I think maybe I shouldn't have tried to read this series all in one shot. By the time we get to this massive conclusion, I'm already burned out on theI think maybe I shouldn't have tried to read this series all in one shot. By the time we get to this massive conclusion, I'm already burned out on the repetitiveness. Plus, what could have been a nail-biting beginning kind of loses a little oomph when you know that a certain character continues on in the new series. My completist tendencies might have me picking this up again later, but for now it's an unrated DNF....more
Harry Dresden as narrated by a literary, undead Nuyorican. Had a little trouble staying engaged around the mid-point (pacing issues, I think)3.5 stars
Harry Dresden as narrated by a literary, undead Nuyorican. Had a little trouble staying engaged around the mid-point (pacing issues, I think), but the story had enough potential that I pushed through and am glad I did. Looking forward to the next book and more Kia, and Dr. Tijou, and Baba Eddie, and......more
Liked it more than I did book 3 thanks to similarly funny vignettes with tighter plotting. Shelby's family was annoying and I spotted the villain pretLiked it more than I did book 3 thanks to similarly funny vignettes with tighter plotting. Shelby's family was annoying and I spotted the villain pretty quickly, but that didn't bother me. Unfortunately, the big emotional scene I was anticipating (yes, I read the spoilers) was like 2 paragraphs long and then on to the next catastrophe. Not that I'm a big fan of angst, but I need those scenes to be a little longer to get the full impact. Even in a fast-paced novel, a page or two to mourn a character doesn't seem too much to ask, right?
Also, the "we are all equal" message was delivered in such a way that even though I'm in general agreement with the content the heavy-handedness put my back up. I've seen other reviewers refer to it as American arrogance in action, and I can totally see why. (And I say that as a US American.) It sometimes seemed like one of SM's twitter screeds - which I typically enjoy - put in the wrong context. It would have been different if Shelby had delivered some of those lines instead of Alex, but alas....more
Started off pretty well, lots of action incorporated into world building with hints of character development, but then... I don't know what happened eStarted off pretty well, lots of action incorporated into world building with hints of character development, but then... I don't know what happened exactly, but by the midpoint I felt like we were going around in circles. It was like the authors said "oh, hey, the action is moving too fast, we need to add a lot of navel gazing and start setting up the rest of the series or we'll be 100 pages short of our contract requirement." (Note: I'm not saying the authors said that, as I would have no way of knowing. That's just how it felt while I was reading.)
And then, our independent, interesting heroine is suddenly revealed to be (view spoiler)[a siren (hide spoiler)] and the reason she's able to survive and defend herself well is because she (view spoiler)[magically compels all the men to come to her aid. Unintentionally of course. She's not some sort of evil strumpet. *eyeroll so hard* (hide spoiler)] Oh, and that's also the reason that this character, who has a lot of female friends, can't be friends with straight, fertile women -- they all secretly sense her true nature and therefore hate her. Poor, unloved by fertile straight women, Celia. Basically, it's the attack of the '00s UF cliches.
I don't know. I'm kind of interested in reading more in the series. If I can get them from the library. But first, I'm going to check later books in the series and see how ridiculous the love geometry gets (it's a triangle now, with the clear possibility of becoming a quadrangle).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I think this is probably best read in one sitting. I dragged it out a little over a week and found it haScooby-squad UF, with more gore than romance.
I think this is probably best read in one sitting. I dragged it out a little over a week and found it hard to get back into each time I'd pick it up. Part of that is probably because of the lack of info dumping, which would normally delight me, but I would also normally get this read within a weekend so wouldn't need the reminders about what's happened.
I've found myself becoming more attentive to the diversity within books lately, so I'll note: main characters include (all White) humans, vampires, and monster hunters. It's hinted that a few secondary characters may be Black, but not stated. Which makes me wonder what's better: characters are default White unless stated otherwise or no characters get racial designations? (I'm assuming the Russian and Irish characters are White though, given the 21st century setting.). Two main characters are out lesbians in a committed relationship and there are hints that another may be gay or bi. All are able bodied as far as I could tell....more
DNF. Gave up on p83 when I realized I'd slipped into hate-reading. Life is too short and I have too many books to read for that.
Way, way too much expoDNF. Gave up on p83 when I realized I'd slipped into hate-reading. Life is too short and I have too many books to read for that.
Way, way too much exposition, like info-dumps within info-dumps within fight scenes. Transphobia and other sexism, both casual and "ironic" -- not aided by the fact that John and Sig meet each other while Sig is chasing a serial rapist (why is it always rape? can't you find another plot device?). Using world religions as a major part of worldbuilding while demonstrating ignorance of those religions. Below are the parts that bugged me the most -- but there are a lot of other pieces that bugged, and I stopped before the halfway point.
"Rigby's does attract an odd combination of local rednecks and students with a sense of irony. So when a striking six foot blonde who wasn't an obvious transvestite sat down in the middle of the bar, there were people around to notice."
So much packed into two sentences. The derogatory term "transvestite" to indicate that anyone who can't pass as a cis woman or any woman who looks too masculine is unworthy of (positive) notice. And it doesn't really get better from there.
"I have personally seen Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Tibetan symbols work on undead creatures... I can use just about any holy symbol and make it work as long as the religion doesn't worship pantheons...
Ok. So. I'll just comment about the Buddhist aspect since that's what I'm most familiar with, but... a Tibetan religious symbol is probably Buddhist, not all Buddhists worship deities of any type (it's very culturally dependent), and several paths of Buddhism involve pantheons. The Tibetan Buddhist pantheon alone is massive. Also, in terms of symbols, I'm just trying to imagine the hero whipping up a quick sand mandala to stave off the undead. It does make me laugh, but in a slightly mocking way.
I get that the author is trying to go for an inclusive approach to his worldbuilding, but that only works if you know what you're talking about. And he so doesn't. Or if he does, he's not using it. Bringing in Valkyries and talking about how they collect the souls of those killed in battle to bring to the halls of the slain, but only mentioning Valhalla and not Sessrumnir? That makes me want to cry at the lost potential....more
What a dark, scary, gory, crime thriller of an urban fantasy novel. Can't wait for book 2!
I liked how the protagonists behaved like real people with tWhat a dark, scary, gory, crime thriller of an urban fantasy novel. Can't wait for book 2!
I liked how the protagonists behaved like real people with their own motivations and loyalties and back-stories. They're all kind of messed up and make some questionable choices, but real people are like that. Nobody in this book is perfect, and the good guys seem mostly good in the sense that they're not actively trying to be evil. (Well, except maybe Tommy. That cat scene on p.32 was very disturbing.) Also, not everybody's white!
Sobell, their boss for the primary heist in this book, is a charismatic villain -- and I don't mean that in a scenery-chewing sense, more in a -- he does really bad things, knows they're really bad, and if he likes the person he's screwing over, he'll apologize but he still does it. With flair. And he's not even the Big Bad of this book.
The 3rd person POV head-hopping was a little confusing. I got used to it after awhile, but the subtle jumps from how Anna was reacting to things to how Karyn was reacting to Nail were maybe a little too subtle. That's pretty much the only thing I really have to complain about.
In terms of romance, there are signs of a relationship brewing between Anna and Genevieve, but it's a fairly small part of the story. It seems designed as much to alter Anna's existing friendships with her crew as it is to develop Anna and Gen as characters.
In terms of worldbuilding, it seems to draw from Christian mythology about angels and demons and souls suffering in hell. I think if you're Christian, that might make some of the scenes described even scarier. (I was a little concerned this might get preachy at first, but it's not.)
Also, there's no sexual violence. (That seems fairly common in grimdark stuff, so just wanted to relieve any potential worries on that score.)...more
Is this the end of the series? I can't tell from Thurman's website -- if so, it's a satisfying ending. If not, I'm very curious about how things proceIs this the end of the series? I can't tell from Thurman's website -- if so, it's a satisfying ending. If not, I'm very curious about how things proceed. Loved getting to see more of Goodfellow and learning more about his history with Cal and Niko's past incarnations. Also loved watching Cal struggle with his personality issues (Cal vs Caliban vs Cullen vs ...).
A full star off because of copy editing errors. I love Thurman's barely-restrained-chaos writing style, but there's nothing more disconcerting than being led to what could be a great punchline and seeing where instead of were or just deserts instead of just desserts....more
Well, the first thing I did after finishing this was to start re-reading Inhuman World of the Lupi 3.5, which is where we first meet Kai and Nathan. AWell, the first thing I did after finishing this was to start re-reading Inhuman World of the Lupi 3.5, which is where we first meet Kai and Nathan. Actually, now I kind of want to re-read the entire series.
I love these characters: how they're mature adults who still make mistakes and have room to grow. As a part of that, I also love how nuanced the morality is: characters are not good or evil in a static way, but become so because of decisions they make over time. And these decisions don't come with big flashing warning signs "stop! your alignment will change from neutral good to chaotic evil with this choice!" Once his history is pulled apart and explored, the big bad in this book -- who rapes and tortures or destroys at will -- becomes sympathetic. It's not that his actions become sympathetic, but he as a flawed but at one time heroic being becomes deserving of compassion. And it's not that the author does a magic hand-wave to sweep the trauma he caused under the rug. It is acknowledged and does serve to develop the series story arc -- or it looks that way, given the ending.
Anyway, I really like that Wilks is willing to go there with her writing. I don't see a lot of moral explorations like this in genre fiction, and when I do it's usually a lot more heavy handed than this. Very much looking forward to the next book!...more
This was a lot more like a cozy mystery than I was expecting. Quaint, small-ish town setting, single woman narrator/sleuth in first person POV, cutesyThis was a lot more like a cozy mystery than I was expecting. Quaint, small-ish town setting, single woman narrator/sleuth in first person POV, cutesy animal companion. It did get more of an urban fantasy feel by the end, but I was hoping for more spookiness and/or character development. Alas, no.
I only finished because I paid full retail for this, which just tells me I shouldn't get sucked in by cover art. Or lots of positive reviews. Or having liked another book by the author. (sigh) To be kind, I think if this had been a tv show I'd have enjoyed it more.
Characters: They do what they say and say what they mean. A nice quality to have in friends, but boring to read about. Personal taste maybe: I have a preference for twisty plots and unreliable narrators. Also, not even a hint of romance, other than the fact that Teag has a longterm boyfriend.
Plot: very straightforward, no surprises. (I was pretty bored though, so may have missed any surprising bits out of a general sense of meh.)
Worldbuilding: The story is set in Charleston and seems to rely heavily on that. Everything else was pretty scant, and the attempts at creating a spooky atmosphere fell totally flat for me. (Human sacrifice and angry ghosts shouldn't be this boring.)
Pacing: cozy mystery tedious (can you tell that's not my favorite genre?)
Writing: Pedestrian. It never made me feel anything but annoyance at the repetitions, the banalities, the inconsistently-italicized flashback scenes, and the oddly jumpy transitions. (Lack of) transitions example below:
"It's only a flesh wound," he deadpanned. I gave him a 'shut up' look and started to look for gauze. "Really, Cassidy, I'll be fine," Sorren said. "I'm nearly healed." He pulled back the shredded cloth of his black shirt to reveal a newly healed set of slashes, thin pink scars where, not half an hour earlier, there had been a bone-deep gash. I uncorked a bottle of wine and sloshed some into glasses for Teag and me. It was that kind of night. By now, I had grabbed one of the frozen pizzas I keep for emergencies and thrown it into the oven. I poured kibble into Baxter's bowl, grabbed my wine glass, and sank into a chair.
And no, I didn't snip anything from that quote. That's just how the scene was written.
Despite the cool concept, I have no interest in reading more in this series....more
Dense and chewy UF with brilliant worldbuilding and nary a trace of romance.
More humor than book one, of the dry-as-a-desert kind that I particularlyDense and chewy UF with brilliant worldbuilding and nary a trace of romance.
More humor than book one, of the dry-as-a-desert kind that I particularly enjoy. Some gore, but no sexual violence. Love the use of... not sure what to call it... living mythology(?) about London. I think I'd get more of the references if I'd ever been there, though. (Maybe someday.)
Lots of quotable moments, but this one really spoke to me:
I like walking. Each step is a thought without words.