Top positive review
Yet another super series start
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2021
I’ve only recently discovered BR Kingsolver and found a new favorite. I’ve addictively read through all of her urban fantasies sci-fi series, as well as the only sci-fi story story of hers I could find (Border Patrol, in the Bellator collection). Here’s my review of all of them in one clump - the bottom line being that they are all easily 5 star books.
Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill Series
This was the first series by this author that I read, trying it in a whim as it was free on KU and looked like fun. Oh Dear Lord was it ever. Perfect world-building with Fae, elves, vampires, mages, et. al. Perfect backstory with the world’s best assassin (our lead) funding out that she’s been lied to most of her life by the Order of the Illuminati who are actually evil and not the force for good she thought, followed by her lopping off the top tier of the Order and ending up in hiding at the eponymous Rosie O'Grady's Bar and Grill. That’s the short version. The long one is much more complex and the series itself is filled with great plot lines and a perfect story arc (though each book stands alone sequentially, ie, the work fine and end well so long as you read them in order. Addictive fun and a perfect series ender.
The Telepathic Clans Saga
This was my second Kingsolver series. It evolves around telepathic clans (no shocker there) filled with people with different sets of telepathic “Gifts” (like mind shielding) made up of a series of “Talents” (different ways to do it). There are initially 25 known Gifts. At the top are the Succubi, all female, who have a series of Gifts including the Succubus Gift (drain energy from sex, etc). Known as Druids in the Irish clans, these ladies are bad-a**. The lead here is a Druid named Brenna, but she’s so much more. While the average telepath has only a few gifts, abs the extraordinary ones have 12-15 (Druids all have a base set of 8), Brenna has all of the gifts, unheard of. Anyway, she gets into a series of adventures with action, infra and inter-clan politics, and do much more. Incredible stuff really, all set in a world very different (but equally imaginative) as the prior series I’d read, and filled with a growing cast of perfectly crafted supporting characters. Once again you can read each book sequentially stand-alone, and they end with a perfect series ender.
I had initially avoided this series because I tend not to like a post-apocalypse setting. In this case the apocalypse in question (atomic wars leading to massive population loss and mutations) was so far in the past that society has more or less recovered and has now passed the pre-war tech levels. Our hero here, Libby, is the coolest kick-a** dame in fiction. An assassin and thief, among other things, who has two primary mutations: she’s a chameleon (she can look like anyone or pretty much blend into the background) plus a sort of electrokenisis, and a pretty fantastic set of physical skills (don’t mess with her in a fight) and computer hacking talents. Add in another perfect supporting cast and, well, just wow. I adored this series.
This is the last of the series that I read, currently on book 2 (and ending with a perfectly good “Happily Enough For Now” though I’m drooling for the next book). It’s set in a world that’s very similar to that of The Telepathic Clans (though there are some differences - Washington DC is nuked in this one) but society is different as the Magi, who beat back (to a draw) the demons who invaded once rifts between worlds opened, now pretty much rule everything. Our lead here is another kick-a** dame, a police detective who is a magitek (a rare form of magic that enables one to do magic with machinery - including computers), potential heir to one of the Ten (the ten most powerful Magi clans who basically rule the world) but also the granddaughter of the man who accidentally opened the rifts and let all the monsters, demons and fantasy beings in. The perspective is very different, part gritty detective tale, part politics and warfare on the global scale, pure urban fantasy. Fantastic stuff, really.
Border Patrol (in the Bellator collection)
This was the only pure sci-fi story I’ve read by BR Kingsolver and was frustratingly perfect. Military sci-fi, the heroine here is the commander of an assault troop unit, it was an absolute total blast (and I’ve been reading this stuff since Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers was first published, so I should know). Perfect characters and storyline. The frustration is that while it ends in a very satisfying manner, I’m massively frustrated that this was only a short story. I’m truly hoping the author turns it into the first book in a new series.
Frankly, I’m hoping that BR Kingsolver expands every series she’s written, even though most have ended with great HEAs. That’s the sign, I know, of works that are fantastic and easy to highly recommend.