Arcanum 101 Even though this came out decades after the first Diana Tregarde novel, it's a prequel so I read this first. Having just finished ChildrenArcanum 101 Even though this came out decades after the first Diana Tregarde novel, it's a prequel so I read this first. Having just finished Children of the Night, I see a big difference in both Lackey's writing (it's definitely better) and in some continuity holes. Mostly minor, but for one thing, in this she calls her grandmother "Memaw" and in CotN, "Granny." She goes to college in Boston, at Harvard no less, in the short story and Connecticut is the only place mentioned in CotN. With the exception for a minor mention of Itzaak in the full-length book, none of the others featured in Arcanum 101 are in it, so apparently they were just created for the short story, which is a major bummer because I liked them better than the ones in CotN.
Okay onto an actual review...
While there's a bit of a slower start, introducing Diana and the others, I quite liked the pace. It felt natural and didn't bore me, which is a surprise in itself. Diana is much more likable here and has a strength of character and practical nature that appeals to me. The characters and plot kept the momentum going and if this wasn't a series that had already been written, I would have liked to see the universe expanded upon. Some of the characters didn't get fully fleshed out but just enough to make they feel like they were needed in some way. The plot was interesting, though the ending hasty but serviceable. A good story and introduction that also works fine as a standalone. 3.5 stars
Drums A decent short story with some interesting ideas, especially the American Indian beliefs and mythology. I doubt I'll remember it much in a week, but it was overall enjoyable. 3 stars
Ghost in the Machine I loved the idea of this story and it was very well-paced and plotted. While this could be dated with computers and gaming, I believe most of it stands up well. In a way Ellen seems to be Diana Tregarde 2.0, she's more believeable and interesting; she doesn't seem perfect. this would be a very cool series, too bad it probably won't happen. 4.25 stars...more
A very odd mix of stories that feature a harvest moon and only the first by Lackey fits the cover, of which makes me think of fairies and moonbeams. OvA very odd mix of stories that feature a harvest moon and only the first by Lackey fits the cover, of which makes me think of fairies and moonbeams. Overall: 3.5 stars
A Tangled Web by Mercedes Lackey (Light Fantasy) A retelling of the Greek myth pertaining to Persephone and Hades, with some added Norse mythology. A cute story, if a little thin on actual plot. I'll probably forget it by next week. 2.5 stars/5
Cast in Moonlight by Michelle Sagara (Fantasy/Urban Fantasy hybrid) Fascinating mythology and world-building, intriguing characters and races. If I hadn't already been interested in reading the Chronicles of Elantra series, this would have done it. Pretty much a perfect story that stands alone quite well. 5 stars
Retribution by Cameron Haley (Urban Fantasy) A solid short story dealing with a sorcerer and enforcer for a mob boss. Has some interesting ideas and is a promising beginning to a new series. While it does have cursing, it feels authentic and fits the scenes and characters. This is definitely not a story for the faint of heart. 3 stars...more
Book Review I had heard about this feud soon after it started, so when news that a book was coming out I had to read it. C'mon, zombies and unicorns, tBook Review I had heard about this feud soon after it started, so when news that a book was coming out I had to read it. C'mon, zombies and unicorns, this is a combination I couldn't miss out on. After a lackluster and disappointing start, with many stories I didn't like at all, I was starting to think I'd have a hard time finishing the book, even with the different authors. It wasn't until The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson on page 147 that the stories picked up and I ended up enjoying the rest, though my enjoyment deviated from okay to great. The "arguments" between editors Holly Black (Team Unicorn) and Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie) were usually quite amusing, though they themselves don't contribute to the book. I, for one, would have liked to have read their takes on their chosen teams.
I'm not going to review each story individually, but list them with my (very) basic impression of the story. The book has varying degrees of gore, cursing, sexual innuendo and references, bestiality (you read that right, but it's more referred to than shown, thank goodness), suicide, and other violent acts.
Stories (in order of appearance): *The Highest Justice by Garth Nix (Marked as a unicorn story, this is actually both unicorn and zombie. A decent story.) *Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Zombie. Did not care for this at all) *Purity Test by Naomi Novik (Unicorn. Didn't hate this story, but wasn't fond of it either) *Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan (Zombie. Didn't like.) *A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan (Unicorn. Also wasn't fond of.) *The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson (Zombie. Rather twisted, but so am I, so I enjoyed it.) *The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund (Unicorn. My favorite story in the anthology.) *Inoculata by Scott Westerfield (Zombie. Pretty good.) *Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot (Unicorn. Very tongue-in-cheek, I liked this story a lot.) *Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare (Zombie. Interesting world created here. Definitely passed my likability test.) *The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey (Unicorn. An okay story.) *Prom Night by Libba Bray (Zombie. Second favorite of the book and very close to a tie with Peterfreund's tale.)
The unicorn stories went in many different directions, with all sorts of unicorns, while most of the zombie stories stayed where you would expect them and had typical zombies, though there were a few surprises still in store. I went into this as Team Zombie, and while my favorite was a unicorn story, I still firmly remain with the shamblers. Overall, I ended up enjoying the majority of the book, so if you're interested in zombies, unicorns, or especially both, pick this up for an interesting assortment of stories. 3.5 stars for the print version
Audio Review This unabridged CD set includes ten discs, which average a little over one story each, though generally there is one whole story bookended by the end of one preceding it and the start of another afterward that will continue onto the next disc. They have very short chapters, generally less than a minute and I could tell when each chapter ended and the next began, which didn't make for totally smooth listening but it also wasn't too bad either. I would have rather have had longer chapters that had a clearer starting and stopping point to make it easier to find my place again. Most of the readers, both male and female, sound fairly young, which makes sense since this is a YA anthology, but the majority also sounded as if they were reading to school children, which makes for annoying listening. I found most of the voices grating and unfortunately none of them are named for me to be more specific. However, the one male was fine and the woman who did Diana Peterfreund was good and I believe she also narrated one or two others in the book. The use of sound effects break up stories, a groan that also says "brains" for zombies and trumpets and a horse whinny for unicorns. Immediately after is the intro from the editors with their ongoing debate that became increasingly irritating as I read on; this may have to do with how they performed those discussions. As written word, these exchanges are far more entertaining. For the most part, I really didn't enjoy listening to this and much prefer reading it in print. 2 stars for audio...more
The title implies that the story told within the pages is about Sleeping Beauty, it's not. While that fairy tale plays a small part, it's not really wThe title implies that the story told within the pages is about Sleeping Beauty, it's not. While that fairy tale plays a small part, it's not really what the book is about. Featuring many fairy tales and mythical references, a tournament with diverse quests, and of course, magic, THE SLEEPING BEAUTY's main characters are Lily, the Godmother of the kingdom of Eltaria, Rosamund, the princess, and Siegfried, the Norse-like warrior "prince". Of all the characters, Siegfried is the one I got to know the best, who I liked the most, and was fully fleshed out, while Rosamund was flat with no personality; I honestly didn't care what happened to her. Lily was a promising character at the beginning, then she was almost abandoned, her personality lost, and thrown in here and there until the end, which is a shame.
The story was okay, it had its ups and downs. Sometimes it dragged, other times it kept at a brisk pace. Often the humor fell flat but there were a few smile-worthy moments. The "evil" was never fully explained and I never understood why the bad guy did what he did. As for the final confrontation, there didn't seem much to be overcome and it was over in almost an instant. I would have hoped for more of a bang instead of a whimper. The ending itself was pretty much how many people would expect a fairy tale to end, but it was too hurried and too confusing for me. The book is an enjoyable, light afternoon read, but one I'm likely to forget about. Not my favorite of the series by far....more
Yeah, I didn't finish this; great ideas but boringly executed and with two storylines held together by a thread so thin, it's nearly invisible. Pages rYeah, I didn't finish this; great ideas but boringly executed and with two storylines held together by a thread so thin, it's nearly invisible. Pages read: 261/408...more
I'm not going to write an in-depth review, but here are the book highlights for me:
Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick - Except for the basic concept, thiI'm not going to write an in-depth review, but here are the book highlights for me:
Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick - Except for the basic concept, this is unrelated to her Esther Diamond series. Very creative and clever, my third favorite of the book.
A Death in the Working by Debra Doyle - About one-third to half the story is footnotes. Intriguing world and premise but I would recommend either reading the story first, then the footnotes or the other way around. Otherwise the footnotes interfere with the flow of the story.
Overrush by Laura Anne Gilman - I haven't read her Retrievers series, this story features the same cast, so I'll definitely try it out after reading this.
Au Purr by Esther Friesner - In my top two favorites of the book. Very well-done and interesting. Wish it was a series but from what research I did, it isn't.
Getting the Chair by Keith R.A. DeCandido - A bit nonsensical and silly, but that's why I liked it. A fun read even if some sentences were confusing due to their structure.
Grey Eminence by Mercedes Lackey - No murder, not really a mystery, so it doesn't fit into this anthology as well as the others but I don't care. They saved the best, and longest, story for last. Captivating and wonderful, I loved every bit of it and want more. :)
The Afterword - Yes, that's right, the afterword was good too.
There were a few other stories I liked (The Case of the Headless Corpse, Cold Case, Murder Entailed, Dropping Hints), but the rest were either just okay or I didn't like them at all. 3.5 stars
What do you get when you cross a down-on-his-luck private eye, a randy elf, a femme feline, a miniature horse, and a whole host of other oddball charaWhat do you get when you cross a down-on-his-luck private eye, a randy elf, a femme feline, a miniature horse, and a whole host of other oddball characters? Well, if you answered, "The book this review is about, you dolt," or something to that effect, then congratulations, you are right (and slightly hurtful). You get a gold star.
Stalking the Unicorn instantly had me hooked with the appealing characters, interesting plot, and tongue-in-cheek humor. The story flowed well and at a nice, clipped pace for a good part of the book. Unfortunately, it fizzled out a little bit nearer the end and lost some of my interest. I think too much was revealed too soon and the book probably could have lost around thirty pages. However, the plot picked back up some of its steam at the end, which saved the book from being three stars. Altogether, this is an easy and fun read that's a good starter to a series, and which I look forward to the next installments. If you like absurd humor, zany dialogue, detective work, and an urban fantasy setting all mixed into one big stew, than you'll probably enjoy this book.
Fun fact: Mike Resnick is the father of author Laura Resnick. I picked both of their books up about the same time without realizing it until after I had read her first Esther Diamond book. :)...more
What could have been interesting, wasn't. What could have been unique, failed. What showed promise, wasn't there. Too bad.
Seeing as this is classifiedWhat could have been interesting, wasn't. What could have been unique, failed. What showed promise, wasn't there. Too bad.
Seeing as this is classified as paranormal romance (instead of what I originally thought was urban fantasy), it might be nice if the main two characters were at least a little likable. Nope, sorry to say, this ain't the case. Ayla is boring, unsympathetic, uninteresting, vapid, gullible, weak-willed, slow on the uptake, need I go on? Malachi is also boring, uninteresting, and slow, but he has the addition of sounding like a robot. Sounds like a winning match, eh? Clearly, these two wooden creatures are made for each other. The secondary characters served their purpose: Mabb, your typical baddie; Garret, Mabb's brother and hopeful usurper, he was almost interesting, but he suffered from the same thing his sister did, cliche; and Keller, who was the only character (or anything really) in the whole book that showed a spark of life.
The pace of the book was plodding. I lost interest every other page if I was lucky. The descriptions are seriously lacking and almost everything is boring, boring, boring. I never quite saw what the purpose of vampires and werewolves served in the book. Maybe they play a bigger role in the next two books, otherwise they're pointless and don't make sense in this world. Speaking of the universe, what the author created, while not altogether original, could have been awesome instead of vague and confusing. A real missed opportunity.
My advice: skip it. Read at your own risk of falling asleep. ...more
An interesting book, but rather chaotic, which may be what the author had in mind. Sometimes I had no clue what was going on, and that wasn't helped bAn interesting book, but rather chaotic, which may be what the author had in mind. Sometimes I had no clue what was going on, and that wasn't helped by some boring and/or confusing explanations. I'll probably pick up the next book that I see features new main characters. That might help my enjoyment of the story, as Kaye was touch and go for me. Overall, a bit flawed, but generally entertaining....more
Wow. That's about all I can think of to sum up my thoughts. Rosemary and Rue is a knock-out debut of what looks to be a fantastic series. The protagonWow. That's about all I can think of to sum up my thoughts. Rosemary and Rue is a knock-out debut of what looks to be a fantastic series. The protagonist, October (Toby), is interesting, tough yet still fragile, sympathetic, and her character as a whole seems so realistic. The plot and mystery held my interest and I never fully grasped the truth, I pretty much found out when Toby did, and I respect an author who can do that without everything coming out of left field. The ending was melancholy, but perfectly done. The more I think about this book, the more impressed I am; there isn't one thing I would change (although I would like to know where I could get a rose goblin ;P). This secret world of faeries is well-developed, completely fascinating, and very different from other urban fantasy series, I can barely wait to see what the next book brings.
An aside: I appreciate the pronunciation guide at the front, it came in handy whenever I forgot how Cait or Luidgaeg were pronounced....more
In today's society, it's refreshing to read about a girl who actually wants to make something of herself and break barriers along the way. So even thoIn today's society, it's refreshing to read about a girl who actually wants to make something of herself and break barriers along the way. So even though the book couldn't hold my attention for about the first seventy pages, once it hit that seventy-first page, the story zoomed along from there and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Granny Weatherwax was a force to behold, can't wait to meet up with her in the future. ...more