I have to give this book a Did Not Finish grade, although this is not an indication of poor quality.
I had previously read Coraline and The Graveyard BI have to give this book a Did Not Finish grade, although this is not an indication of poor quality.
I had previously read Coraline and The Graveyard Book by this author and loved them both. The premise for Neverwhere sounded interesting and I was excited to try it. But I started this book three weeks ago and I'm still only halfway through it. For someone who often reads a book in a day and rarely takes more than three or four days to finish one, that's significant.
The writing itself is wonderful. It puts me into the story and I can really empathize with the characters. When poor Richard gets caught in the bathtub, I felt his horror, indignation, and shame.
I think part of the problem for me is the pacing. As I said, Mr. Gaiman puts me into the story, but being so immersed means that the action happens slower. I don't feel like that much has happened, although of course it has - it's just happening in the minds of the characters and is reflected in their surroundings.
Another part of the problem is the similarity this book has with China Mieville's Un Lun Dun. Obviously, Neverwhere came first, by five years. But I read Un Lun Dun first, and it's a similar, more action-packed scenario. Both have Average Joe protagonists swept up in an otherworldly adventure. Both deal with an alternate version of London - London Below and Un Lun Dun. Neither hero understands what's going on around them. But they are set in two different genres, so I think my subconscious was tricked into expecting the conventions of steampunk and adventure fantasy to appear in this one.
So despite the fact that I personally am going to shelve this half-finished, I would still give it a qualified recommendation for those who are fans of this genre and think my cons sound like their pros....more
Very exciting to see Savannah in her debut novel. She's delightfully snarky and sure of herself. She's six feet tall and rides a motorcycle, giving heVery exciting to see Savannah in her debut novel. She's delightfully snarky and sure of herself. She's six feet tall and rides a motorcycle, giving her a little swagger, but she's also very aware of her own failings and frustrated by their continued existence. It's been foreshadowed since Stolen that Savannah's arc would deal with the darkness within her, but KA took that in a direction I was not expecting.
There's a certain plot element with Savannah that I've been against since day one, but after swearing that I'd hate Paige, Eve and Kristof and being proven wrong on all three counts, I was willing to sit back and see where the author took me. At this point, it looks like I will be wrong yet again and KA will make me love the unlovable.
There is a minor cliffhanger at the end, but it didn't have me tearing my hair, just rolling my eyes and saying, "When's Spellbound out again?"...more
All the ingredients for a great story are here. An intelligent heroine, a sexy hero who's not afraid of commitment, secret government conspiracies (yeAll the ingredients for a great story are here. An intelligent heroine, a sexy hero who's not afraid of commitment, secret government conspiracies (yes, plural), and evil monsters bent on world domination. The characterization is good, the dialogue is great, and the jokes had me laughing out loud. Unfortunately, the metaphorical cake tasted a little undercooked, with frequent info dumps and a plot that hides in embarrassment if you stare at it too hard. But hang in there, because by the halfway point the story evens out and takes off.
As this appears to be the author's debut novel I eagerly anticipate a smoother sequel with the further adventures of Kitty and Jeff....more
I was already familiar with the world of Sianim from reading Steal the Dragon and When Demons Walk. B(This is the reissued edition, not the original.)
I was already familiar with the world of Sianim from reading Steal the Dragon and When Demons Walk. But each of these books is exploring a different corner of this universe. In Masques the focus is mostly on the neighboring countries of Reth and Danmar and the shapechanging race that hides in Reth's mountains. Aralorn herself is half-shapechanger, meaning she can change herself into a mouse or a goose or just alter the structure of her face and body so that she looks like an entirely different person.
Ms. Briggs says in her introduction that she kept elements she would normally discard in order to remain true to the original version. I can definitely see a few tired cliches in these pages. But overall, this story holds up well. ...more
Two years ago, after the events of On the Edge, William disappeared into the woods where he can hide from his past life. But there was one debt he lefTwo years ago, after the events of On the Edge, William disappeared into the woods where he can hide from his past life. But there was one debt he left unpaid - Spider, an enemy supersoldier, murdered several children connected to William and vanished. Twice he and William have clashed, and both times both barely escaped with their lives. Now William is determined that the third time shall be the charm so that he may return to his quiet retirement. Cerise's family is caught in a decades-old feud with their neighbors. When her parents disappear, it's up to her to rescue them and protect the rest of her extensive family from the same fate. When their paths cross, each has something the other needs, but neither can trust the other.
You do not need to have read On the Edge for this story to make sense. At almost 500 pages, this is the longest Ilona Andrews novel yet. Fans will be delighted there's so much to enjoy; new readers, don't be put off by the length, you'll hardly notice it whooshing past. And can I get some love for this cover? Not only is it gorgeous, but a character of part-Asian heritage gets an Asian-looking cover model, which given all the recent racefail and whitewashing controversies sends a thrill down to my toes.
The relationship between William and Cerise is divine. I love the way they dance around each other. When they first meet, she's disguised as a homeless person and he's pretending to be an aristocrat. They promptly start addressing each other as Hobo Queen and Lord Bill. The little ways they have of getting under each other's skin make me grin.
The issues of prejudice were fascinating. William's a changeling, meaning he's regarded as an out-of-control monster in some places and a barely-controlled monster in all the rest. The dead children that start him on this journey were changelings as well, and murdered simply because they were changelings. Cerise's family are called the Rats because they're mean in a fight and they have lots of children. Cerise undergoes a peculiar kind of prejudice; she's resented for her family's land and magic and accused of thinking herself too good for the swamp. For her, being judged solely on her own merits is near impossible, as her identity is so closely tied to her family's.
Cerise's family is a riot. They're dysfunctional but still care about each other. Each side character felt like a whole, self-contained character and not just extras out of Central Casting. I count more than a dozen Mars and each of them is distinct from the others despite us only getting a glimpse into their lives.
The villains in this story may be creepier than anything else they've done. We do get the occasional glimpse into their viewpoints, but this is far from reassuring. Spider views himself as a sophisticated man and finds it tiresome the way other people insist on defying him and creating all this unpleasantry. The dissonance between his self-perception and his actions only serves to make him creepier.
There was one element from William's backstory that may seem like a deus ex machina to those who haven't read On the Edge, but to those who have it makes perfect sense.
By far the best part of this story was William. I loved getting his point of view. As he's a wolf changeling, not fully human, he doesn't view the world the same way as everyone else. His thoughts are often simple, but it's still human emotions and dilemmas he's dealing with. Often, too, his thoughts focus on the present and what he's feeling right now, and he doesn't realize something about himself that is apparent to the audience....more
Given Ms. Carriger's habit of ending books with a plot twist, this review will contain spoilers for Soulless and Changeless. In other words, go read tGiven Ms. Carriger's habit of ending books with a plot twist, this review will contain spoilers for Soulless and Changeless. In other words, go read those right away and come back. | | | | | v So, when we left Lady Maccon she had just discovered she was in a state of infant-inconvenience, which was most distressing given that werewolves were previously thought sterile. Accused of infidelity and worse by her wolf husband, Alexia flees home to her horrible family in disgrace.
Now that the scandal has broken in London, she finds she is unwelcome there too, as the presence of an adulteress has destroyed her sisters' hopes of a good match. Her good friend Ivy cannot afford to put her up. Lord Akeldama welcomes her into his home with open arms, only to mysteriously flee before she arrives. Thus driven out of London, she decides to be practical about it and seize the opportunity. In order to learn more about her child, she travels back to her roots: her father's birthplace of Italy.
For his part, Lord Macaroni (as a friend of mine has dubbed the nitwit) is dealing with his beloved wife's believed infidelity by regularly drinking himself into a stupor. His Beta Professor Lyall is left to cope in his stead - quite a challenge with the vampires' growing erraticism and contenders to the Pack throne.
Blameless is a wonderful read, almost as good as Soulless. I read the whole thing in about three hours, as I stopped for nothing else. Alexia is back in control of her life out of sheer spite, and it was good to see her directing the action again. Her trusty parasol received some upgrades in the previous book and it served her well here.
Many of the supporting characters are back as well. The outrageous Lord Akeldama unfortunately takes backseat for most of the ride, as his disappearance fuels part of the plot. But Ivy Tunstell nee Hisselpenny is here with all her silliness, and Madame Lefoux is only too happy to support Alexia in her time of need.
Most surprising to me was Floote. We have known all along he was her father's man, but until now he refused to reveal any information about him. However, under the onslaught of Alexia's curiosity and their travels, the clues begin to trickle out. I'm fascinated by the story behind Alessandro Tarabotti and Floote. Ms. Carriger holds fast to the rule of keeping your audience's attention: for every question answered, ask another. Floote did manage to quell one suspicion I'd had about her father, but the mystery is far from solved.
Questions about Alexia's baby - or as she calls it, the infant-inconvenience - are raised as well. Since females of any unnatural race are so rare, this is the first pregnancy of any kind on record. Indeed, it's been thought impossible. Meaning no one can answer Alexia's questions about what this baby is, or even how it came to exist. Given the development about it in the final few chapters, I am doubly eager to see how Alexia handles this new problem in book 4.
I spent the entire book giggling and chortling, as there's a laugh-out-loud worthy moment on almost every page. Ms. Carriger is one of those rare authors who can pen a tale with comedy, sarcasm and utter ridiculousness without sacrificing plot. Unlike some lighter fare, I never felt like the story was transparent or being glossed over.
I cannot wait for the sequel, Heartless, out in July 2011....more
This really is Mencheres' novel, with Kira serving mainly as a catalyst to his development. The issues he struggles with have already been shown in thThis really is Mencheres' novel, with Kira serving mainly as a catalyst to his development. The issues he struggles with have already been shown in the main series, but here we see more of him and how he deals (or doesn't) with his problems. While I admired Kira, Mencheres' tendency to rhapsodize about her grew thin after a while. Still, I thought the romance was well developed. Each character was vivid enough that I knew what they were thinking even when the POV character misinterpreted their actions. An enjoyable read....more
"A Questionable Client" by Ilona Andrews - Five stars. An interesting short from the world of Kate Daniels. Regular readers gain a new perspective on"A Questionable Client" by Ilona Andrews - Five stars. An interesting short from the world of Kate Daniels. Regular readers gain a new perspective on Saiman and new readers are introduced to one of my favorite female protagonists. Kate's innovation and the villain's casual cruelty make this piece shine.
"Even Hand" by Jim Butcher - Five stars. Narrated by a villain slash uneasy ally from The Dresden Files, John Marcone. His quiet ruthlessness is a nice contrast to the series' white knight. Hints about a future conflict in the series left me wanting more.
"The Beacon" by Shannon K Butcher - Three stars. An interesting premise with great dramatic potential, but slowed down by a need to repeat everything and spell out every detail. The sexism of both main characters also aggravated me. ("Oh, if only she had a man around to protect her! But when she divorced her husband she gave up that right.") Still, points for avoiding the obvious cliche ending.
"Even a Rabbit Will Bite" by Rachel Caine - Five stars. I'm thrilled that this story is so perfectly self contained, somehow getting a full background, a full plot and vivid characters into one short story. But I'm also disappointed because I want more and there isn't any.
"Dark Lady" by P N Elrod - Four stars. Interesting characters and great writing, but the politics and double dealing got rather complicated toward the end and I didn't know enough about the bad guys to keep them straight. I loved the poltergeist and could practically hear her attitude coming through.
"Beknighted" by Deidre Knight - Three stars. I wavered between three and four for this one. The story was compelling, but the plot was obscure and the characters unreadable. Ultimately though, the narrator was too passive and there's no objective measurement of what really happened here.
"Shifting Star" by Vicki Pettersson - Five stars. This short is both self-contained and leads into a greater plotline. The author skillfully wove in background info without giant info dumps. The ending was a shock at first, but upon reflection it's absolutely perfect and leaves me intrigued about the main series.
"Rookwood & Mrs King" by Lilith Saintcrow - Five stars. There were a couple jarring instances of the narrator's thoughts wandering for a moment, but other than that the story reads smoothly. The ending was set up brilliantly and left me smiling.
"God's Creatures" by Carrie Vaughn - Five stars. Told from Cormac's POV from the Kitty Norville series, this short introduces some moral ambiguity into his character and explores the internal conflicts that are shown indirectly in the main series....more
If I could give this book six stars, I would. The best in the series to date, and they've been hard to top. Kate's heart gets dragged through the dirtIf I could give this book six stars, I would. The best in the series to date, and they've been hard to top. Kate's heart gets dragged through the dirt and stomped on, but she doesn't give up and keeps on working to solve Atlanta's magical woes. With a charismatic and sociopathic villain leaving diseases and corpses everywhere, Kate's resources are sapped down to the bone....more