Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg was an unexpected delight! Once I started reading, I could hardly put it down. It was like eating theMagic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg was an unexpected delight! Once I started reading, I could hardly put it down. It was like eating the perfect piece of chocolate cake, eager for the next bite and disappointed when you look down and the plate is clean with no more to eat.
This is the story of a young lady without a memory beyond the last few years, who manages to bake sweet treats which are, somehow, magically infused with different emotions or things like luck. One day, her village is attacked by some marauders and while she survives, she is kidnapped and sold into slavery. A mysterious man, not completely right in the head buys her and forces her to use her magic to make them money for different customers. But there is a mysterious being who visits her - he is like a ghost or a spirit - and he wants her to get her memory back.
The creativity, both in the acts of the characters, and in the author's plot and execution, is on full display. While there was very little that was truly happy about this story, it was original and well crafted. I found it nearly impossible to put down. There was such a lovely mix of a few fairy tales (in their own way) and the new story here. From the allusions to the story of Hansel and Gretel, to Alice in Wonderland, there was whimsy in the misery. It was such an interesting juxtaposition, even knowing that whimsy was rooted in misery and had what were really in some cases evil purposes. Seeing the power of naming something is typically reserved for books dealing with Fairies, but here it had entirely different, even though ultimately sad, purposes. It was also a great surprise to see the direction the story ended up taking.
I particularly enjoyed reading the scenes where Maire is baking. Seeing her work, and then learning how her magic worked, was so interesting and unique. Like the range of treats she baked, I was filled with a range of emotions while reading the story, with all its twists and turns. Sadness, fear, hope, love, all seem to have their moment for Maire and the reader. The only ingredient missing? A way for me to see that a sequel would be possible that wouldn't distort the original story too much. Either way, I now need to see what else there is to read by this author. Hopefully, her other stuff is just as delicious!...more
Action, adventure, mythology, magic, science, time travel and so much more!! And I have again found an instance of time travel that I can deal with -Action, adventure, mythology, magic, science, time travel and so much more!! And I have again found an instance of time travel that I can deal with - and that is a rarity! Anyone familiar with my reading habits, reviews, and general thoughts about stories knows that I don't do well with time travel. In fact, in the forum I used to be heavily involved in related to another wonderful set of books (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott) it became widely known that reading about time travel risks my head exploding! But here - given the way time traveling occurs, I am not at risk of that. I like this kind of time traveling.
We got more of the same in Invincible. And that is a good thing. The elements of the story worked in the first installment and it was nice to see that continue in the second. While this is really a filler book, the set up for the final act, it was a wonderful set up. We got action, travel to Egypt, more magic and more mystery. Everything seems poised for what will hopefully be an awesome ending. The characters grow and we see more of their relationships. We get more magic in some great big ways. We see more physics and we learn more about King Arthur and the history behind these adventures. We get more of Peter (both as an annoying teenager and as a potential hero), more of Lily (her erratic behavior and her developing feelings for Peter), more Bruce (awesome is the only word I can find to adequately describe him), more Isdemus (more mystery, in my opinion), more Kane (more stupidity and bravery too). And let's not forget about warping - teleportation that comes across to the non-scientifically inclined (yes, I am pointing at myself here) seems to have a total logical and possible explanation.
The battle scenes are what need some special kudos in this installment. How often do we read about someone using a pyramid as a weapon to kill someone. And not as in a stage - you know, they were standing on the pyramid using the power from it - no. I mean the pyramid itself being used like a baseball bat - beating down on someone. It was awesome. The notion that Peter can suspend time to imagine the myriad of possibilities to save some made for a quick paced, yet slow enough to digest, battle scene. And the acknowledgement by Peter that he isn't really all that creative was stunning (in a good way). It reminded me of when Ferris Bueller turns to look at the camera to tell the audience to stop and look around or life will pass by. It was a great way to acknowledge the reader (or at least this particular reader) and what I was thinking anyway, yet still play a role in the story. It was also pretty cool to learn some of the limits on the magic and Peter's ability when talking about going back to save Sully. All the individual threads of the story came together, and not in a contrived way. It is such a wonderful treat to have a story come together in a way that feels natural and not one where it feels like the author manipulated or stretched things to get it all to turn out the way they wanted. Here, it really felt like if magic were real, this could have happened in just this way. I think part of this is owed to the tie in of physics. Again, it's a acknowledgment by the author of the real world around us without being patronizing and allows her to build a world that feels like it fits within the one we are actually living in.
The only issue I had, and it is a teensy tiny issue is with a few instances of the British-isms, as the author dubbed them in the acknowledgements in Intangible. There were moments when they felt a little clunky and forced, or rather sort of in-your-face. I am not sure I would have noticed if they were missing. I have read a bit of stuff by Brits, where the story takes place in England and the British-isms are all over the place. I don't know that they added anything and I don't think if they weren't there they would have detracted. Given the clunky nature, I might have skipped them altogether. But - see, that is itty bitty criticism.
I don't have much more to say because all of the wonder and joy that I found in the first book is here too. This was not a let down like so many second installments are. It carried the greatness from the first book right through each page to the end. I am just hopeful that the third, and I believe final, installment in this series lives up to the first two. I know I certainly have great expectations because of the wonderful job the author did with this second book.
P.S. BIG thanks to Dr. Gray - she provided me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. And I am so glad she did - it was a great read!...more
Explosions, crumbling buildings, giant crocodiles, homemade flamethrowers, collapsing bridges, grenades, machine guns, a little science and a lot of fantasy, and best of all a wonderful hierarchy of flying, violent, super intelligent and fire breathing dragons – all collide in the fast paced bloody gory and wonderfully thrilling adventure that is Matthew Reilly’s The Great Zoo of China.
Reading this was a departure for me. Anyone who knows my reviews knows that I typically read things from an different set of genres. Although one could argue that this isn’t too different because of the sci-fi nature of much of this book. However, to me, this felt more action/adventure than anything and that isn’t my typical afternoon. But like many books that I read, the cover pulled me in and drew me to this book. And I am so glad it did. I think I have found an author whose books I need to read more of.
This was definitely the kind of book, that if it was made into a movie, would be an action adventure. I am sure there are many who have compared this book to Jurassic Park. Not having read the book but only having seen the movie I can see the similarities. I don’t think it’s giving much away to note that the animals in the Great Zoo are dragons (see a careful look at the cover gives that away really). While dragons are not dinosaurs, there was just enough science lingo to think that they could be related – and given the main premise of the story it’s easy to see parallels between Jurassic Park and this book. However, while I didn’t love Jurassic Park the movie, I did love this book.
We have a prologue that sets the stage so that we are expecting blood and guts to be spilled from the start. Some might argue that the book is off to a slow start because we don’t see any of the blood and guts for a little while. However, I found it to be the perfect pace as I was given just enough science in the beginning to help me understand where this story was going to head (and gave me just enough mystery to what to see what was going to happen next) while letting me suspend reality and believe for a brief moment that the premise of there being a zoo filled with dragons hidden somewhere in China could be ever such a small possibility. The fact that I was given so much of this set-up information before all hell broke loose was perfect pacing. I thought it was a great way to explain some of the key facts necessary to move the book forward in the manner in which it moved. The quotes setting up each part of the story, the maps and other pictures that came along too, all helped with the pacing and set expectations in a way that helped make things feel more possible. The protagonist CJ drove the story and her knowledge of science made her actions (in most cases) seem very realistic or at least completely in line with the character and world that have been built in the first few chapters.
In the meantime, a little bit about the plot of this book. Setting the background and primary motivation as the Chinese desire to overtake the US in terms of world domination – cultural world domination that is – and the fictional application of the real politics facing the world today was a clever way to ground the plot in some semblance of reality. Conspiracy theorists won’t find it hard to believe that a government could hide something so big. Those, like me who aren’t, well it is a work of fiction…. Seeing the dragons be super intelligent and drawing a parallel to crocodiles was smart – it explained CJ’s presence and helped me find a way to try to buy into the possibility seen here. Watching the dragons revolt, well, it seems to me that a common thread in a number of the books I have read recently is that animals (humans or dragons) don’t like to be prisoners and they will do all they can to escape what ever (type) of prison they are in. But I was going to talk plot…
… CJ is an animal expert, crocodile expert specifically. She, her brother (taking photos for her and National Geographic who they are there on behalf of) and a few other well respected journalists and the American Ambassador to China (and his aid who turns out to be ex-CIA) are headed to China to see something big. They are secreted off to a place in China where they are told they are going to see a new great zoo. Upon arrival, they learn that China has been working for over 40 years on this project and the animals they are there to see are in fact Dragons. CJ is astute and observant. And she knows that animals like these are not going to be easy to control and she asks, almost from the beginning, about the number of lives lost. The Chinese lie in response and say none. The stage is set so that when the dragons do revolt and we begin to see them at their horrible, vicious, cruel, bloody and violent best we know there is more going on then them just wanting to get back at the humans. CJ kicks butt and takes names. And her brother is pretty awesome too.
The descriptions are perfect. I was reading and felt like I was witnessing things first hand. I could feel the terror and panic. It was peppered with the exact right amount of profanity to make things feel even more real. Let’s face it, if I were being stared down by a huge, hungry, angry dragon I doubt “Oh shoot” would be my observation. It also had just enough humor to keep the violence from feeling overwhelming. Having CJ nickname the dragons the way she did was often funny and made it feel more real. He personality shined in those moments. The overall plot, once we learn what the dragons are really up to was a nice little twist. There were a number of small turns that kept me on my toes and made me see the differences between Jurassic Park (again, the movie) and the plot to this book. I could totally picture the dragons. Some were cute (like Lucky) and some were downright frightening (like melted face). And to me – that was of the utmost importance. I could picture the size differences, and see them standing on stage or flying through the air as I read the words describing those situations. And, I fell a little in love with Lucky. And that was important because it made the dragons so much more than dragons – it made them feel like people. I don’t care what people think about anthropomorphism generally, I love it in books. And here, it didn’t feel like an interpretation and assignment of human characteristics but more like the natural understanding of the dragons’ characteristics.
The treatment of dragons here was actually a nice change of pace. They aren’t mystical beings working with riders, they aren’t the subject of some strange magical prophecy, they aren’t handled by folks with wands (I love Harry Potter so this isn’t a criticism just an observation noted for classification purposes), they aren’t guarding treasure, and they aren’t really shape-shifters who have watched over humans for centuries. Instead, they are scaly, leathery, tough-skinned, large toothed predators who are the top of the food chain and really don’t enjoy being chained up or treated with electroshock treatments during “training”. They are dangerous animals. Takes the fantasy and myth away and makes it more “real”. It takes the idea of a book about dragons and makes it for more than the comic-book-loving-sci-fi-and-myth-loving-Tolkein-is-a god-GoT-worshiper-geeks out there (like me); it makes them something my Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy loving dad might enjoy reading.
Where I thought this book needed a little more was with a few of the characters, especially the ex-CIA spook. There was a lot of potential there that I felt was wasted. I know that CJ is the driver here and we see things from her POV, but there were a number of peripheral characters that felt like they should have been more important or that the author felt they were more important, but I felt like they were superfluous. The little Chinese girl for example. She didn’t add much of anything – no key plot point, no real action sequence, if she disappeared from the pages of the book it really wouldn’t have mattered. So I felt myself wondering, was she edited down to such an extraneous role or was she a throw-away from the beginning? There were others who fell into that same category and it felt as those words were wasted.
Overall, I thought The Great Zoo of China was a great read. I really would love to see a sequel to this book – there was a foundation built where we could see dragons again in the US at some point. I could see CJ coming back to warn the Americans not to make the same mistakes the Chinese did… but who knows if that will ever be something that crosses the authors mind. (Sorry for the spoiler about her surviving, but it would be hard to stomach her being the main protagonist, kicking the butt that she does, and then killing her, so I don’t think that is giving away too much either). I guess I can only hope – for more dragons!...more
I am baffled by all the excellent reviews. Are there 2 versions of this book out there and I have the version intended to bewilder and confuse? An angI am baffled by all the excellent reviews. Are there 2 versions of this book out there and I have the version intended to bewilder and confuse? An angel I am told was male, but later that he/she/it is pregnant? A fairie is an angel? Angela is the Archon but not? She houses Raziel's soul but doesn't? And I still don't know what the Ruin is...! It was a sign when I realized I was two weeks into this book and still only about 60% through it that I was not going to agree with all the positive reviews this book has been getting. I found myself re-reading entire chapters because I was so very totally confused. And unfortunately, there is no wiki page out there summarizing it in a coherent manner, with spoilers, so I can understand what I have read. I normally do that here on my blog, but i don't even know where to start... I am confounded. More of the review, and spoilers, to be found on seriestracker.wordpress.com, for those who are as lost and confused as I was on this one!...more
Another interesting cross between the PNR and scifi space adventures. It was a fun little read. Predictable as all in this genre are, but fun nonethelAnother interesting cross between the PNR and scifi space adventures. It was a fun little read. Predictable as all in this genre are, but fun nonetheless. One of the interesting things about this book was the lack of profession of undying love. Skylar stays with the crew to be with Rico and she wants to be with him and he wants to be with her, but there was never the "I love you" scene. And it was sort of refreshing, and leaves me wondering if book 2 and 3 will be about others in this universe or about the continued relationship between Skylar and Rico. There were a few nice and steamy scenes. The plot has some action and wasn't a bad story.Totally formulaic, not badly written, and fun little characters make me intrigued to read the others when they come out. I especially liked Al, the little girl disguised as a boy who is convinced Rico is going to eat her and who tries to protect Skylar. There were some nice funny moments and the interaction of the characters was enjoyable. ...more
Darkness Fallen, the first in the Forever Twilight series, by Peter Crowther is the first in a new series. But it felt like it should have been the first few chapters in one book, not the first book in a series.
I made the mistake of reading a review by someone else of this book. Now I can’t find anything original to say. But I guess that’s fitting since the book too wasn’t very original. At least not to someone who has read Steven King’s various versions of the end of humanity as we know it (or has seen the TV versions of the same. Or really, has seen any number of flicks on the SciFi network (and yes, totally off on a tangent, I refuse to use the rebrand of that network since since then, it totally sucks!)). Not to mention the repetitive nature of the book itself. The narrative style, where we get the events from different characters, in this case made for a very repetitive book since we got the aftermath of the flash from everyone, we got the sense of desertion after the flash from everyone, we got the realization that everyone else for some reason disappeared when the flash happened – after the flash – from everyone…. See how that gets annoying?
The plot looks like this: there’s a bright all consuming flash of light and most of the world disappears in that instant. Except for the few who don’t disappear. And, with the first character we meet there’s an airplane involved (“The Stand” sound familiar?). We don’t know why they aren’t “taken” but each of them comes to realize that there is something going on and they don’t know what. Then, 24 hours after the first flash, wham! There’s another flash and everyone (although I am not sure it is everyone, but it doesn’t really matter, at least not yet) is back. But they are different. They are all zombie like. And, the individuals and small groups of those who weren’t taken the first night slowly come together. And they slowly discover some weird things about those who have returned (in my head, I dubbed them the “originals” and the “remakes” as far as groups go. Because remakes are never as good as the originals).
When the book ends, the story is really just beginning. And after 416 pages, that’s sort of an accomplishment itself. See, as I see it there are two different types of serials: those with an overall story arc, but individual stories which are concluded in some way in each book (think Harry Potter) and those which simply march towards the conclusion of the overall story arc (think… Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel). I prefer series in the former category, but can enjoy a well written series that fits in the later category (hence the reference to the outstanding Flamel series). Problem is, so many series in the latter category are not well written.
When the character development is all there is and there is no plot, I can’t enjoy it. There needs to be both. The plot that existed in this book could be summed up in 3, maybe 4, sentences. Despite the nature of this type of serial, there needs to be more to the story arc than that. I can sum it up this way: there’s a bright light, most people disappear, then they come back zombielike. I need more! I need more to make me feel invested in the story so that I come back for the next installment. Often, character development can make up for the lack of plot development, by having great characters that a reader gets attached to. Then, I can get pulled into something even if the plot isn’t sufficient. But here…
…the character development should have been better given how much time we get with each of the few “main” characters. Ronnie, for instance, is likable, but that is all. He’s one of the originals. His inner dialogue was awful, his development started out promising but as soon as the light happened, his development hit a wall. Then, when we see the other characters, their stories, while different hit the same wall (and some of them never really had much development before that) when the light happened. And after the light, well, their experiences were just too similar. It felt very repetitive. Even the quirkiness of some of the originals – the little girl who is psychic, the resident serial killer, and the multiple personality Sally – were really not all that interesting, nor did they add to the story. At least not yet. And since this was really all set up and no plot, no teasers of what is to come, it is hard to look forward to seeing if anything will come of those folks and their uniqueness.
I felt more like I was reading the script for a movie – since so many of the details would be background and all scenery and therefore the 400 pages would be the first 30 minutes of a movie. But when I pick up 400 pages, I want a story, not a tiny tiny little portion of the beginning of it.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t read this. It’s just that I would personally prefer to wait until all the installments are published (since this seems to be one of those series that should have just been one long book, but the publishers don’t make enough money (however, not every story should be a serial, no matter how much the publishers may want it to be) that way and since serials seem to be more popular then ever I don’t think we will be seeing an end to them) so I could read them all at once. There were a few starts to interesting ideas here (the alien influence, the little centipede creatures, the flying cars, and the notion that there might be another light and more changes in the future), so it wasn’t a total waste. But again, I would wait for other installments and read it all at once. The cover promises that this is book 1 in the Forever Twilight series. I don’t know out of how many, but I will wait to read 2 (and any subsequents) until we get the final book in the Forever Twilight series....more
I was... intrigued... by the synopsis. The idea of giants and angels put this wacky cartoon like image in my head. But, I kept an open mind, thinking,I was... intrigued... by the synopsis. The idea of giants and angels put this wacky cartoon like image in my head. But, I kept an open mind, thinking, let's see how this goes. It was an interesting read, and an interesting story.
There are two (sort of) separate story lines that come together about a third of the way through, but it feels tangential because while the characters come together, they do so only briefly. And they come together again at the end, in preparation for at least one other additional book. At least I assume that the author intends another book, since it's not stated that this is part of, or the start of, a series. I will address the few problems I had with the plot, but to start, let's see if we can't summarize the plot a little better then the synopsis.
Eden's husband flipped a personality switch and went all weird on her. And then disappeared. She's trying to find him. She enlists the help of her friend Judy and the two start a search. And they begin to encounter some bizarre and creepy things, like demonic snakes and demon hell fire. It's clear from the start that Eden's husband is going to be found to have been possessed by a demon. And Judy, in their travels ends up facing some life altering changes herself. And we learn, that Eden needs some special protecting and gets assigned a special guardian angel. How things with her end, well, that would spoil things. But Eden, her search, and the demonic changes are one story line.
Then we have Xandir. He's an angel who was punished for something in heaven long ago. His current mission is to dole out justice or mercy to those who deserve it. His story line is clearly the much more complicated one. And, it's the one with a few holes and takes up the majority of the book. Xandir's mission changes (and I don't really get why) part way through the book. He ends up assigned as Eden's guardian angel. Meanwhile, however, he is convinced by some giants to help steal a seed from a tree located on an island sitting at the jaws of hell. To accomplish this mission he needs to detour to the Himalayas to see the Yearti and has quite a number of adventures on the island (which according to this story, is the island that inspired the story of Atlantis). And, at the end, Xandir's story comes together with Eden's. I won't reveal how, but it shocked me on some levels and on others, I was waiting for it to happen. I knew it had to, I knew we had to get an explanation as to the title of the book, I just wasn't sure exactly how it was going to happen.
A few things that I would have liked to see explained better - Xandir is told that he has to protect Eden at all costs, but he simply disappears and never really sees any repercussions as a result. We are told that there will be repercussions if he fails, but, when suddenly an army of other angels show up to protect Eden, it's all glossed over. I also was a little lost when Jarom assumed Xandir's debt and that lets them escape the island again. And then, we know that he access to the island is conditioned on not letting anyone go, but when Tobias's deal comes to light... again, no repercussions. And why can some of those who are possessed survive and others can't? And then the references to the names of demons when the group of the demons get together - there seems to be a relationship between some of them but it's not entirely evident what that relationship is. I ended up re-reading a bit to see if I missed something.
The giants weren't the comical giants my mind conjured. They weren't entirely not comical though either. I mean the magma ship? It made me chuckle. And I am not exactly sure I see how one individual new baby giant will propagate the race (isn't one of each required? I am not biologist or medical doctor, but....)
Anyway, there was some action (avalanche, fighting with giants, demon snake battles, fires, etc.). And there is definitely a little theology. There's some personality in some of the characters - Xandir, Li'l Halo and Judy for example. The ending felt a little abrupt (and some of imagery in the end was a little disturbing to me). But, overall, it was an enjoyable story, something different even for stories around angels since the introduction of giants was a unique idea. I just wish I was prepared for what was really a cliff hanger.
It was a good story - and wet my appetite to see how the world will be saved from evil. Hope there is a second book! ...more
It’s not a spoiler in this genre to say the couple gets together at the end of each book. That’s the point. But there are too many political alliancesIt’s not a spoiler in this genre to say the couple gets together at the end of each book. That’s the point. But there are too many political alliances and allegiances to keep track of. The nice thing is, here, we don’t really have to. I skipped book 1 (not intentionally) and started with book 2 and it didn’t matter in the least. We get enough of the surrounding context from the author to make these any enjoyable read. No PNR, or rather now I need to say SFR (SciFi Romance), will ever win a nobel prize for writing, but these were quick little reads, with a little steam thrown in at just the right moment. If you are looking for JR Ward steaminess, these don’t quite fog the bathroom the same way. But, we do get a lot of the friendly banter, the humor, the sexy hero, etc., that a good book in the romance genre has. And, the difference with Desideria and the other female characters in this genre was refreshing because she ends up strong and able to save the day and her man, without being a total feminist. In fact, she rebels a little against her ultra-feminist culture, but you can see she’s still a strong female character. It’s a relief. It’s also nice to have a character that isn’t driven by a past horror/horrible relationship with/inflicted upon by a man. And, it was within the series too since the last 2 before saw the motivation of the females as so similar that I was having deja vu flashes the entire time while reading. I hadn’t read a SFR before, now, I am looking forward to the next in this series – and will be looking for other similar series! ...more
The story was ok, but when all was said and don't, I felt like it was a waste of time. I could have re-read something else and enjoyed myself more. ThThe story was ok, but when all was said and don't, I felt like it was a waste of time. I could have re-read something else and enjoyed myself more. The quote on the cover about what a great writer the author is... well, clearly that reviewer and I have a difference of opinion.
I read this genre because the world building is so much fun to read and explore. Here, there really wasn't much of that. And the characters are very flat and there isn't much development of them either.
The story is goes like this: Sir Michael is a knight errant and Fisk is his squire. Michael rescued Fisk since Fisk is really a con man. They set out to rescue Lady Ceciel and it turns out that they help a criminal escape. So, their "adventure" becomes the quest to meet the conditions of Michael father's "probation" after he rescues Fisk and Michael from their troubles when it is discovered that they helped the lady escape. They now have to recapture the Lady and bring her to the lord so that justice can be carried out.
The most exciting part of the plot was the escape from having been "cudgel-crewed". And the most interesting character is Lady Kara but we see so very little of her that we don't get a chance to know her. Fisk - we know he has a past, but we learn nothing at all and as a result it's hard to stay interested. We learn a little more about Michael because we see his father but it's still very one dimensional.
The world that is built doesn't really get described very well. We learn that there is a furred god and that there are 2 moons, and this stuff called magica. And while its a safe (and correct) inference that magica is magic, for some reason it's bad for people to do. And animals and plants and stuff can be magica but to kill either one must make a sacrifice or something will come back to harm you. It's kinda like instant karma. But, we get no additional information. Zero. It's like the author was really only sort of interested in writing a book about magic. Until we get towards the end. And then Lady Ceciel seems to have some ideas about magica but we get, what felt like, the same chapter 3 times in a row. And we still really don't learn much that adds to the story. In fact, I was slightly disturbed by the "simple ones" and the way the author dealt with them as a class of people. And it made me hard to understand how experimenting on them should be something in a YA book.
The alternating chapter narratives are a little difficult too. I don't mind alternating view points most times. But for some reason, it was often hard to track/remember. I found that many times, I had to look back to the first page of the chapter to see who's name was on it to know who's point of view I was reading.
I know this is the first in a series but I don't plan on bothering with the next. There just isn't enough of the characters to keep me interested. And the made up terms that aren't explained and the one-dimensional universe... too little to keep me interested at all. ...more
**spoiler alert** Jane and Ryu are having some romantic issues. Not to mention, the secret lustful feelings Jane harbors for Anyan. Jane continues wit**spoiler alert** Jane and Ryu are having some romantic issues. Not to mention, the secret lustful feelings Jane harbors for Anyan. Jane continues with her training until she finds out her mom has been killed. This sends Jane into a tailspin. She wants revenge. And it's only going to be satisfying if it results in Jarl's torturous and exceeding painful death. Because Jane knows he's behind it all. Clinics like the one Conleth was held in continue to be found. And the group of Julian, Ryu, Anyan and Jane head off to the Borderlands to investigate the clinic where Jane's mom was found. Along the way, Iris is kidnapped. Jane is attacked by a kappa (think TMNT, from the description - and Jane makes that comparison, not me!). She and Ryu have it out. Anyan's feelings are apparent to everyone but Jane. We find out Julian doesn't dig girls. And, we meet an "Original". (As soon as Anyan mentions it, we know Jane's mysterious tattooed lady is one, btw. That was no big reveal at the end, and I hope Ms. Peeler didn't think it would be.) Phaedra causes all sorts of trouble for our crew - including killing the first doctor that they find and trying to stop them all from getting to the Compound at the end. She's just pure evil. The jaw dropping stuff, though: (I'll save those spoilers for those who want to read them - if you do, visit my blog, where I detail them all!) WOW!!! It left me with really wide eyes and needing to re-read the chapter (or two) to make sure I read it all correctly!
I love Jane and her cast of friends. And I love her inner voice (aka her libido). We continue to get good character development from the author and decent story telling. I love who it doesn't matter that Jane has these feelings and is convinced of something (Jarl's inner evilness) and the author doesn't let anyone (**cough, cough, Ryu**) change Jan'e mind. I also love how strong Jane is, even though she thinks she's weak. Most of the time, the story is well crafted and easy to follow along. What could use a tiny bit of work is the balance between foreshadowing in an obvious, hit me on the head with an anvil manner, and the foreshadowing with such subtly that I am smacking myself for not seeing it. It seems a little off, unless the author wants it that way, that we have such polar opposites with some things. The existence of an Original - the minute Anyan mentions that type, we know what's coming. But other things were so subtly hinted at it was so well done. I felt almost schizophrenic after two more important revelations because of how well hidden and how painfully obvious they were. I had to wonder if the same person plotted those out.
Jane's libido is in full swing throughout the books. And it's great comic relief, as always (although it wasn't quite as funny this round, but it was still very good). **Spoiler alert here - not too major to leave out, but don't say I didn't warn you....** I am still a Team Ryu gal, so I am a little disappointed in the break between Jane and Ryu and how solidly she seems to have turned to Anyan, but it was well done. I don't feel like we are going to see the unfinished business, crappy love-triangle that often happens when we have the change in coupling status. At least that is my hope. What I mean is that Jane seems to come to terms with the fact that she cares for Ryu but doesn't want to be with him. It's not the sappy "oh I love them both" routine.
Our story here, with the continued slaughter and hatred of the halflings is interesting. We have a definite resolution in some ways, and yet the overall story arc continues. I appreciate the closure on one segment that the author gives us, while still moving us towards the next segment in a smooth and natural way.
I do hope that we haven't seen the last of Ryu, and that he's not going to simply be off ruling the Alfar with Nyx in the next installments. I am a Ryu-Jane shipper after all. ...more
I love Sookie. She is awesome and gets better in every book. I like Quinn so very much (it's just a shame I saw a spoiler of what happens in the nextI love Sookie. She is awesome and gets better in every book. I like Quinn so very much (it's just a shame I saw a spoiler of what happens in the next book). And I can't wait to see what comes of Sookie and Eric's relationship.......more
I re-read this over the weekend since I have a number of friends who really liked it. But I still just thought it was ok - even upon re-read. I undersI re-read this over the weekend since I have a number of friends who really liked it. But I still just thought it was ok - even upon re-read. I understand the idea of Boy not knowing anything about who he is - but I felt is was almost lazy to at least not give him a name. And Kepler and his role was a little too convenient. I don't know - I am ok with having loose ends - story arcs that keep you moving from one book to the next. But I felt like I have no information to motivate me into wanting to read the next - I feel like I have none of the little tidbits that I should have at this point. To me, a good novel which is part of a series, gives me just enough of a tease as to what I might find out, that I really want to read what's next. Here, not so much. I don't know - I also expected - both reads - to learn more about the "Dead Days" - but it was like the mythology associated with them, which is set up by the beginning explanation of the varying cultures' calendars - was totally absent. They were barely a passing thought. And that was disappointing the first time through. I was hoping I had just missed stuff or forgotten since the first read, but unfortunately, that was not the case. The ending was too neat - and not neat enough at all - all at the same time. I can't even decide if I want to read the companion/sequel or not. ...more
Well, I fin myself in the camp of the folks who loved these books. I could not put this down. I was absolutely addicted to it from the first moment IWell, I fin myself in the camp of the folks who loved these books. I could not put this down. I was absolutely addicted to it from the first moment I picked it up. This is the book that convinced me to actually stroll down the romance isle at Borders. This is in the Sci-Fi section, but so many people lumped it into the romance section - and amazon suggested things from the romance section based on this - that I figure what the heck.
It is true that the naming convention might get old for some folks. But, I loved the reversal idea - the bad guys are actually good. It was violent, but to me, it did not feel gratuitous. It was also filled with themes of love, loyalty, revenge and redemption and there were parts where I was angry, upset, happy, and there were moments where I was actually holding back tears. So, regardless of what some think about this book - it is one that I will continue to read over and over. ...more
This is one of those books that makes me realize we need 1/2 star rating capabilities... this would definitely get 4 1/2 - why not the full 5 (althougThis is one of those books that makes me realize we need 1/2 star rating capabilities... this would definitely get 4 1/2 - why not the full 5 (although I gave it the full 5 since I don't have the 4 1/2 option!)? Well, because I would have like to have seen a little more of the end. And it's hard to explain what I mean by that without giving up the end. I also would have liked a little more of the history of the Hallows - we get quite a bit towards the end, but I think there was a little more potential that was left untouched - especially with the sword's history. But it was excellent!
Michael does a great job of cutting back and forth between scenes and yet I still feel like the book flows - sometimes authors try to do that and I feel so disjointed about it - and here, the transition is seemless and the book still flows and keeps things moving forward. I am becoming a fan of the way Michael sets out chapters/sections of the books by date too (see the Alchemyst and Magician for the same device).
There is suspense, action, gore (although not too much) and history all rolled up into one here. The opening chapter sucked me in and I couldn't put the book down. I really felt for the character Greg Matthews and his losses. I also really disliked the bad guy - and when I can identify with the characters and feel invested, I know it's a great book!
This means I am off to pick up more of Michael's books! ...more
Interesting. It was good. And I liked the trip to Hell - it reminded me of Milton. Language doesn't bother me - but if you have misgivings about readiInteresting. It was good. And I liked the trip to Hell - it reminded me of Milton. Language doesn't bother me - but if you have misgivings about reading things that might make a sailor blush, you might want to reconsider this one. Fu*# is in ever third sentence (ok, that's an exaggeration, but there were times when it felt like it). I had 2 small problems with this book - first, the smoking is so in your face - I mean, I know people smoke and so do book characters. But every time I put the book down, I felt the urge to sniff my clothes to make sure none of the stench of cigarette smoke rubbed off on me. Second, the way I pictured the blind swordswoman (her name escapes me at the moment) originally, from Kadrey's description, was of this little old lady. So when she and Spider get intimate, well, I had trouble with that mental picture. But I assume that was just me. It was good enough that I am on the hunt for more of Kadrey's stuff. And I love the artwork on the cover - for me, that was well worth the $15 bucks. ...more