I'm a huge fan of the new Appleseed CG movies directed by Shinji Aramaki and I had to pick up the original manga series that started it all. Both are...moreI'm a huge fan of the new Appleseed CG movies directed by Shinji Aramaki and I had to pick up the original manga series that started it all. Both are not exact copies of each other which is great and the manga seems to take more time in expanding the conflicts between the bioroid council and the humans.
Deunan and her partner/lover Briareos have already moved on after the war as they settle in safe yet desolate parts of the wartorn city. Hitomi is sent to find them and bring them to the utopia of Olympus supposedly to settle in with the rest of the population but the true reasons lie under the surface as Athena, the prime minister of Olympus in a way, zeroes in on Deunan herself.
There's a lot intrigue here coupled with great action and effects, some genuinely funny moments due to some great dialogue and enough future tech that'd make any sc-fi lover happy.
I'm glad I finally got to check out Masamune Shirow's work. His artistry is breathtaking in the way he's designed his cities and the biosuits. I love the character expressions to go with the snappy dialogue at times and I couldn't help flipping through the pages as the story played like it's own movie in my head.
This is a great addition to any Appleseed fan's shelf. I'm definitely going to get my hands on the rest of the series and also check out Shirow's more famous manga, Ghost in the Shell.(less)
**spoiler alert** I had heard about the Dresden Files in urban fantasy circles but never had a chance to check it out until the tv show came to Sci-Fi...more**spoiler alert** I had heard about the Dresden Files in urban fantasy circles but never had a chance to check it out until the tv show came to Sci-Fi. I enjoyed it and was sad to see it go. After that I grabbed the first few and had been meaning to read it sometime in the near future. Recently I got a hold of the audio for this book and thought I'd pop it in. What a great story! James Marsters of Buffy fame does a great job narrating Harry's story which reads like a day in the life of a wizard detective. It feels like an old noir with a twist of a lighter HP Lovecraft with all the beasties running around alternate Chicago.
Harry himself is an interesting character. He's a straight up guy (as you notice from the way he checks out all the women) and at times he can be a little jerkish but in the end he's a good character because of all these complexities mixed in with his need to help the innocent and his friends alike. His passion leads him to solve the crime towards the end and go after the baddie (once he's revealed) especially for the harm he's caused his family and friends. I love the reflection near the end in the scene with the little girl.
"I got in the cab and told the cabby to drive me to the nearest pay phone. Then I closed my eyes and struggled to think. It was hard, through all the pain I felt. Maybe I'm stupid or something but i hate to see people like Monica, like little Jenny, hurting like that. There shouldn't be pain like that in the world, and every time I run into it, it makes me furious. Furious and sad. I didn't know if I wanted to scream or to cry. I wanted to pound [baddies name:]'s face in and hide under the covers, I wanted to give Jenny a hug and to tell her that everything would be all right. And I was still afraid, all tight and burning in my gut. [Baddies name:], of the shadows and demons, was going to kill me as soon as the storm rolled in."
Storm Front is filled with lots of action, intrigue, some great characters and even more fascinating creatures. I love the world Jim Butcher has built and now I can see why the readers of the series were a bit miffed after the casting on the tv show. It was a bit off and didn't really match. But as with every adaptation I'll consider them separate worlds. Nevertheless I'm definitely on board for riding along with Harry Dresden and learning some more about his world and the cases he'll be solving.
If you're a fan of noir detective fiction and like a side of paranormal with it, definitely give the Dresden Files a try! (less)
I may be biased but this has to be my favorite Dresden book so far. I loved the faerie court battle, Queen Maeb coming to Harry to clear her name of m...moreI may be biased but this has to be my favorite Dresden book so far. I loved the faerie court battle, Queen Maeb coming to Harry to clear her name of murder, the goblins & orgres, centaurs, Harry and Elaine's past and all the side fae and werewolf characters that appeared here. I especially loved Billy and the Alphas (hey, it does sound like a rock band) right from the beginning when it was literally raining frogs.
I notice each book is episodic, slowly unraveling the large universe that Harry Dresden inhabits. I can tell Butcher has a love for the fantasy genre because he takes care in creating each rule and aspect while merging high fantasy into the modern noir setting of Chicago.
I've been listening to the audio books so far in this series because I'm addicted to James Marsters' reading. He does an amazing job varying up his voices with different accents and voice acts that makes each character believable in their setting which places like a movie in your mind. I'm sad to see the audio book offerings end with this one until it picks up with Book #8 and the current release, I believe. I hope they decide to release the missing books in the future. For now I'll gladly keep going to find out what more situations Dresden gets himself into.(less)
Parallax is my second fiction read by Jon F. Merz after I got a taste of his short story and I'm definitely hooked. Th...moreWow! What an excellent thriller!
Parallax is my second fiction read by Jon F. Merz after I got a taste of his short story and I'm definitely hooked. This was an awesome thriller with lots of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I love stories that take me off guard and deal with complex characters that don't seem as if they're who they are, only to turn your expectations of them right on the side.
The story deals with Frank Jolino and Ernst "Stahl", two expert assassins living on opposite sides of the globe in different lives until one fateful moment of mental interlinking brings them together. Soon each is allowed to view the other's experience as if they were perched on the other's shoulder. Their lives interconnect from jobs to love lives and betrayal while each have something in the balance. With Stahl, his son's life is at stake on the condition that he kills a scientist connected with the SARS disease. With Frank, he is sent to kill his old girlfriend, the long lost niece of his mafia boss who he still is in love with, on suspicion that she is connected with the feds.
This was one novel that was hard to put down. Merz excels at creating engaging characters wrapped in a fast paced read. One moment I was sympathizing with them and the other felt the complete opposite. Overall, my nose was in the pages all the way to the very satisfying end.
This is a late entry for the best of my 2009 reads and it goes right at the top. I hope Parallax makes it to the big screen like Merz's Fixer series is coming to television. I'd definitely grab a ticket!(less)
Wow! What an excellent debut from Julie Kagawa. The Iron King is the first in the Iron Fey trilogy and I must say I am addicted to this series right o...moreWow! What an excellent debut from Julie Kagawa. The Iron King is the first in the Iron Fey trilogy and I must say I am addicted to this series right off the bat.
Ms. Kagawa opens the book with our heroine Megan Chase dealing everyday teen life battling wits with her parents, caring for her baby half brother Ethan, a jokey best friend and her crush on the most popular boy in school she is sent to tutor. Amidst all of this, there is something otherworldly in the air. Things move out of the corner of her eye, her best friend is acting strange and strange creatures seem to overtake everyday people. Soon the world of the Fey opens up and Megan is called to save her baby brother when he is switched by a vicious changeling and puts her family endanger. Megan's journey sends her through a maze of strange creatures and customs, numerous bargains and debts and a secret revealed about her family history and ultimate future.
I LOVED this book! Although I lament the fact that current fantasy writers have overused the European mythologies to the point of cliche, The Iron Fey takes these myths and breathe new life into them. I loved the idea of the Iron Fey seeing the old courts as the past while they, purveyors of iron, current and advanced technology are the future. The characters are fully developed with Megan being a down to Earth character who is a bit of an outcast in our world but soon finds her footing and strength in the Fey world. She never becomes overbearing to the point of arrogant, she always keeps her head even though her choices aren't always the best ones. I sympathized with her plight and loved her sayings. I was rooting for her to find her baby brother and survive each obstacle that was thrown her way.
I also loved the way the potential romance was handled here. Not to spoil too much but I had a feeling that someone close to her was more interested than he let on. Although that was left unsaid here, I have a feeling it'll be making head way again. I was torn between this character and princely one who is completely and utterly swoonable in the romantic sense. By the end, I was rooting for this character and gasped every time something happened to him. I hate to biased but I'm rooting that she ends up with the latter character. And if she doesn't want him, pass him on over to me!
The Iron King is one of those novels that you hate to put down. There's always something happening and always something about to happen that keeps the action and plot development well paced. It's a good and bad thing because I get to see what happens (good) but the fun is over faster (bad). It's also a bummer because I'm hoping my next read is just as satisfying. Kudos to Harlequin for presenting this in their new Teen line of books. I'm a new fan of Ms. Kagawa and while I'm clamoring for the next Iron Fey entry (August 2010, counting down the days!) I'll be checking out other books in HQN's line.
The Iron King is the first entry into my Best of 2010 Reads.
If you liked The Iron King and are looking for similar books. Might I suggest the following with similar themes and Fae mythology:
Boy is it good to have Teresa D'Amario back! I lost count of the many times I read SheWolf since the first time and I've been waiting for Nora's story...moreBoy is it good to have Teresa D'Amario back! I lost count of the many times I read SheWolf since the first time and I've been waiting for Nora's story as well as Ryland's. I was very interested in seeing how a villain could be turned into a hero for the next book as its one of things on my wishlists for romance themes.
D'Amario doesn't disappoint! Dark Succession is a sexy paranormal romance but it's also a gut wrenching fantasy and suspense all rolled into one. After being captured and tortured then saved by Anna, heroine of SheWolf, Nora (daughter to the former pack leader Sean and Laura) has moved on to college where the guys give her attention more for her status than for herself. After almost being attacked by a group of college guys, Ryland intervenes and rescues Nora then takes her back to his compound where he hides a harrowing secret not only within his pack but also one he doesn't know about that's been hidden as a lie within his own family. Soon, members of Ryland's pack being to disappear and as Nora uncovers the reasons why, a pattern emerges bringing them close to the pack as things begin to unravel.
Ryland came dangerously close to being anti-hero and there are some heavy things he is involved with. His brother (another secret) left him a no-holds-barred unruly wolven pack of convicts, rapists and war mongers and it's up to him keep order even as he fights to control his attraction to Nora.
Nora was a strong heroine although she had some faults due to how she saw her body. I like that she was a strong SheWolf and she took charge when needed but also had to overcome the time she spent as a prisoner. It was an interesting admission when she meets similar prisoners at Ryland's compound and how she saw him through her eyes.
I loved and really enjoyed this book and was tickled when an excerpt for SheWolf was included. Although there was no particular scene to top my favorite one from SheWolf (ahem, the one in Anna's office, hehe) the tension and the sexiness of Ryland was strong enough to topple the previous hero Kieren (sorry Kieren but Ryland was just wow).
Anna makes an appearance here later in the story and I was hoping we'd see a bit of the old Uwharrie camp just for old time's sake. Knowing how Laura reacted to Anna when she arrived and considering Nora's coming into her own SheWolf, I can see why that would probably not turn out well.
All in all I loved Dark Succession which is a wonderful addition to SheWolf. Ryland and Nora's dance of attraction mixed with the murder mystery within the pack, topped off with how Nora would be able to stay in a confined compound made me glued to the pages to find out how all of it will be resolved. I loved that this book had twist after twist with not only finding out the truth about Ryland's family but also about the revelation of the murderer. Early on I thought it was the obvious choice but later there were certain clues to tip off the gender. Eventually, my guess was totally off but it was interesting to see how it lead to the culprit after a previous surprise attack.
D'Amario did an awesome job and if there's another book in the series, I'll be eagerly waiting to grab a copy and dive into the world of the True Mates.
Note to readers: Although this story stands alone, you may want to check out SheWolf not only for the great story but for a little extra flavoring to the world and how the characters are connected. There's also a bit of interesting backstory in how you'll see Ryland's scenes in SheWolf which gets turned on its head in Dark Succession.
Highly recommended as one of my faves for 2010.(less)
The Iron King was a book that came way out of left field and took me off guard. I'm a recent fan of Young Adult books, especially of the speculative v...moreThe Iron King was a book that came way out of left field and took me off guard. I'm a recent fan of Young Adult books, especially of the speculative variety, and being a fan of practically anything fae related I was quick to jump on the book. Julie Kagawa's intro into the world of the Iron Fey was addictive and after finishing the first, I couldn't wait to dive back into the world to see what the cast of characters was up to in their next adventure.
Just like I hoped, The Iron Daughter turned out to be another wonderful visit with a couple of old friends. While reading this, I would always promise myself just to read a chapter or so before bedtime. I never kept up that promise because I would always get sucked into an obstacle that seemed like all hope was lost or a threat of losing one of the characters. Ms. Kagawa has a way of keeping the pace going while putting her characters through the hardest of times and making them suffer. My hats off to authors who can do this because it adds a real sense of danger and keeps me flipping pages.
Although the first book didn't lead itself to a love triangle, quickly becoming a new go-to trope in YA fantasy these days, this book fully explores it. Although I'm biased and already have a favorite of the two, I wish the story would have focused on said character and Meghan's developing relationship as they work through trying to be together despite coming from different worlds. In the end, there was enough to satisfy this wish and even the ending was more than I could every hope for. (Thank you, Ms. Kagawa for that ending.) Looking back, I can definitely see shades of A Midsummer Night's Dream in how the setup between the three is presented.
This story picks up right were The Iron King left off and there are some awesome revelations that come to a head in continuation of the groundwork that was set in the first book. We get to know more about the fae courts and how they work, there are characters who are introduced and there's an interesting twist in the revelation of what memory Meghan lost to the Oracle in the previous book. I was hoping we'd find out eventually and I was excited to see how it ties into the story here. There's also an interesting twist to the mean girls situation that Meghan faced in the first book which is paralleled in the Fae world. I'm hoping we see another visitation of that situation with a stronger and wiser Meghan the second time around especially after the school events in this book.
I was sad to some characters go after I had grown attached to them and I commend Ms. Kagawa for creating great characters to incite such feeling from this reader; all the while putting them in mortal danger at each turn. The story lulls a bit in the middle during a making up sequence but quickly picks up toward the end to bring another obstacle in the fray. There's also a new array of awesome characters including a zombie corporate clone army in an office space setting, a viral fae and a cheery fae with a royal disposition and a fondness for pet names. I love the voices that come from these characters and being a big fan of audio books (which is how I fell in love with the first book in the series) and I can't wait to hear the narrator bring her and the other characters to life.
Fans of Fae political intrigue, adventure and fantasy YA works will love this series. You can tell Ms. Kagawa is inspired by a lot of different classic fantasy literature from Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll but she clearly makes these characters and situations her own within this world. What I love about each of these books is that they have clear endings. Each book has it's own set of problems and a main conflict which is solved by the end but is left open enough for more stories within the world. The Iron Daughter is no different in that we end on a wonderful note with Meghan completing her missions and also leaving it open enough for another story to see what happens due to the consequences of their decisions. I loved it. I highly recommend this series and this book which is also going on my fave 2010 best reads list.
FTC Advisory: This review is based on a galley received by NetGalley courtesy of the publisher. (less)
I LOVE this anthology. Every time I would finish one I would dive right into another. I skipped around, starting with the stories involving The Family...moreI LOVE this anthology. Every time I would finish one I would dive right into another. I skipped around, starting with the stories involving The Family (sort of like an Addam's Family whose members each have a special something about them) and simply couldn't stop. I would have been up all night if I kept going because each story offers something new. And it's always a wonderful twist to see how the title factors into the theme of the stories.
I'm definitely going to continue to work my way through all of Bradbury's stories and I'll be resisting this at a later date. For now, this goes on my favorites wall of master storytellers. I look forward to reading and loving more of Bradbury's works in the near future!(less)