Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace

envy-of-angels-by-matt-wallce“Envy of Angels” by Matt Wallace
Series: Sin du Jour #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy novella
Setting: New York City
Published by Tor.com, 2015
E-book, purchased
225 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings?

Welcome to Sin du Jour – where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.

“Most important rule of working here,” he tells her. “Just when you think you’ve got a handle on how fucking sick the universe’s sense of humor is, it goes and tells you an even dirtier joke.”

and

At some point the ground beneath their feet disappears and all four of them are slipping through.

The entire world has become a child’s playpen.

There’s no bottom.

Initial impressions

  • What a fun, strange book!

The story

  • Lena and Darren are unemployed cooks, because they’re blackballed in NYC.
  • They have to find something soon or they’re going to have to go outside of NYC.
  • They get an opportunity to work for at least a week with an iconic chef.
  • Sin du Jour is a private club that caters to demons. Lena and Darren don’t know demons exist or anything about Sin du Jour before they start working, but they find out!

Pluses

  • It’s ironic and satiric and even silly sometimes. Just a lot of fun!
  • This was a little like watching a reality TV cooking show–maybe Hell’s Kitchen–if there were demons!
  • Funny, but also some horror vibes to the story as I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen.
  • Written in present tense–gives an immediacy to the story as though it’s happening right now. Also the story is told with detachment toward the characters. I didn’t feel very close to them so I felt every character was in danger. That really works for this story.

Minuses

  • There’s not a lot of world building. I hope there’s more world building in the next book, because this world has lots of promise.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • The second novella was published in January and the third one is coming out later this month.
  •  Since 2015 Tor.com has been publishing novellas from a number of authors. I really like that they are doing this. I can try new authors and read authors I already like in a shorter version which means I can read more new fiction!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

  • 2016 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Bingo Reading Challenge–hosted by the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog– Sci Fi Fantasy Humor

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

daughter-of-smoke-and-boneDaughter of Smoke & Bone
by Laini Taylor
Narrated by Kristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011
E-book, Purchased
Length: 12 hours, 32 minutes
418 pages
Grade: B+
Narration Grade: B+
Synopsis: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

and

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.”

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”

Likes

  • The world building is complex and interesting.
  • Karou doesn’t really know what is going on in her world…and neither do we. I like the way the reader learns things as Karou does. There is a lot of ambiguity about the supernatural world in this book. All is not as it seems.
  • Much of the book takes place in Prague, Czechoslovakia. I love the accent the narrator uses for characters such as Zuzana, one of Karou’s best friends.
  • The narration is excellent. Kristine Hvam brings a richness to the story which wouldn’t have there if I had read it instead of listening to it.
  • There is lots of mystery to the story.
  • I like the lushness of the story. Again I think the narrator really aided in that.
  • I like the romance!

Dislikes

  • The book seems divided in two. The first half of the book is all about Karou and her life both as an art student and running errands for Brimstone. The second half is her meeting with Akiva and what happens then. It’s almost like two stories, however, I liked both stories so this wasn’t too disruptive for me.

Thoughts

  • This was an emotional read for me partly because this is an audiobook I think. The narrator is excellent and she helped add to the immediacy of the story. This book and series has had lots of hype. I really wasn’t aware of that until after I listened to it–I’ve had both the book and the Audible book for a year and a half! I’m very glad I read it. I think I bought book 2 awhile ago!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Reading Challenges

I’m participating in the following reading challenges for this book: