Review: Last Car to Annwn Station by Michael Merriam

Filed in 3 Stars , Draconismoi , Guest Bloggers Posted on May 14, 2012 @ 11:00 am 5 comments

  Format Read: ebook from Author

  Number of Pages: 326

  Release Date: June 27, 2011

  Genre: Urban Fantasy

  Publisher: Carina Press

  Formats Available:  ebook, audiobook

  Purchasing Info: Author, Goodreads, Amazon

  Book Blurb:

“The fare is ten cents, miss.”

Mae Malveaux, an attorney with Minneapolis Child Protective Services, is burnt-out, tired and frustrated. Passing on an invite from Jill, her flirtatious coworker, Mae just wants a quiet night in. Leaving the office late, she’s surprised to find the Heritage Line streetcars up and running and hops aboard, eager for a quick trip home. But this is no ordinary streetcar. Death is one of its riders, and Mae is thrust into Annwn, a realm of magic and danger.

“Your transfer, miss. You’ll need that.”

Mae’s life is turned upside down as human and fae worlds collide. Her budding relationship with Jill takes a perilous turn when they are hunted by mythical beasts, and Mae is drawn into a deadly power struggle. With Jill at her side, Mae must straddle both worlds and fight a war she barely comprehends, for not only does the fate of Annwn rest in her hands, but the lives of both a human and fae child…

My Thoughts:

Think about your all-time favorite TV show. The one that spans multiple seasons, spent considerable time on character development and world-building, and still managed to hook you every week with an edge-of-your-seat plot.

Now go back and watch the pilot episode. Come on, I know you own all the DVDs.

You love this show. You wrote fan-fiction in high school, and dressed up as one of the characters for Halloween. But you haven’t watched the pilot in awhile, because it kinda bites. (Prime examples include: Buffy, Alias, the X-Files, and Doctor Who). How can this be YOUR show? You see the potential for awesome, there are some great scenes, but overall … meh.

This is the same feeling you get with the first part of Last Car to Annwn Station. It’s rushed, the characters feel like cardboard cutouts, and the leading ladies “flirting” is painful. Not painful in a humiliatingly realistic fashion. Just painful:

“Do you know most of the guys in the office think you’re a lesbian?”

Mae raised an eyebrow. While they had never talked specifically about sex, Mae was pretty sure Jill knew. “I am.”

Jill shrugged. “I know. I’m just telling you what the office gossip is.”

Ow. Owowowow. My brain hurts. HOW is this flirting? Does Jill think Mae is closeted and is warning her she needs to get herself a beard? Or does participating in office gossip about Mae’s sex life count as flirtatious banter?

No. Just no. (Anyone interested in a fantastically developed relationship between leading queer characters that realistically handles past trauma and societal pressures should read Laurie Marks’ Fire Logic)

We stumble along for a bit with Mae and Jill. They don’t have any depth. You won’t care about them. Sure, they are the Good Guys, but Zzzzzz…. You’ll wake up whenever we get glimpses of a different point-of-view character. She is weird, cryptic, and either crazy-dangerous or dangerously-crazy. More, more, more. NO, stupid book! I don’t WANT to read about Mae and Jill’s decision to embrace every lesbian cliche and move-in together right away. GAH! (This is the point where I throw a paper book across the room, or slam the computer shut).

So I stuck it out. Things picked up after a bit and got more interesting. Once the author stopped trying so hard to tell me who Mae and Jill were, and just let me discover it by throwing them in this bizarre world of fae and magic in the Twin Cities, I stopped rolling my eyes, and started caring about what was going on.

I see sequel potential here – particularly one that gives my favorite point-of-view character top billing. (There are 3 first person POV characters in the book. Mae gets most of the screen time, but you get to spend a little time inside Jill’s head, and my very favorite mystery woman. See above re: crazy-dangerous or dangerously-crazy.)

You should read Last Car to Annwyn Station if you think Lost Girl would be vastly improved if Bo and Kenzi finally caught on to how useless Dyson is, ditched his furry ass, and started getting shit done. Or if One Salt Sea bummed you out because Toby didn’t just plant one on May.

In sum, I give Last Car to Annwyn Station 3 stars. If I were nicer, like Marlene, I’d probably go up to 3.5 stars since the last half of the book was so much better than the beginning. But I am a cruel and vicious task-mistress. I don’t forgive mediocre starts just because they end on a blaze of glory.

(Apologies to all Book Lovers. This review has been sitting in my harddrive for a month two months. Along with a couple others. I write them, and then they don’t just magically appear on the site. Susi needs to patch me into the telepathic network available to the full time reviewers. I’m sure it exists. How else could reviews appear at regularly spaced intervals all week?)

****FTC Disclainer. Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Draconismoi

Draconismoi is a Legal Aid Attorney out on the frozen tundra. After two weeks of -30F, she started telling people she moved to Alaska because she loves the indoors. Right now you'll find her curled up under all the blankets she owns, surrounded by a pile of books. Every so often she emerges from her cave (when there is food) and wonders how she'll justify prolonging this behavior once the temperature rises and the sun returns.

Share This Post

Subscribe and stay up-to-date

Via E-Mail:

Follow us via RSS, twitter and facebook:


Join the Discussion
  • Susan May 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve had this sitting in my TBR queue since last May, so I can’t point any fingers about a review sitting around for a couple of months! I still want to read it, but I’ll go in forewarned.

    BTW, I’m OK with the Bo/Kenzi thing (altho I haven’t totally given up on Dyson yet), but nononono with Toby/May. They’re the *same person*. That would have been just wrong.

    Thanks for the Fire Logic reccie. I see that the 3rd book in the series is available in Kindle, so I’ll keep checking to see if this one ever becomes available.

    • draconismoi May 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      No worries Susan. I too want a complete Elementals Logic set now that Water Logic was released, so I emailed the publisher asking if they planned to reprint….

      “Dear Draconismoi,

      Yes, we are. We didn’t like the art that came in so had to postpone the book while we start working with a new artist—apologies for the delay.

      The set won’t quite match Water Logic, but we will do our best. We’ve all been waiting a long time to get the complete set but Laurie is hoping to get us a first draft of Air Logic by this fall.


      Gavin Grant

      Gavin J. Grant

      Small Beer Press, 150 Pleasant St., #306, Easthampton, MA 01027 · 413-203-1636
      New Catalog | |”

      • Susan May 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm

        Oooh, thanks so much for this. I’ll definitely keep checking back on the ebook status!

  • Marlene May 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you for satisfying my curiosity on this one without my having to actually read it. I think I’ve passed on it twice. (BTW the book has to have a good ending 2/3 to rise to 3.5 stars, not just a good end.I’m not quite that nice!)

    And as I’ve discovered since becoming a full-time reviewer, that telepathic network takes oodles of prep.

    Great review!

    • draconismoi May 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      So you’re saying the benefits of a rudimentary hive mind are counterbalanced by all the work it takes to integrate?

      Okay then. I’ll settle for random surges of book-review productivity in between desolate silences when I’m, you know, actually reading things.

Previous Post
Next Post
Luvo designed by Internet Marketing In conjunction with Template Wordpress , R4 DS , Best SUV.