I'm feeling a little like Switzerland when it comes to this book, neutral. I'm neither loving or disliking it. It's a middle of the road kind of read...moreI'm feeling a little like Switzerland when it comes to this book, neutral. I'm neither loving or disliking it. It's a middle of the road kind of read for me. Yep, totally sitting on the fence with this one and using as many cliche metaphors as possible. Perhaps, I'm getting numb to the redundancy of YA genre books, but as much as I want to say more -- there really isn't anything new to see here. As the synopsis states, you get an outcast girl who happens to be intriguingly beautiful (I know, this is so weird, right?) who discovers she has powers and attracts a forbidden handsome beau. It's fate, destiny or in this case prophecy. A little bit of Buffy meets Twilight with a snowboarding scene. I'm afraid nothing was heart-grabbing, eye-catching or thrilling, but also it wasn't terrible. This one just lingered in the realm of mediocracy the entire way through for me. Bloodspell is like a dish that will fill you up, but not be a memorable dining experience. You know, it's safe, like ordering the chicken breast with green beans when you really want the chipotle steak topped with refried black bean sauce and forbidden sour cream with a fat side slice of cornbread. Who's hungry?(less)
I must admit that after reading this barely-a-novel (considering it's only 150 pages), I had to go back and re-read the claim that it was a, "#1 Chris...moreI must admit that after reading this barely-a-novel (considering it's only 150 pages), I had to go back and re-read the claim that it was a, "#1 Christmas Bestseller in Vampire Romance, Paranormal and Fantasy," at Amazon. My guess is it was downloaded for free when it debuted. However, to the book's credit, it does have many reviews posted. But here's the deal, I'd be hesitant to take the #1 claim and number of reviews as absolute indicators. I'm sure they are accurate to some degree, but perhaps the representation is pushing the boundaries a bit? I've never pointed this out in a review before, but this one has me wincing a bit.
What's the problem, you ask? First of all, whoa, slow-down, eager beaver. How about some development and foreplay before we get kidnapped, enslaved and fall for a hot guy in another world! The entire plotting is just too darn fast. It lacks structural maturity and thus, despite the horrific and what should be terrifying events, this reader didn't have time to attach or care very much about what was happening. I'm not suggesting filling in pages with mindless details or purple prose, but work on really characterizing. The thematic stitch of humanization is being thread through the story line, but the characters (humans) really aren't projected to match the theme, which is rather important if you want the audience to care about any of them. The idea of humanization verses de-humanization is intriguing, but the opportunity to strength this is neglected by super sonic pacing.
I don't like throwing punches, but here it goes. Although the story pitch is an interesting concept, and it does feel like it is still in the conceptional phase, A Shade of Vampire straddles the Twilight cliches. Unfortunately, using this reference is also getting tiresome. Vampire falls in love with human and wants to save her virginity and humanity. Not such a bad idea, as long as an original spin can be put on it. I'm open to the notion, but this falls short for me. Also, considering the rapid fire speed at which these two spark into devoted loyalty --well, frankly it's annoying. I get the whole 'drawn-to-each-other' romantic thing, but this borders on the absurd.
Given the length of the novel, I think there is a great opportunity to go back and enrich it. Really dive into the characters and breathe more into them to build the tension of the book. As is, they could all die and I wouldn't blink. There is a good base here that needs to be further flushed out and examined. Really work the theme, think about the layers, and build upon more than just some easy world-building of the Shade/Vale (which should be Veil?), unless we're in Colorado. That's my advice, but Hell, what do I know? Apparently, hundreds of readers think it is just fine as-is.(less)
Kali is a grounded, female character that has resigned to her uncommon life and the inevitable isolation that comes with it. Despite her predatory ski...moreKali is a grounded, female character that has resigned to her uncommon life and the inevitable isolation that comes with it. Despite her predatory skills and strength, she is vulnerable, which softens her character, making her incredibly likable. She can kick-butt, but experiences all the same teen-angst insecurities that 'normal' kids go through. This characterization detail keeps her planted in the here and now even when the supernatural threatens to take this science-fiction, paranormal mystery to strange, unimaginable places. Every Other Day is a great example of how to cement the abstract into reality making it credible. Joss Whedon did this with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I see similarities or possible influences in this particular story. Buffy fans will enjoy Jennifer Lynn Barnes characters and style. I know I did! I have no idea of any of the conceptual ideas are scientifically viable, but due to the writing delivery, it certainly was believable. I could give over to the story and sink into the world of Kali and her friends. The ending leaves the reader wanting more and I'm looking forward to the sequel. This is a great young adult book that puts an inspiring tweak on some overdone paranormal concepts and creatures.(less)
I know what you’re probably thinking, not another vampire story about immortality and love! Once a fan of the vampire lore, I’ve come to loathe each n...moreI know what you’re probably thinking, not another vampire story about immortality and love! Once a fan of the vampire lore, I’ve come to loathe each new release because of the over and poorly done books flooding the market. However, I’m not completely jaded and I’m glad I gave Taker a chance to seduce me back into the underworld. The story alternates between past and present combining modern with historical fiction. A spin on immortality, or how it came about for these characters, adds a fresh twist that is interesting and captivating. Author Alma Katsu establishes her own style combining fairy tale lore with an Anne Rice like voice providing the story with an old school vamp feel that made me grin and turn page after lovely page. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not redundant or copied by any means, but if you prefer tradition with a turn, you’ll enjoy reading Taker.(less)
This is a story of origins. It is a story of values, environmental concerns, beliefs, politics, pharmaceuticals, and fitting in to a society. It addre...moreThis is a story of origins. It is a story of values, environmental concerns, beliefs, politics, pharmaceuticals, and fitting in to a society. It addresses important issues about what it's like to be marginalized. Although some themes are heavier than others, it is inspiring to read a vampire story with concrete weight. I read this book over a rainy Sunday afternoon and finished it in the wee hours of the night. I simply didn't want to put it down. It was an easy read, but with issues that made me ponder. After considering what made this vampire story better than others, I decided it was because of the humanization of the vampires. Normally, I would think this to be a flaw, but in this story, it worked to capture my interest and also, my sympathies.
I recommend first reading The Society of S before tackling this book. Otherwise, many will feel lost, disconnected and wonder exactly what they missed in the early pages of this book. Fortunately, I did not get too frustrated and keep reading because it was well worth it. However, I did feel lost in the beginning and expended a great deal of brain power trying to put pieces together and keep characters straight. A lot of names are dropped in the early pages with the understanding that the reader already knows who these people are, circumstances and past events that surround the characters. (less)
I actually gave the book 3.5 stars, but GR won't let me add the half :).
Given the recent popularity of vampire tales, it is challenging to come up wi...moreI actually gave the book 3.5 stars, but GR won't let me add the half :).
Given the recent popularity of vampire tales, it is challenging to come up with something original. This story is a mixture of old vampire lore with a new twist that most stories either avoid, or hesitate to offer any explanation for because the unknown is typically the allure. Why do vampires exist and where did they come from? This question is as old as the vampire itself. Maze does not shy away from providing an answer, but rather tackles it head on and gives the reader a POV that might satisfy those with similar religious beliefs. Just as the main character is clear about her convictions, the author also makes it equally clear about where and why these creatures exist. Secondarily, an undercurrent theme appears and I found it way more intriguing than those dealing with religion. In the story, humans are compared to cows and rabbits, both food sources. In our world cows are milked, and in the story, humans are bled for nourishment. They are nothing more than farm animals, and some characters even resemble domestic pets. This is an interesting concept and got me thinking about our own perception of the food chain and consumption. What is moral and immoral when it comes to feeding on living things or their by-products?
This story adheres to a religious POV and if the reader is either not prepared for it, or simply does not agree with the general inferences or beliefs, then they will be in for a very bumpy ride. Because of this, audiences will either be alienated or confirmed. It leaves little room for interpretation or alternative possibilities. Generalizations about gender and sexuality are implied as well as attitudes towards homosexuality. At first, I thought perhaps something progressive was happening, but the deeper I got into the story, the more I realized that certain behaviors and lifestyles were associated with evil concepts. Although this might not be problematic for some readers, I think others might be offended. I'm actually rather surprised that the story hasn't taken more hits from critics because this is one of those books that if it agrees with your own personal morals and beliefs, the reader will love it -- but if it doesn't, they will despise it and say so. Honestly, I've never seen so many 5 star ratings for a book with such a strong religious view and coupled with vampires, it is staggering to think that hardly anyone disagrees. I'm all for having a religious POV when it comes to subject matter, I'm just shocked it hasn't been met by more debate. Either readers are timid to confront this, or as I suspect, the book is primarily appealing to a certain corner of the readership. In addition, I need more personal conflict and fight from the main character, Beth Rider. I understand that she truly puts her faith in God, but given the situation, I can not help but image some weakness should have arisen -- I wanted to see more cracks in her exterior so when she did come to her final decision, it would be more powerful. She is the only person who does not have an epiphany or change. At some point, I guess I needed to see her question her religious beliefs (just a hint) so I could witness her true strength. I wanted to experience this, so I could also see or relate to her as 'human.'(less)
A fast paced guilty pleasure that kept me reading and excited about what was coming next. I loved the historical setting coupled with the folklore and...moreA fast paced guilty pleasure that kept me reading and excited about what was coming next. I loved the historical setting coupled with the folklore and superstition spun into this erotic story. The voice and dialogue was consistent and nicely used which strengthened the quality and enjoyment. The supernatural is grounded and flows with the plot line. A sexy book great to snuggle up with at bedtime or read to relax on vacation. It is for mature adults and has some explicit sexual scenes.
I was hoping for so much more. It is smart and well researched book, but it left me empty and unsatisfied. I just wasn't invested in the characters. I...moreI was hoping for so much more. It is smart and well researched book, but it left me empty and unsatisfied. I just wasn't invested in the characters. I expected something more riveting especially from such a dark and delicious subject as the mysterious Dracula. (less)