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Poison Sleep

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The bad girl of the magical underworld is back and badder than ever Someone wants Marla Mason dead. Usually that’s not news. As chief sorcerer of Felport, someone always wants her dead. But this time she’s the target of a renegade assassin who specializes in killing his victims over days, months, or even years. Not to mention a mysterious knife-wielding killer in black who The bad girl of the magical underworld is back and badder than ever Someone wants Marla Mason dead. Usually that’s not news. As chief sorcerer of Felport, someone always wants her dead. But this time she’s the target of a renegade assassin who specializes in killing his victims over days, months, or even years. Not to mention a mysterious knife-wielding killer in black who pops up in the most unexpected places. To make matters worse, an inmate has broken out of the Blackwing Institute for criminally insane sorcerers—a troubled psychic who can literally reweave the fabric of reality to match her own traumatic past. With her wisecracking partner Rondeau reluctantly in tow, Marla teams up with a “love-talker” whose dangerous erotic spells not even she can resist. Together they’re searching the rapidly transforming streets of Felport for a woman who’s become the Typhoid Mary of nightmares, infecting everything—and everyone—she touches with a chaos worse than death itself.


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The bad girl of the magical underworld is back and badder than ever Someone wants Marla Mason dead. Usually that’s not news. As chief sorcerer of Felport, someone always wants her dead. But this time she’s the target of a renegade assassin who specializes in killing his victims over days, months, or even years. Not to mention a mysterious knife-wielding killer in black who The bad girl of the magical underworld is back and badder than ever Someone wants Marla Mason dead. Usually that’s not news. As chief sorcerer of Felport, someone always wants her dead. But this time she’s the target of a renegade assassin who specializes in killing his victims over days, months, or even years. Not to mention a mysterious knife-wielding killer in black who pops up in the most unexpected places. To make matters worse, an inmate has broken out of the Blackwing Institute for criminally insane sorcerers—a troubled psychic who can literally reweave the fabric of reality to match her own traumatic past. With her wisecracking partner Rondeau reluctantly in tow, Marla teams up with a “love-talker” whose dangerous erotic spells not even she can resist. Together they’re searching the rapidly transforming streets of Felport for a woman who’s become the Typhoid Mary of nightmares, infecting everything—and everyone—she touches with a chaos worse than death itself.

30 review for Poison Sleep

  1. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    Ok, so THIS is why it's good to give series that don't TOTALLY hook you a second shot. I really really really loved this second book in the series. The characters were more developed and the whole book felt more coherent and well put together on EVERY level. I really enjoyed the world immensely, and the characters were so interesting. I enjoy a female character who can function properly and doesn't have to have abandonment issues or past abuse she's whining about (which a lot of vaginal-urban-fa Ok, so THIS is why it's good to give series that don't TOTALLY hook you a second shot. I really really really loved this second book in the series. The characters were more developed and the whole book felt more coherent and well put together on EVERY level. I really enjoyed the world immensely, and the characters were so interesting. I enjoy a female character who can function properly and doesn't have to have abandonment issues or past abuse she's whining about (which a lot of vaginal-urban-fantasy tend to have lately). Men AND women will enjoy this world, so if you like Jim Butcher OR the more lady-ish stuff I'd give this a shot. This was just fun. I'm eager to read book #3!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samantha wickedshizuku Tolleson

    Holy $h!t-balls this series just got freakishly good! I was a bit perturbed by Marla in the book, but I realized that she is doomed from the get-go for any type of romance. That and she has the same type of outlook on having a romp that I do. My life shouldn't center around it all of the time, and I certainly don't want to read about it either. I also liked that Marla was back on her home turf. The first book was just completely odd and unique in that aspect, but if you really want to start this s Holy $h!t-balls this series just got freakishly good! I was a bit perturbed by Marla in the book, but I realized that she is doomed from the get-go for any type of romance. That and she has the same type of outlook on having a romp that I do. My life shouldn't center around it all of the time, and I certainly don't want to read about it either. I also liked that Marla was back on her home turf. The first book was just completely odd and unique in that aspect, but if you really want to start this series then start with Bone Shop. It's a prequel to the first one. Hope everyone enjoys this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lightreads

    Urban fantasy with endlessly creative magic and a badass heroine who is not fetishized or slut-shamed for her bisexuality or her kinkiness, and an overarching plot about rape recovery that is only a little bit hamfisted. Yeah, don’t get excited. Because it was also so boring. So boring. So boring I was kind of rooting for the emo assassin to finish off the protagonist at the halfway point, because then it would be over. So boring I don’t even care enough to figure out why. And this is me, so that Urban fantasy with endlessly creative magic and a badass heroine who is not fetishized or slut-shamed for her bisexuality or her kinkiness, and an overarching plot about rape recovery that is only a little bit hamfisted. Yeah, don’t get excited. Because it was also so boring. So boring. So boring I was kind of rooting for the emo assassin to finish off the protagonist at the halfway point, because then it would be over. So boring I don’t even care enough to figure out why. And this is me, so that’s pretty damn boring.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Denzi

    (copied from my amazon.com review) I had some issues with "Blood Engines," the first Marla Mason book. While the plot was interesting and kept me guessing, I found the characters and writing style very flat. I am fairly certain that if I hadn't started with the prequel, "Bone Shop," I never would have picked up "Poison Sleep." And that would have been a shame, because I really enjoyed "Poison Sleep." The title character is still a no-nonsense, ass-kicking thug of a magical city manager, but she se (copied from my amazon.com review) I had some issues with "Blood Engines," the first Marla Mason book. While the plot was interesting and kept me guessing, I found the characters and writing style very flat. I am fairly certain that if I hadn't started with the prequel, "Bone Shop," I never would have picked up "Poison Sleep." And that would have been a shame, because I really enjoyed "Poison Sleep." The title character is still a no-nonsense, ass-kicking thug of a magical city manager, but she seems to have actual feelings and thoughts beyond that one-note character description. Some of this may be due to the early introduction of a "beautiful boy"--a man with the magical ability to wind anyone and everyone around his little finger, definitely including Marla. Some of it may be growth in the author's writing. And some of it may be that "Poison Sleep" is more of a "howdunnit" than a "whodunnit." T.A. Pratt's penchant for alternating points of views is a weak writing choice and often unnecessary, but it does mean that we understand the villain(s)' motivations and plans early on in the story. If we assume (as I always tend to) that the main character will win out in the end, speculation turns towards how Marla will figure things out and fix the mess. In fact, in this book, the few "whodunnit"-style mysteries that Pratt leaves for big reveals are obvious and flat, while the rest of the magical procedural is hard to put down. The one other major problem with "Poison Sleep" is that a large part of the plot revolves around a magical young woman whose mind was fractured due to a rape in her youth. Pratt's take is just as cliched and nearly as insensitive as any other pseudo-psych, "rape makes characters more *interesting*" tripe prevalent in urban fantasy. That said, I still raced through "Poison Sleep" in a three hour marathon session, and found myself itching to pick up the next book in the series. If Pratt continues improving at the rate he's been going so far, book three will be fantastic and book four will blow my mind.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Griffin

    POISON SLEEP is the second book in the Marla Mason urban fantasy series, and it’s almost as good as the first. I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5. The imaginative world that Marla lives in just gets more interesting with the addition of a dreamworld that people are falling in and out of. This dreamworld belongs to one woman, Genevieve, who is an escaped patient from the Blackwing Institute for criminally insane sorcerers. Marla must stop Genevieve before her dreamworld touches too many people, an POISON SLEEP is the second book in the Marla Mason urban fantasy series, and it’s almost as good as the first. I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5. The imaginative world that Marla lives in just gets more interesting with the addition of a dreamworld that people are falling in and out of. This dreamworld belongs to one woman, Genevieve, who is an escaped patient from the Blackwing Institute for criminally insane sorcerers. Marla must stop Genevieve before her dreamworld touches too many people, and brings the city of Felport to ruin. The fantasy elements are superbly drawn, and the characters have actual character, although a longer book wouldn’t have hurt in order to examine them more thoroughly. Marla isn’t my favorite heroine, she swears too much among other things, but once I get past those unnecessary elements of the story I really enjoy the fast pace of the action. If you liked BLOOD ENGINES, you will like POISON SLEEP. I’m looking forward to book #3 – DEAD REIGN! ~Stephanie

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vera

    cw: mention of rape, mention of adult in the relationship with a minor (teacher and 17yo student) Intresting concept, lively characters, fast paced and enjoyable. But mentioned cw definetely affected my enjoyment overall.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tausif Hossain

    I started the series from this book, so that is why it may have been a bit difficult to comprehend the universe these stories exist in. However, once past the initial work of how things work, this was not a page turner.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Rating: 3.5

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scott Mccoy

    quite a bit of fun.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Isaac

    Disclaimer: I've been marathoning this series, so some impressions may be flawed, and this review a little weak. Poison Sleep is the second book in the series, and picks up right after the first. I'm not sure if it's specifically the result of the publishing deal, or if this arc was conceived as a whole, but the early books all form a cohesive work. As such, if you haven't read the first book, I'd recommend you stop now and go read it. While the Marla Mason books can be read individually, they gre Disclaimer: I've been marathoning this series, so some impressions may be flawed, and this review a little weak. Poison Sleep is the second book in the series, and picks up right after the first. I'm not sure if it's specifically the result of the publishing deal, or if this arc was conceived as a whole, but the early books all form a cohesive work. As such, if you haven't read the first book, I'd recommend you stop now and go read it. While the Marla Mason books can be read individually, they greatly benefit from being read in consecutive order. For best results, I recommend reading in story timeline, but that does engage in some spoilers and inconsistent writing style as T.A. Pratt jumps a little in the short stories. Also, the city, Marla's city, makes its first mainline novel appearance here (in other words, you've already met it if you've been reading the prequels and short stories as recommended above). Felport is a character in itself, a Platonic ideal of the post-industrial East Cost city. It could be Camden, Bridgeport, New Bedford. I vaguely remember it being somewhere near Baltimore, but it doesn't really matter. Felport is a fecund ground of power and depth, where the humans echo the city, and fight to live in dirt, grime and honesty. There's a lot of symbology in the Marla Mason books, and it's shown here. We see the city both from within and without Marla's eyes, and there's a lot of similarity. How much is one shaping the other? How much is the magic and how much illusion? That's left to the reader to decide. Marla is slowly becoming a more… positive person, and so is the city. Which of course, means it's prime time for disruption. Once again, Marla is torn between both sides, and so is the city. There is a external threat that serves as the a-plot, and an internal threat that serves as the true narrative — and they frequently exchange sides. In this gray and grey morality, no one is without sin, and everyone is playing Batman, even if it's in their own head. The character of Gwendolyn is a key part of this. She is both threat and martyr. A power and a damsel. Marla defines herself in terms of what Gwendolyn is not, and finds where her perspective limits her virtues. One of the common re-occuring themes of these novels if that the protagnist is not a good person, and routinely makes her own life more difficult by unconsciously rejecting morally good, if perceptually weak acts. Her rejection of kindness makes her hard. Once again, see the city itself. All of this praise aside, this is still not quite the read that the next book becomes. The formula's there, but needs some tweaking. Some of the characters exist purely to be a plot device, or allow Marla to be ‘better than’. Still, there are definitely some interesting plot twists, and a lot more polish in the writing. Read it, and then go on to book №3, Dead Reign.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jay Daze

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Prepare yourselves, I will be complaining about the end of the book, that is why I've checked the spoiler box. I felt pretty conflicted about Marla Mason as a main character all the way through Poison Sleep. It is not that I have to like her. There are times that I admired her cool ruthless manner. Here was a female character that didn't bend or compromise for the reader. Marla isn't gonna beg for you to like her. Yet at the same time I found it difficult to care about any of the characters, to t Prepare yourselves, I will be complaining about the end of the book, that is why I've checked the spoiler box. I felt pretty conflicted about Marla Mason as a main character all the way through Poison Sleep. It is not that I have to like her. There are times that I admired her cool ruthless manner. Here was a female character that didn't bend or compromise for the reader. Marla isn't gonna beg for you to like her. Yet at the same time I found it difficult to care about any of the characters, to take an interest in what happened to any of them - except maybe disgraced teacher, now personal assistant Ted. As the action picked up this sort of fell away and I got over my diffidence. Stuff was happening and it was pretty interesting: there is a god-like woman who can literally bend the shape of reality - who is crazy and is manifesting her nightmares on the streets of Felport. But then I got to the end. I'd been having trouble with the lovetalker thing. Joshua is a fellow who makes everyone fall in love with him. Marla - smart Marla - knows this and knows if she fucks him she is completely under his spell. So what does she do? She hires him, spends lots of time with him and fucks him. Did I mention that Marla is supposed to be intelligent and someone who likes to be in control and not mind fucked by a pretty boy? (Yes, I guess this could be her character flaw. She was with a succubus last, but all through the novel I was just thinking of how much an idiot she was, one with no self-awareness. Yes, I guess this could be Mr. Pratt being all smart and deep, but this was were I could just not relate or sympathize with Marla.) I guess this is a switched gender femme fatale thing but it comes off as a creepy willing surrender. It bothered throughout the book but comes to a head at the end. It seemed pretty obvious to me when the possibility of a spy in Marla's camp came up that *spoiler* Joshua was going to be the spy. And he was. So for the coda after the big baddie is defeated, Marla still loves Joshua like crazy, watches him stab poor plain helpful Ted to death and then snaps his neck *after* the stabbing cause lovetalker-boy threatened her beloved city. A resolution that is waaaaay too much like getting between Jim Kirk and his beloved Enterprise - it was dumb on the original Star Trek, is is dumb and lame in this book. Up until this really disappointing ending I would have said the book was alright, but being able to resist Joshua's magic love powers because she loved her city even more knocked my respect for the book down many many many levels. I hated the lovetalker and hated Marla's bogus ability to resist the magic seduction even more. I sentence Tim to a thousand reruns of Kirk and his love affair with his Enterprise. (That said I've loved a lot of his short stories and might even try further books in this series - since I did buy all of them together - second hand.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    'Poison Sleep' was a fun adventure story with simple ambitions that it largely met. It's told in the mystery novel style, but there isn't alot of detective work involved and the twists probably won't come as any surprise. The story suffers somewhat from an unnecessary hipness, but the middle portion of the story where the author focuses on the faerie tale aspects of his narrative are quite good. Most of the characters are shallow, but are generally likable and filled with suitable promise of her 'Poison Sleep' was a fun adventure story with simple ambitions that it largely met. It's told in the mystery novel style, but there isn't alot of detective work involved and the twists probably won't come as any surprise. The story suffers somewhat from an unnecessary hipness, but the middle portion of the story where the author focuses on the faerie tale aspects of his narrative are quite good. Most of the characters are shallow, but are generally likable and filled with suitable promise of heroic destiny. However, there is a certain lack of native cunning to thier plans which results too often in things falling apart for completely predictable reasons. You are never surprised by the characters, nor instilled with a feeling that they are smarter - and save for thier magical prowess - more capable than you are. My biggest complaint with the characters is with the protagonist, who really suffers from the lack of a schtick. At the very least she needs to be, "blows up stuff good", but for all that she's supposed to be a powerful sorceress she comes off as helpless without her nifty cloak and dagger toys. All the minor characters are far more interesting and would be far more interesting in the lead role. But the single biggest problem with the story is the ending, which - not to give away too many spoilers - turns the whole book into a zero sum episode suitable for a network TV series. The characters don't grow or deepen in any way, even in relation to each other, and save for the rescued damsel in distress and the mounting pile of corpses scarsely change. It's pretty safe to say that whatever character development transpires, it will have no bearing at all on the next book in the series. For me, it is enough to drop the story from three stars down to two. Still, worth your time if you are a fan of this sort of thing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Poison Sleep is a fantastic second book in a series. I really enjoyed Blood Engines (Book 1), but Poison Sleep takes the cake! Fantastic story, amazing plot, the characters are likeable and interesting. The dream reweaver was a new paranormal power (for me), and Pratt pulled it off quite nicely by mixing up the dream world and the nightmare world. As always Rondeau, Marla's partner, is hilarious and adds a touch of lightheartedness to any situation, well, when he's not freaking out. The addition Poison Sleep is a fantastic second book in a series. I really enjoyed Blood Engines (Book 1), but Poison Sleep takes the cake! Fantastic story, amazing plot, the characters are likeable and interesting. The dream reweaver was a new paranormal power (for me), and Pratt pulled it off quite nicely by mixing up the dream world and the nightmare world. As always Rondeau, Marla's partner, is hilarious and adds a touch of lightheartedness to any situation, well, when he's not freaking out. The addition of the two new characters: Ted, the assistant, and Joshua, the lovetalker, didn't feel rushed or pushed upon me as a reader. It felt like a natural progression for Marla to hire them on as a part of her team. Ted and Marla really worked well together, and even though I was a little disappointed with the outcome, it didn't make or break the story. The sweet, sensual, hypnotic lovetalker is well, seductive times 10 million. It was nice to see Marla be vulnerable to someone for once, because she is usually very strong willed and independent. The choices for the antagonists were clever, especially Z (Zealand) , because the mentally ill sorcerer, Genevieve, looks to him for protection and gives him a creepy power in order to do so. I will say that having their POVs to read through was very insightful. It's always nice to take a peek inside the head of the bad guys. T.A. Pratt is on the path to having a really exciting and successful new series in the Urban Fantasy world. It's great to get a male's perspective, since the genre is dominated by females. If you are into magic, great plot, edge of your seat action, and maybe a little romance tossed in, you must check out this series! I must also give props to Dan Santos the AMAZING cover artist for the Marla Mason series, as well as many other books out there. Please check out his website!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I wrote a fairly bitchy review of the first Marla Mason book, but the series was re-recommended (and I had a long airplane flight) so I tried the second one. It works better -- but still scrapes against my tastes in unfortunate ways. As friends have opined, Marla comes off better on her home turf, where she is the generally-aggravated but not-usually-sociopathic gang leader for a gang of powerful magicians who would all be worse for civilization than she is. Also, she interacts with very few mug I wrote a fairly bitchy review of the first Marla Mason book, but the series was re-recommended (and I had a long airplane flight) so I tried the second one. It works better -- but still scrapes against my tastes in unfortunate ways. As friends have opined, Marla comes off better on her home turf, where she is the generally-aggravated but not-usually-sociopathic gang leader for a gang of powerful magicians who would all be worse for civilization than she is. Also, she interacts with very few muggles in this book (the one who is a major character, she is completely fair with). I don't mind so much when she is vindictive and mighty-makes-righty towards other sorcerers, because that's clearly their social norm. So my problem has been clarified: I get very little sense of Marla caring about anybody or anything. (See earlier reviews about the brutal-hero thing.) Story events try to demonstrate it -- she cares about her assistants, she cares about her city, these are crucial plot points -- but each time it feels out of place with the narration. We are told that she kills only as a last resort, and my response is "really? uh, I guess." Maybe this is on purpose; not all of the characters in the book buy it either. I think it's a ground-level stylistic thing, really. The author is doing third-person intimate without the intimacy -- at least, that's how it comes across to me. No doubt fans would say she's doing it without the wallowing in angst and maudlinry. (I just started the thirteenth-ish Weather Warden book, so clearly I have no claim to restraint or subtlety.) Anyhow, the fireworks are exciting enough (this book has assassins, treason, an excellent secretary, and an insane universe-warping dream-weaver on the loose) that I am willing to keep on with the series and see where it goes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    The second book in the Marla Mason series does exactly what a sequel should do: it builds upon the world, raises the stakes slightly, and maintains all of the elements the first volume had going for it. In this volume, Marla Mason, chief sorcerer of Felport, is dealing with several simultaneous threats, all of which are developed into an interesting aspect of the story. She's being hunted by a slow assassin, trained to kill his targets slowly and horribly over a long period of time. The city Mar The second book in the Marla Mason series does exactly what a sequel should do: it builds upon the world, raises the stakes slightly, and maintains all of the elements the first volume had going for it. In this volume, Marla Mason, chief sorcerer of Felport, is dealing with several simultaneous threats, all of which are developed into an interesting aspect of the story. She's being hunted by a slow assassin, trained to kill his targets slowly and horribly over a long period of time. The city Marla runs is also being threatened by a sorceress who has escaped from an asylum, and the sorceress's bizarre dreams are beginning to mesh with the reality of Felport. On top of these two problems, Marla has two new hirees, neither of who have much experience with the magical world. Hilarity ensues. There are lots of good things I can say about this series. It's fast-paced, but it's also witty and complex. It's very funny, and Pratt borrows from many different myths and spiritual systems in developing the magic of his world. According to Marla, "Everything works," from voodoo to necromancy to love potions to chaos magic, and everything in between. Poison Sleep is happy pagan fun time. I'm very disappointed to learn Pratt's series was dropped by his publisher after the fourth volume. Well, at least Marla and I can have a couple more adventures. In the meantime, perhaps the series will be picked up by another publisher. I can't believe that, with all the crappy looking urban fantasy out there, this series wouldn't have enough of a following to keep it in print.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mortalform

    "So? It just takes a combination of skill and a whole lot of practice. I mean, you can't give a random guy on the street a scalpel and expect him to perform brain surgery successfully, but we don't say brain surgeons are magical, even through there are some people who could never do that job successfully, no matter how much they practiced. Some people are born with perfect pitch, and that's not something you can learn , but we don't say it's 'magical'. The stuff I do, that people like me do... "So? It just takes a combination of skill and a whole lot of practice. I mean, you can't give a random guy on the street a scalpel and expect him to perform brain surgery successfully, but we don't say brain surgeons are magical, even through there are some people who could never do that job successfully, no matter how much they practiced. Some people are born with perfect pitch, and that's not something you can learn , but we don't say it's 'magical'. The stuff I do, that people like me do... it's a way of changing the world. A way of messing with the root commands of the universe. We call it sorcery because that's a useful catchall term. There's a lot of it we don't understand ourselves. Some of us consort with gods and demons, but if you'd rather call them extra-dimensional aliens, you're welcome to. It's not amy more or less accurate. And so what if some of the acts we perform seem dependant on the will of the magician or some inborn capability?" p149 "If it happens, it's part of the natural world, Ted. There's nothing in the universe that isn't natural. We say 'supernatural,' but that's not exactly what we mean. Think of it like light. There's a visible spectrum that people can see. But there's light at both ends of the spectrum that we can't see naturally. That doesn't mean that the infrared and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum are unnatural. Humans are pretty stupid, Ted. We have a nasty tendency to assume our own limitations are somehow the limitations of the universe. That's one of the first prejudices sorcerers have to overcome. " p 150

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of her city, sworn to protect it against all magical attacks. When a woman with reality-bending powers awakens from a catatonic state and starts unmeaningly wreaking havoc, Marla is on the job. She's not thrilled that her only option seems to be to kill Genevieve, who is unable to control herself but not evil, and even less happy when it becomes clear that Genevieve has brought her nightmares to life, and they will do far more damage. For some reason I just adore Marla Mason is the chief sorcerer of her city, sworn to protect it against all magical attacks. When a woman with reality-bending powers awakens from a catatonic state and starts unmeaningly wreaking havoc, Marla is on the job. She's not thrilled that her only option seems to be to kill Genevieve, who is unable to control herself but not evil, and even less happy when it becomes clear that Genevieve has brought her nightmares to life, and they will do far more damage. For some reason I just adore Marla, who is a bruiser of a sorcerer and is forthright and pragmatic to a fault. I really like the variety of sorcerers that she deals with, from a pollution magician to someone who's basically doing magic with science. (Or science with magic? It's not clear.) And I liked how this resolved ((view spoiler)[I saw Joshua the lovetalker being the spy from pretty early on, like I think a lot of readers did, but I don't see that as a flaw. There are red flags from very early on that Marla is involving him too much and not being rational about him, so I totally understood why she didn't see what I did. I think I expected her to be able to defeat Joshua because she didn't really love him or something like that, but I liked that instead, she did love him, she's just capable of killing the things she loves. And although I felt like it took forever for Genevieve to get herself together and realize Reave could be defeated, that felt realistic too.), although a few too many characters I liked died along the way. (hide spoiler)]

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bunge

    I liked it. The protagonist is sarcastic, competent and... real. She's 'no-nonsense,' and it gets her in trouble because she sucks at negotiating and politics (which... when you're the head sorcerer in a city of bickering, backstabbing, selfish sorcerers... isn't great.) Marla has... flexible morals (I mean, she IS technically a benevolent dictator who runs a lot of the city's underworld) but she is moral- kinda... chaotic neutral, if you will. My point though, is that she's human, not a super-p I liked it. The protagonist is sarcastic, competent and... real. She's 'no-nonsense,' and it gets her in trouble because she sucks at negotiating and politics (which... when you're the head sorcerer in a city of bickering, backstabbing, selfish sorcerers... isn't great.) Marla has... flexible morals (I mean, she IS technically a benevolent dictator who runs a lot of the city's underworld) but she is moral- kinda... chaotic neutral, if you will. My point though, is that she's human, not a super-perfect ideal goddess out to save the world like so many paranormal heroines. Her flaws are not secretly her strengths. She does have a romantic interest in this book, but... this ain't "paranormal romance" any more than Michelle Sagara "Cast In..." books are (though I seem to find BOTH shelved there with the 'sailor moon-esk ingenue sleeps with a vampire' escapist erotica books. *sigh* Marla cares about her city, and she will kick anyone's ass who threatens to harm it. Enter a disturbed psychic who can rewrite reality to match her recurring nightmare... and things get weird quick. Also, there's a slow assassin out to get her too (but that's just par for the course- everyone wants her job.) So, dirty, gritty, delightful. She uses her fists as much as her magic to settle disputes. And she screws up... a lot. And there are consequences, a lot of which aren't just there for plot points. People die. People that MATTER. I cried about the end. Which is dumb, but I was *that* into it. Can't wait to get my paws on the next one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Reed

    Not sure why I enjoy Pratt's new series so much, but it seems to have hit the "sweet spot" for me right now. Pratt has the goods--his writing is crisp, fast, and fun . . . to me he feels like the lovechild of Jim Butcher and Tim Powers. Definitely a good thing. I realized Pratt's first novel had struck a chord a chord with me, when I found his latest book "Poison Sleep". Without even realizing what I had done, I promptly put down the book I was reading (can't even remember what it was now) and de Not sure why I enjoy Pratt's new series so much, but it seems to have hit the "sweet spot" for me right now. Pratt has the goods--his writing is crisp, fast, and fun . . . to me he feels like the lovechild of Jim Butcher and Tim Powers. Definitely a good thing. I realized Pratt's first novel had struck a chord a chord with me, when I found his latest book "Poison Sleep". Without even realizing what I had done, I promptly put down the book I was reading (can't even remember what it was now) and delightfully began reading. Hell, even the cover works for me. I know getting caught up in cover art is shallow, but I certainly hope it helps attract new readers to Pratt's books. He's worth it. I can't really find much of Pratt's Marla Mason series that separates itself from the slew of urban fantasy series out in the wild, at least in characters and concepts. His characters are the tough/wisecracking souls found in all of the books coming out lately. But Pratt's prose is crisper, and his magic feels more "organic", more like Tim Powers at his best. I think that's what grabs me the most. Pratt's magic has consequences--you don't use magic willnilly and move on with your life. Magic is common, but it affects lives, including the user, and cannot be taken lightly. I like that approach. I will definitely read the next Pratt book. Unfortunately, I have 6 months to wait . . .

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steff

    You May Not Be Able to Rest Until this Book is Finished Marla Mason is the leader among equals of the sorcerers in the city of Felport. It’s her job to protect the city and keep the other sorcerers in line - something that is not so easy to do when one of the sorcerers has hired an assassin to kill her and another has escaped from a mental institution and is wreaking havoc across the city. Then, to top it all off, Marla has found love, which means all her attentions may not be where they should b You May Not Be Able to Rest Until this Book is Finished Marla Mason is the leader among equals of the sorcerers in the city of Felport. It’s her job to protect the city and keep the other sorcerers in line - something that is not so easy to do when one of the sorcerers has hired an assassin to kill her and another has escaped from a mental institution and is wreaking havoc across the city. Then, to top it all off, Marla has found love, which means all her attentions may not be where they should be. Even with help from her faithful partner, Rondeau, her competent consigliere, Hamil, and her new personal assistant, Ted, Marla can’t seem to get a handle on the situation. But she’ll have to find a way to stop the madness soon or lose her city and herself forever. T.A. Pratt’s second instalment of her Marla Mason series proves to be even more enchanting and enthralling than her first. Poison Sleep shows another side of Marla and gives the reader better insight into her quirks, powers, and love of her city. The reader also learns more about the varying degrees of magic and personalities that create Marla’s allies and adversaries. And the action never stops. If you’re looking for an intriguing look at the world of sorcerers and their trials and tribulations then you need to read Poison Sleep.

  21. 5 out of 5

    liz!

    MUCH better than the preview book. Although, Marla is still an unsympathetic character. We have very little background on her. Why is she such a hard ass? You can only use the excuse of "sorcerers kill or be killed" for so long before I get bored. Watching Marla's character interact with Joshua was fun. I loved her ability to retain her personality, even though he was supposed to be smoothing her feathers. As a character, I had Joshus pegged from the beginning. A few problems with this book: writi MUCH better than the preview book. Although, Marla is still an unsympathetic character. We have very little background on her. Why is she such a hard ass? You can only use the excuse of "sorcerers kill or be killed" for so long before I get bored. Watching Marla's character interact with Joshua was fun. I loved her ability to retain her personality, even though he was supposed to be smoothing her feathers. As a character, I had Joshus pegged from the beginning. A few problems with this book: writing a rape victim versus a rape survivor. Pratt was good with the victim aspect, but the survivor part... not so much. With magic involved, the psychological power a rapist holds over their victim is magnified. Genevieve lived primarily in her own head. But the quick snap from victim to survivor was something I wasn't comfortable with. Healing takes time. My other problem: of COURSE Marla had to have a battle scene mid sex scene. She fights the guy off while she's naked. Typical of a male author. I liked the mythology and setting of the first book better than the plot and setting of this one. But I enjoyed the characters more in this book than I did the previous. Toss up, I guess.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Teller

    This is the second book in Marla Mason series, and I arrived at it without benefit of the first in the series. Despite this I was able to grab ahold of the characters and plot and run with it easily. The pacing is reasonably fast, with a fair amount of political intrigue and sorcery, rather than being overboard on the romance side of things that one find in many urban fantasy series as of late. The main character is flawed, but not in the normal concept of how this works in such a setting, she is This is the second book in Marla Mason series, and I arrived at it without benefit of the first in the series. Despite this I was able to grab ahold of the characters and plot and run with it easily. The pacing is reasonably fast, with a fair amount of political intrigue and sorcery, rather than being overboard on the romance side of things that one find in many urban fantasy series as of late. The main character is flawed, but not in the normal concept of how this works in such a setting, she isn't a victim nor does she keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result and then being upset when the world is what it is. The main plot deals with the escape of a patient from an asylum where they keep mentally unstable sorcerers for the sake of everyone, the sort of folks kept there are dangers to themselves, the city or reality..... add in a collection of feuding sorcerers that seem to have stepped out from a complex post-modern magic system like Unknown Armies but with the power level set to 11..... and all this in a single city.... and you have chaos, complexity and very few random events that aren't to someone's benefit or plan. I found it worth reading and will have to look for the rest of the series now.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lori Whitwam

    The second "Marla Mason" urban fantasy. Marla is the chief sorcerer and protector of the city of Felport. Let's see, an insane sorceress tries to escape from an institution, and while she doesn't succeed (despite having help), she accidentally wakes another sorceress who had been in a catatonic state for 15 years. This catatonic sorceress is a "reweaver," meaning she can reshape reality and pull others into her dreams, and sometimes her dreams can intrude on our reality. She put herself in suspe The second "Marla Mason" urban fantasy. Marla is the chief sorcerer and protector of the city of Felport. Let's see, an insane sorceress tries to escape from an institution, and while she doesn't succeed (despite having help), she accidentally wakes another sorceress who had been in a catatonic state for 15 years. This catatonic sorceress is a "reweaver," meaning she can reshape reality and pull others into her dreams, and sometimes her dreams can intrude on our reality. She put herself in suspended animation when she couldn't get over the trauma of a sexual assault, and now a nightmare version of her attacker is causing problems in our world. Anyone who touches this sorceress when she's corporeal falls into a sleep and is then prone to being pulled into her dreams. Marla is touch and no-nonsense. She has a loyal circle of friends, as well as many enemies. Two new men enter her life in this book. A personal assistant and a lover. Can either of them be trusted? How can she save her city when the threat comes from a sorceress's dreams?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hcatlin

    I would never have bought this series if it had been purchased in real life. The covers are ridiculously bad. I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone, but the cover makes it look like a book for someone with a lot of *cats* and many lonely evenings to fill. However, it came up on my kindle and both the first book and this one had pretty good reviews. So, I gave it a go! And, I have to say, that this second book in the series got me *hooked*. A vivid, unique universe. The no-nonsense aesthetic of the ma I would never have bought this series if it had been purchased in real life. The covers are ridiculously bad. I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone, but the cover makes it look like a book for someone with a lot of *cats* and many lonely evenings to fill. However, it came up on my kindle and both the first book and this one had pretty good reviews. So, I gave it a go! And, I have to say, that this second book in the series got me *hooked*. A vivid, unique universe. The no-nonsense aesthetic of the main character goes well against a background of urban fantasy. Ever wondered if your home town was really run by a bunch of wizards who keep the city protected. No? Good, then you have decent mental health. Still, that's the kind of thing we're talking about here. The people at the top know about the other world, but not the people on the streets. Its a parallel world right on top of the gritty city of Felport. Anyhow, good series.... I only recommend reading on the Kindle so no one has to judge you for the horrible fantasy/nerd covers.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ungelic_is_us

    This is my least favorite Marla Mason book. I think it's not a bad book in itself; it has classic Marla shenanigans; but I'm not really sure how I feel about the way the book handles the themes of sexual coercion and sexual assault. (view spoiler)[Pratt's take on the mad sorceress whose inability to overcome her fear of the man who assaulted her comes uncomfortably close to victim-blaming. It reminded me of a couple of Charles de Lint's works, in which the nightmare versions of the protagonist's This is my least favorite Marla Mason book. I think it's not a bad book in itself; it has classic Marla shenanigans; but I'm not really sure how I feel about the way the book handles the themes of sexual coercion and sexual assault. (view spoiler)[Pratt's take on the mad sorceress whose inability to overcome her fear of the man who assaulted her comes uncomfortably close to victim-blaming. It reminded me of a couple of Charles de Lint's works, in which the nightmare versions of the protagonist's attackers kill or assault others, and can only be stopped when the original victim "overcomes" her trauma. I do not like this trope. I think it's pretty cheap, and lays the onus for "fixing" the issue of sexual assault on the victims, as we so often do. Also, it is excruciating to watch Marla get played and sexually assaulted by Joshua--and yes, I think magically aided charisma that leads to sex is rape. It's in character, I guess, for Marla not to see it that way, but it would have been nice to get a sense that *someone* recognized it as coercive. (hide spoiler)]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Marla Mason is back in her home town of Felport but something sinister is afoot. An inmate of the Blackwing Institute, which houses insane sorcerer's attempted to make an escape, they didn't get away luckily but a low level threat has disappeared. THe problem is that perhaps this inmate was incorrectly assessed because she sure is stirring up trouble now that she's out. Genevieve Kelley is a reweaver, a sorcerer capable of altering reality with a thought. Luckily she's been sleeping for twenty y Marla Mason is back in her home town of Felport but something sinister is afoot. An inmate of the Blackwing Institute, which houses insane sorcerer's attempted to make an escape, they didn't get away luckily but a low level threat has disappeared. THe problem is that perhaps this inmate was incorrectly assessed because she sure is stirring up trouble now that she's out. Genevieve Kelley is a reweaver, a sorcerer capable of altering reality with a thought. Luckily she's been sleeping for twenty years, but now she's mostly awake and she's brought her dreamland with her. Marla has bigger concerns though, there is a slow assassin in town and she still has to distribute Susan Wellstone's effects to the remaining sorcerers of Felport. But as things around town become more and more surreal and Marla's problems get more and more entangled she begins to realize that Genevieve is much more of a problem than she first anticipated. Some interesting characters, some good development of Marla, a solid addition to this series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ithlilian

    Marla is a wonderful multidimensional character that I can't wait to find out more about. At first glance she is cold hearted and will kill anything that threatens her city. As we learn more about her, we find that that is not entirely the case. This novel scared me at first, we were introduced to all of the characters and it seemed like the mystery was figured out. We knew who hurt Genevieve and we knew who was trying to kill Marla and who hired him. Fortunately, there is much more to the novel Marla is a wonderful multidimensional character that I can't wait to find out more about. At first glance she is cold hearted and will kill anything that threatens her city. As we learn more about her, we find that that is not entirely the case. This novel scared me at first, we were introduced to all of the characters and it seemed like the mystery was figured out. We knew who hurt Genevieve and we knew who was trying to kill Marla and who hired him. Fortunately, there is much more to the novel than that. There are plenty of twists and turns, and a large dose of action. I can't wait to read more of this series! If you liked the first, you will like this one. The only bad thing is that the snake god isn't back yet, but hey it's early, there is still time for that. Yet another book that defines urban fantasy. This is what I consider to be urban fantasy-gritty, in your face, set in a believable world. More please!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carien

    Yup, it's official: I'm in love with this series. Marla is such a deliciously practical, no nonsense character. She has very flexible morals, and doesn't shy away from taking extreme measures, but at the same time she's not above listening to advice. And the supporting characters are really interesting as well, although it's clear that I'll have to be careful in liking supporting characters. Pratt isn't a G.R.R. Martin yet, but doesn't shy away from killing off characters for the good of the stor Yup, it's official: I'm in love with this series. Marla is such a deliciously practical, no nonsense character. She has very flexible morals, and doesn't shy away from taking extreme measures, but at the same time she's not above listening to advice. And the supporting characters are really interesting as well, although it's clear that I'll have to be careful in liking supporting characters. Pratt isn't a G.R.R. Martin yet, but doesn't shy away from killing off characters for the good of the story. The magic system and the world building is really cool as well. I like how many of the sorcerers have their specialization and can do really intriguing stuff with it. The story is very suspenseful, and even though I expected Marla to save the day, I was nervous about the outcome from time to time. All in all this is a great story, and you bet I'll be picking up book three in this series soon.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Poison Sleep OR Well, There are Worse Ways to Deal With Trauma... I Guess I'm really enjoying these books. It's a great world built here, with all kinds of interesting characters with often bizarre magical specializations. All the magic is supported by striking images in the narrative. I adore Marla's hard hitting style and I adore that sometimes it utterly fails her. Characters are dynamic and interesting, there are costs and consequences to actions, choices, and beliefs. And yet, through all of t Poison Sleep OR Well, There are Worse Ways to Deal With Trauma... I Guess I'm really enjoying these books. It's a great world built here, with all kinds of interesting characters with often bizarre magical specializations. All the magic is supported by striking images in the narrative. I adore Marla's hard hitting style and I adore that sometimes it utterly fails her. Characters are dynamic and interesting, there are costs and consequences to actions, choices, and beliefs. And yet, through all of that, the book maintains an internal sense of humor that makes it easy to read. The writing is significantly cleaned up from the first book. There were few surprises for me, but even the expected twists were satisfying. Some heavy subject matter gets tackled in this book, but I think its handled pretty well, all told.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

    Urban fantasy is all the rage these days. While I’m concerned about the eventual over-saturation of the market, it’s definitely a good time to be a fan of the sub-genre, especially when writers like T.A. Pratt are given the chance to shine. Tim Pratt, the winner of the 2007 Hugo Award for the short story “Impossible Dreams,” also left a positive impression on me with his novel Blood Engines and its rewarding blend of wacky characters, comedy, supernatural action, and imagination. Granted, I had Urban fantasy is all the rage these days. While I’m concerned about the eventual over-saturation of the market, it’s definitely a good time to be a fan of the sub-genre, especially when writers like T.A. Pratt are given the chance to shine. Tim Pratt, the winner of the 2007 Hugo Award for the short story “Impossible Dreams,” also left a positive impression on me with his novel Blood Engines and its rewarding blend of wacky characters, comedy, supernatural action, and imagination. Granted, I had a few issues with the writing, but overall I really enjoyed the book and looked forward to the sequel. Whereas Blood Engines took place in San Francisco, Poison Sleepfinds Marla Mason back in her element as the chief sorcerer of Felport — a made-up city in an alternate contemporary world... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

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