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Blood Engines

de T. A. Pratt

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Marla Mason (1)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
7743529,172 (3.47)15
Meet Marla Mason--smart, saucy, slightly wicked witch of the East Coast. . . . Sorcerer Marla Mason, small-time guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla's life--and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla's only chance of survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere in San Francisco. But when she arrives there, Marla finds that the quest isn't going to be quite as cut-and-dried as she expected . . . and that some of the people she needs to talk to are dead. It seems that San Francisco's top sorcerers are having troubles of their own--a mysterious assailant has the city's magical community in a panic, and the local talent is being (gruesomely) picked off one by one. With her partner-in-crime, Rondeau, Marla is soon racing against time through San Francisco's alien streets, dodging poisonous frogs, murderous hummingbirds, cannibals, and a nasty vibe from the local witchery, who suspect that Marla herself may be behind the recent murders. And if Marla doesn't figure out who is killing the city's finest in time, she'll be in danger of becoming a magical statistic herself. . . .… (mais)
  1. 10
    Hellbent de Cherie Priest (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The main character Raylene in Hellbent is a lot like Marla Mason in Blood Engines. The characters are driven by similar wants, which is to keep friends and family safe. Raylene is a more balanced character I think than Marla, but both have the same sort of Moral ambiguity.… (mais)
  2. 00
    Little Gods de Tim Pratt (mentatjack)
    mentatjack: Two stories, "Pale Dog" and "Down with the Lizards and the Bees," in the collection Little Gods provide some back story for Blood Engines, and the rest of the stories are great as well.
  3. 00
    Magic Bites de Ilona Andrews (The_Holy_Terror)
  4. 00
    A Madness of Angels de Kate Griffin (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: this is what Marla Mason would like to be - gritty, original and inventive.
  5. 00
    Butcher Bird de Richard Kadrey (LongDogMom)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 35 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
1.5-ish stars. I read it because it was free (woo Kindle!). It reads like the fifth in a series, as though the characters have been established elsewhere and the author is trying not to retread---plus lots of vague references to past events. But apparently it's the first?

All the characters are assholes, but I can tell that was an artistic decision. Doesn't make it that enjoyable, though. ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 23, 2024 |
Its easy to say that I enjoyed this book. I loved it actually. Marla is the sort of person I would hope to be if in her position, perhaps not her backstory so much (good lord does she know how to clear a room), but then you are the sum of your life experiences, so if she didn't have all of that luggage she wouldn't be who she is right? Or maybe that's an argument for the nurture vs. environment folks. All I know is that Marla was one kick-ass lady that I would be scared to meet under any circumstances.

This is really more of an urban fantasy mystery than a straight urban fantasy. Almost, but not quite, noir actually. Something at least one character suggests and two others, just by being who they are, back up. I had been interested in Blood Engines for a while now, the covers catching my interest (oh Daniel Dos Santos, you just...draw me in so well with your art) and a friend mentioning how morally grey Marla could be much of the time. Unfortunately, being the slacker that I am, I put it off until I owned all four books currently in print and the author had begun the fifth novel online as a serial (Broken Mirrors). I wish I had read this series as it came out, though I can't say I'm sorry to be able to read the books back to back and not wait.

Marla is everything an anti-hero should be; violence prone, selfishly motivated, sneaky, cut-throat and above all manipulative. This isn't to say she doesn't look out for her people (namely Hamil and Rondeau), and will save them if she can, but her primary focus is keeping herself alive and in power. A fact that her (for lack of a better word) retainers understand, even if Rondeau does complain about it.

I have yet to read the 'prequel' story Bone Shop, but there was quite a few times throughout Blood Engines where I felt like I wasn't reading the first book at all, but the second or third book. The casual references to past exploits and misdeeds are very misleading, especially in the beginning of the novel when Rondeau and Marla are just wandering around San Fransisco looking for clues to find her friend Lao Tsung.

Mostly what I enjoyed was the banter and the easy exchanges between the characters. Marla's overall tactics when talking to people varies very little (even if its in her best interests for it to do so), and she is very much a 'strike now, questions later' sort of girl, but she's also very cunning. She juggles no less then 3 threats on her life throughout the novel--the one that originally brought her to San Fransisco seeking Lao Tsung, and enemy she more or less stumbles upon while investigating and lastly the 'Big Bad' of the novel itself. This doesn't include years old promises of death, minor annoyances or casual encounters however. I believe at one point Marla asks Rondeau how many mortal enemies she has currently and he responds with "35".

What I found most interesting was that Marla would have let the Big Bad go his way if he hadn't interfered with her own quest. Until he got too close to her own city of Felport on the East Coast, but I don't think she was joking. Not even a little bit.

The novel dragged a little about 2/3rds of the way in, when plot threads came together and bounced off each other to make things very difficult for Marla. I got a bit of whiplash juggling the two or three concurrent storylines honestly, but the end was a great pay off that was true to her character. I can't wait to begin the second book, Poison Sleep immediately! ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
Interesting ideas and subject matter, not too sure that I like the writing style though. Probably won't be picking up the sequel. ( )
  justgeekingby | Jun 6, 2023 |
Thoroughly enjoyable, which is how I tend to like my urban fantasy! Like a lot of mid-2000s urban fantasy, it’s solid on plot and character and setting and magic system without doing anything more than is strictly necessary, but it’s also not like I pick up this genre when I wanted to be challenged, and if Pratt is anything, it’s entertaining.

I’m not sure I’ve seen another protagonist like Marla, though. She definitely operates in grey areas and often for entirely selfish reasons, but she also understands karma and has the greater good in the back of her mind. She’s got this air of mystery too, in that we only get glimpses of her past and her life in Freeport and are left trying to piece everything together. I liked that. Kept me on my toes.

And I liked the world-building! There are all kinds of magical traditions and foci, everything from Chinese medicine to computers to sexual energy. Powerful artifacts turn up with no provenance in thrift stores. There are seers and ghosts and doppelgangers and parallel dimensions and gods. It should feel like a hodgepodge of stuff but Pratt somehow makes it work, and it all felt cool and helped to keep the story fresh.

The plot’s fairly predictable for the genre—they talk to people, go places, get clues, etc.—with just enough in it to stay not-boring, but it’s also got some deeply hinky stuff. I’m not talking about the gay sexual sorcerer who hosts kink nights, who was pretty well handled. I’m talking about the nasty Chinese sorcerer and the actual villain, who is Aztec and doing his darnedest to conform to stereotype. Few clothes, obsidian knives, desire to feed his gods with blood, the whole bit. I side-eyed whenever he was mentioned, which, given that he’s the bad guy, was reasonably often.

But, like I’ve said, I had fun burning through this! It was pretty satisfying, as urban fantasies go, and I can absolutely see myself picking up the next book in the series. Someday. Maybe at a book sale or in a fit of “no book in my bag” desperation, which is what prompted me picking this one up in the first place. It’s not great shakes but you can do (and I’ve done) a lot worse.

To bear in mind: Questionable use of poison dart frogs. Questionable biology of poison dart frogs. Extremely questionable use of indigenous Aztec sorcerer in a villainous role. Slightly less questionable use of Chinese sorcerer as a more minor villain. Mention of cannibalism. Surprisingly good about mental illness and queer people, though not perfect. Harm to animals.

6/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
Deeply infodumpy beginning. Also, it is difficult to convincingly draw a selfish, self-interested character into a mystery that isn't obviously about them because... well, why would they care? Marla gets interested in the frog mystery basically because "the plot says I have to." Tissue-thin.
  being_b | Jan 8, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
T. A. Prattautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Dos Santos, DanielArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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"Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood."
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For Dawson,
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Marla Mason crouched in the alley beside the City Lights bookstore and threw her runes.
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Meet Marla Mason--smart, saucy, slightly wicked witch of the East Coast. . . . Sorcerer Marla Mason, small-time guardian of the city of Felport, has a big problem. A rival is preparing a powerful spell that could end Marla's life--and, even worse, wreck her city. Marla's only chance of survival is to boost her powers with the Cornerstone, a magical artifact hidden somewhere in San Francisco. But when she arrives there, Marla finds that the quest isn't going to be quite as cut-and-dried as she expected . . . and that some of the people she needs to talk to are dead. It seems that San Francisco's top sorcerers are having troubles of their own--a mysterious assailant has the city's magical community in a panic, and the local talent is being (gruesomely) picked off one by one. With her partner-in-crime, Rondeau, Marla is soon racing against time through San Francisco's alien streets, dodging poisonous frogs, murderous hummingbirds, cannibals, and a nasty vibe from the local witchery, who suspect that Marla herself may be behind the recent murders. And if Marla doesn't figure out who is killing the city's finest in time, she'll be in danger of becoming a magical statistic herself. . . .

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