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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Part-Time Gods by Rachel Aaron (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)



Official Rachel Aaron Website
Order “Part-Time Gods HERE
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Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Minimum Wage Magic"
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Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of “The Spirit Eater” & “Spirit’s Oath” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of “The Spirit War” 
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Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Honor's Knight"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Heaven's Queen"
Read Fantasy Book Critic's joint interview with Rachel Aaron & Travis Bach
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Rachel Aaron
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Read Fantasy Book Critic's Interview with Rachel Bach
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Heartstrikers interview with Rachel Aaron
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Second Heartstrikers interview with Rachel Aaron
Read "Why A Nice Dragon" by Rachel Aaron (Guest post)

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Rachel Aaron lives in Colorado with her family. She has graduated from University of Georgia with a B.A. in English Literature. She has been an avid reader since her childhood and now has an ever-growing collection to show for it. She loves gaming, Manga comics & reality TV police shows. She also posts regularly on her blog about publishing, books and several other intriguing things.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: Life in the magical mess of the Detroit Free Zone is never easy. When you’re laboring under the curse of a certain prideful, overbearing dragon, it can be down right impossible.

My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner. At least, I used to be. Thanks to the supernatural bad luck that turns everything I do against me, these days I’m more of a walking disaster. Getting rid of this curse is the only way to get my life back. Unfortunately, dragon magic is every bit as sneaky and deadly the monsters behind it, and just as hard to beat.

But I’ve never been one to take her doom at face value. Cornered doesn’t mean defeated, and in an awakened city that rules herself, dragons are no longer the biggest powers around.

FORMAT/INFO: Part-Time Gods is 374 pages long divided over eleven numbered chapters and a prologue. Narration is in the first person via Opal Yong-ae solely. This is the second volume of the DFZ series.

June 11, 2019 marks the e-book publication of Part-Time Gods and it will be self-published by the author.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Part- Time Gods is the sequel to Minimum Wage Magic and continues the further exploration of the DFZ that began with Minimum Wage Magic. I was excited about this title and after finishing it, I can only say that Rachel is really having a lot of fun with her first sequel series.

The plot actually begins almost immediately after the events of book 1 and we see Opal trying to figure out what she can do with the curse that has been inflicted upon her. She along with her partner Nik have to come up with a new plan to outwit the dragon’s curse laid on her. Never one to step back from a challenge, Opal will have to figure out one of life’s biggest mysteries: How do dragon curses work? There’s also life in the DFZ and other mysteries to unravel but can she do all of it and yet pay her debt? All of this and more happens in the middle volume of this trilogy as both the readers and the Dragon of Korea discover just how stubborn Opal can be.

As with the first book, we get a cracking story and more DFZ exploration. And similar to the last time, we are given a ringside view of the events with Nik and Opal. Both these characters have issues and yet are endearing to each other. There’s a lot of stuff that was hinted at in Minimum Wage Magic, in Part-Time Gods, we get to see more of their backgrounds and there’s some big surprises unveiled. I enjoyed knowing more about Nik and I hope the author gives us more as the half cyborg has some intriguingly dark things in his past. But with Opal, we get to see some glorious flashbacks as well as current family situations. I loved reading about the family dynamics of the only dragon who consorts with humans and keeps them around. The Dragon of Korea has been a shadow over Opal’s life and it's fun to see Opal work out the kinks that have been strangulating her luck. The relationship between Opal and her father is a very strange one and it's not as one-sided as we have been led to believe. This is where Rachel's characterization and plotting comes to the fore as we see things aren't black and white. Dragons feel differently than human beings but they do feel....

Opal as a character is stubborn and while it has led to where she is. Her stubbornness also stops from seeing the big picture and it’s this very lack of insight which seems to have marred her life. We as readers get to see this very trait over and over again with this volume and it was a tad irritating. As a reader, you want to be able to make her see and indeed a couple of famous characters do try but Opal being the person she is, doesn’t see it that way. I feel that the trilogy ender will definitely be a make or break one for her. The other characters also introduced in this book are very, very intriguing (as has been the case with the Heartstrikers series as well). The world is intriguing as it is and in this volume, we get to see more of the DFZ and her changes she has wrought.

The DFZ as she was formed had a very violent birth but since then has learnt what it means to be a free city. The problem is that with the freedom, there comes a certain leeway with the populace that it attracts and the DFZ isn’t all that happy about it. That’s another interesting  priesthood angle that’s set up within this story and I enjoyed that aspect of avatars/priest that has been cultivated within. I hope that the author explores more of this as the DFZ as a spirit and as a city is just too interesting an entity to not do so. Lastly since the first book, as a reader I’ve been dying to see/hear about the Heartstrikers and in this book we get some solid and wonderful cameos. It’s always fun to see our favorite characters after all these years and these characters don’t disappoint whenever they appear.

The only thing that stuck down my craw about this story was a plot twist that happens near the end which seemed more than a bit contrived. I hold Rachel Aaron in very high regards and hence this drawback could be subjective for me. But other than that there were no other issues from this read considering its aims and genre.

CONCLUSION: Part-Time Gods is a sequel that ratchets up the tension, avoids the middle book syndrome and gives the readers an excellent thrill ride with a generous sprinkling of character cameos that are sure to bring a smile to many a readers’ faces. Part-time Gods is a solid story that outshines its predecessor in every way and made me excited for the trilogy ending

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