Wednesday, July 5, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Book Review: Dungeon Crawl (20-Sided Sorceress Book 8) by Annie Bellet

The Twenty Sided Sorceress series is a pretty damn fun urban fantasy series that I've enjoyed over the past year or so.  The first book is free for kindle on Amazon, and this is the eighth book.  The general premise of the series is the following: The series follows Jade Crow, who lives in a town filled with magical creatures and magic users (due to the presence of leylines of course) in the US.  Jade however, is secretly a sorceress, a magic user whose magical power is innate and a type of magic user that is generally hated by others....due to sorcerer's having the ability to eat people's hearts to gain their powers.  Oh and sorcerers also tend to be incredibly dangerous and can't be killed without someone eating their own hearts.  Together with her friends, a bunch of animal-shapeshifters, Jade spends the series learning how to better control her powers and to confront the dangers that emerge  in the town.

Long Review of THIS book after the Jump (Mild Spoilers for books 1-7):

The Twenty Sided Sorceress series spent its first seven books dealing with a long myth arc involving the threat of Jade's ex-Boyfriend and extraordinarily dangerous sorcerer Samir, with Books 5-7 (Collected in the Boss Fight collection) dealing with the final confrontation with Samir.
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But the series isn't done with the conclusion of that arc - apparently the series will conclude with Book 10 later this year - and Book 8 continues the plot, dealing with one minor dangling plot thread from Book 6 in the series: Namely, Jade currently being in debt to the Archivist, Noah Grey....a Vampire.  Now, as Jade has finally rebuilt her store and started to take a breather, Grey calls in the favor: He wants Jade to go to a house formerly occupied by a warlock and to search it for a magical body part hidden in the house.

Meanwhile in a sub plot, Alek is shot and nearly killed by a pair of wolf shifters from his past, who have taken advantage of the disappearance of the Council to try and take revenge.  He will have to take them on by himself along with the Sheriff of the town.

This is the longest book in the series, about 270 pages, so this actually is a short novel (whereas most of the earlier books are in "Long novella" range).  As such, I didn't mind paying $1.99 for this book, as it's on sale this month.  The additional length is probably due to the addition of the Alec chapters which take his point of view (like similar chapters in books 6-7).  That subplot doesn't really integrate with the main plot of this book at all, but the additional info we gain about the Council in that plot arc I suspect will tie in with the final book, so it doesn't feel like much of a digression.

Again, like the rest of the series, this is generally fun, and I enjoyed it a bunch.  We don't really meet any new characters, but we're 8 books in, we're not likely to do so anyhow, and it's still a joy to read these characters in their adventures - again Bellet makes a book with geeky references work fairly well.  And despite the major driving plot element of the first seven books now being largely absent, the main plotline of this book still feels important/worth-reading about.

There's not too much more to say on this one.  If you haven't tried this series and read this review anyhow, again I'd recommend you at least try the first book which is for free.  If you've read books 1-7 and enjoyed them, you'll enjoy this book too.

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