I haven't really finished it - because of the moving I had to return it to the library. I liked it enough to entertain the thought of picking it up frI haven't really finished it - because of the moving I had to return it to the library. I liked it enough to entertain the thought of picking it up from another library some time in the future and finishing it, and not enough to need to finish it as soon as possible. I moved on, literally and figuratively. But, not a bad book, by all means. If you loved the first one, you'll enjoy this one as well....more
I liked it a lot, but I expected to like it much more. Unreasonable expectations? May be.
It is strange – reading a book everyone around read long agoI liked it a lot, but I expected to like it much more. Unreasonable expectations? May be.
It is strange – reading a book everyone around read long ago and loves. Well, it is never every one really, but enough to pick up the general attitude.
War for the Oaks is a wonderful book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, plus it is the urban fantasy, which at this point is my favorite subgenre.
But there were “buts”. ;)
The heroine is a great fun. It is hard not to like Eddie – but this is the problem, too. Why is she so lovable, where are her shortcomings? She doesn’t leave an impression of a Mary Sue, but she doesn’t feel to me like a real person. She is just a little bit unbelievably cool. Or am I too critical?
The plot itself seems rather predictable – or every plot after certain amount of books read seems so? I can’t say what will happen, but I can guess what kind of event will happen and how it all will work with great certainty. It is not always a bad thing – I absolutely loved the whole development of love between Eddie and the phouka, and even though I could guess, it didn’t spoil the fun.
Oh, and the phouka is beyond adorable. ;)
On the other hand, I quite loved Willy as well – he possess two qualities that I value: desire to learn and curiosity and the ability to change. That’s why I was didn’t like that he died – he just started to change – and I would love to see the progress.
His death brought me thoughts about the characters’ death in general. The death in fiction is always happens by the author’s design, even if the author is following the story and its demands. How the death in fiction may be written (filmed) so it wouldn’t feel contrived? Sometimes it happens – death doesn’t necessarily feels natural, but I don’t think about author, I think about characters, and sometimes I keep thinking about the author, and what the authors means by it – which create the impression of the death for the sake of plot, not the natural part of the story.
For the positive example I can refer to The Sandman – there we enjoy Death’s company ;)
The clothes are described with amazing precision, and the eighties’ clothes sound so funny!
The music is confusing, too. I wish I could hear it – the music on paper is too complicated, it is something I cannot quite imagine, and for the most of the book I felt the characters are speaking a strange language that I should have understood but cannot. ...more
I have very mixed feelings about it. It is the type of quirky fantasy with a bit of romance that I should fall in love with. I didn't, and I feel uncoI have very mixed feelings about it. It is the type of quirky fantasy with a bit of romance that I should fall in love with. I didn't, and I feel uncomfortable about it, as it failed me even though it didn't owe me anything, but I am still annoyed.
1)a strong sense of deja-vu made me realize that the heroine, Alexia, is a brain twin of Amelia Peabody (of Elizabeth Peters' Egyptology mysteries.) The Britishness, the proud spinsterhood (that don't survive the end of the first book), the sharp mind, the assertiveness, the lack of conventional beauty... I adore Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson, but I am not sure how many of her I need for my enjoyment. It has just occurred to me that both Amelia Peabody and Alexia are literary descendants of brilliant Marian Halcombe of Woman in White. Now, that's one lady whose adventures I'd love to follow...
Alexia and Lord Maccon work together as a romantic pair, but they felt to me kind of “meh”. They are probably the homage to Peabody and Emerson, but I feel that they are clones, and I'd rather re-read “Crocodile on the Sandbank” by Elizabeth Peters in the fifth time.
2)My major gripe is with the soul stuff. The book is called “Soulless”, and I kind of expected more exploration of the matter. What is the soul, what does it mean in that Universe? It is said that Alexia doesn't have a soul, which she was told at 6, and she read Greek philosophers to acquaint herself with the moral implications of that fact. But the thing is – it all falls empty, a tantalizing promise that never gets fulfilled. Alexia has a pronounced effect on supernatural beings, an effect that is attributed to her lack of soul. Except this is the only effect, and I reasonably suspect that either the soul here is something different from I am used to consider it, or the basic theories of her world are wrong, and Alexia does indeed have a soul, and her soulless effect is caused by something else. It might be explored further in the next books, but I was waiting for more soul stuff from the book that is called Soulless. After all, it would have been interesting whether good manners can be a person's moral compass. How love would look like without the soul in that world? What is the soul, anyway? Those are all questions I asked myself when I picked up the book, but I didn't find them – not even the questions themselves there.
3)Reading went much slower than I expected, and at the culmination I was frankly bored. Not a good sign.
4)I love omnipresent point of view and the narrator's voice separate from the author and the characters, being reasonably old-fashioned and raised on 18-19 century novels. I applaud the return of the narrator to modern stories, even if it is done to simulate the old time feel. But. But there is one giant difficulty: I need to love that narrator and don't want to smack it. Here so far it feels too twee, and I mostly grow annoyed. I still hope to befriend it as soon as I get used to the tone.
5)What did I like? I liked the world, the atmosphere, the new and different take on vampires and werewolves, and their effect on human history and politics. I liked the scientific ideas of the supernatural. The world, of course, pretty much didn't exist beyond British Isles and North America, but that goes with the mores of the time, and a topic for the following books, anyway. I wrote previously that I was tired of vampires, and I still am, but I wasn't here. The ecology of supernatural beings among humans was very different and very interesting from what we are used to.
So, when all is said and done, my resume is that it is why it fails for me personally, I can recommend it for my friends, or for any lover of romance and Victorian fantasy. I won't guaranteed that you fall in love with it – I didn't, but it is a glimpse into a curious world. I will be checking out the second book as soon as I dog through my immediate to-read pile.
I loved the dragons and their world – strange and different, and amazing, and makes the kind of sense that is not our sense. It also has a beautiful fI loved the dragons and their world – strange and different, and amazing, and makes the kind of sense that is not our sense. It also has a beautiful flow, making it a perfect comfort read story....more
I was reading Robin McKinley’s Sherwood Outlaws and started thinking what the legend means to me.
I couldn't get into the book – even though I like theI was reading Robin McKinley’s Sherwood Outlaws and started thinking what the legend means to me.
I couldn't get into the book – even though I like the characters (this incarnations of them) and the writing, they seem to be behind a glass wall that I couldn't break, and didn’t want to. I cannot start to care – and this feels to be of crucial importance in fiction for me lately. I don’t have to like everybody and everything in a book, but at least something must pull me into – even if it is a description of a sea, or beautiful style, or fancy ideas. Here it was nothing of the sort, and the only thing that elicit emotions was the marginalia on a page splattered with something brownish: “It is blood. Don’t lick it”.
I thought that may be the case is in the legend itself? That I grew disenchanted with Robin Hood and his merry band? I used to love the story and its heroes and heroines. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was always sure about the continuous existence of Robin Hood, Marion, Little John, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gizborne and others in the Sherwood forest and around. They add something to the world, some important tiny bit.
Why not to read a novel about them? I cannot say that the interpretation is too contrary to what I imagine – or any other interpretation, because I just don’t really imagine them at all. I have a vague picture that changes when I change or when my mood change. Robin can be young or grown man, blond or black-haired, bearded or not, asshole or sweetie or both, of gentle birth or of common, just a robber or an idealist – none of it ever sits in stone. Same with Marion (though I like her more when she is not a damsel in distress) and everyone else. I probably have a more definite image of Friar Tuck – he is short and round, good with his staff, optimistic, and the only monastic vow he takes seriously is the one of poverty.
But maybe that was the reason – I prefer my vague image to the detailed and rooted in the time and place version. Plus I always get annoyed when Richard the Lionheart came and resolved the matter. Because he would never do that. But I got even more annoyed when he took all the band with him to Holy Land – even though that's what he would definitely do. But Robin Hood cannot be outside of England! There mere idea of it destroys the Universe as we know it. ...more
The Perilous Gard I loved without reservations, and I cannot find anything there that I wish would be different. It is not the best book ever, but asThe Perilous Gard I loved without reservations, and I cannot find anything there that I wish would be different. It is not the best book ever, but as it is, it is just right.
The language flows smoothly, occasionally reminding us that it happens in XVI century, and not in XX with a certain turn of phrase, or a word naming something we don’t have a use for, but never descending into ElizabethanSpeak. I can – with difficulty –read actual Elizabethan prose, but have no patience for nowadays remakes – even the closest to authentic. Elizabeth Marie Pope sets the time with just enough historical details and just right linguistic means.
The characters – main and secondary – are imperfect, but interesting. The main characters are adorkable and squishy. I mean they made me care about their doings and cheer for them and smack them with the herring in some cases.
The Fairies are interesting and believable. Well, as believable as fairies can possibly be. I loved that Kate is trying to find a reasonable explanations for their doings and I loved even more that her explanation is as close to reasonable as possible. I was in a good kind of shock learning that they really do live in caves and hollows of the hill, not in a magical land or any kind of wonderful palaces. It made sense – as their pride in that way of living. Lady inspires curiosity and awe and animosity and sadness at the same time.
And finally I would like to note the perfect mood in the book – just dark enough with the sparkles and the lightness that is coming from the characters themselves....more
It got me immediately when the characters started discussing Hegel - and then it was getting better and better: main characters I love, revolutionaryIt got me immediately when the characters started discussing Hegel - and then it was getting better and better: main characters I love, revolutionary underground, mystery and intrigue, Engels (actually as a character in the action), more Hegel with Kant and Hume, and the lovely XIX-century epistolary style.
The genre is impossible to define - it is not fantasy, not really a historical fiction or a philosophy textbook... But then, probably all really good book defy the strict genre definitions.
Reading about Engels - as the regular character - seems kind of strange. They (I rarely can think of him in singular, without Marx attached as a Siamese brain-twin, even though I read each of them separately) feel like an older relative - that you know were young and did what all humans do, but never think about it. they are way too memorial. And this is one of reasons I enjoy seeing Engels there so much.
The main characters (Susan, Kitty, James and Richard) are delightful, and I savor every moment with them, too. They are far from perfect - they have their quirks and vices and secrets, and they can be difficult, but they are never annoying and flat. ...more
I loved this book, and what I liked the most was the same I liked in all Huff's books I read: cool and likable characters, snappy dialogue, vivid imagI loved this book, and what I liked the most was the same I liked in all Huff's books I read: cool and likable characters, snappy dialogue, vivid imagery and sharp details. Details make me relate to the world Huff's characters live in and feel quite at home - whether it was mentions of some Canadian realities, brands or problems, or pop culture ones (like Joss Whedon and World of Warcraft).
So, what is about? A young woman that inherits a junk shop in Calgary from her grandmother, her gigantic magical family, her insanely powerful aunties that rule the family and would be ruling the world if they were not too nice for it 9so they just make the world to accommodate to their wishes), her cousins, her lovers (mostly the same cousins), her love, her growing up, dragon princes, fate of the world in one Canadian city, and everything else in between. The scene with hunting evil monkey paw through the shop reminds me powerfully of some mummy hand scene, and it is also a bonus in my opinion.
There is a system of magic that we don't get a full picture or detailed explanations, just glimpses - the females' roles and powers are divided by their maiden/mother/crone status, men are literally AND figuratively horny, and there is sex. It sounds cheesy and may turn someone away, but in the story it made perfect sense to me.
The story is finished, but I hope Tanya Huff will return to this family and the rest of the characters. There are a lot of fun cousins to write about. And then, of course, there are dragon princes - gorgeous, powerful, bored, clueless... I'd love to see more of them, too....more
I am currently reading it, so it is an interim review. No spoilers, but the book is both fascinating and tiresome. I really want to like it, but I havI am currently reading it, so it is an interim review. No spoilers, but the book is both fascinating and tiresome. I really want to like it, but I have to make myself read and I am not sure whether it's worth it....more