I picked up this book with the initial impression that I was in for an urban fantasy *Available today!*
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
I picked up this book with the initial impression that I was in for an urban fantasy piece in which Hell (and angels and demons) would play a role, but that some of the story would inevitably take place in a concrete, corrupted human city. But no. This is full on, 24/7 Hell, all the time Hell, everything Hell. There is no reprieve. And very little hope. The hope is so miniscule you need a very expensive microscope to see it.
So yeah. Hell. In as much technicolor, cinematic horrorscape that you probably can't handle. Seriously, it's brutal. Claustrophobic and suffocating. Unsworth's painstaking, meticulous world-building of this feared and unknown domain is impressive to say the least. He spares no detail and isn't shy about unleashing buckets of effluvia, viscera, despair and derangement. This isn't your paranormal fantasy version of Hell where the Demons are sexy anti-heroes brooding about looking for bodices to rip open. Noooooo. These are deformed, mutated, merciless beasts seeking out any hole of any body to violate, and throw in some torture on the side for good measure.
Unsworth creates a Hell populated by innumerable species of Demons of varying size, hierarchy, power and cruelty. In this devilish brew, forsaken humans doomed to suffer Hell's torment, must co-exist. They are Demon slaves. Mere chattel. With meaningless jobs and tasks to perform in the ever present threat of Demon violence.
Thomas Fool is one of those humans, and one of Hell's Information Men. Normally, Fool's job consists of looking the other way -- of NOT investigating Hell's crimes. But when a human corpse shows up with its soul entirely gone, Fool is pushed into an investigation he is not ready for. He must learn his Detective's trade fast before whatever is consuming human souls turns its appetites on all of Hell itself.
This is a book extremely dense with description, and understandably so because the author has cut himself out a big job to build Hell and its fiery inhabitants from scratch missing no detail, no matter how small. There is A LOT of narrative exposition to move the story and action along too. Dialogue is minimally used. And that means the book can read heavy and slow in parts. You have to be patient with it and soak up the landscape. Let it unfurl in your mind and agree to stay with it until the tale is done.
Now that the book is done, and I've laid it aside, I find flashes of it continuing to haunt me -- certain scenes appear to be burned onto my retinas. I can't unsee them. This is a dark book, but for those seeking a dark fantasy set in the darkest and most fearful place, then you might want to give this one a go.
A free copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for this review.
Is it wrong to be totally fangirling over such depraved and bloody storytelling? Probably. But fuck it. I'm not going to apologize. PREACHER is like n Is it wrong to be totally fangirling over such depraved and bloody storytelling? Probably. But fuck it. I'm not going to apologize. PREACHER is like nothing else I've ever read or seen, crossing boundaries of decency and good taste while at the same time offering up compelling characters and kickass world building.
This volume brings together two very different storylines each with its own sense of brutality and redemption. The first half is the revelation of Jesse Custer's twisted and blood soaked past, a family tree steeped in abomination and cruelty, abuse and murder. It's anything but pretty, as heartbreaking as it is frightening and sickening. Having met evil incarnate Grandma L'Angelle and her trusty sadistic sidekicks Jody and T.C. I can say with all honesty I'd rather take my chances dining with Hannibal Lecter or spending the weekend with Leatherface.
The 'Angelville' subplot has a distinctive backwoods, Southern Gothic meets Deliverance vibe that reminded me a lot of today's redneck noir or hillbilly lit. It's gritty realism shot through with supernatural elements that play as straight and normal. None of those elements, including appearances by God and The Duke himself feel out of place or ridiculous. They're seamlessly woven into the story's patchwork without any self-consciousness whatsoever. They belong there, just like the Genesis entity riding Custer's ass imbuing him with the power to bend minds to his will and words.
Custer's ex, Tulip has a much more defining role in this volume. Actually, she's pretty awesome; I just hope she turns out to be more than just Jesse's snuggle bunny. The vampire Cass also returns in all his drunken Irish glory injecting much needed comic relief. The scene with the cat and the toilet made me howl. Bad kitty!
The second half of this volume is quite the departure from the first, introducing a whole new cast of characters including a super secret religious group known as the Grail (think Da Vinci Code) and a pasty white, rich lunatic who could pass for Caligula calling himself Jesus De Sade. If the first half is rural The Walton's meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the second half is all urban decay and hedonism. It's the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah in 20th century America and Jesse Custer is all tangled up in the thick of it, whether he wants to be or not.
And oh yeah, he's still got that bone to pick with God, now more than ever.
Do I want more PREACHER? You're goddam right I do.
After reading Kemper's awesome review I knew I'd be getting to Preacher eventually -- now after having read the first volume I'm left wondering why th After reading Kemper's awesome review I knew I'd be getting to Preacher eventually -- now after having read the first volume I'm left wondering why the hell did I wait so long?!
It's bloody, gory grit and gasoline pulp Texas style, with demons and angels and a possessed preacher, an Irish vampire and a supernatural gunslinger known as the Saint of Killers -- who reminded me instantly of Roland Deschain crossed with Randall Flagg.
Something has gone very wrong in heaven: a terrifyingly powerful entity (the offspring of an angel and a demon known as Genesis) has escaped to earth and binds itself to a mortal man -- Jesse Custer (redneck preacher of a small Texas parish). Jesse needs answers fast as the dead bodies start to pile up around him and the po-po are hot on his tail. Joining him on his quest (and evasion of the law) will be his ex-girlfriend Tulip, and a ninety-something year old Irish vampire called Cassidy.
There's a vicious serial killer on the loose too just to keep things from, you know, getting boring.
The word from up on high is that God has left the building. Literally. Fucked off and left humans to fend for themselves. That's not going to stand for Jesse, and he's decided it's time to smoke God out of his hiding hole and get some answers. Maybe even a little payback, who knows? I surely don't, but I can't wait to find out.
Yeah so make no mistake: this thing is profane. It's violent. But there's an energy and an aliveness running through the story that's absolutely addictive. I can see why this series has stood the test of time (and will continue to do so I'm sure).
But don't take my word for it: in his introduction to the series Joe R. Lansdale calls Preacher "scary as a psychopathic greased gerbil with a miner's hat and a flashlight and your bare asshole in sight." Heh heh. An effective metaphor to make any butt clench up I'm sure. But this is what really got me:
Because there is only one PREACHER, a tale out of Ireland, dragged through Texas with a bloody hard-on, wrapped in barbed wire and rose thorns.
If that doesn't make you want to pick this series up then check your pulse, because you just might be dead.
Meh. It was okay. But for a trilogy that began so strongly, and appeared to pick up momentum in book 2, I found this final installment to be a tepid a Meh. It was okay. But for a trilogy that began so strongly, and appeared to pick up momentum in book 2, I found this final installment to be a tepid affair. From the very beginning this series tantalized me with mentions of Black Wings and sinister, dangerous things. It never quite lived up to that promise for me. There is simply waaaay too much emphasis on the romantic elements to suit my tastes. These books were obviously not written to please me.
The pacing for this one just felt "off" as well, really uneven. The ending feels rushed, and important developments are over too quickly. (view spoiler)[Hell was a few pages. Getting in and getting out should have been a much bigger part of the novel (hide spoiler)].
And *enough* with the love triangles already!! Jeesh. (view spoiler)[Killing Tucker pissed me off (it felt like cheating to suck as much angst out of the plot as possible). This worked in book 2 when Clara's mom dies, but to use this device again felt overly manipulative. Then to *bring him back* from the dead just felt too *deus ex machina*. Oh, it's okay. Haha. Fooled you! He's not really dead! You didn't think I'd kill him for *real* did you? Silly girl.(hide spoiler)]
And now I do feel like a silly girl for having stuck with this series for so long.
I'm going to go read about zombies and the end of the world.
You know, just to cleanse the palate.
If you wish to join me -- you will find me here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"I can't be an angel. I'm a librarian. That's absurd."
"You? One of heaven's brutes. Unthinking drones, that's all you ever were, and all you'll ever
"I can't be an angel. I'm a librarian. That's absurd."
"You? One of heaven's brutes. Unthinking drones, that's all you ever were, and all you'll ever be. A coward who didn't even have the courage to stand with us and Fall. Now look at you! Neutered. A little puppy dog waiting for its master to throw it a scrap."
I came across this one quite by accident poking around looking for something else. Anything with blood and feathers in the title is going to get my attention. Not because I have anything against birds, mind you; this has much more to do with my on-going fascination with bad-ass angels and when they get to warring with each other in a most epic way and humans are caught in the crossfire.
I could blame all the Catholic catechisms I was forced to endure as a restless child who would have much rather been reading Stephen King, but no. Quite simply, if you extract all of the awesome potential of these creatures away from the sticky, rigid confines of religious canon, what you end up with is a tremendous mythology to fuel a thousand stories and then some. Vampires? Werewolves? Fairies? Shapeshifters? Piss on that. Give me glorious, prideful, warring Angels and their Fallen Brethren any day of the week (and twice on Wednesdays when the CW's Supernatural airs).
This isn't one of the best angel/demon books I've read, but I did enjoy parts of it very much. Lou Morgan has set up her "world" and the rules that govern it quite nicely. I liked her application of angel lore. Figuring out the differences between Earthbounds, Fallen, and Descendeds kept me interested for the first half, and her vision of Hell and its frigid, demented landscape kept me turning the pages for the second half.
Where this one is lacking for me is with character and dialogue. If you're going to introduce Archangels and Lucifer, you better give them some awesome things to say. They shouldn't speak (or act) like anybody else. Just about everything that pours out of their mouths should raise the hairs on the back of your neck. There was a little touch of that, but not nearly enough for my liking. For comic relief, Vin is adorable, but I've seen his character done many times before, and done better. Alice and Mallory should have more chemistry. In fact, for all the main characters I kept expecting to feel more. Even when Alice descends into Hell itself I didn't feel worried or afraid ... just curious, as in ... this should be interesting.
The series shows promise however, and I'll probably seek out the next book. Blood and Feathers is very cinematic and plot-driven. I can see it making a decent movie.
This series is flipping fantastic! I feel like it's been written just for me. It has everything in it that I love right now and want to be re4.5 stars
This series is flipping fantastic! I feel like it's been written just for me. It has everything in it that I love right now and want to be reading to escape from life and have a helluva good time. I blew right through this one in a day and a half, not realizing there won't be another Sam Thornton adventure until Summer(?) 2013. Boo. But these are well-crafted, crazy mash-up fantastical noir crime novels that need time to grow. I get it. You take all the time you need Mr. Holm, just keep them coming!
This time around we learn a lot more about Sam's life as a Collector of doomed souls, the rules involved and the wicked dangers. The world-building here is so fine. I could eat it up with a spoon. Lilith (yes, that Lilith) is becoming more of a character and I love her. Femme-fatale indeed. One of the addicting things about this series is that the stakes are always so astronomically, apocalyptically high. I can't get enough of the scenarios. I am totally buying what Holm is peddling. Listen to me, I'm raving like a fangirl. Is what I'm writing even making sense?
No matter. Look, this series isn't going to be for everyone. But it just might be for you. If you like crime stories with a noir bent, if you like road movies and buddy pictures, if you enjoy a well-meaning sarcastic narrator with a past who is as funny and clumsy as he is smart and tough then you just might love this. If the fantastical elements of angels, demons, heaven, hell and the Inter-World intrigue you, then I know you will love this. Give it a chance, you really have nothing to lose. But start with Book 1, Dead Harvest.
(view spoiler)[I have to add a few spoilers here that will help refresh my memory when Book 3 comes out. First of all, LOVE the concept of soul skimming. Demons jonesing to get just a small taste of human memories and experience life in God's grace. LOVE the concept that splitting a soul apart is the equivalent of splitting the atom -- bad, cataclysmic shit will happen. Earthquakes, floods, the end of times. Depends on how completely a soul is damaged. LOVE the concept of Collectors being 'shelved' - put into a vegetative body that is a long ways from death, where they will likely go mad before the person actually dies and releases them. LOVE the Inter-World and the Deliverants (who come to collect the collected souls). Can't wait to find out more about these beings who are neither demon nor angel and operate under their own set of rules. I want more! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was a blast -- a seamless mash-up of pulpy noir goodness set in a gritty urban landscape featuring soul Collectors and very bad ass mofo angels a This was a blast -- a seamless mash-up of pulpy noir goodness set in a gritty urban landscape featuring soul Collectors and very bad ass mofo angels and demons. Who would I recommend this book to? Fans of the movie The Prophecy most definitely. And to a lesser extent that movie Fallen starring Denzel Washinton and Elias Koteas (I love Elias Koteas).
And if you've ever been a fan of Supernatural's angel-demon-apocalypse epic story arc then this is most definitely the book for you. Even though Dead Harvest is laced with all the delicious tropes of detective noir fiction, I would find it hard to believe that the author hasn't also been influenced by the Winchester Family Business. The references to 'vessels' and 'meat-suits' and fallen angels, and 'free will' and souls and a war on earth between the hosts of heaven and the legions of hell... well, I know the writers of Supernatural didn't invent this mythology, but they've certainly put their own stamp on it in a way that it shone through the pages of this book with the brightness of a soul ripped from its mortal host.
That's another thing -- even the way the souls are harvested. I could not help but be reminded of this:
Not that you have to be a Supernatural fangirl like myself to enjoy this book. Not in the least. Soul collector Sam Thornton is a great character -- and while I had an easy time picturing him as Dean Winchester -- he's also cut from the mold of classic noir detectives. He's an anti-hero with a past. He's stopped consciously looking for redemption but somewhere deep inside he still hopes for it. Even though his line of work whittles away his humanity one job at a time, Sam still manages to hold on to some of who he used to be. He smokes, he drinks, he curses. He's not impervious to fear, or to making stupid mistakes. Or to still long to "do the right thing."
Never in his wildest dreams though, would he have imagined himself smack dab in an otherworldly conspiracy between angels and demons to kick-start a war on earth to bring on the apocalypse.
You think either side wants a war? When last it happened one-third our number fell -- and all because a son of fire refused to kneel before a son of clay. You couldn't begin to understand the world of shit that would rain down upon us...
While this book is largely a plot-driven, action piece, it also contains some great dialogue that had me snickering a few times:
Just because you're thinking about stabbing somebody doesn't mean you have to be a dick about it.
"Is he - I mean, do you have to go..." she stammered. "Is he in hell?" I laughed. "Near enough - he's in Staten Island."
This is an Angry Robot book. If you've never heard of these guys, check them out. They are publishing some wickedly fine shit. I've become so enamored of their catalogue that I've given them their very own goodreads shelf. High praise indeed.
Hope you check this one out. If you do, be sure to let me know what you think! Unless you hate it. Those thoughts you can keep to yourself. I won't mind. ...more
I tried. Oh how I tried. The premise for this book had me at hello. The audiobook starts out very charming and engaging with a winsome scene of Hell'sI tried. Oh how I tried. The premise for this book had me at hello. The audiobook starts out very charming and engaging with a winsome scene of Hell's bureaucracy. The dialogue is crisp, witty and very British. Narrator Christopher Cazenove reminded me of Alan Rickman, which is made of win for me.
Then there's the confrontation with Lucifer that's just as delightful and intriguing. Johannes Cabal is a Necromancer who traded his soul to the Devil. But now he needs it back. However, known neither for his mercy nor sense of fairness, Lucifer offers Cabal a wager he cannot refuse -- get 100 people to sign over their souls in one year and his soul will be returned. Fail to accomplish this task and Cabal forfeits the rest of his mortal life as well as his already misbegotten soul. Fun, right? I mean, if you're not the Silver-Tongued Devil himself, how do you get not just one but one hundred people to trade away their souls? That would be a neat trick.
So things started out on a high note. I was having a lot of fun. Then the exacting, fussy paragraphs of dense description of every single miniscule detail (or so it seemed in the listening) started to bog the story down. I would listen to loooooong mintues of prose and feel like the story had made very little progress at all. Even the snappy dialogue started to lose its snap. I was getting impatient. Rather than tickle my funny bone and engage my senses, everything started to feel oh so droll and pip pip cheerio, you know?
I'm not going to say I *hated* this book, because that would mean I thought it was poorly written and bad for everyone. No, it's not bad for everyone, it just isn't for me. I ran into the same problem with Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October. I have friends who that is their favorite book, but it did very little for me. And this book reminded me a lot of that one, so I'm going to make a bold suggestion here that if you're a Zelazny fan, then you might love this too. I could be way off, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway just in case it sweetens the deal. ...more
I had such high hopes for this one. After reading a fair number of angel-icious YA novels of late, I really wanted to sink my teeth into an adult vers I had such high hopes for this one. After reading a fair number of angel-icious YA novels of late, I really wanted to sink my teeth into an adult version of such things and along comes The Paradise Prophecy promising Fallen Angels, Lucifer, the War in Heaven, an abdicated God, an Apocalypse, all soaked in a heady marinade of Milton's Paradise Lost. This should have reeked of epic win.
What I was salivating for was something akin to the film The Prophecy crossed with the best angel/demon mythology from Supernatural. What I got was something much closer to a cheap, dime-store thriller laced with a Dan Brown Da Vinci Code vibe. Not my cuppa I'm afraid. Alas! ...more
Liked this even better than the first one, so that's good. Review to come!
Clara has an unusual problem: unlike most girls her age who are str3.5 stars
Liked this even better than the first one, so that's good. Review to come!
Clara has an unusual problem: unlike most girls her age who are stressing about SAT scores and getting into the college of their dreams, Clara has a celestial-ordained purpose (with a capital P) hanging over her angelic head --like the proverbial Damocles sword AND a Black Wing who has marked her out as an enemy. What's a Black Wing you say? It's pretty much as it sounds -- Fallen Angels (exiles from Heaven thrown out after the War whose wings have lost their majestic white hue).
I ♥♥♥ some of the myth-building in this one -- Black Wings are awesome and I hope to get much more of who they actually are and what they want in Book 3. Earthly angel-bloods -- the offspring of full blood Angels mixing with humans -- are fascinating too. They represent a pseudo-superhero mystique that I can get behind. There are no tights involved, or capes, but they can fly and leap tall buildings. Clara is one of these and we learn much more about her parentage -- and the angel-bloods themselves -- this time around, and I found all of it to leave me wanting more. In a good way though, not a "will you get to the point" way.
There was still more adolescent angst in this one than I can normally tolerate, and I could actually have done without the puppy love story. I appreciate that Clara is desperately trying to cling to some normalcy in a life that has spun hazardously out of control, but jeesh ... with everything that's going on maybe making out with your super hot, super sweet boyfriend shouldn't be such a priority. In Clara's defense, she's doing the best she can under the circumstances, and as a believable and likable heroine I am cheering for her.
(view spoiler)[I laugh every time Clara lights up like a super nova when things get hot and heavy with Tucker. I'm also not surprised the way their relationship fizzles from hot to not. Grief has a way of doing that, and if that weren't enough of a wedge, there's Christian. I don't know how I feel about this guy yet -- he's soooo perfect and such an obvious angelic ally for Clara, perhaps even a pre-ordained celestial match -- but I still want her to choose Tucker in the end because I'm a proponent of free-will vs. destiny every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Christian appears to be the one Clara is supposed to be with, therefore it makes me resist the match. Christian is beginning to manifest some interesting characteristics though, that I hope Hand continues to build on in Book 3.
I was also very moved by the death scene (even while feeling a little emotionally manipulated). It rang true and I did cry. The last scene where Clara's father takes her to "heaven" to witness her mother running across a gorgeous landscape towards who knows what made me smile through my tears too. Kudos to the author for pulling that off. (hide spoiler)]
So I did enjoy this one, even more than the first, and I am looking forward to Book 3, where my hope is Hand pulls out all the stops and we get some heavy angel-on-angel action, a Heavenly War on Earth where the stakes are A LOT higher than merely who Clara chooses to love for the rest of her life. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Blistering, savage, dark and complex -- this sequel lives on the very hinterlands of YA fantasy -- a rare jewel of flawless intensity. It is a mature Blistering, savage, dark and complex -- this sequel lives on the very hinterlands of YA fantasy -- a rare jewel of flawless intensity. It is a mature read dealing with very adult themes -- war, vengeance, brutality, racism. We have seraphim and chimaera slaughtering each other for a millennium. Their hatred of each other knows no end. Their children are born into it, are raised on it, are sent out into the world willing to kill and die for it.
There is an unrelenting, gripping reality to this war that resonates with us as humans. We've seen such devastation over and over again in our own time, in our own world. Hatreds and prejudices that run so deep it fuels wars of unimaginable destruction, campaigns of genocide that unleash hell upon the earth and leave our humanity heaving and dying in the rubble.
Karou's life has become more complicated and fraught with peril than she could ever have imagined in the days before the snap of her magic wishbone when all of the hidden knowledge of her past life as Madrigal was restored to her. She is an orphan, bereft without her chimaera caregivers, who must wade into the murky and bloody waters of resurrection without the wise and benevolent presence of her beloved Brimstone. Karou has been betrayed beyond comprehension, and finds herself aligning with the beast who once sought to destroy her -- the White Wolf. If she is to avenge her family, if she is to save her kind from extinction, she will have to bend to the Wolf's will. For what choices are left to her but that one?
There is such richness to this story and in many ways it is a very different book from its predecessor. When we first get to know Karou, she is young and innocent. Her world is one of art, friendship, laughter and adventure. Her discovery is our discovery. It is gradual, gripping and mysterious. It unfolds like a magnificent flower, unlocking like the most intricate puzzle box. It is intoxicating and addictive. The sequel, like Karou herself, leaves behind all childish things. No longer innocent, no longer just a girl, Karou has become an avenger and the book itself necessarily takes a dark turn. It is much more concerned with the shedding of blood and the sundering of flesh, than romance and mystery.
Laini Taylor leaves no stone unturned and no character goes unexplored. Akiva is reunited with his Misbegotten brethren and we discover what his soldier's life is really like. At his side are the only family he has ever known -- Hazael and Liraz. Daughter of Smoke & Bone was Karou's story. Akiva remained almost an unknowable figure of intimidating beauty and inconceivable strength. This sequel becomes just as much Akiva's story as it is Karou's. We finally get to know his thoughts and fears and dreams -- "A dream dirty and bruised is better than no dream at all." Akiva cannot relinquish the hope he found with Karou. It has lit a fire within him to end the ceaseless slaughter, to forge a lasting peace, to atone for his numerous sins. And he will do this without Karou for the crevasse that separates them is vast and insurmountable.
We've moved away from the tangled streets of Prague and find ourselves camped out in a sandcastle in the Moroccan desert. When we aren't there, we are in the land of seraphim as they hunt, and slaughter, civilian chimaera by day. Despite the bleak, Shakespearean tragedy of it all, there is still humor to be found and pangs of hope still linger.
I am profoundly in love with this tale, with this world and war that Laini Taylor has created, and who she has populated it with. It has held me rapt and left me hungering for more. A genuine physical ache to know what happens next.
One world on its own is a strange enough seethe of coiling, unknowable veins of intention and chance, but two? Where two worlds mingle breath through rips in the sky, the strange becomes stranger, and many things may come to pass that few imaginations could encompass.
If you've been reading any of my reviews from the last year or so, you'll know that I have a bit of a fascination with angels and angel lore. But it m If you've been reading any of my reviews from the last year or so, you'll know that I have a bit of a fascination with angels and angel lore. But it must be said -- I don't want gentle, fluffy, and subservient. I want swords and vengeance not harps and halos. I want The Prophecy with touches of Paradise Lost. Then there's the television series Supernatural -- which has single-handedly fanned the flames of a preexisting slow burn into a blazing obsession with all things seraphim, nephilim, angel, demon, fallen and everything in-between.
So despite many five-star rave reviews, I approached Angelfall with some reservations. First of all, it's YA that wants to flirt with the urban fantasy / paranormal romance mold. Not that there's anything wrong with that people, but as such it's terrain I personally don't break my neck to read. And I have to say, for almost 3/4 of the book, my reservations were justified.
Even though the story plunks us down right in the middle of an on-going apocalypse wrought by vengeful angels reigning terror on earth from the sky above there is too much time spent developing Penryn's and Raffe's awkward relationship -- she a young innocent girl who has seen much and fights like a warrior, he a stunningly beautiful angel that has had his glorious wings ripped from his body in a vicious attack. So the romance elements had me a bit restless. I wanted more war, more angel politics, more world-building. So many unanswered questions about the very nature of the attacks which have ostensibly brought about the end of the world.
However -- and I'm so glad I can say this -- the last 100 pages march straight into some pretty lean, mean, brutal territory. I had been kinda numbed by the average action taking place so far and then WHAM! The story goes somewhere I was not expecting at all. It draws blood in ways that made me nod in respect and appreciation. YA authors don't often go there, choosing more sanitized and safe terrain (which is understandable I guess). But Susan Ee? She goes for the jugular.
(view spoiler)[ The fact that Paige has been turned into this ravenous cannibal monster with razors for teeth made me cringe. Also, those tanks which contain these abominations "feeding" on live humans? Very nicely done. And Raffe with demon wings? I loved how they are described. I love that they come from an envious, embittered Beliel, one of the fallen languishing in Hell. I do wonder if this is meant to be theBelial simply misspelled. (hide spoiler)]
This book was definitely plodding along at the 2 - 3 star mark but I must give kudos where it's due. Ee really pulls out all the stops to get that grab you by the throat and shake the hell out of you ending. I'm intrigued enough by some of the questions and problems she raises to read the second book in the series. My hope is that the focus is more on the war than the romance. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I wanted to read this gorgeous book again before the sequel's November release, and went with the audio version just to hear the sumptuous prose aloud I wanted to read this gorgeous book again before the sequel's November release, and went with the audio version just to hear the sumptuous prose aloud. Laini Taylor's epic narrative has swept me up in its arms and carried me away for a second time, despite knowing all of its secrets. I just lost my mind over this book when I read it last year, and I didn't think it would be possible to recapture that initial gush of adoration, but here it is. I'm completely ga-ga all over again.
The fabric of this story is conjured up out of the very elements themselves -- air, fire, earth, and water. And love. For love is an element. The real love story for me here is not shared between Karou and Akiva -- star-crossed lovers of mythological proportions -- but rather Karou and Brimstone. Ah, Brimstone. You are fierce and a monster in the eyes of many, but to Karou you are protector, mentor, father. You may have the head of a ram, but you have the heart of Atticus Finch. You are righteous and wise and honorable. You carry the burden of your dark magic on your broad shoulders so that your Chimera race may survive against the onslaught of the Seraphim, but deep in your soul you carry hope, for the future, for peace. For who else but the Wishmonger can truly know the power of hope over mere wishes?
This second time around I am truly dazzled by the rich world-building Taylor gives us, all wrapped in her sensuous prose. Her imagination is boundless, her ability to show remarkably vivid. (view spoiler)[The land of Elsewhere, the Chimera life and its legends and magic. Brimstone the Resurrectionist, using stolen, ill-gotten teeth to craft new bodies to hold the souls of the dead within them to live again as revenants. The Seraphim -- warrior angels of utter perfection, as beautiful as they are cruel, blinded by arrogance and a steel determination to bend the Chimera to their will. The conquered and the conquerors, the Chimera monsters and the Seraphim angels locked in a 1000 year old battle of poisonous hatred, mistrust, exploitation, humiliation. It is slavery, colonialism, invasion, conquest. It is terrorism and freedom fighter. (hide spoiler)]
And Karou. Sweet, soul-searching Karou. With your blue hair and unanswered questions. Who are you? What are you? You ache for answers, and when they arrive they rip your world to pieces and tear away all that you have come to know and love. My heart breaks for you. But I hope. I hope that all is not lost.
***Original review -- November 2011*** Once upon a time, an angel lay dying in the mist. And a devil knelt over him and smiled. ~Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011)
So. Much. Love. for this book I don’t know even know where to begin. Let me start by saying how happy it made me, how much pleasure I soaked up from each and every page. A lot of this I'm sure has to do with my healthy obsession with Angel lore (and not the airy-fairy, sparkling emo-kind, but the towering, frightening, blood-soaked other-wordly soldiers, beautiful in their grace, terrifying in their mercilessness).
One of my favorite films is The Prophecy (1995) starring Christopher Walken (and Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer!). This movie captures exactly what is so awe-inspiring about warrior Angels:
Did you ever notice how in the Bible, whenever God needed to punish someone or ... needed a killing, he sent an Angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an Angel?
Laini Taylor’s angels are not part of a familiar Christian tradition, but nevertheless are recognizable as creatures of iconic, staggering beauty, mystery and grace (and always with one wing dipped in blood). They are ruthless, unthinking, unfeeling, arrogant in their righteousness, cruel in their certainty.
In other words -- awesome.
In this epic fantasy of worlds colliding, magic, fire, a thousand year war, deep hatreds and monstrous creatures, Taylor weaves a spell on her reader that is truly irresistible. I was enchanted, enthralled, and totally swept up and away -- giddy, delirious, and greedy, never wanting the story to end.
There is so much emotion and pain contained in the pages, so much fear, and love and hope that it will squeeze your heart, make your pulse race and your fingers grip the book for dear life. Part of the magic is Laini Taylor’s GORGEOUS prose. If ever a book deserved to sit on a shelf entitled “prose that sings” it is this one. In one of my updates I compared Taylor’s words to precious stones or black velvet – you will want to drape yourself in them. I know I did. I can’t wait to listen to the audiobook version just so I can hear those words read aloud.
I’m floundering now, and rambling, so I will leave you with READ. THIS. BOOK. Read it!!!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I enjoyed this book very much (as I am predisposed to find nearly anything to do with angel lore interesting as long as the angels aren't essentiallyI enjoyed this book very much (as I am predisposed to find nearly anything to do with angel lore interesting as long as the angels aren't essentially conflicted "sparkly vampires" who just happen to have wings). I want the AWE in awesomeness, I want the spectacle, I want the terrible beauty. This isn't some fetish left over from my Catholic school days either ... this is a kink that started somewhere around the time I saw the film The Prophecy with Christopher Walken which got revved up big time thanks to the television show Supernatural and this guy (don't judge me):
In other words, angels to me are warriors, they will always be warriors: fierce, deadly, dangerous, badass. Cynthia Hand has done something here that I didn't even think was possible: she takes the deadly badassery component and unleashes it on a sleepy little town in Jackson Hole, Wyoming of all places and it rings true! While 85% of the novel is YA romance that deals with high school life and adolescent angst, the other 15% is so convincingly fueled by the awesome spectacle of angel badassery (with a gorgeous mountainous backdrop) I was duly impressed.
Clara is a sweet girl who is just figuring out what it means to be a quarter blood angel (her mom's half and her dad's human), and it's not easy. As if adolescence doesn't suck enough. I liked Clara a lot. She didn't annoy me, even when her emotions were going off the rails and she couldn't help throwing tantrums. I bought into her dilemma and thought the author handled it well. Yes, it's a "teen story" but with a kick of nitroglycerine to give it some balls. The "love story" element is even handled well; Tucker earns his place in the story as more than just "the main squeeze". I love the dialogue Hand gives him, and I was totally buying it.
The other 15% of the story is the nitroglycerine -- there are Black Wings (fallen angels), a war in heaven, a war on earth? and Clara's Mom, more than a century old and with deadly knowledge she cannot share. If these elements had been more than 15% of the story, this book probably would have gotten four stars no problem. Since these elements have been introduced, and introduced so well, I am definitely going to check out Book 2.
I also in good conscience couldn't rate this book any higher because for me it just pales in comparison to my experiences with Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Space Between. These two books reversed the formula and are 85% nitroglycerine. I loved them and cannot recommend them strongly enough. ...more
2.5 Stars. Okay let me get this out of the way first -- I'm a huge fan of this show which -- over the course of six seasons and counting -- has consis2.5 Stars. Okay let me get this out of the way first -- I'm a huge fan of this show which -- over the course of six seasons and counting -- has consistently offered so much more than cheap, dime-store, cotton-candy thrills. The writing is truly exceptional, the story arc original and perfectly paced, the scares are truly scary, and the humor side-splitting. Ghosts, monsters, demons, archangels, Lucifer, the Apocalypse – this show has everything! What more can you ask for from network TV?
And then there's Dean Winchester (be still my heart), the guy that caring writers have taken the time to carve into an iconic yet flawed character definitely worth 10,000 watts of fangirl adoration. Because this Winchester brother is much more than a pretty boy with a voracious appetite for sex, pie and mullet rock; he is a man of integrity and devotion, fierce loyalty and a golden heart. He might not always say the right thing, but when the chips are down, he will always do the right thing -- or die trying. I have become addicted to his acerbic, smart-alecky, movie referencing ways, his uncomplicated, deeply appreciative approach to food, sex and music and his fierce loyalty to his brother that guides every decision he ever makes.
I usually turn to these pulpy series novels when the show has wrapped up for another season, and there's that long stretch of Winchester-less summer before me until September. This latest installment - War of the Sons - is okay for a quick fun read. But just okay. Building on Season 5 canon, the story is rich in inside jokes and benefits from being able to draw upon the Apocalypse story arc. The time-travel twist is interesting, although I thought that so much more could have been done with the brothers in 1950s New York. I didn't like the love interest for Dean in this one either; it just felt forced and contrived. Some of the action sequences went on a little too long as well, and I found myself skimming more than reading several times.
Overall, these knock-off books used to promote the series are just that -- cheap knock-offs. They certainly could never be used to attract new fans, that's for sure. They are a poor substitute for the real thing. ...more