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
So, apparently the quickest way to get me, not a huge short story anthology fan, to love a set of short stories is to maRelease date: October 26, 2010
So, apparently the quickest way to get me, not a huge short story anthology fan, to love a set of short stories is to make them all by the same author and all about a character I quite love at times. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected, from the cheesebomb of a first story to the final story that made my heart ache. Jim Butcher, thank you for bringing Harry Dresden into the literature world....more
Roadkill is the fifth book in the Cal Leandros series, and in this novel, Cal and Niko are sent on a case by an old gypsy woman who once screwed themRoadkill is the fifth book in the Cal Leandros series, and in this novel, Cal and Niko are sent on a case by an old gypsy woman who once screwed them over. (See: Moonshine.) The mission is deceptively simple: retrieve a stolen coffin that happens to contain an antihealer who can cause any disease known to man. So the brothers embark on a roadtrip with the puck Robin Goodfellow, werewolf Delilah, an RV full of gypsies, and a couple of other familiar faces.
This was such a great addition to the Cal Leandros series. It's funny, because I read the description of the book, and, sure, that's what the novel was about, but I felt the true heart of the book was in the themes that have always pervaded this series, namely the sense of brotherhood/family and Cal's constant struggle with the monster inside of him. The plot with the hunt to find the antihealer was the vessel for some really great character development to occur. And I do love a character-driven book.
I don't want to say anything that will reveal too much, but I will say that as much as this is a book full of action and adventure, it's also a book about walking the edge of darkness and how far you'll go to ensure the safety and happiness of those you care for. It's about family, friends, love, and growing up. All wrapped in a blood-soaked package.
Dead in the Family is the tenth installment of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series. In this book, Sookie has a number of things(3.5/5 stars)
Dead in the Family is the tenth installment of the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series. In this book, Sookie has a number of things going on in her life, including, but not limited to, carrying on a relationship with Eric in spite of the trauma she experienced in the previous novel, dealing with mysterious visitors and bodies on her property, handling backlash from the shapeshifters coming out of the closet, forming new relationships with her fairy family members, and helping out an ailing Bill.
I felt like this was one of the better novels in the series. Harris juggles a lot of plot threads, but they all get resolved satisfactorily, even if the ending did feel a little rushed. What really endeared this novel to me was the family theme that tied all the storylines together, so even if the individual plotlines weren't related to each other, they still felt thematically cohesive. I liked that quite a bit, and it made the book work for me on levels that the previous ones didn't. In my head, I like to call this series "The Life and Times of Sookie Stackhouse," because the series really is about her life, right down to her doing loads of laundry and dorking around on Ebay. It's one of the aspects that makes this series so charming to me, even though Harris' writing style is such that she's rather sparse on description.
In conclusion, a good book. Thematically, a great book....more
Overall, I felt like this was a strong trilogy. Clare writes with maturity, and it's clear that she's put a lot of thought and planning into these novOverall, I felt like this was a strong trilogy. Clare writes with maturity, and it's clear that she's put a lot of thought and planning into these novels. Her writing style is good, and the emotion in the novels is not overdone to the point where it becomes melodramatic. There are also some novel developments and twists that I rarely see in paranormal romance/urban fantasy series. I'll admit that I was feeling sour towards the book until it hit the halfway mark, and the character development arcs and plot movements started to come together. After that, my opinion of the trilogy vastly improved, although I never connected with any of the characters. In the end, I was pretty impressed with how things had come together, and I wasn't nearly as grumpy about certain things as I thought I would be.
I can't really think of much that was bothering me at the end of the trilogy. A lot of it was addressed in the last few chapters and the epilogue. I won't go into specifics for the sake of not being spoilery, but I felt better about the issue I mentioned in my not-really-a-review of the previous novel. I gladly eat my words! (What was bothering me was that I felt like that development really wasn't serving that much of a purpose in the grand scheme, but Clare executed things quite well at the end, so my ridiculously-hard-to-please streak was mollified.)
I recommend this trilogy for anyone who's been reading adult paranormal romance/urban fantasy and wants something of a less graphic nature. It's also a good transition series for anyone who wants to step out of the young adult genre and into the adult one....more
Moon Called focuses on Mercedes Thompson, the owner of a one-woman garage who also has links to different preternatural creatures--the fae, werewolvesMoon Called focuses on Mercedes Thompson, the owner of a one-woman garage who also has links to different preternatural creatures--the fae, werewolves, vampires. Although not normal herself, Mercedes finds herself drawn into a world more dangerous than what she's accustomed to.
This is the first novel of Patricia Briggs that I've read, and I was nicely surprised by some of the elements in it. Although this book does follow some of the same formulas as others of its genre, Mercedes being a skinwalker--or just a "walker"--was a nicely original touch. I suppose the plot was fairly good in that it wasn't all that predictable, but I felt that the writing, storytelling, and characters were a bit flat. Briggs's writing style is very readable, but I had a hard time maintaining interest in what was happening. I just didn't engage at all with the characters or the story, but I know this series has become fairly popular, so it could just be me. At any rate, I'm not sure how likely I'll be to continue with the series....more
Moonshine is the second installment in the Cal Leandros series, and I liked it a lot better than the first, mainly on account of the fact that I've noMoonshine is the second installment in the Cal Leandros series, and I liked it a lot better than the first, mainly on account of the fact that I've now warmed to Cal as a narrator and am quite charmed by him. (Like you're charmed with something that's quite cute until you hug it, and it turns around and bites you--charmed with a healthy appreciation for any potential danger.) The overabundance of bitterness and snark that put me off from him at the beginning of the first novel has settled comfortably into sarcasm and self-deprecating humor that's at turns funny and just...Cal, really. I enjoy the brotherly dynamics between Cal and Niko and definitely think their relationship is strong enough to carry the series for a long time, supplemented by a strong supporting cast. Rob Thurman's world is pretty great, and I especially like how she manages to put new spins on old genre favorites--werewolves, trolls, etc. She manages to make things refreshing without stepping too far out of the mythos that I love to read. It makes me look forward to what she plans to do next, which is always good for a series' longevity.
On the downside, there were the same issues with story flow that bothered me with the first novel. It's kind of like how a scratched CD will skip around during songs. Cal will be somewhere at the end of one chapter, and the next chapter opens with him, I don't know, go-go dancing in Vegas, and the reader has no idea how he got there, but he'll either spend several pages telling you how, or he'll have a conversation with someone about it. (Don't worry, he never go-go dances in Vegas. I just made that up as an example.) I can see where some things may get trimmed down if they don't pertain directly to the plot or would slow the story down, but some of the skipped or glossed-over scenes I would have liked to read. The pattern seems to be sticking around, though, so I think I'll probably get used to it.
Overall, though, the pluses of this series far outweigh the negatives, and I'm on my way to loving it. So, I have every intention of continuing to read about Cal and Niko's adventures. I look forward to the rest of the novels!...more
I thought this book was a step up from the previous one, but it could just be that returning to this series after taking a break allows me to appreciaI thought this book was a step up from the previous one, but it could just be that returning to this series after taking a break allows me to appreciate it better. At any rate, I felt like there was one unifying theme behind the book, which I liked, but there are quite a few things that bother me about the world-building and characters. I think I'll save my thoughts for when I finish reading all the currently-released novels, in case things improve from here on....more
This is the first book of Carey's that I've read that takes place outside of the Kushiel's Legacy's universe. This time Carey brings her eloquent prosThis is the first book of Carey's that I've read that takes place outside of the Kushiel's Legacy's universe. This time Carey brings her eloquent prose to an alternate universe where a buffer zone has been established between Texas and Mexico, and the people there are kept isolated from the rest of the world. The story centers around Loup, the daughter of a human woman and a genetically-engineered werewolf, and her struggle against the injustices of her environment--everything from oppressive soldiers to her inborn inability to feel fear.
Don't come into this book expecting anything like the two Kushiel's Legacy trilogies. It's not a story of a heroine, or a tale of a great love, although it definitely incorporates those two elements. In the end, I think it's a well-written and engaging coming-of-age story told through a unique perspective in an interesting world. It's also a take on the werewolf myth that I've never seen before, in that it largely disregards the hallmark characteristics of the fictional werewolf. In the end, I liked this novel less than the Phedre novels but more than the Imriel novels. Carey has the admirable ability to navigate through years of a character's life, knowing when to touch ground and give the reader dialogue and elaborate on events. I'm not sure what's keeping me from loving the novel, but I think it's definitely worth a read....more
I remember reading these books a long, long time ago. I think it may very well have been the first werewolf-centric series I read. I don't think I remI remember reading these books a long, long time ago. I think it may very well have been the first werewolf-centric series I read. I don't think I remember enough about the series to judge each book individually, but I remember rereading the first one....more