Coop de Book Review: Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Let’s be clear about one thing, Gentle Reader: if you like Black Dog Blues, it’s because you like the main character, Kai. Me, I love Kai. Kai is my favorite type of character – the tough, scrappy, outcast, snark-monger extraordinaire. He is swimming in snark, splashing about happily and not caring if he drowns everyone else with his vicious wit.

What do you give a man like that for love, balance, and story conflict? What could match all that snark? Aristocratic arrogance, of course. Which is why I also love Ryder. Oh he’s a prat, but an adorably clueless one. And he really likes Kai. Which, let’s be clear, I sympathize with. So I can’t really get too mad at him. Although Kai sure does, pretty much right off the bat.

“I wanted to crawl into his mouth, down his body, and possibly under his skin. If I hadn’t already decided I hated him on sight, it would have made me start.”

Black Dog Blues is much more fighting and more violent than I usually read. But I kind of guessed that going in, from the cover and blurb, so I was too perturbed. It has other elements that I enjoy. For example I like it when immortals act like immortals, which is to say slightly confused by and utterly un-connected to the pettiness and emotional resonance of mortality. I appreciate a Pinocchio character (Data was always my favorite on ST:TNG).

“My reflection in the bathroom mirror surprised me, as it always did. I forgot I wasn’t human.”

I loved the world building of this series. It’s based on a clear and simple concept, as much of the best world building is. That the fae realm and ours collided, destroying much of each and leaving behind the weird-post apocalyptic California with vast empty areas filled with vicious wild dragons, and lost cities, and new elf ones merged on top of or inside our own. This leaves behind humans who are only just surviving, and elves who are slowly fading away. Of course, this world is a metaphor for Kai himself ~ a merged creation, annihilated and mutilated in the act of birth, but possibly greater than the sum of his parts.

The second book in this series is Mad Lizard Mambo which I have also read and enjoyed. Rhys is working on the third*, Dim Sum Asylum (best title EVER). I’m sure I will crow about it once it lands, because, I’m gonna read it.

*Update: See comments, this isn’t the third in this series.

I’m switching things up for next month’s read, we are going YA fantasy adventure and court intrigue with Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.



Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why Flight Attendants Ask You To Raise Your Window Shade During Take-Off and Landing

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“I think myself I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense… But it’s unquestionably good escapist literature, and I think I should rather like it if I were sitting in an air-raid shelter or recovering from flu.”

~ Georgette Heyer

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(Funnily enough my AP English Essay was on Austen’s use of humor for social commentary.)

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~ Oscar Wilde

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Posted by Gail Carriger

3 Responses

  1. Rhys Ford said:

    Oh thank you love! You’re adorable. And so so sweet.

    Ah, Dim Sum is a standalone book for a character named Roku… it’s my foray into Chinatown but the next Kai is hot on its heels and a few months out to hitting the page. Aren’t book titles the DEVIL? I’ve got to figure out a really nice one for the Kai. We’re going underground… probably. Most likely. Yes.

    How do you do titles? What strikes your fancy when you’re slinging out the titles?

    1. Gail Carriger said:

      Ooo. Oops, sorry! Is he the one who got that short story in Charmed and Dangeruous? It’s how I discovered you.

      Yes, book titles, ARGH. These days if it’s indie I do consider keywords and search-ability. My trad stuff has enough momentum that tiles are not as important as series title, since people are more likely to remember and search for series or first book.

      In thinking of my new urban fantasy, I chose a made up word title and then a memorable series title in the hopes that would be good enough. I keep second guessing the title because of pronunciation difficulties, but I like it, so I’m going to go for it anyway. I always think it’s a good idea to have the character name in there somewhere, like you did with Kai, since often that’s the thing readers remember most. Although then they misspell it….

  2. Jo said:

    Oh my goodness gracious me, this book sounds delicious! I’ll definitely be looking it up!

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