Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

This is a fairly fast paced murder mystery with an extreme magical bent.  Andrews creates a very fascinating world.  Her world-building tends to be subtle, sort of getting the gist of things as we go along and the plot unfurls.  Honestly, this is the kind of world building that I appreciate.  While I rushed through this trying to figure out who the murderer was, I was able to get the gist of what Andrews world involves.  While some extra information about how the world became what it is in Andrews time, there are enough hints to get the shape of what happened.  I presume that if I continue reading the series I will get more background as things develop.

If you are looking for a Kick Butt female lead, Kate Daniels, that admits to her own insecurities, then this is a good book for you.  A powerful magic user loses her last connection to the past, her family, and Daniels needs to find out who killed him.  Daniels dances between shifters, necromancers that control vampires, and the governing body.  She manages to attract and piss them all off, and seems very tired doing so.

A fast paced, kick butt, novel that leaves a lot more questions than answers.  The initial mystery is solved at the end of the book, but there are a lot of questions left about Kate Daniels as well as the world in which she lives.  I really did like this book and I look forward to reading more.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I am having a hard time deciding if I liked this book or simply needed to know what happens next. This is a very complex tale that I could probably read a few more times and find quite a few nuances that I missed in my first reading of this book. Once I started, I found it almost impossible to put this book down, so much so that I missed out on a few hours sleep so I could finish it.
The concepts present in this book are very old, infidelity, kings, fey, high court, outcasts, changelings, fear, adoption, and so much more. However, with the filter of a mortal at a fey court being raised by the man who murdered her parents, also her older half-sister’s father, everything takes on a sinister edge. I found many of the dramatic plot twists to be well-telegraphed in advance but a few were able to shock me.
If you are looking for a book that will thrill, confuse, intrigue, disgust you, and make you think about your place in the world then this might be the book for you. There is no explicit sexual content, though some is alluded to. This is a fast paced novel, a lot of characters are introduced and a passing familiarity with the fey is needed for this book to make much sense.  If you don’t know what the Unseelie and Seelie Court are then check up on that before you read this book.  You may be able to figure it out through context, but background knowledge adds depth to the telling.  Nothing is ever as it appears with the fey, remember that throughout this book.

How Ancient Legends Gave Birth To Modern Superheroes

This article is a review of the book “The Evolution of the Costumed Avenger” By Jess Nevins.

After the introduction an excerpt from the book is presented, this excerpt begins the exploratory process of this text by challenging all ‘definitions’ of superheroes.  A bit dry for what most people would think of as a ‘fun’ read but this certainly does set up the tone and premise of the book.

A quote from the author Nevins is: “A lot of previously ignored or overlooked characters become fair game when we talk about the lineage of the superhero. I think redrawing the boundaries is important, because now we can see that the superhero wasn’t a 20th-century invention, but rather the weaving together of many different heroic traditions that date back centuries or even millennia, and the recapitulation of a wide range of historical character types.”

This is a fascinating analysis of superheroes and the historical characters that influenced, consciously or subconsciously, their creation.  If you like DC, Marvel, etc, and/or history, myths, legends, etc. then this will probably be a fascinating read.  Some day when I am feeling more philosophical I will have to go over this text and find out where some of my favorite heroes come from.

Death Gods: An Encyclopedia of the Rulers, Evil Spirits, and Geographies of the Dead by Ernest L. Abel

Encyclopedia began with a 23 Page preface and Introduction (2 page preface the rest was introduction).  If you are interested in theories behind death mythos and some religious philosophy then these are great pages for a brief overview.  There are 13 pages that make up the alphabetical list of entries and 10 pages that make up the guide to related topics.  If you are interested in using this as a teaching tool, reference book, or just to get a brief overview about some philosophies and history of death and dying (specifically religious rituals and mythos) then this is a great resource.


Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals had begun burying their dead with objects as early as 50-60 thousand years ago, indicating that death was simply a transition into another life for which their dead might need these objects.
     *alternatively, in my opinion, this could also be seen as a sense of ownership, these objects belonged to the dead so they            should be left with the dead.  This practicality could have morphed into the spiritual and ritual versions found in Egypt.
several religions/cultures advocate that there are 2+ souls, one that goes on to their creator and another that may remain to torment those left behind.
Abaasy in Yakut Siberian Mythology, demons ruled by Ulu Toyo’n that travel in packs to deliver death, disease, storms, famines, etc. (1)
Agaman Nibo– Hatian Voodoo Mother of Baron Samedi- goddess of the dead (8)
Aiaru Tahitian Mythology goddess who foretold death (10)
Alinda– Australian Aboriginal Mythology a god of death (13)
Ankou– in the northwest tip of France this is supposed to be a skeletal spirit in a long flowing coat and wide brimmed hat that drove a cart of 4 skeletal black horses and gathered the souls of the dead.  (19-20)
Azeman– Surinam south American folklore a female vampires who dons the skin of an animal at night and preys on her family and neighbors (29)
Azeto Voodoo- evil spirit of the dead (29)
Bacalou (aka Loa) Haitian voodoo evil deified spirit of death represented by a skull and crossbones (30) (*symbol for poison?*)
Baka– Haitian Voodoo evil spirit of death to whom black roosters and black goats are sacrificed to appease his anger (31)
Baron La Croix– Haitian Voodoo- One of the grand Loa or Gede- Lord of the cemetery- literally spirit of the cross. (33)
Baron Samedi (Gede Nibo or Gede Nimbo)Haitian Voodoo- Death personified- black top hat and long black tailcoat- long white beard, eyeless sockets, also known as three spades, three picks, or three hoes, because he carries the tools of a gravedigger.  Offerings are made in black colored items with the skull and crossbones painted on/  Big Brigitte his wife rules over cemeteries.  Encourages orgies that result in death, reanimates zombies.
Bhut– Hindu folklore- evil spirits that haunt cemeteries, zombies essentially
Donn– Irish god of the dead who was later equated with Satan.  The dead briefly visited or passed by his house just after the moment of death (57)
Java– Polynesian mythology the island home of the dead- (90)
Lough Derg– Celtic Mythology a small island in northwest Ireland regarded as the entrance to the underworld (97)
Owl– common symbol or omen for death- welsh they are called the corpse bird- mesopotamian, aztec, romania, greek, all equated death and owls (111)
Shuck -East Anglian folklore- large black dog often associated with  death and avatars of the devil thought to be the source of Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles (*probably also the Grim in Rowling’s Harry Potter*) (126-27)
Zo’tzi-Ha– Aztec one of the five regions of the underworld where Camazotz ‘the death bat’ brought death to any that entered it.  (147)