I had high hopes for this one because in the last anthology I read at least half of the stories were really quite good. That one included Carrie RyanI had high hopes for this one because in the last anthology I read at least half of the stories were really quite good. That one included Carrie Ryan and Garth Nix as well. Unfortunately, even Ryan and Nix's stories weren't as good as I had hoped. Ryan's especially was nothing like her previous works even though I would definitely qualify them as apocalyptic.
I think the main thing was that they were largely depressing stories. There weren't very many with any hope in them at all. In dystopian novels, you at least tend to end with some measure of hope. The short stories, I guess don't give enough time for hope.
The stories have varying levels of violence, romance/sex and language. Some of them are ok for younger readers, but for the most part, I'd have to recommend this to above 15 year old kids because of the ones that do have a lot of violence, kissing, homosexuality (which always catches the eye of at least one conservative parent) and language....more
The story alternates between the near future where the two main characters are teens in high school. Peyton's dad is a bit of an End-of-Times nut, inThe story alternates between the near future where the two main characters are teens in high school. Peyton's dad is a bit of an End-of-Times nut, in a science sense rather than a religious sense, and Chris is a bit too nerdy to go out with Peyton. Things change. After the apocalypse everything is different, and the alternating chapters show you how they got that way. The twist at the end was a bit unexpected, but not really shocking enough to save the book.
The problem with this novel is that it goes a bit too far trying to make Peyton feel like being a cyborg is a problem. The fictional character they attach to the idea doesn't make sense to me as a reader and every time they mentioned her they lost me more. It was even worse because the rest of the world was so well developed.
(view spoiler)[I didn't like the people they ended up staying with in the end because they creeped me out especially after the gladiator people... (hide spoiler)]
There is drug abuse, slavery, zombies, gladiator style fighting, kidnapping, plague victims, body dumping and underage drinking. Also talk of underage sex and a shot that allows you to have underage sex provided by the government.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Confession time: When I read the name of the narrator, I thought it said James Marsden (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) so I was really excited.Confession time: When I read the name of the narrator, I thought it said James Marsden (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) so I was really excited. James Marsters is obviously not James Marsden.
Luckily for me, Mr Marsters is an excellent narrator and has now become the voice of Harry Dresden for me. He has an excellent tone for the dry, sardonic wit that Harry pulls every once in a while and does fairly well distinguishing most of the characters. There were a couple of times I was confused as to who was speaking, but that was true when I was reading the print version as well.
This book contains evil necromancers done right. They are gross and creepy to the extreme; hordes of the undead (both zombies and ghosts), body jumping (I hadn't connected that to necromancy but it does make sense) and ghouls. These are the kinds of wizards that the laws of magic are made for. Although how they haven't been hunted down before (I guess having only three of them helps), is a mystery to me. If Kemmler was so awful, I would have hunted his students to the last one no matter how long it took (especially if I lived as long as the Council members).
I loved Butters. Polka will never die! Him thinking that Harry and Thomas were gay lovers was classic and Thomas encouraging it was even better (and he did fix it). I think I like Thomas even better as Harry's brother than as just the random snarky vampire who helps out every so often. Oh, and Butter's comment about Mouse being a small pony was hilarious. Of course, it might not have been as funny on paper as it was in audio.
As for the Wardens and the White Council, I couldn't believe that the vampires were able to get the drop on them. I guess when you stop playing by the rules it gets easier to beat the people who are though. I'm still a tad shocked that Luccio succeeded at convincing everyone to follow her plan (even though she is the head of the Wardens). I think I would have called her crazy even with the situation.
I was a bit surprised that zombies could take down the steel door even with a whole bunch of them pressing against it. The idea that the older a corpse is the more powerful it is doesn't make much sense to me because of rotting, but I guess the magic used to raise it would counteract that in a way that sci-fi zombies don't get the benefit of.
I'm a tad concerned about Harry's psyche what with Lasciel and a part of himself teaming up to get him to accept her help even if he still isn't going to dig up the coin. I was especially pissed after she tricked him with Shiela, but I guess the fate of the world is more important when your grave says "He died doing the right thing."
I was really glad his dad said that everyone dies alone (not only is it technically true it makes it less likely that he'll die friendless).
Harry using Sue the T-Rex to join the necromancy party was totally awesome!...more
I wasn't as upset as some of the other reviewers when I finished this, but I was definitely still cursing the author. The book was mostly excellent, bI wasn't as upset as some of the other reviewers when I finished this, but I was definitely still cursing the author. The book was mostly excellent, but some of the characters were introduced simply to die and Nix's journal didn't provide as much insight as I would have liked.
I enjoyed how much more prepared and mature Benny and Nix were while still acting like teenagers at times, but it felt like Chong was mostly along to show just how much they had changed and not really much else. In the second half of the book, his character improves and even Lilah stops looking at him like he's such a liability, but he trained with the others even if he wasn't going into the Ruin with them. He should have been a bit more prepared even if he didn't have the actual experience.
As for Lilah, I would have thought exposure to the whole town would have improved her behavior a bit more than it had. It shouldn't have taken what it did to cause a change in her attitude.
There is no sex, although there is innuendo and hints that it sexual misconduct may have been going on behind the scenes. There may have been some language, but nothing too severe. It was mostly the religious type rhetoric that may bother readers. As for violence, there is quite a bit of it including violence against animals, zombies, other people, violence with swords, guns and I believe at least one type of explosive. ...more
Some of this book is truly targeted directly at teens, while some of it is clearly better appreciated by some one slightly older.
As a teen, the wholeSome of this book is truly targeted directly at teens, while some of it is clearly better appreciated by some one slightly older.
As a teen, the whole first part with Benny looking for some kind of job to do in order to maintain his ration levels, just isn't as poignant or funny for someone who has had to do that (especially for the same reason). Unless their family is in need, most teens get jobs so they can pay for movies, cool clothes or video games. They don't really understand having to balance needing a job (no matter how much you may hate working at Taco Bell and smelling like re-fried beans...) and needing money to buy food. You have to really grapple with yourself to discover just how much hard work and/or humiliation you are willing to suffer in order to be able to eat. Bennie does this quite comically and very realistically.
The stuff about his feelings for Nix being a bad thing because of his promise to Chong, that is pure teenage stuff. As long as your friend hasn't already dated the person (and doesn't currently have feelings for them), just about anyone your age is fair game. Also, the fact is that Tom is infinitely cooler than Benny could ever be, but he is also an adult who has had time to grow into himself. Benny may grow up to be an excellent man, but for now he is a teenager (whiny, self-centered, naive, but also bold/rash and loyal (much like all of us were at some point)). His attitude is probably less off-putting for a teen because once I allowed myself to think of him as someone I knew in high school, he became a much better character.
Fortunately, the author didn't kill anyone that I was too terribly attached to, although a couple of the deaths were pretty sad. I do wonder what happened to the other horse (not really important for the plot...). There's some zombie violence, including fairly detailed descriptions of how best to take down a zombie. There's some cursing and rude language, though the f-bomb wasn't used. There's some kissing and romantic feelings, but nothing further than that. I had nightmares, but most (if not all) zombie books give me nightmares (even though I am still fascinated enough to give them a shot...). ...more
It could probably be categorized as "can-be-read-alone," but I personally was not satisfied enough with the ending to believe that it is not the startIt could probably be categorized as "can-be-read-alone," but I personally was not satisfied enough with the ending to believe that it is not the start of a series and that the next book is not essential to knowing what happens.
That said, there was a lot of fascinating stuff in this book. The idea that Renee was named after Descartes was only lame because Descartes was such a big figure in this book. If they hadn't mentioned the connection, it would have been fine (mostly because Descartes work was fascinating). Renee isn't a bad character. She's a bit boring, but at least she is a tad smarter than some paranormal heroines. She actually tries to find the answers to her questions even if she is a bit dense on what to do with those answers. I hate that Dante was the typical broody, silent guy that everyone still seems to have a giant crush on. The only thing I can say for him is that at least he treats Renee with decency and respect (even though she doesn't seem to expect it). I wish that Eleanor and Nathaniel had been explored more because as it was they were basically just plot devices rather than characters. I also want to know if the cats really do mean something more or if they were just a coincidence. SPOILERS I do take slight issue with the idea of Latin being the language of the Undead and with burials being just to prevent children from being reborn. If the burials were solely for children until humanity forgot about their purpose, then we forgot rather quickly because most of the burials we have evidence for are for nobility who weren't necessarily under 21. Also, the age 21 thing is a bit absurd because 21 is a purely American concept. In other countries, it is 18, 20 or even 16. As for the Latin thing, Latin itself is a derivative of a language that became German, Persian and several others. I think it was chosen because it is one of the most well-documented dead languages in the world. Still, the author could have made up a language and satisfied my linguist mind....more
This book alternates chapters between zombie stories and unicorn stories. Each is by a different author, which gives them a different feel and in someThis book alternates chapters between zombie stories and unicorn stories. Each is by a different author, which gives them a different feel and in some cases a different age range (at least if you're offended by homosexuality, the f-bomb, or talk of virginity). Garth Nix is the first up for Team Unicorn (and the only guy (there's one guy on each side)). His story is haunting and contains a good deal of his usual depth. He manages to convey a lot of details without force feeding them to the reader. The story is one of the shorter ones, but it really sticks with you. For one thing, it includes a zombie (kinda cheating that the one guy on the unicorn team uses a zombie as well). All the magic and mysticism aside, it does feature patricide, adultery and a unicorn controlling politics. There's no cursing or sex though. The second story by Alaya Dawn Johnson is a bit twisted in my opinion. I've never been terribly keen on even the non-crumbly decayed zombies getting involve in romance. This one goes a step further with the love interest actually seeing the zombie eat somebody and still sleeping with them. The thing that will bother some parents is the fact that both the zombie and the love interest are guys. This wouldn't have bothered me normally, but the fact that the zombie had previously considered eating him just wigs me out. There's cursing, brain eating, predatory behavior, homosexuality and sex for a parent to consider. Naomi Novik's unicorn story is pretty cool. She makes reference to the fact that she usually writes dragon stories. Plus, her unicorn and his chosen "virgin" are irreverent and hilarious. The story is about rescuing some baby unicorns and the adventure is pretty pathetic (in a funny, quick read sort of way). There is a small bit of violence, no cursing and no sex. Carrie Ryan's zombie story takes place on a Caribbean island towards the beginning of the Return which is the start of the zombie apocalypse in her Forest of Hands and Teeth novels. The story is a bit slow and switches back and forth between a time just before (or right after) the Return and several years later. For a girl living through the apocalypse, Iza starts off very naive and only becomes strong enough to survive right at the end. It's violent and depressing with an air of inevitability, but there isn't much, if any, cursing or sex. Margo Lanagan's unicorn story is historical and somewhat weird. For one thing, the unicorn impregnates a princess or lady and some poor dude gets blamed. Then, they lock her up and she has the baby. To be honest aside from being a bit weirded out, this story wasn't terribly memorable for me. I could have done without this one. There's talk about giving birth and have "defiled" a princess, but no language, sex or violence (other than the mention of the poor guy getting executed). There is far too much talk of needing to use the bathroom and being drunk. Maureen Johnson's zombies are somewhat more "normal." They shuffle about and try to infect anyone they get their hands on. What's creepy about this story is the woman keeping the zombie children. She is truly insane. If I had been the main character, if I had stayed to take care of the zombies, I would never have opened the cage or really felt pity for them. There's no sex, just a little violence and maybe a couple of curses. Diana Peterfreund's unicorns are not the typical beautiful, gentle creatures. These unicorns kill people and have poisonous horns. This is a spin off of her two books Rampant and Ascendant where female, virgin descendants of Alexander the Great are the only ones that can fight back against unicorns. This particular descendant decides to raise a baby unicorn instead of killing it. I would be interested to see this continued so that I would know for certain whether these unicorns could be tamed. There's no language or sex, but it is a little violent. Scott Westerfield is the only guy on the zombie team. His zombies are very similar to Carrie Ryan's in that they are a force of nature and a plot device. Apparently, being infected but not turned makes you extremely attractive, although the main girl was already attracted to a very powerful woman in their compound. The story is a bit flimsy to me because the idea that all four of the kids would be immune or that the original infected girl could pass on her immunity just doesn't make sense to me. There's some girl on girl kissing, an implication of one of those girls kissing a boy, but other than that no sex, violence or language. Meg Cabot's unicorn story actually kinda bored me. Which is sad because I was hoping to enjoy her writing having never read one of her books. It started with the premise that unicorns were an endangered species bred by special breeders. Why the aunt would get a sixteen year old girl a unicorn instead of a car, I have no idea. All the high school angst and worry was just too distant from my life to really get into (I had a very low key high school experience). Also, Princess Prettypants? There may be some light cursing and a little violence, but no sex. I usually like Cassandra Clare. She inches towards uncomfortable ideas in her Mortal Instruments series, but this is just icky. A town where zombies are so normal that clacking fingers isn't remarkable. A town where the dead following you around is more comfortable than them being gone forever. No thanks, I like dead people to stay dead. I can't imagine welcoming back an undead lover and it would be more than the cold hands that got to me. There's murder and suggestion of kissing a corpse (zombie), but other than that no sex, language or violence. Kathleen Duey's unicorn is a sad being. The sorrow of its existence is so great that I can't really be bothered by the lengths he goes to trying to fulfill himself. He is the reason immortality would only be a good thing if you could a) decide to die when you got tired of it and b) had lots of friends or people to talk with who were also immortal. I can understand why he seeks out the virgins even though they can't give him what he needs. I do wish that some of it had been less graphic, but the gore does serve to emphasize how much damage he can do to himself without dying. There is no sex (there might have been an implication of sexual abuse, I can't remember), there is quite a bit of violence including physical abuse of one of the virgins, but no cursing that I can remember. Libba Bray presents a world where all the adults and some of the teens have turned into zombies leaving the living to try and move on without them. Of course, the idea of teens maintaining society in place of trained adults in the midst of disease and death is sad in itself, but Ms. Bray really hits home by describing a prom that went ahead despite the turmoil. The kids are without hope, trying to enjoy themselves, but also knowing that the next day could be the last. The fact that they managed to keep any kind of law and order is pretty amazing, but they are failing to reconnect with any other vestiges of civilization which means they will vanish when they die. It's depressing, but aside from shooting a zombie and trying to curb drug dealers, there isn't really much violence. There's not really any sex or cursing either. Overall, I think a teen would be better off picking and choosing stories both for comfort level and interest. I could have avoided all but Carrie Ryan's zombie story and only read half of the unicorn stories and been satisfied....more
I may not be remembering correctly, but this book seemed drastically more desperate and violent than the previous two. The Dark City is a place whereI may not be remembering correctly, but this book seemed drastically more desperate and violent than the previous two. The Dark City is a place where people barely recognize their neighbors much less know their names. The Recruiters have been in complete control ever since they rebelled against the Protectorate, and things have only gotten more precarious for the citizenry. Annah has been surviving alone for three years waiting for Elias and only now, just before Catcher and Gabry arrive in the City, does she realize that Elias isn't coming back and that she needs to leave and make a life for herself. I'm a bit disappointed that anyone could be so focused on someone else that they could forget their own happiness, but I guess people do that all the time for loved ones or causes. I was also displeased with how quickly the romance seemed to develop (although maybe more time was passing than I realized). Why was a system for eliminating isolated pockets of Unconsecrated never developed? I can understand not going after the hordes, but they should have been slowly eating away at the smaller groups of undead and retaking areas in a more strategic manner. Unless all the dead bodies that had been buried that hadn't yet decayed Returned that first night, humanity shouldn't have been overwhelmed so easily. Of course, zombies are only one of the reasons that I favor cremation... As I said, this one was fairly violent: murder, zombie hordes ripping people up, zombie cage fights, threats of sexual violence and tossing people to zombies are all part of the story. There is kissing and implication that Gabry and Elias are having sex (as well as hints that Elias and Annah may have done at least some groping around), but nothing explicit. There is some cursing, but I don't remember the f-word being used....more
I almost only gave this book 2 stars because it really read like a poorly written first book in a series. If it does turn out to be the first book inI almost only gave this book 2 stars because it really read like a poorly written first book in a series. If it does turn out to be the first book in a series, I'm not sure I would read more of it. It was exciting and interesting, but there were too many characters doing different things and it all felt like a set up. I spent most of the book thinking that nothing would be solved and the reader was just going to be left hanging. Fortunately, some of the problems were faced and solved near the end. There was quite a bit of violence and the idea that anyone over age 16 fell to a strange disease is kind of disturbing to a 24 year old. I kept reading because I wanted to know if the kids fell to the disease as they got older, but that wasn't revealed in this book. I did like how multi-dimensional all of the characters were, but too many of the ones I liked died (of course for me even one character I like dying is too many). If another one comes out, I may give it a shot. I will definitely recommend this to teens that want zombies though....more
Well, I guess I should have approached this book without the awareness that after some small number of books in the series it basically turns into porWell, I guess I should have approached this book without the awareness that after some small number of books in the series it basically turns into porn... I just can't get over how innappropriate some of the sexuality in this is for me. I guess some of it is sexy for other people, but the vampire bites described here were just creepy. All the stuff about the wererats in the dungeon... just creepy! I realize that some of it is supposed to be odd, strange, uncomfortable or scary (the cover says it blends horror and romance) it's just not really my cup of tea I guess. The mystery was fascinating. The action kept me intrigued until the end. I guess the possibilities of Jean-Claude and Anita make me a bit curious, but probably not enough to pick up the next book any time soon. There's quite a bit of violence, language and sexual tension, innuendo and situations....more
This book was written like fiction, but it is really a commentary on the horror genre of films. As such, it was witty and interesting to read. AlthougThis book was written like fiction, but it is really a commentary on the horror genre of films. As such, it was witty and interesting to read. Although it didn't hit all the cliches, it certainly tried....more
I actually read most of this in two afternoons, but they were several days apart. It is definitely an engrossing, quick read despite occasional pacingI actually read most of this in two afternoons, but they were several days apart. It is definitely an engrossing, quick read despite occasional pacing issues. I would say that this book gave me nightmares, but I think the concept of zombies gave me nightmares not the actual writing. There were some tense moments, but the zombies were not the biggest threat even though they were the most present one. The romance in this book is as weird or weirder than the first one. I was also rather confused to figure out that this was about Mary's daughter rather than taking place right after the first book. There were so many new concepts in this one that it was almost difficult to keep track of what each Capital Lettered Word or Phrase meant. Also I prefer Unconsecrated just like Elias... Part of me wishes that the book hadn't involved the Forest paths again, but the other part realizes that it fit into the story and created a sense of connection with the first book. I just can't believe the way it ended. There was so much left unanswered that if the next book jumps forward like this one I will be extremely displeased. There's quite a bit of violence including at least one throat being bitten out. Not really any language although the conflict between despair and hope was supremely depressing. There is some kissing, but that's about as far as it goes....more
This book was really gripping almost from the beginning. I really liked the pacing, but the romance was a bit odd. Mary's love for Travis seemed likeThis book was really gripping almost from the beginning. I really liked the pacing, but the romance was a bit odd. Mary's love for Travis seemed like Nightingale syndrome to me, but I may be reading too much into it. I didn't like the end, but that's because I like books to end with some kind of hope for more than one character....more