This was a very good fantasy romance. I loved the dragons, so majestic and beautiful. The world-building was strong, and the magic awe-inspiring. I wo...moreThis was a very good fantasy romance. I loved the dragons, so majestic and beautiful. The world-building was strong, and the magic awe-inspiring. I would like to read more by this author.
Reading Catherynne M. Valente is a unique experience. Her writing is full of magic and imagination. It doesn't always make 'sense', but it feels right...moreReading Catherynne M. Valente is a unique experience. Her writing is full of magic and imagination. It doesn't always make 'sense', but it feels right. The child in me who never grew up, who loves fairy tales, lands of magic, mythical creatures, and folklore, ate up this story like the most scrumptious dessert. I listened to this on audio, and at first, I wasn't sure how well it would work. There are a lot of concepts, and they don't tie together in a straightforward fashion at first glance. If other readers are like me, I'd encourage you not to give up on it if it doesn't catch you right away on first listen. Initially, I felt that Ms. Valente didn't quite feel comfortable reading her story. However, that changed, and she seemed to get into the flow of it, using different voices, timbres, and cadences for the various characters. I could feel how much she loved this story she had written, and the characters within.
This novel is one that both kids and grown-ups with a love of fantasy and make-believe tales would love. It's a story of a young girl who is very, very brave, strong-minded, determined, but with a very big heart for a kid (who are considered to be mostly heartless, according to the narrator). She goes to Fairyland on a romp, to escape the reality of a mother who works all the time and a father who was shipped off to war. Feeling alone and too different from the other kids she went to school with, she longs for adventure and a place where normal isn't the ideal. That's when she gets swept off to Fairyland and becomes a champion for this place of magic. And we are along for the journey.
At times, I got a bit confused with the narrative, because it's not exactly a linear story. Fairyland isn't a place that always makes sense, and that could make for strange listening when I was focused on driving or getting where I was going. If the reader embraces that this isn't that kind of novel, it makes for a very satisfying reading experience. Just immersing oneself in this marvelous world where anything is possible is gratifying.
This book is suitable for a young audience, but there are elements that feel pretty sophisticated, if one is older and catches the subtext. Some younger readers might not get all those references, but that's okay. I think it's fine for them to grasp an understanding of the story at their own level. There is some violence and dark subject matter, but the message of self-sacrifice, determination, friendship, and love are very good elements for kids to experience.
At one point, I thought I'd have to take off half a star because of getting lost and things slowing down a bit, but the overall beauty and power of this story requires a five star rating for me. I definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy mythopoeic/folklore-rich fantasy novels, young and older.(less)
This is a book I would have loved as a girl growing up. I have this feeling I would have eagerly read every book by this author I could have gotten my...moreThis is a book I would have loved as a girl growing up. I have this feeling I would have eagerly read every book by this author I could have gotten my hands on. As an adult, my feelings aren't that different. She understands the magic and awe inherent in fantasy. I'll definitely be reading more by Tamora Pierce.
If you like your Weird West horror Cinemax After Dark-style, you will enjoy this book. Dust of the Damned reminds me of the Longarm westerns I used to...moreIf you like your Weird West horror Cinemax After Dark-style, you will enjoy this book. Dust of the Damned reminds me of the Longarm westerns I used to read sex scenes out of when I was a kid. Just add some supernatural elements, and there you have it. Plenty of sex and violence, and more sex and violence. Shaken, not stirred.
I found this book too trashy for my tastes. I think there is a way to do sex and violence where it doesn't come off sleazy, but this book doesn't achieve that goal. I really dislike having to write negative reviews, but sometimes you just don't like books and have valid reasons for it.
I don't like to leave books unfinished, so I slugged away (plus the hero's name starts with a U and I need a U hero). And while I didn't enjoy this book that much, it wasn't all bad. The idea of Lincoln employing werewolves to win the War Between the States (and it backfiring) was an interesting twist. The werewolf mythology when not played for cheap thrills was interesting. It has some good western action, and it has some of the character types you expect in a book of this genre. But there was a heavy hand with the violence, and the sex seemed to be on the exploitative side.
The descriptions of the characters reminded me of a low-budget soft-core with violence movie. The author tended to write the female characters in a way that felt very objectifying, and simultaneously the male character descriptions (with the exception of our larger-than-life, oh so manly hero) were largely repellant. Uriah Zane is a fairly likable hero, although I felt that his attributes were described in a way that spoke of godlike awe (or so the reader is supposed to feel) from the unseen narrator. Angel, who is the local female marshal and Uriah's sometime lover was admirably tough and heroic, but I felt like she could have been played by Shannon Tweed, Joan Severance, or Bobbie Phillips (three good actresses who have starred in their share of sex-ploitation films) in the 90s movie version. There were more sex scenes in this book than the average romance novel (which are all labeled as trashy romance, most of which are actually not this trashy). They brought mind the Emanuelle movies from the 80s, at least to me.
I think the idea of a group of werewolf bandidos on a rampage of violence felt authentic to the feel of a weird western adventure (which is why I wanted to read it). There is even a suitably evil and bodaciously sexy witch villainness (if that floats your boat). However, I could have done without the detailed descriptions of these very evil low-lives' actions against their helpless victims, interspersed with 'steamy sex'. These violent scenes also felt exploitative, like the 70s gore galore grindhouse cinematic greats. Lots of gushing stumps from beheaded victims and spilling entrails. Ugh!
Anyhoo. Caveat emptor. There's pulpy and there is sleazy. I think this is more in the sleazy territory. If you're in the mood for this, then you might enjoy Dust of the Damned. If you turn the channel when Tarantino films come on or when Cinemax goes 'dark', then you may want to pass this by.
3.5/5.0 stars. Considering this was the first book I've read by KM, and this is not the first dragon book, I think I did pretty well, although I was c...more3.5/5.0 stars. Considering this was the first book I've read by KM, and this is not the first dragon book, I think I did pretty well, although I was confused initially. It was a fun read, but it didn't blow me away. I think I would have enjoyed this more if the narrative didn't seem so disjointed. I'm not sure that 1st person POV lends itself well to this sort of story.
Dragon Bound was an awesome book. I loved just about everything about it. I'm not even going to pretend that my favorite element wasn't Dragos, 'cause...moreDragon Bound was an awesome book. I loved just about everything about it. I'm not even going to pretend that my favorite element wasn't Dragos, 'cause it was! I have an unnatural attraction to possessive, jealous, stalkerific heroes who are scary as heck, and Dragos is going on my list of favorite heroes of this type. I liked that although Pia started out as a thief who dared to steal from him, she became his own personal hoard. He acted like a dragon of old, used to having his way in all things. Even though he came on kind of strong, it was clear that he wouldn't do anything to hurt Pia. He cared enough to make sure that Pia was happy! He brushed her hair all the time! He was actually a softie underneath all that hard scaly dragon armor! Ms. Harrison knows how to write this kind of hero very well!
Dragos is like a Harlequin Presents hero done well (with an intensity times one hundred). He is unbelievably wealthy, prominent and gorgeous. He is also immensely powerful. And he was done so well, there was never that incredulity factor where I have this sarcastic cheerleader moment in my head: "Yay, he is so awesome!" (rolls eyes). Dragos truly was awesome! Sick girl that I was, I liked that even though Pia found him hot and fell in love with him, she could still see he was a scary guy. Who doesn't like a guy who would give you the world, but he could also slaughter a whole army of enemies for you? Who's so jealous, he doesn't even like his crew touching you? (PSA awareness moment: Not okay in real life, but I like it in books. So shoot me!)
I thought the world-building was really good. I loved the fact that this book has a strong fantasy element, equal to the romance. It wasn't just a backdrop for paranormal loving (which was verra nice, mind you). There was a lot of thought put into creating this world in which humans live alongside Wyr (shapeshifters) and Faerie folk of all kinds, and old magic is alive and well in this world, and into the adjacent magic realms. It seemed eminently plausible that one of the most powerful economic figures could be an ancient dragon. Don't I wish?
Dragos is an awesome hero, and Pia is an equally awesome heroine. She is gutsy, intelligent, funny, and sweet. She never gave me the urge to ignore her and focus on the hero because I didn't like her. I loved her a lot. I could see myself having similar reactions to the strange circumstances she faces. I loved how utterly fearless (although inwardly quaking) she was when faced with the very scary Dragos, and especially at the end when she finds herself in a very rough situation. I loved her self-deprecating, humorous way of looking at the world, very down to earth and resourceful. I loved her secret heritage, and how Dragos cherished that part of her, and all parts of her. I felt tears brimming when she discovers what she truly is. (You have to understand that I was the little girl who was in love with Pegasus, Unicorns, and all mythical creatures. It was a sweet moment for this little girl who has never truly grown up inside).
I loved Dragos' crew, especially Graydon (who reminded me of Butch from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward), and Tricks (a very hip elf who works as Dragos' PR rep and happens to be the true heir to Throne of the Dark Fae). How cool was it that his sentinels consisted of four gryphons and a tough female Harpy (she reminded me of my girl Xhex from the Black Dagger books). It was funny how Dragos came to life when Pia came around, and seeing how his crew reacted to the new Dragos.
I don't think my review can really add anything because there are some great reviews out there of this book. I really did love everything about it. It was just hip enough (but not annoyingly so), the story and the fantasy elements were fantastic, there were many laugh out loud moments (this book was really funny), and some poignant moments. I loved the relationship between Pia and Dragos, and how they had to work at some things, but they weren't going to give up on being together. (view spoiler)[ And my being a romance reader who likes babies, I was so happy that she even had that element. Not enough PNR books have pregnancy and babies in them for me (I know some readers hate that, but not me!) So I was glad she did have that in this book, and it was so cool how she did it. Definitely some 'aww' moments there. (hide spoiler)]
I know I want to hug this book tight to my book-loving heart. I will put this out on my favorites shelf for a frequent reread. I can't wait to see what Ms. Harrison does in the next Elder Races books. She has a fan in me!
My friends who said I would love this were right. High five!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
From the Top Secret File of an Unofficial Reviewer of the Files Recording the Incident Henceforth Known as "The 1997 Event."
For Authorized Eyes Only
Da...moreFrom the Top Secret File of an Unofficial Reviewer of the Files Recording the Incident Henceforth Known as "The 1997 Event."
For Authorized Eyes Only
Date: 15 October 2010
I came upon this historical document, and I was amazed at how close the world came to a true cataclysm. Fortunately, Hellboy, and the BRPD were there to save the day, at some significant personal cost. Truly, the death toll was astounding. The engineer of these horrible happenings was a man with good intentions, but one who slipped over into madness. He believed that if he brought back the mythical creatures that had once ruled the world, but had since slipped into Memory (that lost place where the legends go when beliefs falter), the earth could be the beautiful Eden that it was. He declared war on modern humanity, for their wanton destruction and rape of the Earth.
It was no easy feat, reading about the carnage that creatures like griffins, sea serpents, dragons, huge black demonic dogs, and yes, even a kraken; and others perpetrated on humanity. These creatures had an unlimited capacity for destruction. Based on this document as reviewed, Heathrow Airport is a smoldering ruin, and London hasn't faired much better.
We can only thank the BRPD, including Hellboy, Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, and the werewolf who strove to be human, Abby Paris, for fighting these creatures, not to mention those who gave their lives in sacrifice, for dealing with these threats, and the man behind them.
This historical document reminded me that humanity is frail. We live in arrogance, assuming that we are at the top of the food chain, that we are stronger than myth and legend, that we can easily defeat the ancient dragons and other beasts of the past; but there is always a price to be paid for our arrogance. We must also look at the darkness within ourselves and determine if we will fight it, and become the heroes that we are meant to be, or to become the villains.
I'm a mere civilian who happened to be privy to this information, but I can truly tell you, we dodged a bullet here. Even still, the world will not be safe, if it ever was; for some of the creatures of Memory now inhabit our world. And they are hungry and angry for their loss. The BRPD will have their work cut out for them, indeed.
My thanks to the brave recorder of these events, Mr. Tim Lebbon, for posterity's sake. It is my hope that we will use this information to be prepared for the worst that is to come.