I've meant to get around to reading this book for a long, long time. I can see why it was often recommended as a vampire novel. Ironically, though, th...moreI've meant to get around to reading this book for a long, long time. I can see why it was often recommended as a vampire novel. Ironically, though, the most interesting thing about the novel is that the main character, Jack Fleming, doesn't belabor his vampire nature. You won't find angsty, woeful pining about vampirism in this novel. This is a murder/mystery novel set in Chicago in the 1930's, and the main character just happens to be a vampire. I think if you've been around the vampire genre a few times and want a break from the woeful romanticism, this book is a fun, quick read.(less)
It's been a while since I devoured a series like I did this one, and I thought it was wonderful. Lanyon has a knack for creating multi-layered and com...moreIt's been a while since I devoured a series like I did this one, and I thought it was wonderful. Lanyon has a knack for creating multi-layered and complex characters, and even the side characters have depth and experience character growth. But the greatest part of this series for me is the relationship between Adrien and Jake, which we get to see through all its ups and downs over the course of five books (so far). It's really beautifully-executed. Well done without being overwrought. As far as the murder-mystery aspect of the series goes--I don't read too many mysteries (well, outside of the urban fantasy genre), but I consider any mystery where I can't guess whodunnit until close to/right up to the end a good one. These were good ones. You can tell there was a good amount of thought that went into them, and it showed.
Anything else I have to say is pretty much gushy and nonsensical, but I'm definitely going to look into more of Lanyon's stuff.(less)
I wish I could recommend this to a wide range of readers, but in the end, I think only Death Note fans interested in collecting everything related to...moreI wish I could recommend this to a wide range of readers, but in the end, I think only Death Note fans interested in collecting everything related to the series will want to purchase this novel. (Physically, it's one good-looking book, but it's pretty expensive on account of the dust jacket, cover arts by Takeshi Obata, a color page inside, a 23-day countdown on every page...you get the picture.)
On the other hand, for those wanting to see a more "human" side to L, it might be worthwhile to borrow the novel and give it a read. The plot seen here is not the usual complex one characteristic to the series, but a rather straightforward action-adventure plot that focuses on the danger of a viral outbreak that could kill millions. Of course, it has its share of uber-brainy maneuvers--it's L, after all--but on the whole, don't expect a plot on the level of the source material. Overall, however, I did enjoy the novel and found parts of it quite touching.(less)
Dan Brown is one of those authors whose books I read because they're so mainstream and widely-read that I can't resist checking what the hype is about...moreDan Brown is one of those authors whose books I read because they're so mainstream and widely-read that I can't resist checking what the hype is about. I've only ever read his Robert Langdon books, so I can't really speak to his other novels, but I'm continuously impressed by the sheer amount of knowledge Dan Brown has and the connections he has these characters make. His books are intelligent, and The Lost Symbol is no exception. There are sections where I was hurriedly reading to see what happened next, so he did manage to work some edge-of-the-seat suspense into the novel. Also, I do like the Dan Brown seems to operate with the idea of "go big or go home" when it comes to what government individuals and entities he involves in his plots; it's a "balls out" approach that I do appreciate.
That said, I think readers should come to this book--and all Brown's books, really--for the plot, philosophical debates, and just to see what sticky and mysterious situation needs Langdon's expertise. From reading the Langdon books, I feel like Dan Brown has a formula that he uses when it comes to creating characters and conflicts. There will always be (1) a dead guy/guy in peril, (2) a female relative of the dead guy/guy in peril who fancies Langdon (the female relative, not the dead guy), (3) a national security person who antagonizes Langdon for at least part of the novel, (4) a big (literally) bad guy, and (5) the dynamic of ancient knowledge clashing/mingling with modern science. It all just gets kind of old and tired after a while. I don't really feel as if the character of Langdon really grows, but then again, I don't consider Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol to be a series since Langdon's adventures don't particularly build on each other. Each book is a total standalone.
So, The Lost Symbol pretty much leaves me where Brown's other novels did: impressed by the knowledge and plotting, apathetic to the characters. The book has lots of interesting things going on, but it loses a lot of steam at the end. Not as nice or as strong a finish as the other two Robert Langdon novels, but still pretty good.(less)
The Snow Garden is a complex tale of some deeply traumatized individuals and how their lives end up in a messy tangle, all steeped in a college settin...moreThe Snow Garden is a complex tale of some deeply traumatized individuals and how their lives end up in a messy tangle, all steeped in a college setting of unabashed drinking, sex, and scandals. Christopher Rice--yes, he's the son of the talented "queen of vampires" Anne Rice and the poet Stan Rice--has a writing style that's pleasantly his own, and I'm giving this book a higher rating solely because of the thought and effort he put into his characters. At times it felt like the book was like a slightly blurry TV screen that I wanted to reach out and adjust the focus/sharpness of, but I think Rice brought the story home in the end.(less)
This is the second novel in the Administration series, the sequel to Mind Fuck. It contains one very think-y novella, Quid Pro Quo, and several short...moreThis is the second novel in the Administration series, the sequel to Mind Fuck. It contains one very think-y novella, Quid Pro Quo, and several short stories about the torrid and intense relationship between Warrick and Toreth.
You know, I don't think Manna Francis can lose with me. I'm impressed with the intelligence of the well-plotted Quid Pro Quo, but what really got me were the relationship-centric stories, especially Pancakes. (Further evidence of this being that it took me months to go through QPQ and a little more than a day to go through the remaining stories.) I like that she's making these characters grow and not remain stagnant, and I'm looking forward to collecting the rest of the Administration series.(less)
This is the first time I've ever read a fandom novel or a novel that went from Japanese to English. I'd read summaries of this novel when it first cam...moreThis is the first time I've ever read a fandom novel or a novel that went from Japanese to English. I'd read summaries of this novel when it first came out in Japanese, so I already knew a lot of the twists; I almost wish I hadn't, as I think I might have enjoyed it a bit better.
That said, the novel ended up being funner than I expected. I went in anticipating a very dry, flat writing style, and to some degree, it was, but the author's Mello voice (Mello is the narrator) is fairly decent, and the fact that it was being told from an outsider's POV might have accounted for some of the one-dimensional sensory descriptions. The murder cases being investigated are pretty interesting, and although there are some farfetched deductions and laughable bits, I think the author did a decent job of staying true to the twist-y and turn-y plot style that Death Note was so well known for. In the end, Death Note is also a very clinical manga, so that was preserved in this novel.
I'd recommend this book to any hardcore fan of Death Note, and especially hardcore fans of L.(less)
Another novel that I adored when I was in middle school. It's a mystery about a pair of sisters who are snowed in in their isolated home and have to t...moreAnother novel that I adored when I was in middle school. It's a mystery about a pair of sisters who are snowed in in their isolated home and have to take in two strangers--one injured, the other unconscious--who drift in late at night. Even more distressing is the news that there's a killer on the loose...(less)
I was really impressed by this book. Character dynamics are a big thing for me, and I don't think I've ever read a relationship quite like the one bet...moreI was really impressed by this book. Character dynamics are a big thing for me, and I don't think I've ever read a relationship quite like the one between the two main characters. (Although calling it a "relationship" might be pushing it a bit much.) The dynamic between Toreth and Warrick is 100% power play/vying for control, which is almost unheard of in fiction. Power plays can be tiresome if they're allowed to drag out or dominate a work of fiction, but the author seems to know that, because the rest of the novel is occupied by an intricate and incredibly well thought-out plot that is ten times more detailed and airtight than you find in a lot of other mystery novels.
I want to use words like "subtle" to describe this book, which is strange when the setting is a dystopia where torture is a viable form of interrogation, and words like "mindfucking" and "corporate sabotage" are being thrown around. But it is subtle. It doesn't slap you in the face with images of torturers or sadists standing around, soaked in blood, but that doesn't really lessen the impact of it. It's the kind of book that merits quiet "wow"s rather than jaw-drops and "oh my GOD"s.
At any rate, I definitely recommend reading this book if you enjoy any of the following: slash, intricate plots, politics, relationships with power plays.(less)