Monday, September 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Casual Vacancy

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly feature started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's where we can gossip about yet-to-be-released books that we're looking forward to.

The Casual Vacancy

 When Barry Fairweather dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Do I even have to say anything about why I want this book NOW? It's J.K. Rowling for crying out loud! I've read the entire Harry Potter series upwards of a dozen times, so you could say I'm a big fan of hers. I don't care what the book is about, though you have to admit it sounds awesome, I'll read anything she writes. So here's looking forward to September 27th!

**The Casual Vacancy  releases on September 27th, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company.

SOUL THIEF by Jana Oliver

 Soul Thief (The Demon Trappers #2)Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them… 
Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad.  With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.

But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever…

Book 2 of The Demon Trappers series is just as intriguing as the first, The Demon Trapper's Daughter, but with a few key differences. First of all, Simon, Riley's new boyfriend, is a completely different person than he used to be. The sacrifice Riley made to save his life is lost on him, and he turns on her with everything he has, all in the name of God. As a reader, I was thrown by his actions, his character entirely recognizable, but as a writer, I understand that his decisions were a natural consequence of the recent tragedies he's been through. Overall, Simon's transformation was unexpected and, to be truthful, sucky, yet comprehensible in terms of the novel's plot. 

The second major difference was Ori's enlarged role in the story. Instead of being the bad boy lurking in the background, this bad boy is always lingering just out of sight. Riley's shock over Simon's betrayal sends her right into Ori's arms, something that doesn't mind anyone but Beck, an old family friend who isn't old at all. The switch of romantic interests was pretty quick, maybe a little too quick for my liking, but again, it fit the story.

Personally, I'm rooting for Beck with everything I've got, but he's certainly got his work cut out for him. Even with Riley being remarkably bright for a seventeen-year-old, she can be extremely dense at times, not registering even the most obvious signs of his affection for her. 

The action, namely demon-slaying and ass-kicking, in Soul Thief was perfect. Surprise attacks popping up when least expected and most of the time when least needed added a level of excitement to the entire read. Riley's turmoil of emotions brought a level of honesty to the book that is definitely needed when urban fantasy is involved. I loved reading about her friendship with Ayden, her witchy helper and the sister-sister dynamic that was really present in that relationship.

To sum up, little things bothered me, but not enough to distract me from thoroughly enjoying the story. A quick thrill of a read, I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in urban fantasy. If you don't like reading about demons, this probably isn't the book for you. Can't wait to get my hands on book 3, Forgiven!

 4.5/5 stars