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Game of Cages by Harry Connolly

Game of Cages

by Harry Connolly

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The second book picks up about 6 months after the end of the first book and Ray has not heard a peep out of anyone from Twenty Palaces until today when someone picks him up from work as backup for an auction. Things go wrong of course and Ray and Catherine are trying to hunt down the predator before anyone else gets hurt or someone decides they want it for themselves. The actions of the townspeople were a bit odd until it was revealed the entire town was under a spell cutting it off from the rest of the world. Ray gets the snot beat out of him but manages to come out on top. The book ends with not many questions answered about Twenty Palaces and I have to wonder if they will be answered in the next one.
( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
Picked it up and read it in a day because I couldn't put it down! Then promptly kicked myself for not making it last longer. ( )
  tockenboom | Sep 29, 2013 |
In this book, Ray Lilly is picked up at his working class job by Catherine because the twenty palaces society has work for him to do. She is not impressed to drive an hour out of her way to pick a wooden man. A big auction is happening for a predator in the tiny town of Washaway and Ray and Catherine are tasked with finding out the details of what is going on.

As to be expected, the situation quickly escalates and Ray becomes a one man rescuer once again. Someone has to save the town from the sapphire dog who has made pets of most of the town's residents causing them to kill each other so that it can feed on them. The sapphire dog creates feelings of love and adoration in its victim when you look at it and marks you as belonging to it when it licks you. Because of the power the sapphire dog wields a primary - a powerful sorcerer, who has actually been on the hit list of the twenty palace society for quite some time will stop at nothing to possess the sapphire dog and has used magic to make it impossible for anyone to leave town or call for help.

We do briefly see a return of Annalise towards the end of the book. Ray is relieved to see her because he knows that he is in over his head and yet once again, Annalise is not around for the final showdown. Though all he has is his ghost knife and known of her power, Ray is able to defeat the primary that Annalise lost to. Uh huh. I don't understand the point of repeatedly suggesting that Annalise is this all powerful being, only to have Ray save her again. If you don't actually follow through with a display of power, telling us about her power is pointless. It feels at this point more like Annalise is Ray's wooden man than the other way around. This theme is somewhat relieved by Catherine who when kidnapped does manage to rescue herself before Ray can do his prince charming to the rescue routine; however, once again when the action happens, Catherine is nowhere to be seen. Ray sends her away because she is a mother of two small children.

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  FangsfortheFantasy | Sep 20, 2013 |
I must admit to being confused while reading this. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that I didn't read the first one. A lot of the time I was even more lost than the main character. One thing I must say however is that Raymond Lily (the protaginst) is actually quite human. An odd proposition in today's paranormal genre. Another thing about this book is the level of violence. As you can see from the spoiler below it is quite graphic.
The only light I had left was the daylight shining through the door and the damaged walls. The people pushing their way into the room now were little more than backlit silhouettes. At least I wouldn't have to see their faces.
They were coming with knives, woodworking tools, axe handles, and empty guns. I lifted the iron pipe high and held my left arm low. I didn't have a shield; the tattoos on my forearm would have to do. I put the ghost knife between my teeth. They let out another war scream--a piercing animalistic keening--and I felt like screaming right back at them, but I kept it inside instead, channeling that raw energy to my arms and eyes.
The first guy to get close tripped over Big Bill and fell to his knee in front of me, so I smashed the pipe against his shoulder, knocking him against the one behind him, then I hit the next one hard on the edge of the wrist, sending his hammer bounding off the wall just as two more came close, keeping their balance better this time, and I smashed elbow and shoulder as fast and as hard as I could, blocking a sharpened hoe with my protected arm, but now the pets were crowding in, stumbling sometimes but not enough for me to keep ahead of every swing, of every hand reaching for me, of every sound they made, because I wasn't even looking at their faces anymore, I didn't have time to guess the attack they'd make based on their eyes or body position, they were just a mass of bodies rushing at me, and I laid out with my pipe, swinging everywhere with all my strength against people I'd told Catherine I didn't want to hurt but here I was, breaking arms and collarbones, and the first time a bat struck the bony point of my hip, the pain frightened and enraged me so much that I smashed the man wielding it right on the side of his head, and then every dark shape seemed to be tinged with red as I slapped away attacks with my forearm and crushed bones with the pipe even though many of them didn't even have weapons, just hands that reached to pull me down, so I smashed those, too, watching for knives and swings for my head, and I smashed wrists and elbows and collarbones and fragile, fragile skulls as the pets kept coming for me, climbing over the ones I broke, stumbling, slipping in water and blood and tripping over fallen bodies, then I felt a sudden sharp pain in my calf and looked down to see a girl no older than thirteen stabbing a long knife into my leg, and my fury and adrenaline and hatred and rage made it so easy--so easy!--to slam that iron pipe across both her little arms and I know she screamed even though I couldn't hear it over the noise the other pets were making but God I saw her expression and the whole world should have stopped right at that moment but they kept coming and I kept fighting and I knew right then that it didn't matter whether I lived through this, in fact better if I didn't because I was becoming everything that was raw and evil in this world and I didn't deserve to be in it anymore, so I screamed, finally, letting out all my anger and hatred at predators and peers and most of all myself for what I was doing, because I was not going to stop, not ever, until I had done this damn job, and the ghost knife that fell out of my mouth began to zip around the room with the speed of a sparrow, circling me like a rock on a string, and I just kept hitting and hitting, because I wasn't tired at all, evil men never tire of doing evil.

If you read the spoiler than you can see exactly what I'm talking about. It's not the most violent passage I've ever read, or will read, but it somehow affected me more than many other scenes similar to it. Where some authors wish you to enjoy the gore they provide, I got the feeling that in Game of Cages the gore was sort of meant to be something to be ashamed of. All in all I think a 2.5 star effort , but I'll boost it up to 3. ( )
  lafon | Mar 31, 2013 |
Pretty decent horror/dark fantasy ( )
  mbg0312 | Feb 14, 2012 |
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"A secret high-stakes auction. As a wealthy few gather to bid on a predator capable of destroying all life on earth, the sorcerers of the Twenty Palace society mobilize to stop them. Caught up in the scramble is Ray Lilly, the lowest of the low in the society--an ex-car thief and the expendable assistant of a powerful sorcerer. Ray possesses exactly one spell to his name, along with a strong left hook. But when he arrives in the small town of North Cascades where the bidding is to take place, the predator has escaped and the society's most powerful enemies are desperate to recapture it. All Ray has to do is survive until help arrives. But it may already be too late."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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