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Half-Shell Prophecies: Book 3 (Among the Mythos) Paperback – January 18, 2017
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The story starts with Katie Lin who, while appearing human, is a bit more. Unlike the "Ever-Dying" ("humans" or as J.K. Rowling called them, "muggles"), Katie is magical. In her world, the "Ever-Dying" read about magic but don't think it's real, like many people believe about angels and demons in our world.
The book immediately kicks off with Katie on the run with someone from one of the other magical races without a clue as to why she's running or why she's being pursued. The rest of the book cleverly reveals what's happening in the background.
There was quite a bit of world building including multiple races and worlds in an urban fantasy setting and pocket universes if you still need more. The relationship between the races and their worlds and between the races, while derived from classic myth (with some mutation), was consistent and relatively balanced.
In fact, the book had to flip back and forth from the story to explanation about the races and worlds to provide the context for what was happening. This would be a great introductory book to the series where later books could focus just on the story.
The plot, characters, and settings were all plausible and well developed. Each character had its own voice. Many of the races drawn from classic mythology (e.g., the Seelie Fey) reminded me a lot of Kevin Hearne's books. Some of the faces (e.g., the Fey) might be contrasted with elves but in this world are quite different; "Fey are not woodsy. They're deep into tech; they love it, and they're really good at it." These differences added to the story rather than detracting.
Merlin ("Myrddhin") turns out to be Katie's uncle. There are dragons, centaurs, a naga (and other creatures) in the book; there are even "merlions". At one point, Katie kept her belongings in a duffle-bag of holding. "The Hush" sounded like something out of a recent season of Doctor Who.
I enjoyed the writing in the book. "...the unexpected only works once." "Response is indicative of essence." "...exsanguinates the grandeur." +1 for using the word "kajigger".
One of the phrases used in reference to the book, referring to Katie Lin, is "...and one seriously underestimated damsel". This needs to be on the cover.
So let's talk about the Half-Shell Prophecies. I actually thought I was buying a collection of short stories set in her "Among the Mythos" story world, and ended up sucked into an entire novel. A fun, romping, rollicking ride of a novel that was a marvelous introduction to her universe, despite the fact that I wasn't reading the novels in order. This novel totally stands on its own two feet.
I wouldn't say I'm picky about heroines, but if I'm honest I have very few female leads that I really like. Katie Lin did not annoy me. That's huge. She made me smile. That's even better. I could relate to her. Extremely rare. Things I like about her:
- she's pragmatic
- she's bold in the face of fear
- she sees beyond the surface appearance of someone
- she has the ability to love the unlovable and to put up with irritations
- she doesn't give up
Argh. The list above doesn't sum her up at all, though. She's a unique and fascinating character. She's a person who can do magic who rejects magic. Her genetic heritage makes her hotly pursued for her uterus (that part makes me laugh every time!), and makes it difficult to trust that men really like her for herself. Baby dragons love her. Elven kings are impressed by her. Her uncle is the wizard Merlin. But she's nothing special, in her own mind. She'd rather just lead a quiet life.
Yeah, that's a heroine I don't mind following around. And don't get me started on the other characters. And the riches of the "pocket dimensions" that exist in parallel to our human Earth, full of magical beings like the Fae, Shadow's Breath, Guardians and the Kin.
As a kid, my favorite thing was to find a fantasy series that had huge scope and a large, interesting world to explore. As an adult, I have a hard time finding time to read. Ruthanne's story world fits perfectly between those two things. 15,000 years of story, vivid and original writing style, compelling and engaging characters, all in manageable chunks. Did you know she's got a bunch of shorter stories? I was actually at her website checking her wiki in order to verify a couple things in this review.
As a side note (for parents who wonder if it's a book for teens), I'd say this book had enough adult themes and profanity that I'd rate it just a bit beyond PG-13, but probably not explicit enough to be R.
In an endless sea of ebooks out there, I've found an author whose style I find delightful, whose words I gobble up, and who promises to provide entertainment for some time to come. Top notch in every way I measure a book. Thank you, Ruthanne. Write on!
To be completely fair, I'm not the biggest sci-fi/fantasy fan. However I'm glad that I took the time to read this book. I found myself enthralled by the worlds that Ruthanne described, all of the unique and interesting characters that her words brought to life, and to top it off, a story that made it difficult to stop reading.
I highly recommend this book, I can't wait to read more of Ruthanne's books!
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book for an honest review.