I wasn't at all sure what to think of this storyline, since the alien bounty hunter plot seems very different, but I ended up liking it very much. My...moreI wasn't at all sure what to think of this storyline, since the alien bounty hunter plot seems very different, but I ended up liking it very much. My first read by Gena Showalter was The Nymph King, which I absolutely loved. From that point on, I have been reading her books. This is very different. Early on in her paranormal romance-writing career, Gena Showalter seemed to focus on writing lighter paranormal. The Alien Huntress series is a big departure from that, at least in my opinion. If I could describe the tone of these books in one word, I would use, "noir." Very dark, quite grim. That is the atmosphere I picked up from reading this book. There is a good mystery, and the sci-fi elements are well-developed so that I was able to buy into the alien concept fairly well. I liked the storytelling voice that Ms. Showalter uses in this novel.
I'm not big on aliens as a paranormal theme, but I appreciate what Ms. Showalter did with the concept. Of course, you have the steamy romance, the alpha, brooding hero, and a very believeably tough heroine in Mia to round it out. And there are good secondary characters that make you want to follow up on them in their own stories. It's been a while since I read this one, so I don't have a lot of details. Having said that, I don't have any complaints. It's a solid four star book, and intend to read the other books in this series. (less)
I will never forget the moment I formed a bond with an Australian author named Matthew Reilly. It was a spur of the moment thing. If I had not grabbed...moreI will never forget the moment I formed a bond with an Australian author named Matthew Reilly. It was a spur of the moment thing. If I had not grabbed a book off the shelf of the San Diego Public Library called Ice Station, I might not be writing this review. But I did, and it changed my life.
I cut my teeth on action movies. I started watching them when I was very young, and they hold a special place in my heart. While I am a romance novel and fantasy book fan first and foremost, I have always loved a good action yarn. But I had no idea that they had books that gave the adrenaline jolt that a good action movie could deliver. Matt Reilly taught me differently.
But I can admit I did feel a bit nervous to read his first book. I think it's different when you read a first book first from an author you come to love and buy the telephone book if he/she wrote it. You see their talent and writing skill develop and progress for the better. But when you go back, even when you love their writing, you still feel like you'll cringe at the boo-boos because you have their later work to compare to it.
I like that Reilly wrote an afterword and explained the process of getting this published, and admitting that he revised it, and what was changed and what wasn't. I can see that his writing has improved, but what makes him a favorite of mine is essentially there. He has a way of building a story methodically and setting the scene without extra frills. Nothing is introduced for a lack of reason. It all plays a role, sooner or later. I like that about his writing. I love that he can keep me on the edge of my seat, and he has a way of sustaining tension. I go from thinking the character is toast, and then watching the situation turn around so they manage to get out of that tough situation.
While Reilly's writing is not exactly focused on character development, but always he gives us a main character who gains my loyalty. That was the case with Swain. Swain is a normal guy who steps up to the plate to be a hero when the situation calls for it. It's this trait that gets him into the bizarre situation of being chosen as the third human in 6000 years to compete in the galactic combat competition that takes place in the New York Public Library. He had to compete and he had to make it to the end, but that didn't mean he'd compromise his ethics in the meantime. In that way, character development is crucial even in this fast-paced book.
I liked the twist that Swain's daughter is present. I think it changes the dynamic considerably. He not only has to watch out for himself, but keep his daughter safe, and that changes the decisions that he makes throughout the story. I have a soft spot for heroes who are dads, so that definitely warmed me to him. Holly is not just a prop or a plot point, she does play a significant role in this book, within reason, for a seven-year-old in such a dangerous situation.
I was curious to see who the other combatants would be, and I admit, I was a tad disappointed with the makeup. I wanted more sentient combatants. But Reilly says in his afterward that he wanted to write a monster story, so that explains why the other combatants are mostly monsters. At any rate, I still liked what I got, and I especially liked that Swain was outnumbered and outgunned, but he still managed to turn things around. His way of doing it was cool too. He wasn’t a pumped up muscle man, but a thinker and an analyzer, from beginning to end. Some of his success was due to providence, luck, and assistance from others, but overall, you get the impression that Swain was the right guy to handle the situation.
“Contest” is surprisingly less gory than some of Reilly’s later works. I’m kind of glad about that, since I cringed when characters I liked died violently in his later books. I’m not putting him down. I love the guy, but I do wish his books weren’t so gory at times.
“Contest” is a roller-coaster ride, good old science fiction action adventure with monsters. While it broke my heart to see the beautiful library and its priceless books destroyed, I’m glad it was just fiction, and in a way, it’s cool to blow up something like that with impunity in a fiction story (I guess). My book-loving heart can’t stand the idea of a library getting nuked, and I mourned it along with the deaths of other characters in this book.
I’d recommend this book to readers who really like action/adventure and an everyman hero who is in over his head, but still manages to save the day. (less)
I haven't read very much science fiction romance, but this is a good one to read to get into the genre. It was a bit slow in parts, but a very good st...moreI haven't read very much science fiction romance, but this is a good one to read to get into the genre. It was a bit slow in parts, but a very good story all the same.
I fell in love with Jared early on in this book, when he was fourteen years old, in fact. He is everything a king should be: noble, good-hearted, self-sacrificing, strong, intelligent, and of iron-willed disposition. Yet there is also a gentleness to him, a very kind nature. It is very evident why his people and the soldiers in his regiment are so devoted to him. To me he was a worthy leader who inspired the admiration of his people. I love heroes that can be loving and kind without feeling that this destroys their ability to be a tough, strong man. That is why I adore beta heroes so much. Jared isn't a beta hero exactly. He's more of a mix of an alpha and beta, which is a great combination. He is in touch with his feelings, but also a proven warrior. Sigh! Not only that, but he is very tall, strapping, but lean, with black hair and black eyes. I like that Jared has the looks of a Southern Asiatic/Northern African, or a Native American, with deep copper-colored skin, high-cheekbones, and almond-shaped eyes. He sounded totally yummy to me (fanning myself). Ah, I just loved this guy.
Kelsey was also a great heroine. She wasn't one of those, I'll fight my love for the hero because I can't fall in love, it would make me vulnerable types. She gives Jared her heart completely, and even though he doesn't reveal everything at once, she allows her love and trust for him to lead the way. It's refreshing to see a heroine who can be womanly and loving, without having to be prickly and rigid in her sense of self-protection. And with a couple like Jared and Kelsey, it's the best union, because Jared loves her so much, he'd cut his heart out before he'd hurt her. And Kelsey would lay her life down for him, but also retains her sense of self. She had a strength to her, but also a softness, like a live oak tree, which can live for many years and endure the harsh elements, but retains its beauty. She's tall, pale-skinned, and beautiful, but natural-looking, with long, curly-red hair that Jared loved to play with. Kelsey will be a great queen, although she's bound to be confused with learning all the aspects of her husband's dual cultures. (I know I would).
I found this to be a very romantic book, even from the first pages. The love connection between Jared and Kelsey is so intense and passionate. I just sighed my way through this book. I don't think I've seen very many couples who are so in love with each other as Jared and Kelsey are. Their intimate moments were fiery and intense, and the aspects of Jared's dual nature as a King and Royal of two different races play a very important role. There a very strong fated to mated vibe in this story, so for readers who don't care for that, you might find that a turn off. As for me, I love the fated to be mated storyline, so I was a happy camper.
The path of true love doesn't run smooth, so there are some issues that need to be dealt with. Jared's people have been at war with another race bent on genocide for many years, so there is a threat to the king and his chosen lifemate that remains very evident in this story. But the main focus is on the relationship between Kelsey and Jared (which is a good thing).
The cultures introduced into this story can be a bit confusing at times, and it was a little hard to keep up with some of those aspects. But I do have to admire Ms. Knight for creating this intriguing premise, and populating it with complex characters that you become interested in. At times, I felt that the narrative ran too long, and seemed to get where it was going very slowly. It might be the fact that reading science fiction can tend to be dry for me at times. I like fantastical elements much more. It could also be the fact that Knight is a new author for me, and I have to get used to her writing style. For that reason, I couldn't give this book five stars. If the passages that were too wordy had been a little more concise, this easily could have been a five star book.
Despite the dry moments, she didn't really do the 'Star Trek' thing where the science fiction gets way too political and technical and leaves me yawning. Don't get me wrong, I am a serious science fiction movie geek and I consider myself a 'Trekkie', but I like the action to keep moving. I don't get into the sitting around and discussing political factions, philosophy of the future and the interactions between alien races, and technical stuff about how the various machines work. Just lay the foundation for the futuristic world and populate it with interesting characters, and keep the action moving, and I'm a happy sci-fi geek. I think Ms. Knight mostly succeeded with this. She had enough technical, social, and political world-building to make her world credible, but not too bogged down. Just a small issue with the long, drawn-out narratives in this book. So I am definitely signed up to continue this series. I hope to learn more about the worlds at war and their people, and to see Jared's companions, Scott, Thea, and Annika find love and to see this war end. Also I would like to see more of this great couple Jared and Kelsey, whose love story captivated me so much.
For a science fiction romance neophyte, I do recommend Parallel Attraction. I think you will enjoy it, as I did.(less)
I really liked this storyline. Although Tegan is still my favorite Breed warrior, I liked Niko. Renata was a powerful, admirable heroine. I liked that...moreI really liked this storyline. Although Tegan is still my favorite Breed warrior, I liked Niko. Renata was a powerful, admirable heroine. I liked that that she was a true survivor. I thought it was awesome that she rescued Niko from the interment facility. Mira, the young girl with the power of showing people who look into her eyes the future, was an interesting story idea.
The Midnight Breed series is pretty dark and violent. The concept of the alien Otherworlders coming to earth a millenium ago, going on a rampage of bloodletting and killing, and raping and impregnating specific Earth women who are compatible with them, to form the breed--alien/human hybrids who live off of blood--is pretty sinister. Although generations of breeding have tamed most of the savage instincts of the original Otherworlders, there is still a dark, violent nature to the Breeds, more obvious in some than others. Although the body count can be somewhat high in these books, this concept has grown on me. I do think that Ms. Adrian has distinguished herself with the storyline of the Breed warriors amongst the vampire romance entries. I find that I am invested now, as I yearn to see what will happen as the new nemesis of the Order unleashes his army on the Breed and on humans, desiring to take over and bring things back to the way they were before, where the Breed ruled, and humans were merely their chattel and food source.
As this book ends, things have come to a very sad turn for the sophisticated Berlin Darkhaven leader, Andreas Richen. I expect that he will be very changed in the next book. I'm looking forward to reading his book, Ashes of Midnight. And I am dying to see more of Hunter, the Gen One warrior who turns out to be an unlikely ally to the Order. I hope he gets his own book. I quite liked him. I think this is one of my favorites in the series, so far.(less)
I'm rounding my rating up on this one, because I loved the Kresley Cole story enough on its own for five stars. The Gena Showalter story was a fairly...moreI'm rounding my rating up on this one, because I loved the Kresley Cole story enough on its own for five stars. The Gena Showalter story was a fairly solid four stars.
First of all, lets talk about how awesome "Untouchable" was. I liked Murdoch before I read this story, because the Wroth brother are four times hot! But, I didn't love him as much as Nikolai (swoon), Conrad (thud), and Sebastian (sigh). I'm not fond of womanizers. But somehow, I fell in love with Murdoch. I could see that his fear of giving himself away and losing himself in love with a woman was the reason why he was so love 'em and leave 'em. Truth be told, I don't think he really broke any hearts. He found woman who just wanted sex and he made sure he gave them what they wanted very well. I don't know that he held any more fondness for them than they did for him. As always, Kresley Cole does the devoted male very well. This Wroth courtship was very different in that Murdoch didn't want to be Blooded. He was rather unhappy with the fact that Daniela was his Bride, and she had brought his body back to life. This story is a good metaphor for the relationships that some women face with the reluctant bachelor, who doesn't want to give up his freedom, out of fear that he's going to miss out on something. Murdoch had to go through the process of realizing that he might no longer be fancy free, but he had found the love of his life, and he would have been miserable without her--she made his life better, just by being in it. Daniela also had her issues. Because of her Icere heritage, she couldn't be touched by anyone. She'd spent two thousand years of celibacy, as a chaste (other than self-pleasure) virgin, seeing her Valkyrie sisters have their love affairs and live a full life, while she felt she was on the shelf. When she meets Murdoch and realizes she is his Bride, she's willing to give him a chance. At times, I felt bad for Daniela. She really put herself out there to be hurt by Murdooch, and he did hurt her more than a few times. Yet, at the same time, he did care about her and tried to do right by her. He is probably the most like a real guy out of the heroes I've read about in paranormal romance. Not to pigeonhole men, but he had a lot of the fears and insecurities of a modern guy in relationships, instead of the slavish devotion and adoration that I've seen (and I freely admit I like) in a lot of paranormal romances. He fought the bond between him and Daniela. But, when he gave into it, boy did he! The love scenes were tres steamy! I was curious how Ms. Cole would pull off having lots of sexy encounters with a couple who couldn't touch each other, but I must say she did it well.
I love this world of the Lore. It's funny, fascinating, exciting, interesting, and very entertaining. The Immortals After Dark series is tied for my favorite paranormal series (with the Black Dagger Brotherhood) for a good reason--it's awesome. I was happy to see that this was a fairly long short story, just under 300 pages. And Ms. Cole used the time she had to excellent advantage. I totally ended up loving this story, and it more than earned its five star rating. I loved how well Ms. Cole wrapped up the Wroth brothers' stories. I think that she found the perfect mates with them, and I was very happy with how she resolved Daniela and Murdoch's prickly situation. And can I just say that I think I might be part Icere? I sure do love the cold, and I truly enjoyed the scenes in which Daniela gets settled into Murdoch's icy hunting lodge in Sibera, and the couple frolicking in the snow and ice. This story was fantastic!
"Tempt Me Eternally" by Gena Showalter had a tough job to accomplish, following an Immortals After Dark story. I have to say that it did it fairly well. I will always choose supernatural over science fiction. It's just the way I'm wired. However, I thought the concept behind this story was pretty interesting. The Rakans have come to Earth to settle down and rebuild after their world and peoples are devastated by an invasion by the Schon, a race of beings who have sex with and infect other races with a virus that causes the the females to turn into cannibals. All the females were killed, and they decimated many of the males of the Rakan world. The lone survivors have found Earth, and intend to live here peacefully. However, they encounter a force of AIR, an agency that protects Earth from hostile aliens. Things don't go well, and some of the AIR agents are killed by a rogue Rakan, and their leader Breean sees and kidnaps AIR agent Macy (who is actually Aleaha-a shapeshifting woman who has assumed the identity of Macy). Breean can actually see the real Aleaha under the mask of Macy. He sees and decides he has to have her. He takes her and some of the other AIR agents back to his hideout, biding his time to try to make an exchange with AIR and bargain for the right to live on Earth peacefully, but he's already determined that he will keep Aleaha. Aleaha is a pretty tormented heroine. She has an ability that has caused her a lot of trouble, because she morphs in moments of extreme emotion (including sex). She's tired of pretending to be someone else. When Breean seems to see and like the real her, as well as accepting her morphing abilities, she feels a real bond, not to mention he's sex on legs, and she's incredibly attracted to this tall, well-built, sweet-tasting, golden man. She doesn't want to be his captive, but he makes captivity very enticing as he seduces her body and soul into loving him and wanting forever with him. But, Aleaha has her loyalty to AIR to deal with before she can jump off the deep end into passion with Breean.
This was a good story. It was also very steamy. I ended up enjoying the science fiction elements very much. Ms. Showalter focuses more of the sensuality, but she does that very well. I knew the characters enough to care about them, and root for their happy ending, and I was pretty engaged. As I said, I was so blown away by the IAD story, it was hard to love this one quite as much. But it was good and entertaining. It easily earns a four star rating. And it was nice to revisit the Alien Huntress storyline, in which I am way behind.
I don't tend to buy very many hardcovers, because I'm cheap and they are harder to store, but this was way worth my money, even if just for the Immortals After Dark story. I think of the Alien Huntress story as a nice bonus, since I've been more interested in reading science fiction lately, and I really do like Gena Showalter's writing. This was a great read for the holidays. Although the stories weren't heavily focused on Christmas, I thought that the authors used the holiday theme to good effect. I especially loved the frosty moments in IAD. Oh to have a sexy guy to play in the snow with!(less)
Starstruck Hunter is a fantastic debut release, one in which I really got immersed while reading. Michelle Lauren shows a creativity that I believe ha...moreStarstruck Hunter is a fantastic debut release, one in which I really got immersed while reading. Michelle Lauren shows a creativity that I believe has the potential to bring a new life to paranormal romance. I can say that I've yet to read a book where the heroine is a star, as in celestial body, not a celebrity. And it was very well-done. As a paranormal romance fan, and a fan of fantasy, horror, folklore, and mythology, I really look for an author who can come up with a different concept, or take something very familiar, and claim it as their own. Ms. Lauren has done this with her story. Although this is a short story, I thought the worldbuilding was very clever and vivid. The action scenes were so well-written, I lost myself in the book while reading it. Yes, Ms. Lauren is a very talented writer, indeed. I could easily see this book as a movie, and that's a good sign for this reader.
Another stellar (if you'll forgive the pun) aspect of this story is the hero, Noah. Whoa! What a man. What a sweetie. So hot, so sexy. Yes, I really liked Noah. He might be a revenge-driven ex-con, who is completely broke financially, but he's the kind of man a woman could use as her partner in life. Noah was one of the best things about this story, on top of the wonderful writing, ripe with creative energy. He got a very raw deal, and it seems like his luck is going further south, but his wish upon a star comes true in a very good way, when Miranda almost literally falls into his arms.
Miranda was true to her nature. She was exactly what I would imagine a star to be: innocent in a way that most humans would not be, but also mercurial, elemental in her passions, and stubborn. At times, she frustrated me in how she wanted her way, but her stubborness empowered her to save Noah's life. She was just what this downtrodden and quite tortured man needed.
The only down-side to this book is it was a bit too erotic for my tastes. I really got in the groove of the story-telling, and things went down the extremely descriptive depictions of sexuality route that seemed almost intrusive to the rhythm of the narrative. I could not downgrade this book for that, because I feel that as an author, Ms. Lauren is entitled to write the kind of book she likes. My personal preferences are towards a less graphic sexuality when it comes to romance, and for that sensuality to be well-integrated into the story. I think that it fit this story, and I believe that readers who like a very spicy story will eat this up, because it's the best of both worlds: Great paranormal/action plot and hot sex in a nice package. And I have to say, that she does write love scenes very well, for a reader who enjoys erotic storytelling.
This is definitely a five star read, that I would highly recommend to a reader who likes a rich story with vivid characters, excellent writing, and explosive sexuality. Bravo, Ms. Lauren!
Content warning: This story is a hot tamale! Very descriptive sex scenes with one scene of anal digital penetration.(less)
**spoiler alert** I didn't like this book as much as Midnight Awakening. The main issue I had was Dylan flat out annoyed me in some scenes. Especially...more**spoiler alert** I didn't like this book as much as Midnight Awakening. The main issue I had was Dylan flat out annoyed me in some scenes. Especially with her escape attempt. What was that about? She could have went along with Rio's plans to scrub her and then went about her life. I think it was just a plot point to drag out the story, frankly. My other issue was: Okay, this sounds really sexist, but her potty mouth was really bugging me. It seemed like the woman could not express herself without expletives and oaths. I'm not overly found of foul-mouthed heroes (probably Sam from the Suz Brockmann books is one of the few notable exceptions), but a bad-mouthed woman really is like nails on a chalkboard. It's a small thing, but that didn't help to endear her to me. Also, she just seemed too abrasive at times. She was used to being a survivor and being tough. The whys were revealed and it made sense, but I never felt for her the way I wanted to. I feel I'm being too hard on her. She was a good person, and I admired her dedication to her mom, and her sense of loyalty. She had a good head on her shoulders, and she did the right thing when it came to the pictures and story about the hibernation chamber. But, she just rubbed me the wrong way.
I really liked Rio. I felt bad for him for what he had lost. I think he had some self-pitying moments, but with his breedmate betraying him, I couldn't blame him too much. Overall, he was a good hero.
The romance itself seemed a bit rushed. I wasn't sure I completely bought into Rio falling so hard and fast for Dylan. Probably needed about fifty more pages for me to feel that. However, I liked the way Eva's ghost manifested to try to make things right after what she did. That was a nice paranormal touch.
My issue with this story is no fault of Lara Adrian's. It's me. I just like more going on in my paranormal romances. Compared to some of my other series (and it's wrong to compare, I know it), this series seems less vivid. I like the rich worldbuilding that I am treated to with some of the other paranormal faves. I'd be the first to admit that I'm not that keen on aliens as a plot device, and the whole alien vampires came to Earth and bred with special human women to form the Breed is just not floating my boat that much. I miss all the various paranormal species that interact with other. Heck, I'm a supernatural girl. I came out and said it, okay! Anyway, that's probably why I'm not in love with this series.
But, for what it is, I think the intrigue was good, and the conspiracy behind the spectres that Dylan was seeing was pretty interesting and rather disturbing. I feel bad for those poor girls.
As far as the story wrap-up, it was a little abrupt, but left some loose ends. I guess I'll have to see how this picks up in the next series. In the end, Midnight Rising was a good read, but it didn't set me on fire.
Nicely done, Ms. Adrian. This was a very good book. Kade turned out to be a real sweetie under that hardcore, ice-cold warrior facade. He was very tor...moreNicely done, Ms. Adrian. This was a very good book. Kade turned out to be a real sweetie under that hardcore, ice-cold warrior facade. He was very tortured by the double whammy of his brother's killer predilection and the fear that he'd be the same. Even though he was living a life of fighting with the Order and partying hard off-duty with human women to get his blood fix, deep down, I think he wanted a woman for his own mate the whole time.
When he met Alexandra, it clicked. And it was the same for Alex. This book turned out to be surprisingly romantic. I didn't expect that. But, I've found that this series is getting more and more along the lines of what I like in a paranormal romance, although it also a gritty action-filled series. I love a good action story with a great romance, so I'm pretty happy!
The setting was very good. Since I love cold weather and it's hot as blazes here in Texas, I enjoyed reading this book set in the frigid arctic Alaskan tundra. I wanted to switch places with Alex (for numerous reasons--except for the psycho blood-thirsty killer parts).
I actually felt kind of sorry for the Ancient. I know, soft touch here. Imagine being stranded on a planet, having been kept prisoner and escaping finally, to be completely out of your element and time? Hunted by your enemies with no one to turn to. Part of me wonders if he will re-emerge. What's the whole deal with Jenna? What did the Ancient do to her?
Could I be crushing harder on Tegan? I love the man. I was very happy that he turned up in this book so I could drool over him. I'm also loving Hunter. That is one bad.... well, you know what I mean. I cannot wait for his book. I'm seeing more aspects of Brock (loyal, protective, good-hearted), and I think his book is going to be very good. I wonder if Chase isn't going to implode any time soon. He's acting pretty weird.
Shades of Midnight was fast-paced but there was a satisfying core of emotional elements. There was the intensity of the love between Alex and Kade that developed quickly but was definitely real and lasting, and the treatment of family in how Kade had to walk away from his for his own sanity, and how Alex had lost hers in very tragic ways. The power of the bond between the Order, and how it became the anchor that Kade needed after he was left adrift when he walked away from his family in Alaska, and his troubled twin brother. Also, seeing some element of human emotion in the Ancient, who had seemed only to be a creature capable of violence prior to this book. I loved Kade's ability to communicate with animals, and how he connected to the wolves. The message about not wantonly slaughtering the wolves because they were suspected to be killing people was timely. Wolves have just now been reintroduced into many natural places in North America. They are a vital part of the ecosystem and are gorgeous, fascinating animals to me. So, I was all on board with protecting the wolves like Alex was. And then there was Alex's lovely wolf-hybrid dog, Luna. What a great companion.
If I had one complaint, I wish that Alex's Breedmate talent was more developed. It seemed like a bit of an afterthought. Otherwise, I was pretty satisfied with this book.
I can say with no reservations that this was a fantastic book. Let me be honest and admit that I'm not a big science fiction reader. I'm not sure I wi...moreI can say with no reservations that this was a fantastic book. Let me be honest and admit that I'm not a big science fiction reader. I'm not sure I will ever be a wholesale science fiction fan in every form. But this book, well, it has convinced me that I can enjoy a good 'pure' science fiction book.
While Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue is a young adult book, it really doesn't feel like one. What I mean by that is, the writing is such that you never felt things are being dummed down in the false belief that a younger reader cannot handle an intelligent storyline. I would never assume that young adult fiction should be any different, and I'm glad that Mr. Howey did not make that assumption, either. As I read this story, I was impressed with his ability to tell this story in such a manner that words flow smoothly, your interest is engaged, but you are neither lost in streaming lines of technobabble, or pseudointelligent pomposity, or left feeling bored. In some ways, he compared favorably to Mr. Ray Bradbury, who wrote science fantasy back when hardly anything was common knowledge of space. Using his incredible imagination, his focus was always on telling a story, and the words used always contributed to this goal. That's how I felt about Mr. Howey's efforts.
Science fiction is a genre I often shy away from, because I am not very good with technical jargon. I find it hard to visualize highly technological concepts in my head when I read. So I tend to get bored with books that are written with heavy emphasis on these things. I am a very visual person, so that's an integral part of reading for me. When I read a book, it plays like a movie in my head. And the best books, they are like really good movies. Such was the case with this book. It was like a very good, intelligent, but fun science fiction movie with a hefty dose of adventure.
What I really liked about this novel, was that Mr. Howey infused this story with elements of philosophy and an awareness of ethical issues. And there are some very weighty ones in this book. Yet, he managed not to overload the story until it became dull and pretentious. He never resorted to shoveling an agenda down my throat as I read. There were moments that caused me genuine emotional pain, as I experienced the anguish that Molly felt, seeing what she did, and what she inadvertently took part in, and how she struggled with her conscience over decisions that she made, and those that were taken out of her hands by necessity, or through the actions of others. I'm by no means a science fiction connoisseur, but it's my understanding that science fiction is a genre that does probe into the questions of how technology can be for the advancement of humanity, but at the same time, it can cause destruction when used inappropriately. That issue arises in this book with a civilization of beings that are so intelligent, that they have come close to wiping themselves out, and would do the same to the rest of the galaxies they encountered. My brain was able to take this in, and I could really see both sides of the issue. But this was done without me feeling like I was being lectured to, or getting bored. That is the hallmark of good fiction to me, that I read a good story, but it gives me something to think about. I'm grateful that Mr. Howey did so with this story.
Molly is a genuinely likeable heroine. There were no moments in this story where she annoyed me or lost credibility with me. She was very human, and she seemed like a sixteen year old girl on the cusp on womanhood. But she dealt with some situations that were truly harrowing, ones that truly required intense strength of character from her. There were moments where I feared she was put in the role of looking to her male supporting character, Cole, a young man that she attended Naval Flight School with, as the stronger, more capable person, and I was prepared to be disappointed about that, not comfortable about what kind of message that might send to young girls reading this novel. However, further reading revealed that this was not an attempt to undermine the capability of Molly, or show that she could not be independent and in charge of her destiny, but to show that at times even the strong need to lean on, and to follow others. That's real life to this reader.
As for the adventure quotient of this novel, it was very satisfactorily high. Yet, the action was paced so well, that the moments of introspection and character development could be savored equally well. And, as I said earlier, I could easily visualize most of the action sequences. Any question marks about the equipment that I might have had were cleared away either through my imagination, or by further reading.
The worldbuilding in this novel was excellent. I had no problem picturing a future Earth that wasn't overly different, and seeing the other worlds through the narrative. The depiction of the different alien civilizations was distinct, and was done with a respect that didn't pander to bigotry or racial insensitivities. Although the various alien civilizations had their particularities, it was clear that stereotypes were not being established or relied upon. As a person who is sensitive to the depiction of people in a way that isn't stereotypical or racially insensitive, that was very important to me.
The cast of secondary characters managed to become very important to me. Cole became my shelter, a shoulder to lean on, and a boon companion, as I read this story and saw him take this harrowing journey along with Molly. Along the way, they meet friend and foe, and you feel their anguish and fears when the realization is made that not everyone can be trusted. Although this was Molly's story, and you never doubt her importance, Cole is also an intregral part of this novel, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
This book is perfectly suitable for mid-to-older teens, but I would advise readers that there is quite a bit of violence, and some disturbing events do occur. However, Mr. Howey does an excellent job of showing the consequences of violence, and how it affects the participants. And the violent scenes are not done in any way that is offensive or gratuitous.
Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue took me on an incredible journey. It kept me in suspense, made me laugh, made me cry, and gave me a sense of wonder at the beauty of the universe. I was in awe that humans might be able to travel through galaxies and meet life on other planets. I felt a sense of excitement reading this story, that has yet to leave me. But it also gave me something to think about. Like Molly, we humans tend to dream big, and life will knock some of the idealism out of us. But that's not the end of the road. It's just another turn that we take. I can't wait to read the next in this series.(less)
I liked this much better than the previous book, Dreadnaught. The pacing was much better, although it started a bit slow for me. I had some issues wit...moreI liked this much better than the previous book, Dreadnaught. The pacing was much better, although it started a bit slow for me. I had some issues with accepting the big bads as they are described though. Much more exciting read and I really do like Geary and Desjani, also the secondary characters.
Confession takes the Astro City series to the next level with this story of a young man who comes to the big city to make his name and becomes the sid...moreConfession takes the Astro City series to the next level with this story of a young man who comes to the big city to make his name and becomes the sidekick of the mysterious superhero Confessor. The drawing and coloring was gorgeous and vivid. It seemed to almost leap off the page at me. I think this volume was more emotional and much darker than Life in the Big City.
This reminded me a lot of Batman, which may or may not be intentional. I felt like the young boy was both a Batman in the making and Robin at the same time. He has his share of anger at this father's passing and the way he feels that his dad failed him. And an anger at bullies and the unjust. While Bruce Wayne was more angry at the criminal who murdered his parents, I think he also resented his parents for leaving him, for putting their philanthropy before him. In the Robin parallel, he takes on a mentor who is mysterious and driven, who inspires his loyalty the hard way. And from whom, he takes on a mantle and continues his legacy.
Some aspects of this novel hit home very closely. It deals with suspicion and prejudice, and the injustice that seems so intrinsic to a society. How people use ridiculous reasons to hate each other, and that allows deep injustice to occur in the world, often right under their prejudiced noses. The fact that being a hero rarely pays off materially, but requires an unflinching commitment, often at the risk of personal endangerment, and dealing with the fact that your work is often goes uncongratulated and the public opinion can change in an instant.
While Life in the Big City is a more upbeat, bright view of superheroes, this is superheroes in the dark. There are moments that hit me hard, and I had to go back and double check that I had read the former panel right. And I was sad to see my understanding was correct.
I think this is a seminal graphic novel work for superhero fans. Maybe I don't get an opinion (because I haven't read as many GNs as others), but that's how I feel. It shows the truth of the nitty gritty of being a superhero, and the narrator (the young man) is like a stand-in for all of us readers who were in awe of the various superheroes growing up (and even now as grown up geeks). We can see that it's not all it's cracked up to be. The first volume also showed this, but I still think it was more of a 50s style, everything is bright version of that. This is the version in which all the illusions are ripped away and you see the unvarnished truth.
This is a strong graphic novel and it deserves a high rating. I think if I wasn't in such a persistent reading slump, it might have been a five star book. It caught me at a less than ideal time, so I'm going to give it a 4.25/5.0 stars. (less)