Book Review – The Dark Interest (The Dark Choir #4) by J.P. Sloan.

2 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills for approaching me to review this book for them. I was sent a free electronic copy and was not paid to review, it was a totally volunteer basis thingy. I feel I was approached as I have thoroughly enjoyed the other books in this series – ‘The Dark Choir’.

However, I don’t know if they will approach me again after the constructive criticism I am about to give. I don’t think Mr Sloan is going to have me marked as a favourite reviewer any more either. 😉

But please, please, please realise I am just trying to be honest about how I feel this book matches up to the rest of the series. If you can’t tell by my rating, I didn’t think it matched that well at all. To put it bluntly, I didn’t feel the story actually truly got started or got to the point set up by the previous books until I was about 75% through it. Everything that came before that came across as world building… which isn’t usually so complex when you’re reading the 4th book in a series. Pretty much all of the world building should be done by then.

I have really been dragging my heels on posting this review – I finished the book back in November last year and have been using the messed up sad chaos that has been my life these past eight or so months as an excuse not to publish a review. But, I want to get a clean slate for my reviewing this year and so have put on my big girl pants and here it is.

I am really hoping this is just one of those “mid-series slumps” as I honestly found this a watered down version of Dorian and really more a fluff piece to remind us all about the series, than something that truly added to the series as a whole. Well, except for the last 25% of the book – that was an addictive read like the previous books and the clanger dropped at the end of it… I think I may just have groaned out loud it was such an epic “oh my god no!” It almost beat my reaction to what happened to Julian in earlier books in this series.

So, if I was to base my opinion on the last part of the book alone then I would definitely say Mr Sloan was still on winner as DAMN that was good.

But the rest of it? Yeah, it really came across as padding and world building as if the story needed to turn and start down a new path, but that new path or reason for it wasn’t truly explained. I mean, the writing was still good and if I hadn’t had such high expectations based on the first three books in ‘The Dark Choir’ series, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot better and given it a higher rating. Seriously, this book had a “put on the back burner” feel to it and was then served up half cooked when it should have stayed on that creative cooking stove a little longer. Sorry Mr Sloan, I love your work and you are a fantastic writer… I just didn’t gel with ‘The Dark Interest’.

Dark Interest

Would I recommend this book to others?

I would, but only if they had read the first three books in ‘The Dark Choir’ series. This isn’t a stand-alone book and anyone trying to read it as such is doing their imagination – and Mr Sloan – a great injustice.

Would I warn them about how I felt about it? Well, they are going to read that here… but if just asked I would say “it’s alright but not the best book in the series”. I can’t offer more than that.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Of course I would and simply because ‘The Dark Choir’ series is one of the best supernatural series I’ve read in a long time. And while I may have found the majority of this book was pretty “meh” I would still own it to ensure I have the whole series. I am just hoping the next book is better.

In summary – not the best book in the series, but ended with a brilliant cliff hanger.

The Curse Mandate (The Dark Choir #3) by J.P. Sloan.

curse-mandate

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

The Curse Mandate is book three in the ‘Dark Choir series’ and just as fantastic as the first two. Though, I do have to say I really should have re-read the first two before I read the third as there were moments I couldn’t quite remember who was who, who had done what, etc. But that was totally my fault and not a flaw in the author’s work! But, yeah, definitely not a stand-alone book – so go buy and read the first two first. Thank me later. 😉

Okay, back to the story – loved it. The whole plot and concept of the ‘Dark Choir series’ developed well within the Curse Mandate, though I did sometimes get the feeling a few too many things were being squeezed into the one book to line up the story for the series as a whole. Hey, this happens, many a good author and fantastic series can suffer this minor issue. Live with it, no biggie honest.

The pace and tone was smooth and consistent with the previous two books – The Curse Merchant and The Curse Servant – and I really did like how the characters all developed and grew in ways that has me curious to see what happens next with them – good writing. But there was a moment I went “WHY!!!!!” but knew it was all for the plot and so have accepted it and am moving on. I can’t tell you what my why was… spoilers.

I also want to put it out there to fans of the ‘Dark Choir series’ that a young Alan Alder looks like Dorian… or vice versa. I suggested this to Mr Sloan, but do feel he was humouring me in my fangirl moment. I don’t fangirl well, it’s against my nature. Yes I am a fan… but I like to be one of the silent types up the back doing her best to not look like a stalker. 😉

The swearing is still there, but I’m used to it now and it is never out of context – which is why I think I am now used to it. But, yeah, it has been an issue for me in the last two books. Now? Meh. I want to read about Dorian and the gang; I deal with the words they use.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. But I would also strongly recommend they go buy and read the first two books first. Yes, buy and then read – any true urban fantasy fan should own copies. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I will be, once we have the funds once more. Though, sadly, as much as I would love them as paper books, as I own the others as eBooks, I would continue in that medium for now.

In summary: third book in the series that was well worth the wait. Consistent with the series so far, can’t wait for the next one. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Review of The Curse Servant by J.P. Sloan

4 out of 5 stars.

I wish to thank Curiosity Quills Press for allowing me to read an ARC of this book via Netgalley.

I loved this book. A refreshingly wonderful new urban fantasy series that breaks the cookie cutter format that’s engulfed this genre in recent years.

This is the second in a series, and I didn’t actually know that when I first began reading it. Quickly caught up on this fact and so went and bought the first book to read it first. Yes, this series is that good. Rather than mooch myself free books I bought it! Well worth it too.

I won’t go into the plotline as that’s what reading the book is all about. Instead I will say this is an excellent follow on from the first book in the series The Curse Merchant and I feel actually improves on the first book, which is why it got a higher score. The first book was a little shaky as if Mr Sloan was still finding his footing in this world of his. By the second book he had it all sorted and this book is a much firmer, confident book. Not that the first book was bad, as it is a great read too, but I found the writing in the second book stronger.

Being the sort of person who gets frustrated if I suss a book’s plotline out too early I really enjoyed the red herrings thrown at you in this book. Especially as, by the time I’d come to my conclusion as to what was going on, I was doubting myself… thanks to said crimson fish! Well done.

It also got my ‘one more chapter’ mantra going into the wee hours, which is always the sign of a highly enjoyable read.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes. Very big yes. Though will suggest they read The Curse Merchant first, just so you know what it’s all about.

I really look forward to reading the next in this series and have already been suggesting it to people who are looking for a new urban fantasy series to get hooked on.

The only downside is, again, the swearing. Not a biggie, but a tad annoying at times. I guess I swear less than I thought I did. I blame my kids. 😉

Love this book, encourage you to get the first book in the series too. If you like good urban fantasy that doesn’t require sex scenes, love triangles/ romance, sparkly vampires of the usual cookie cutter rubbish to sell it – you will love this series!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review: The Curse Merchant by J.P. Sloan.

3 out of 5 stars.

I stumbled across this story by being given the opportunity to review its sequel The Curse Servant. I hadn’t realised the Curse Servant was a second book or I probably wouldn’t have read it. But I was a few chapters in when it became apparent I was and, well, I was enjoying my free copy of it so much I actually went and bought this first book to catch up on what was going on. I was not disappointed.

I’ve noticed this book being commonly likened to the Dresden series and I can sort of see why, as there are some similarities. However, I wasn’t really a fan of the Dresden series and only read the first one or two as I found it rather grating and dull. Too much “gum shoe” not enough urban fantasy. The Curse Merchant is better than that, much better.

I’m not going to waffle on about the plotline as you can go read it for that. This is my opinion of the book instead as I’d hate to blurt out a spoiler.

When asked to describe this storyline, I can really just say it is what it is. And what it is is a very good urban fantasy story where there is the group of people who live within our own that still practice and use magic. And wasn’t I so thankful it wasn’t magic with a k! Ugh! It also got brownie points from me for using hexes for what they really are! This isn’t a spoiler, but differentiating curses and hexes – yes!

So I guess you could say this was the sort of urban fantasy that was on my wave length… meaning it possibly won’t be for everyone. Especially not for those seeking raunchy sex scenes, love triangles and sparkly vampires. What a refreshing thing it was to not include any of these things too and, unsurprisingly, still be able to pull off a great story.

I did find parts of it predictable (and not just because I’d read some of the sequel first), but it was a well-paced read all round and therefore made up for this very minor flaw. It got my ‘one more chapter’ mantra going into the wee hours of the morning so deserves a thumbs up for that too. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars… if I’d not started to read the sequel first. As, quite frankly, the first book is rather shaky and brittle in comparison where the second book is strong and strides through the story a lot better… if any of that makes sense? Basically, I am preferring the writing in the second book more so it’s made me mark the first book down. This does not make it a bad book.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I bought it I enjoyed it so much. It is, indeed, my sort of urban fantasy/ paranormal with its mixture of mystery, sarcasm and wonderfully real (and mildly insane) characters. I feel a hypocrite mentioning I felt the swearing was a bit too much at times – as I’ve received similar criticisms myself. I guess there is a time and place for swearing and I just wasn’t in them when I read it and so found them too much.

All in all a good book, a great read and a fantastic beginning to a very promising series. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO