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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Engines - TA Pratt
Sometimes you get to the end of a book and wish you could read it again for the first time, and rediscover every fascinating, brilliant aspect all over again. Blood Engines is most definitely one of those books.

Marla Mason, chief sorcerer of the city of Felport, is in San Francisco looking for an object to save her life. A rival back home is planning to wipe...
Published on 15 Oct 2007 by Naomi Clark

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three and a Half Stars
Sorcerer Marla Manson is in San Francisco with her companion Rondeau, looking for a magical artefact that could save her life. Back in her hometown of Felport, a rival for her position as guardian of the city, is preparing a spell that could destroy her. Unfortunately the sorcerer who had the artefact has just been murdered. He's only the first victim, and it soon becomes...
Published on 3 Feb 2008 by Lesley70


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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Engines - TA Pratt, 15 Oct 2007
This review is from: Blood Engines (Mass Market Paperback)
Sometimes you get to the end of a book and wish you could read it again for the first time, and rediscover every fascinating, brilliant aspect all over again. Blood Engines is most definitely one of those books.

Marla Mason, chief sorcerer of the city of Felport, is in San Francisco looking for an object to save her life. A rival back home is planning to wipe Marla out of existence and she only has one chance to stop that happening. Unfortunately, San Francisco isn't so welcoming to Marla, and between the pornomancers, cannibals and poisonous frogs, her simple quest is turning into a total nightmare.

There's so much going on in this book, it's hard to know where to start. Silicon mages, ancient Aztec gods and body-switching Chinese sorcerers are among the highlights, but it's also worth mentioning Marla's trip through time to see alternate San Franciscos, and I'm bigging up the cannibal again, because that was my favourite chapter.

Marla herself is a delight - not your average angst heroine, nor a "man with boobs" type. She's ruthlessly practical, acidicly witty and refreshingly down-to-earth. Whether she's carving her name in a guy's butt with a whip, or negotiating for her life with a snake-god, she's a joy to follow.

Blood Engines is unlike anything else on the urban fantasy scene at the moment, more in line with Ilona Andrew's Magic Bites than, say, LKH or Kim Harrison. It's inventive, clever, funny and nail-chewingly tense, and I will be reading it again and again while I wait for the sequel.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three and a Half Stars, 3 Feb 2008
This review is from: Blood Engines (Mass Market Paperback)
Sorcerer Marla Manson is in San Francisco with her companion Rondeau, looking for a magical artefact that could save her life. Back in her hometown of Felport, a rival for her position as guardian of the city, is preparing a spell that could destroy her. Unfortunately the sorcerer who had the artefact has just been murdered. He's only the first victim, and it soon becomes clear that if Marla wants to save herself, she's going to have to save San Francisco and the rest of the world first.

First the stuff I had problems with. The beginning is rather like being hit over the head with a mallet. It's very 'tell the reader what's going on by having two characters talk about a situation they're already aware of'. This info-dumpy style pops up throughout the story. Though it does become less intrusive.

I loved the actual adventuring in San Francisco but found the whole reason for being there, to be weak. Causing me at several points in the story (whenever Marla mentioned the terrible spell her rival, Susan, was attempting to cast) to be on Susan's side, wishing she would just cast the spell already. Additionally the timing for this terrible spell felt contrived. Marla needed a reason to be in San Francisco and that was it.

Marla is difficult to like as a character, though this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Initially she appears completely amoral (one rule for her, a different rule for everybody else), but she has a strong sense of integrity not readily apparent. Indeed it's only as we come towards the end of the story that you appreciate she does have more depth than it first appears.

Now, for what I loved about this book. It has some of the most original stuff I've read recently in urban fantasy. People being killed by golden frogs and hummingbirds. Seers talking to sewer grates and trash cans to confirm their visions. Stealing a child's jawbone to use as an oracle in a jar. The train that doesn't go anywhere. A Giant Frog eating San Francisco. There's loads more packed in there, too much to list here. T.A.Pratt also has a way of painting a picture with words, so you can see the golden frogs hopping about the train station, or an impenetrable wall of hummingbirds.

The character of Bradley is fascinating. Initially dismissed by Marla as not having enough power for her to be interested in. He keeps crossing paths with her, in an intentional unintentional way. Circumstances have granted him power, but he uses it in a convoluted manner, in order to be able to cope with what he can do. Through him we get a completely different view of this world of magic and power, and of Marla.

Finally the dialogue, especially in the second half of the book is really well written.

"...we'll find the Parable Witch, or whatever her name is."
"If it's even a her. Or, rather, if it even appears to be a her. Because, honestly, it's going to be an 'it'."

Blood Engines starts off with a heavy hand, but the author's touch becomes lighter as you read through the story and are pulled into the world. Although at the end I find myself hoping a future book will follow B and Cole (a story I would be chomping at the bit for), I'm happy to see where Marla's arrogance and attitude will take her next.

Poison Sleep - Bk2 - Mar 2008
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 27 July 2009
This review is from: Blood Engines (Mass Market Paperback)
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 artefact 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 as a mysterious assailant has the city's magical community in a panic -- the local talent is being picked off one by one.

This book was very hit and miss for me. The dialogue was well written and humourous, but I felt the description and the world building lacked something. Blood Engines felt kind of comic-booky in many ways. There were a lot of interesting and colourful ideas (death by frog!), yet it wasn't enough to feel cohesive. I was still left wondering what the rules of the world were and what ordinary people knew about sorcerers/what they thought about them.

Marla was ok. I thought her amoral-ness would make her interesting (I love morally grey characters) but really, she wasn't interesting at all. She barely experienced any sort of human emotion -- even when her friend Rondeau is in danger she barely makes the effort to feel something for him. I also think the book lacked back-story on the main characters. It started off well, but the character stuff receded too much into the background (pretty much completely) after the initial introductions were made. I was left feeling bored and disconnected with their peril. Characters are probably the most important thing to me in a book, and this one didn't deliver as well as I thought it would. B wasn't intriguing to me in the least... but I loved Rondeau -- he was definitely my favourite character -- if I do read the next book it'll be because I want to learn more about him.

The plot was interesting in places and somewhat dull in others. The final battle felt too convenient and was a bit of a cop-out really... the story had been building to this huge fight and it didn't actually go anywhere.
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Blood Engines
Blood Engines by T A Pratt (Mass Market Paperback - 25 Sep 2007)
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