I remember coming across this novel in college and being entertained by it, so I thought I'd give it a re-read. Turns out it's dated, sexist, semi-homI remember coming across this novel in college and being entertained by it, so I thought I'd give it a re-read. Turns out it's dated, sexist, semi-homophobic, and the humorous aspects are trying so hard to be edgy that they fall flat. Definitely something I should have left for the nostalgia bucket....more
This book was HILARIOUS. I found myself laughing, out loud, so many times that my wife made me go to another room so I wouldn't interrupt her reading.This book was HILARIOUS. I found myself laughing, out loud, so many times that my wife made me go to another room so I wouldn't interrupt her reading.
I should also mention that this book took a total of about an hour and a half to read, since there's only about the equivalent of 90 pages of material spread sparsely among the 176 "pages" of the book. This is definitely not one you want to pay cover-price for, but if you can find a used copy or borrow one from the library or a friend, you won't regret it....more
Even though a 30-year old male is not the target audience for this satire of the vampire/paranormal romance novels that seem to be spontaneously appeaEven though a 30-year old male is not the target audience for this satire of the vampire/paranormal romance novels that seem to be spontaneously appearing on the shelves of bookstores everywhere, I found I did enjoy this novel for what it was - a light, humorous take on the subject matter that is sure to be engaging for teens and genre-fans who can take a little good-natured ribbing.
Eighteen year-old Algonquin "Alley/Ali/Gonk" Rhodes is the self-proclaimed Ice Queen of the "Vicious Circle" - a clique of close-knit friends who not only run the school newspaper (blog), but somehow are allowed to turn the escapades of their classmates into gossip-rag fodder for mass publication. One of their favorite topics of ridicule is the excessive efforts teenage girls at the school make to try to nab a vampire boyfriend; in Alley's school, dating the undead appears to be the epitome of cool.
Alley acts above all of that, clinging to her reputation and her independence like a badge. But when reviewing a band at a local venue for her paper's music column, she falls head-over-heels in love with Doug, who, she belatedly realizes, is not really a really-cute goth boy, but rather a zombie hipster who shares her eclectic taste in music.
Selzer's world is intriguing - vampires, werewolves, and zombies do exist, and they live (mostly) peacefully alongside humanity. Of course, there was that whole issue with Mega Mart raising and enslaving zombies for a cheap workforce, but now that the lawsuit has been settled and all those zombies are free to live their lives coexist, people have pretty much accepted the "post-humans", and aside from all the vapid teenage girls wanting to date (and eventually become) "post-humans", things are pretty normal.
I had a little bit of trouble believing in the character of Alley - here's a bright young teenager with the scathing wit of a college junior who appears to be able to psychoanalyze her own motives in staying single, yet it takes her a couple of dates (and 60-something pages) to discover that Doug is a zombie. She explains this incongruity near the end of the novel, but by then I'd already written it off as something just to get past and treat the novel as a fluffy, witty (but not sparkly) book that will surely be snapped up by teenagers anxious for a novel take on both teenage romances and the paranormal. This isn't a book I'll be hanging on to myself, but if you know someone 13-18 in your life, they'll probably enjoy giving it a read.
Note: I received this book as part of a contest giveaway....more
I was surprised to find another book in the Phule's Company series in the bookstore, as I hadn't heard anything about it. Apparently it was publishedI was surprised to find another book in the Phule's Company series in the bookstore, as I hadn't heard anything about it. Apparently it was published in 2006, which makes me the latecomer to the party, but I expect I didn't hear much about it because it's a lackluster addition to the Phule series.
The novel itself follows in a similar vein to the others in the Phule's Company series, but just doesn't have the same sparkle or life to it. In all the other novels, the whole Omega company of the Space Legion (misfits of the most misfit branch of the military) has to adapt to a new assignment on a new planet, and succeeds, thanks in part to a bit of dumb luck and the willingness of their Captain (Willard Phule) to spread his inestimable wealth to give his company the best operating equipment and facilities in the new location.
This novel focuses less on the Omega Company and more on only a handful of members. Phule has to rush offplanet in attempts to catch his butler, who has gone on vacation but didn't leave his security-code for Phule to access his financial records. A couple of his soldiers surreptitiously follow to aid Phule in his efforts, but always end up a step behind their commander, who in turn is always a step behind his butler Beeker.
The hijinks on their tour to four new planets are tired and leave the reader wishing the novel was over. The parallel plot of General Blitzkrieg performing a surprise inspection while Phule is gone is almost as uninteresting, although it is tempered a bit by a little interaction with various members of the Omega Company.
As (I'm assuming) this is the final book in the Phule's Company series, this was a sad way to cap off the stories about Captain Jester and his ragtag band of misfits. I know it may not have been planned to be the last in the series, but it still felt like it was a "straight-to-video" addition to the series tacked on just to take advantage of the name and characters Asprin worked so hard to develop in the early 90's....more