Title: Brandywine Investigations: Family Matters
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Length: 502 Pages
Category: Fantasy/Mythology, Mystery
At a Glance: Fantastic collection with three more Brandywine stories that add to the rich world the author has created.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: With his career firmly established and his reputation as a successful PI growing, Hades should have the perfect life with his human lover, his faithful ferryman, his dogs and the parts of his family still speaking to him. But murder and chaos are never far away for death lords as his nephew Dionysus and his oldest friend Charon are drawn into the maelstrom.
Includes: Books, Bulls, & Bacchanals: Brandywine Investigations #4 Midwinter Dancing: Brandywine Investigations #4.5 Pack Up the Moon: Brandywine Investigations #5
Review: Having read and adored the first Brandywine Investigations book, I was thrilled to finally see more stories about the mythological pantheon. Though most of the stories do have a heavy focus on the Greek gods and their families and lovers, Angel Martinez does an amazing job of extending beyond that to include gods and goddesses from all of the pantheons. In this collection, Egyptian, Norse, and Abenaki gods and goddesses come together with a host of others to fall in love, right the wrongs of the world, and just cause general mayhem.
This collection sees three more stories: two novels and a short story. While they can be read separately, I enjoyed reading them all, because the characters in the third story (novel two in the collection, and BI #5, overall) make appearances in the previous books. Angel Martinez throws in just enough information so that you’re not lost and can enjoy the stories.
So, let’s break them down.
BI #4: Books, Bulls & Bacchanals follows Dionysus as he tries to find a way to stop his madness. Of course, that means going to the Eternal Library when he doesn’t like to read. When someone—or something—kills one of his Maenads while he is there, he goes into a blind rage, thinking it’s the minotaur librarian, Leander. But all is not as it appears with Leander, and it soon becomes apparent that Leander has just as difficult a past as Dio. As the two of them spend more time together, love begins to blossom, but are either of them safe, even within the secure walls of the library?
I loved, loved, LOVED Dio and Leander. I love any book with librarians, but this one was just so sweet. There are misunderstandings, sure, but there are also compromises and that’s what made this relationship so real to me. Dio is very hands on, and Leander is very hands off. Somehow they have to meet in the middle, and even when it seems like there is no way it can be done, the author does a great job of making it work while not compromising either character’s origins.
BI #4.5: Midwinter Dancing is a short (really short) story about Ing, a human, who stumbles upon the muses and Artemis on a snowy Christmas evening. She is soon drawn in by their dance and when invited, joins them. The story might be short, but it is utterly sweet as we get to see more of Artemis and what drives her. We see her connect to an old friend (Ing’s grandmother) and watch as a hint of romance might blossom between the two of them. Ing is certainly taken with Artemis, and who wouldn’t be?
I adored this story because of how sweet it was. It was also a refresher between the heavier stories of books 4 and 5. This one is light and there is no real drama, with the exception of the usual drama that can be found at Christmas when extended family is all together. What’s better is that it gives readers an idea of who Ing is, because she shows up in book 5.
BI #5: Pack Up the Moon follows Charon, who is finally getting his own story. After watching his lord Hades and the young lord Zagreus fall in love, Charon feels like something is missing. It’s been years since he’s had any sort of relationship other than working ones. When he runs into the Abenaki raccoon trickster god, Azeban, the little thief steals his watch, his cufflinks, and eventually his heart. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Azeban is in trouble. He’s on the run from a goddess who wants him to commit an act that he knows will get him killed by the death lords. But when his one friend is stolen from him, he has no choice by to follow through, and he realizes he should have asked Charon for help before things got too dire. Can anything set this straight?
Here we have a masterful blend of mythologies. I don’t really understand how Angel Martinez does it, but she somehow manages to blend the Greek and Abenaki mythos together to make the worlds work in tandem. It never feels forced, but just natural. And then when Japanese, Norse, and Egyptian gods get involved, well…it just gets that much better.
I loved the slow burn of Char and Az’s relationship. They are drawn to each other and they don’t rush things. They understand that they cannot be everything for each other all the time, but accept that not all relationships are perfect when two beings are so different. Char is ace and a death guide/god who likes to have a home base. Az is extremely sexual and a trickster who likes to roam the world and often literally eats trash. And yet they are so sweet together and just work.
Any fan of Angel Martinez will enjoy this new Brandywine book. If you’ve read the first collection, you can’t miss this one! If you’ve never read them before, you should get on it right away! There’s mystery, fun, and snarking. What more could you want?
You can buy Brandywine Investigations: Family Matters here:
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