This was so good! I loved Lachlan. He was so vulnerable and lonely. Lana was perfect for him. Her sweet confidence comforted his lonely soul. DefiniteThis was so good! I loved Lachlan. He was so vulnerable and lonely. Lana was perfect for him. Her sweet confidence comforted his lonely soul. Definitely my favorite of the series.
I was thrilled that my library finally got the audiobook for this latest release in the Lockwood and Co. series. I've been listening to it from the beI was thrilled that my library finally got the audiobook for this latest release in the Lockwood and Co. series. I've been listening to it from the beginning and I hated to have to change format. The narrator is a different person, but she was very good. She brings Lucy, George, Lockwood and the other characters to life distinctively.
I was slightly less impressed with this than the previous books, but it was still very good. I wasn't sure I liked the addition of a new agent to the team. The trio has such a good vibe, but the advent of Holly causes some tension and throws off the chemistry. Lucy is violently jealous of her. Lucy is very possessive over Antony, and it seems as though she has a raging crush on him. Lockwood is a dashing figure (if you're a teenaged girl). I think he does have a lot of gravitas and maturity. I wish that he wasn't so oblivious to the emotions roiling around him at times. Lucy practically seethes, but he doesn't seem to pick up on it. I didn't dislike Holly, but I'm not sure exactly why Stroud chose to add her to the team. Maybe me and Lucy are on the same page here. George is his same endearing self. He's such a character. I liked that the Lockwood team actually joins forces with Quill Kipps and his two agents for the investigation of the department store that is frightfully haunted.
Lucy is delving deeper into Antony's past, and developing her ability to talk to ghosts, one that is admittedly dangerous. Like the other books, there is a spectacular climax, but that's not the end of the tension, since this one ends on a cliffhanger. I wasn't too happy with that. I hate cliffhangers.
I'm a huge fan of ghost stories, and I love Stroud's take on it. Ghosts are anything from irritating to downright lethal. And with each book, the layers get pulled back more, revealing how dangerous and disturbing a world in which ghosts are everywhere and can do humans harm might be.
Eagerly awaiting the next book in this series....more
This is a good book, for the most part. It was a bit confusing at first in how the dialogue of the animals is conveyed. It's very funny, and any animaThis is a good book, for the most part. It was a bit confusing at first in how the dialogue of the animals is conveyed. It's very funny, and any animal lover will get a kick out of that aspect of the story.
I was going to give this three stars, but I thought about it and realized I only liked maybe one or two of the issues. I will admit I am a pretty bigI was going to give this three stars, but I thought about it and realized I only liked maybe one or two of the issues. I will admit I am a pretty big fan of occult detective stories, and the idea of Constantine does appeal. What I didn't like were very few of the stories in this volume are what I would call occult detective in theme. Some toe the line. Most are about the wreckage of human evil on society. That's not my thing. I like my monsters non-human (or once human). We have stories that go from a serial killer who preys on families to an underground scientific facility that broadcasts sonic waves that cause people to tap into the darkest aspects of their subconscious. The prose story at the end was more along what I expected, although it very dark in theme and content. Of course, the story in the aftermath of Constantine's battle with the Family Man on his family was definitely an bonafide occult detective story, but not in the old school/classic horror kind of way. Very much in the vein of 90s era Constantine though.
What I did like was that even though no one would call Constantine an upstanding man, he showed that he does believe in right and wrong, when confronted with the Family Man. He had to make a tough decision that I believe that any human who is not a bonafide sociopath would struggle with. He comes out of it shaken deeply. I think that while Constantine is very much antiheroic, he has a kernel of goodness deep inside. It does come out in most of these stories, well mostly.
So far, I'm not really that enthused with the original run of Constantine. Your mileage may vary. I'll not give up, but this is not a graphic novel series I will read back to back.
This was admittedly a slow read for me. But it's proof that some things are worth sticking in for and waiting on. At its heart, this is a moving storyThis was admittedly a slow read for me. But it's proof that some things are worth sticking in for and waiting on. At its heart, this is a moving story about a young boy who is coming to terms with his identity as an adoptee. He's asking the questions about his birth family, but that in no way invalidates his feelings or attachment to his adoptive family. On the surface, this is a mystery/adventure about a treasure hunt in a house that once belonged to a famous smuggler. Milo wanted a quiet Christmas with his family, but unexpected guests arrive and change the whole dynamic. But it turns out this is a pivotal event that will put to rest old secrets and reveal the answers to all the questions of the guests that come to stay in Greenglass House one snowy Christmas week.
While this moved slowly, and I found myself rereading several parts to make sure I understood what was happening, there is a strength to the narrative that made me want to soldier through. I found Milo adorable. He's Chinese by birth and ethnicity, and he's sick of that question of why he doesn't look like his white parents. He's a quiet and bookish kid with a big inner life, and he's ripe for an adventure. Milo meets a young girl who comes along with their cook, and they become partners in a Dungeons and Dragons-like game called "Odd Trails", which ties in very heavily with their quest for secrets about Greenglass House.
That mystery is extremely clever. Especially how the very house itself is full of clues about the mystery. I would enjoy staying at Greenglass House, and exploring its several floors that have stood the test of time, and gazing at the raging winter (I love winter) outside the beautiful stained glass windows. Any good mystery writer presents a group of suspects, and each one is interesting, with deep motives yet to be discovered.
The end was quite a lovely surprise. I hadn't suspected what we find out near the end, but it definitely makes sense, and there are seeds all along. That's the hallmark of a good mystery to my mind.
The author writes an afterword about her reasons for writing this novel, and that adds so much to the story. How this came out of her personal journey to adoption, along with other aspects of the genesis of writing this novel, in which an adoptee plays a major role.
I'm glad my library had this book, and for the recommendation from my friend Rane. While it took me a good while to read, it was definitely worth the reading. I'll look forward to reading other books by Ms. Milford....more
This is a surprisingly dark mystery of coldblooded murder in the sultry environs of South Carolina. Not quite a cozy, but has some of those elements tThis is a surprisingly dark mystery of coldblooded murder in the sultry environs of South Carolina. Not quite a cozy, but has some of those elements that would appeal to cozy fans.
This is a book that will make your stomach turn flips as you read it. Unger kept me from trusting that anything would be okay in this book. Quite a joThis is a book that will make your stomach turn flips as you read it. Unger kept me from trusting that anything would be okay in this book. Quite a journey.
This follow-up in the Lockwood & Co series lives up to the promise of The Screaming Staircase. Stroud does good when it comes to ghost fiction. WhThis follow-up in the Lockwood & Co series lives up to the promise of The Screaming Staircase. Stroud does good when it comes to ghost fiction. While his characters are all by nature children (an important plot point of the series, since only children can clearly see and deal with the ghostly threats that are plaguing England), Stroud doesn't go easy on them. They face some very nasty ghostly threats, and the reader is fully along for the ride.
I am a huge fan of a good and scary ghost story, and there are parts of this novel that are genuinely thrilling. I strongly recommend grabbing this on audiobook. Katie Lyons does an excellent job.
The trio of main characters, Lucy, George and Lockwood, make a great team. Lucy is the 1st person narrator, and the readers feels everything she experiences. Lucy has the 'talent' of hearing ghosts. There is a ghost attached to a skull that George stole from his former employers. George is a geek when it comes to ghosts, and he is nearly obsessed with the idea of communication with a type three ghost, the strongest communicators among the spirits. He performs all kinds of weird tests on the skull, but thus far, it has only communicated with Lucy. Lockwood is the dashing head of the Agency. Lucy still holds him in awe, but she is starting to know him better and realize that he needs her and George as much as they need him. I liked how Lucy and George are like siblings they way the fight with each other and trade insults, but also look out for each other and have each other's backs.
Aptly named, this story is about the growing communication with the skull that Lucy is experiencing, and the dire consequences of that. The skull itself is pretty creepy and disturbing, and I could definitely see why Lucy hated the skull.
I really like how the story builds so well in these books. While I can't say that things start out calm, by the end of the novel all the stuff has hit the fan, and the risk to the leads is very real. Not only from ghosts but from morally bankrupt human beings as well.
Atmosphere is probably the number one requirement of a ghost story. If one asked any of the ghost story masters, they would agree with me, I'm sure. Stroud has endowed this novel with plenty of fantastic atmosphere. He also knows that building tension is also important. Check! There are scenes in this story that almost brought goosebumps on my skin. The ghosts in this book are genuinely lethal, and even the harmless ones are still plenty creepy. The manner in which these hauntings manifest definitely helps to make the most of both atmosphere and tension.
I really like this series, and this book was equally good as the first, if not better. There were a rare few moments where I felt like my interest wavered and the story lost momentum. But overall, the plotting was excellent. While I didn't expect to find a good mystery, he definitely delivered one, and I was happily satisfied and surprised at the reveal. I definitely have to give this 4.5/5.0 stars
If you don't read juvenile/middle grade fantasy or horror, you need to start doing it now, and add this series to the top of your list of future reads....more
I enjoyed this latest volume in the antics of Marnie Baranuik, one unusual paranormal investigator. I did miss having more interactions between MarnieI enjoyed this latest volume in the antics of Marnie Baranuik, one unusual paranormal investigator. I did miss having more interactions between Marnie and Harry and Marnie and Batten, but I really liked Schenk. He's a good foil for Marnie, and they formed a genuine bond of friendship. Fans of this series should enjoy it!
I liked this a lot. I'm glad, since I wasn't that fond of the first JLA adventure I read. This book captures the darker side of being a superhero, andI liked this a lot. I'm glad, since I wasn't that fond of the first JLA adventure I read. This book captures the darker side of being a superhero, and asks, "What happens afterward?" A writer whose family was caught in a crisis that the JLA successfully resolves, comes down with a mysterious affliction that causes their premature deaths. David Graves is grief-stricken and enraged by the experience, seeking revenge. He comes across a mystical force that allow him to harness the angry ghosts around him to destroy the league.
The artwork was very good, conveying the dark storyline and the action. I liked the way all the Leaguers were drawn. Of course, I am a huge Green Arrow fan, so it was great to see him show up (although he is Connor, Oliver's son).
Overall, I don't have any complaints with this graphic novel. I think that this is accessible to people who are crossing over from the DC Comics movies and TV shows to the comic books....more
This was a really cool story idea and a fun read. I'm a huge fan of classic horror, particularly really creepy ghost stories. While this is aOverview
This was a really cool story idea and a fun read. I'm a huge fan of classic horror, particularly really creepy ghost stories. While this is a modern published book, it has a favorably classic vibe. The ghosts in this book are portrayed in the most harmful of ways. They aren't just shades who have forgotten they are dead and harmlessly roam the world of the living. Instead, they have great potential for injuring and even killing humans. As a result of the "Problem", a huge rash of ghost hauntings that no one can explain, a group of organizations have been created to confront this issue. Because children have heightened senses and abilities to perceive the ghosts, they are used to do most of this dangerous work, under the supervision of adults.
Antony Lockwood has decided to cut out the middleman. He started an agency of his own, with no adult supervision. His one partner is George, but he interviews and takes on Lucy as an assistant. Lucy has a troubled past work experience in the north, where most of her crew were killed in a haunting that turned out to be worse than it seems. She decided to take off on her own and ends up in London to find a place with the big ghost-hunting agencies. She has gone from agency to agency, rejected as an employee, but finds a home with Lockwood and Co.
Each child has distinctive abilities. Lucy is able to hear the dead, and she also can touch things and feel the emotions of the person who owned the object. Lockwood can see death glows (where people were violently killed) and has very keen eyesight for spectral information. George is a superb researcher. Together, they make quite a team. However, the government agency who oversees hauntings has it in for them, because they don't like the idea of children going off on their own dealing with ghosts.
Lucy forms a strange connection to the spirit of a murdered girl (a fifty-year-old unsolved murder case) in a local house. They barely escape her vengeful ghost alive, but the house is burned as a result. The resulting fine and bill from the owners could put them out of business. When a wealthy industrialist hires them to investigate his very dangerous haunted mansion, they can't say no. Even if the whole situation seems mighty fishy.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by British actress Miranda Raison (she was on MI-5), and her voice was excellent. She has good pitch, and is talented at modifying her voice for both male and female voices. Also, able to convey anger, menace, age, pomposity, and humor by varying her voice. Each character sounds different. I would recommend listening to this, because it feels even more eerie in the audio form.
The writing is very good. I am a big fan of juvenile/middle grade stories because they are imaginative and are designed to keep a readers interest (young readers tend to have a shorter attention span). I especially like the ones that demand the attention of the reader, and stimulate their curiosity and intellect. Such is the case with this book. Stroud had taken the tried and true subject of ghosts, and given it a unique spin. I love the fact that he has created plenty of fictional references from the leading ghost hunters of the original time of the inception of Ghost Hunting. The kids consult these books and apply the crucial knowledge gained to do their work and keep themselves alive. Not only does Stroud add layers to the concept of hauntings, he gives it his own spin, with the idea of things like 'ghost-touched' and "death-glow". I also like how he elaborates on the various accoutrements of ghost-hunting and protection against ghosts.
The tension is very well done. The encounters with ghosts build in such a way to keep the reader on the edge of her seat. Each encounter is progressively more scary, and the trio's experiences in the haunted manor is not something you'd want to read before bedtime. It's kind of freaky and disturbing to think that children are put in these dangerous situations, while adults sit by on the sidelines and stay safe! But the kids are best equipped to see the ghosts, so they can act quicker and more decisively in hauntings.
I definitely recommend "The Screaming Staircase" to fans of ghosts literature of all ages. I think this book is intelligent enough to satisfy both an older and younger reader, and as I said earlier, it has a nice old school ghost story vibe that would make the Patriarch of the genre, MR James proud.
I read this as part of the Classic Horror Lovers group, Tales to Chill Your Blood series that we started in October. A member reminded me that it wasI read this as part of the Classic Horror Lovers group, Tales to Chill Your Blood series that we started in October. A member reminded me that it was available in the Tales of Men and Ghosts collection, which is free on Kindle, so I was jazzed.
Overall, it didn't catch my interest. I found my attention wandering and boredom setting in as I read it. I think it was probably a situation where the writing style didn't work for me. Wharton seems to have a sort of elaborate, flowery style, and I usually don't care for that kind of writing. I didn't feel the tension build that much, even after the pivotal events occur. I was looking for that moment, I'll call it the 'crunch moment', although that is probably not the best word, and when it occurs, I didn't feel anything. I am a reader who likes to be involved in the story, and I felt detached from this story. I really didn't care about the characters. It's hard to feel horror or fear when you don't care and aren't drawn into the story.
While the idea was good, the execution didn't work for me. I'm disappointed because I was definitely looking for a good vintage ghost story to get my October Scare Fest started, and this wasn't the one.
Edith Wharton is obviously touted as a well-respected author, and I won't even try to dispute that. I do have to say she had quite a vocabulary, which is always enviable. Unfortunately, I'd have to say that this ghost story didn't work for me. I read it late, late at night in bed on my Kindle with the lights off, and I didn't feel a single chill. Not good for a ghost story. I'll try her again though.
Did you know that the fear of dolls is called Pediophobia? It is. I just learned something new just now about my deep-seated fear of antique dolls. SuDid you know that the fear of dolls is called Pediophobia? It is. I just learned something new just now about my deep-seated fear of antique dolls. Suffice it to say that I for one find antique dolls very creepy. Apparently, I'm not alone. Holly Black seemed to take pediophobia and run with it. Imagine these kids who have their elaborate role-playing game that involves action figures and dolls, and they employ one of the girl's mom's prized possessions as the Great Queen. She rules over the imaginary lands in their games like a sinister matriarch.
When Zach's father throws away his action figures, Zach is devastated, and he is forced to abandon the games he plays with Poppy and Alice, leaving them both confused and feeling betrayed. Poppy decides that they need a quest, and the quest takes the form of a mission given by the spirit of the doll, a young girl named Eleanor, who comes to Poppy in her dreams. Zach needs and craves an adventure, even if he's not sure he believes completely in this Eleanor. Although the doll does seem to have a creepy life to her. Alice is the peacemaker of the trio, with a very overprotective, controlling grandmother, and she's developing feelings for Zach that go beyond friendship.
This trio of friends go on an adventure to settle the restless spirit of Eleanor, and perhaps in the process, they can mend their broken friendship.
I listened to Doll Bones on audio, and I think this is the ideal format for this book. The narrator makes the most of the creepy elements of this story. He's good with voices and altering his pitch to mimic the voice of tween girls in a way that feels authentic. He also captures the chaotic emotions of children of this age, especially those with troubled home lives like all three kids.
I wouldn't say this was scary enough to cost a woman my age some sleep, but it did give me a shiver or too. It also made me feel nostalgic for the imaginative games of childhood that are now in my past. I didn't have the same close trio of friends to play dolls with, but I did play Barbie dolls on my own for longer than I care to admit, and the power of one's imagination takes those dolls to a place where they are endowed a life one wouldn't expect of carved figures of plastic.
As far as parental guidance, the aspect of these young kids taking off on an adventure in the middle of the night would probably make the average parent's hair stand on its end. There are some other questionable moral choices that would make me caution a parent to have some oversight if their younger child read this book. Nothing too crazy, but certainly worthy of caution.
This was good but not great. I definitely recommend reaching for the audiobook if one's interest is perked.
After reading Ms. St. James first book, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, I made a note to keep reading her books. I was that impressed. I am quite fond ofAfter reading Ms. St. James first book, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, I made a note to keep reading her books. I was that impressed. I am quite fond of the early 20th Century period in a fictional setting, and this seems to be a particular area of interest for her as well. With this book, she focused on the troubled homefront of Post-WWI England, when veterans are coming back from the war damaged, both in body and in mind. Kitty Weekes is desperate for a job, desperate enough to take a job at Portis House, an isolated mental health facility for veterans. She lies about being a nurse, and she's caught in her lie, but the Matron allows her to keep the job anyway, as she's that desperate for another 'nurse'. Kitty soon realizes just how wrong things are at Portis House, but it's not like she has anywhere else to go.
"Silence for the Dead" is Gothic fiction, and the author does choose a fearsome setting in a haunted mental hospital. Unfortunately, this book lacked the degree of authentic and effective atmosphere that this story cried out for. I expected to be really unsettled by this story, considering its setting in an asylum with a troubled history as a family home whose family disappeared under decidedly strange circumstances. It seems to suggest some very powerful emotions of fear of isolation, abandonment and entrapment. However, I felt that things just didn't come together very well. I thought that some unsettling events that occur in the house would be explained or tie more strongly into the story and origin of the haunting, but they weren't in a satisfactory way. Don't get me wrong. There were some parts that were quite eerie. However, I think that this story could have been a lot more frightening than it was, considering the subject matter.
One of the things I liked most about this novel was the authentic characters, most of whom are veterans who suffer from profound mental illness as a result of the horrors of the war. It was quite sad how they were viewed by the public and their families as a whole. As cowards in that they were emotionally and mentally affected by the events occurring on the Front. Only a veteran can truly attest to the statement "War is Hell," and one would think that their loved ones would respect that they had survived and came home, even if they were tormented by their experiences. It was a slap in the face at how some of this men were treated, as if their surviving the war was an affront, as opposed to dying as "heroes". This aspect of the book spoke strongly to me, and gave me a lot to think about, as we still deal with veterans and how their lives are profoundly impacted by their war experiences. It's a good reminder to me to show sensitivity and to pray for their healing and restoration from their wounds.
This story has a strong romantic element that I did appreciate, although it did seem kind of crammed into the story around the Gothic and paranormal suspense elements. I really liked Jack and Kitty both. They were strong characters who had both suffered and understood what rejection and isolation was. In Kitty's case, she was very wise beyond her young years, and carried her own set of battle scars. She actually keeps my interest the most and remains a rootable character throughout this novel. I do have to say that the veterans did grow on me and I hoped for their well-being over the course of the novel.
I wish I liked this book more than I did, quite simply. For me, it failed to attain the potential the setting and story seems to promise. However, it was a good book, and I certainly did appreciate Kitty and Jack, and the setting and time period. For what it's worth, I think this would make a good movie.
Dead Things is serious magic noir. The name of this book tells it all. This book is about a man surrounded by dead and the consequences it has on hisDead Things is serious magic noir. The name of this book tells it all. This book is about a man surrounded by dead and the consequences it has on his life and his relationships with the living. The narrative is very cynical, with a main character who has a foul mouth and a dark point of view. Of course, anyone who has his necromantic abilities might tend to lose his faith in humanity and everything else. Despite that fact, I did like this book for the most part. Blackmoore lost me some near the end though. It was too abrupt and I didn't completely like the choice he made with the story. The end does make sense to some extent, and if this is a series, it will be interesting to see how Eric gets himself out of the mess he is currently in as of the end of this book.
I don't like to compare, but for male-lead UF readers, you could think of Eric as the darker counterpart to characters like Dresden and O'Sullivan, probably more like Connor Gray than the former. His gifts are part of him, and they taint his life in many ways. But in the case of Eric, his choices continue to alienate him from those who live and want connection with him. He fears tainting them or destroying them, but by walking away, he endangers them even more. Kind of a vicious cycle and a bound to bring on the existential crisis or dark night of the soul.
The imagery is what got me with this story. The world-building is suitably and necessarily dark for a story about a necromancer. His vantage point of life on the highways and backroads of America, seeing all the ghosts who either wander or who are anchored to their place of dying. In some ways a warrior for the light, but one who exists in the twilight and shadows. Eric sees and deals with many so-called deities and has little respect for them. Unfortunately, he makes a deal with one and will have to pay the piper very dearly.
I hadn't ever heard of Santa Muerte, the Patron Saint of the Narcos (Drug Traffickers) on the Mexican Border. A death goddess who started out in the Aztec pantheon, but found her way into the Narco-influenced border culture where she has plenty of followers. Blackmoore brings this mythology to vivid but disturbing life. A distinctive turn in urban fantasy that fits this very noir read.
I can't say Dead Things is for everyone. This is one is quite violent and kind of depressing in some ways. Lots of swear words and a great deal of irreverence on display, along with moments that border on being nauseating for the squeamish. Eric's choices aren't always admirable, but I did feel for him. He remains a sympathetic character despite his flaws. People around him tend to get hurt, and that's hard for me to read, especially since I can't 100% place that blame on his shoulders. I felt his loneliness and isolation, his front of apathy that doesn't quite hide a fear of being the screw-up that no can love, respect or stand up for. I wish his actions didn't turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I want to continue this series to see what happens next to Eric, and to hope that he turns things around and stops walking away from life and deeper into the world of the dead, while there is still some part of him that has a connection to the living.
Can I be honest? I feel... a bit manipulated. I am going through a horrible reading slump right now, so I know that I am a lot less tolerant than I woCan I be honest? I feel... a bit manipulated. I am going through a horrible reading slump right now, so I know that I am a lot less tolerant than I would have been prior to this dry spell. So my review of this book might be a bit harsher. I feel that despite my rather harsh criticism, I am being fair and respectful, which are crucial to me as a reviewer.
I loved the first book, The Name of the Star, and I gave it five stars. I actually thought it was quite brilliant. In comparison, my feelings are not complimentary for this second book.
I am on the edge of giving up YA books because of reasons that this book sort of ties into. So forgive the segueway. I'll get back to my review in a little bit:
1) I am so sick of love triangles (this one doesn't quite have an in your face one. It's more of an obtuse triangle if anything).
2) Oh the high school drama! I am just sick of the whole high school setting, to be honest. This book isn't so bad in that sense.
3)So, so, so heartily sick of cliffhangers. Now this is where I felt manipulated. That ending was just wrong with this book. Not well done, and contrived. I think it ended this way so she could have a springboard for the next book. I'm not Maureen Johnson and so I don't get to tell her to write her books. But that was just pain unnecessary. If I could issue a plea to YA authors, stop the madness with this terrible, meaningless cliffhangers. You can write a series without them. If the publishers are behind this conspiracy, tell them no!
Okay, back to the book.
So I mentioned above how I was not feeling the ending. I was actually quite mad when I finished this book. I am doing a Bible Study and we talked about anger today, so I was glad I got that lesson prior to finishing this book. I was able to process my anger and determine the reasons for it. I felt manipulated and abused. I felt frustrated. I think that processing the anger has made me better able to review this book, but my reasons for feeling anger still stand.
The storyline itself was okay. However, it lacked the pizazz and the strength of the last book. It was meandering and rather dull in comparison. The word ennui is perfect for this feeling I had when I read this book. Although I can understand Rory being in a fog after the trauma she suffered, the feeling of malaise seemed to affect the whole narrative, and I didn't feel a sense of purpose or momentum as I read this novel. That was highly disappointing and contrasts very negatively with the first book, which has such a powerful, chilling atmosphere of menace that I found wonderfully effective . I had a feeling that this new character and her connection with Rory was going to lead to disaster, and I was right about that. But I'm not sure I really care, you know?
What I liked just as much as the first book was the atmosphere, the presence of London as a character in this novel. It makes me want to jump on a plane and go to England right now. In fact, London was more distinctive than the actual main character, which is a shame, because I love Rory. In this book, Johnson seems to be going through the motions in her characterization of Rory. She is blunted and hard to connect to her as a main character in this novel. My absolute Achilles' heel as a reader is that I can be so drawn into a story that I feel utter empathy for a character, if the writer is able to bring this character to life for me. With Rory, that connection established in The Name of the Star felt so attenuated, it hurt this read for me. Also, with such vibrant characters as Boo and Callum, they felt almost like the Shades of London they concern themselves with. Other important secondary characters, the same. And Stephen, well, he's one of my favorite characters, and even he didn't feel as real to me in this book, although I still love him.
Maureen Johnson established herself as a very admirable suspense writer with the first book in this series and "The Law of Suspects", a short story I had the pleasure of reading as my introduction to her. I feel she was off her game with this book. That ability to catch a reader and lead them down a dark, twisted path wasn't as evident in this book. My biggest reaction is that she was going through the motions. As a result, this reader is dismayed and disappointed.
Will I read the next book? With that ending, I have to do so. But my expectations are very low at this point.
Please up your game with the next book, Ms. Johnson. I need to know that you can finish what you started in this series successfully.
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.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. 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....more
I wish I'd had time to read this during the past Christmas season, because it would be perfect to get a reader into the mood, and to reinforce the deeI wish I'd had time to read this during the past Christmas season, because it would be perfect to get a reader into the mood, and to reinforce the deep meanings of this beloved holiday.
Mr. Kirch is on point with the meaning of A Christmas Carol in this novella, and he lovingly does homage to it, while he takes the story forward in time to a family that very much needs to be reminded about the importance of family and love.
For a while, I was quite worried. I cried bitter tears, but I kept hope alive in my heart that Marley would do his magic to help little Kathy, a young girl with two bickering parents who often forget she's around. Kathy, Marley, and Tobias make this story, while parents Dan and Beverly make for some frustrating moments. But one of the most important truths of Christmas holds true here, that love is a miracle. A light that can enter into the darkest abyss, and its miraculous ability to change a human heart will ultimately triumph over the most hopeless of situations.
I enjoyed this story very much, and I recommend it to readers who love A Christmas Carol, and readers who like modern gothics and horror that bring to mind the classics in these genres.
Thanks to Donald Allen Kirch for the opportunity to read Marley-The Other Christmas Carol.
These books are fab on audiobook. Lorelei King is an excellent narrator. While I'm sure these books are enjoyable reading regardless, they are downrigThese books are fab on audiobook. Lorelei King is an excellent narrator. While I'm sure these books are enjoyable reading regardless, they are downright fantastic as audiobooks.
Darynda Jones is a hoot. No pun is too silly for her. Charley is hard to take too seriously, but she's definitely the real deal. Charley feels like every woman's id in some ways. She says and does what she thinks. I mean, she named her breasts and ovaries. But I like that she owns who she is. She had to work hard to be okay with her gift and her persona, even when her family doesn't understand her and some don't even accept her for who she is. I like how Charley is kind of boycrazy. She always notices and often flirts with cute guys. It makes her feel more realistic to me and adds to her distinctive persona. And let's admit, some of us girls are a bit boycrazy (we might not take all the guys home, but we do notice them). I like how the story can be outrageous silliness in some parts and very evocative drama in others.
Reyes is absolutely droolicious. Yeah, I don't like to think about who is his dad is though. But outside of that, yum! He is obviously cray-cray about Charley, and I'm a sucker for that kind of hero, for reals. There is a touching innocence about him. It sounds weird, but that's what I get from him. At the same time, man he's so lethal and kickbutt. He's a great match for Charley. I'm leaning towards Theo James as my Reyes.
I also really like Garrett. I like how they trade wisecracks and how even when he doesn't understand Charley, he's a good friend to her. My Garett is definitely Michael Ealy. I'm crushing on Garrett pretty hard now. I must admit.
I enjoyed picturing him as I read this book on the Garrett parts. (big smile)
This is one series where the secondary characters really add so much to the read. I like hearing how Charley interacts with the people around her. Cookie is a fun sidekick/friend/employee and the two of them make a wacky pair in their adventures in this book. Uncle Bob, or UB is an old softie. There are several secondary characters I really liked, and Ms. King made them all distinct in how she narrated their parts.
The mystery was good and I really didn't want to stop listening. It kept me guessing and working my way through the list of subjects. As a result, I ended finishing this in a little over 24 hours. I was making Valentines and doing my drawing homework, and it was great to listen to while I worked.
I'm officially hooked on this series. I'm super glad my library has most of these (if not all) on audio. This is definitely one to do the audios, because Lorelei King's narration is not to be missed. A great mix of paranormal/supernatural/ghost story, mystery and wackiness.