piss off elemental water. Then, it turns out that Annarion, who is visiting older brother Nightshade in Nightshade, has sort of woken up that tower a lot more than Nightshade ever intended to. So Kaylin gets soaked a couple of times, first calming the water down and then using the water route out of Nightshade after rescuing Annarion.

Alas, that isn't the end of trouble out of Nightshade. Those Barrani looking scary guys from many books back? They get out and start stomping around making trouble. One heads over to the High Halls intending to suck all the names out of the lake (HEY I DID MENTION SPOILERS HERE DO NOT COMPLAIN NOW) and the other one heads over to Helen.

Evanton gave Kaylin an address in a Really Nice Part of Town as a possible place to live when earlier efforts to find an apartment that Kaylin could afford and would satisfy Emperor criteria for keeping Bellusdeo safe had comically failed. The address turns out to be a sort-of Tower that is improbably named Helen. Nice place, very welcoming, however, the Ancestor attacking has to be dealt with first, and in the usual way: runes come to life on Kaylin and she has to put them in the right spot, and then she has to figure out why _that_ didn't work. Inevitably, singing is involved.

With Helen squared away, it's time for an epic battle in which the Dragons and the Barrani and the Swords and the Hawks and Kaylin's motley crue all fight the other Ancestor. While name-based communication is crucial to all aspects of this novel, the relationship between Ynpharion and Kaylin is probably the best developed of all of them and quite amusing.

By the end of the book, Kaylin has a suitable place to rest her weary head, and plenty of space for all her friends to move in with her, or at least crash when they don't feel like going home/home isn't very safe for them. And there are all these basements with research in them to explore; maybe one of them will help us figure out what to do about Ravellon . . .

I'll keep reading. Don't start here.