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Mini Book Review: Grim Tides by T.A. Pratt

Grim Tides by T.A. Pratt

Title: Grim Tides

Author: T.A. Pratt

Series: Marla Mason #6

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Marla Mason, ousted chief sorcerer for the city of Felport, is languishing in exile on the island of Maui with her best friend, the psychic (and rather hedonistic) Rondeau. Driven from the city she loves, Marla is adrift, nearly friendless, and stripped of almost all her power and resources. It’s the perfect time for old enemies to try and kill her. A group of sorcerers, all with their own reasons to want Marla dead, assemble and prepare to attack her while she’s at her most vulnerable. The members of this Marla Mason Revenge Squad include the one-armed witch Nicolette, the cheerfully murderous psychopath Crapsey, a criminally insane shapeshifter, a man who hunts werewolves for fun, and a master of anti-magic, among others. But they aren’t taking chances with an enemy as formidable as Marla. They hire the world’s most notorious–and deadly–chaos witch, Elsie Jarrow, to lead their assault. But Elsie is impossible to predict and may well have an agenda of her own. But Marla isn’t as helpless as they think… -Goodreads

The Mini Review:

I am a huge fan of this series. It’s so dang fun – including everything I look for in an urban fantasy. Broken Mirrors, book 5, went a little too far off the rails for my tastes, but Grim Tides was an excellent bounce back. The author usually has a ton of fun with his characters, but the dynamics were particularly interesting in this installment – bringing together a whole host of eclectic personalities. Pratt also brought back one of my favorite characters, whom I’m hopeful to see next book as well. I also really liked the mystery in Grim Tides, involving nonhuman(ish), hive-minded beach bums… I don’t know where he comes up with this stuff, but I’m so glad he does, lol. Overall, this series is totally worth your time and currently my go-to for a delightfully snarky read.

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by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt

Title: Blood Engines

Author: T.A. Pratt

Series: Marla Mason #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Review:

I have read so many urban fantasy books that, after a while, they all start to sound the same. This was not the case for “Blood Engines.” It was an incredibly unique novel, with a great mix of of fantasy, mystery, and just a touch of romance. Although a good deal of Pratt’s works are on the bizarre side, I have to give him major kudos for originality. His perspective is refreshing, and he combines that with interesting plot-lines: As the guardian for the city of Felport (in which most of the other novels take place) Marla finds herself in San Francisco, hunting after a relic that will protect her from a threat back home. While there, things start to snowball and she gets caught up in a lot more trouble than she bargained for. I found the entire book vivid and engaging.

My favorite element of this series was the excellent character development throughout. I’m a stickler for good characters, and that is probably why I liked these so much. While Marla definitely steals the show, everyone from Rondeau (the main sidekick) to the most minor characters have personalities that are rich and interesting.

I also have a particular affection for this author’s works from a writer’s standpoint. From the way he crafts a story, develops characters, and devises his plots, he always leaves me in awe. His prequel, “Bone Shop” was particularly insightful, including author’s notes at the end of each chapter. It gave a wonderfully helpful look into how he tackled each scene, and also alluded to his once a week writing schedule. It was encouraging: if you take writing seriously, you can accomplish great things despite having a hectic schedule. Anyway, I can’t say enough good things about this author. The more you read, the more he blows your mind with intricate plot-lines. I really love these books – if you’re sick of the same old stuff, give this series a try!

Recommendations: These aren’t for everyone, as I said, they are a bit bizarre by typical urban fantasy standards, and also contain some language and sexual references. However, if you liked them as much as I did, I highly recommend you also read Pratt’s short stories as they provide a great back-history on some awesome characters, along with excellent examples on writing well and developing your craft.

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by Niki Hawkes