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Worlds Without End Blog

Vendetta by Gail Z. Martin Posted at 8:50 PM by Beth Besse


VendettaVendetta is Gail Z. Martin’s follow-up to Deadly Curiosities.  Written December of 2015 and published by Solaris, it is the second book in the “Deadly Curiosities” urban fantasy series set in modern day Charleston, South Carolina.  This series just keeps getting better.  Many of the complaints I had when reading the first novel, which I loved, have been rectified in this second book in this new promising series.

The ghosts in Charleston are getting very riled up, manifesting in more and more violent manners, and it is up to Cassidy Kincaide and gang to figure out why and solve the problem before someone gets hurt.  In addition, people are disappearing across the city while walking down stairs.  That’s right they just disappear mid-stride.

As in the first book, Vendetta is filled with action.  Starting from page one, there are ghostly battles filling every one of its 459 pages.  Cassidy is getting more proficient in controlling her powers and this makes for tighter plotting throughout this novel.  I did not have to wonder if the reader was going to be treated to yet another “Cassidy collapse” each time she walks into a new room.

Charleston the city is definitely more of a character in this second novel, specifically the “Angel Oak” on Johns Island.  I looked this up and it is a real tree.  The author is doing a fine job of making me curious to learn more about Charleston.  This had been one of my gripes about the last book, I thought Ms. Martin should have written more about the city itself, and I think she vastly improved upon this with this second book.

Gail Z. Martin

Gail Z. Martin

I was also relieved to see that the characters were making fewer nonsensical moves in this book, or they were still making them but admitted that they were bad ideas.  I’m OK with making dumb moves when the characters feel they have no choice, and acknowledge that the move is not the smart one.  In this case, because time was becoming an issue and the evil at work in Charleston was so powerful Cassidy and friends needed to pull out all the big guns including Sorren, who had a much larger part in this book than the last.

So my new complaint about this book, and it is a small one, is that the true nature of Cassidy and Sorren’s shop, Trifles and Folly, is supposed to be a secret, but by the time this book ends it is apparent that it is the worst kept secret in the history of secret keeping!  Everyone who has ever been introduced in either of the books apparently already knew all about it.

I’m giving Vendetta 4 enthusiastic stars.  There is so much potential in this series.  I hope the author introduces a multi-book plot in the next one, to keep the series from becoming too formulaic.   Maybe more about “The Family” and “The Alliance” the two secret organizations only briefly mentioned in the books so far.

Note:  This novel was given to the reviewer by the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin Posted at 8:48 PM by Beth Besse


Deadly Curiosities Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin is the first novel in the series by the same name. This is a modern day urban fantasy set in Charleston, North Carolina. Trifles & Folly is an antique shop that has been in Cassidy Kincaide’s family for generations. This shop is a front to cover Cassidy and her business partner, Sorren’s other occupation, finding cursed and haunted object and destroying or neutralizing them. For all you fans of cult TV series, if this premise sounds familiar, well you are probably thinking of the 1987 to 1990 series, Friday the 13th:  The Series. But don’t get too worried, there are plenty of differences. Oh, did I mention that Cassidy can psychically “feel” an object’s history and Sorren is a vampire?

Although I am not a fan of fantasy novels in general, I do enjoy urban fantasies if they can catch my attention — and this one did, right away. For one thing Charleston is a wonderful and unique setting for the novels. One would expect a novel with haunted houses and vampires to be set in New Orleans, or in a more urban setting like New York or Chicago. I do wish the city had been more of a focal point. I think that Ms. Martin missed an opportunity, by not making the city more of a character.

As far as this story goes, the back of the novel is a bit misleading. Although it sounds like the novel is going to be about Cassidy and Sorren solving mysteries and fighting evil, the truth is Sorren is hardly in the novel at all. Most of the time Cassidy is “fighting the evil” with her assistant and friend Teag, and at times his boyfriend Andrew.

I would like to talk about what there is not in Deadly Curiosities. There is no sex in this book, not even passionate kissing, or possessed make out sessions. And for this I am eternally happy. There are also no erotic blood sucking scenes, at one point Teag allows Sorren to take a sip from him, but it is quite possibly the least erotic vampire scene in the history of the written word. There is also almost no blood in this novel which, given the fact that a demon is stalking the streets of Charleston flaying and dismembering homeless men, is a pretty impressive feat. As a side note, this is quite a difference from the last book I read:  The Women by Jack Ketchum. This novel is more like anti-splatterpunk.

Gail Z. Martin

Gail Z. Martin

There were some things that annoyed me about this story and some of the characters’ actions make absolutely no sense. Cassidy is able to see and experience psychically what the people who have owned objects experienced. She has had this skill her entire life, but she seems to have little or no control over her skill, talent, I don’t know what you want to call it. Now Teag and Cassidy have been having a really tough time with objects going all darkly evil and attacking them, so why oh why after they were attacked at the B&B and then again at the shop, and then again at the historical society, why in all that was holy and good would they proceed to go to a museum. Now this is a museum that was already established as a place where Cassidy has had trouble in the past, even before the big evil starts its terror campaign in Charleston. It made no sense!

For all the things this novel lacks, what it does not lack is a sense of entertainment. Deadly Curiosities is probably not going to win any awards, but it was a good distraction from some of the “heavy” sci-fi I have in my plate.  I am going to recommend this novel as a perfect “beach read.” At 456 pages, it is a little longer than the normal summer read, but it reads fast and would be well worth it.  (This novel was given to the reviewer by the publisher for a fair and honest review.)

4 of 5 stars

WoGF Review: Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin Posted at 12:38 PM by Steff S.


WWEnd Women of Genre Fiction Reading ChallengeSteff S. (MMOGC), is an avid reader with an eclectic taste in books. While just about anything can catch her eye, she has a particular soft spot for fantasy and science fiction, and especially loves space operas and stories with interesting magic systems. Besides reading, she enjoys adventuring in the virtual words of MMORPGs, and first started blogging about games before branching out to contribute her book reviews at The BiblioSanctum with her friends.

Ice ForgedI’ve long been curious about Ice Forged. Though I also own The Summoner from her Chronicles of the Necromancer series, for some reason I just knew I wanted this one to be my first Gail Z. Martin book. They’re both stories set in high fantasy worlds, but lands of ice and snow have always fascinated me, I don’t know why. Maybe because I think these harsh settings are often fertile ground for exceptional protagonists, driven to be harder in an environment marked by extreme temperatures and scarcity. I love to read about characters becoming shaped by those experiences and overcoming those challenges.

So it was a pleasant surprise when the book began by throwing its main protagonist into a situation that was even more harrowing than I’d expected. Blaine McFadden is convicted of murder, and though his reasons for the killing were honorable, the young nobleman is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a penal colony on Velant, an icy wasteland at the edge of the world. Six years later, Blaine (now known as “Mick”) is a new man, emerging as a natural leader in the eyes of the other convicts and colonists. Still, they are kept under the thumb of an oppressive governor, and are at the mercy of the mages who are always too keen to administer their swift and often cruel discipline.

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