books

Kaje Harper

Books

Necromancer: Marked by Death (2020), Powered by Ghosts (2020), Bound by Memories (2020)

Hidden Wolves: Unacceptable Risk (2011)

Romance

A Midnight Clear (2020)

 

Hidden Wolves

 

Unacceptable Risk (2011)

Unacceptable RiskI really enjoy the world-building around supernatural creatures–especially an individual authors choices when there is so much mythology to choose from.

His wolf form was outsized, conserving the mass of his human body, but it would look canine, would X-ray canine.

As with several other werewolf fantasies, wolves are in the closet, and there are strict rules for all aspects of life. These rules have helped keep wolves safe from discovery, but don’t fit well with modern sensibilities.

Simon felt Paul’s uneasiness. “That’s wrong too, for one man to have that kind of power.”

“You humans give the President of the United States a nuclear holocaust button. No society is perfect or safe from abuse, and each one has its own balances.”

There was a lot on Simon in this book, from being the only out gay werewolf in the world to holding his place in the pack and trying to slowly reform the pack from within.

There were some things (like the world building) that I really liked about this story. Other things were weaker, however, I discovered that this book was first published in 2011, so it’s probably an early book, so some of those weaknesses might have been ironed out in the intervening decade.

One of my problems is that in parts the story was slow. There was a lot of action, but then it would be dragged down by a lot of internal worrying by the main characters.

So, it was interesting, but I don’t think I’m that interested in reading the rest of the series.
Rating: 6/10

 

Necromancer

 

Marked by Death (2020)

Marked by DeathSet in an alternate 1963.

Darien is out of alternatives. Demons or ghosts, whatever keeps invading his mind and body is quickly driving him crazy. So he seeks out the town’s necromancer, in the hope he’ll be able to help.

Silas has power, but he doesn’t have any real friends. When Darien shows up on his doorstep, he can’t refuse him help. But his familiar sees more between Silas and Darien than just a young man struggling with the ghosts possessing him.

This was an interesting story. I’m not sure the early 60s were a time that particularly needed revisited, even with a fantasy overlay, but it’s interesting to have a world without our modern technology, but a familiar history–including sodomy laws.

The weakness of this story is that is covers a tremendous amount of ground for a novella–from the world building to the characters to the mystery of the local demon gathering power. So at times it felt rushed. At the very least I’d have expected Darien to need more time to learn the basic of protective skills.

But it was interesting, and I did like the characters, and I enjoyed the story.

Rating: 7/10

Powered by Ghosts (2020)

Powered by GhostsSet in alternate 1963

Darien is free of his ghosts (literally) and has become Silas’ apprentice. However, he still has work to do, being a necromancer, and so the two end up dealing with a ghost problem, in a town where the local necromancer is too busy caring for his dying wife to do anything about the ghosts.

But there is something wrong with ghosts, and Silas isn’t quite sure this job is going to be as easy as he expected.

Darien is still trying to deal with his unexpected powers–and their new relationship. He’s not quite certain that Silas really wants him around, and it’s 1963, so being open about the relationship isn’t an option.

This story was fine. The mystery of what was wrong with the ghosts–and why–was an interesting one, but the story itself didn’t pull me in as tightly as the first story. And I wasn’t that fond of Pip and that story arc.

And there was a lot of boinking.

So, it was fine. But I did like the first story much better.

Rating: 6/10

Bound by Memories (2020)

Bound by MemoriesThis is a holiday short story.

Silas and Darien are sent to deal with a ghost at a Christmas tree farm. And Ferngold (head of the local guild) is not pleased about Pip and is blaming both Darien and Silas for Pip’s existence.

I quite liked the story arc about the ghost they had to exorcise and how Silas and Darien are learning to merge their powers together in unexpected days.

It was a cute Christmas story, and I liked it better than the previous story, but I’m not sure I’m that interested in continuing this series.

Rating: 6.5/10



 



Romance

A Midnight Clear (2020)

A Midnight ClearThis was another pleasant surprise.

This was another book from the Winter Wonderland giveaway of holiday stories, and after the first story I read, I didn’t have the highest expectations for the rest of the books. But this one was also quite good.

Adric and Royce are roommates studying for their EMT certifications–Adric wants to eventually become a paramedic, but this is his first step. Adric also has a huge crush in Royce, but doesn’t have a clue if Royce even likes guys.

My first surprise with this story was that it wasn’t a short story. At 204 pages it’s a novel–albeit a short one. So I kept expecting the story to end–and it didn’t.

My second surprise was how much I enjoyed it. Both Adric and Royce and young–18 and 19 at the start of the story. And both of them make a lot of mistakes–mostly because they are so young. And normally I don’t much care for stories with really young characters (especially romances) but both were studying for a professional certification and that does make a difference. Even if they did occasionally reader older than their ages.

The other surprise were the complex lives the two had outside of their relationship. Adric’s extended family is T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E and Royce’s immediate family has their own issues. So (like normal humans) those issues were part of Adric and Royce’s stories, which made it a much richer book that I was expecting. Of course, those complicated family members also helped drive some of the terrible choices made, but, again, the two are young.

This wasn’t 100% the kind of story I normally go for, but I will definitely look for other stories by the author going forward.
Rating: 7.5/10