Annja Creed is brought in by her police detective friend as a consultant on a murder that included a missing historical artifact. She starts followingAnnja Creed is brought in by her police detective friend as a consultant on a murder that included a missing historical artifact. She starts following the track of the small jade elephant from New York to Ukraine, Russia, Japan and finally Cambodia. Along the way, she is accompanied by a charming Russian mobster, and hunted by a Cambodian monk and a Portuguese billionaire with a super assassin.
I could have done without the fact that the detective has lost a fiancée, upped the romantic tension (sigh), and was almost insultingly protective considering his knowledge of Annja's history (at least she doesn't stand for that last part).
But if I was judging based just on the story, I would give this installment of the series four stars. But the sloppy editing knocked it down a star.
1) On one page, the other host of Annja's television show is called Kristie (the usual spelling), then Christie. Sloppy, and should have been caught. 2) In one sentence, the word tucked was used twice. Clunky writing, and the sentence could have been easily rephrased to avoid the duplication. 3) On arriving in Japan, Annja is greeted by the professor they are meeting as 'Creed-chan'. Seriously? Chan is what you call a child, a girlfriend, or someone you are implying is *far* below you. To quote one website, "The only women who are straight out called -chan by strangers are those who are there to 'entertain' their clients (sexually or otherwise) - such as 'club hostesses', 'maids' in anime cafes, and so on". He should have called her Creed-san.
By the time I hit the third item (and was incredibly insulted on the character's behalf), I was wondering if anyone actually *had* edited the book. A great pity, since I really enjoyed the story, especially the character Klykov. ...more
In a world where magic is governed by various heavenly bodies (if your magic is tied to a specific satellite, it is stronger when the body is ascendanIn a world where magic is governed by various heavenly bodies (if your magic is tied to a specific satellite, it is stronger when the body is ascendant, and fades away when it is descendant), the mysterious Oma is returning earlier than expected. This body last came around two thousand years earlier, bringing disaster and destruction with it. And now the rumblings are coming of an invasion from an alternate dimension
The Mirror Empire was a fascinating exercise in world-building. It took a while to get a handle of the environment (walking trees, riding bears and dogs, etc) and the political/religious setups (the Dhai follow a religious leader -- the Kai -- and ritualistically eat their dead, the Dorinah are ruled by and Empress, and men are basically kept in harems, weak and beautiful, and the Saiduan follow a Patron, who is replaced when someone kills him, which also leads to every one of his children and other family being killed as well).
I found it intriguing, but while I loved learning the world and the people, very few of the people were in any way likeable. I think my favorite character was Roh, but the focus character for most of the story, Lilia, annoyed me. She spent all her time saying she needs to keep a promise to her mother, which leads to her running around, agreeing to what others wanted, then immediately turning on them. I did not find her even vaguely sympathetic.
Reading this book reminded me, in a way, of Jo Clayton, who wrote fascinating SF with races, societies, and slang that she just dropped the reader into and let them figure it out for themselves instead of getting them grounded in the world.
Rating this book was difficult, since the world was excellent, the story was interesting, and the characters were almost uniformly unpleasant and hard to identify with....more
This week being Halloween, I decided to read a classic horror novel. It was a very interesting, short read, although by today`s standards, it barely cThis week being Halloween, I decided to read a classic horror novel. It was a very interesting, short read, although by today`s standards, it barely counts as horror. Instead it`s more of a psychological study.
Dr Montague has decided to study a haunted house for true psychic phenomemon. He scours public records to find people who might possibly have psychic tendancies. He invites a large number of them to join him for a summer in Hill House. Only two show up: Eleanor (our heroine), who is very fragile and may be the focus of a poltergeist, and Theodora, free-spirited possible psychic (and hinted at being lesbian). The owner of Hill House also insists that her n'er do well heir, Luke, also come.
They all arrive to find a house in which nothing is level or right-angled, watched over by Mr and Mrs Dudley who do everything to be as unwelcome as possible. Soon after their arrival, creepy things start happening, although no one is every in physical danger. Noises and writing on the walls, and doors that refuse to stay open are pretty much the extent of it. But the poetic language makes it all compellingly disturbing. Even when Mrs Montague (who is into yoga and seances and the like) shows up with a companion and adds some humour in her insistence of nuns buried alive (there's always nuns and monks when she's involved, apparently) remains almost completely oblivious to any true events, as does her gun-toting companion.
The main question of the story is whether the house is truely haunted, or whether it is the poltergeist activity that has been around Eleanor in the past. Based on her personal history, Eleanor is very fragile, and she begins to crack.
In the end, there is only one death in the entire novel, and no graphic violence. And yet, it had me on the edge of my seat the whole 182 pages.
Reading in Wikipedia, it sounds like the the 1963 movie is a nearly faithful adaptation, and sounds intriguing. The 1999 version ramped up the blood, as is usual for more modern horror movies. I may see if I can track down the 1963 version to watch. (I'm not sure why both movies insist on changing the name of the doctor, though)...more