While I was travelling, I finished the book I brought with me. I went to the bookstore to see if they had the next two books in that series. They didn’t, but right in that area of the shelves, I saw Honeyed Words (urban fantasy 375 pages) by J.A. Pitts. Sometime in the last year or so, I read Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts, which was the first book in what I think is going to be a series. I didn’t post a review because that’s when I was spending more time elsewhere. But since I needed a book to read and I enjoyed the first book, I decided to take a chance and buy the second book, Honeyed Words. And I’m glad I did.
I don’t know if it’s the character or the location of the story that motivates me more to read this series. I see a lot of myself in Sarah Beauhall. That’s kind of the running joke for these first two books is that she is remarkably stubborn and somehow always feels the need to do things in her personal life the hardest way possible. Because, you know, you could never just ask for help when you need it or admit to someone that you love them. That would be entirely too easy.
I like that the main character is a female blacksmith. That’s just unbelievably cool. It’s not a standard occupation and it’s not a field that you would automatically stereotype as a female job. I think that’s one of the really neat draws of this story. I really, really like that Sarah has a non-standard job and that she is actually just an apprentice under another female blacksmith. How many people these days can say that they’re a blacksmith? I think part of the appeal of this type of occupation for a main character is that it kind of gives me hope and shows me that there are non-standard jobs out there so that when the time comes for me to part ways with my current day job (which might be happening sooner than I anticipated) that I don’t necessarily look at all the normal jobs. I don’t know that I’m going to be well-suited to a “normal” job once I am done with my current day job, but until I started reading this series, I honestly didn’t think to look outside the box for a job that I might enjoy and still be able to make a living with. So in that way, this story is incredibly motivational.
One of the other big draws of this series for me is the location the series takes place in. This is a book with all the features of my home, as I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and I miss it terribly. The difference between this book and some other books that will go nameless that are supposedly set in the Pacific Northwest is that this book actually feels genuine. All the locations and the distances are familiar and correct. You know how you just get the right feelings from stories where you can actually taste and touch everything from the area that the author describes? Yeah. That’s this series for me. So while it’s making me remarkably homesick to be reading this series, it’s a little bit like a good kind of homesick. The roads are accurate, the scenery is right, the story just feels like it’s set in my home area.
This series also includes one of the other really important aspects of my own life, and that’s a thing for motorcycles. I mean, the front cover of the book has a fantastic red motorcycle and Sarah gets to play with a Ducati in this story. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to take my own motorcycle through the mountain passes of my home state. It’s on my list of things I hope to be able to do sometime in my life, but that’s not likely to happen any time soon. But this book definitely filled me with the longing to experience that on my own. I guess that’s one of the marks of a truly successful story is when the author inspires a strong emotional reaction from the reader, which happened for me on a variety of levels.
I like how the discoveries of the other races and fantasy elements are woven throughout the story. As a reader, I didn’t get much information outside of the things that Sarah would know, and in this case, I think that’s the best way to develop this story and also to continue to ensnare readers. I’m curious as to who all the players are, what kind of magical creatures are really hanging out and what their plans are, and how everything is going to all fit together. I think that building fantasy races underneath the existing urban realm is pretty fantastic and I like to read stories where the world-building (or combinations of worlds) works out well and is clearly well thought-out.
As I’m not really a romantic type of person, the romance in this story didn’t really bother me. I’m sure that there are people out there who would be less thrilled to be reading a book with Sarah and Katie’s romantic life, but to me, it was just another urban fantasy story that happened to have a subplot involving romance. I guess that’s just another thing to add to the list on stuff that is very much non-standard in this series. Love is love and people who are in love will do anything to protect those they love. And this story demonstrates that very well.
This book was a very fast read. In fact, I read it so quickly that I then didn’t have a book for the return flight home. Again. So I went to two more bookstores to try to find the third book in the series, with no luck. Once I can drive again, the next book in this series is going to be the first thing I seek out and purchase. Or I suppose I could just order it online. Whatever. I’m enjoying the series so much that I’m actively seeking out the next book in the series. Which tends to mean that I enjoyed the book and that it’s worth reading again.