The Soul Screamers series is certainly different from the mainstream.
Kaylee has a powerful urge to scream every time she comes across someone who is...moreThe Soul Screamers series is certainly different from the mainstream.
Kaylee has a powerful urge to scream every time she comes across someone who is about to die, it only stops when she either puts some distance between her and them or when that person finally dies. She knows she's not crazy but she covers up the truth by stating that she has panic-attacks. She doesn't know why she has this ability or why the most popular boy in school is now interested in her and frankly neither did I until about half way through the book.
Nash and Kaylee's attraction seemed to be down to their secret shared heritage and teenage hormones and not much else. Nash's sudden personality change when it came to Kaylee was odd considering how he treated numerous other girls so I understood why Kaylee at the end was questioning how long it would take for Nash to get bored and move on.
Kaylee's family keeping her in the dark for so long was not only dangerous but damaging to her. Encouraging her to think that she's crazy instead of revealing who and what she is was cruel.
The revelation of Nash and Tod's connection was unexpected but made sense. The idea of the reapers reminded me of the TV show Dead Like Me but with master lists of those to die instead of just post-it notes!
What I couldn't quite understand was Aunt Val's motivation for doing what she did. How was she going to get what she wanted by making that deal? Maybe I missed that part or maybe she was just deluding herself into thinking that what she wanted was even possible, who knows? We all know that Faustian deals are just wrong, wrong, wrong - they never end well.
I read the prequel My Soul to Lose first and this straight after, I recommend that others read the prequel first too because it highlights the seriousness of Kaylee's situation and her family's reaction to it.
Overall I was pretty impressed with the originality of the story but there did feel like there was something missing, I'm not sure what it was, I can't put my finger on it otherwise I would give this 5 stars.
I've enjoyed Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan/Hollows series and decided to try out her YA book. Madison is very much like Rachel, things just seem to hap...moreI've enjoyed Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan/Hollows series and decided to try out her YA book. Madison is very much like Rachel, things just seem to happen to her. When Grace came on the scene I instantly thought of Jenks with her funny limericks, her naughty deeds and pixie-like stature.
The premise sort of reminded me of a TV programme called Dead Like Me but this book was slightly more complicated. Reapers are angels of death who are given amulets which give them magical abilities by human timekeepers, who also give them times and location of those whose lives are about to be cut short. The dark reapers serve the seraphs (heavenly beings) who believe that people who are destined to make the wrong choices which have a major negative impact on other lives should be killed. Dark reapers do the killing by using black wings (creepy wraith things that look like crows) to find their victims and their sword which is connected to their amulet. On the flip side, light reapers serve a light timekeeper and believe that human choice is paramount so they try to prevent the dark reapers from reaping these souls. They believe the seraphs are all about fate and are killing people before they've even done anything wrong - reminds me of Minority Report .
There is some YA cheese but I really enjoyed the ending with Ron, Nikita, Barnabus and the seraph.
It's a fast-paced, short read. I think the next instalment on Madison's life (or death) will be even better than the first. At least I haven't got long to wait, only two months and some change. (less)
I'm not going to spoil the story for you but there are plenty of good bits, in fact I noted down my favourite pages to do with Chloe and Derek: 125, 2...moreI'm not going to spoil the story for you but there are plenty of good bits, in fact I noted down my favourite pages to do with Chloe and Derek: 125, 225, 242, 292, 371-2 and 390. The part in the woods with the werewolves was excellent, my eyes were glued to the pages. I love how Chloe and Derek are determined to protect each other at great risk to their own lives.
This may be a young adult trilogy but it didn't always feel like it, in a good way of course. Derek calling Chloe on her mistakes and challenging her to do better, and her accepting her own faults was very grown up, most adults have trouble with this.
One of my favourite quotes from page 291-2:
"When I got mad about you leaving," he said, "it wasn't because I thought it was stupid or I don't think you'd be careful." "You were just worrying about me." An exhale, relieved that I understood. "Yeah." I turned. "Because you think I'm worth it." He put his fingers under my chin. "I absolutely think you're worth it." "But you don't think you are." His mouth opened. Shut. "That's what this is about, Derek. You won't let us worry about you because you don't think you're worth it. But I do. I absolutely do."
I've enjoyed this trilogy immensely. I love how Chloe has grown during these three books which only covers days/weeks. Even Derek has grown. I'm glad Simon finally made a sacrifice for his brother, after all the times Derek has protected and sacrificed for him.
The story still feels unfinished with a lot of threads still hanging and secrets left unaired, that sort of thing but I understand Chloe, Derek & co will make an appearance in the next trilogy which starts with The Gathering.(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.
An interesting beginning to the Soul Screamers series. I really felt the fear of being perceived as crazy. Vincent really instilled a sense of claustr...moreAn interesting beginning to the Soul Screamers series. I really felt the fear of being perceived as crazy. Vincent really instilled a sense of claustrophobia in the hospital, being there and being sane as Kaylee was would send anyone over the edge. I was really curious as to what happened to Lydia and how she was able to do what she did. I guess we will never know.(less)
Let's start positive. I loved the Netherworld with it's distorted space and time in relation to the human world it's tethered to. The scary things lik...moreLet's start positive. I loved the Netherworld with it's distorted space and time in relation to the human world it's tethered to. The scary things like the literal "blades of grass" and the fiends were inventive. The evil soul-stealing Dekker Media reminded me of Disney with the insane amount of control they have over their stars. Seeing more of Tod and his life before his death was a real bonus, his character really interested me in the first book.
I disliked Kaylee's goody-goody act. Over and over again we had hear how she couldn't let those poor souls suffer, OK well get on with saving them then!
I'm liking Nash a little more due to his protective nature though that isn't really explained, does he like/love Kaylee? We never hear any declarations or what he likes about her, just how much he wants her physically. Also Nash isn't very interesting, I prefer Tod at least I can say things about his character. He's honest, forthright, caring and I can say that he respects Kaylee and the decisions she makes. I noticed he made some sort of comment about Kaylee being ready to be alone with Nash, which reminded me of how many girls Nash had slept with, is she going to just another notch on his bedpost?
Overall this one was harder to get into, the characters seem a little shallow with no real character development which meant I didn't really feel close to any of them except maybe Tod. However the creative qualities of the Netherworld and Dekker Media really held my interest. (less)
For some reason I'm not really into this series but certain scenes throughout are worth the effort. Those scenes in this one were between Nash and Kay...moreFor some reason I'm not really into this series but certain scenes throughout are worth the effort. Those scenes in this one were between Nash and Kaylee after the big revelation. Their relationship gets complicated in a very bad way. I cheered when Tod punched Nash but if I'd have been Kaylee he would've received a good beating with my own two fists and feet. Not only was she lied to but she was betrayed in the most intimate of ways, and I despised her a little for leaving the door open for a possible reunion in the future. I could never do the same.
Tod has to be my favourite character. He gets all the best lines and does everything I'd love to do myself like knock Sophie out, something she's had coming for a long time. He's not perfect, sometimes he doesn't see things the way a normal person would but his heart's always in the right place especially when it comes to Kaylee. He's always protecting her and trying to defend her honour. It's a shame they're not interested in each other romantically, I guess he'll only ever be a big brother.
Vincent isn't afraid to tackle the tough topics but sometimes I think she explains things down to a very basic level, which you usually see in children's books instead of YA so perhaps she underestimates her audience's ability to understand her line of thinking but otherwise this was another easy read. 3.5 stars.(less)
I started off reading the book and listening to the audio at the same time but the narrator, Ms. Monotone put me off so I gave up on her and relied on...moreI started off reading the book and listening to the audio at the same time but the narrator, Ms. Monotone put me off so I gave up on her and relied on my own inner voice as I read the rest of the book by myself.
The first half was pretty interesting but at 51% I'd guessed the main murderer and the motive. After that, the book was no longer as interesting as I waited to be proved right or wrong. The violent attempts on Harper's life kept me reading but if it hadn't been for those the rest might've dragged. In the end, I was disappointed to be proved right in my guess.
However, Harper's background with her difficult childhood and family situation together with her intelligent observations and reactions to how others treat her as well as her determination to not be damaged by them, are the reason why I'm awarding this 3 stars instead of 2.
Her relationship with her brother is an odd one and is explained by Tolliver's observation:
"You need to stop reading mysteries for a while. Or get a new sidekick." "Sidekick?" "Yeah, if you're the brilliant sleuth, I must be the slightly denser but brilliant-in-my-own-way sidekick, right?" "Yes, Watson." "More like Sharona." "That'd make me Monk?" "If the shoe fits."
Monk is a TV show in which Sharona is Monk's nurse, handler and personal assistant all rolled into one. Harper was hurt by Tolliver's evaluation of his role in her life because it was a little too close to the truth but just because she was extremely vulnerable without him she managed to survive when she was physically attacked. She fought back with gusto and refused to back down to a pack of teenage bullies surrounding her. I admired Harper for this. She could easily play the role of a typical victim, persecuted for her natural talent for detecting the dead, their names and cause of death after being struck by lightning.
Tolliver, on the other hand, I couldn't get a complete grasp on him. I wasn't enamoured with him at all despite his obvious caring and protectiveness towards his step-sister. They live difficult lives on the road and I sympathised with their way of life, their erratic and depressing sex lives and just a general lack of genuine friends and family whom they can turn to in a crisis.
Overall, the mystery wasn't quite as mysterious as it first appeared but the characterisation and observations of the leading lady made up for this.
In comparison to Harris' other paranormal series, Sookie Stackhouse, this has a much more serious tone and a darker outlook on the realities of life.
I have the next two in the series so I will continue reading.(less)
A brilliant first chapter and an intriguing concept but this book just didn't do it for me. The story dragged and became never-ending. The outcome was...moreA brilliant first chapter and an intriguing concept but this book just didn't do it for me. The story dragged and became never-ending. The outcome was completely predictable. The body count was HUGE. If I had to read this again I'd be tallying the number of bodies.
The blame game grew tiresome. Evy and Wyatt were both victims of manipulation so none of what takes place is their fault but they keep blaming themselves and each other until I just wanted to slap them.
Untangling the conspiracy was confusing, the characters went round and round in circles until I didn't know what they were talking about but then I all ready knew who the bad guy was so it didn't matter so much to me.
There wasn't much depth to any of the characters except maybe Evy and if you asked me what Wyatt looked like I could only tell you that he has onyx coloured eyes.
A couple of times I believe the author was struck with writer's block and had to figure out how to move the story on and get her characters out of captivity. The ending was awkward but necessary in order to have the happy ending that was needed after all of the death and destruction.
Overall, this struck me as a draft which needed the kinks steam-ironed out and the gloss to be applied before publication. (less)
After a slightly confusing debut, this sequel is more straightforward. Madison becomes more comfortable with her situation and those around her. As sh...moreAfter a slightly confusing debut, this sequel is more straightforward. Madison becomes more comfortable with her situation and those around her. As she does so she begins to realise what she wants and goes after it with everything she has, even when it seems impossible. You have to admire her for that.
Paul, the new Light Timekeeper, is an interesting addition and perhaps a future love interest for Madison.
For me this is four stars because it doesn't follow the run-of-the-mill YA guidelines for writing a teen book.
1. The romance although predictable was...moreFor me this is four stars because it doesn't follow the run-of-the-mill YA guidelines for writing a teen book.
1. The romance although predictable wasn't sappy or paper thin i.e. being in love for no reason. 2. Neither of the love birds was new to the town or school. They had in fact been friends for many years. 3. Neither of the heroine's parents was dead or missing-in-action. 4. The teen behaviour wasn't overly annoying, thank god.
Yes, the romance took on more importance and had more page time than the plot but that's typical in most YA books. Plus Derting also attempts to confuse us as to who the killer is, and just as we think it's all over, it isn't. I did guess who/what the killer was by the end but I didn't mind.
One thing I do mind though, is that this could happily remain a stand alone. There isn't a need for a sequel. I'm quite happy with how it ended. Please don't ruin a good thing.(less)
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)
Never have my Western morals, pre-conceptions and beliefs been more challenged than when reading Stiff. No one wants to consider their own mortality a...moreNever have my Western morals, pre-conceptions and beliefs been more challenged than when reading Stiff. No one wants to consider their own mortality and make any arrangements for the afterlives of their bodies. Being confronted with the cold hard reality of nature, science and history of death was an uncomfortable, disgusting and enlightening experience. Those of a delicate disposition and strong religious belief will find this a particularly difficult and offensive read. But honestly, they should suck it up and read it anyway, hopefully with an open mind. My views were unexpectedly changed on quite a few issues. Nothing was as clear-cut and simple as I assumed they would be.
I share Roach's feelings towards cadavers:
’Cadavers are our superheroes: They brave fire without flinching, withstand falls from tall buildings and head-on car crashes into walls. You can fire a gun at them or run a speedboat over their legs, and it will not faze them. Their heads can be removed with no deleterious effect. They can be in six places at once.’
Cadavers can be:
✺ Used to train doctors. Historically, and currently, controversial. I was surprised by how much respect is shown by students to their cadavers, and I can completely understand why they hold memorial services for them as an emotional outlet for how disturbing it is to injure and deliberately disfigure another (albeit dead) human being. Digital anatomy instruction and/or plastination (I’ll explain later) may replace the dissection of the dead.
✺ Stolen from their graves and sold to medical schools. Thousands of body-snatchers or Resurrectionists (hehe!) made a career out of it, including the infamous murderers, Burke and Hare.
✺ Sex objects, i.e. necrophilia. Self-explanatory, that, eh? *wink, wink*
✺ Used to study decay on body farms, where cadavers are placed in controlled conditions and left to decompose, returning at pre-determined intervals to examine the results, which can later be used to determine cause and time of death.
✺ Embalmed. The ultimate plastic surgery, turning the old youthful once again. Morticians actually have to paint wrinkles on the elderly so their relations can recognise them. Morticians sanitize the body, plug the orifices ("Will we be suturing the anus?") and replace the fluids with formaldehyde, a toxic preservative. Much the same is done with the language used to describe their ‘clients’. Wrinkles are ‘facial markings’, a stiff is the ‘decedent’.
✺ Used to test safety as crash test dummies, improving vehicle safety and ultimately saving lives as a result.
✺ Used to determine the cause of plane crashes. Not all wreckage is recoverable and sometimes only the dead can tell you how and why a plane crashed. This chapter was particularly interesting, detailing many facts about the aerospace industry you really don't want to know if you ever want to fly again.
✺ Used to prove or disprove Jesus's crucifixion. Forgive me, but I believe Dr. Pierre Babet was batshit crazy. To put it more mildly, fanatically religious, obsessed devoted to Catholicism, and didn't much care about the people whose limbs he was cutting off, for perhaps mild injuries, to further his quest for the ultimate, undeniable proof that Christ was wrapped in the, now defunct, Shroud of Turin in 1931. If he did indeed amputate healthy limbs, it was uncalled for. No lives were hanging in the balance. So, for once, I can, while reading this book, definitively say that I would be sickened if this was so.
✺ Used to test munitions, though it’s taboo. The purpose is to take lives in order save lives. Ballistics gelatine and animals are the more common targets. The shooting and blowing up of live pigs and other animals for the training of military doctors, is also controversial. But which would you prefer: dead soldiers and alive pigs, or alive soldiers and dead pigs? I think if you had family and friends in the armed forces you’d rather those pigs die. Honestly, I was horrified when I heard about this practice on the news and yet after reading this, I completely understand why it's necessary. If there were no guns or bombs, surgeons wouldn't need these skills in the first place.
✺ Organ donors. Beating-heart cadavers are brain-dead (i.e. legally dead). On the one hand, one person can save many lives. Alternatively, the actual process is quite upsetting. Organs are removed while the donor still has a pulse, including the heart, which is the last to be cut out, and continues to beat ominously afterwards, for a few minutes. Although gender can be discerned from an ECG by a heart surgeon as they beat slightly differently, contrary to popular belief, transplant recipients do not begin to exhibit traits of their donor’s. A wildly inaccurate myth.
✺ Used to experiment with new surgical techniques. Head transplants have been attempted, both with humans and animals. Real-life Frankenstein here, people. Both disturbing and grotesque. I’m not religious, but even I was throwing out words like ‘unnatural’ and ‘barbaric’ while reading the various experiments. Shockingly, a transplanted monkey head was responsive for a few days before it died. Yes, it’s most definitely cruel, though I took Roach’s point that if a way was found to reattach the spinal column/cord, paralysis could be a thing of the past. Still, this head will only ever know one body and will hopefully remain attached until body and brain are decomposing.
✺ Used for food, i.e. cannibalism. Alive aside, this practice generally isn’t acceptable in the West in current times, apart from the placenta. Historically, and in the East, almost every body part was ingested in the name of medicine. Chinese women used to cut off a body part and cook it for their mother-in-laws. Today, the Chinese still find aborted human foetuses a delicacy. I really want to judge them for this, but wild animals eat their dead. Nothing’s wasted. Personally, I’d be worried about kuru, the incurable degenerative neurological disorder contracted via cannibalism.
Roach details the options for your body after death:
(Click table to enlarge)
Plastination, developed by Gunther von Hagens (you may have been to one of his exhibits or seen one of his TV shows), seems rather gimmicky to me and possibly expensive, though Roach never says how much it costs. For me, the tissue digestion seems the most 'natural', but I won't be surprised if human compost becomes popular since Roach notes the interest of the general public, many investors and funeral corporations, especially in Scandinavia. However, in the final chapter, I was swayed by the argument that it should be up to those you've left behind to decide what happens to your corpse. Or at least a compromise on what you're all most comfortable with to avoid conflicting moral or religious belief. That's if you have that conversation at all. Many don't, at least not in any real detail.
But there's another possibility. Even if you choose a traditional burial, future archealogists may dig up your bones hundreds of years from now and decide to display them in museums around the world. Not much you can do about that. And as I said in the table, a number of cemeteries have been moved or built over, so "your final resting place" may not actually be your final resting place. And in a world with finite resources, including the ever-decreasing acres of land in the face of rampant population growth, showing no signs of slowing, this is the most likely scenario. Better to pick something more permanent, if you ask me, or your naked skeleton could be eyeballed by your descendants, without your permission.
Informed consent is a tricky thing. In ye olde times, doctors and students took advantage of the poor and while performing surgery on them, did a little unnecessary exploration resulting in 'gratuitous pelvic exams' and 'superfluous appendectomies'. Donated cadavers were so rare that body snatchers were more likely to steal the bodies of the poor because the rich had the money to employ thief prevention techniques. Today, people want to know what will be done to their bodies when they donate it to science, and we should have that right, but the reality is so off-putting that you won't be told. You can only specify what it can't be used for.
Roach really takes a sympathetic approach to those that work with cadavers. You can tell she had real difficulty in the first few chapters, coming to terms with her first-hand experiences with the decaying and dismantled dead. Her humour isn't particularly humorous in those moments, because she's clearly uncomfortable and doesn't quite know how to process or write about them. I sympathised. Reading it was discomfiting, being there ... I'm not sure I could've merely observed as Roach did, without running screaming or vomiting my breakfast, especially while smelling the foul stench of decay. I'm fairly certain I could never watch the removal of organs from the beating-heart cadaver. The way it's described, it's too much akin to killing someone, even though you know they're brain dead and will never wake up.
It's hard to be judgmental when the author presents a balanced view on all topics. My initial gut reaction regarding a few things was most definitely disgust and horror, but after Roach told the other side of the story, I found some tolerance and understanding beneath the abhorrence. So if you go in with an open mind, you'll be rewarded.
I urge everyone to read this book, and to seriously consider the issues therein. It may help you decide what you want to happen to your body after you die. Anything that makes a difficult decision a little easier, is a good thing.
An essential, thought-provoking and educational read.(less)
This is a charming little book filled with funny anecdotes, quotes, illustrations and facts about the ultimate rite of passage we all experience. It's...moreThis is a charming little book filled with funny anecdotes, quotes, illustrations and facts about the ultimate rite of passage we all experience. It's perfect for those quirky, weird people like myself who enjoys macabre humour, and has made me think hard about the way in which I (don't) want to die and what will (not) be done with my (hopefully) lifeless corpse.(less)
Well, this was different. In a good way, of course. Most books that use mythology tend to stick with the Greek and Roman pantheon, instead this focuse...moreWell, this was different. In a good way, of course. Most books that use mythology tend to stick with the Greek and Roman pantheon, instead this focuses on the Egyptian one. Let me just say that I love Ancient Egypt and it's mythology. I've been to Egypt, visited exhibits and so on so this was something I was eager to read.
Sins of the Heart follows Dagan Krayle, the eldest son of Seth, the Egyptian god of chaos. All of his 4 sons are Darksoul reapers -they reap the souls of evildoers and feed them to their father who consumes their energy, preventing them from having any sort of afterlife and any chance at reincarnation, effectively destroying them completely.
Dagan meets a 19 year old Roxy on a reap of a kidnapper and murderer. She's been kidnapped and is trying to escape. Dagan admires her courage and is tempted to release her though it goes against the rules when she sees him take the heart and soul he came for. He spots her necklace which is of the Daughters of Aset -the enemies of his father. He knows she isn't one of them yet but advises her to stay away from the unless she wants to become his enemy, and though she doesn't want that she feels she has no choice and joins them anyway.
Eleven years later, one of Dagan's brother's has been killed. Seth is furious, he wants vengeance and his son's body so that he can resurrect him and find out who murdered him. Everything points to the Daughters of Aset and in Dagan's investigation he finds a necklace of a dead woman which matches Roxy's and prays she's not dead. He goes searching for her hoping she's leading the normal life he wished for her on the day he broke the rules and let her go free.
There was a lot of world building in the first 200 pages or so which I appreciate but the romance did suffer a bit because of this. There was a brief scene between the Dae and Roxy where they met and then were reunited after those 200 pages so the romance had less time to blossom even though both Dae and Roxy were yearning for each other in the 11 years they were parted.
The plot was solid and interesting though at times a little complicated with 6 or more POVs but I understand why all of these were necessary. The mystery behind which god is backing the destruction of Seth and his kin is a difficult one to guess at with so many different factors involved.
This is a complex book which though confusing at times, I enjoyed. I will definitely be continuing the series very soon so I don't have time to forget anything. 3.5 stars.(less)
Lillie is a bitter woman used and abused by her husband and considered an outcaste by society which finds itself needing her to help with the increase...moreLillie is a bitter woman used and abused by her husband and considered an outcaste by society which finds itself needing her to help with the increase in ghostly activity which sometimes poses a risk to the living. When her husband dies in a car accident and his corpse comes back to kill her, somehow she's implicated in his death and has to find a way to exonerate herself as well as dodging further attempts on her life.
Lillie's bitterness colours her perspective. Her terrible experiences with her husband has her seeing men in a negative light. She's also incredibly suspicious of Thresher's interest in her because of her outcaste status as a Talent. Everyone avoids her except those that see her as a trophy lay, a walk on the wild side. And now that she's a widow she's even more attractive because we all know widows are in need of physical touch. She was a likeable character in need of a real friend that isn't afraid of her and can accept her as she is. Thresher seemed to fit the bill though I would've liked to have seen more of him.
In some ways, the Talents are similar to the Animators in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Both are capable of raising zombies although the opinions on this by the main characters from each series as well as the laws governing them are completely different.
Overall, I liked the plot and was surprised by the tense and scary, well-written showdown which I loved but as a woman also found quite unnerving. I also loved the gentle ending with Lillie and Thresher.
However, the beginning was undefined. I wasn't sure where the beginning was in fact and there was an information overload in an attempt at world-building which if I hadn't been intending to review this book I would've given up quite early on. Perhaps if there was a prologue or something, it would've been easier to take in all the facts. The writing was shaky to begin with but gradually improved. With some editing this could easily be a four-star read.(less)
Dear god, what have I read?! Horrific. Superficial Too Stupid To Live characters I don't care about, stumbling around blindly asking to be eaten.
Comed...moreDear god, what have I read?! Horrific. Superficial Too Stupid To Live characters I don't care about, stumbling around blindly asking to be eaten.
Having loved the show Married with Children I impulsively decided I would love this too. However, I'm wondering now whether "zombies" and "comedy" can ever be a good mix in the post-Carry On world, and in the absence of Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead totally pulls off the ZomRomCom). And perhaps with this book by marketing it as a comedy excuses the wafer-thin characters, the TSTL behaviour (e.g. checking out a potentially zombie-infested casino for the hell of it) and inappropriately timed arguments (while zombies are bearing down on you) about nothing in particular.
Um, where exactly was the romance? We meet Sarah and David on the brink of divorce as they attend their regularly scheduled marriage counseling appointment. David's demise from having a promising future to being an unemployed deadbeat husband and all-round slacker and Sarah's exhausted from having to work 6 days a week leads her to constantly criticise him and picking fights at every given opportunity, leaving them both deeply unhappy and wanting out of their marriage. Counselling wasn't helping until...they killed their therapist. After that they work together to kill (directly and indirectly) almost every human they come into contact with regardless of whether they happen to be infected. In doing this they come to see each other's positive attributes i.e. bravely killing everything in sight, appearing as heroes in each other's eyes. So again, where was the romance? One off-stage sex scene and...I can't remember if they ever kissed. Not good.
Were pretty cool actually. From bite to brain-eating, the incubation period is 10-25 minutes. Red eyes, strangely happy facial expressions, faster than the average human and the ability to continue simple repetitive actions, describe these zombies. Although there is the requisite gory imagery e.g. a legless undead dragging itself along the ground carrying a baby in it's mouth, it never truly hits home, the gut-wrenching horror of it all.
I hold Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies trilogy up as the epitome of all things zombie and while reading it I laughed, I cried and I added guns to my wishlist. That was terrifying but there was humour, too. A good balance. MWZ focuses too much on the humour and whilst funny, sometimes it was grossly overused and forced, at the detriment of the characters' intelligence and the graveness of the situation. It's the same with the swearing, I'm not opposed to the well-timed f-word when the world is going to hell and you could die at any moment but it shouldn't be repetitive.
After ogling this book for a while I'm disappointed it didn't live up to my expectations. I could've DNF'd at any point, my lack of affection for the couple left me uninterested in whether they lived or died but obviously they were never in any danger considering it's part of a series.
Despite a more complex plot and less wooden, more passionate and feisty characters than Circle of Fire and some improvements in the writing, Circle of...moreDespite a more complex plot and less wooden, more passionate and feisty characters than Circle of Fire and some improvements in the writing, Circle of Death still didn't grab me.
I think the problem is a distinct lack of background and history of the Damask Circle and its employees. Only the heroine, the main protagonist, has enough back-story to fully understand where she's coming from.
There's very little interaction between the small cast of characters other than with the main couple (who were far more likeable than Jon and Maddie of the previous book) so there was nothing to be intrigued by or excited about. At least Circle of Fire had the violently prejudiced cop brother-in-law. There was no such equivalent here to peak my interest.
Even though I didn't like the perhaps unintended sense of isolation (like the these handful of characters were the last people alive on earth) or the lack of depth and detail, I did enjoy Kirby's magic -the ability to manipulate the elements and Doyle's shapeshifting into a panther. The language used isn't as corny and the book itself reads more like a paranormal romance with actual romance in it this time. I'll definitely finish the trilogy but unfortunately it's not a keeper.(less)