Review: ‘The Mage In Black’ by Jaye Wells

The Mage In Black

Sabina Kane, Book #2

Author: Jaye Wells

Format: paperback

Publisher: Orbit

Length: 340 pages (incl. Green-Eyed Demon excerpt)

Release Date: April, 2010

Acquired: purchased from




The back cover blurb:

Sabina Kane doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother, leader of the vampire race, wants her dead. So when she arrives in New York to meet her mage relatives, the reunion puts the fun in dysfunctional.

Not only is mage culture completely bizarre, but everyone seems to think she’s some kind of “Chosen” who’ll unite the dark races. Sabina doesn’t care who chose her, she’s not into destiny.

But the mages aren’t Sabina’s only problem. In New York’s Black Light district, she has run-ins with fighting demons, hostile werewolves and an opportunistic old flame.

Sabina thought she’d take a bite out of the Big Apple, but it looks like it wants to bite her back.


My thoughts, which may include some minor spoilers:

The Mage In Black is the second book in Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane series. I first picked up book #1, Red-Headed Stepchild at the suggestion of my dear friend over at Waiting For Fairies, and I’m happy that I did. I enjoyed it immensely, burned through it in a few reading sessions and then to my chagrin, neglected to pick up book #2 when it was published last year. I have remedied that gross oversight in my reading repertoire however, and  so without further ado…

The story opens just days after the ending of Red-Headed Stepchild and Sabina and Adam are on their way to New York City so that Sabina can join the mages and meet her twin sister. Giguhl is, of course, along for the ride and provides much comic relief throughout the story. Vampire assassins start the first chapter off with a bang and we get to see a pretty good fight scene which really sets the pace of the story right out of the gate.

I did hit a slow spot right around the middle of the book, as Sabina started learning to use her magic, but it didn’t last long and I got through the rest of the book in a couple of sittings. A couple of nit-picks (just because I’m fond of nit-picking!) and then I’ll move on to what I liked about the story.

Rhea cussing really left a bad taste in my mouth because she struck me as being more refined and respectable than that. Sabina has a potty mouth but that’s kind of expected in a trained assassin, especially when she started off as an enforcer and has  mingled with the dregs of society and done her share of some serious ass-kicking. But Rhea cussing just rang sour with me and it didn’t seem to fit.

Also, I pegged the baddie right off the bat and I was actually kind of disappointed at the reveal, although the fact that said baddie was dense enough to have been so badly duped made me feel kind of sorry for her.

Next, the way Sabina’s powers manifested kind of made me giggle and I couldn’t help but think, “Cyclops?!”

Finally, I just could not get used to Sabina referring to everyone in her mind as the “male” or the “female”. I don’t recall being annoyed by that in RHS so either it wasn’t an issue for me during that read or the use wasn’t as prevalent. Whatever the case, there were times when the term “woman” was used and so I wasn’t clear on why it was used in a couple of instances when “female” was used most of the time.

Like I said… just nit-picking! On to non-nit-picky stuff!

I was involved in a discussion recently regarding pointless sex in books and this book was one that was mentioned. Having knowledge of the act but not the events surrounding it at the time of the discussion, I waited to see if Sabina’s tryst with Slade was indeed pointless. While wishing she hadn’t done it, for the sake of a possible relationship with Adam, I do understand why she did it.

She felt rejected by the vampires as well as the mages and at that moment, she felt a kinship with Slade. She needed comfort after her disgust at the way she had killed Hawthorne and after being reminded of that horror during her fight with Tiny, she needed something to make her feel good. At least, that’s how I looked at it and while it might not have been the smartest decision for her to make at that moment, it did make sense to me. I was glad at the way Slade helped her out at the mage compound and especially that they parted on good terms.

Demon Fight Club? *chuckle* Awesome. Silly and cheesy, perhaps… but hilarious. Also, cool to see Giguhl kick some ass of his own! AND get the girl. You go, G!

Since mentioning the chuckle I got out of Sabina shooting lasers from her eyes, I ought to mention how the mages circled during the vamp battle, joined their magic and blasted it outward to kick some major vamp ass. That… was very cool.

I have to admit that I spent the entire book worried that Maisie was going to betray Sabina. What? Why no, I’m not suspicious of people in the least, why do you ask? Trust issues? What do you mean, I have trust issues?!

Yes… I fully expected her to be a baddie. No… I’m still not fully convinced that she’s not. We’ll see what Green-Eyed Demon holds in store in that regard. I’ll be reading a galley of it next but I feel the need to add that when I turned the final page of this book and discovered that it was the end, I was glad that I hadn’t picked it up last year because I totally had a “NOOOOOO!” moment that it was over. As it is, I can start GED right… now. *smug* I’ll let you know what I think in a couple of days.

Fave quotes:

“Why is it forked?”

“I waved my hands in the air and shook my head, as if trying to shake off the crazy.”

“Adam, this is Slade. He’s an old friend. Slade, this is Adam. He’s my-”  “I’m her new friend.”

Review: ‘The Name Of The Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss (audio)

The Name Of The Wind

Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Format: audio book

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Narrated by Nick Podehl

Length: 27 hours, 58 minutes

Release Date: 05-15-09

Acquired: as a gift


Publisher’s Summary:

“My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”

So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.

My thoughts:

Before I talk about the story, I want to mention my experience with the audio book. I had rather a hard time getting into this story and I think it was due mainly to the reader, Nick Podehl. I just could not maintain interest and found myself wishing for the book in my hand so I could give it my own voice. Once I got used to the new-to-me reader however, I enjoyed the hell out of this story!

I have a friend that restarts her audio books several times until she gets a feel for the reader and while I’ve never really found that necessary in my own audio book experiences, I wish I had tried that tactic with this book. I missed out on a lot in the first third of the book because I just couldn’t get a feel for it and when I had to pause for whatever reason, I didn’t find myself anxious to get back to it like I began to do once Kvothe arrived at the University. Now that I’m used to  and thoroughly enjoy Podehl’s reading, I’m more than ready to listen to him read The Wise Man’s Fear when it’s released next week. Look for that review soon!

Moving along… as the blurb states, this is essentially a story of Kvothe Kingkiller’s childhood and education, as told by him. However, when we first meet Kvothe, he’s not “Kvothe” but “Kote” and he’s an innkeeper in a small village. He gets the same customers in the inn for dinner every evening and occasionally he gets to listen to Cobb, the eldest of them, tell stories about the legendary Kvothe. On one such evening, one of the regulars staggers into the bar, bloodied and terrified. He’s been attacked by… something. A demon, the townsfolk think but Kvothe knows better.

While he’s out one night, intent on killing the other somethings that he knows must be about, he meets a traveler. Meets him and saves his life from the aforementioned somethings. This traveler happens to be a scribe. He’s The Chronicler, in fact, and he very much wants to get the story of Kvothe’s remarkable life, straight from the source. Despite having another engagement, Chronicler agrees to stay and spend three days with Kvothe in his little inn, writing the story of the legend in his own words. This book, of course, is the first day of that recitation and nearly the entire book is Kvothe recounting the events of his childhood.

Which was wrought with tragedy and loss, might I add. As the blurb states, Kvothe is an orphan and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of his parents instill in him a desire to find those responsible and somehow, to take his revenge. In order to find them, not to mention the whole revenge thing, Kvothe needs to be educated and to do this, he needs to attend the University. So he sets out to do just that.

I absolutely loved Kvothe’s University experience, especially scenes with his mentors and his friends, and the way Kvothe begins to work on building a reputation for himself. His time at the University was interesting and funny, sprinkled with a bit of injustice and some infuriatingly nasty people. I love that teenage Kvothe is so clever and brilliant but the unfairness he encounters is extremely frustrating for me to read. I found myself angry that he was judged so poorly at times and that one certain, vindictive and petty person was allowed to cause him so much misery and grief.

Sadly, that individual will wreak more -and worse- havoc in the next book and while I’m not looking forward to that, I am very anxious to see what comes next for Kvothe. Very anxious to see more of what makes him such a legend. And very anxious to see more of what’s going on the the present-tense of the story, especially after a disturbing visitor comes to the inn on the evening of day 1 of Kvothe’s story. Looks like there’s much to look forward to next week!


Fave quote:

“I will walk back to Imre this very night and set fire to your house. Then, when you run out the front door in your night shirt and stockle cap, I will kill you, cook you and eat you, right there on your lawn while all your neighbors watch!”

(there were more chuckle-inducing moments than this but I didn’t get them written down… there was a lot of funny in this book!)

Review: ‘Managing Death’ by Trent Jamieson

Managing Death, book #2 in Trent Jamieson’s Death Works series, picks up a mere two months after the end of book #1, Death Most Definite… and Regional Manager Steven de Selby still has a lot to learn about being Death. He could really use an instruction manual!



It’s not easy being Death. For starters, people keep dying. And then, they keep getting up again.

Steven de Selby got promoted. This makes the increasing number of stirrers (and the disturbing rumors of a zombie god rising sometime soon) his problem. That time management seminar he keeps meaning to take would also remind him that he’s got a Death Moot to plan, a Christmas party to organize, and an end-of-the-world thing to avert.

Steven must start managing Death, before Death starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than Regional.

Steven’s been slacking off a bit on the job. He has horrific nightmares, even though he doesn’t really need to sleep at all, and so he drinks too much. Being Death isn’t all its cracked up to be. With the other twelve Regional Managers arriving in Brisbane in a matter of days for the biannual Death Moot that he still needs to organize, his girlfriend angry with him and someone trying to kill him… again… it’s no wonder he’s been hitting the bottle kind of hard.

Then there’s the bizarre Stirrer activity and, oh yeah… the Stirrer god that’s approaching to end the world. Steven needs to do something about that, too. Where is that to-do list again? The problem is that he was just a regular old Pomp before Morrigan, the Ankou to Mr. D, Steven’s predecessor, began a Schism and killed all of the other Pomps in the region, Steven’s parents and Lissa included, in an attempt to grab the Regional Manager position for himself. Steven defeated Morrigan during the Negotiation but he’s a bit clueless as to where to go from there.

Sure, he’s Death and has all kinds of mad skills due to that little promotion, but he still hasn’t come into his power. Not fully. There’s political maneuvering amongst the other RMs and he doesn’t know who to trust. He’s been offered an alliance by a couple of them and accepting one of them might seriously jeopardize his relationship with Lissa. Would he do such a thing? He loves Lissa, went into Hell itself to bring her back… sure, he really needs the help but would he lie to her to get it?

It took me a bit to get into this book but I don’t think it had anything to do with the story. It was just me, being distracted and trying to start reading entirely too late at night. Once I had some time and wasn’t so tired, I tore through it relatively quickly and happily, had that ‘can’t put it down’ feeling that I absolutely love to have. I enjoyed Steven’s bit of rebellion, his grudging decision to knuckle down and do his job and finally, his acceptance of what he must do, despite the way responsibility has once again been thrust on him unasked for and unwanted.

Once again, Steven breaks the rules to save his love and that’s a touching addition. His tendency to want to physically touch Lissa whenever possible is a sweet reminder of how badly he wanted to touch her in book #1 but was unable to do so, else he pomp her and send her spirit to Hell. His love for Lissa, I think, is a driving force for him to do what must be done to save the world and that bit of humanity that he’s hanging onto tooth and nail is one reason I’m so enamored of this story.

But I must also mention the humor. I found myself chuckling quite often while reading this book, as well as while reading book #1.  Steven is a snarky, reluctant protagonist and I adore his dry sense of humor and various pop culture references. Jamieson has me hooked and I will anxiously await the release of the next book in the series, The Business of Death, due out in September of this year. Come oooonn, September!

Fave quotes:

“When did you last reply to one of my invitations on Facebook, or comment on an update? You’re not even following me on Twitter.” ~Death

‘We saved each other. Whether it was the right thing or not, it was the only thing either of us would have done. And hang the consequences.’

‘I see stars, literally all sorts of unnerving constellations. Aquarius-today you will have the shit beaten out of you, dope. Dress for wet weather, and probable death.’

‘I feel like I’m an out-take of Highlander. “There can only be one,” I mumble.’