Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Really Short Reviews: The Linnet Ellery series by Phillipa Bornikova

I read the first two books in the Linnet Ellery series from the library in December of 2013. I was so disappointed when there weren't any more. But now, almost five years after the previous release, the series is continuing. (Yay!)

Because I think a lot of people don't know about this series, and the ones that do probably haven't thought about it in years, I'm sharing my reviews of books 1 and 2 along with the new release. They're edited a little bit from what originally appeared on Goodreads.

This Case is Gonna Kill Me
(Linnet Ellery #1)
Phillipa Bornikova
Release: Sept 4, 2012
Goodreads Amazon
What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by "the Spooks," and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.

Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she's beginning her career in a powerful New York "white fang" law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner.

But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there's apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she's going to shake up the system like you wouldn't believe….
We see so many Urban Fantasy heroines who are detectives, assassins and bounty hunters. Linnet Ellery is a lawyer and she's still a little bit badass. She works for an elite "White Fang" firm, where when you make partner, you get made a vampire. In her world, only men can become vampires or werewolves, so the glass ceiling may as well be titanium. Linnet is assigned a dead end case, working for a lawyer no one in the firm respects and couldn't get any lower on the office totem pole if she tried. Then her boss is murdered and she finds out their case is a lot more interesting than she expected.

Linnet tries to find the killer, while navigating through office politics and the dating scene, not to mention vampires and werewolves. Linnet is smart and relatable. The supporting cast is original and engaging. There is more action than you would expect from a legal drama. The villain is not unexpected, but there are surprises along the way. I really enjoyed this twist on a typical Urban Fantasy!


16059327 stars

Box Office Poison
(Linnet Ellery #2)
Phillipa Bornikova
Release: August 6, 2013
What happens when exquisitely beautiful elves start getting all the roles in Hollywood? Human actors sue, that’s what. In a desperate attempt to keep the squabbling inside the Screen Actors Guild from going public, the president of SAG forces the two sides into arbitration.

Enter Linnet Ellery, a human lawyer working for a vampire law firm, to serve as arbitrator. Linnet discovers that there are sinister forces at work in Tinsel Town determined to shatter the fragile peace between elves, vampires, werewolves, and humans. Someone has been coercing famous elven actors into committing sudden and terrible acts of violence against humans in a series of tragedies that could turn the tide of public opinion against all the supernatural Powers.

During the course of her investigations Linnet realizes that a puzzling secret surrounds her, and that a strange power has been affecting the very course of her life. . . .
Linnet Ellery travels from New York to L.A. with her new boss, vampire David Sullivan, to preside over an arbitration among SAG members. The human actors claim that Alfar (elf) actors gain an unfair advantage by using their powers to land roles. During the hearings, two prominent Alfar actors commit heinous crimes, causing even more resentment from the humans. Linnet, along with a new journalist friend, starts looking for a connection between the cases. She discovers a hate group, a potential conspiracy, and of course, winds up in danger herself.

Along with social commentary about racism and celebrity, this book is full of pop culture references. Everyone in L.A. is constantly quoting movies and soon Linnet starts doing it too. There's also a really unusual love triangle taking shape. Linnet still has feelings for John, who was trapped in the Alfar world in the last book, and David seems to be interested in Linnet, though she's completely oblivious. I'm really interested in how that relationship will develop, given her history with vampires and the constraints they're under. I'm also curious about which of the supporting characters will make their way into later books. (We could wind up with a love trapezoid soon.)

Perhaps in honor of its Hollywood setting, much of this book reads like an action movie. The showdown with the Big Bad in the middle of the Oscar ceremony really blew me away! I can't wait to see what Linnet does next!


25659418 stars

Publish and Perish
(Linnet Ellery #3)
Phillipa Bornikova
Release: April 24, 2018
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Linnet Ellery, a young attorney at a prestigious New York vampire law firm has proved she has extraordinary luck--and not just in the courtroom. She has walked unscathed through events that would kill a normal person.

Linnet's elven ex-boyfriend is trapped in Fairyland, and Linnet will have to lead a raid into Fey to free him--alongside her boss, whom she is falling in love with. But a love affair between a vampire and a human is strictly forbidden, and any violation is punishable by death for both parties.

As events unfold, Linnet determines the source of her mysterious power, and is dismayed to discover that she is the most dangerous person in the world to her vampire and werewolf friends. The more secrets and treachery she uncovers, the more Linnet realizes that a decision must be made: Can she be her true self, without sacrificing everyone she cares about? 
I think I would have enjoyed Publish and Perish more if I had reread the previous book first. It starts immediately after Box Office Poison. Linnet has just gotten off the plane from L.A. and is making a few stops on the way back home when the excitement starts. But since it's been almost five years for me, I just wasn't as emotionally invested in the characters as I would have liked. There are also some returning minor characters from book two who took me a little time to place.

The book answers some big questions, like why there are no female vampires. (When the rule is first introduced, it just sounds like patriarchal nonsense.) And we find out more about the secret societies that were hinted at before. But you know how sometimes really unpleasant things happen to the characters in a book and it's unpleasant to read? That's kind of what happened with this one.

After the unpleasantness, and a little WTFery, though, I like the direction the series is going. It reminds me a little bit of Secret McQueen, in feel as well as content. I hope that there's another book planned for next year and I don't have another five year wait.

3 1/2 stars

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