I picked this book up ages ago. Because of a vague recommendation on Goodreads. And then I kind of forgot about it. Until this week. And now I’m kind of sad that I had forgotten about this amazing novel for so long. And currently don’t have the spare funds in the budget to buy the other two books in this trilogy.
I had no idea what to expect from this novella. I have never read anything by Allyson James and the blurb that accompanies the tale isn’t full of much information. So I basically started this completely blind. And it was so good that I found it impossible to put down. To the point that I was even reading this novella (and dying to finish it) while I was out for dinner and at a friend’s birthday…
I forgot how much I love this book. I first read it about six years ago, and although I remembered that it was fun, I didn’t really remember anything else about it. Which kind of made this reread like discovering the story again for the very first time. And it was amazing. And beautiful. And really difficult to put down… I had to actually put a timer on to stop myself from over reading. Especially when I actually had study and things to do.
I really, really like Asil. And I really, really like Christmas. So a story that features both… I’m most likely going to enjoy that. And when it is written in the drily humorous tones of Patricia Briggs… yeah. I really couldn’t put this down. I wandered around the house (and walked into a few doorways) for about ten minutes while I just completely devoured this story.
Ben is intriguing from his very first appearance in Moon Called. Although, not exactly all that attractive. Just… interesting. Yet, as the series progresses, he becomes a fair more enjoyable and beloved character. One that I constantly want to hear more and more about as the insanity of the storylines unfolds… so I was more than a little ecstatic when I found out that there was a short story solely based around Ben…
I always forget how much I love the books in the Mercedes Thompson world. Actually, I don’t quite forget… I just don’t think that they could possibly be that good. And then I open one, and I don’t know why I don’t just read these books on repeat. (Probably because I have FAR too many other books that I also want to read…. It makes decision making incredibly hard).
The notion of dream crowns and the ways in which these can work was completely foreign to me. I loved the idea of layer upon layer of intricate memory and thoughts. The way that emotions are literally carved into stone to give a beautiful and long-lasting way to live in one’s own happiness. And I also loved the way in which this dreamscape is layered upon a questing desire and an LGBTQI desire.
I was wondering how the woman in this was going to overcome her quite clearly obnoxious husband and slightly awful circumstances. I was also wondering what kind of message would be imparted in this steampunk short story. And I really wasn’t disappointed…. Using wits and a bit more blood thirst than I’m used to, she is able to free herself. But, it is only after she has done so that she truly wonders at the cost of such an action.
I absolutely adored this novella. It’s fast-paced, kind of sassy and full of action. Not to mention the woman in the couple is the one more likely to kick your ass. That, and all of this fast-paced, sassy action takes place in Shanghai, with the backdrop of the Chinese New Year. The setting gives an extra layer of character and beauty to the storyline that I don’t often experience in novellas.
I knew from the very beginning that this would be a great story about a strong woman. After all, it starts with Medb being asked to marry a man by her father. Set in medieval times. And when she is only fourteen. There is even the comment that no one would push her into anything. So, mostly I was wondering how a romance was going to happen when you start with a character that just isn’t interested in marriage and has that kind of independence straight away. Most of the romance stories in The Mammoth Book of Irish Romance have far more submissive women. And I loved this change.