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on 26 May 2010
Let me put this right out there; I LOVE this series.
I bought the first two initially on a whim and have had to wait the painful year in between each subsequent book but this wait has been the most worthwhile. Miss Thurman's writing feels like it has grown up over the course of the series and this compliments perfectly how much Cal has grown himself as a character since the first book, Nightlife.
Goodfellow is probably my favourite supporting character of all time and is the prompting for most of the real laugh out loud moments; I especially love the imagery of him taking his un-dead mummified cat in a pet carrier along on a monster hunt in a swamp for the exercise. Normal, but very much not normal.
As expected of this series there are scenes of real tenderness - the relationships between the characters being the real selling point of these books - interspersed with some truly horrifying imagery. The bad guys are always skin crawlingly awful, the good guys can sometimes blur the lines but you always understand why. Their stories are all explained, their pasts sometimes harrowing, their characters completely fleshed out.
I was glad to go back to the story being predominantly narrated by Cal, as the switch between Cal and Niko in the last book sometimes threw me and had me shuffling back a few pages to check who I was supposed to be at the time. Promise is completely absent which might please some readers but I felt she gives Niko a bit more dimension than simply running around after Cal all of the time.
The run up to the end truly upset me and on the last few pages I felt myself more emotionally involved than I probably should have been but I think this is the sign of a good book; you really do care about these boys. There's a warmth in their dealings with each other - not just the two brothers - which is completely at odds with the harshness of their lives and stands out because of this.
Miss Thurman has left this in a place where we feel we can expect another novel, which is fab. I can't imagine where it's going to go from here but then I felt the same after Deathwish and I've been more than pleasantly surprised.
Give this series a go if you're considering it; it's very definitely worth your time.
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on 8 April 2010
Cal and Niko Leandros are hired by Abelia-Roo to recover something which has been stolen from her Romney clan. Oh, and by the way, the stolen item is a coffin which contains The Plague of the World and, it seems, the seals are not completely holding The Plague inside any more. If Cal, Niko, and Robin Goodfellow can't find the person who stole the coffin before the seals break down completely, there will be death on a monumental scale.

I was very glad to see that author Rob Thurman has presented this story from the perspective of Cal, the half human/half Auphe (demon)young man who has now reached the age when he should be considered an adult. But only if his brother Niko will let go long enough for Cal to make some mistakes and learn from them. Ahh, but that's a problem, because when Cal makes a mistake, people - or things - die. The first portion of this book had some seriously laugh out loud moments. I was going to use a quote to illustrate that, but there were so many I decided to just let you read the book for yourself and enjoy them as you come to them. Then slowly this road trip from hell turns in a dark and intense direction. In a previous book Cal and Niko had confronted the Auphe and killed them all. Really? No, not all. But the revelation of that little mystery is part of why this is such a wonderfully written book. By the end of the story I found myself sniffing and tearing up and needing a tissue. As would be expected when dealing with The Plague of the World, there are some seriously dangerous situations our band of happy warriors find themselves involved in. When you add Delilah, Cal's werewolf girlfriend into the mix and then toss in two more characters from previous novels, well, I never knew exactly where we were going next. This author was able to handle a pet peeve of mine in wonderful fashion. She inserted information regarding the back story of the characters and from her other books in the series without making my eyes roll back in my head from sheer boredom. Quite an accomplishment and a sign to me of great writing skill.

Is this a stand alone book in this series? Definitely yes because of the skillful blending of current and back story. This entire series of books is very highly recommended by me. This particular novel had me fully engaged from the very first page. It is very dark and intense by the time the final confrontation happens, but with this genre that is to be expected. The episode in the farmhouse was quite disturbing, but then so much of urban fantasy can be disturbing on many levels. I sat down and started reading the book and I would have willingly read straight through to the conclusion if my eyes had not demanded rest. I'm hoping that the two characters in the epilogue are not gone from the series forever. I really like both of them and don't want to say goodbye.
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on 29 June 2010
Overall, I liked it a lot.

A lot of Cal's inner monologue, in particular, feels very padded this time around -- he'll all too often say the same thing three times in one paragraph using slightly different words, which dilutes and therefore detracts from the humor I'm used to depending on him for. Robin is especially one-note here as well. It's quite the weird reversal when I find myself enjoying Niko's sarcasm more than Cal's. And there are crucial scenes with the wolf brothers that I thought ought to have taken place "on camera" rather than us being told about them later, or through the eyes of a much less involved third party. If the mute brother can narrate his own chapters, he can give us those crucial conversations firsthand. Their story is incredibly moving, but I felt left out for bits of it, as though the impact ought to have been stronger and could easily have been made so. These are small things with large impact that could have been tightened up in the editorial stages.

That said, it's a series. On its own, the book feels somewhat flabby, but as part of the larger narrative, it's a significant step forward plotwise, especially for Cal (the one I'm invested in. I actually don't foresee much growth for Niko or Robin). Cal is evolving as a person, and that slightly more towards "scary and terrifying" than "mature hero guy." So I'm willing to bet that the directions the books take will be gripping ones, and will still merrily go along for the ride.

I liked the relationship between wolf brothers echoing the more-familiar-to-us brotherly relationship between Cal and Niko. (Does the fate of the werewolves foreshadow future happenings for the Leandros brothers? Hmmm.) Yes, it's very similar, and yes, it's a theme with Thurman (in other works as well), but it's a theme I really enjoy reading about. So, perhaps it's not for everyone, but definitely for me. I'd prefer to see her do more contrasting things in the future, possibly experiment with different character types, but in this particular book, I was OK with it.

Overall, a dark and exciting installment, especially in terms of future ramifications for the characters. The Prince of Plagues frightens me more than any other villain Thurman has come up with -- the very IDEA. Brrrr. A chilling scene with Cal listening to the ominous rattling in his own lungs, first soft, then louder, stayed with me in my dreams for two days.
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on 26 May 2014
There's only so many times I can review this series, and so many words to use. I end up repeating myself. Quite simply, the writing will drag you in, kicking and screaming perhaps, but don't kid yourself - you love it. The characters breathe and live; the dangers are truly scary; the monsters are terrifying. And you will love every single second of it. The series shows no sign of running out of steam, and the writing is consisitently magnificent - if not better each time. It's a rare series that can manage this number of books without throwing at least one runt of the litter, but Thurman - thank the gods - has managed to write a series that just goes from strength to strength. Highly recommended - in fact, I cannot recommend enough.
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on 29 March 2013
Delivery was good. Arrived when expected. The book itself (story wise) wasn't quite as I thought it would be, so it was a struggle to finish reading it. I did though, but probably won't read any more in this series.
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on 28 May 2013
Not quite as good as the others. Although I liked the big bad and I enjoyed the road trip, I wasn't particularly interested in the sick Werewolf's thoughts. I like the brothers dealing with problems on their own.
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on 20 August 2013
I love these books, they are smart, fun and sassy. The characters get better and better as these novels progress.
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on 21 March 2016
Loved it.
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