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....
From the Paperback edition.
Showing 1-6 of the 6 most recent reviews
1 . I would take out the sex
Posted June 04, 2010 by james , honoluluto add to what WW Gordon says, there are passages that border on pornographic; that's the flaw to this novel, in my opinion
(to WW Gordon: I'm able to paste my reviews into the appropriate fields; not sure why you can't)
2 . I'd love watch the movie
Posted March 08, 2010 by WW Gordon , Northern Virginia(A note to any reading these reviews--the system does not allow for comments to first be composed and spell-checked on a word processor, then pasted into the appropriate field. No doubt why so little is written...)
A condensed version of my original reivew.
1. Blood Engines would make a great movie.
2. The main character is both endearing--and very prickly. NOT a diplomat.
3. The Marla Mason stories are not pornographic but the ARE for adults. *Most* is left to the imagination.
4. I've enjoyed the whole series.
3 . Ok book, not terribly engaging characters
Posted September 02, 2009 by TheLongshot , VAThere is only so much I can take of arrogant and overconfident characters, and unfortunately this book is full of them. In fact, it seems the only enemy to these magic users are their own arrogance. It is amazing that they survive as long as they do.
4 . i'm surprised it's bargain priced!
Posted August 23, 2009 by sunshine , las vegasi loved how you never knew what was going to happen. T.A. Pratt had a very complicated and twisted plot that kept you geussing. If you're reading this you just have to read it you'll want to readat least the first chapter.If you don't have a lot of time on your hands i suggest that you don't read this book because you won't be able to put it down!!
5 . I found it engrossing
Posted July 04, 2009 by Julie , Fairless HillsNicely paced, with some interesting characters, a little humor and a decent enough plot to keep me engaged. Read it on a plane ride to/from Chicago and it made the time fly (no pun intended), which is exactly what I was looking for. Although I don't usually go in for fantasy stories, I'm going to read another of the author's books.
6 . Good but...
Posted June 17, 2009 by FredOak , KenmoreI liked it, it had a female "Dresden" feel to it but a little more heavy handed. Not sure I'd go for a sequel if there is/was one.
September 24, 2007
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Excerpt from Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
Marla Mason crouched in the alley beside the City Lights bookstore and threw her runes. The square of royal-purple velvet spread before her on the ground was covered by a scattering of objects-a garlic clove, a withered cigarette butt, a two-headed novelty quarter, fingernail clippings, and the stone from the head of a toad. She studied the pattern the objects made for a long time, then sighed.
"It's no good. This alley isn't any better than the other two places I tried. I don't know where all the lines of force are in this city, so I can't interpret the scatter worth a damn. I thought I could triangulate, but even then it's too vague. There's something or someone of power over there"-she gestured vaguely eastward-"but I don't know if it's the guy we're looking for. I'll have to do a wet divination." The air smelled faintly of piss and coffee, but not even those familiar urban smells set Marla at ease.
Her companion, Rondeau, stood slurping rice noodles from a waxed-paper box. "I guess guts never lie," he said, prodding the noodles with his chopstick and plucking out a morsel of chicken. "What are you planning to eviscerate?"
Marla wrapped up her velvet cloth and divining tools and stowed them in a leather shoulder bag. She stretched her arms overhead until she felt her joints pop, then sighed. She'd missed her morning workout,
then spent several hours cramped in cattle class during a cross-country flight, and her body was feeling uncooperative.
"If I didn't have such high moral standards, I'd do a human, just because it's more accurate. Then again, this isn't my city, so it's not like I have a responsibility to protect these people." She was kidding, of course. Murder for mystical purposes incurred a nasty karmic debt, and it was wasteful besides. There were better uses for people. "I don't know. A cat, maybe. Or a chicken. Nothing too advanced. I doubt Lao Tsung is trying to hide from me."
"Why do we have to look for him anyway? Why didn't you let him know we were coming?" Rondeau wiggled his fingers around his left ear. "Ever hear of a telephone?"
Marla snorted. "He's not the kind of person who has a phone number. There are ways to get messages to him, but it would take a few days, and there wasn't time for that. I'm in a hurry."
"I gathered that," Rondeau said, wiping his mouth with a wad of napkins. "I think my first clue was when you busted into my place, told me to pack a bag, hauled ass to the airport, and hustled me onto a plane. You didn't even let me sit by the window." His tone
was aggrieved. "My first time on a plane, and you stick me in the middle beside a fat guy with sweat stains. He was smelly."
"Oh, you noticed that, too? I think it's your keen powers of observation I value most."
"You know, I kept hoping you'd volunteer the information, but since you aren't-what are we doing in San Francisco? What's so important that you have to see this guy Lao Tsung right now? And why did you
need me to come?"
Marla considered. She and Rondeau had saved each other's lives far more often than they'd threatened them. Keeping secrets was a useful habit, and deeply ingrained, but it paid to remember she did have
a few allies she could count on. "It's Susan Wellstone, she said, and found herself reaching almost superstitiously for the comfort of the daggers up her sleeves.
Rondeau's eyes widened. "Really? Her? Of all the movers and shakers in Felport, I never thought she'd be the one to move on you. Gregor, maybe, or Viscarro . . ." He tossed his empty noodle carton in a
Marla shook her head. "Gregor would stab me in the back if I ever gave him the chance, and Viscarro will be there to steal the jewels and gold fillings off whatever corpse falls first, but Susan's the only one willing to make an opportunity, instead of just waiting for one. She knows that if she loses, I'll destroy her. But she's a perfectionist. She doesn't intend to lose. She means to overthrow me."
Rondeau frowned. "So why isn't she hanging upside down in a vat of acid right now? What are we doing on the other side of the continent? You can't be running away."
"I better not have heard a little upward lilt at the end of that last sentence, Rondeau," Marla said, crossing her arms. "I know you weren't asking if I'm running away."
Rondeau held up his hands. "I know better. I've seen you duck from the occasional social obligation, but never a fight."
"Yeah, well." Marla ran her hand through her short hair, bits of scalp flaking away. She'd never had dandruff in her twenties. Getting older had its advantages, but dandruff wasn't one of them. "This isn't a fight I can win, not head-on. Susan's planning to cast a spell to get rid of me, but she hasn't thought through all the implications, and her spell's going to wind up wrecking my city, too. I can respect her desire to kill me-she wants my position, and she knows I'm not about to retire anytime soon-but I can't forgive her for risking Felport."