Suramya's Book Review Cafe

September 11, 2020

Spellcrash (WebMage 05) by Kelly Mccullough

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:22 pm


Spellcrash (WebMage 05)
by Kelly Mccullough

Description:

Prepare for a total systems failure in this WebMage novel from Kelly McCullough.

Ravirn—umpteenth great-grandson of one of the three Fates—is a talented sorcerer and a computer hacker extraordinaire in a world where magic has merged with 21st century technology. But even though he’s the best hacker around, there are some things that even he can’t fix.

Necessity—the sentient computer that runs the multiverse—is still broken, and the only thing that can repair her is a massive reboot. But while Necessity is offline, anyone with enough power can attempt to seize control of the entire multiverse. As the time for the reboot draws near, four clear contenders emerge: Zeus, Hades, Fate, and Eris—all Gods from the Greek mythos who are more than a match for any man, even a demi-god like Ravirn. Now, in order to protect Necessity, Ravirn has to utilize all of his skills as a mage and fight to prevent complete chaos—even if it costs him his life…

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Rating:

Review:

Ravirn or Raven as he is now know has managed to return to his home universe where Necessity—the sentient computer that runs the multiverse—is still broken and there are multiple factions trying to take over the computer by hacking in and whoever captures the flag and keeps it will end up ruling the universe. The stakes couldn’t be higher and Ravirn/Raven is still recovering from his wave-function escape trick which means that he can’t enter cyberspace by leaving his physical body behind.

Cerice & Shara have a pretty big role in the finale along with Fenris who accompanied Raven back to this universe. I really liked the ending of the book which neatly tied up all the loose ends while making sure it wasn’t a cliche. The book made sure most of the open questions had answers or sufficient mambo-jumbo to explain them away. A lot of what they talk about cyber security in the book actually makes sense even though it is layered in spellwork.

Final Recommendation: Fitting end to the series. Wouldn’t mind more books in this reality, maybe exploring some of the other Pantheons.

September 8, 2020

MythOS (WebMage 04) by Kelly Mccullough

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 1:45 pm


MythOS (WebMage 04)
by Kelly Mccullough

Description:

Computer savvy sorcerer Ravirn learns that not every world is user friendly in this WebMage novel from Kelly McCullough.

In the 21st century, magic has advanced with the times and gone digital. Ravirn—umpteenth great-grandson of one of the three Fates—is a talented sorcerer, a computer hacker extraordinaire, and in the process of becoming a minor demi-god. His best friend and familiar is both a goblin and a laptop, changing shape from one to the other as needed.

While repairing Necessity (the badly-broken sentient computer that runs the multiverse), Ravirn is thrown into a very different place, a parallel world where the Greek gods are only myths. This strange realm is ruled by the Norse pantheon of gods—Odin, Thor, and other fun-loving brutes—and their magic uses a completely different operating system. A system that Ravirn will have to hack if he ever wants to get out of Asgard alive…

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Rating: (4.5/5)

Review:

This review will have spoilers about events from the previous books in the series because it build on top of them. If you haven’t yet read the previous books, stop reading.

MythOS picks up a bit after the previous book in the series ended, where Raven is still trying to fix the problems with Necessity. This is the biggest problem I had with the book, since in the previous book at the end he takes over the powers of Necessity to play system administrator with the universe and fixes a lot of issues. However for some reason they never explore he doesn’t fix Necessity. Its a small thing but it bugged me.

While Raven is trying to fix the universe he is suddenly transported to elsewhere where the Greek Pantheon doesn’t exist and the world is ruled/managed by the Gods from the Norse mythology. We are introduced to some of the Norse Gods in the book while others are just referenced. I liked how the characters of Loki & Fenris were portrayed. In most depictions they are either a soulless trickster or the personification of evil, here they are shown to be someone who wants to get out of their preordained role and are cast as victims of fate who are trying everything to get out of their destined path.

The limitation on Raven & Tisiphone due to being in the wrong universe and not connected to Necessity make things a lot more interesting as otherwise they pretty much had enough power to bull through their problems and now they had to work for it (for the most part).

This detour also opens up the possibility of other universes based on other mythological figures from around the world. Maybe in the future Kelly will explore these other universes as well (If he does then I will be in line to buy the books)

– Suramya

September 4, 2020

Codespell (WebMage 03) by Kelly McCullough

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 11:48 pm


Codespell (WebMage 03)
by Kelly Mccullough

Description:

The universe needs a reboot in this WebMage novel from Kelly McCullough.

In the twenty-first century, magic has advanced with the times and gone digital, and Ravirn, a direct descendant of one of the three Fates, is a talented sorcerer—and computer hacker extraordinaire. Now that Ravirn has come into his own as a minor chaos power, he’s partying with Zeus, playing hard-to-get with a gorgeous Fury…and trying to stay one step ahead of Nemesis, the unstoppable goddess of vengeance.

But now Necessity—the sentient computer that runs the universe—has caught a virus that crashes most of the magical internet, and Ravirn is tasked with fixing it. And Ravirn hasn’t missed the fact that whoever repairs Necessity will, for that moment, run the universe, able to remake the worlds (and everything else) to their liking.

Unfortunately for Ravirn, some very dangerous beings have figured that out, too…

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Rating: (4/5)

Review:

This review will have minor spoilers about events from the previous books in the series because it build on top of them. If you haven’t yet read the first two books, stop reading.

Codespell picks up a few months or so after the finale of the previous book and Ravirn or Raven as he is now known managed to save the soul of his Girlfriend’s Webgoblin but in the process accidentally released a Virus in Necessity (Computer that runs the multiverse) causing massive damage. Now multiple parties are after Raven to get him to fix the problems he has created or just punish them for it.

In this installment Ravirn is finally starting to understand the Raven side of his nature. I especially liked how we cover the fact that the ‘Powers’ are being forced to act in a certain way even though they might not want to at that time, for example Raven’s trickster nature is pushing Ravirn to act more recklessly/chaotically than he would prefer.
We finally get introduced to a lot more of the Greek pantheon with Zeus, Athena and many others making appearance some with minor roles others with more active ones, I liked most of the characters in the book however the way ‘Cerice’ behaved felt a bit contrived and not natural, but it did help move the narrative forward so there is that…

In addition to regular computing that we have been dealing with so far we now have Quantum Computing also coming into the mix which makes things even more fun and interesting for the characters.

The Ending was interesting but I can’t talk about it here as Spoilers 😉 but I will talk about it in the review of the next book in the Series: MythOS.

Final Review: I liked the book a lot, a Fun & light read.

September 3, 2020

Cybermancy (WebMage 02) by Kelly McCullough

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 4:05 pm


Cybermancy (WebMage 02)
by Kelly McCullough

Description:
Hades has a hell of a firewall in this WebMage novel from Kelly McCullough.

Not just any computer geek can hack into Hades. But Ravirn, a direct descendant of one of the three Fates, is no ordinary hacker. Magic has gone digital in the twenty-first century, and Ravirn is a sorcerer with a laptop—otherwise known as his shape-changing best friend.

These days, Ravirn’s crashing at his girlfriend’s place while she works on her doctorate in computer science. Only one problem: all of her research is in her webgoblin’s memory, which is now in Hades along with its soul. To save Cerice’s webgoblin (and her PhD), Ravirn must brave Hell itself. But can he do it without corrupting the mweb—the magical internet—and without facing down the Lord of the Dead himself?

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Rating: (4/5)

Review:

This review will have minor spoilers about the first book because what events from the first book have significant bearing on the second book as it build on top of them. If you haven’t yet read the first book, stop reading.

At the end of the First book free will is saved, Ravirn is still alive but renamed as Raven and no longer part of the Fate’s family. Throughout this book he is still trying to come to terms with the changes in his life and pretend that the Raven side of him doesn’t exist. The book starts off with an awesome sentence “Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks ? The eyes of Cerberus glared down at me, six balls of black fire. There was no dog older or more dangerous. But here I was standing practically in his mouths, trick in hand.” and then takes off from there.

Ravirn is trying to retrieve the soul of his girlfriend’s webgoblin from Hades and in doing so unleashes a massive problem for the whole of reality. He is frantically trying to fix the issue while the major powers of the universe are out baying for his head making life a lot more interesting for him. Over the course of the novel he starts accepting his Raven side more as well.

The book is a fun read and I loved the way it covers the story of Persephone. According to mythology, Hades, god of the Underworld, fell in love with beautiful Persephone when he saw her picking flowers one day in a meadow. The god then carried her off in his chariot to live with him in the dark Underworld. Her mother Demeter created a great drought to convince the other gods to release Persephone from Hades. Finally after lots of people died Zeus finally sent Hermes to persuade Hades to release his ill-gotten bride. But Hades had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seed so had to spend three months of the year in Hades. Its a very stark tale but most books/tales gloss over how it must be for Persephone to live with Hades for 3 months every year after he had kidnapped and raped her. Persephone’s anger & despair are covered beautifully and with compassion in the book, it really highlights what victims of sexual violence have to deal with throughout their life.

The consequences of the events of this book are explored in the next few books so I ended up rereading the 3rd book immediately after I finished this one.

September 1, 2020

WebMage (WebMage 01) by Kelly Mccullough

Filed under: Urban Fantasy — Suramya Tomar @ 7:45 pm


WebMage (WebMage 01)
by Kelly Mccullough

Description:

Magic is about to get an upgrade

Ravirn is not your average computer geek. A child of the Fates – literally – he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can zero in on the fatal flaw in any program. Now that twenty-first-century magic has gone digital that makes him a very talented sorcerer. But a world of problems is about to be downloaded on Ravirn – who’s just trying to pass his college midterms. Great Aunt Atropos, one of the three Fates, decides that humans having free will is really overrated and plans to rid herself of the annoyance – by coding a spell into the Fate Core, the server that rules destiny. As a hacker, Ravirn is a big believer in free will, and when he not only refuses to debug her spell but actively opposes her, all hell breaks loose.Even with the help of his familiar Melchior, a sexy sorceress (who-s also a mean programmer), and the webgoblin underground, it’s going to be a close call…

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Rating: (4.5/5)

Review:

There are some books that you don’t mind reading again and again, this is one such book. I was reminded of the book by the last book that I read (Hardwired) so I picked it up again. I think this is the 3rd or 4th time that I have read the book. The main character is a WebMage, which is basically a Hacker/programmer who uses programming to write control magic spells. The story is fast paced and is a light reading in the sense that you don’t need to spend much brain power while reading the book.

The characterization of the Fury’s was brilliant and in quite a contrast to the traditional portrayal of the characters where they are usually depicted with a serious deminor or just plain focused. Over here they are denoted with a sense of humor (dark humor but still funny) and each of them have a different personality. The book utilizes sarcasm and witty dialog to great effect. The character of Cerice could have used more screen time and is lightly developed in this book but that is addressed in the next book so its not a major complaint.

The Book is setting up the stage for the rest of the series so a lot of the setup is either not utilized or lightly utilized as they are explored/expanded in the remainder of the series.

Final Review: I love the book and highly recommend it.

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