**spoiler alert** I haven’t read many newly-risen-vampire books but in direct competition of those I have read (The Turning and Undead and Unwed are a...more**spoiler alert** I haven’t read many newly-risen-vampire books but in direct competition of those I have read (The Turning and Undead and Unwed are all I can think of at the moment) Pretty When She Dies wins hands down. It was gritty and very realistic in that if vampires did exist I wouldn’t be surprised if when they first rose they had similar obstacles to overcome, namely the bloodlust and the inadvertent killing spree to sate it.
There are good vampires, which seem rare in this book, bad ones and perhaps some that fall in between. The reasons the Summoner was evil were made obvious; his boredom and loneliness after so many centuries of walking the Earth had warped his mind - in some books you never know what turned the “enemy” to the dark side.
The characters were believable and their development over the course of the book was well done. Amaliya was tough, she’s a survivor of both physical (what the Summoner does to her) and emotional (her cruel screwed up family) pain who has learned that running away when things get hard is the best thing to do but finds that with the Summoner on her tail there is nowhere for her to run that he won’t find her so she’s forced, mostly by Cian, to make a stand and fight. The romance between Amaliya and Cian progressed from “maybe I should kill her” to “he’s not my type he’s too short and clean” to forbidden love/lust and finally relief that they could be together. I liked Cian’s transformation. His appearance changed from clean shaven good guy in hiding to a rougher, more confident and alert politician ready to take on the vampires.
Obviously my favourite character was Grandmamma – wow, I was right there with her grandson Sergio in his shock, disbelief and finally laughter after the revelation about her love life. I was glad when their fear of what Amaliya had become gradually turned into acceptance, unlike the reactions of her cruel family. I have to admit that I fully expected Grandmamma to let her religion get in the way of her accepting Amaliya’s new state and was waiting for her to call her the spawn of Satan and attack her granddaughter. I wish she was my grandmother, she’s a fierce but loving woman – no man or woman would want to cross her.
I don’t really want to make this comparison but Pretty When She Dies does remind me of certain aspects of Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. The Master (vampire) of the City system, the messed up zombies made from multiple body parts, the necromancy are all similar but I think this book is tighter and perhaps darker in its very isolating you-against-the-world nature. Overall this is an intriguing and worthwhile read for urban fantasy lovers.
I have read that there may be a sequel, Pretty When She Kills which I will definitely be interested in if and when it is released. (less)
This was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of th...moreThis was my first ever zombie read and I absolutely loved it. Jenni and Katie become sisters-in-arms, developing an unbreakable bond in the face of the zombie holocaust. I was envious of their friendship. They came from very different backgrounds, their old lives lost and embark on new ones together and in Jenni’s case with a completely new personality as a crazy risk taker. Their survival was more about luck than skill, it was horrifying to see good people die so quickly and easily.
After reading this, for the first time I wished I lived in a gun-toting country. I want a gun, make that “guns”, plural, and a never-ending supply of bullets. You know, just in case.
My Favourite Bits The zombie old man outside the library clutching “Better Sex After 60″
Juan to Travis about Katie: “Ever see Chasing Amy?” “No.” “Eh, you’re fucked” “Yeah.”
Juan to Jenni: “Dropping from the harness is real loca, Loca. What if you had missed and hit the spikes?” “Um, you would miss me?” “Yeah, right.”
Mike's ominous "...the black man always gets it"
The fact that Jenni's mixed race: her mother was Mexican, dad Irish so she can speak Spanish.
This one covered about 4 months and ends with Christmas, 9 months after the first day. The newly established community begins to organise themselves b...moreThis one covered about 4 months and ends with Christmas, 9 months after the first day. The newly established community begins to organise themselves by electing a mayor, searching for supplies, rescuing survivors giving rise to more POVs, and attempting to expand their living quarters to include the hotel. This is interrupted by a crime, attempted rape, on which everyone has an opinion on how to judge and punish the perpetrator but the decision is taken out of the peoples’ hands when an unknown vigilante takes action. Having to deal with those who completely abandoned their humanity meant more tough decisions had to be made, doing previously unethical and criminal acts in order to do protect the majority. The old adage “the needs of the few outway the needs of the many” came to mind. I loved all of this. They really were “fighting to survive”.
Fertility as a theme makes an appearance in both the lives of our Thelma and Louise as (view spoiler)[Katie tries for a baby and Jenni reveals she can't have any more children due to her husband forcing her get sterilised. Yet another reason to hate the bastard. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I’ll admit right now: I couldn’t stop myself from reading the ending. I needed reassurance that the people I’d grown to respect and care for would sur...moreI’ll admit right now: I couldn’t stop myself from reading the ending. I needed reassurance that the people I’d grown to respect and care for would survive. Of course, not everyone did. In fact, my favourite character had died. I was devastated so I put the book down until recently when I gathered my courage and soldiered through. There are many deaths from differing causes: a common one was suicide (committed for varying reasons) which was sometimes preferable to the alternative.
The diverse nature of the population of survivors created much conflict. They were of differing ethnicities, religions, morals and sexuality. I loved this aspect. Intolerance and political (and social class) aspirations and the resulting manipulations were the source of many problems the survivors had to contend with. The thinning of the veil between the living and the dead was understandable when there were more corpses than living, breathing people.
My Favourite Bits The discussion of whether a zombie was male or female until we see their naked groin. Ick. Ick. Ick. The head in a flower pot. Using toasters to decapitate the dead.
Overall This was a brilliant trilogy showcasing the very best and worst that humanity has to offer. Every character has a unique personality. I cheered when they triumphed, grieved the losses of life and felt frustration at conflicts and failures. I was happy when new loves were found and sad when they felt guilty for surviving and living their lives when their loved ones were dead. However, survival meant that even good people did things that logically may be wrong but in the fight to live and breathe and protect those you love makes these acts were justifiable. Despite emotional breakdowns and moments of weakness I admired the strength and resourcefulness of them all, although a couple of characters had crazy on their side (like Calhoun) and we learn that they weren’t as crazy or as paranoid as we first believed. Even the loonies proved they were useful and needed.
Every aspect of society were represented: the old and the young, the disabled, politicians, the social classes, disaster relief agencies, the criminal justice system, the military as well as personal characteristics: the selfless, the honourable, the brave and the weak, and the list goes on.
All of this makes me I wonder how I would do their situation. Would I commit suicide? Would I seek safety in numbers or be a loner? How selfless would I be? Could I sacrifice myself for others? I don’t know.
I laughed and I cried throughout this trilogy. It all felt so real. I highly recommend everyone with a strong stomach to read these books so they can experience this vivid reality for themselves.(less)
I laughed and laughed and laughed through this one. Some may not appreciate MacAlister's brand of humour and her tendency to write fluffy light reads...moreI laughed and laughed and laughed through this one. Some may not appreciate MacAlister's brand of humour and her tendency to write fluffy light reads but I enjoyed this immensely.
There's a great cast of characters and despite this being a historical romance, Noble's son, 10 year old Nick stole the show. Such an amazing child. And it was Gillian's accepting and loving attitude, her willingness to include him on nearly all of her adventures and her steadfast refusal to be parted from him helped Nick let it all out. I cried when he did. I loved both of them in that moment. Her quirky nature helped her understand her step-son in a way that few others would.
Gillian's a mess though. Her curiosity and over-excited approach to life leads to much trouble. So many accidents. Always her fault. Lots of eye-rolling from me on this but in an affectionate "here we go again" way. She just doesn't understand why she can't speak her mind or do what she wants to do, like check out that pretty blue vase over there. Ooh, I wonder what it feels like. Why is my hand wet? Argh, blue paint. Oops. Is that a handprint on my dress? *facepalm* She doesn't like to pretend. What you see is what you get with her. Her motto should be Carpe Diem because she always lives up to it. And she gets what she wants because of it.
Noble, you poor bastard. Not many men would put up with a wife who cavorts with their enemies and disobeys him at every turn. Who occasionally knocks him unconscious or has tea with his former mistresses (which is not done by the way. It's just not done!). His anger and rages over this frighten the staff into covering for her and providing distractions because they've fallen for her just as he comes to in the end.
Noble was damanged just as his son was by his former wife and Gillian was the perfect cure. She didn't care that he was branded a wife-murderer by society, she didn't believe he was capable of such a thing. She had faith in him. She wasn't prim and proper -the kind of girl he sought but she brought life and happiness to his dark and depressing life. When he thought she was being manipulative and purposely cruel she was in fact desperately trying to help him, fighting to save the future of their marriage, their family's future. Solving the mystery he couldn't (who murdered his last wife) after 5 years of trying. You go girl!
This book would be nothing without the servants. My god, they're good. Tremayne #1, Tremayne #2, Tremayne #3 -Gillian's names for the triplets that worked for Noble, who never stop fighting amongst themselves. They took to her like ducks to water. Crouch, the "pirate" butler with a hook for a hand whose penchant for Cockney rhyming slang was excellent.
Speaking of language, in this it was used to perfect effect. The dialogue in particular. There are long conversations -all dialogue and absolutely no narrative. Sometimes two going on at once between different people, that are crafted in such a way that you could easily follow and always know who was talking without being told. I admire that kind of ability.
And what would the book be without the humour? Wow. Discovering a naked Noble tied to a bed staring up at his achingly beautiful wife trying not to get a hard-on in front of his shocked son while his wife bends over revealing cleavage, looks at his crotch and declares his penis broken (she's never seen it soft). Oh, look it twitched. Maybe it's not broken. ROTFLMAO!
Noble Intentions is my favourite MacAlister book to date. I've only read her Aisling Grey series but this surpasses those. Definitely a future re-read.(less)
Perhaps it doesn't deserve 1 star but I really didn't enjoy this. Admittedly I like my romance with paranormal elements and this was me dipping my toe...morePerhaps it doesn't deserve 1 star but I really didn't enjoy this. Admittedly I like my romance with paranormal elements and this was me dipping my toes in contemporary but the pace was slow to the point where it felt like it was never-ending but mostly I felt this was forgettable because it wasn't original. There were some funny moments like the man-thong incident but it's also quite sad and depressing which I wasn't expecting and probably wasn't in the mood for.(less)
Although not much happened in this short story prequel it was plenty entertaining and reminded me of the events in 13 to Life in time for the release...moreAlthough not much happened in this short story prequel it was plenty entertaining and reminded me of the events in 13 to Life in time for the release of the sequel Secrets and Shadows next month.(less)
A short story prequel involving a spell that goes awry turning teddy bears into bloodthirsty killers. Not much to it really but figured I'd warm up to...moreA short story prequel involving a spell that goes awry turning teddy bears into bloodthirsty killers. Not much to it really but figured I'd warm up to Kimber in the book although when I tried to read the prologue and first chapter of Glimmerglass that was included I didn't get very far. It's based on an entirely different and unrelated protagonist with a dysfunctional mother. I have no interest in reading that whatsoever.(less)
A simple yet well-written story with enough background and quirky elements to entice me to head over to Amazon and immediately download Forsaken. Unti...moreA simple yet well-written story with enough background and quirky elements to entice me to head over to Amazon and immediately download Forsaken. Until I saw the words "love square" in the reviews. No. I'm not going there. I'll wait for the sequel's reviews to let me know whether it's safe to continue. It's a shame because it has potential. It reminded me of Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan adventures.(less)
This was an accidental download (thank god it was free!) as I was browsing on my phone which I checked out to see what it was like before deleting but...moreThis was an accidental download (thank god it was free!) as I was browsing on my phone which I checked out to see what it was like before deleting but continued to read instead. I was sucked in. ("Oh it's going to be 4 stars at least!")
A third in and I was tiring of the amazing writing style that had me reading in the first place. It was quirky and journalistic (both William and the author are journalists) that has you smirking and laughing as you nod your head in agreement with whatever calamity has just befallen this poor couple. This style meant the tone of the book remained the same throughout which led to it becoming monotonous. For a short article this would be fine but not for a novel.("Maybe 3 stars?")
William and Isobel face numerous challenges as they settle into married life including besotted best friends (Alex's unrequited love for Isobel) and crazy stalker ex-f*ck buddies (Saskia who mistakes herself for an ex-girlfriend).
Later, I became exasperated with the Alex situation and later the Saskia problem. (view spoiler)[It was obvious Alex was more of an evil mastermind than William thought. How could he know the things he did otherwise? (hide spoiler)] I predicted the ending but not the way in which previously evil characters turned around, apologised and sobbed their way into becoming the architects for a happy ending. ("Oh dear, 2 stars.")
Being from the UK and a regular visitor to the London setting helped me understand the humour. I related to and sympathised with these aspects but I wouldn't say that this book has international appeal because there are too many references to British culture and it's icons, for instance the Ann Widdecombe sex gears gag. Not many people are going to know who she is without reaching out to Google for help.
Basically this book is a string of amusing observations, most of which are common anecdotal stereotypes. However, there are some absolutely hilarious ones which made this worth reading but I doubt I'll buy the sequel William's Progress: Another (sleepless) Horror Story, which plays on the ending of this one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)