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Oakland Arcana: Awakening

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The world is complicated. Power is currency, lives are cheap.   Hephzibah Euphrasia Joséphine d'Albret hates her name. She hates the life she comes from, the fourth daughter of a legendary family—and, perilously, the one with negligible magical potential. And that suits her fine. Fleeing the Authority allows her to choose her own path: software engineer and startup founder The world is complicated. Power is currency, lives are cheap.   Hephzibah Euphrasia Joséphine d'Albret hates her name. She hates the life she comes from, the fourth daughter of a legendary family—and, perilously, the one with negligible magical potential. And that suits her fine. Fleeing the Authority allows her to choose her own path: software engineer and startup founder. Finally, Zizi’s found a life she loves. One that doesn’t care about the magic she doesn’t have.   A sleeping city festers…   Zizi never wants her life to change. She loves her job, loves her freedom, loves her city, whatever its problems… and Oakland has problems. Mythological creatures are loose in the streets, predators and monsters feed recklessly. Criminals are bolder, disasters more frequent. Protected humans are coming up drained of blood—and if the Authority gets irritated enough, it’ll be her vampire best friend they kill for it.   …and calls for a leader to rise again.   Her city needs a real Sorceress, a powerful caretaker…not a low-magic nerd that refuses to play by the bureaucracy’s deadly rules. Unfortunately for her, Zizi is all Oakland has. With misfit allies and lethal enemies around every corner, an encyclopedic understanding of magic theory, and serious amounts of snark, can this Sorceress possibly survive the summer?


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The world is complicated. Power is currency, lives are cheap.   Hephzibah Euphrasia Joséphine d'Albret hates her name. She hates the life she comes from, the fourth daughter of a legendary family—and, perilously, the one with negligible magical potential. And that suits her fine. Fleeing the Authority allows her to choose her own path: software engineer and startup founder The world is complicated. Power is currency, lives are cheap.   Hephzibah Euphrasia Joséphine d'Albret hates her name. She hates the life she comes from, the fourth daughter of a legendary family—and, perilously, the one with negligible magical potential. And that suits her fine. Fleeing the Authority allows her to choose her own path: software engineer and startup founder. Finally, Zizi’s found a life she loves. One that doesn’t care about the magic she doesn’t have.   A sleeping city festers…   Zizi never wants her life to change. She loves her job, loves her freedom, loves her city, whatever its problems… and Oakland has problems. Mythological creatures are loose in the streets, predators and monsters feed recklessly. Criminals are bolder, disasters more frequent. Protected humans are coming up drained of blood—and if the Authority gets irritated enough, it’ll be her vampire best friend they kill for it.   …and calls for a leader to rise again.   Her city needs a real Sorceress, a powerful caretaker…not a low-magic nerd that refuses to play by the bureaucracy’s deadly rules. Unfortunately for her, Zizi is all Oakland has. With misfit allies and lethal enemies around every corner, an encyclopedic understanding of magic theory, and serious amounts of snark, can this Sorceress possibly survive the summer?

30 review for Oakland Arcana: Awakening

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's not easy to find a good UF lately. I'm happy to say that this book is one of those fews. It lost a star for the dense world building, there were times I couldn't understand what was going on or how it could be going on, and an other one for the James situation. It made her almost TSTL and her friends idiots and none of it rung true. She was born in a very powerful family and had gone through the training for her role. It was good to see her discard the 'wrong' aspects of the role, but ignorin It's not easy to find a good UF lately. I'm happy to say that this book is one of those fews. It lost a star for the dense world building, there were times I couldn't understand what was going on or how it could be going on, and an other one for the James situation. It made her almost TSTL and her friends idiots and none of it rung true. She was born in a very powerful family and had gone through the training for her role. It was good to see her discard the 'wrong' aspects of the role, but ignoring danger and manipulation for the sake of the story is a heavy authorial intervention. Above all as the rest of the people did it too. The ending was a shot of adrenaline that left my heart racing as a mad horse.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    I came across this book by chance in the RH section of Amazon - a genre I have a serious soft spot for (but somehow when I say this aloud it sounds like i have a disease lol). And it looks like it will be going in that direction - I think, but unlike most books in this genre it is building up to be a good one. Most RH books are utter rubbish, just authors trying to jump on the band wagon, by giving bad imitations of the few but great writers, with very poor world building and characters that fee I came across this book by chance in the RH section of Amazon - a genre I have a serious soft spot for (but somehow when I say this aloud it sounds like i have a disease lol). And it looks like it will be going in that direction - I think, but unlike most books in this genre it is building up to be a good one. Most RH books are utter rubbish, just authors trying to jump on the band wagon, by giving bad imitations of the few but great writers, with very poor world building and characters that feel like I am at a convention for 12 year old's. But Ladies and Gentleman we might have a winner on our hands: What's not to like: A sorceress with no power having to protect her city from the bad guys, having to live with being the disappointment in her powerful family, forced to start gathering her Arcane (Guys of course) together to support and protect her within a old fashioned society, hidden in a modern world. And guess what the men in her life are not perfect and don't fall into her bed instantly (sort of) YEAH!! I must admit to having a rough start, sort of first date adjustment, having to find my groove in a new world but once I hit my stride WOW!!! I loved every minute of it and I can't wait for the next book... Well done ... Renae !!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ozsaur

    Zizi is the fourth daughter of a legendary Sorceress. Her family is very powerful magically, but she has little magic of her own. At a young age, she rebels against her family, runs away to carve out a life for herself without magic. Then she becomes bonded to the city of Oakland. Everything changes. Now she has duties that require a real Sorceress, and that means building her Arcana. Acquiring these helpers, and integrating them into her life, is a good chunk of the book. Good thing they're fun, Zizi is the fourth daughter of a legendary Sorceress. Her family is very powerful magically, but she has little magic of her own. At a young age, she rebels against her family, runs away to carve out a life for herself without magic. Then she becomes bonded to the city of Oakland. Everything changes. Now she has duties that require a real Sorceress, and that means building her Arcana. Acquiring these helpers, and integrating them into her life, is a good chunk of the book. Good thing they're fun, likeable characters. They're all very different from each other, and serve different functions. Getting them to work together, and with her, was interesting to me, and was nicely interwoven with the plot. I really liked the plot, which was the meat of the story. Weird and dangerous supernatural events keep happening in Oakland, and they keep escalating. Innocent people die. Mundane people are beginning to notice, which is a big no-no. I think what really makes this story work, is the main character Zizi. She's awesome! She's not some overpowered badass who solves everything with violence. Because she lacks magical power, she comes up with creative solutions to solve to her problems. I was delighted with many of her ideas, even though they didn't always come off perfectly. In fact, that kind of made them more realistic to me. Zizi is also good at using the tools she has on hand. Or working with the people who have the abilities to get things done. She uses her business acumen to rethink problems and find solutions. That's so different from every other urban fantasy novel I've read. Zizi herself is energetic and smart, and that keeps the story going at a fast pace. She was a great POV character. I did have a problem with a couple of dumb decisions, and they all had to do with the love interest. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll leave it at that. Other than that, it was a refreshing and fun novel, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    JV Findlay

    Really enjoyed the read. Well written, great characters, funny, dramatic, really enjoyable. Looking forward to book 2. Cant wait to learn how Zizi kicks butt next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Zizi is used to being considered a failure.  She's the powerless youngest daughter of a powerful Sorceress.  Sorceresses bond with cities and use their power to protect them.  Zizi was trained for the role since birth just like her sisters.  But she never was able to do much magic and she left that world behind.  At least she did until that night a year ago with too much tequila when she bonded with the city of Oakland. I heard about this book on Twitter.  I was in as soon as I heard the author' Zizi is used to being considered a failure.  She's the powerless youngest daughter of a powerful Sorceress.  Sorceresses bond with cities and use their power to protect them.  Zizi was trained for the role since birth just like her sisters.  But she never was able to do much magic and she left that world behind.  At least she did until that night a year ago with too much tequila when she bonded with the city of Oakland. I heard about this book on Twitter.  I was in as soon as I heard the author's description of Oakland (and all the cities) as distinct sentient beings. This book was great.  Zizi hasn't told anyone that she is bonded to Oakland.  She knows that is going to bring down all kinds of bureaucratic nightmares down on her.  No one suspects it because Oakland as been unbonded for thirty years.  But now there are all kinds of weird things going on in Oakland and Zizi needs help.  She needs an Arcana. Arcanas are the groups of magical helpers that surround Sorceresses.  Zizi doesn't want one.  Most Sorceresses use their power to bond their Arcana to them.  They can compel their people to do what they want.  The main way they do this is through Earth magic and sex.  Zizi wants nothing to do with this and starts to assemble a team that wants out of the old ways of doing things too. The characters in this book are fresh takes on many of the common types seen in urban fantasy books.  The vampires are truly vicious but also do a lot of their business at Taco Tuesday/Cowboy Karaoke Night.  ("Don't do Dolly if you can't stick the landing" might now be my favorite mixed metaphor ever.)  There is a kraken in a lake raising an orphaned capricorn even though the baby is a vegetarian and the kraken is disturbed by that.  There is a weretiger pack in Chinatown. The book starts with Zizi having been the secret Sorceress for a year.  Sometimes it can feel like maybe you missed a previous book when she refers to events in the past but this is the first one.  I loved the combination of sassiness and smarts that Zizi has.  She's very smart and took her magical training seriously growing up so she has the theoretical knowledge she needs even if she doesn't have the power that would help get everything done.  She's very funny.  I found myself highlighting a lot of lines in the e-book.  I liked the idea of a sex-positive bisexual heroine who is adamant that she is not going to use sex to get things done. I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes in the future. My only criticism is that there are a few typos, grammatical errors, and misspelled words in the book but I loved this book so much that I'm forgiving that. This review was originally posted on Based On A True Story

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy (Kindle-aholic)

    Oh, I liked this one a lot. UF with a not so powerful witch (from a super powerful family), who builds a life for herself among the Protecteds (nonmagical humans), and then ends up a the Sorceress of Oakland. This has all happened before the story starts, in case you think I am being spoilery. The fun is watching how she handles it all in her own way. Really liked all of the relationships, how Zizi knows her strengths and weaknesses, and works her way out of problems. I want more!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lyssa Sue Shaffer

    Now I need the next book... Yes, Milady Author you need to release the second volume. Now would be good, though last week would be better. Zizi is my mind of heroine. Witty, complex, unafraid to have unusual friends and dedicated to her city. This is a completely new take on urban fantasy to me and I am greatly impressed. Pick the book up, give it 4 chapters. By then you will be completely hooked, it took far less to grab me!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Lilley

    Wow! Wonderful strong female urban fantasy! I hope Ms. Jones is inspired to get a sequel out quickly! This ranks up there with all of the greats. If you love Devon Monk, you will love this too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marcy A. Vonderwell

    Enjoyable start to a new series Very enjoyable start to a new series. This is well written, has good characters, and enough twists to keep you guessing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trey richardson

    It's a reverse Haram book Didn't see that in discription and I hate the genre. Would not recommend. Book should have to state if there a romance in discription. It's a reverse Haram book Didn't see that in discription and I hate the genre. Would not recommend. Book should have to state if there a romance in discription.

  11. 4 out of 5

    WinterOrchid

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sofía Fuentes

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caitie

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Hoyt

  15. 5 out of 5

    Liza

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicki K.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caro Kinkead

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ava

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jane Barr Tyson

  20. 4 out of 5

    rose schleicher

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terrie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim Holland

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ma Webre

  28. 4 out of 5

    Moksha09

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Drakeman

  30. 5 out of 5

    8o's

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