The Hawk and His Boy by Christopher Bunn

The Hawk And His Boy (The Tormay Trilogy)The Hawk And His Boy by Christopher Bunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Gist
Jute is forced by the Thieves Guild to steal a box from the tower of a local merchant. The house is guarded by wards, and Jute is the only one who knows how to move silently and to still his mind so that the wards cannot see or hear him.

"Don't open the box, or I will gut you," said the Knife, the man who waits for Jute to return with the box.

Jute didn't mean to open the box. It just kind of happened. He didn't mean to reach for the blade inside and cut his finger. It just kind of happened. And when he does, the luster of the blade fades.

When Jute returns with the box and swears he didn't open it, the Knife stabs him with a poisoned needle. Enough poison to kill a horse.

Jute falls back down the chimney and into the house he just robbed. Everything goes black, and when he wakes up...

Wait, he shouldn't have woken up. He'd just been poisoned and had fallen three stories down a chimney. What was that item in the box?

What I liked
I was a little leery to read this book. I've lost interest in most traditional fantasy books, preferring more urban fantasy lately. I guess I've burned out on them.

Add to that the fact that I've never heard of this author before, I wasn't expecting much. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. There were elements of this story that reminded me of Brent Weeks' trilogy as there were some darker elements to the story. In fact, I think I'd label this as a dark fantasy for middle grade or early YA, but it can be enjoyed by all ages.

From the first chapter, the author intrigued me with the mysteries of his world--the box with the blade inside, the secrets of the characters, the intrigue and history of a very deep, dark world.

What I didn't like
I think Bunn's characters could have a little more "stage presence". They all had distinct personalities, but it seemed more like different shades of gray, rather than bright, vibrant contrasting colors. I think I'd like to read more by this author, and I'm hoping he grows and learns about character development.

I also was disappointed by the ending. I don't mind cliff hangers, but I'm used to there being smaller plots withing bigger plots. The small plot is resolved within each book, and the big plot takes the entire series to resolve. But all the same, I think this just means I need to find the other two books.

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Changes by Jim Butcher

Changes (The Dresden Files, #12)Changes by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In one book, Butcher strips away everything Harry Dresden holds dear. I've heard many people talk about this book, and when I finally got to it, I thought it couldn't possibly be as bad as people have said. There is another book coming out, after all. There has to be some Dresden-verse left to continue the story.

No, Butcher really does tear apart the world that he took 11 books to build. A phone call: They took our daughter, says Susan. What daughter? Susan hasn't been in the story for seven books or so. And thus Dresden sets out to save the child he never met. Thinking of her alone and scared, held by Red Court vampires, and remembering his own childhood as an orphan, Dresden is willing to do anything to save her.

Even if it means selling his soul. There's a lot of bidders out there.

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