I enjoyed this book; the swapping of view points was done cliffhanger style, so just as you were completely invested in one character, you were yanked...moreI enjoyed this book; the swapping of view points was done cliffhanger style, so just as you were completely invested in one character, you were yanked away to another character. But the plotlines were interesting enough and the characters well enough drawn that just as I was about to flip forward in the book to find the character I had been so rudely pulled away from, I'd get interested in what was going on with the new character and I stayed. That's saying something for me, because I'm one of those readers who has no problem whatsoever reading the last page first or skipping around in a book and then going back to read the parts I missed.
One of the strongest points of this book, and indeed, this entire series is the world in which it is set. This is a rich, detailed, fully realized world and it's based loosely on our own, which makes it fun to try to guess just which country or area "Dorn" really is, who the Iron Born were based on, etc.
I think anyone who romanticizes the middle ages or is hooked on those medieval bodice rippers desperately needs to read this to see just how truly horrific living in a monarchy was and how precarious life is in a nation torn apart by constant war. A warning to any reader of the series: do NOT get attached to ANY character, because Mr. Martin has a habit of maiming and killing off the main characters he's spent thousands of pages creating. Especially the few sympathetic characters. If nothing else, this book will make the reader appreciate the stability of our current government.(less)
**spoiler alert** If you liked Harlequins but found there just wasn't enough to them, and you like vampire stories but aren't into the gruesome facets...more**spoiler alert** If you liked Harlequins but found there just wasn't enough to them, and you like vampire stories but aren't into the gruesome facets of some of them, this is something you'll want to try. This is definitely Vampire Lite - most of the vampires in this book are good guys. Misunderstood lonely creatures who have forsworn killing humans. Sort of like Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only there are several of them who have banded together into a family. Imagine the Cleavers with fangs and you have the basic idea. Enter Isabella Swan, a more or less normal human with 2 left feet who ends up falling in love with one of the vampires, and you have the makings of a nice love story, again, sort of like Buffy, only without a slayer or the witty repartee that made Buffy so enjoyable. A happy ending may actually lurk around the corner for Edward and Bella. For me this book was a guilty pleasure - one step away from mind candy, but everyone needs a sugar high now and again. It's tame enough for parents to hand to even the youngest teen. (less)
Okay, Ms. Hamilton is s-l-o-w-l-y working her way back from career suicide. This is still not nearly as well written as her earlier Anita Blake's. Now...moreOkay, Ms. Hamilton is s-l-o-w-l-y working her way back from career suicide. This is still not nearly as well written as her earlier Anita Blake's. Now some of that is simply a matter of taste - do you want a story that centers on a plotline and mystery to be solved with a kick ass protagonist who's flawed but fascinating and who is about as real as a protag gets while still being in possession of some supernatural abilities, or do you want a story that centers on relationships that are unusual to say the least and one woman's struggle to manage a hism (that would be the other side of a harem) and learn to control super powers that seem to increase exponentially with each new story to the point that she's almost a deity along with trying to convince her hism that "It's okay for me to be sleeping with as many guys as I want to (oh, wait, as many guys as my superpowers INSIST that I sleep with) but if you so much as look at another woman, you're out of here, pal." It's a matter of taste.
On the bright side: you will NOT have to wade through 400+ pages of mediocre sex scenes masquerading as exciting alternative sex before even a hint of a plot peeks through the body fluids. You WILL get to see Anita almost touch the fringes of non supernatural society once more, like she did so often in the beginning when she was the liason between the supernatural cultures and the police who had no clue about the supernatural creatures they were pitted against. You WILL get to see some kick ass action that was once the hallmark of Ms. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. You will be treated to some of the one line zingers that are some of the most enjoyable parts of reading Ms. Hamilton's Blake series. There are several, and she usually puts them right at the end of the chapter for one of those phenomenal punch endings. Gotta love that!
On the dim side: you will still have to wade through 18 pages of dialog when the characters can't possibly ACT, they have to psychoanalyze every possible thought and emotion. They even psychoanalyze their need to psychoanalyze. It's like a Shakespearian death scene....you know, where the guy's stabbed in the heart but manages a 15 minute soliloquy while collapsing, then revives enough to add another paragraph and a half to the first part? Yeah. Like that. And you'll also have to suffer being hit in the head by a 2 by four every other page as every single minor character in the book is amazed and impressed by the fact that Anita is "not like most women". There actually are a few of us out there who aren't doormats. Honest, there are. But you surely wouldn't think so from reading Ms. Hamilton. She's convinced, as are all of her minor characters, that the fact Anita can take a punch and give one, is willing to stand up for herself, and doesn't care to play silly mind games makes her some kind of freak of nature. And just in case you didn't get the mile high neon blinking sign that shrieks "Anita isn't like most women!!" she'll repeat it again. In case you missed it the first half a billion times. You'll also have to put up with Anita's ability embrace a double standard...it's fine for her to sleep with whomever she wants - the men in her life had just better learn to accept that or they can hit the road. But if any of the men she sleeps with even in the most casual sense dare to look at another woman (OR man), they're gone. Think she'd put up with that kind of treatment from a man? Of course not. But she has no problem telling her men to put up with that treatment. You'll also have to put up with some weak plot. Let's see.....how about the evil twin brother thing? Cuz that's never been done before except on every soap opera and every Harlequin romance ever written. So let's make it the evil twin STEP brother!! And let's see...oh, wait, how about the "can you fake being my fiance to convince my parents I'm in a steady relationship" plotline? Wow, that's only been done in half a dozen movies, a couple hundred Regency romances and several dozen soap operas. What a GREAT idea!!
Still, it's better than the last 2 books from Ms. Hamilton. I'm almost convinced that it's not Jude Devereux writing under Laurell K. Hamilton's name. Almost.(less)
Someone played a dungeons and dragons game (which is based heavily on Tolkien's books) and then decided to write down what their characters did and pu...moreSomeone played a dungeons and dragons game (which is based heavily on Tolkien's books) and then decided to write down what their characters did and publish it. And while dungeons and dragons is great fun for those playing it, everyone has had to suffer through players who labor under the mistaken impression that their adventures are just as interesting to everyone else as they are to the player...
"So then, like, you know, this Orc came out of the weapons room but I rolled a 20 and I threw my +5 sword and it went right through his shield and practically killed him. And so then, like, Arabella threw a level 23 fireball spell at him while Tantros cast an ice spell at the Orc's feet, and so he was, you know, frozen to the floor, like, when the fireball hit him...."(less)