8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel José Older

The Bone Street Rumba comes to an end and I cry, cry, cry because I wanted more.

Title: Battle Hill Bolero

Author: Daniel José Older

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: January 3 2017
Hardcover: 336 Pages

Battle Hill Bolero

In the third in the richly detailed and diverse (io9) urban fantasy series, the time has come for the dead to rise up against the shady powers-that-be…
“The time has come for the dead to rise up…”

Trouble is brewing between the Council of the Dead and the ghostly, half-dead, spiritual, and supernatural community they claim to represent. One too many shady deals have gone down in New York City s streets, and those caught in the crossfire have had enough. It s time for the Council to be brought down this time for good.

Carlos Delacruz is used to being caught in the middle of things: both as an inbetweener, trapped somewhere between life and death, and as a double agent for the Council. But as his friends begin preparing for an unnatural war against the ghouls in charge, he realizes that more is on the line than ever before not only for the people he cares about, but for every single soul in Brooklyn, alive or otherwise..

Stand alone or series: Book 3 in the Bone Street Rumba Trilogy. Review of previous books:

Half-Resurrection Blues
Midnight Taxi Tango

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher via Netgalley

Format (e- or p-): ebook


It’s becoming a sort of tradition to start a new year with a book by Daniel José Older. 2017 is off to a good start with Battle Hill Bolero, the third – and sadly, last – book in the author’s Bone Street Rumba trilogy.

It’s been months since the events at the end of Midnight Taxi Tango, the fight against the control that the corrupted Council of Dead holds over the lives (and deaths) of the many in-between citizens of this New York is coming to its zenith as war is brewing in the horizon. Rebels, ghosts, fighters, unexpected allies all come together to fight and topple tyranny.

Carlos and Sasha’s arc is intrinsically connected to the storyline at large. The couple remains estranged, although their twin babies are thriving and they still love each other. Their story as a couple and allies are far from over though, the mystery of their death and rebirth one of the many strands that are addressed and resolved in Battle Hill Bolero.

Just like its predecessor, Battle Hill Bolero introduces new characters and new viewpoint narratives to run alongside Carlos’. Most of them are women and we have Sasha and Krys, to name a couple: the former beautiful, kick-ass, multifaceted, the latter one of my new favourites, with a fantastic voice and some of the coolest (and hottest) scenes in the book. These additional voices and these characters are what make the series so strong as they make for a colourful, rich portrayal of the author’s world. All characters are feisty and strong and kick-ass, this being a series about fighters and all, but my favourite thing is the juxtaposition of Carlos’ sweet marshmallow core with the women’s steely (but still somewhat vulnerable) stance. Add to that, the fact that the series overall has a robust cast that are so close to one another they form a found family (one of my favourite tropes in the whole world), and you have a sure recipe for success. With themes of memory, forgiveness, atonement and love threaded throughout, this series is made all the more special.

And with this last book, Daniel José Older turned things truly epic: the fights, the alliances, the dalliances, the revelations, all feel portentous and final from the get go. And that’s possibly my one criticism here: things came to a close perhaps too soon. Even though we could feel things brewing from book 1, the main arc progresses faster than speed of light from book 2 to book 3, and although everything is wrapped up beautifully, it did feel a bit rushed, a bit easy. I wonder if more books in the series could have served it better but then again, it may well be my desire for more books talking.

Last year, my new year’s request was for one million more books in the series and I am honestly distraught to say good bye too soon (Carlos’ trilogy may be over but surely one can hope for a new trilogy following a different character?).

In other words: I do highly recommend the trilogy. It’s freaking good.

Rating: 8 – Excellent and 8 overall for the series.

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