Ender is still great. Ideas are still complex and unique (even if some feel like Dorothy Gale clicking her heels together and saying, "There's no placEnder is still great. Ideas are still complex and unique (even if some feel like Dorothy Gale clicking her heels together and saying, "There's no place like home."). Dialogues are still philosophical. Novinha is still kind of lame. Orson Scott Card is still a stand-out author in science fiction....more
Fun, high-quality urban fantasy novels are pretty hard to find, and Hounded manages to have a natural balance of solid storytelling, fun characters, aFun, high-quality urban fantasy novels are pretty hard to find, and Hounded manages to have a natural balance of solid storytelling, fun characters, and good writing.
Now that I've had time to think about the novel (and sleep!), I think what made it work for me was that sense of balance, of not allowing things to swing too far into cliches or ridiculousness. Atticus himself, a two-thousand-year-old Druid, is probably a prime example of that element. He's a mixture of modern-day attitude and ancient ideas, and Hearne makes it work. Atticus can throw out a phrase like "pwned" one moment, and in the next paragraph, his speech can sound very proper and old-style, but it makes sense given how long he's lived and what he's had to do to blend in.
Some areas where the balance sort of flounders a bit is in Oberon and the widow. Talking animals in general don't really work well with me, especially when they're meant to be animals and not some sort of magical beings. I inevitably always find their speech/thoughts to be too much like a human's. In general, Oberon had enough of the true nature of a happy canine to balance out his occasionally too-human comments and speech. (Or, has being linked to Atticus affected his way of thinking? Did I miss that somewhere in the novel?) The widow was, for the most part, amusing, but she allowed Atticus to do something that kind of made me go "really? just like that?" But I really just accept her as one of those slightly-over-the-top characters and go with it; Hearne's writing and storytelling are mature enough that it doesn't get truly ridiculous.
As far as the plot goes, I thought the storyline was fun. Lots of action, lots of stuff going on. I'm not too big of a fan of the "gods as characters" things, but Hearne makes it work. There's some of the inevitable first-book-in-UF-series tour of all the boogeymonsters in the main character's life, but it feels natural in this case. I like the pantheon of gods that Atticus deals with; it's different from the usual Summer and Winter Courts of Faerie. The action scenes were well-written, and I like that Atticus is full of tales from his very long past.
In conclusion, I thought this was a fun urban fantasy novel with good overall balance. Hearne managed to take two themes that I'm not fond of and make them actually palatable for me. It's a good first book to a series, and I'm looking forward to continuing with the future novels....more
Now that I'm up-to-speed on this series, when I look at the publication date of this latest novel (2009) and don't see definite plans for another noveNow that I'm up-to-speed on this series, when I look at the publication date of this latest novel (2009) and don't see definite plans for another novel in the works, my feelings can probably be best expressed in lolcat: MIKE CAREY, WHY U NO RITE MOAR FELIX??
But in all seriousness, I really feel like this series stands out from the other cookie-cutter urban fantasy novels, mostly because of Felix. In the scale of urban fantasy heroes and antiheroes, he falls somewhere right in between the blazing righteousness of Harry Dresden and the sometimes gleeful bloodlust of Cal Leandros. He manages to save the day, but not without a few screw-ups and morally-gray decisions along the way. And he knows who (and what) he is.
I also find the world quite intriguing, and I like that Carey chose to focus on ghosts and demons rather than throwing other sorts of supernatural creatures into the mix. He has an interesting take on werewolves and zombies, and it almost seems a shame to stop the creative engine here right when the world seemed poised on the cusp of a great change.
And yet, if Carey never wrote another Felix novel, I'm pretty satisfied with the way things ended now. One of the major arcs of the story has come to a conclusion, and while I felt some things didn't get resolved, there are easily quite a few threads Carey could pick up again if he does continue with the series....more
I'm liking this series a little bit more with each volume. I haven't yet read the book series that it's adapted from, but the first book is sitting onI'm liking this series a little bit more with each volume. I haven't yet read the book series that it's adapted from, but the first book is sitting on my "to read" shelf.
I have to say, the biggest draw for me is the amazing artwork. It's just gorgeous. It might be among some of the best I've seen in any manga....more
The sequel to The Shadow Queen, Shalador's Lady is the eighth installment that takes place in the Black Jewels universe. Lady Cassidy, the Queen of DeThe sequel to The Shadow Queen, Shalador's Lady is the eighth installment that takes place in the Black Jewels universe. Lady Cassidy, the Queen of Dena Nehele, struggles to hold onto her rule and protect her people against threats both seen and unseen.
I feel as if this book told a good story of struggles, insecurities, and growing up. There are certain aspects of the story and writing that are Bishop-staples. The heroine is easy to sympathize with, the villain is easy to dislike, and you know the ending will probably be happy. What's more interesting, though, were the characters who stood in those gray areas--no pun intended. A grand total of one character, I think.
But while I could objectively appreciate the story, this work wasn't as edgy or engaging as Bishop's other Black Jewels novels. On one hand, I understand, because the world isn't as dark as it used to be, but I also didn't feel like it was as fun or enjoyable. A lot of the plot events were easy to predict, and although I felt the character development arcs were good on the Dena Nehele and Shalador side of things, I didn't really get what Bishop was trying to do with the Ebon Askavi characters--Daemon, Saetan, Lucivar, Surreal, etc. I expected Bishop to run with some things, but they went nowhere.
In conclusion, a good read, but not the best Black Jewels novel. It's a worthwhile read for those who enjoyed The Shadow Queen and want to continue on with Cassidy's story, and I definitely plan on reading the next Black Jewels novel when it comes out....more