The second book in the post-apocalyptic Undying series jumps forward in time to Ren's adolescence. He was born on the first day of the end of the worlThe second book in the post-apocalyptic Undying series jumps forward in time to Ren's adolescence. He was born on the first day of the end of the world. Now he has grown up in a world without civilization or safety. Pursued by people who have died but not died--the moribund--returning as beasts whose only desire is to kill and consume those who still hang onto life. Ren is tired of sitting behind barricades, his community destined to slowly starve to death as food stores near their settlement dwindle. New visitors--who claim to be hunters of the undying, clearing them out of city after city--and sudden tragedy are the sparks that ignite Ren to fly the nest, leaving the safety of his foster-mother Jeanie's side, to finally stand on his own two....more
The Vampire Lestat goes both forward and back in time, from the jumping off point of Interview with the Vampire, recounting Lestat's adventures both bThe Vampire Lestat goes both forward and back in time, from the jumping off point of Interview with the Vampire, recounting Lestat's adventures both before and after he came to live the lifetime in New Orleans that most of us are familiar with. From his childhood and family life to his rebirth as a vampire against his will, Lestat crosses swords with Armand, struggles with a disenchanted best friend, meets the mother and father of the vampires, and becomes a 1980s rock star.
One thing I definitely appreciate about these books is the existential and philosophical issues that they explore. However, this book is long. Way unnecessarily long. And Lestat does so much philosophical naval gazing that I found myself frequently spacing out, while listening, for minutes at a time. And not worrying about it because when I'd check back in Lestat still wouldn't have moved at all. He was just standing there thinking and thinking and thinking. So...trim all that unnecessary chaff and you got yourself an enjoyable book!
I'm a little confused about the vampire sexuality presented in this book, though. Written in the '80s, everything is subtle and indirect. But...I think Lestat has sex (view spoiler)[with his mom, once they're both vampires (hide spoiler)]?! And it seems to me like he really really enjoys male vampire companionship, as do most of the other male vampires. So...? You might argue that Lestat is opining about platonic bro-mance throughout the book, but the language he uses really doesn't come across as platonic to me.
By the time the story returned to Lestat in the present (1980s), which I had been looking forward to, I actually found it difficult to care and was just looking forward to the book being over. Rice offered us no emotional connection in that leg of the story. However, the ending to the book (just the last 5 minutes, really) was very exciting and cliff-hangery. Forcing me, with mixed emotions, to accept the fact that I will indeed have to read the next one.
This book also brings up a ton of new story questions about the history of the vampires, which I think will be exciting to read about. The only other book in the series that I've heard of is The Queen of the Damned, and I found myself wondering which character that was and looking forward to reading that story.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Aftersight has an ensemble cast (with rotating point of view characters) between several young women who all find themselves (either suddenly or not sAftersight has an ensemble cast (with rotating point of view characters) between several young women who all find themselves (either suddenly or not so suddenly) the bearers of paranormal abilities. They are recruited by the low-key Waltham Academy for Psychic Sensitives, in Northwest England, whose not-so-public agenda is to hone the paranormal abilities of its students. The girls find themselves suite mates as they begin their studies at Waltham, learn more about their uncanny abilities, and stumble upon a new mystery about themselves and their connections to each other. That mystery culminates in an offsite, ghost-hunting assignment that turns out to be indelibly linked to their past—their past lives, that is. And the girls learn new things about themselves while also proving that they can use their newfound abilities to help others.
There were definitely moments of intense creepiness in this novel, where I asked myself, “Should I really be reading this in bed, right before going to sleep for the night?” But those moments never stepped over the line from creepiness to nightmare-inducing, for which I was glad. There was also some interesting creepiness in the histories of some of the girls. For example, Nicole has grown up always being able to see ghosts. When she was young, she believed that Santa Clause came to visit her. It was rather a shock when she discovered, as she came into puberty, that the man who had introduced himself as Santa Clause was really just an old, perverted ghost with a penchant for young girls. Eugh! But interesting to consider this possibility when you’re talking about young girls and ghosts. I like the ghostly immorality introduced here, and the way it was presented introduced a bit of humor into the story at that point. I was disappointed that we never got any chapters from Nicole’s point of view, and I look forward to reading an installment of the series primarily from her point of view in the near future, as she was one of my favorite characters.
I really liked the twist at the end, when we found out (view spoiler)[that Cali was actually the dead brother from their mysterious past life, not one of the girls. Which explains her strange attraction to Nicole, who was the reborn soul of his centuries-past lover. Tyson broke gender expectations as well by turning out to be one of the girls from that past life. I really liked the unexpected mixing up of the genders (hide spoiler)]. And I hope it will offer a lot of interesting relationship dynamics and conflicts for future installments of the story. At the end of the novel, there were still a lot of smaller story threads that I can’t remember receiving any explanation for, such as Becky’s mysterious episodes of visions and passing out. I can only assume these are potential plot lines for future books, and I’m interested to see where the story goes. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Book 6 of Harris's Sookie Stackhouse mysteries seems to be where the books and the TV series really and definitively part ways. Usually I focus on illBook 6 of Harris's Sookie Stackhouse mysteries seems to be where the books and the TV series really and definitively part ways. Usually I focus on illustrating the differences between each book and season. Here, I need only list the similarities, as they are quite few. But let's start with a summary of the book itself.
Definitely Dead finds Sookie dealing with the aftermath of two previous deaths: those of her cousin Hadley--a recently-made vampire and lover of the vampire queen of Louisiana (Okay, here's one difference. In the show, cousin Hadley is half-faerie, like Sookie, not a vampire. Oh, but if I recall correctly (view spoiler)[she does actually die in season 6 (hide spoiler)].), and Alcide's ex-fiancee, crazy were-beotch Debbie Pelt. The Pelt family is still sniffing around Bon Temps trying to get to the bottom of their daughter's/sister's sudden disappearance. Meanwhile, Hadley has named Sookie her heir, and she heads off to New Orleans to deal with all her cousin's stuff, where she meets Hadley's naive and friendly witch landlord and very quickly discovers a dead body stashed in her cousin's apartment. Or...not so dead.
Besides Hadley, the only other storyline similarity to True Blood was taken for an earlier season. In Definitely Dead, the vampire queen of Louisiana has recently contracted marriage with the vampire king of a nearby state who secretly plots to take over her power and fortune (or whatever, I was never too clear on the motivations here). This storyline was modified and used in, I believe, Season 3.
To sum up - another entertaining Sookie installment. Thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to reading the next.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Definitely one of my favorites of the Sookie Stackhouse books, so far. The mystery plot of Dead as a Doornail is that there's a shooter assassinatingDefinitely one of my favorites of the Sookie Stackhouse books, so far. The mystery plot of Dead as a Doornail is that there's a shooter assassinating shifters and weres around Bon Temps. But what I loved about this book was not the very weak mystery, but all the many different guys constantly after Sookie. Watching her try to deal with and generally sidestep all that attention was just good entertainment.
The shifter assassin storyline takes only a secondary role in the fifth season of True Blood, which mainly deals with a massive political upheaval of the vampire community. There has been really no vampire politics at work in the books, so far. And I wonder if all those plot lines are solely constructs for the show. Other differences include that Jason's previous run-in with were-panthers resulted in him (view spoiler)[being turned into a were-panther himself, whereas in the show he manages to avoid that fate (hide spoiler)]<-- Only a spoiler if you also haven't read the previous book, Dead to the World. I liked that Tara finally had a little storyline of her own--she gets in trouble hanging out with the wrong kind of vampire crowd (a storyline that is loosely borrowed for the show in Season 3). It was funny to remember that Sam is still hung up on Sookie in the books, whereas (view spoiler)[he's completely moved on and been getting his own very independent story lines, in True Blood, for some time now. (hide spoiler)]<-- True Blood spoiler.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I read the Sookie Stackhouse novels not because I love the books but because I love the show, and I love comparing the adaptation from book to show. TI read the Sookie Stackhouse novels not because I love the books but because I love the show, and I love comparing the adaptation from book to show. This fourth installment in the paranormal vampire mystery series was slightly more blah than its predecessors. Or perhaps I just forget (in the year or so between each read) how limiting Sookie's first-person narration is compared to the multiple viewpoints of the show. And it always takes me about half the book to get used to Sookie's Podunk (though also often spunky and amusing) narration.
In Dead to the World, Sookie spends most of her time driving around Bon Temps and nearby Shreveport trying to find her missing brother and find out more about the deadly new coven of witches who cursed Eric Northman--the sexy vampire owner of Fangtasia, the Shreveport vampire bar--into losing his memory. The rest of her time is occupied in a steamy romance with (view spoiler)[Eric, who she is babysitting while his minions work on getting his memory back (hide spoiler)]. In the first half of the book, as you can imagine, Sookie driving around in her car isn't the most exciting thing to be reading about. But things get more interesting later on, and I continued to enjoy Alcide Harveaux (the sexy werewolf) and his evil fiance shape-shifter Debbie Pelt.["br"]>["br"]>...more
In the coastal city of Symir, overshadowed by a volcano kept at bay by magery, the necromancer and spy Isyllt Iskaldur arrives to stir up open rebelliIn the coastal city of Symir, overshadowed by a volcano kept at bay by magery, the necromancer and spy Isyllt Iskaldur arrives to stir up open rebellion against the Empire of Assar within the already growing murmurs of political unrest.
Despite demons, necromancers, and a wonderfully actualized setting, I had to give The Drowning City a lot of leeway before the plot picked up. I think the first exciting scene didn't take place until almost halfway through the book. The weak characterization also failed to draw me in, and I can honestly say that the only character-driven plot I ever came to care about was that between Isyllt and the Emperial mage Asheris.
For those dredging through it, have hope. The end of the book is decently satisfying. I almost considered actually reading the next in the Necromancer Chronicles series, after finishing Drowning City. But after reading the first chapter of book 2, at the end of book 1, I decided against it. Just not quite good enough to be worth the time....more
About twins who inherit their aunt Elspeth's flat in England after her death, and come to realize that her spirit still lives on in ghost form, NiffenAbout twins who inherit their aunt Elspeth's flat in England after her death, and come to realize that her spirit still lives on in ghost form, Niffenegger's second novel starts out strong, sags a bit in the middle, and ends a bit more predictably than I had hoped. Symmetry is engrossing, enjoyable, and a good romp for the imagination.
As a side note, the whole mysterious history between Aunt Elspeth and her sister, the twins' mother, could have been entirely cut from the novel with absolutely no loss. The reveal on that storyline felt convoluted and absolutely pointless....more
The second installment in Harris's Sookie Stackhouse mysteries series, Living Dead in Dallas follows Sookie on her travels to assist the Dallas vampirThe second installment in Harris's Sookie Stackhouse mysteries series, Living Dead in Dallas follows Sookie on her travels to assist the Dallas vampires in locating a missing one of their own. Harris’s prose style could be described as gritty or just crude. She has no qualms against using words like butt and boobs. I find that her tendency to not pull punches on crude words and thoughts used frequently in reality, but not usually in literature, helps to illustrate the unsophisticated southern town and Sookie’s intelligent but unrefined perspective.
The TV series, True Blood, succeeded in every instance where Harris, in her novel, fails. For instance, take the scene where Sookie Stackhouse meets Barry the hotel bellhop and discovers that he, too, is a telepath. In True Blood (Season 2, Episode 4: Shake and Fingerpop, I believe), Sookie discovers Barry’s ability through an amusing conversation where they both read each other’s thoughts and respond in kind with thoughts of their own, resulting in an inadvertent telepathic exchange. In contrast, here is how Harris does it in the book: “To my startled delight, I realized (after a quick rummage in Barry’s head) that he was a telepath, like me!” Wow, ever heard of show don’t tell?
Despite my tendency to not hold Harris’s crude prose style against her, I must say that she relies far too much on the word ‘to be’ – as in WAS. She doesn’t care much for making her verbs exciting or active. Take this paragraph, for example: “The light over the door was on, so I could tell the house was of beige brick with white trim. The light, too, was for my benefit; any vampire could see far better than the sharpest-eyed human. Isabel led the way to the front door, which was framed in graduating arches of brick. There was a tasteful wreath of grapevines and dried flowers on the door, which almost disguised the peephole. This was clever mainstreaming. I realized there was nothing apparent in this house’s appearance to indicate that it was any different from any of the other oversized houses we’d passed, no outward indication that within lived vampires.”
On the whole, I found this second Sookie Stackhouse novel pretty disappointing, and don't much look forward to reading the next. (Which I won't do, anyway, until some time next year after season three of True Blood has aired.)...more
I made the mistake of trying to read another series companion book, with little success. (My first attempt was another by Lois Gresh, about Philip PulI made the mistake of trying to read another series companion book, with little success. (My first attempt was another by Lois Gresh, about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.) This time, I made it through about thirty-five pages of Gresh's Twilight Companion and felt like I had actually grown dumber through my reading of it--probably because it seems to have been written for a second grade reading level. I pick these "unauthorized guides" up, expecting to learn something new and interesting about the series itself, expecting them to carry an analytical slant. Instead, I learned that Gresh has relatives with similar names to the relatives of the Twilight heroine Bella Swan. And that Gresh lives in a town comparable in size and podunkery to Forks, WA, where Twilight et al. take place. And that, because of these similarities to Bella, Gresh is highly indignant that she, too, didn't meet a paranormal, vampire dreamboat ready to sweep her off her feet. Gee, thanks for sharing! Incredibly silly but also incredibly condescending to her readers, or...just dumbed down to the extreme. I also gleaned, from the first thirty-five pages, that every girl should hold out for a boy with a "nice personality" like Edward's. Nice personality? And what exactly does that mean, Lois Gresh? As far as I can recall, all Stephenie Meyer's leading men (and Edward in particular) tend to be overbearing control-freaks who sometimes engage in emotional blackmail to get their way. I'm not knocking these guys; I just wish Gresh would get real. Even Edward isn't perfect--and no, it's not just because he drinks blood. ...more