Act of Mercy

by Mandy M. Roth

3/5

 

ActOfMercy

This was a short and neat, easy reading. My new favorite: quick and really entertaining. There are supernatural shifters, mad doctors with insane human experiments, military special ops and even a small love story (steamy sex scene included).

It is the first in a series, PSI-Ops, but there seems like this author has several series that happen within the same universe and seems to be somewhat interconnected. I might end up reading the whole of this series (5 books), but I’m not sure I’ll read them all. There are a lot of them!

Who knows, though!

If all of them are as quick a read as this one, I might end up checking them all off the list during my next time stuck t an airport.

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The Beating of his Wings

by Paul Hoffman
3/5

Strangely, it was a much less violent ending than the one I expected. And, really, there’s no way anyone would call this book violence-free.

There is, after all, two instances of death by slow bludgeoning.

And, still, I felt it milder than the previous two. It might be because there were fewer deaths where Thomas Cale was directly involved and observing? I think I will blame it all on the strange and debilitating sickness that brings him down from the avenging angel thing he had going on before.

 

spoiler alert

I think this is ultimately a sad story, with a sad and anti-climatic ending. But it is the only way it could have gone. After all the suffering, the betrayals, the loss, and the life-or-death battles won… the only thing left for Cale is an absolute disappointment. And we’re left not knowing what becomes of him.

He gave everything of himself to save a world that didn’t want him.  they were so afraid of him because they didn’t understand him; because he didn’t operate under the same twisted and corrupt rules as they did. Bu, because it was the only way they knew, his way (that in no way was better nor worse) was simply scary and unacceptable.

And the three boys raised for nothing more but murder in a horrible place, don’t understand the world any more than the world understands them. And they have only each other and their war effort.

And then, not even that.

I really liked this series. I liked that it made me think about the silly things that have become acceptable in our society only because it is the only way we know. I liked that it makes fun of our baser selves without being funny. And I liked that this all continues to feel familiar while feeling totally new.

What I didn’t like was the strange illness that weakens and kind of disfigures Thomas Cale in this book. I didn’t see the point of it, and it felt like it was making the book unnecessarily long and slow at times.

I don’t know if I would read the third one again, but I definitely enjoyed the whole series and felt it was given a satisfying ending.

No closure whatsoever. That feels like the right kind of end for this story.

War, heartbreak and friendship

3/5

The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman

While there not as many little action sequences as in the previous one, this one did have more mass violence and strategy. It felt more like a book about war, almost as if I were back at college reading about all the disturbingly creative ways people have devised over the centuries to systematically kill each other.

The Last Four Things does take the massacre and disturbing imagery farther than The Left Hand of God did. There were some people being blown to pieces, bolts raining down from the sky to kill dozens, and most gruesome of all, the almost complete annihilation of an entire envoy of women and children for the sake of making a point.

The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman
The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman

It never reaches the disgustingly gory level, if only for the couple of times we…

reserve the right to look away

…instead of going into detail about the most horrendous war crimes that are talked about. Because that’s what it all feels like… a series if hideous and unnecessary war crimes.

That is to say, this is most assuredly not an uplifting read. And it is definitely not for everyone. It has many religious reference that could easily be offensive for some and a heavy handed criticism of many things… from holy war and the politics withing religious institutions, to the decision-making processes of all kinds politicians or leaders and the easily swayed loyalties of people.

One of the positive things that come from all the killing and betrayal, is the seemingly reluctant friendship between two of these kids that have survived the grueling upbringing of abusive monks seeking to make ruthless soldiers out of children, Thomas Cale and Vague Henri.

They mostly don’t agree with each other’s choices and decisively tell one another all that’s wrong with their actions… but continue to follow each other to the origin of their traumas, to war, to perilous travels, and even to the middle of potentially treacherous political alliances.

What better kind of friends? Even when they keep on saying that…

“He’s not that much of a friend”

Everything seems more depressing and more uncertain after finishing the second book, so I will surely read the last one, The Beating of his Wings, if not right away.

Religious Assassins

After the disapointment that was Silver in the Blood, I feel the need for something fast-paced and action packed… Something more in the lines of The Shadow Queen or His Fair Assassin, so I went back over my to-read list and decided to go back and finish The Left Hand of God series.

The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman
The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman

How can you go wrong with some more convent-raised assassins?

The fist one was exactly what I feel like now, all fights and intrigue, with only very brief lulls only meant to allow you to breath some befor throwing you back into the action.

So I’ll be starting The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman, and hoping it delivers.

Last we heard, Thomas Cale had just discovered he’s meant to destroy e world, according to the monks who raised/abused him and trained him as a weapon since he was a small child. He was betrayed by the girl he loved out of fear, after the humiliating defeat of her father’s mighty army, and turned over to the enemy even after he tried to save them all.

If I remember correctly, his friends are still with him, trying to help him, even if he doesn’t know it. So this out to be a good thing, in what could turn really sad easily.

Hopefully it won’t.

Bound for the loony-bin

3/5

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

The best one of the three, I have to say.

The time-loop thing bothered me all along for the first book, and I still think it might have been an unnecessary complication, but I guess it kind of made sense at the end.

What I did like was the fast pace of this book. It was an excellent last part: lots of action and complications, very few slow parts and new characters, and everything having a somewhat satisfactory explanation.

Jacob and Emma never seem to stop and everything happens in the span of a couple of days, really. That makes the reading very exciting, and the few new characters we get are either very shallow or compliment previous events and explanations.

My favorite part was the ending. It felt right.

SPOILER ALERT

it would t have been right for Jacob to simply stick around Peculiardom and forsake his parents without regard to their feelings… specially when he was worried about in bursts all along the second book… I think he had to go back home. If only to be sent packing to the loony-bin.

And, of course! What kind of parent would they be if they didn’t worry about the mental health of their teenage son who ran away in a foreign country only to show back up without any reasonable exploitation. It wouldn’t sound right if the threat of incarceration in an asylum hadn’t been there.

And even better, until the last minute when everything looked lost, Jacob takes everything like a grownup. He knows he did this and it is willing to live with the consequences of his actions. Very mature.

“There was an iron will inside me, I knew that now, and I hope I could hang on to it even as my life grew softer”

I imagine some would have liked the happy/sappy ending best, where Jacob simply stuck around to be with the girl he loves (even when she used to be in love with his grandpa -talk about disturbing), but I think that would have been weird too. She is over a hundred years old, after all.

That relationship did sound a bit worrisome all along. At least by the end of the book it felt more optional.

We don’t learn much about the fate or future of the Peculiars, but as this was the story of Jacob, I don’t think it really mattered.

 

One last thing that I loved and needs to be mentioned:

Machinated postbox = email.

the Angel of Death

4/5

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

The one thought that kept repeating itself in my head: This wold make a great movie.
With all the lame books being made into movies lately, I don’t understand why this one hasn’t been picked up yet. It has it all!

A mysterious warrior lead character? Checked!

An evil and even more mysterious enemy? Checked!

Suspense and excitement? Checked!

Action-packed scenes? Checked! Checked!

Love interest and some non-explicit sex? Checked!

War, death and betrayal? Checked, checked, checked!

I admit that it was not what I was expecting. I thought we would be talking more about paid assassinations and pro-assassin training, but this was more about innocent kids being prepped to die on a holly war without regard for their identity as individuals.

One of those kids is our main character, along with his two friend Vague Henri and Kleist.

I think the anti-hero thing always makes for a good story. You know, the one that’s not sure why he saved the girl and continues to regret it to the end? That’s precisely what we get here.
The few and reluctant acts of kindness Thomas Cale performs are special mostly because they’re unexpected. As much for the reader as for the character himself.
And it is his incomprehensibly good actions and reactions that make you sympathize with him when others try to manipulate him or when he gets finally betrayed by his girl.

“The older I get the more I believe that if love is to be judged by most of its visible effects, it looks more like hatred than friendship”.

At least by the end, we can see he still has friends, loyal ones… even when they are as confused about their friendship’s origin as he is… they don’t abandon him.
One of the things I liked was that it never felt overly depressing even with the descriptions of all the hideous things done to those boys. It never gets too gory, even with the vivisection part and the slaughter/war chapter. And, more importantly to me, it never gets too corny nor too melodramatic even with all the underhanded betrayals and political maneuvering. And I think the reason for this is the running (funny) commentary and (serious) explanations that we get from IdrisPukke and Chancellor Vipond.
The wise elder that have lived through so much that they can get by with telling it as it is, have always been my favorite.
There’s no choice but to read the other two books from this trilogy if we want to know Cale‘s ultimate fate.
Would he put and end to all humankind? After all that has been done to him, can you really blame him is he does?