Sorcerer Marla Mason, small-time guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla's life - and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla's only chance of survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere in San Francisco. But when she arrives there, Marla finds that the quest isn't going to be quite as cut-and-dried as she expected...and that some of the people she needs to talk to are dead.
It seems that San Francisco's top sorcerers are having troubles of their own - a mysterious assailant has the city's magical community in a panic, and the local talent is being (gruesomely) picked off one by one.With her partner-in-crime, Rondeau, Marla is soon racing against time through San Francisco's alien streets, dodging poisonous frogs, murderous hummingbirds, cannibals, and a nasty vibe from the local witchery, who suspect that Marla herself may be behind the recent murders. And if Marla doesn't figure out who is killing the city's finest in time, she'll be in danger of becoming a magical statistic herself.
©2007 T.A. Pratt; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
Marla Mason is the head sorceress of Felport and is on a mission to find the cornerstone to cast a spell and therefore defeat her main rival Susan. However life is never simple and she soon finds herself up against other sorcerers, frogs and even hummingbirds. I found this book a little slow to begin with and I wasn't sure if I liked Marla or not as she came across as quite horrible in places. However I persevered and I did eventually warm to her character. Her two sidekicks Rondo and B for me made the book as I found them quite funny. I Was wanting to give this book 3.5 stars not quite a 4.
"The Title Explains It All"
I usually do not write reviews, but I just thought I'd give it a shot this time. The book is a great read/listen. I listened at work and found it entertaining, made the day flow by quicker. Some audio books can take a while for me to understand where the story is going, this one I picked up what was happening right away. The reason for writing this review is that enjoyed the book and wanted to see which is the next in the series. It took a little investigating because they are not numbered, so I went to T.A. Pratt's site. The order goes as follows.
In Blood Engines
In Poison Sleep
In Dead Reign
In Spell Games
I hope that helps some people who enjoyed the first book and would like to follow the series, and not make the mistake of downloading the books not in series sequence.
"Imaginative and action-packed"
A very pleasant discovery, this novel has a fairly basic plot -- mostly just the main character and her sidekick chasing all over San Francisco looking for a magical object and a mad sorcerer. However, the magic -- attacks by frogs and hummingbirds, oracles in sewers, a goddess of possibilities -- are original and beautifully imagined. The heroine is very ruthless, not your typical goody-two-shoes that people find "sympathetic," and perhaps the author hits that note a few times too many, but I found it refreshing. I'll be checking out the sequel.
This is a great book! The universe this author has created is varied, interesting and dangerous, and so are the characters. While some of the topics referred to are perhaps not appropriate for children, my teenager (who usually sneers at my audio books or asks if I can turn them off) was so hooked by this book he'd ask me to pause it when he left the room, and bugged me about looking for possible sequels.
"Good Beginning to series"
I am definitely glad I had listened to Bone Shop first, so that I had some historical background of Marla Mason and Rondeau. Marla comes across as cold and calculating and a bit ruthless at times. Rondeau helps to counterbalance that and to also allow some of her softness to show or she might be a bit to cruel to be considered as a heroine. Also, one wonders if she might be a bit gentler is she still possessed her memories of Daniel, which she has erased from her memory in Bone Shop by a spell she asked for. At least we know now that she realizes that she has to be careful how she uses her cape, lest it take her over and she becomes a rampaging serial killer. Despite all of this, one comes to appreciate and even like Marla. You get the feeling that she really does appreciate her friends and she is trying to do what is right. I hope we get to see 'B" in future novels as his "seeing" can provide a different slant on how the direction of the story can go. I also have been actually enjoying Jessica Almasy's reading of this series. I wasn't sure I would at the beginning of Bone Shop, but she actually does a credible job. I didn't find her annoying at all once I got into the story.
This is excellent story packed with wit and character. Ms. Almasy's narration is spirited and fits the story and characters well.
Not bad. Good enough to listen to series! Narration ok. Good buy on sale! Ended up buying them all.
"Nothing to read since..."
you finished Kim Harrisons latest? LOOK no further! This is your new favorite series!
Complex characters, interesting magical ideas and practices, a GREAT story with cool twists. Its hard to find good urban fantasy, there is allot of crap to swim through out there. This series is awesome.
"I LOVE Marla Mason's world --"
Marla Mason is a spunky wizard with a city to protect, and she doesn't apologize for her priorities. It's such a fun world that I got sucked in immediately. The narrator is awesome, so great in fact, that for me, she IS Marla Mason. Come on T.A., give us what we want -- hurry up and publish book 5! Pretty please?
"AWFUL Choice for a Narrator!"
I purchased this book during the $4.95 sale because I had looked at it in print, and it seemed like something I would like. Well, I'm certainly glad I didn't waste a credit or full price on it because in spite of a good story, the narrator spoils it. I Googled Jessica Almasy just to be sure that she wasn't really a 12 year old before I criticized her for sounding like one. Although the information on her is sparse, she is clearly an adult who is simply cursed with forever sounding like a pre-adolescent.
The main character is a strong, adult woman. I cannot begin to fathom how Almasy, with her little-girl voice, was selected to read these novels. (Unfortunately, she reads the entire series; I will not be listening to any more!) She reads competently enough. Her pacing and phrasing are decent, and she pronounces words correctly, but she cannot handle these characters. If her ability to voice Marla is doubtful, her ability to voice male characters is farcical. All male voices sound alike: vaguely constipated versions of Marla.
As for the story and the writing, I've enjoyed them as much as possible with the handicap of Almasy's reading. I think I will enjoy reading the other novels in the series to myself much more than I have enjoyed listening to this one. If I could divide the star ratings up, I'd give the narration 1 star just because it is SO inappropriate, and the novel itself 4 stars.
"A warning for the literate"
There are many writers who are discovery writers: they sit down at a keyboard and make up a story as they go along. After the novel is written, they go back and clean up the plot holes, clear away the extraneous detail, and add the details and foreshadowing that make the story flow in a logical sequence. Unfortunately this novel reads like the first draft of a discovery writer who failed to review his work. New elements of the story appear abruptly as the writer thinks of each cool new idea and consistently fails to tie the ideas and scenes together or prune away ideas that don't advance the story. For example, the long drawn out sex club scene includes descriptions of equipment, people, and events that were not relevant to the story. The writer should either make such information relevant or leave it out.
Finally, the narrator Jessica Almasy has an abrupt, halting way of reading that is similar to a computer generated voice in a text-to-speech system. Meaning is drained from the words as they are translated into sound. Her stumbling, awkward speech constantly knocks the listener out of the story.
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