I went back and forth on this one. It had more than its share of faults (too long, too much gun porn for my tastes, MC who was a complete Gary Stu, et...moreI went back and forth on this one. It had more than its share of faults (too long, too much gun porn for my tastes, MC who was a complete Gary Stu, etc.) but it was also one helluva an entertaining ride. What ultimately cost this work a fourth star in my mind was the complete hash it made of the whole Lovecraft Mythos.
Curiously, this one of those three ratings where I can say with certainty I will be looking for the sequels. Even if you don't impress someone like me, you'll get me to take another drink out of the well if you entertain me.(less)
In terms of sheer entertainment, I think this is the best book I've read thus far in 2014. Zombies, vampires, dwarves, elves, set in a UK where the la...moreIn terms of sheer entertainment, I think this is the best book I've read thus far in 2014. Zombies, vampires, dwarves, elves, set in a UK where the laws of physics have changed (think Ariel) told from the perspective of a rather bemused Realtor-in-Training who has just been Zombified (think the Dan Shamble series, at least back when that one was good). (less)
Note 1: I was given a copy of this work at no cost with the understanding that I would write an unbiased review.
Note 2: Curiously, the ISBN on the PDF...moreNote 1: I was given a copy of this work at no cost with the understanding that I would write an unbiased review.
Note 2: Curiously, the ISBN on the PDF I received (978-1452387420) does not appear on this page or anywhere else on GR. First time that's ever happened to me.
Sigh. I simply could not get into this book, nor at any time could I engage with the plot or the characters. Which is a pity, because I was quite taken with the blurb. Yet this one was simply flat to me, and I'm at a bit of a loss as to describe why. Possibly, too many characters, too many shifts in POV, too many errors of historical fact (particularly as relates to the Romanovs) and in few places some downright painfully silly use of simile and metaphor. About page 175 or so I simply checked out and shut down.
Since the main reason I read books like this is to be entertained, well, I must say this one fit the bill and then some. I suppose one can't really go...moreSince the main reason I read books like this is to be entertained, well, I must say this one fit the bill and then some. I suppose one can't really go wrong with zombies...then again I thought the same thing about vampires once upon a time. But that's a thought best expressed elsewhere.
And rather curiously there's nothing I can see on the book to indicate it is the second book in a series. I did actually wonder about that, since (a) the title seemed a bit on the cumbrous side, and (b) nobody writes just one book about vampires, werewolves, zombies, tax auditors or any of the other creatures out of a nightmare any more. Even if they make them sunshine sparkly, fallen angels or necromancer slacker artists with a drinking problem.
Or to knock off the bloviating: I can report that this book works, and works quite well, as a stand-alone novel. I'll probably seek out at least the first book in the series at some point, but as of the time of this review, I've not read it and don't feel any overwhelming urge to go hunting for it. This is one you can read on its own. And enjoy.
However, I couldn't quite bring myself to rate this one as five stars due to some rather strange false leads planted in the reader's head, dead ends and other miscellany of the sort that should have been caught by some blue pencil wielding editor. If such beings have not yet themselves been confined to the realm of myth. (Or nightmare, I suppose, depending upon the author.) There were also some rather surprising omissions, though these are of the sort that I'm assuming authors do not typically owe anything to readers by way of explanation.
I'll give an example of each below, but though to my eyes they don't qualify as "spoilers," they might to some. Caveat emptor, etc...
>>> First, a "false lead:" at several points in the novel it is implied that Zoey has some sort of zombie connection, and that she is somehow supposed to be some sort of savior. Nothing ever comes of this. And in a book of only 230 or so pages. Huh?
>>> Second, an omission: We never find out what it is that makes Milton into the "Zombie Whisperer" (the possibly unfortunate nickname I pinned on him as I was reading along) that he obviously is. Not even a peep of speculation. As in, why do they do what he says, and more importantly, why don't they want a snack of Milton tartare? We never find out, indeed, all the characters take his special nature for granted.
But if these are complaints, they're mild ones. For what I'm looking for, this one worked. And possibly these and other issues are addressed in the rest of the series. But, as noted, I approached this book unaware that it was in fact part of a series. So I consider the issues raised fair game.(less)
**spoiler alert** Why I found this book curiously appealing I'm still not quite sure. But I did. I suppose it may be that, unlike some of the novels I...more**spoiler alert** Why I found this book curiously appealing I'm still not quite sure. But I did. I suppose it may be that, unlike some of the novels I've slogged through lately, the heroine here seemed genuinely conflicted in her actions, and isn't crazy about things at the denouement, but will take it. And I suppose I should note that I was surprised at at least one major plot twist, which has become an extremely rare occurrence the more books in whatever strange sub-genre one might consider this I've read.
I'm not sure if I'm amused or irritated at historical figures like Winston Churchill popping up in the flesh, or incorporated by reference like Sid Vicious, Rasputin, Frank Sinatra and (even?) Adolf Hitler were. But, on balance, I'll probably look for the sequel(s) as they pop out. Not too, too hard, but I shall.(less)
**spoiler alert** I don't know what to think. I simply can't get my brain past twenty odd people dying, and our hero Eden seemingly as unconcerned as...more**spoiler alert** I don't know what to think. I simply can't get my brain past twenty odd people dying, and our hero Eden seemingly as unconcerned as if she had just swatted twenty mosquitoes. Nor the fact that angel boyfriend is as unconcerned about this whole business as she was.
I also can't seem to get past the fact that I either ignored this or was unconcerned by it when I read this book last summer. Possibly that may account for me not bothering to record the book on GR at that time. But I can't see why I made a mental note to try and re-read it and then move on to the sequel. No way is that happening now.
Though I think what pushed my gorge over the top, as it were, was a conversation Adam and Eden (hey, I didn't make up these names, okay) had a few pages afterwards -- p. 190 or so -- about her being "addicted" to the Touch. To paraphrase:
>>> You were over the top at the night club (nothing about being a mass murderer, though) >>> I'll be your boyfriend if you want one (I guess I find that whole mass murderer thing kinda cute in a girl) >>> Me, slamming book shut and shivering out an "Ick."
Perhaps I'm missing something now, as I obviously did then. But, man, I'm not seeing anything except creepiness all the way down. So, I've christened a new category, "deeplydisturbing" in this book's honor. May I not add too many other books to it.(less)
Why do we always come here? I'd really like to know, It's like a kind of torture To have to watch this show!
Ladies and gentlemen, a mo...more**spoiler alert**
Why do we always come here? I'd really like to know, It's like a kind of torture To have to watch this show!
Ladies and gentlemen, a moment of silence. I now present the immortal Statler and Wardolf. Why? They reach the heights I aspire to when I review books like this. I read 'em like I eat ham & cheese Hot Pockets™, the remnants of taste and general concern for my personal well-being overawed by a sort of vile satiation, forcing a retreat in a general rout from the battlefield of my consciousness as I shove 'em down my maw.
But, why, oh, why do I continue to give the logical errors, gaping plot holes and general silliness of this whole series a pass? What we got this time:
>>>> Bliss & Schulyer go tearing off to a photo shoot on Montserrat (more on this anon), apparently being such super-competent 15 year olds they neither need nor want anything so dowdy as a chaperone.
>>>Schulyer is sent off to live with her erstwhile uncle at the end of the book. Okay, does this make her and Mimi cousins of a sort? But as amusing as that whole bit may or may not shake out, what I found intriguing was the way the author displayed a colossal ignorance of family law and the antics accompanying probate. If nothing else, a judge would yank a 15 y/o in from of them to find out what the kid herself wanted. Not that they would necessarily grant it, but it would weigh heavily in their decision. And was Cordelia's counsel so grossly inadequate that her will was promptly turned into toilet paper? (Though here as elsewhere, the rich and famous are indeed different. Typically they use trusts, even in jurisdictions probate taxes aren't onerous, to keep their assets out of a public court filing. Which wills are. But somebody should still be thinkin' malpractice here.)
>>> Yep. Mimi is selfish. Yep. She didn't call up a hi-yo "Silver Blood." No argument there. But, umm, she did want to and did indeed attempt to murder Schulyer, right? And Shulyer drinky-ed de blood, found out the "truth" but somehow missed that l'il ol' nugget? And grandpa Clampitt or whatever his name is did as well? (Else why call her "innocent?" Mimi = innocent like a barracuda. I think. Or at least until the author decides otherwise.)
>>> Mimi and Jack share EVERYTHING. Or so the books say, here there and everywhere. Yet, Jack either does not know or does not care about the attempted murder tartuffery. But, logically, it must be the latter not the former, based upon what the reader is spoon-fed. So: What every girlie is looking for a boyfriend...one who doesn't give a shit when it comes to their attempted murder. Cool beans. I guess, upon reflection, this may top the topless 15 y/o chick on chick action of the last book?
>>>>Montserrat - Interestingly, I'm the one who learned something here. I had a vague sense that the island had had a volcanic eruption or two (check), had suffered massive hurricane damage (check) and had been damn near abandoned (nope.) Two thirds of the island is indeed uninhabited and likely uninhabitable for a good while to come, but it is merely implausible that they'd do a "shoot" there. Not impossible, as I first thought. Learn something new every day. I also had a vague sense that the book had mentioned the volcanic fun, but either I am hopeless using my Kindle's search feature (very possible), my Kindle's search feature is itself hopeless (ditto), or both of the above. Or the word "volcano" is in fact never mentioned in the book. When for some weird reason I thought it had been.
>>>>Miscellany: Who sent the text to Schulyer for the apres-bash? Bliss didn't, Mimi sure as hell didn't, so...was it the work of them thar hi yo Silver Bloods? Or Jack? Dunno. And why all the anguish by Bliss over letting a 'red-skin-blood' in on the party secret? There were redskins-bloods galore there any nobody blinked an eye at their presence. Oh, yeah, lastly, how did merely moving to Shanghai make somebody turn from Europid to Oriental again? Especially since the little boy blue bloods aren't exactly keen on interbreeding with the local population wherever they should find themselves. We dunno, we aren't told. Yes, there's the shape-shifty bidness, but that is apparently (a) only temporary and (b) only done powerful little boy blue bloods. Not those not in possession of their full little boy blue blood powers. So, wha' gives there?
In any event:
Waldorf: That was a medium sketch (errm, book). Statler: What? Waldorf: Well, it wasn't rare, and it certainly wasn't well-done. Both: Ho-ho-ho.
Yep. Time for me to join the immortals back in their peanut gallery. And like them, some obviously deep character flaw keeps me comin' back. I think I used the phrase "oddly compelling" in my review of the first book. Sums it up nicely. (less)
**spoiler alert** An amusing diversion, and one that seems so determined to take itself seriously that that becomes part of the amusement. But, eh, gi...more**spoiler alert** An amusing diversion, and one that seems so determined to take itself seriously that that becomes part of the amusement. But, eh, give it a pass. So what if history is garbled beyond all recognition or even the remotest relationship to fact? So what if goofiness, implausibility and downright silliness run amuck? Stuff that had me chuckling:
>>> How the heck did Miles Standish supposedly get from Plymouth to North Carolina again? Hop on the shuttle from Logan (or would TF Green be closer?) to Charlotte and then used frequent flyer miles to rent a BMW for the long drive following? Makes as much sense as as other possible explanation...none of which were forthcoming from the author
>>> Oh, and the above only applies if you somehow ignore the fact that the Mayflower sailed in 1620, and the Roanoake colony was gone by 1610 at the latest. And probably quite a bit before that. And that, in any event, both Spanish and English expeditions came across the remains of the colony before 1620. (And this ain't rocket science, people. Sheesh.)
>>> 400? 400 what? IF the Roanoake colony was all or mostly all 'blue bloods,' and IF they disappeared as a result of getting snacked upon by 'silver bloods,' that would knock somewhere between 50 and maybe as many as 100 off of the Blue Blood roll call. Forever. And this says nothing about how many possibly died in Plymouth Plantation itself as a result of possible Silver Blood fun 'n games. Oh, and did they have a 'war' with the 'silver-bloods' during the reign of Caligula where no blue-bloods got sucked dry? So, just how many are there as the story opens? Can't see how it totes to anywhere near 400, personally.
>>> Archangel Gabrielle? ROFL. 'Nuff said there.
>> I wonder what ol' Cordelia would've thought of her (semi-, sorta-, etc.) 15 y/o granddaughter prancing around topless in a simulated bit of hot chick on chick action? Or that it would appear ten times bigger than life on a billboard in Times Square? All those pontifications about how 'pure' blue-bloods are supposed to be contra those naughty 'red-bloods.' Message received by Schuyler? I think not. In fact, nobody seems to be bothered by that whole bit at all. Not even the senator who's daughter was up there for the whole world to gawk at. (Think it would help his re-election bid? In this day and age, who can say?) Ranges from tawdry to downright oogie from where I'm sittin'. But I guess, eh, I don't even care to guess any more. But I gotta think the author didn't think things through quite enough here.
>>> How in tarnation did Dylan wind up at that school if he had 'no interest' in doing the blue-blood thing? And, I'm actually kinda mystified about how one generation becomes the next anyways. Were or were not Dylan's parents 'blue-bloods?' I guess they'd have to be? Had they also actively shunned blue blood life, too?
I could go on, but, nah. And despite the author's obvious challenges with reconciling history, geography, simple arithmetic and age of consent laws to that funny critter known as "reality," the hell with it. It is a silly book. And for whatever reason still kind of a compelling read. Even if I say that being able to offer no reason why I say that.
**spoiler alert** I'm marking this one with a spoiler tag, not because I give anything away, but rather because I'm giving it to this piece of vilenes...more**spoiler alert** I'm marking this one with a spoiler tag, not because I give anything away, but rather because I'm giving it to this piece of vileness masquerading as a book with both barrels. If you continue reading and happen to have been a fan of this, don't say you weren't warned. Got it?
"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." ~~Dorothy Parker~~
The above nicely sums up my attitude toward this one. Though this is also one of those books that make me wonder what I missed that everyone else seems to be seeing. Or, conversely, what I saw that everyone else seems to have missed.
Why? I have no problem with anti-hero protagonists, but the author seems to have gone out of her way to create the most unlikeable, hypocritical and down-right mealy-mouthed group of truly petty and truly nasty set of characters I've come across in quite a while. (And, no, I'm not talking the "mutts" here. I mean the "Pack.") End of story, at least for me, though where these four and five star ratings are coming from, as previously noted, I haven't a clue. I could continue to burble on, but what would be the point? Since what I saw seemed self-evident, somebody, somewhere is seriously deluded. Could be me, certainly. Must concede that. But I sure as hell wouldn't make such a concession without a fight.
Though I must admit to one rather bemused chuckle while wading through 240 pages (before coming to my senses and stopping) of what sure seemed to me like a slime-pool. That would be the back-cover blurb, "A hair-raising story for the she-wolf in us all." Umm, that would properly be a "bitch," right? Well, I suppose I must concede that point, at least. All the pack members certainly came across as psychopathic bitches, even though the only facsimile of a female in the whole group was Elena.
Despite the fact that I'm getting more and more irked at all the categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories it seems every author and every re...moreDespite the fact that I'm getting more and more irked at all the categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories it seems every author and every reader in the entire SF/Fantasy genre is for some reason so fixated on, I'll call this one a superb Urban-something-or-other and go wash my mouth out with soap later. Life as seen through the eyes of Matthew Swift and his on-board passengers is one helluva a unique experience, as is the London he goes above, below, around and inside.
An excellent entertainment, with no romance or sex scenes to speak of, but pedal to the metal on gore, fight scenes, all that good stuff. Everything from demons to automatic weapons, and probably demons with automatic weapons in there somewhere, too. Re the lack thereof of sex scenes: I thought editors theses days DEMANDED a sex scene in a Fantasy work for adults that stops just short of Shetland Ponies and kitchen appliances about every fifty pages or so. Glad to be proven wrong.
We need more books like this, whatever sub-sub-ad nauseum-genre it supposedly gets squeezed into. (less)