A few years ago I read a really creepy young adult book called The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle. Most of the time when a YA book claims to be creepy I end up being really disappointed, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. It really was a good creepy book. I read that book and it's sequel and then I looked for more by this author. In my search I came across her latest trilogy written for adults, the Dark alchemy trilogy. While I can't say I enjoyed it as much as her YA books it was still pretty darn good. What I like about it the most is that it's a bit different from other paranormal fantasy books I've read.
Dark Alchemy by Laura Bickle
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Petra Dee is a geologist looking for her father who disappeared in the town of Temperance, Wyoming twenty years ago. Why she waits so long to look for him, I'm not exactly sure, but she has just come from a traumatic experience where she lost the man she loved because of an accident and blames herself for it. Petra doesn't believe in anything she can't prove through science. Little does she know how much her world view is about to change. While in Temperance Petra discovers that there is a whole lot of weirdness there involving alchemy and magic.
I liked Dark Alchemy quite a lot aside from the fact that there is a whole lot of cursing in it that I could have done without. I can ignore it to an extent, but I felt like it was excessive here. There is a lot of mystery to unravel in this book and it kept me turning the pages. The story has a bit of a wild west feel to it, mixed with the whole "somethings not right in this small town" theme. Petra and Gabe were probably my two favorite characters. Gabe had me feeling all warm towards him, yet repulsed at the same time. Not repulsed by his personality, but by his secret and what it entailed. I did feel like the kissing scene in the trailer after Petra "rescued" Gabe was kind of came out of nowhere. The romance definitely could have been developed better, but other than that I liked the way their uneasy relationship progressed.
This is the first adult novel I've read by Laura Bickle. I read her YA duology The Hallowed Ones and really liked it. I was expecting this to be on par with The Hallowed Ones as far as creepy horror goes, but it wasn't really that creepy at all. I really want to categorize this as Urban Fantasy, but it's not in an urban area, so I'm going to go with paranormal for now. The ending left me feeling sad for one character, but there is a sequel, so I'm hoping that part of the story continues.
Mercury Retrograde by Laura Bickle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
At the beginning of Mercury Retrograde it has been 2 months since the events in Dark Alchemy. This time around Petra Dee finds herself battling a basilisk and a female motorcycle gang/cult who call themselves The Sisters of Serpens. I'll give you one guess what they worship. It's also been 2 months since Gabe last spoke to Petra. The ending of Dark Alchemy was rather heart wrenching as far as Gabe went and was the main thing that kept me reading this series.
While I did not find this book as good as Dark Alchemy I did enjoy it. What I enjoyed about it were the parts about Gabe and The Hanged Men. If there had been more focus on The Hanged Men and less on the giant snake I might have given this a higher rating. I'm not even sure I really liked the overall plot of this book. The parts with the giant snake felt like watching one of those Syfy channel B movies at times. I also kind of felt like the motorcycle gang/cult was a little pointless, and I never really cared about Cal or what happened to him. But I was very happy that Gabe got some resolution to his story line.
I kind of wish this had just been a duology instead of a trilogy or series or whatever it's going to end up being, but I will probably stick it out and read the next book because I don't mind continuing on with Petra's and Gabe's story.
Nine of Stars by Laura Bickle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Winter is the most
deadly season in Temperance. And it’s not just because of the fierce
cold. Evil is stalking the backcountry of Yellowstone, killing wolves
and leaving only their skins behind.
As the snow deepens,
Geologist Petra Dee is staring her own death in the face, while former
Hanged Man Gabriel struggles with his abrupt transition back to
mortality. The ravens and the rest of the Hanged Men are gone, and there
are no magical solutions to Petra’s illness or Gabriel’s longing for
what he’s lost…and what he stands to lose now.
a new sheriff in town. Sheriff Owen Rutherford has inherited the
Rutherford ranch and the remnants of the Alchemical Tree of Life. He’s
also a dangerously haunted man, and his investigation of Sal’s death is
leading him right to Gabriel.
It’s up to Petra, her coyote
sidekick Sig, and Gabriel to get ahead of both Owen and the unnatural
being stalking them all – before the trail turns deathly cold.
Nine of Stars was a good entry into the Dark Alchemy series. I liked it better than the last book, but that ending! Way to leave us all hanging. Apparently the author has decided to make this trilogy a prequel to another series called The Wildlands. At least I think that's what she's doing. I'm a little confused. I'm still enjoying this series though and I'm curious about what direction it is taking in the new series. I do want a couple of things resolved in the next book though.
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