They call her many names in many ghost stories. She is the phantom hitchhiker, forever sweet sixteen, forever dressed in her small town prom dress...
T...moreThey call her many names in many ghost stories. She is the phantom hitchhiker, forever sweet sixteen, forever dressed in her small town prom dress...
This is a McGuire book. It's choppier than most, as time is flexible and so is place in her version of a ghost story/InCryptid journal article. It also is mostly told in first person (blech) with the wisdom of the dead and the faded-hope a possible eternity as a wandering spirit written into the narration.
It wasn't the end yet, but still, I cried. It felt good.
I picked up the book because Seanan McGuire wrote the song "Pretty Little Dead Girl" and then called her own song a lie based on a tale based on history. I recommend it to ghost story anthropologists who want to see where the story is going next.(less)
Manfred Bernardo moved into the tiny town of Midnight, Texas to discover that these are people who value their privacy and guard their secrets. While...moreManfred Bernardo moved into the tiny town of Midnight, Texas to discover that these are people who value their privacy and guard their secrets. While everyone helps everyone else out, all quirks are accepted and no one asks intrusive questions. (For example, Manfred's landlord Bobo was recently abandoned by his girlfriend, but nobody wants to intrude on his grief by offering direct sympathy or help.) But the social walls start crumbling when a group of picnicking townsfolk discover the badly decomposed body of Bobo's missing girlfriend next to his gun.
There is a lot of right-wing gun nut/conspiracy theory/big-man-bully swirl in this book. I'm not a huge fan of that particular flavor of crazy as it usually appears in books, so I appreciate that Harris paints some of the walk-ons with a more tinted brush than just "mouth-breathing whacko." There is a part in the book where the parents of one of the crazies get involved, and they have more to them than just the patriarchial party line. I also appreciate that the main characters aren't saints, and that the ending of the conspiracy theory storyline isn't what we had been led to believe it would be.
I was warned that the entire ending wasn't anything I could see coming, and this was a true fact. The three main lines of chat all twisted and turned at the climax, ending with a mental twist (the murderer), a bold resolution (to the murderer), and a character reveal (the conspiracy). Certainly, the character reveal was disappointing, but it also kept the book from having a shiny-happy ending that would have gone against the crunchiness of the character mix.
Harris is a good world builder. And she apparently writes what she knows, since this book has call-outs to her previous murder mystery series, "Lily Bard." And fans of the Sookie Stackhouse series will recognize Manfred from his cameos in the short stories. It was rather refreshing that Manfred's psychic powers were not used to forward the plot. Instead, his perceptions of people and his own decisions drove his portion of the story. The other main characters use their skills and powers, though not often, and in some unexpected ways. The townspeople all had their gimic/recognizable quirks, and the implied otherworldliness of at least two characters never did get explained (which is kinda cool).
I was satisfied - but not thrilled - with this book. It was a good new world introduction, and the characters are well-rounded for all their trope requirements. Unfortunately for me, I find it difficult to re-read mysteries, so will likely have to give this away.
I picked it up because I enjoy Harris's style, and I know that first books from Harris don't disappoint. I recommend it to people who like murder mysteries with a large helping of rather random supernatural powers.(less)
The first in the Alex Verus novels, it came recommended to us as a "Dresden type" of story. It lived up to the recommendation, being as fluffy and unc...more The first in the Alex Verus novels, it came recommended to us as a "Dresden type" of story. It lived up to the recommendation, being as fluffy and uncomplicated as I recall the first Butcher book to be. The main male is singly-flawed, the female sidekick is similarly two dimensional, the walk-ons are all characters (and mostly good fun to read) and the plot pulls everyone together nicely.
This was a fast book with good humor, easy imagery, and lots of twists and turns through character confrontations. The main character's magic is as a diviner - he can see all of the futures - and so is both very powerful and not magically forceful at the same time. It is an interesting character challenge, to surprise someone who can see the future. I appreciate how every major plot twist was telegraphed in advance without being wearyingly predictable.
I recommend it to fans of the early (first five) Harry Dresden books. (less)
Something Red is set inside the mind of a pre-teenage orphan named Hob who has been picked up as a helping hand by an exiled queen of Erin. While that...moreSomething Red is set inside the mind of a pre-teenage orphan named Hob who has been picked up as a helping hand by an exiled queen of Erin. While that adoption was for opaque reasons, he accepts his new fate with less question than the questions that evolve over the following winter regarding magic and the backgrounds of his wagon train companions.
Hob's adopted new leader Maeve and her daughter work magic, music, and personal charm on the roads through Britain, biding their exile until they can return and rebuild in Erin. They trade, play, and heal at inns and monasteries across the northern lands.
The glorious summer is long over and the bitter winter winds are clawing at the story as it opens, slowly, ploddingly, and incredibly densely. Despite the lack of color in a winter setting, the author's dramatic descriptions nearly demand a soundtrack. The author takes fewer words than it seems in his setting of the story, and every word has meaning. No one just "walks" in this book. They shamble, stroll, saunter, and stalk. Even the disembodied evil that haunts Hob's path has weight, breath, and malevolent vision. Then the trail of death begins with a landslide.
The big reveal and the subsequent fight and magic scenes are almost worth the initial vocabulary lessons and the slow start. The author's buildup of the characters in the previous few scenes makes the fight far more interesting and relevant, even as it is a little disappointing that not everyone can have a starring role. The bigger disappointment is in how long the denouement takes to finally resolve. I had pretty much tuned out at that point, because he had to rush a detailed summary into which I-as-reader didn't have any investment.
I picked this up as a review assignment for Geek Speak Magazine. My final review will be published there.
I recommend this to people who enjoyed the dense dark deep forest of Hallowed Hunt, who like McKillip "throme" type prose, and savor the story development along with the characters. Otherwise, it's probably not going to be worth the work.(less)
These four guys were all dealing with some kind of depression, lack of focus, lack of meaning, and need to Go!Do!Be! something in their lives. They fo...moreThese four guys were all dealing with some kind of depression, lack of focus, lack of meaning, and need to Go!Do!Be! something in their lives. They formed a club, thought up a list of 100 whacky and interesting things to do, and went off to make those things come true. The interesting rule was: for everything that they accomplished on their list for themselves, they had to help some stranger accomplish his-or-her dream, too.
The book is not just The Buried Life's stories about their adventures. (You can get that on MTV or NetFlicks.) It is an artistic jumble of strangers' goals and modern artwork, and The Buried Life's accomplishments (with accompanying photos). Interspersed are single-page essays about turning points in other people's lives. It's like PostSecret without nearly so much depression and futility.
I hadn't heard of The Buried Life before I picked up this book. Now, I'm glad to know that they exist, because of all of the crazy things they are doing to help other people. I needed a positive emotional assist, and this book did it for me.
I recommend this book to people who want to know that somewhere out there someone is doing all the crazy stunts we talked about at 2AM.
"Don't tell me 'the sky's the limit' when there are footprints on the moon." (less)