Mass Review | Prodigal Son, Elysian Fields, Chimes at Midnight

In my endless quest to catch up on my to-be-reviewed pile, I’m going to review three urban fantasy/paranormal romance books I’ve received and read recently. Please keep in mind that this sort of thing isn’t my usual reading diet. I will try, very hard, to write these reviews as if I loved these two genres, but I don’t, and that will probably be reflected in my reviews. Instead of attaching book information like I usually do, I’m linking each picture to the book’s page on Goodreads. Just click on the image to see more about the books.


Prodigal Son – Deborah Mullins

This book was sent for my review by the publisher.

Prodigal Son is an unabashed paranormal romance, complete with the gorgeous hunk protagonist, and the prominent female character who somehow finds herself in the middle of a fate-of-the-world situation unknowingly. Prodigal Son ticks off all the paranormal romance boxes. There’s almost instant love and plenty of sexual tension while the characters try to talk themselves out of it. There’s action, explosions, a jaunt through the desert, family drama, and sex.

One area where Prodigal Son sticks out is the lack of vampires. Instead, Rafe is a psychic with a family line from Atlantis, and the book is peppered with others who are likewise, or similarly gifted. On the other hand, Cara is shockingly normal, until it becomes obvious that she can do some “abnormal” things later in the book. It’s a nice switch to see two protagonists that are different from the normal paranormal romance tropes.

That being said, Prodigal Son is a fast read, and it is fairly cookie cutter. If you’ve read any paranormal romance books, you’ll be able to predict everything that happens here after you’ve read the first chapter. That’s not always a bad thing, though. Sometimes people need a fluff read. Prodigal Son is good for a mental vacation. Mullins’ writing is full of emotion that will really grab the reader. The landscape and setting takes a backseat, but the story itself is fun, if predictable. It’s more of a story about two people falling in love than anything else.

Fans of paranormal romance will love this one.


3/5 stars

Elysian Fields – Suzanne Johnson

This book was sent for my review by the publisher.

This series has grown on me, despite how hard I’ve tried to not let it. Elysian Fields is the second installment in an urban fantasy series that tries hard not to take itself too seriously. One thing Johnson pulls off well is the atmosphere. Set in post Katrina New Orleans, Johnson has used the havoc the storm put the city through as an “in” for much of her magic system. Shockingly enough, it works.

Yes, this is an urban fantasy series. There’s a quippy protagonist who is tough as nails, and the book is peppered with gorgeous men, many of whom take some physical interest in our dear heroine. Outside of those paint-by-numbers elements, though, Johnson really ramps her series up with each new installment. Elysian Fields is a more mature, more somber version of the previous two books. The love interest issue is largely solved, which is a relief because it really allows the plot to move forward in other aspects.

In Elysian Fields, DJ is hunting down a serial killer, she has some drama involving her werewolf friends, and things are revealed about her own heritage and the staff she possesses. This is all pretty serious stuff, but Johnson keeps the humor flowing while she ramps up the emotional tension. Johnson struck a fantastic balance between fun and serious and it really works. Elysian Fields is one of those urban fantasy books that you’ll read quickly, and have a lot of fun while you do it.


4/5 stars

Chimes at Midnight – Seanan McGuire

This book was sent for my review by the publisher.

Full disclosure: I’ve read the first book in this series, and now the seventh. I recommend you read the series in order and not skip the six books between two ends of the series like I did.

Chimes at Midnight really shows what urban fantasy can be. McGuire’s series is fun, fast paced, and captivating. No, I haven’t read books two through six, but Chimes at Midnight is one hell of a romp. The characters are three dimensional and so relatable that you can’t help but love them. The fantasy elements in McGuire’s world have an ironed out, well planned feel that so many urban fantasy books don’t have. I couldn’t help but feel like every fantastic element in her world could actually exist in my own. That’s really an accomplishment.

Character development can make all the difference in a book. Yes, McGuire has had a few books to flesh out her characters, but it has paid off immensely. It’s obvious that Toby is comfortable in her own skin, as are all the other characters. Not having to deal with the “what ifs” and the “OMG THERE’S PARANORMAL STUFF OUT THERE” moments in a book can make anything more enjoyable. McGuire takes advantage of that with her smooth, plot focused, character driven writing.

The plot in Chimes at Midnight is self-contained, but there are obvious threads that tie this book to previous in the series, and developments that hint at impressive things to come. This is one of those rare urban fantasy books that I loved every minute of reading. McGuire’s unassuming writing adds a level of depth and emotional tension to the book, giving it a darker edge than I expected, while keeping the fun and brevity that fans have come to love. It was a tad predictable, and some of the plot elements were a little too convenient, but that’s forgivable in the grander scheme.

Chimes at Midnight was great. Actually, it was good enough to make me want to read the whole series. Imagine that.


4/5 stars

5 Responses

  • Not my usual reading either, but I have heard good things about McGuire several places now.

    Don’t know if I have ever skipped five books in a series though , brave!

    • It’s really, really hard for me to like urban fantasy. I think it’s a safe bet that if you want something UF, a little more substantial, and still fun, McGuire is the place to look.

  • I am THRILLED that you enjoyed Chimes at Midnight enough to want to read the rest of the series! It’s one of my favorite urban fantasy series. I especially love books 4 – 6. I hope you enjoy the rest of the books in the series, too!

    • I actually put the whole stupid series on hold at the library today. I’m really excited about reading ALL of the books, not just two.

  • Tim Edwards

    Thanks for the reviews, I’m going to look in to “Prodigal Son” for my girlfriend; she’s been getting in to paranormal romance books lately so I’m looking for some new titles for her. You might like the book I just got her for her birthday, it’s called “The Children of Gavrilek” by Julie Kirtón Chandler, She really likes it and has hardly put it down. Thanks again for the book suggestion.

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