I wasn’t sure about Blood Red Road to start with. I’d seen mixed reviews and some of them gave me pause. However, I’m not one to let that stop me, and the premise of this book was too good for me to skip. I’ll be honest, Saba, 18, reminded me of a female Mad Max, and the way the author describes Saba’s world, I can’t help but picture the desolate, sand swept landscape of the Mad Max movies. Her twin Lugh is the “nice one”, and she’s not one for wearing her feelings on her sleeve. However, she’s extremely close to Lugh, and when their father is killed, and he is kidnapped by some extremely creepy men on horseback who ride in on the tail of a particularly bad sandstorm, she vows to do anything to find him. During her journey, Saba is kidnapped by a husband and wife team that will make your hair stand on end and sold into slavery as a cage fighter (more shades of Mad Max) once they reach the city of Hopetown. Don’t let the name Hopetown give you the wrong idea. There’s no “hope” in Hopetown. It’s a cesspool of criminals and the worst kinds of excess, and Saba is at the hands of some truly nasty folk. It’s in Hopetown that Saba meets the “King”, another shudder-worthy character, and will discover something of what happened to her brother and where he might be found.
Blood Red Road was a long read, and it’s told from Saba’s first person perspective, which gives the book a very immediate feel. It’s also written in dialect. Now, I know this bothered some, but personally, I got used to it, and it didn’t affect the story either way for me, other than to make me feel a little bit closer to Saba. There’s not a quotation mark to be found, but knowing who’s saying what isn’t hard to figure out, and it was almost like reading a diary; a dusty, rough, gritty diary. Blood Red Road doesn’t pull any punches and it’s a long read, but it’s certainly worth it. There wasn’t any re-inventing of the wheel here, but the writing is strong, and in Saba, the author has created a tough rebel to root for, and you will root for Saba. Blood Red Road is a bleak look into a future to fear, for certain, but the author’s wonderful cast of characters and Saba’s epic journey to save her brother will keep you glued to the pages....more
Talon Avalon is a timecaster and a homicide detective. in 2064 Chicago. Murder is almost unheard of in this new utopia, and he spends a lot of his time lecturing to grade school kids. His wife is a social worker (aka a government licensed prostitute). When Talon’s neighbor shows up claiming that his aunt has been murdered and asks for his help, Talon is intrigued. When he goes to the sweet auntie’s apartment to investigate, he finds an apartment chock full of contraband such as paper books, liquor, and even a still. When he uses the TEV to trace the crime, he’s shocked to see himself kill the woman. It’s unmistakably him, but it just can’t be, and now it’s up to Talon to prove his innocence. I am a HUGE fan of Joe Kimball’s (aka J.A. Konrath) Jaqueline “Jack” Daniels series, so when I found out he had a brand new sci-fi novel out, I didn’t hesitate to run out and buy it! Talon is actually Jack Daniels’ grandson and he partners up with the grandson of another main character in the Jack Daniels series, Harry McGlade, who’s grandson is just as disgusting, rude, and oversexed as his grandfather. Talon is a guy’s guy, and he adores his wife, but does NOT adore her profession, even though it keeps them in a huge house and also paid for his 2024 Corvette Stingray, retrofitted for biofuel and ridiculously expensive. Most people ride special bikes and nearly every available space is used to grow biofuel resources. Going on the run in 2064 Chicago isn’t an easy proposition, since everyone has a chip that serves as their credit cards, keys, ID, and more. But that’s ok, because Talon takes care of that problem using moxy and a particularly rambunctious raccoon (you'll just have to trust me on this one.) He’s also being pursued by a fellow cop and timecaster that already has a vendetta against him, and is out for blood. Kimball’s trademark snark is on full display here, and the story is told from Talon’s POV. There’s lots of action, lots of cool futuristic gadgets, a ton of laughs, parallel universes, and a sex scene that had me in a fit of giggles (and it’s not what you think.) Timecaster probably won’t satisfy hardcore sci-fi fans, but that’s ok, because I’m not a fan of hard sci-fi, and it’s not meant to be hardcore. This was a fun, quick read (because I didn’t want to put it down), and the ending opens up a whole new can of worms, so we can be sure there will be another in the series!...more
Poor Atticus. After the epic battle in Hounded, he just wants to train his new apprentice and tend his Druid grove in peace, but it’s just not in the cards. He’s still cleaning up the demon mess left behind by that battle, and that’s not all. Atticus is asked, by the local witch coven, to take down a group of Bacchants that threaten to turn their patch of Arizona into a seething den of iniquity. He’s also got his Viking vamp lawyer trying to convince him to take down Thor, which he absolutely does not want to get involved with. Then there’s that feisty (and nasty) coven of German witches, and they’re out for his blood…
Hexed is just as awesome as Hounded, and some of my favorite characters are back, and getting lots more play! For example, my favorite Viking vamp Leif is enlisted to help Atticus and the Sisters of the Three Auroras fight that coven of German witches I mentioned earlier. This particular showdown is like the O.K. Corral, but with a Druid, witches, a vamp, golems, goat headed demons, and RPGs. Seriously, RPGs folks! My favorite Irish wolfhound, Oberon, is back and better than ever (I seriously love this dog), and we get a rather memorable visit by the Morrigan (remember the Morrigan?), and get to see her, um, softer side. Yes, the softer side of a death goddess is just as entertaining as it sounds. We also get to spend a bit of quality time with the lovely Brighid, which is always a singular treat! Mr. Hearne’s writing is fast paced and spot on, and really, if you’re like me, you’ll have quite a bit of trouble putting this down in order to get other things done. Like, you know, eating and stuff. Hexed is steeped in magic and wrapped in awesome. It really doesn’t get much better than this! ...more
Beauty Queens opens with a plane full of beauty queens crashing on a tropical island. So automatically, I’m thinking, ok, Lord of the Flies with beauty queens, and of course Lost pops into my head. Beauty Queens is neither. It is, however, a satire, and like all good satire, it gets to the heart of some really important issues without being preachy or smacking you in the face with its “message”. The Teen Dream Pageant girls have arrived, and soon that poor tropical island isn’t going to know what hit it. The lead teen queen Taylor immediately takes charge, rallying the girls and convincing them that the best way to deal with this is to keep practicing their talents, and never lose site of the Teen Dream goal, because “you never know who’s watching”. Adina is the sarcastic voice of reason, who’s not quite down with the Teen Dream party line, and has joined the pageant as an expose for her school newspaper. As the girls band together to survive on the island, we get insight into each girl in turn, and they will discover things about themselves that will change the way they think forever. Throw in man-eating flowers, quicksand, pirates, and corporate espionage, and you’ve got a recipe for fun!
Libba Bray tackles subjects like sexuality, self-worth, and independence with a deft touch, and wry humour, and her writing is never heavy handed. Every day young girls are bombarded by the media, society, and their own families telling them how they should act, think, look, and feel, and Ms. Bray highlights the importance of being ourselves, and never second guessing what our hearts tell us is right. The narrative is interspersed with Miss Teen Dream Fun Facts Pages, questionnaires filled out by each girl. All will make you laugh and some will break your heart. I laughed all the way through Beauty Queens, but as I got to know each girl, and read their stories, I fell in love with these girls, and they will worm their manicured, coiffed, and primped selves into your heart too, one by one. Sprinkled throughout are commercial breaks for some, er, interesting products, and there’s a sub plot involving the all-powerful Corporation (which also runs the Teen Dream Beauty Pageant) providing arms for the evil dictator of a small country. When the all-male, all-hot, cast of the reality show Captains Bodacious washes up on the island, things get really interesting…
This one was a quick read and a lot of fun! I’m always up for what Libba Bray has to offer! ...more