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Book Review: She Who Fights Monsters (Book 2 of The Black Parade) by Kyoko M.

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She Who Fights Monsters by Kyoko M.

Source: Kyoko M’s website

Plot Summary (Taken from Amazon): Jordan Amador. 23. New Yorker. Waitress. Investigator for souls with unfinished business, also known as a Seer. Michael O’Brien. 25. New Yorker. Lead guitarist. Commander of Heaven’s Army. The dynamic supernatural duo is in the middle of trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one.

After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost. When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

My Review:  One of the best things about this book is the author’s writing style. The thought-provoking epigraphs, humorous pop culture references,  and detailed action scenes from the first book are still present in the second book. In addition, the author does a good job writing this book from two points-of-view, Jordan’s and Michael’s.

Besides the author’s writing style, the way Jordan and Michael’s relationship was portrayed in the book was very well done. You can see how much Jordan and Michael care for each other when they are together and apart. Things like knowing what makes the other tick and using the same “I just kicked your butt” catchphrase show how close Jordan and Michael have become.

In addition, the character development is good. Although new personal demons confront Jordan, she works through them while kicking demon butt. Michael has some anger issues that he learns to handle as he juggles his multiple roles.

Other characters that play an important role include Jordan’s mother and adoptive father, the archangel Gabriel, and the archdemon Belial. Jordan’s mother and adoptive father do a good job guiding Michael and Jordan from above. Gabriel is a strong fighting partner and a caring friend to Jordan. Belial is a complicated factor, but his involvement with Jordan and Michael makes him a striking character.

Finally, the book’s moral is something anyone can relate to. By the end of the book, the reader is shown that sometimes life and people aren’t always black and white. There is a grey area in almost everyone, whether it be yourself, a parent, or a lover.

Overall, this was a great sequel to The Black Parade. If you enjoyed The Black Parade, then definitely read this book.

Related Link:  Book Review of The Black Parade Book 1

 

 

 

Book Review: The Black Parade (Book 1) by Kyoko M.

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The Black Parade, Kyoko M.

Source: SheWhoWritesMonsters.com (Kyoko M’s website)

Plot Summary (Taken from Amazon): Jordan Amador. 21. New Yorker. Waitress. Mild alcoholic. Murderer. Two years ago, Jordan accidentally shot and killed a Seer: a person who can see, hear, and talk to ghosts with unfinished business. Her crime came with a hefty price, too. She has two years to help a hundred souls cross over to the afterlife or her soul is bound for hell. Tough break.

As if that weren’t bad enough, two days before her deadline a handsome pain-in-the-ass poltergeist named Michael strolls into her life. His soul is the key to her salvation, but the cost just might be more than she can handle. Solving his death puts her right in the crosshairs of Belial: a vain, bloodthirsty archdemon who won’t rest until she’s his slave. Can she rescue Michael and save her own soul, or will they both be dragged down into the clutches of the eternal black parade?

My Review: One of the best things about the book is its main characters Jordan and Michael. Jordan is a Hispanic and black young woman who can handle herself physically but not emotionally. At first, she can only defend herself with martial arts and a gun, but is vulnerable because of a traumatic past. As the story moves forward, she becomes physically and emotionally stronger. Overall, she is someone anyone can relate to, but she is a really good protagonist for women of color.

Meanwhile, Michael is a helpful, friendly poltergeist for some chapters until he discovers a bigger identity. Once he does, he starts becoming closer to Jordan by being a source of emotional comfort as well as a mentor that teaches Jordan to develop new abilities. Even though he becomes protective over Jordan, he still treats her with respect and allows her to live her life and make her own choices.

Besides the main characters, the setting of the story was very creative. It is reminiscent of the television show Supernatural, because behind the real world lies a word of angels, demons, and ghosts. The author did a good job blending the supernatural world with the real world, especially when it came to how these worlds affected Jordan’s life.

Also, the plot of the story was very compelling. There are action scenes that are described so that the reader is holding their breath. Besides this, the romance develops at an appropriate pace. Also, emotionally heavy scenes make the reader sympathize with Jordan without overdoing the drama. Furthermore, the humor that occurs between Jordan and other characters will make the reader chuckle or smile.

In addition, the themes of love and hatred were woven into the story well. For instance, Jordan struggles to overcome her self-hatred and realize she is capable of being loved by someone. Another example is Jordan’s mother representing love, and Jordan’s Aunt Carmen representing hate. These themes give the story a good message.

Overall, this book was a fantastic read. I recommend this to urban fantasy fans, especially if you enjoy the television shows Supernatural and Castle.  Furthermore, I recommend this to people of color, especially females who are looking for a good representation of themselves in fantasy. Due to the strong violence, mild alcohol use, and strong sexual content, I also recommend this book for older teens and up.

 

 

Book Review: Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton

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Plot Summary (Taken from Goodreads): It’s been six years since Dylanie and her family visited a Civil War site and the place came alive with cannon fire. Problem was, no one could hear it but her.

Now she’s sixteen, her dad’s moved out, her mom’s come out of the closet and Dylan’s got a spot on Paranormal Teen, a reality TV show filming at historic Oakleigh Mansion. She’ll spend a weekend with two other psychic teens—Jake and Ashley—learning how to control her abilities.

None of them realized how much their emotional baggage would put them at the mercy of Oakleigh’s resident spirits, or that they’d find themselves pawns in the 150-year-old battle for the South’s legendary Confederate gold. Each must conquer their personal ghosts to face down Jackson, a seductive spirit who will do anything to protect the gold’s current location and avenge a heinous attack that destroyed his family.

My Review: One of the best things about this book is the characters. Dylanie is a kick-butt and sassy girl with cool powers.  Jake is funny and also has cool powers. Ashley is a diamond in the rough who really comes through during the climax of the book.  Also, the emotional baggage they have made them relatable.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was how the author weaved in difficult issues into the plot, especially in Dylan’s case. There is not a lot of teen fiction with the personal issues Dylan has and the author handled them very realistically.

In addition, the paranormal aspect to the book made it a page-turner. The fact that the author chose different psychic abilities for each character made the book unique. Also, weaving in history to the storyline made it seem almost real.

The only flaw in the book is the character Jackson and his interactions with Dylan.  Given what his character is, his interactions with Dylan didn’t make sense and should have been explained.

Overall, this was a great book. If you want a creative paranormal story with good characters, this is the book for you.

Written by Serena Zola

October 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM

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