**spoiler alert** I find myself thinking about this book at oddball moments, like this morning in the car on my way to work, and laughing. The author**spoiler alert** I find myself thinking about this book at oddball moments, like this morning in the car on my way to work, and laughing. The author made choices here that are just... bad. Or sad. Or maybe both. One of the most likable characters in this universe was a smart-alec 14 yr old girl with superpowers and a dark past. Moning really ruined things by fast-forwarding Dani's life and morphing her into a 20-something femme fatale called Jade. Dumb. The "Jade" character is dull. She fights! She's cold as ice! She's fearless! Guys get ah-ooga cartoon eyes when they see her! As if that's not enough, the author has one of the other main characters (whats-her-name, Mac) rhapsodize over "Jade's" beauty, her now-straight hair and nice boobs. When you first meet Jade she's stalking through the streets in stiletto heels, oiled legs and a short dress (the oiled legs make me snort-laugh even now). There's absolutely nothing of Dani left, and she was the only voice in this universe who seemed to have something original to say...
And the whole reason for this smashup is because Dani/Jade is destined to be some ancient guy's love interest, and it's creepy for Ryoden to have romantic interest in a 14 yr old. Not that aging her 5 years matters -- tell me again why any man who's been alive for thousands of years (there's a whole group of them here, they're cursed with immortality) would be enthralled by a 20 yr old? It's icky no matter how you do it. The 20-something thing kind of worked in the first series with Mac because you learn along the way that Mac isn't all that she seems -- not even she's aware of her own abilities and what's lurking in her brain, so it sort of makes sense. And the romance stuff comes at the end of the series. But Moning had to mess with that, too, rewriting some stuff from the earlier books to add to or edit that storyline. Again, no. Leave it alone.
Back to this book: Mac goes invisible and creeps around the club, spying on people, which is completely awkward. There's a whole subplot with the unseelie king that makes no sense. Then another character gets locked in a dungeon (essentially - it's really a very nice apartment) to learn how to control her powers, but you don't see anything happening there, she just disappears from the storyline and you check in on her to find she's meditating. There's a rescue attempt where Mac and Jade a some of the cursed guys go tooling around Europe in a Humvee with Jade lying attractively across their gear in the way back. (I can't stop laughing, sorry)
I don't have any idea where the author intends to go here, but I really don't think I care to find out. Originally Mac et al were interesting to read about as their world imploded and they had to figure out who they were and what kinds of choices they were going to make (a lot of moral stuff), but the focus has switched entirely to hair, makeup, and sex. Too bad. Dani was cool and this could've been a good YA crossover character/series....more
**spoiler alert** I received my copy free from the Booksellers Best Award committee, who asked me to read and review 5 fantasy romance novels. So my p**spoiler alert** I received my copy free from the Booksellers Best Award committee, who asked me to read and review 5 fantasy romance novels. So my perspective on this one was as a romance reader. I also read a lot of urban fantasy, so I'm familiar with both genres. I think there's a lot of potential here. My issues with the book were that:
1) it was the 2nd book in a trilogy or series, so there was a lot of catching up to do when it came to understanding the world the story was set in. It's pretty complicated, and full of cool ideas that I would've liked to see fleshed out more.
2) for a romance (which is why I'm reading it and why it was submitted), there was little-to-no sex, and the emotional connection between the hero and heroine seemed tenuous at best throughout the story. This may have been in part because it was the 2nd book in a larger arc, but their reasons for being together seemed shallow to me. Mackenzie is pretty insecure about some things, like her middle-class, rural midwestern upbringing vs. Josh's more sophisticated background and education. She's also not happy about being relegated to a desk job since it means she can't be his work partner anymore. Those things are understandable and well-detailed, but their reasons for being together are... fuzzy. Especially since he seems to want to have sex with her only to fuel up his magical batteries. They don't even really have a reunion scene showing the two of them together once the story wraps up.
3) there's a baby, rarely seen and watched over by a ghost when everyone's gone chasing bad guys. And there are a couple of good friends who seem to be a couple, but whom Mackenzie seems to be interested in for... more. A scene where she snuggles in bed with the two of them seemed oddly placed and didn't really make sense in the larger context of the story. Nothing happens, which makes it even odder in a way. Why set it up if it doesn't go anywhere? I didn't get that.
4) Mackenzie is a stereotypical good-girl-gone-bad-gone-good, she wears cool boots and carries a magical knife. She's supposed to be girly but not helpless, and yet she seems to need a lot of rescuing. She has a lot of growing up to do, which I guess gives her somewhere to go as the series moves along. Josh is more of a mystery -- you get a few very brief snatches from his point of view, and some info about him from what Mackenzie knows, but I never quite understood what motivated him.
Anyway, there were good things here. The characters were likeable and there's a lot of exploration to do in this parallel-to-modern-life universe. I liked the idea of warders (supernatural cops) and charmers (magicians) working together to police the demon population. I liked Mackenzie's background and the way her family and her past tied into why she does the dangerous work she's involved in. Once I'm done with my stack of review novels, I might go hunt down the others to see if this all makes more sense when read in order....more
What a lovely story - my favorite so far of all the Pratchett I've read. Heroine Daphne and Hero Mau, both brought up traditionally by their families,What a lovely story - my favorite so far of all the Pratchett I've read. Heroine Daphne and Hero Mau, both brought up traditionally by their families, have to find their own new way to be when confronted with disaster. ...more
In which Commander Vimes takes on international diplomacy... and Nobby and Fred discover underwater travel...
Sometimes Pratchett's plots are so uncomIn which Commander Vimes takes on international diplomacy... and Nobby and Fred discover underwater travel...
Sometimes Pratchett's plots are so uncomfortably close to the truth, it's kind of hard to laugh. But it's better to laugh than to cry, and in the Disc World misunderstandings are discovered and understood, and in the end everything is OK. ...more