I'm not hugely into werewolf stories, but on the fanfic side I read A/B/O stuff from time to time, and this seemed like it was at least adjacent terriI'm not hugely into werewolf stories, but on the fanfic side I read A/B/O stuff from time to time, and this seemed like it was at least adjacent territory. (This is not particularly a fantasy genre story, other than the existence of werewolves; its main roots are in m/m erotica mainly written by women for women. Yes, slash, I said it. If this isn't your thing, that's okay; this review is written on the assumption that it is your thing, to avoid getting bogged down in an explanation of terminology or fannish history.)
This is book three in a series, and coming into the story in the middle was unavoidable. This is still very much an introductory story, though, as its main focus is a new character and the relationships he develops. So I feel like there was enough background explanation for me to understand what had gone before and to have a sufficient idea who the characters were. If you aren't familiar with the tropes of m/m werewolf stories as commonly written in fanfiction, the beginning of the series might be a better place to start. And if you really like seeing a world and the character relationships within it unfold over time, then you would probably also be better served by starting with book one.
But near the end I realized something: Dessa Lux made me care about the characters. (This is harder to manage than you might think.) So if you like A/B/O-type werewolf stories with lots of erotic content and are ready to get invested in a series that is planned to be long-running, consider giving this a try.
So, funny story. I won a free copy of this in a tumblr giveaway, but I was actually only reblogging to bring it to the attention of a friend who I thought might like it. Once I won, though, I figured I'd give it a try. ...more
Didn't make me want to continue reading the series. It's so ... shonen-y. Mikasa is clearly a badass, and I like that, but that's not enough to keep mDidn't make me want to continue reading the series. It's so ... shonen-y. Mikasa is clearly a badass, and I like that, but that's not enough to keep me reading, unfortunately. I am also not superfond of the art style....more
I got curious after seeing so many people squeeing about how this and Pacific Rim had a lot in common. And yeah, they kinda do, but only superficiallyI got curious after seeing so many people squeeing about how this and Pacific Rim had a lot in common. And yeah, they kinda do, but only superficially, and I certainly didn't enjoy this as much as I did Pacific Rim. Maybe the anime is better, and maybe this manga suffers by translation. I certainly thought the panel order was a little weird for English. In the end ... this is basically giant naked dudes walking around attacking people. Maybe I would be more into it if I read all the translated volumes, but there are 6 translated and 5 as yet untranslated so ... enh. I don't really feel like continuing....more
I'd read some advance reviews and honestly, I went into this with trepidation as a result. Was it going to be terrible? Answer: no. Not mind-blowinglyI'd read some advance reviews and honestly, I went into this with trepidation as a result. Was it going to be terrible? Answer: no. Not mind-blowingly awesome, but not terrible. I'd suggest not reading any reviews or even the jacket copy if you can possibly avoid it, so you can enjoy the surprise. (This review is free of unmarked spoilers, assuming you are familiar with the series.)
Some people dislike the premise, but I like it. I mean, yes, it is soap operatic, but it's also very much one of the worst things that Novik could do to Laurence. (Short of the obvious and relatively unimaginative ones that involve the deliberate infliction of physical and emotional pain.) And I'm a huge fan of doing the worst possible things to your characters, so that they have to get out of those situations and make them better.
However, the style makes it problematic. Laurence (view spoiler)[not remembering anything he's done for the past eight years (hide spoiler)] and the historically and temperamentally appropriate emotional detachment make the who seem mostly emotionally non-immediate. Temeraire mitigates this to some extent, but not enough for me. Even the thing that made (view spoiler)[Laurence recover his memories (hide spoiler)] seemed to lack impact and immediacy. I found myself thinking (view spoiler)[Hey, it's Novik throwing out some material for the slash fan contingent to fill in! (hide spoiler)] and being amused.
Emily Roland and her chaperone Mrs. Pemberton provide what may be the best moment of the book, near the end. Blink and you'll miss it, though....more
The supporting characters interest me, especially Lena. The protagonist was all right, but less interesting. Also, this book is kind of sad. Don't thiThe supporting characters interest me, especially Lena. The protagonist was all right, but less interesting. Also, this book is kind of sad. Don't think I can say why without spoilers. Except that it's kind of like reading books set in the 20th C. interwar period. You know World War II is coming, and that is always a little worrisome.
One of the Lena sections has this awesome quote: "The more we narrow the definition of beauty, the more beauty we shut out of our lives." Support for my hypothesis that every book, no matter how insipid, has at least one awesome sentence. (Not that this book is insipid. It's a fine read. It just doesn't quite feel like it all comes together, at least in my head and after one reading.)
I have noted before, I think, that immortality or just living longer are likely to appear in SF settings. It's hard to know if that's because of the (sometimes) forward-looking nature of the genre, or because having to cope with your own mortality is (currently) part of the human condition and authors aren't immune to that, or both. It's interesting to see it in a fantasy book, particularly in the context of "You wanna live longer so you can read more?", which is very appropriate to this setting. (Jo Walton has a relevant post about this here.) Though now that I think about it, in settings with long-lived elves I've seen hints of this too. The setting of Mercedes Lackey's Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (among others) springs to mind as an example of this....more