I confess that I started reading this series out of order. I can't say if that affected my rating. I will say I was disappointed with this first read...moreI confess that I started reading this series out of order. I can't say if that affected my rating. I will say I was disappointed with this first read of Constantine in the graphic novel format. I have read a novel with him Hellblazer: War Lord, and I liked that more.
In all honestly, I am completely square when it comes to free love sex, drugs, and alternative religions. None of that are things I would choose for my life. Yes, that's an obstacle with this book, because they play a big part in this story. However, I believe all humans are equally worthwhile, and I care about the connection you form with a character, even if I don't necessarily agree with their choices.
John Constantine is on the run, implicated in a series of brutal murder with occult elements (when he actually saved the world in that situation and didn't kill those people). He runs into a group of earth-religion practitioners and bonds with a strange young girl with precognitive abilties named Mercury. Her mother Marj, is the poster child for an aging flower child/hippie chick. Her friends are all good-hearted, kind people who have a penchant for psychedelic drugs, earth spirituality, and living off the land. They generously take in Constantine, and he bonds with them. Constantine has led a rough, cynical life, but I get the impression that he is a kind person at heart, and goes out of his way not to harm others. When Mercury is kidnapped, he vows to get her back, even though it takes him back into the eye of the dark, occult storm he is trying to escape.
My biggest issue with this story was the graphic violence and the horrible murders that took place. I admit I am sensitive to that kind of thing. Ritual murders and stuff, and pretty much any kind of heinous murder or violence like that disturb me. This was all done by the bad guys, of course. So it's perfectly warranted to dislike them. ( I wish they had gotten more comeuppance in the end.) The Fear Machine concept was interesting, but stomach-turning. I think fundamentally, I hate when people's fears and weaknesses are manipulated, and I certainly hate innocent people getting harmed for whatever reason. Also, some aspects were confusing and didn't translate in the visual medium well. I had some question marks, even when I finished this book.
Constantine himself, is a likable character, what I'd consider an amiable rogue (and I do have a weakness for them and antiheroes). I think ultimately he does save the day, but I wish he had done so a little sooner, and the methods he used were kind of questionable and didn't make a lot of sense to me. I love the graphic novel format, but I feel that prose would have worked better for this storyline, and I might have liked this more.
Will I keep reading this series? Yeah. I really like occult detective stories. And while I didn't like some aspects of this particular volume, I am hoping that I will find other storylines that appeal to me more than this one did. Your mileage may vary.(less)
I can see how this book might appeal to some readers, but it didn't really work for me. It took a while for me to get into the story (granted, I wasn'...moreI can see how this book might appeal to some readers, but it didn't really work for me. It took a while for me to get into the story (granted, I wasn't able to read the first two books). The storyline was too gritty, and the main leads were downright unpalatable more times than not. Also, the plotting wasn't as tight as this concept needed. I admit the ending had some good suspense.
This was a fast-paced, involving read. I liked the frequent action scenes and the globe-trotting, caperish narrative. While Nicholas is quite dashing,...moreThis was a fast-paced, involving read. I liked the frequent action scenes and the globe-trotting, caperish narrative. While Nicholas is quite dashing, the antiheroic Fox really steals the show. I would continue reading this series.
This was more creepy than Baltimore: The Plague Ships, and that's saying something. Baltimore is still on the hunt for his one-eyed, scarred vampire n...moreThis was more creepy than Baltimore: The Plague Ships, and that's saying something. Baltimore is still on the hunt for his one-eyed, scarred vampire nemesis, but he comes across a cult of demented nuns who follow an occultist bent on rebirthing a powerful sorceress.
I think this series is for readers who loved the Monster of the Week type programs such as Night Gallery or Thriller, or even episodic television like The Incredible Hulk where our lone hero conquers a different situation each week. I could see this as a good television adaptation in the right hands.
The artwork is as beautiful as The Plague Ships, and the writing just as atmospheric. Although this was more scary. It delves deeper into the themes of diabolism and occult dealings with dark entities, and this town that Baltimore goes to is full of a sense of wrongness, death and murky secrets. I did read this at night and I didn't have nightmares, but that was because I read something else before I went to sleep.
Baltimore has to balance his selfish need for revenge against the greater good, and he teams up with an American journalist who is writing a book about vampires after discovering they were real in the Great War. I thought the reporter looked a lot like Edgar Allen Poe, and I wouldn't be surprised if that was a deliberate choice of the creators of this graphic novel. Part of the narrative even includes as passage from "The Bells" by Poe.
I think this was just as good as The Plague Ships if not better, but it's more disturbing and disarming than that prior book in the series. I know that's because it focuses on occultism, black magic, and people who trade the lives of others for ultimate power. Those subjects are inherently more affecting to me than, say zombies and vampires.
Baltimore is a very effective dark hero with an antiheroic bent. He is the dark hero that fights against the darkness, and strives to recover his own lost soul in the process. Those kinds of heroes always get me.
This is the first book by these authors that I’ve experienced. This one was on audio at my library, so I took the opportunity to read it.
Unfortunately...moreThis is the first book by these authors that I’ve experienced. This one was on audio at my library, so I took the opportunity to read it.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this book was very good. At the most, it was somewhat entertaining, but the writing was just odd and didn't succeed with me. Gideon is a strange character. He never quite comes off as completely competent. Instead, he seems to bumble his way through situations. He is a fast talker and has a way of getting people to tell him what he wants to know, but I didn’t really count that as a significant skill. He's intelligent, but still slow on the uptake at times. I know that as a reader, we often have oversight in a situation that the character lacks, but I like to think that the main character can use the brains the Good Lord gave him. And I hate when the villain continually out-thinks him.
This book has this 'off' feeling that never goes away. I had hoped things would come together, but it stayed weird, and not in a good way, over the course of the book. I would use the term 'half-baked' to describe this book. Ingredients in this novel could have come to a good finished product, but they just don't.
While I don't like paper tiger villains, I felt that the villain was way out of Gideon's league. I didn't get this David and Goliath feeling where you have an unlikely hero who has the odds stacked against him and triumphed. Instead, I felt as though Gideon didn't have a chance against Nodding Crane. I was actually wincing at how inept Gideon was at times. I really hate being so harsh in my criticisms, but it's how I felt. I always hope for the best when I read a book, and this book never got to be better. It's just barely at 2.5 star read.
The saving grace was that I did listen to it on audio. The narrator, well-known actor John Glover, brought this story to life with his clever vocalizations and personifications of the dialogue. This is one of those cases when a good narrator can stave a sinking ship from going down, or mostly. While this book is not a good one, it was at times entertaining because of the narration.
I might seem foolish, but I want to try the next book, since it is also at my library on audio. My hope is that Gideon does get his act together and has learned something from his experience in this book. I'd like to see that Gideon has something to offer as a hero in future books. Maybe the authors have a better grasp on his character for his next outing. I'm holding onto my hopes! (less)
The Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of na...moreThe Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of nature. Her personality is hard to pin down, even if you know her very well, which few people do. And she makes a very bad enemy. While some characters might go to Africa to run away from their past or to define a new life for themselves, Monroe is the opposite. She was born in Africa and raised there. Although she is Caucasian American descent, Africa flows in her veins and helped to make her who she was, and not all in good ways.
Monroe doesn't let fear define her, instead she walks in defiance of it. Being afraid is not her problem. It's the rage and anger she keeps under lock and key. She struggles against demons from her past that simmer in her blood and make her heart beat fast with the tribal beat of war. Control is a way of life when she knows just what she's capable of. Yet, she is unafraid to go into dangerous places when others would shirk such a responsibility. When Emily Burbank's adoptive father contacts her to find out what happened to his daughter in Africa four years ago, she is going to have to go back to the place she was born and face her ugly past.
I love to read about heroines who are tough and resourceful. Who can kick butt just like the action heroes. Monroe is definitely one of those kinds of heroines. I like that she is very adaptable and clever about thinking through situations. While she has other weapons, she uses the one between her ears very well. Her personality is really abrasive and she's not what I would consider a typical "likable" heroine. And yet, there is something about her that resonates with me. I like that she is such a survivor. I mean, who could go through what she did and still be 100% sane and free of scars? She actually is quite sane, although I think deep down, she fears what lurks in the abyss she keeps locked away inside. She's sort of the opposite of Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness. She's been there and she walked away. It holds no appeal for her.
I liked the complex relationship that Monroe has with Francisco. I didn't expect it, yet when it happened, I thought, "Of course." I knew that Monroe would have to come full circle and get closure about Africa in order to heal. That process was ugly and painful, but necessary. I also liked her relationship with Miles. Each encounter helped to shape her in different ways, as relationship with others should do.
While I didn't like everything about the narrative, I did like how the author builds tension and unfolds the story, and keeps me guessing what's going to happen next. While one could easily draw conclusions about what happened in Equatorial Guinea, it's different from what I thought, and complicated. I think this is a book that lends itself well to audio, because some of the written facts about Emily's disappearance and the various places she went/the stonewalling she encounters, and Monroe's search in those places might be a bit dry on paper. I also think that some of the action scenes could have been more suspenseful and intensely written. There was a sense of risk, but it was a bit muted at times. As far as the narrator, I liked her voice a lot. She captures who Michael aka Monroe very well.
This is one of those books that doesn't build up one's faith in humanity. Corruption runs so deep and twisted in this world, and some places are built on this foundation. And while some of us who are lucky to live in a more lawful country, those same individuals go to other places in the world and make things worse in their conquest for power and money because they can get away with that in some places in the world, where life is cheap. Like some of my other thriller/suspense/action hero favorites, Monroe is there to teach them a lesson, but in her case, that lesson is a costly one for her as well.
I couldn't imagine living the life that Vanessa Michael Monroe has lived. One of the things I love about fiction is that I can go on a journey with a distinctive heroine like Monroe and see life through her lenses. I can feel her pain and her anger and experience the victories and defeats she has, and it helps me to understand that life is a complicated thing, but we can make it through things we never imagined possible.
This book might not work for everyone, but I found it interesting and thought-provoking. It felt unique and Monroe is an unforgettable heroine. She's kind of lawless in some ways, but deep down, she has a code that she won't stray from. She's a complicated women. Readers who enjoy this kind of heroine or a reader looking for something different might enjoy The Informationist.(less)
This was my favorite so far in the series. The idea was interesting, and I liked the leads, Erion and Hellen, and I really felt their love for each ot...moreThis was my favorite so far in the series. The idea was interesting, and I liked the leads, Erion and Hellen, and I really felt their love for each other. Ladd is adorable. This was almost a four star book. But I think I have a high standard for paranormal romance now, so I felt more world-building and some clarity in the storyline would have added to this novel's appeal.
At least there was no butt stuff and she toned down the use of the dreaded c word for the ladyparts. I was relieved on both fronts.
Four stars is well-earned for this book. It did take a while to read, but it was a good mix of action and character development that I enjoyed reading...moreFour stars is well-earned for this book. It did take a while to read, but it was a good mix of action and character development that I enjoyed reading. I love the game of chess played out by General Drakon and President Iceni. I definitely want to continue this series!
War Lord manages to be shockingly dark and laugh out loud funny in various parts. John Constantine is an amusing and fascinating fellow in this book....moreWar Lord manages to be shockingly dark and laugh out loud funny in various parts. John Constantine is an amusing and fascinating fellow in this book. He gives out this vibe of the bumbling ineffectual, who could give a flip about anything. However his ability with magics and the arcane is inestimable. A drunk, chain-smoker, and a bit of a lecher. His sense of morality doesn't seem to fit into the boxes that you might usually ascribe characters. However, he does have a sense of honor, just believes in doing things his own way. All in all, hard to pin down and not one to be taken for granted.
The storyline itself is very harsh. It's about war, and the fact that many use war to profit. That's no secret, but seeing it written down on paper emphasizes the wrongness of glorifying in human suffering, causing it for one's own ends. In this case, a dark cabal is stirring up violence to awake an ancient War Lord to bring about the apocalypse, so they can rule. However, that's not going to go over well, not with Constantine on the opposite side (even if he dislikes the fact that he has to choose sides).
I found myself laughing at some of the admittedly coarse humor. But it was very funny. I loved the side joke in which Constantine remarks about the parallel worlds that exist, one in which he has black hair and wears a black coat, and lives in Los Angeles. That might sound familiar to some folks.
Some parts are off-putting, even repulsive. The dark magics are rather disturbing (in the fact that some folks might choose to go down those roads). However, those who like reading fiction about the arcane and esoteric might appreciate this book. There's even a cameo by a descendant of Aleister Crowley. Some stuff went over my head as far as the Hidden World, but I'm okay with that.
I can't give it a high rating because it has a very slow start and the pace was too uneven in parts. Not to mention the fact that the atrocities committed to see the dark purposes of the cabal to fruition didn't sit right with me (even though they make sense for this book). However, it was a good read and I enjoyed it. So it's easily 3.5/5.0 stars.(less)
This was an interesting book, although some aspects were rather off-putting. I liked the vision of a post-apocalyptic Russia. This isn't a book where...moreThis was an interesting book, although some aspects were rather off-putting. I liked the vision of a post-apocalyptic Russia. This isn't a book where you can say, "Wow, that's a really good person!" Everyone is highly flawed. This is one of those books I'd love to sit down the author and ask what he was thinking when he wrote this.
Did you ever read a book, and enjoy it, where you weren't even sure you really liked the main characters at all? They are people that you wouldn't wan...moreDid you ever read a book, and enjoy it, where you weren't even sure you really liked the main characters at all? They are people that you wouldn't want to be around for more than five minutes in real life. Well that is this book.
Having said that, this was a really good book. I found it fascinating, wildly hilarious, creative, unique, and I have this fond feeling inside now that I've finish it. But along with that, there is a sadness.
Let's talk about this book!
As I said above, I spent most of the book trying to decide if I even liked these people, except for Alice. She was the only character I liked 99% of the time. And the 1% of the time I didn't like her, I could understand her actions. The other characters, I just felt like they needed to stop playing around and take something serious for once. Although I felt protective over most of them, and I didn't wish them ill (except for wanting to slap some of them hard), I didn't like their ways of dealing with life. It seemed as though everything was a lark, drinking way too much, taking drugs, sleeping around, playing emotional games with other people. Ugly ways make for ugly people, and that kept hitting me like an off note in an otherwise melodious piece of music. Kind of like Dorian Gray, ultimate hedonism, but without the darkly cruel, ugly edge of narcissism that Gray had. Yeah, there is a bit of a Gossip Girl/Cruel Intentions kind of vibe in some of their doings, The Rich, Bored Mean Kids and their Antics, and I hate that sort of thing. Let me put this way, if this wasn't a book about magic school students, I think I would have shucked it. But the magic part, well that was too brilliant to let go. And I admit, they did make me laugh many times. As for Quentin, the main character....my feelings are decidely complex.
To me, Quentin is a brat who needed a good spanking, a good wake-up call (which he gets in spades, but I'm not 100% sure if it really worked). He is one of those people who scream "Wasted potential." He has opportunities handed to him on a silver platter, and he can't seem to step up and take things as they truly are and be a man. Alice told him so well what I was thinking, essentially to get over himself. I think it helped...some. The verdict is still out. I have high hopes that Quentin will rise to the potential he has, because I can see it shining inside of him. Do I expect great things from him? Well, it's not fair to put those expectations on people, but I expect a lot more than he's given in life. Alice hit on it, his real problem. He is so miserable, and he is bent on being a miserable person. And that is one thing that truly annoys me, a person who likes being unhappy and wants to drag others to their unhappy party. His unhappiness gave birth to a self-destructive bent that he barely managed to keep control of, and it was painful watching him continue in his vicious cycle.
As I said above, I found the concepts of a magic school and how it was handled here utterly fascinating and made for quite an enjoyable read. I know it's been done before, but I like the way it was done here. It brought back memories of my academic days (undergrad and professional school), how it kicked my butt hard and I wondered why I didn't just crawl in the gutter somewhere and die, but I didn't. I just kept on trucking. I especially liked the part in Antarctica. That was just brilliant. I mean....Breakbills South in Antarctica. Rather like the fourth year residency. Just awesome.
The metafiction element of the Fillory books and how they are one of the very few things that Quentin holds sacred, and how they relate back to the story of Quentin and his friends from Breakbills was an element that made this story resonate. Another part I really liked. The satire and the respectful but also irreverent (I think) homage to Narnia hit a chord with me since I love the Narnia books. Seeing how a set of jaded early twentysomethings might view that magical world as opposed to young, sheltered children was quite interesting. And there are some very naughty and quite hilarious jokes thrown in that had me laughing.
The humor was great, and equally well-done was how well the author managed to work in some pretty harrowing and disturbing aspects. The part with the Beast made my hair stand on end. Just freaking weird and scary. And who the Beast turns out to be made it even more unnerving. And the dangerous potential for magic use on the wielder. In my opinion, no story about magic is complete without this. I admit I liked that the Physical kids (as they were called) turned out to be rather woefully underprepared for Fillory. It felt refreshing, although it turns out that their magical skills definitely come to their aid when needed (for the most part). I felt that all the plot elements tie in very well in this story, with elements that are introduced in the very beginning coming full circle in a way that feels balanced for me as a reader.
This was a very well-done novel. My major issue was how unlikable and cynical the characters were at times. That might not bother some, but I don't have a lot of tolerance for that whole, "I'm so bored and jaded with life" kind of vibe, so it wore on me. At times, the narrative voice was a little bit too smug and nastily pretentious (I can't stand cultural snobbery) for me. Also, way too much drinking and carousing for me. I don't know how Elliot still has a liver the way he drinks. And Janet, well, I would have given her a few slaps for her nasty behavior, thank you very much. Even with these unpalatable elements, I can see where Grossman is going here. He's turning the childhood fantasy series on its ear, and he spins this story deftly for those who enjoy fantasy and the process of experiencing how an author can take these elements and craft a fascinating story that you can sink your teeth into. I just want to see more character evolution than I saw here. I need to see that Quentin is a mature, wiser, more emotionally healthy person for what he's experienced. I'm definitely reading the next book, and I hope I can find it on audiobook again, because this kind of story begs for a skilled narrator like I had the pleasure of listening to with The Magicians.(less)
As my second book in the Jack Reacher series (although #16 in publication and a prequel in sequence), The Affair wasn't a shabby audio read at all. Th...moreAs my second book in the Jack Reacher series (although #16 in publication and a prequel in sequence), The Affair wasn't a shabby audio read at all. The narrator Dick Hill has a terse, noirish delivery that adds to the story. He sounds a bit older than I would associate with Reacher, but he definitely has Reacher's 'you ain't the boss of me' attitude and conveys his ruthless, efficient approach to solving injustices. I think he is a good choice to narrate for the Jack Reacher books. I do have to admit that I was giggling like a schoolgirl on the love scenes. I can't help it. Audiobook love scenes always strike me that way, and especially with an older male narrator who sort of gave them a 'dirty old man' vibe!
It's interesting. This seems like a simplistic storyline, but when everything came together, it wasn't. The Affair is the story of small town secrets tied in with the bigger and murkier waters of powerful people who feel the impunity to do whatever they want. Child kept me guessing. I went back and forth about what was going on and who was behind it. He really had me going and thinking that the killer was someone I really didn't want it to be. In the end, I was like, "So that's not the killer?" That was well done.
Child has an interesting way of being very brisk about describing some aspects of his narrative, but descriptive in a vivid, emotive way about others. I felt immersed in this small town with its racial divisions, brutal poverty and a seething sense of injustice that comes from the eternal 'haves versus the have nots'. As it does to Reacher, injustice sits heavy on my stomach, so even though Reacher can be highly ruthless, in a way it's a rewarding thing to know that there is an avenging angel out there at least in the fictional world to fight for those who have been disenfranchised and denied of their rights and their voices. I suppose that's why Reacher is around. When you have these kinds of situations with so much brutality and casual discarding of lives, it makes you want a meaty fist of vengeance like Reacher who is there to clean up the mess. His descriptions of Army/military life also grabbed my interest. I don't know if he got all that right, but it sounded plausible to me. At least some of the governmental parts struck a familiar note.
Reacher is an interesting character. He's really kind of a basic sort. His view of life is so simple and without the extra qualifiers that most characters seem to have. He understands authority, but he also has a habit of doing what he thinks is right even if that's against the dictates of authority.
Sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux was an intriguing character. Ex-marine and sheriff of Carter's Crossing, the daughter of the long-term sheriff. She's a bit of a study in contrasts. The romance between Reacher and Deveraux was fairly basic, although Child effectively conveys the attraction and mutual respect between them. Neither is a good bet for a long-term relationship, but I still wished that things might work out in that direction (view spoiler)[(even knowing this is a prequel so that wasn't in the cards) (hide spoiler)].
The Affair was a good book, but I felt an emptiness when it ended. I don't know if it was just the stripped down nature of the overall plot or that I felt unsatisfied with the overall nature of things that went down. It bothered me to see those people die like that and how it was handled. And while Reacher did what he could to make things right, it doesn't bring those people back, or prevent it from happening again. And Reacher pays a heavy price in the end to do what he did, or maybe for being the kind of man he is. Was that a deliberate thing on Child's part? Maybe. Overall, a pretty good book that I'd recommend to fans of thriller/suspense and kickbutt heroes.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I loved this book! This was worth waiting for, even though it was a long wait for it to come out in paperback. I can say that the hours spent reading...moreI loved this book! This was worth waiting for, even though it was a long wait for it to come out in paperback. I can say that the hours spent reading it were truly enjoyable. It's true that I am a huge fan of this series, but it never gets old for me. I do believe this is one of the best paranormal series out there, hands down! It has a lot of sex, so I wouldn't recommend it to a fantasy fan who doesn't like sex, but I feel that the world-building stands up to muster for a fantasy novel as well. I think that this story keeps expanding in ways that intrigue and fascinate me. I am happily surprised at all the twists and turns Cole gives this storyline.
Lothaire totally lived up to his potential. He is all that and more. I think that Cole did a great job of giving this character a romance without compromising who he was. Lothaire will always be a bad guy. He is just a bad guy who sometimes does the right thing. Kind of different and it worked for me! I have a sick fascination weakness for villainous/antiheroic types, and Lothaire is the top of the list!
Things I loved about Lothaire *Lothaire stays true to his character. He doesn't become a Stepford Hero just because he finds his true love. He is always going to be Lothaire, just Lothaire in love. *He cracks me up. I know he's not trying to be funny. He's just being him, but his way of twisting his words to get around his physiological demand to be truthful, and his sheer arrogance, results in some laugh out loud, snarkalicious comments. I can imagine Ms. Cole cracked herself and her editor up reading as she wrote it. I know she cracked me up. *I love a wickedly intelligent guy. My Achilles' heel. Lothaire is such a calculating dude. Always working all the angles. It was interesting to see how others reacted to him. Many hated him, some were scared witless by him, and some admired him (in a "I hate him" kind of way). No one was 'meh' about him. *Lothaire actually wants to be faithful to his Bride.
Things I loved about Elizabeth *She's very tough considering all that she went through. (Shudders) I can't imagine having that awful thing taking over my body committing those horrible acts with it. And then, where she spent five years! That was so dark! *She's so down to earth. I love a down to earth heroine. She's very proud of her humble root, loves her family, and is unshakably loyal. *She holds her own with Lothaire. Maybe she doesn't have thousands of years of experience or his incredible, immortal strength, but she has a snarky tongue, plenty of intelligence, and a big heart.
Things I loved about this book *Kresley Cole never tries to sell this as a normal people/functional romance. From the beginning, it's clear that this is not for the faint of heart. Lothaire is not a kind, loving, good-hearted boy next door. He is the Enemy of Old. Ellie is not the normal girl next door with a sweet, happy existence. Her life was tough since she was young, and it turns into a living hell when she's eighteen, and things just get worse. Despite that, I found it to be a sigh-worthy romance. I don't want a Lothaire of my own, but I sure did like reading about his romance with Ellie! *Lothaire has met his match in Ellie. Although he tried to walk all over her, he finds out the hard way that's not going to fly. Ellie proves to be a dangerous woman in her own right. If you have read this, you'll find out. *I didn't find this to be predictable. I had my ideas about how things would work out, but I was wrong! In fact, I was thrown a loop a time or two. I love how Cole turns all the endgame goals of Lothaire on their heads. *Freaking hilarious. Despite the very dark beginning and dark subject matter, there is much to enjoy and laugh about this book. *Smoking hot love scenes. I mean, wow! (thinks about the scenes and wipes forehead) *This world is endlessly fascinating and entertaining. All the different characters and how their immortal lives intersect. I like seeing the plots come together and overlap. With each book, I just want more.
Over five hundred pages of fantastic goodness. And when it ended, I was sad. I want to read it over again, but no time. Good thing I am planning on an Immortals After Dark series reread early next year!
The Gray Man is an action-packed, suspenseful ride that I didn't want to put down. Court Gentry is the kind of hero I am always looking for. He is res...moreThe Gray Man is an action-packed, suspenseful ride that I didn't want to put down. Court Gentry is the kind of hero I am always looking for. He is resourceful, driven to get the job down, and a stone cold survivor. As I read this book, I was thinking, "Really? Did that just happen? I'd be so dead now!" Of course, I wouldn't want a wimpy heroine like myself in Court's shoes. Which is why I read these books, because I love seeing a tough character get himself out of some highly sticky situations that I'd be so dead meat in. And Mark Greaney through Court Gentry more than delivers on that front.
The storyline had me holding my breath, and muttering things I probably shouldn't be saying under my breath. Court is placed in a very tough situation, with many people out to kill him, and limited resources. The fun of this story is being along with Court on the ride as he faces all these top level death-bringers and gets himself hurt again and again, but manages to do some serious damage to the bad guys. I didn't enjoy him getting hurt so bad, but I did enjoy seeing this Energizer bunny keep taking his licks and keep on ticking. I love these kinds of characters. Although Court is a series bad*ss, he's also very moral in his own way. He believes in doing the right thing, and only kills bad people or to protect himself. I liked that even in the desperate situation he faces, Court doesn't lose sight of what he values. He's definitely the kind of guy I'd want on my side.
For readers who enjoy an adrenaline-infused story, but one that also engages the brain, I'd recommend this novel. The whys and wherefores take this story to higher level. I am officially adding Court Gentry to my roster of certified Grade A Kickbutt Artists, along with Scarecrow Shane Schofield, Joe Pike, The GhostWalkers, The Prakenskiis, Anne Stuart's Ice heroes and Jack Reacher. Believe me, that's a huge compliment!(less)
Retribution Falls took me on a journey where I was continually required to reevaluate everything-- from the story itself, the world in which it takes...moreRetribution Falls took me on a journey where I was continually required to reevaluate everything-- from the story itself, the world in which it takes place, and not the least, the characters. Great worldbuilding, and surprisingly multi-faceted characters who seemed to be archetypes, but proved to be much more. It was complex, intriguing, and ultimately very enjoyable.
More thrilling twists and turns and character conundrums for the reader to keep up with. Very enjoyable. I didn't always like what happened, but I def...moreMore thrilling twists and turns and character conundrums for the reader to keep up with. Very enjoyable. I didn't always like what happened, but I definitely was hooked and wanted to keep reading. All in all, a successful follow up to Retribution Falls. I recommend it.
The Left Hand of God starts out very dreary and grim. It was hard going reading such a dark story, but I found Cale's character compelling enough to k...moreThe Left Hand of God starts out very dreary and grim. It was hard going reading such a dark story, but I found Cale's character compelling enough to keep reading. Reading books in which most of the religious people are the bad guys is difficult for me. Especially when the religion is either Christianity or a thinly veiled, ugly version of what people assume Christianity is. It seems as though Christianity is the religion that gets the most criticism in fiction, and this book is no different. Of course, some tenets are slightly different. But if you are familiar with Christian beliefs, it's clear to see where Hoffman is going here. Think Spanish Inquisition and Mad Monks, and you won't be far off. I won't spend too much more of this review 'ranting' about such things. The churchs of my faith have done enough damage throughout history to draw some negative views from people. But after a while, it's like shooting fish in a barrel, really. Are there bad Christians? Certainly. Are there decent Christians? Certainly. But, more often than not, 'we' get to be the bad guys. Oh well. Despite this unbalanced and rather unfair view of the Christian church, I was still able to enjoy this book, because Cale is a character that draws all this reader's interest back to him. And as magnetic as Cale is, Mr. Hoffman managed to populate this novel with a lot of other interesting characters, from Vague Henry, Kliest, Idris Pook, the Chancellor, Cale's first love, Arbell (who I never grew to like), and the various Matarrazzi citizenry. Also, the humor was very good. Extremely dark and sarcastic, but funny all the same.
One of my friends on GRs remarked that the book seems to have a split personality. I completely agree. The first part seemed like a relentlessly dark story of religious zealotry, and its deleterious effects on young boys. I thought the whole book would be about the boys trying to escape its effect. However, the story turns into a not quite as dark, but still murky coming of age story in which we see a young man go from point A to point Z, and how it affects him. It left me a bit confused at how to take this story. I think that Mr. Hoffman had so much fun writing that he sort of lost his sense of direction. Despite that fact, this was still a very good book. My tastes are odd enough that I can enjoy dark material (depending on the execution), although I am an unrepentant consumer of happy ever after stories. The crucial ingredient that causes me to love a book, or even like it, is a pull towards the characters or the story, and that can overule my desire for happy, sunny reads. In this case, Cale is that sort of character. I listened to this on audio, and I was seduced into a dependence on hearing Cale's story. He's an interesting kid. He scares a lot of people, annoys most others, and inspires a strange sort of loyalty in the rest that they don't quite get, nor does Cale. He's not even the nicest guy. But he shows a sense of honor that causes him to do the right thing, even when his pragmatic nature tells him not to. I hope that he doesn't listen to the junk that the Redeemers seem to want to feed him, about his darkness, his curse, and his true mission. I don't believe that about him at all. I do believe he is a very dangerous person. But why can't that darkness in him be used for good? I think it can.
Towards the end of this book, I listened with a very strong sense of dread. I knew that things weren't going to end well, but I couldn't not listen. I just have to know what is going to happen to Cale. He's important to me, and that means I will be reading the next book: The Last Four Things.
Thoughts on the audiobook narration: The British narrator has a beautiful, smooth voice, with a certain element that lends itself very well to the sinister aspects of this story. He has an ability to employ an almost monotone delivery (lending a paradoxically dark, sharp edge to the violent and also the humorous elements) that he employs in quite the right way to surround the listener with an atmosphere that brings this story to life. I would recommend listening to this book on audio if you can find it.
Recommendation: I would advise those who don't like dark subject matter not to read this novel. However, if you don't enjoy dark stories, but you like very compelling, enigmatic characters, you might find yourself compelled to read it anyway, like I was. (less)