I picked this book up at a book warehouse sale. That cover rocks my face off. I think the book had a lot of potential. It was interesting and creepy aI picked this book up at a book warehouse sale. That cover rocks my face off. I think the book had a lot of potential. It was interesting and creepy and I was definitely surprised by some turn of events, but it wasn't enough for me. For middle schoolers, it might be perfect, however. I loved the characters and really read the story for them....more
I have just loved the hell out of this series. I honestly thought it was over with Alexander Death, but then Jeff surprised us with a fourth book that really impressed me! It was great to be back in the presence of these incredible characters, and to see them all in a very new light.
Holy awesome to the sauce and back in the pot to swim around in the awesome, Batman! It’s no secret that J.L. Bryan has really blown me away with his world-building skills. Mad skillz, yo. He takes the ending of The Paranormal’s journey to an entirely new level in Jenny Plague-Bringer. The remaining paranormals have disseminated across the world after the chaos in the last book. Two new paranormals are introduced, and with their presence, we are transported back to World War 2 Germany, and granted front row seats to the previous lives of the group. I cannot express the utter awesomeness of these flashbacks! Not only was the time period and setting beautifuly written, but the eerie similarity to present day activities was thrilling and interesting. I was completely enthralled.
The gang is back, in some time period or another. I don’t have much to add to characterization from previous books, other than it was incredible to be back in their lives. Some make extreme sacrifices, others surprised me with their actions. Still others are back to their douchebaggery ways. All the characters are, as always, larger than life. The good guys struggled intensely as their free will was ripped from their grasp. The bad guys were forced to face scenarios from which they assumed they were safe. It was a great to see such a great mixture of crazy happening to everyone! I think the character who was most different to me was Jenny. She is far from that timid, nervous little girl we met in Jenny Pox. She has morphed into this strong, self-sacrificing young woman who is fiercely protective of innocent people and those she loves.
This is definitely, without a doubt, my favorite installment in The Paranormals series. I loved the flashbacks and felt the world was expanded as we witnessed a different time period and new (old?) obstacles for the gang to hurdle. It was chaotic and fantastic. The bad guys were AWESOME, as always. I truly love Jeff’s villains. I also love his good guys, too. And his world-building. And…all of it. A favorite series all the way through!
”Do we need anything else?”
“Wine. You keep forgetting to buy it. And bourbon for the eggnog, if you want to get lucky tonight.” He winked at her. “It could lower my inhibitions.”
Interest in Book: Zombies! Character-driven plot! End of days nightmarish world-building. Great heroine and smoldering, sexy romantic tension. And the author isn't afraid to write gore. Wooooty woot!
World-Building: Oh, the world-building was just incredible! The setting is 4 years after the zombie apocalypse. The main character, Kansas, has been living on her own most of that time and has learned to take care of herself. When a group of survivors stumble upon her secluded home, she reluctantly welcomes them in. Kansas learns a lot about herself, the people of the new world and just how much has been going on outside her little bubble. When she ventures out to explore, she learns that zombies and humans have both evolved in some form or another.
The author was not afraid to write gore! Yahoo! This made me happy, but should be a warning for those of you who do not like blood and guts. There are also some pretty disturbing scenes involving humans and how they treat zombies in a settlement that Kansas stumbles upon. I think those scenes were more horrifying than any bashed-in brain or putrid zombie explosions. Some of the people in this new world are just as crazy as the zombies, in my opinion. Their humanity is teetering on the edge of a cliff throughout the entire book. And, of course, we get a nice dose of fanatical cult fun. Cult mentality is so fascinating to me!
Characters: Kansas is a great character. She has issues letting people in, due to being alone for so long and being wronged in the past. She has become a lean fighting machine from being secluded and relying on her own physical finesse for so long. She also has wicked long dreadlocks because she got sick of brushing her hair. I really loved this about her, because dread locks just look cool - on the right person, anyhow. She has moments of clarity and moments of utter despair, but one thing is for sure, she wants to survive and will mow down a cult, a zombie horde, or a few indecent assholes if they block her path.
Kansas meets Rudy along her journey. He saved her life out in the wild and they end up becoming close friends in a settlement that takes her in. Rudy's quite the looker, if you ask any of the settlement's hookers that want to go for a ride on the Rudymobile. Rudy and Kansas have a very interesting relationship throughout the book. They don't always say what they feel and give mixed signals. They do, however, remain supportive, respectful and protective. Love blossoms under the surface but the dangerous, chaotic environment leads to missed opportunities. And yes, there is a love triangle and some nice sexy time. I don't want to say more than that. It was not annoying, for me, but I am hoping and praying that Rudy comes out the winner. His smile won me over, not to mention most of his personality.
Lasting Impressions: This book is a fantastic start to a new zombie post-apocalyptic series. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the wacky mentality of the settlement, the cult action, the zombie lore and the romantic tension. It delivered on all aspects of what makes a book entertaining for me....more
SMASHTASTIC ENTERTAINMENT QUICKIE: Oh. Em. Squee! EPIC storytelling!
INTEREST IN THE BOOK: This may have not shown up on my radar had Kt from A Book Obsession not tweeted to tell me about the ZOMPIRES in the book. I mean, really? Freaking Zompires? I HAD to witness it. I had no clue what I was getting myself into and this book turned out to be way more than I anticipated.
WORLD-BUILDING: This is my first venture into Julie Kagawa’s mind, as I have yet to read her Iron Fey series. That being said, I really had no idea what to expect in terms of world-building, which as you know, is my favorite piece of any story. I will state that she blew. me. away. This dystopian setting was epic, as Kelly at Reading the Paranormal so aptly described. Deteriorating cities were described in great detail, with ravaged skyscrapers giving these ghost towns an eerie feel. The author did a fabulous job at conveying our current environment as complete wreckage in the future. Obliterated, disintegrating, disappearing. The Chicago we know today is a water-world of sorts in this setting, offering many different obstacles and hazards for our characters. I particularly loved this setting the most.
Due to a virus eradicating much of the human population, the vampire race rules in this future world. That being said, people are not very hopeful and live in constant fear. The larger populations of people are where, of course, you will find the larger population of vampires, who request services and sustenance in exchange for the basics: shelter, food, protection. This last one is a bit iffy.
"In this world, the only law was to obey the Masters, and the Masters didn’t care if their cattle occasionally turned on each other. Run into a bored, hungry gang, and you’ll be lucky if all they did was kill you."
On the flip side, there are certain humans who prefer to face this big, bad, scary world alone. These unregistered humans are given no shelter, no food, no protection. Nada. Zilch. Needless to say, they have learned how to survive in this desolate, horrific environment, among the gangs, vampires and other, more sinister and dangerous creatures: the rabids, or how I will forever refer to them – ZOMPIRES! The lore behind the rabids is extremely interesting and given to us in bits and pieces throughout the book. We also come face to face with these creatures on a few occasion, and I cannot express the pant-shitting fear I had during those scenes! I was so impressed with the author’s ability to instill fear and horror in me when the rabids were front and center. I kid you not, I was trembling in me skivvies, peeps!
CHARACTERS: Allison “Allie” Sekemoto is an unregistered living on the outskirts of vampire society, doing her best to survive each minute of the day. She doesn’t always possess the best insight and decision-making, but she is, at her core, a survivor. She, like the rest of the human population, abhors the vampire race and she suddenly finds herself the very thing she despises. While she struggles to cope with her worst nightmare, she must learn the rules of her new immortality. Fun times, people. Intense struggle lands in Allie’s lap, but as I’ve stated, she is a survivor, and she finds it deep within her to continue breathing moving.
ZEKE! Holy canoli, what a magnanimous character this young man turned out to be. Zeke is a part of a shoddy group of people on their quest for Eden, the human paradise, or more likely accurate, human stronghold minus vampires. Zeke has been raised by a fanatical man named Jeb, the leader of this desperate band of survivors. As with all families, Jeb’s beliefs have bled into Zeke’s mind, and he carries out his father’s bidding without question. However, one thing is clearly different about father and son: Jeb is a ‘do what needs to done regardless if it results in casualties’ kinda guy, whereas Zeke holds on tightly to his humanity, even though he questions it often. I LOVE ZEKE. Amazing character.
The romance that blooms between Allie and Zeke, two very-unlikely-to-ever-be-romantically-involved people, is beautiful, subtle and real. I look forward to the struggles and triumphs in future books that these two will no doubt experience together.
LASTING IMPRESSIONS: What else can I say? Aside from being so upset and frustrated that I have to wait a long ass time for the next installment, I gots nothing! Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Now. *glare of doom*
Jeb regarded me with no expression. “Do you believe in God, Allison?”
“No,” I said immediately. “Is this the part where you tell me I’m going to hell?”
“This is hell,” Jebbadiah said, gesturing to the town around us. “This is our punishment, our Tribulation. God has abandoned this world. The faithful have already gone on to their reward, and he has left the rest of us here, at the mercy of the demons and the devils. The sins of our fathers have passed to their children, and their children’s children, and it will continue to be so until this world is completely destroyed. So it doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not, because He is not here.”
Interest in Book: After the ending in Pretty When She Dies, I definitely needed to know where the story would take Amaliya and Cian. The book ended on a good note, but there was a lot left up in the air. And, in true Frater form, she doesn't make it easy on her characters or readers!
World-Building: The world-building just gets me all giddy and excited in this series! I think Rhiannon is pretty masterful at this process, but I just love the little twist she throws into a seemingly normal, gritty vampire tale. Cian rehashes his vampiric history and I truly loved the lore expansion. We are introduced to a were coyote, a dhampir and a witch, and Samantha gets more than she bargained for when she decided to hang out on the wild side. The world expands nicely, but it doesn't make your head spin. And we get a taste of Amaliya's new life and powers right along with her. What an experience!
Characters: Rhiannon introduced more POVs during this installment, with many interconnecting story lines. Some of the characters are very tricky and treacherous. The bad guys are seriously bad, yet some might surprise you. Some characters make you laugh out loud, some make you sob, and others make your heart soar with love. Rhiannon has incredible characterization skills. She can build relationships up, break them down, smack them around and reel them back in. There is a lot of grey area with her characters, which keeps both the characters and the readers on their toes.
There was some growth with all of the main characters. Amaliya is learning more about what she is and controlling the power she possesses. Cian is opening up to the idea of expanding his family. Samantha's life becomes overwhelming and unbearable but with the help of her friends, she's able to gain control. I think this leads to some soul-searching and compassion-feeling, and Samantha's characters becomes a little less annoying. She does, however, have quite the mouth on her and she made me laugh numerous times. As did Eduardo, a new addition to the story who has eyes all over Amaliya. Amaliya plays it up, which makes Cian squirm. Fun times.
Lasting Impressions:The ending was an epic WTF and I just loved how it all played out. I truly love this series! It's gritty and entertaining. There is a lot of action, great lore and great smexy time! There is heart-break, revelations, soul-searching, romance and ass-kicking! It's got a little bit of everything that makes a book fun to read....more
Interest in Book: Firstly, it's Rhiannon Frater. That should really be enough. Secondly, it's Rhiannon Frater's take on vampires. I knew going into this book I would get the darker side of vampires, but wow. I got so much more than I expected. In true Frater fashion, the opening of this book will grab you and plant your ass in a seat until it's had its way with you. And it will be rough, so hold on to your skivvies...
World-Building: I love Rhiannon Frater's brain. When the zombie apocalypse occurs, and if this incredible author should perish at the teeth and/or claws of zombies, I sure hope they leave her brain intact. A lot to ask for, I know, but I would preserve it in the Museum of Awesomesauce Awesomeness, of which I will be the Curator of Awesome. Am I getting through to you? Good. Now that my zany personality has your attention, I would want to preserve her brain because we need to learn from it. Dissect it and welcome all the treasures inside. Ha. You thought I was finished babbling. Sucka!
So really where I'm going with this is that Rhiannon's world-building always leaves me satisfied. Like a good piece of chocolate, ya know? This world isn't so different from our own, aside from the fact that paranormal creatures are your neighbors in Amaliya's world. What I loved most about the world-building was how Rhiannon took a story about a newly turned vampire and added a nice dose of necromancy on top, just to keep it interesting. Amaliya's sire is a serious threat to mankind and the mystery and danger surrounding his character kept the intensity-level sky high. Amaliya is connected to him more deeply than she imagined, yet he is also surprised by how deep that connection goes.
Characters: Amaliya's dealt a shitty hand when her throat is ripped out during a sneaky coffee date. Her pursuer leaves her in a shallow grave, only to rise again a few nights later with no recollection of how she got there, and one hell of a rumbling tummy. As one would expect, things just go downhill from there. Amaliya is thrust into the vampire life with no assistance, no knowledge, no guide. She has to deal with her asshole father and his clan, whose reactions to Amaliya's new nature were very realistic. She has to figure things out for herself, which puts those around her in danger. Luckily, she finds herself in Austin, TX, the home to vampire master Cian, who was, in no way, expecting Amaliya to sashay into his life. She turns his life upside down and inside out, and he likes it so good. I love Rhiannon writing some sexy time! Cian and Amaliya's romps were just the right amount of umph and ahhh. Totally hot without being over the top raunchy.
Amaliya's grandmother, Innocente, will grab your heart and squeeze it. She is an amazing character, with the ferocity of a thousand army ants in your pants. I did not find her reaction to Amaliya's new self very realistic, but as I got to know more about Innocente, things fell into place. Cian's girlfriend pre-Amaliya, Samantha, was a wacky bitch with a sassy mouth. She's going to be fun, I can just tell! I demand more! I also love that Rhiannon gives such life to animals in her books. The few moments that Samantha's cat, Beatrice, graced the pages were so hilarious.
Lasting Impressions: Awesome, of course. Need more? Ok. When Amaliya finally comes to terms with what she is, a major curve ball is thrown and she needs to slide into home quickly or the ref will be sending her ass back to the dark side. The villain is a tricky, malicious, evil bastard who made me squee with glee. I loved him in all his evil glory. A really well-written villain who has many tricks up his sleeve. So read the book. And then the rest of the series. I just know it will fulfill my need for dark vampires, vengeance and a good laugh or two. ...more
Ashley: Temple… Temple, is her name- Dude, for like TWO paragraphs I thought they were talking about an ACTUAL Temple and I was WICKED confused
Smash: For real?
Ashley: YES!! I had to re-read the first few pages several times… I’m fairly certain that the ‘literary genius’ of this novel was totally lost on me. ;)
Smash: Heh. I’m not sure I would go that far. ;) However, I loved the name choice. Throughout the book, she reminded me of a sturdy temple, refusing to fall.
Ashley: Really? Dude, I was too freaking irritated throughout Reapers to concentrate much on the story… What ‘perspective’ was this told in? Have you ever read anything without the use of quotations??
Smash: No, and it was wicked annoying. You had to really focus to know when something was being spoken. I am not sure why the author chose to go that route. However, the story was definitely from Temple’s perspective, and an interesting perspective it was!
Ashley: That it was!! But, you know that ‘focusing’ isn’t so much my strong suit… ;)
Smash: And while it is mine, I seem to lose it around you. :D
Ashley: Hehe!! Alright, so I honestly think that this would have been an AWESOME book- if I could have gotten past the problem I had with the whole NON-quotations thing… Why not write the dialog like EVERY other book in the world???
Smash: It was definitely hard to get past. I tell you though; I was drawn into the story from the start though. Temple was fairly young and had been on her own for a very long time. Not a lot of contact with other humans, and she has survived. I really admired her strong wit and backwards smarts. She was a tough cookie.
Ashley: My thing is… the dead rose- What? Like 25 years prior to this story right? WHY is there so much food left? Why are there so many stores, museums, landmarks, malls… EVERYTHING, left untouched?
Smash: Great point, and it isn’t one I even thought about! She did seem to have it easy while traveling, stopping at abandoned stores for her favorite crackers, which should have been spoiled and a pile of cheesy mush by then.
Ashley: See? I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed… and all that. But, it’s the little things that bug me! Like the fact that she could barely string a coherent sentence together, then used words that I had to look up in the dictionary! Like: shoal. WTF? No one knows what ‘shoal’ is! And palaver, and cartograph… I DO know what these mean, but with her limited speaking ability- you’d think she wouldn’t have such a broad vocabulary!
Smash: That’s one of the things I loved most about her though! She was wise beyond her years. Simple minded but sharp. She was hella fierce but you caught glimpses of her compassion. She tended to reason her way through everything, and I was constantly amazed by her positive outlook: “But you gotta look at the world that is and try not to get bogged down by what it ain’t.” That chick went through serious Hell and continued on like it was another day at the office.
Ashley: Yeah, but when that’s your reality- then that’s what you do. Right?
Smash: ‘Tis true, and you’re right. It was the only reality she ever knew.
Ashley: Okay, so what’d you think of Moses? I liked him, dude. Does this make me wicked insane? This guy tracks her with an intense sadistic passion across what is now America with the intent to kill her under any circumstance… but I liked him!
Smash: I agree. Moses was an interesting character and he really propelled the story forward. You never knew when he was going to pop up and try to bring Temple to her knees.
Ashley: Obviously, I didn’t want him to kill her… I just felt that he was doing what he thought needed to be done, no matter how ridiculous the reason.
Smash: It was a little much, but he was a passionate man! :)
Ashley: Right? All the references to the Bible weren’t lost on me either… (the nuns would be so proud!) Almost every character had a biblical name, and even the title: ‘The Reapers are the Angels’ refers to a passage in the Bible if I’m not mistaking…
Smash: I had to look it up, but it sure is a Bible passage. I’m not a religious person, but I really enjoyed the religious undertones throughout this book. It was not a light, fluffy zombie book, in any way. Temple never lost her hope though: “Ain’t no hell deep enough to keep heaven out.”
Ashley: Yeah, usually religious type ‘messages’ irritate me… I think it must be all those years I spent at Catholic school… ;) But this one oddly didn’t. Perhaps I was too busy staring at the lack of quotation marks!
Smash: And we’re back! “I shall use quotes throughout the review from this point forward.” Ok, so quotes aside, what did you think of the description of the “slugs, meatskins, creepers” and whatever other cool term was used to call the zombies?
Ashley: The “meatskins, slugs… etc” were alright… To be totally honest, every time she said “meatskin” I thought of a penis. No joke dude. :D I mean what else would you think of???
Smash: I shall now be plagued by nightmares of walking penises with teeth! EEEEEEEEP.
Ashley: Well, I mean really… I cannot be held responsible for the imagery created in my head while reading….
Smash: And you love to share, which I love about you. :)
Ashley: Right?? I’m totally open like that! So what were those things on the mountain? Like mutant zombies?
Smash: Holy Shite! That entire part of the book was INSANE. I have no clue WTF Temple stumbled upon on the vast mountain range, but it reminds me of The Hills Have Eyes meets Redneck Zombies.
Ashley: Oooooh PERFECT description dude!!!! They were WICKED creepy! Okay, so what about the END- before this turns into a rendition of name the freakiest movie you’ve ever seen… What’d you think?
Smash: Speaking of movies, I think this book would make a stellar movie!
Ashley: I think it’d make a better movie than it did a book- just sayin! At least I’d know who was talking. ;)
Smash: You never know. It could be a movie with miming or deaf folk.
Ashley: Or subtitles!!! *gasp*
Smash: Ok. The ending took me by surprise. I am not sure I enjoyed how it ended. It was shocking, and I remember being angry, but then I felt a calmness about it. :/
Ashley: I’m still trying to work out if I liked it or not… I think I sort of expected it to end that way- I’m not sure I liked WHO was responsible for doing it! So I do RATINGS and you don’t, but since were not posting this on our blogs… would you recommend this one or not?
Smash: Personally, I would recommend this to zombie fans. As you’ve stated in the past, there are so many different types of zombie books. This is one of the most unique, and I think people should read it just cause. :)
Ashley: I agree… I’d recommend that people read it, just to say you’ve experienced it. But, I didn’t LOVE it. But, you knew after you read it and I hadn’t that this wouldn’t be one I’d LOVE, didn’t you? I go more for “gore and blood” or “hilarious awesome” in my zombie books… rather than… uuuuuh? What is this? Emotional and thought provoking?
Smash: Definitely. And for me, I prefer BOTH. I thought this was a great mix of gore and horror along with some great character-driven storyline.
Ashley: You know, it was rather gory at times wasn’t it??
Smash: In my notes, I jotted down that I loved the “nice, gory descriptions.” Nice and gory. Only me. And hey, I just used QUOTES!
Ashley: I HONESTLY think that’s my biggest beef dude. I just can’t get past it… It took so much away from the book for me!
Smash: And with that, I think it’s safe to say that for those of you wanting to check this one out, be prepared for some serious irritation over the absence of quotes. But in the end, a really “insane” story unfolds and you are left scratching your head and wondering WTF you just experienced. My kinda book, indeed!
Ashley: Agreed! (except… I don’t like thinking WTF just happened? lol!) Still worth the read!...more
Today, I want to share with you my favorite book of all time. It is a dark, gothic urban fantasy that takes place in London Underground. While the chaToday, I want to share with you my favorite book of all time. It is a dark, gothic urban fantasy that takes place in London Underground. While the characters are eccentric and unique, you will find no vampires, weres or faeries in this novel. Instead, Gaiman’s fantastical world is a reflection of reality – an alternate reality.
Richard is a young businessman leading a normal existence. On his way to dinner with his fiancé one evening, he stops to rescue a young women who is lying on the sidewalk, bleeding. He takes the girl named Door back to his apartment. The next day, she has fully recovered and asks him to find someone named the Marquis de Carabas. She needs this person to aid her in escaping some of the most evil, vile characters I’ve ever encountered in fiction – Croup and Vandemar. Once Richard returns to his apartment with the Marquis, the Marquis and Door both vanish immediately.
Richard soon learns that his interactions with these strange people have literally turned him invisible to the world. He loses his job, his apartment, no one recognizes him anymore. He has now become a part of London Below. People who "slip through the cracks" takes on an entirely new meaning in this novel.
Richard sets out to find Door in London Below so he can get his life back. Along the way, he meets Rat Speakers, crosses a dark and mysterious underground bridge that has the tendency to gobble people up as they cross, and finds a Floating Market under Harrods, of all places. He discovers that Lady Door is someone of nobility in this underworld, and she is on a mission to discover the people behind her family’s demise. At this point, Richard has no other option but to join her in the quest to bring down the malevolence that is out to destroy this world.
The series of events in this book are intense, grim and treacherous. Richard is quite unremarkable and about as normal as one can be, but he grows on you. His desire to get back to his normal existence in London Above is his main motivation to continue on this insane ride, but the more involved he becomes with London Below, the more his chances to leave it diminish. Door is a fantastic character who is way more than she seems.
The descriptions of these areas and people are very visual and detailed. Gaiman’s writing is engaging, simplistic and full of wonderful expression. He has a sense of humor when breathing life into his characters. For example, Croup and Vandemar are like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, but cruel and inhumane. They are vile and enjoy bringing pain and death, yet they speak as though they have been raised by the Queen herself. They are extremely eloquent, which is in contrast to their despicable personalities. It’s odd and funny. Also, the entire cast of eccentric and odd-ball characters are accepted for who they are in London Below. They can be themselves without being shunned by society. It kinda makes you wonder which reality is better…
When I recently visited London for the first time, it was so great to see all the landmarks talked about in this book. The names of tube stations were especially fun for me because of their use in the book. The Earl of Earl’s Court is quite a character in the book, and runs his court on an abandoned Tube train that has its own schedule and route. I wanted to take a picture in front of the Earl’s Court Tube sign, but it never happened. That scene is one of my favorites. :) The Black Friar monks are housed in Blackfriars and Islington is an Angel, an important character in the story.
Neverwhere was actually an urban fantasy TV mini-series in the mid 1990s that aired on BBC. I’ve watched some of the series through Netflix and it so hokey and ridiculous! But, Gaiman decided to put the TV series into book form, and it is gloriously awesome. It’s very much an Alice in Wonderland-esque story, which is probably why I was drawn to it. Alice is one of my favorite children’s stories! In short, Gaiman is a wonderful storyteller, and this tale is sure to keep your interest until the very end.
Smashtastic Entertainment Quickie There are just no words to explain the culmination of a hellish, heart-breaking and HOPEFUL journey.
Interest in the book Of course I had to finish the series. Trust me, you will understand when you start The First Days...these characters creep their way into your heart and you have to endure their horrific journey alongside them, yearning for their safety and happiness. As Rhiannon has done with every book in this series, she grabs you by the throat with the opening scene, and your jaw is left hanging through much of the book.
World-building Firstly, read this: World-Building, Rhiannon Frater-style. Welcome back. I have to say that Rhiannon really infused this series with the heart, soul, good, bad and ugly of her community. I've never been to Texas, but from what I think I know about the state and its population, I really felt like I was there. The scenery, the people, the customs and mannerisms, it all fit my imaginary Texas. Aside from that, the zombie lore is just perfect. Rhiannon knows her zombies. :)
Characters One thing is for certain, Rhiannon Frater knows how to build characters! It was evident at the end of The First Days that I was super attached to the fate of the characters, and I pretty much held my breath through Fighting to Survive as they struggled to build a new home and retain some semblance of humanity in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. I literally cried at multiple points in this book because the story unfortunately led to the demise of characters I did not want to let go. It was hard to swallow and I admit to hugging my husband close after a certain scene because I needed the comfort. I was that affected. I mean, even Jack the dog cried, people!
I am a fan of the changing view-point in stories. While I appreciate one person's POV, I really appreciate the honor of knowing how many characters are feeling at certain moments, especially when emotions are high, zombies are loose, people start taking some pretty heroic action and lives are lost. Jenni and Katie, along with their fantastic mates, Juan and Travis, are incredible in their steadfastness, dedication, devotion, fierce passionate love for their family and friends. Ken, Lenore, Nerit, Kevin, Calhoun, Rune and countless others all touched my heart in some form or another. They all played an integral role as this growing group of survivors prepares to face their biggest threat yet. I admire them all something fierce.
But I'm not kittens and rainbows about all the characters. Blanche + Paige = stab! stab! stab! That is all.
Lasting Impressions The anticipation and terror that follows you throughout this story is incredibly poignant. As I've said in the other reviews, I really felt like I was watching a movie! Rhiannon Frater brought the emotion, the intensity and sorrow, the laughter and love, the rebuilding and remembering, the pain and the tragedy, but at the end of it all, she brought the hope. She delivers big on the most basic of principles: humans need other humans. We are a social species and without the support and love of others, we will never thrive. Oh, and Flying Toaster FTW!
Calhoun rubbed his big nose and frowned. "Whose idea was it to blow up the gawddern fuel tanks?"
Yours," Rune answered.
"Gawddammit! Why do people listen to me? I'm freaking nuts!"
"And that, sir, is why they listen to you," Rune said, laughing.
Smashtastic Entertainment Quickie: If you like horror, zombies and characters that will permeate your heart, you must read this series.
Interest in the book: Rhiannon Frater sure knows how to open up a story! She has blown me away with her opening scenes in this series. It will both horrify and hook you. You will have no choice but to find out the fate of the characters you have grown to care for. After I read The First Days, I could not help but think about how it felt like I was reading a movie, if that makes any sense. I seriously pictured the scenes in my head. The tragedy, the terror, the camaraderie, the will to live. I became so invested in the character's lives that I had to continue on the journey with them. I had to know what happens.
World-building: Did you read Rhiannon'sWorld-Building post? If not, you really should. Texans will most likely love this series (as long as they love zombies too). This series is set in Ashley Oaks, Texas, and it takes place after the zombie apocalypse. For the most part, the world is set up. Survivors are holed up in a fort they have built around the county building, a hotel and various small businesses. In this book, the characters are ready to clear out the hotel because the survivors are beginning to outnumber the accommodations. The leaders of the group have been ridiculously freaked about entering the hotel, as it could packed full of zombie fun. The scenes that take place in this hotel are nothing short of horrific brilliance. Rhiannon also adds completely different threats that are just as menacing and dangerous as the zombies. You are on the edge of your seat throughout this entire book!
Characters: I love that Rhiannon writes from multiple viewpoints, which adds to the "reading a movie" feeling. You get snippets of what the survivors are thinking/feeling, putting the reader in an all-knowing type of position. But, this doesn't detract from getting to know the characters, as you are able to see how characters view one another, their biggest fears, what they allow outsiders to see. Pretty much, the reader gets the dirt and the hurt firsthand.
I could write for days on the characters in this series. Jenni, Katie, Travis, Juan, Nerit, Eric, Crazy Calhoun, Ken, Lenore, and many more. The best part of this series is the characterization. Seeing these people struggle to live in a harsh, dangerous new world. You go on their personal, emotional journeys right along with them, and the attachment to them becomes fierce. And I have to thanks Rhiannon for giving Jack the dog a scene. Seeing this new world from his eyes was an awesome, simplistic touch to the story. ♥
Lasting Impression: What else can I say? While zombies and other threats keep these survivors on their toes, it is the humans that rule this story. The focus on the will to live and the struggle to keep their humanity in the midst of terror keeps you turning the pages.
"It's not going to be good, is it? Juan pushed his cowboy hat back on his dark curls.
"Nerit had her poker face, but Jenni's expression said it all."
"That's my girl. Destined to lose every game of strip poker we ever play." Juan smirked and wagged his eyebrows.
The Kult is my first taste of horror in a long while, and boy, have I missed it. This book was pretty awesome in all its gory, thrilling, sadistic glory. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and use of phrasing and foreshadowing. And, he’s a really good story teller! The story keeps you on your toes as you try and figure out who the serial killer is, and cunning misdirection by the author ensures you will be quite surprised when the killer is revealed.
There are two plotlines at the beginning of the story, but then all of a sudden – BAM! – they merge with horrifying clarity. That is when the story heats up and sucks you in for the hellish ride. I felt the character’s agony, fear and terror through much of the book. There’s one scene where a character is running from the killer in a pitch black warehouse. The character’s terror was palpable and my hair was standing on end throughout the entire scene! I love to be scared. I‘m a haunted house and horror movie junkie, and this scene was pretty vivid!
Being a social worker, I enjoyed the inclusion of the the psychopathology of serial killers, which I find pretty damn fascinating. Anti-Social Personality Disorder, anyone? This book is obviously not for the faint of heart, but for those who love a good mystery horror thriller, definitely partake in the horrific awesomeness that is The Kult....more
What an amazing character Cas is! Cas is a brave, determined soul who feels he is responsible for the safety of mankind from maniacal ghosts. He starts off as a loner because he realizes that socialization does not come with the territory of his occupation. I felt his situation was so unfair. Cas feels like he does not have the option to ever settle down and have relationships. People need people! I admired his steadfast attitude and focus. He doesn’t find himself to be special in any way and takes his “job” seriously.
“I’m not a superhero,” I say. It’s an awful tag. It’s egotistical, and it doesn’t fit. I don’t parade around in spandex. I don’t do what I do and receive accolades and keys to cities. I work in the dark, killing what should have stayed dead. If people knew what I was up to, they’d probably try to stop me. The idiots would take Casper’s side, and then I’d have to kill Casper and them after Casper bit their throats out. I’m no superhero. If anything I’m Rorschach from Watchmen. I’m Grendel. I’m the survivor in Silent Hill.
SPOILER: However, Anna changes the rules of the game for Cas. She’s aware that she’s dead and therefore, has regret. Once Cas learns of this, his perspective changes and it forces him to accept others into his circle. /SPOILER: I loved watching him evolve throughout the story.
I adored Tybalt the cat, as well as Cas’ mother. And Anna. We can’t forget about Anna! Firstly, Anna is not to be messed with. Something right out of your worst nightmare. Anna will leave your bladder empty as she takes your head clean off. However, once you learn Anna’s story – right along with her! – you completely understand why she’s pissed and cannot “move on.” It’s a horrific scene that leaves your head spinning, and really adds to the dread and sadness of this book. However, it’s also a major turning point for Anna, and you begin to see a serious transformation in her. I loved the author’s ability to make us feel both horror and pity for Anna, as she is a character that will both scare the pants off you and make you want to hug her. The relationship that emerges between Cas and Anna is magnificent and really becomes the driving force of the story.
This book is not for the easily spooked. It’s a chilling tale of a young girl who finds her way back to humanity 50 years after her demise with the help of a young boy who is bound and determined to keep humanity safe. I was surprised by the language in this book. While it didn’t bother me, be aware that there is cursing throughout. In my opinion, it fit Cas’ personality, which is full of sarcasm. Win!...more
Demon’s Night is the first volume in Guido Henkel’s dime novel series based on a paranormal investigator in Victorian London. Guido contacted me to reDemon’s Night is the first volume in Guido Henkel’s dime novel series based on a paranormal investigator in Victorian London. Guido contacted me to review a few installments of the series, and I was immediately interested due to the gothic setting and paranormal / horror plot.
Jason Dark (great name, right?) is a Sherlock Holmes-like character. He’s a ghost hunter that comes from a very long line of ghost hunters, aka Geisterjägers. He’s a kind gentleman with manners and eloquent speech, but don’t let his looks deceive you. Dark can hold his own in a dark alley, and he has a kick ass cane sword!
The opening to the story was creepy! The demon in question begins the story in a gaseous state and needs to steal life essence in order to become corporeal. He manages to suck the life right out of three characters, and leaves behind withered, dried-up, husks, with bulging eyes. Gruesome!
I really enjoyed reading the descriptions of Victorian London, the gothic setting, the mannerisms, language and clothing of the time. Guido has great descriptive writing. One scene I particularly loved was when the demon possessed a carriage driver. We got a great picture of what this hellish creature looked like via a human shell, and it was frightening! Guido also did great with the fight scenes, which I enjoyed immensely.
Under unfortunate circumstances, Dark meets Siu Lin, a young Chinese woman, early in the story. She was my favorite character, as I thoroughly enjoy Asian cultures and was happy to see that Guido incorporated some Chinese paranormal lore into the story. Siu Lin was also a serious Martial Artist, and her fight scenes were some of the best moments.
This first installment in the series packed a punch. I look forward to reading more!...more