The plot waffles around too long before settling on its strongest trajectory. Could have ended earlier, too, at its natural conclusion. Instead, the a...moreThe plot waffles around too long before settling on its strongest trajectory. Could have ended earlier, too, at its natural conclusion. Instead, the author keeps going right on past the climax through another damn mission to Trent's house (who is a shallow shade of Gentleman Johnny Marcone), then taking the time to resolve that.
Nick is one of the most interesting, mysterious characters in the book, but his late arrival makes him more of a sidekick than anything else. (less)
There was something missing from these later books that I had trouble putting my finger on until I went back and listene...moreJust assembling some thoughts:
There was something missing from these later books that I had trouble putting my finger on until I went back and listened to some of the earlier ones. The qualities about Harry that really made me love him as a character aren't present anymore. I agree with some critics of the latest books that he's too over-powered. He almost doesn't even need to think before he destroys something. Even though he was careless, he at least had to brain himself out of more than a few tight spots in the earlier books. The noir detective feel has evaporated as Harry's power has grown.
The pop culture references are getting too numerous. They went from being Butcher's nod to his fans, to something I feel hurts the plot and tension. Those random little comic episodes undercut the tension in a few key spots, and those scenes would have been better without them.
(view spoiler)[I was really looking forward to Harry's reunion with Karrin, and Butcher really under-delivered on that. I know the series is so tremendously popular that there's no way Butcher could ever possibly make everyone happy, but come on. Those two have the single closest relationship in the story, Harry agonizes a little over what he's going to do with her, and she picks him up on the police scanner?!?! Really?Really. Butcher does deliver on a couple of emotional moments later, once the pace of the story slowed down, and these mollified the part of me who wants Harry and Karrin to hump for days. (hide spoiler)]
The pace was dizzying with its intensity. Remember, all of this happens in about twelve hours. Do any of these people sleep, pee, or go to the grocery store? Thomas' life seems the most normal compared to the rest of these people, and he's a vampire. The little side quest when (view spoiler)[Redcap steals Mac, Andie, Butters, and Justine (aka, the secondary sidekick club) was resolved in about twenty minutes, all for putting a dart in Harry's leg that didn't really end up having real significance. I felt it was really unnecessary when all was said and done. (hide spoiler)]
Nevertheless, the world Butcher created continues to expand and complicate in new and interesting ways. I'm too invested in this series to ever stop reading the books or loving the characters. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was my favorite book of the year. Starring a deliciously misanthropic vampire, a rat terrier, and a pack of zombie apocalypse survivors packed in...moreThis was my favorite book of the year. Starring a deliciously misanthropic vampire, a rat terrier, and a pack of zombie apocalypse survivors packed into a Winnebago, this tale sells itself as full-on pulp. It's replete with zombies, guns, cannibals, Walmart... A real freakshow-cross section of society. It brims with humor, explosions, guns, and a touch of the supernatural that really pulls it together.
However, the tale has a surprising sensitivity, which leaves you wondering about what it means to be human. I know this book will stay with me for a long, long time. There's not a damn thing I didn't like. 5 stars.(less)
A beautifully sculpted supernatural impression of London with a creepily imagined population of ghosts, local deities straight out of legend, all mana...moreA beautifully sculpted supernatural impression of London with a creepily imagined population of ghosts, local deities straight out of legend, all managed by the local police force, some of whom are also wizards. (less)
It's a shame this book isn't more popular. The premise, magic, and characters are all really promising. The pacing is solid, the jokes are good, the d...moreIt's a shame this book isn't more popular. The premise, magic, and characters are all really promising. The pacing is solid, the jokes are good, the dialogue is believable.
Ray Lilly is a believable, likeable kind of guy. I honestly believed him as a character. He isn't some super-amped up ultra mage or mercenary or supernatural being with magikal powers. He's a (fairly) normal guy who has one spell to his name: the ghost knife. The ghost knife operates like Ray's Swiss Army Knife throughout the book, and I thought it was very unique as a tool. Ray doesn't get to rely on his magic, though. He uses his brain consistently to get through the plot. He's a very human characters who makes mistakes and gets into fights, but he's basically a good guy who tries to make the right calls, punish the bad guy, and save the innocent.
The magic Connolly created was truly creepy in its practice and implications. I really wished the Society would have been more fleshed out. Connolly didn't quite include enough about them for me to be tantalized into wanting to know more, so I would count that as a weakness. I hope future books explore that angle more.
So lately, a lot of really cool authors have been popping up. Saladin Ahmed, Brent Weeks, Peter Brett, Douglas Hulick, and now Myke Cole. It's hard no...moreSo lately, a lot of really cool authors have been popping up. Saladin Ahmed, Brent Weeks, Peter Brett, Douglas Hulick, and now Myke Cole. It's hard not to be enthusiastic about a group of authors who all really love fantasy, and seem like the kinds of guys I'd like to hang out with, do a bbq, have a beer, and play some Magic the Gathering. I very much wanted to love both this book and Throne of the Crescent Moon, but both books had problems that kept me from giving them my unabashed fandom.
There are some great things about this book. Cole's magical system is SO fun to read about, and he does a great job writing about it. His magic actually made me sad that I didn't have magic. This book delivers great immersion (at times), an enjoyable cast of characters, set in an interesting world. You can tell he really thought out how magic would affect the modern world, with all kinds of reactions from joining the military, to going "selfer" and hiding from the government, to full on insurgency. Cole also developed a believable governmental response to prohibited schools of magic in the creation of (view spoiler)[Shadow Coven. (hide spoiler)] The pacing was quick where it needed to be, and more drawn out when the story needed to slow. The story is also very influenced by the military (obvs) but that didn't annoy me as much as I thought it would.
My problem with the book starts with the letter O, and ends in S-c-a-r B-r-i-t-t-o-n. I knew that Cole wouldn't be able to have him settle for either (view spoiler)[being a tool of the SOC (hide spoiler)] OR (view spoiler)[ going selfer and running again (hide spoiler)], so I'm glad he created a middle ground, but Oscar's moral quandary would have been much more believable if he didn't change his mind every five minutes. Between this and the (view spoiler)[ slightly unnecessary slaughter-fest at the end (hide spoiler)], I lowered my rating to three stars. I know what the author was trying to get at by having his character be indecisive, and I hope he improves on this with later books.
Another little issue I had with it was that the prohibited schools of magic seemed a little arbitrary(view spoiler)[...kind of like the author slapped that label of those particular abilities to be able to put together his Dream Team without having to worry about inter-agency red tape or so that they could all wear the same uniforms or something. I mean, I like matching color coordinating uniforms and all, but it just didn't quite make sense. (hide spoiler)]
And yes, the comparisons to X-Men are fairly accurate.
All in all, a very enjoyable read, with an annoying main character. I'll read the next one, for sure.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book came highly, highly recommended to me, by the same friend who bought me my first Dresden and Belgariad books. Never before have I doubted he...moreThis book came highly, highly recommended to me, by the same friend who bought me my first Dresden and Belgariad books. Never before have I doubted her judgement.
This book was the worst example of telling, not showing, I've ever read. There was a lot of dialogue that was only there to talk about the Nightside. You leave the book knowing what kind of person John Taylor is. It's not from experiencing him as a character, but from him telling you all about himself. To illustrate this point, the phrase "...in the Nightside" appears 69 times, according to my count. If I had just counted "the Nightside," it would have been probably upwards of 200.
The book had a humorous tone, but it didn't have any truly funny parts. This lent the entire book a feeling of insincerity which stuck with me until about page 180 or so.
"Anything can happen, here in the Nightside. You can watch baby angels being aborted here in the Nightside. All of your missing socks are here, in the Nightside. In the Nightside, no one checks their blind spots. No manufacturer coupons are doubled, in the Nightside. Only shitty lager is poured in the Nightside. Here in the Nightside, there is no Target, only Walmart." (less)
Not as great as I was hoping for. The plot just kind of goes from point to point to point without really reflecting in how the characters got to the p...moreNot as great as I was hoping for. The plot just kind of goes from point to point to point without really reflecting in how the characters got to the present. For instance, (view spoiler)[ when David Christiansen and Sons break into Mercy's house, they go from fighting each other to talking about their stories and how they go to where they are without any real processing on what just happened. You can't just have people fist fight, then get over it and start plotting together. This is especially true since her character knew to be suspicious of him because of Adam. (hide spoiler)]
There was way too much Villain Reciting His Master Plan, too. Like, who does that? "Oh hey, you're going to kill me, but here's everything I know and why I did it."
But, I like the way the werewolves are written and the cast of characters, and I know that the first book in a UF series isn't always the strongest, so I am prepared to read the second book. After all, the author has to introduce the main character, their magical abilities or D&D class (Dresden = wizard, Atticus = druid, etc. I'll write one about a bard, I think. Everyone likes bards, that's because their CHA modifiers are so high. Then there can be tons of sex.) I think the author does a bang-up job showing how dominance and submission works in a pack, without telling it. I'm interested to see what the vampires do in the next book, even though I wasn't very happy with the chapter Our Heroes spent with them. She didn't out-and-out tell you how they work, but left enough tantalizing bits to leave you wanting more details. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's a shame I didn't like this as well as everyone else did; I was really looking forward to something to fill in my gaps in Dresdenland. But unfortu...moreIt's a shame I didn't like this as well as everyone else did; I was really looking forward to something to fill in my gaps in Dresdenland. But unfortunately, though I know it's supposed to be fluff, I found it too shallow to be very enjoyable. It looks like I'll be turning to the Mercedes Thompson books for my UF.
Atticus himself is practically invincible under the right circumstances, and while the author tried to set up limits to his power, his Druidic magic can still do plenty of different things. I imagine he wouldn't be much good in New York or any other concrete jungle, but he didn't have enough vulnerabilities for me to feel like he was in any real danger. The fight at the end was so short that it was almost anti-climactic.
I didn't like how everything was so EASY for both Atticus and the reader to follow. There was no mystery and no intrigue. Even the double-crosses weren't all that intriguing. Atticus himself says "never trust a witch!" and then is surprised when.... GASP! they lie to him! Duh, ya damn stupid bastard!
I could not for the life of me figure out what role the Widow MacDonagh had, other than to provide some drunky local color. She is little better than a caricature. The werewolves were pretty cool, but he didn't spend too much time getting into them, so whatever.
I'll probably read the second one to see if it gets better, because I'd like to give this series a try, but only if I get it for free or on sale. (less)
I was really hoping to like this book a lot better. It revolved around a loser named Gid, who is "Special." By the middle (I think?) of the book, he's...moreI was really hoping to like this book a lot better. It revolved around a loser named Gid, who is "Special." By the middle (I think?) of the book, he's got Odin deferring to him, he's doling out commands to the Aesir, he's beaten up Thor, had sex with Freya and the three sisters are calling him a Hero With A Capital H. This guy figures out everything before other people do, formulates brilliant military strategies (all revolving around a "pincer formation") and beats frost giants with their own weapons.
It just didn't add up. The main character is a loser. Total loser. He beat the crap out of a guy, apparently for not liking the look of him. He can't hold down a job cos he's a fighter. That's what he does, and he can't do anything else. The little bit that really rubbed me the wrong way was when the three oracles showed him the film of his life. In a way, it seemed to shift the blame for his fucked-up life to everyone else in his surroundings, and absolving him of responsibility because, well, he's a Hero.
I really wish this book would have done a better job of showing you the bigger picture, especially since there was all this talk about catastrophic weather changes in the beginning. It seemed like foreshadowing, or at the very least, slightly important information, but it didn't really matter. I honestly skimmed the last quarter of this pile of crap. I am disappointed because I wanted to read Age of Ra, but I wont waste my time. (less)