Series is starting to flounder a bit for me. I'm not sure what it is, but endearing traits are now turning simply dorky, and the humor isn't hitting h...moreSeries is starting to flounder a bit for me. I'm not sure what it is, but endearing traits are now turning simply dorky, and the humor isn't hitting home. While I don't feel like any of the events of the book were extraneous or unnecessary, I still found my attention wandering for the reasons listed above. Although I'm normally bad at picking up on clues, I guessed the reveal at the end several books ago. But there are still enough interesting developments to keep me reading, so I'll be getting the next installment when it's released.(less)
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 nove...moreNow 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.(less)
Usually the combination of police work/investigation, monsters, and a heroine with a tragic past and special powers have me bracing for a book to be j...moreUsually the combination of police work/investigation, monsters, and a heroine with a tragic past and special powers have me bracing for a book to be just like every other urban fantasy novel out there on the shelves. But in a genre full of old, tired cliches*, Diana Rowland's debut novel, Mark of the Demon, manages to stand apart from the rest.
Rather then turning the urban fantasy tropes around, Rowland manages to remind me why they became such staples of the genre in the first place. The police work is interesting and unabashedly gruesome, full of little procedural details that make it very believable. The monsters--demons, in this case--have a system of honor and hierarchy that makes them interesting without appearing overworked. But most importantly, Kara Gillian is a believable and easy-to-relate-to heroine in the same vein as early Anita Blake, with her insecurities and her desire to prove herself as she takes on her first case as a homicide detective. Also, Kara was on the case as a detective, not as a demon summoner, so it was interesting watching her trying to juggle the two worlds.
I didn't actually dislike anything about this book, but is it odd that I found Ryan more intriguing when he was portrayed as an aloof FBI agent with pretty eyes? I was looking forward to Kara having to prove herself to him (with lots of tension along the way), but it seemed like in the space of two or so chapters he did a complete 180 and turned into a likable guy who laughed and grinned every other paragraph. And while the plot was solid and kept my interest, for some reason I picked out the bad guy in his introductory paragraph. I'm not sure how. I forgot about him after that, but when key information was revealed later in the book, he was the first person that sprang to mind.
I read a lot of urban fantasy, so I get very excited when I find a book that manages to stand out. I already went and bought the second and third novels in this series, and I look forward to reading them.
* That I don't seem to be able to get enough of. (less)
**spoiler alert** Going into this book, I wasn't sure how I was going to like it, since my feelings towards the Mortal Instruments trilogy were lukewa...more**spoiler alert** Going into this book, I wasn't sure how I was going to like it, since my feelings towards the Mortal Instruments trilogy were lukewarm at best. Still, I'm glad I decided to read it, because I actually rather enjoyed it. The story moved along at a perfect pace, and I felt it was more tightly-plotted than the Mortal Instruments trilogy. I liked the fact that the plot actually managed to surprise me with its developments at the end, and the only reason I managed to guess one of the major twists is because I stumbled across a spoiler. Like with the previous trilogy, I really like Clare's universe, and the touch of steampunk thrown into this novel made things feel new and interesting. The characters went over pretty well with me. Will is at times genuinely funny, Jem was hard not to like, and I liked the multiple layers to Jessamine's character. In fact, a lot of the non-main characters were so likable and/or distinct that it almost made Tessa seem bland in comparison. I especially liked the fact that Will and Jem had a fairly solid friendship that allowed for amusing banter. I found myself wishing this were a bromance instead of the inevitable urban fantasy love triangle.
The only things that didn't go over so well with me were the Tessa/Will relationship, especially in the middle of the book and, well, right up until the last moment when Tessa called him out on his nastiness. Here, here! That redeemed the relationship for me, somewhat, but I sense this will be a deal-breaker for me in the next two novels depending on how things are handled. To be honest, I would much rather there have been little or no romance at all, because it was the plot that kept me engaged, but I understand that romance is practically essential for the genre. The other issue I had was that a lot of the character-related set-up felt similar to the Mortal Instruments trilogy, with the Exceptional Main Female with Ambiguous Parentage; the Mysterious Missing Relative; the Arrogant and Volatile But Probably Broken Love Interest; and the Safer Alternative Love Interest. (Prediction: Tessa will choose Will, in the end. I'd be shocked--but pleased!--if it went the other way.) But, like my other issue, this didn't bother me so much as the plot progressed, especially with some of those twists Clare threw in.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book despite my minor hang-ups. I think Clare has a good thing going here, and there are plenty of mysteries left open at the end to keep the readers wanting more. (Prediction: Sophie will be related to Will through his parents, somehow.) I'm looking forward to reading the next novel...a year from now.(less)
I don't think I have anything to say that hasn't already been said, but I will say this: I stumbled across spoilers for the ending of this book twice,...moreI don't think I have anything to say that hasn't already been said, but I will say this: I stumbled across spoilers for the ending of this book twice, and my mind was still blown.(less)
**spoiler alert** In the eighth installment of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, we see Rachel having to deal with being shunned, called a black witch...more**spoiler alert** In the eighth installment of the Rachel Morgan/Hollows series, we see Rachel having to deal with being shunned, called a black witch, and now the governing body in the witches' world has found out she can kindle demon magic, and they'll stop at nothing to bring her in. Add to that a power struggle with Trent Kalamack, a changing relationship with Al, a struggling romance with Pierce, tragedy on the home front, and the return of Nick Sparagmos the Neighborhood Friendly Douche Bag, and you have Rachel's newest adventure.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't do a re-read of the series before diving into this book. As a result, my grasp of the continuity of some of the character development arcs and past plot events is not the best, so I may have missed some things that avid readers (and re-readers) of the series probably caught.
As always, Kim Harrison writes a fun adventure full of colorful characters, lots of action, and a bit of romance. What I liked best was the progression of the three relationships that I felt got highlighted the most--Trent/Rachel, Al/Rachel, and Pierce/Rachel. I'd been waiting for development on the Trent front since The Outlaw Demon Wails, and I'm glad that they both seem to have moved beyond the constant animosity. I'm looking forward to seeing where Harrison takes them in the future, now that Trent sees Rachel as a business partner and not just a pain in his shapely rear end. I have to admit I was a bit surprised by the progression of Al and Rachel's relationship, which has now acquired some sexual overtones, and Rachel is beginning to not exactly sympathize with him, but she makes attempts to establish something resembling trust between them. I'm also curious to see where that will go, as I think a demon would be the pinnacle of the "Rachel Morgan is attracted to deadly men" pyramid. I wasn't sold on Pierce until the very end, but I thought his character arc was executed fairly well. I was just never particularly keen on any of Rachel's men, to be honest, so we'll see if her relationship with Pierce goes anywhere except right down the pooper in future books.
On the negative side of things, Rachel aggravated me in this book pretty badly. I felt like the first two-thirds or so was just a ride on the "poor Rachel" train. Granted, Rachel gets dumped on by pretty much everyone, but it just got a little tiresome to see Rachel get victimized, act righteously indignant, shout for so-and-so to stop fighting, and talk repeatedly about how she was sure to get blamed for whatever nasty thing was happening at the moment. Her major conflict seemed to be her struggle to not become a black witch in truth, in spite of her twisting curses and working with demons and so forth. I think we'll probably see a continuation of this development arc in the future, seeing as her relationship with Al is changing. I liked that it was mentioned several times that she needed to grow up, because she does. I've always found Rachel's character to be a bit childish, which has kept me from connecting with her, but hopefully we'll see that change in the future.
As for Nick, I was surprised to see him appear again, but in a way, it also doesn't surprise me. The door was never firmly shut behind him. At times I didn't see the point of him being there except to prove, yet again, his level of douchiness. But I can definitely see him returning in future books, especially since he's dealing with a currently-unknown demon and is learning info on Rachel. I still don't get what he's on about, but I guess I'll just have to stay tuned and see.
Overall, not the greatest book in the series, but I'm still hanging in there for future books.(less)
Fifteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver has always had trouble connecting with people, and once he realized he had all the hallmark characteristics of a s...moreFifteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver has always had trouble connecting with people, and once he realized he had all the hallmark characteristics of a serial killer, he made a conscious decision to, well, not become one. He's set strict rules for himself in order to avoid becoming what fate wants him to be, but when a serial killer begins to kill people in John's town, it's going to take every ounce of his self-control to help get rid of this real-life monster without letting the monster within him take over completely.
What to say about this book? It manages to live up to its hype from start to finish, from the loving details of the embalming process at the mortuary where John helps out his mother and aunt, to the great arc of character development John goes through, to the very believable portrayal of how someone with John's condition would look at the world. Wells manages to write a homicidally-inclined main character with so much appeal that you really find yourself rooting for him to win--against the killer he's trying to catch as well as against the killer he's trying not to become. Wells contrasts vivid and bleak descriptions in such a way that I felt that if this were made into a movie, it would have been great to see it shot in the same style as Sin City. A story about a character people suspect has Antisocial Personality Disorder somehow comes across as such a "human" story, ironically. It's a very layered tale that I think would stand up to a semester of English-class analysis, and it's great to read something so original.
If you enjoy Dexter, definitely check this one out. If you were a fan of Death Note but thought that it could have used a more human element, check this one out. I guarantee it'll be worth your while.(less)