Dead Ice begins with one of the most disturbing developments yet in the Anita Blake series - LKH reveals that her long-time editor is retiring. This iDead Ice begins with one of the most disturbing developments yet in the Anita Blake series - LKH reveals that her long-time editor is retiring. This is shocking, because most of us were unaware that there was any editing involved in these books at all. My personal favorite example of the editing in this volume? Page 75 - “I don’t remember the last time you [Jean-Claude] kissed my hand.” I do; it was on page 59 - “He [J-C] laid a light kiss on each of my hands and then a firmer kiss on my mouth.” Do I get a check to help me retire early, too?
As for the actual plot of the book, LKH resurrects more already-dead past storylines than Anita does zombies. Dominga Salvador (remember her from book 2?) is back, or at least someone related to her. We stare at the genitals of Narcissus, the hermaphroditic werehyena from book 10 in the series. Rafael the Rat King gets a brief storyline (that ends up getting dropped entirely midstream). Unlike Anita’s zombies, however, the dead storylines stay pretty unconvincing and lifeless. The book is structured as follows: 10% setting up disturbing zombie porn police scenario, 80% detailed but ultimately pointless conversations with assorted lovers, friends and enemies that end up going nowhere, and then 10% resolving disturbing zombie porn police scenario.
Just to give you a taste of the drama that goes on in the 80% of the book: The media has gone gaga for Anita and Jean-Claude’s engagement, because of the amazing grand gesture JC made for the public announcement. This grand public spectacle consisted of...a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. A dopey tourist ride that hasn’t been original since several centuries before Jean-Claude became a vampire. Pretty mind-blowing, right? But maybe everyone is so entranced because of the fact that Jean-Claude is becoming measurably, metaphysically sexier, and Anita sees this as a problem, for some reason. This is a real plot point in the book.
Not to worry though...Anita has her own stuff going on. Their jeweler compares her looks to Helen of Troy, and the jeweler is apparently old enough to have known Helen in person. HELEN. OF TROY. And yet Anita still whines about how she feels like a clumsy peasant compared to Jean Claude’s king, or a “3” compared to his “twenty bazillion.” She “puts up” with the fact that people treat her AS IF she is attractive, but still can’t accept it, because her stepmother and one guy she dated one time a long time ago said she wasn’t. But she still makes time to bitches about other women who are insecure about their looks and relationships. This is still amazingly tiresome to read about. [By the way, extra editing points for specifically crediting the person who came up with a name for the jewelry store involved here in the introduction for the book, and then never actually using the name of the jewelry store in the book.]
Anita’s necromancy powers are increasing, also. No reason given for the uptick in power, or for why Anita is surprised that pouring all of her power into one zombie makes for a really powerful zombie, when she already knows that she can raise and control hundreds at once. There’s just a long, pointless section about zombies eating at Denny’s (really), and then Anita shrugging it all off to think about another time because she has to go start 86 other conversations and squabbles with people and then never resolve them.
Plus, she has this case she’s sort of working on. Once again, her contributions are stunning and impressive. For example, she notices a calendar in the background of a video, and how there are different months in different videos. Because apparently every good detective knows that you can’t fake the passage of time in a video by using a wall calendar. That’s why hostage negotiators are always asking for proof of life in the form of the victim holding a wall calendar, and not something easily faked like a dated copy of a major newspaper, or something.
However, all that is pretty much irrelevant, because eventually Anita just touches a computer screen and prays to God to let her talk to the zombie on the other side of the live chat, and God lets her, because he really didn’t have anything better to be doing at the moment. I mean...a literal deus ex machina. From there, it’s pretty much all over, aside from some digressions about workouts and weight room set up and the family background of a random Asian SWAT guy who has green eyes, in the middle of a hostage crisis in a graveyard, because Anita is never too busy to have a pointless and boring conversation. The improbable bad guy is taken out, the good guys conclude that they have no idea how he did what he did or why he did it, and no one really tries to find out, because they have to get back to discussing polyamory some more...at least until the next time someone needs Anita to talk to God through a computer screen while looking like Helen of Troy and riding in a carriage, while Jean-Claude sexies all over everyone and sixty other men trail them chanting “tight and wet! Tight and wet!” in praise of Anita’s vagina. ...more
This novella is almost 100% about Jason and Anita setting up and then conducting a sex session that is supposed to include Jason, Anita, Nathanial, JaThis novella is almost 100% about Jason and Anita setting up and then conducting a sex session that is supposed to include Jason, Anita, Nathanial, Jason's girlfriend J.J., and Anita's sort-of girlfriend Jade. The first half of the book is the negotiations for this session, which exceed in scope and detail anything the United Nations has ever attempted. I know Laurell is endlessly fascinated by her own polyamorous life, but as far as I can tell it requires 3.6 million times more talking about having sex than actually having sex, and it sounds exhausting. On the other hand, you do spend paragraphs at a time on highly relevant and character-developing details such as what kinds of tea are available in the cupboard, and which are in loose-leaf as opposed to bag form, and the temperatures at which various people prefer their coffee. Between that and everyone's minutely-described height, hair and eye color, musculature, and bone structure, what else could you need to know about anyone? The second half of the book is the group having sex. The salient points that come out of this are (a) someone reminds Anita that she is both tight and wet, (b) Anita wants to break up with Jade because she is a bummer and not because she is homophobic at all, which is apparently something that needs a lot of clarifying, and (c) Anita thinks that lady parts smell more like beef than fish. I don't recall Anita ever opining on what meats the guys she performs oral sex on smell like.
Oh, and the whole thing starts with a quote from Joseph Campbell, because apparently Laurell has no one on her team to tell her that perhaps highlighting the words of someone whose writing style doesn't immediately make people want to scratch their eyes out in frustration and horror might not be the best strategy. ...more
This is sort of like a less-successful print version of the Showtime series "Penny Dreadful." It's set in an alternate history/steampunk Victorian LonThis is sort of like a less-successful print version of the Showtime series "Penny Dreadful." It's set in an alternate history/steampunk Victorian London, populated by a variety of monsters (both human and...less human) taken from popular horror literature of the time period. The descriptions can be quite lovely, but it never really grabbed me, being a little rushed in the plot and a little trite and expected in its "twists." And, of course, it ends on a cliff-hanger (which, I suppose, could be an homage to the original penny dreadful tradition, but is unsatisfying in a book, nonetheless). ...more
Yet another magical universe for the Ilona Andrews husband/wife author team, with different magical rules and consequences. Their great female heroineYet another magical universe for the Ilona Andrews husband/wife author team, with different magical rules and consequences. Their great female heroines are a constant in each of their series, and I appreciate that. I also like the eccentric families that surround the characters in both this series and the Edge books (family in the Kate Daniels books is...a little more complicated). Another thing that stays the same, though, is the One True Alpha Male Romantic Lead across all of the series. Him, I'm less fond of. They're always a little over the top, for my tastes. They're all so very manly that people on the streets literally either run away from them or stare with their mouths open, overcome by such a supremely manly presence, and they're all pretty much jerks to women (except our heroines, eventually, because they are DIFFERENT), and they really don't do much for me. ...more
More of a 2.5, but I rounded up because I love Carey. It was an enjoyable series, overall, but didn't stick the landing. The climactic battle was resoMore of a 2.5, but I rounded up because I love Carey. It was an enjoyable series, overall, but didn't stick the landing. The climactic battle was resolved with a strangely literal deus ex machina that seemed rushed and left more questions than it answered (nor will they be answered, since this is the end of the series), and the resolution of the love triangle was even more abrupt and unsatisfying. ...more
OK, but seriously soooo much about the babies, and whether to have them. You can pretty much recreate the experience of this book by beating yourselfOK, but seriously soooo much about the babies, and whether to have them. You can pretty much recreate the experience of this book by beating yourself over the head with a baby. Or a horse. Or a baby horse. ...more
Love the intricate Welsh mythology that shapes this series. Love the heroine. Love the slow build between Olivia and Gabe, and the hot relationship wiLove the intricate Welsh mythology that shapes this series. Love the heroine. Love the slow build between Olivia and Gabe, and the hot relationship with the biker in the meantime. Looking forward to seeing how the mystery plays out!...more
2.5 stars. I will give Kim Harrison credit for devising a happy ending for all of her characters. It was pretty clear that this was not one of those s2.5 stars. I will give Kim Harrison credit for devising a happy ending for all of her characters. It was pretty clear that this was not one of those series where the author has a clear end goal in mind from the very start. This was more of a free-for-all, so the fact that it was brought to a conclusion at all is something of an accomplishment. However, the ending was supremely silly, so points deducted for that. With so much to accomplish to grind everything to an end, you'd think there would have been less time to spend on Rachel hating herself and calling herself unworthy of everyone in her life, but you would be mistaken. There is still way too much time spent on self-loathing, and way too little spent on thinking through the mechanics of how everyone in this world and the ever after will be saved, and also too little spent on hot Rachel-on-Trent action. Also unexplained : (view spoiler)[how Jenks and his offspring are all still alive 20 years in the future. He's just...there. Have we just taken to doing the spell to make them all big every now and again so they can live forever, or what's the deal with that? Also, is he still living at the church that is his property? Did it get rebuilt after being destroyed? (hide spoiler)]...more
3.5 stars. Seanan McGuire takes the same meticulous research and innovative blending of traditions she has used to such success with fairy and folk ta3.5 stars. Seanan McGuire takes the same meticulous research and innovative blending of traditions she has used to such success with fairy and folk tales, and applies it to creating a world of ghost culture. I really liked the world-building here, but the story seemed a little disjointed. It also left me with the immediate need to get to a diner for a (veggie) burger, fries, and a shake! ...more
This is one of those series you read for the journey, not the destination, because there are no real surprises along the way. You can pretty much seeThis is one of those series you read for the journey, not the destination, because there are no real surprises along the way. You can pretty much see what is coming from the first book, but Mead manages to keep your attention anyway, which is no small feat. My main quibble with the series comes from the unnecessary and relentless slut-shaming that runs through the whole thing. A whole group of people is written off as "blood whores," for the grave sin of, apparently, having sex that is enjoyable and having children out of wedlock - children that are absolutely required and depended on by the entire society. And yet, no one thinks anything of completely dismissing them as worthwhile people throughout the whole series. Even Rose, who has some time to get to know Dimitri's family and see their lives up close, still falls back pretty quickly into dismissing them and their choices as soon as she leaves again.
Also on the subject of sex, I would really like to retire the YA trope of "as soon as you have sex with a guy, something terrible is bound to happen next." Buffy did it, Divergent did it, every horror movie ever does it...it's a little tiresome and predictable. And I know this is a YA book and the author is writing for that audience, but I don't think it does anyone any favors when sex occurs, but the characters will only say that it was "too magical for words." Well, no it isn't. There are many words to describe it, the author/character is simply choosing not to use them. And that's fine. If the author/character wants to draw a veil for the sake of privacy/propriety, that's one thing. But again, I don't think imbuing sex with this mystic, "it is unknowable until you do it" quality does teenaged girls any favors, either. Either tell it straight, or say "I'm not going to tell you." ...more