I wouldn't say this continued the downhill drive of the Anita Blake books, but perhaps it hit a plateau. It has the same flaws as most of the recent b...moreI wouldn't say this continued the downhill drive of the Anita Blake books, but perhaps it hit a plateau. It has the same flaws as most of the recent books in the series- poorly written erotica, far too much navel gazing, not enough meaty plot- but the flaws seem to have been acknowledged and have been worked on.
There were only two of the over-the-top erotica scenes, both with Jason (although one included Nathaniel), although I could have done without the preceding chapter of discussion of who, where,why, and how the sex was going to take place before each scene. There was a third scene that is only alluded to, which is even more pleasantly surprising. I don't think we can expect a change from the multiple partners and graphic yet not sexy scenes- that seems to, as Anita would say, "flat do it" for LKH- but at least she seems to be using the scenes and lifestyle reasonably.
As far as the plottiness of the book is concerned, it was a little light until the end. Mostly, there is a lot of introspection and wibbling from Anita about her relationship with Jason, and a lot of background on Jason, his hometown, and his family... and then wham! Quite a bit of action at the end. Still, we haven't seen a lot of Marshal Anita Blake in recent novels, so it was nice to see those elements re-emerge. It gives me hope there may be even more in the next novel, as from what I understand, this was intended to be more of a "side" novel ala Micah. Anita even references both of her jobs, as federal marshal and reanimator, so maybe eventually we'll actually see her do them again.
As you can expect, there is of course a lot of wonky ardeur complications, Marmee Noir antics, and ever more were-animals insinuating themselves into Anita's life. However, in the plus column, although we see the usual wanky Richard, we also see Richard as he was in the early days. Dare I say I have hope for his character, too?
All in all, it seem that LKH has heard her fans' concerns, and is addressing them to some small degree. I do believe that some things will never change, and those that keep reading the series will have to live with the ardeur and the "his-em", as I have heard LKH call Anita's bevy of men, as well as Anita's continually growing powers. I think the best we'll get is a blend between old Anita's action-packed adventures and new Anita's erotically charged ones. I guess I can live with that.
ETA: Reading reviews, I remembered a couple other little quibbles I had. First, the dialog. My god, these characters should not be tossing "like" into their sentences like teenage MySpacers, especially when it's inconsistent with their speech patterns from previous books. As well, every time Jason referred to someone as "soooo hot," it yanked me out of the conversation. I know he's supposed to be a bit frivolous on the surface, but really; again, he's not a thirteen year old girl. I like Jason, he's one of my favorite characters, so LKH, please, stop undermining him.
Second, complete FAIL on understanding how birth-control works. One missed pill should not create the pregnancy angst and drama that it did in this book, especially since Anita's pregnancy "scare" a few books back was a complete false alarm.
Ahem. Anyway. Two stars. Or, for Anita and company, like soooo two stars.
ETA 2 (last time, I swear): This is a response I posted to a review that assumed that those of us that are critical of the book are prudes and should just stop reading if we hate the books so much (you know, the typical "troo" line of thinking):
"I don't think it's fair to call fans disappointed with the series "prudes" or "whining wankers." I'm personally a fan of romance and erotica, so the sex isn't the issue for me. It's how the characters have changed so drastically from where they started off. Re-read Guilty Pleasures or The Laughing Corpse and then re-read Danse Macabre. It's barely believable that this is the same protagonist, and the same series. That's the issue most of us have. Yes, I understand character development, but the series has become something completely, totally different than where it started, and many of us, who still consider ourselves fans, miss seeing Anita working at Animators Inc and solving crimes, which has gone missing in favor of the long, involved, detailed sex scenes. That's the problem, not the fact that the sex is present at all. I cheered when Anita initially slept with Jean-Claude after so many books of sexual tension. I didn't cheer, however, when Micah raped her, or the swan-mane changed on top of her, or when we had a whole book with no action (DM). YMMV. That's the nature of reading and forming an opinion. Just don't call it prudery."
I keep reading because I remember those first 8-10 books, and hope the series will return to its full potential. I don't know about you guys, but that's why I don't just stop reading.(less)
I thought the book had a great premise- operatives for the Dr. Zeus company visit Tudor England in order to preserve plants, animals, and artifacts fo...moreI thought the book had a great premise- operatives for the Dr. Zeus company visit Tudor England in order to preserve plants, animals, and artifacts for the future (and for profit)- but fell a little flat in the execution. There wasn't much plot, other than a bit of forbidden romance, and the little plot there was meandered aimlessly before coming to an abrupt conclusion. The story was set in such an exciting, tumultuous time period, yet we only heard of those exciting details through the reports of other operatives, while our main character was stuck in the country, clipping plants and romancing a staunch Protestant. Not exactly as much fun as it could be, other than a few moments (such as the Christmas spectacle). I did enjoy little details like the "radio" reports and the use of language; Kage Baker mixes Elizabethan English with "Cinema Standard" quite seamlessly. Nevertheless, I felt like I was hoping for more, and was left unsatisfied.I know this is part of a series, but I doubt I will read on; I enjoyed the book well enough, I suppose, but there are so many other, more exciting books clamoring for my attention.(less)
This meticulously researched book tells the story of Lily and Snow Flower, two Chinese girls who are sworn to be "old sames," a special bond meant to...moreThis meticulously researched book tells the story of Lily and Snow Flower, two Chinese girls who are sworn to be "old sames," a special bond meant to last throughout their lives. They live through many ups and downs and reversals of fortune, but their relationship remains the most important thing in their lives until a misunderstanding threatens to destroy it. See shows the growth of their relationship and the toll it takes when that bond is threatened, and through the women's tale, we are also given a glimpse of what life was like for women living in China in the nineteenth century, from their secret language, to the tradition of footbinding, to the their roles in the home.
Because of See's vivid descriptions, I was motivated to research on my own, particularly footbinding, which is difficult for my modern American mind to fully understand. One site I really recommend to gain some insight into this tradition is here, which features interviews with sixteen different women who have had their feet bound, as well as images of what a bound foot and the special shoes look like.
I really enjoyed the book, and the only thing that prevented me from giving it five stars was the ending, which I don't want to spoil or give away. (less)
The story of several men, really, who were wrongfully convicted of murders they did not commit, The Innocent Man is a page-turner. Grisham turned fro...moreThe story of several men, really, who were wrongfully convicted of murders they did not commit, The Innocent Man is a page-turner. Grisham turned from his usual legal fiction to pen this true-crime novel, and I think he accomplishes the jump to non-fiction pretty well. Sometimes the writing seemed a bit simple, but I think that can be appropriate when presenting facts.
I was horrified by the way the main subject of the book, Ron Williamson, was treated by the justice system, and possibly even more appalled by the way Dennis Fritz, the man assumed to be Williamson's partner in crime, was handled. Also nestled into the book are another pair of men, Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, who were also wrongly convicted in the same town of a different murder. The inner workings of the legal system were fascinating, if infuriating; it was uplifting to see that, in the end, there were lawyers and judges who worked fairly and who worked very hard to see justice done.
I found The Innocent Man to be reminiscent of In Cold Blood, if not quite up to Capote's level of writing, but from the opposite point of view- that of men who are innocent. This is only my second true-crime book ever, however (the first being the aforementioned), so I don't know if that's just the accepted style of writing. Overall, I found the story intriguing, enough finish the book in just a couple of sittings. I'd recommend it for any fans of cold case shows or the Discovery ID network.(less)
In the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, we find Sookie caught in the middle once again as both the Were Pack and the Louisiana vampires face threats fr...moreIn the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, we find Sookie caught in the middle once again as both the Were Pack and the Louisiana vampires face threats from the outside. In the midst of all the turmoil, Sookie still has to deal with small town dynamics, her confusing relationships with Eric, Quinn, and Bill, a flighty witch living in her home, and her regular shifts at the bar.
I love this series, I really do. There were many things I liked about this installment, particularly learning more about Pack/shifter politics and inner workings. Ditto the vampires and the witches. And I know poor Sookie has been put through a lot in the last few books, but that's probably why I felt things were a little too easy in this one. Still, I'm a big Sookie/Eric fan, so all the little flashes of that were wonderful for me, and I always like more insight into Pam, which we get. There was a lot of good Sam stuff, as well.
I was a little put off by the Jason/Hotshot parts, though. Yes, the Hotshot weres are strange, and Crystal is a bit skanky, but I never really found Jason hateful before, and I felt he was this time around. The other aspect of the book that I didn't care for was all the "Ooh, look, I'm current references" to Carrie Underwood and so on. It just jolted me out of the world Harris had created a little bit, and I think in the long run will date the series a little, whereas before it was a bit more timeless.
Overall, though, I always love to return to Bon Temps and Sookie's life, and this was no exception. When I finished, I wanted more, and for me that's the ultimate test.(less)
I didn't finish. The basic plot was intriguing, but I was so turned off by the adultery and how it was portrayed. I don;t normally mind it- I know it...moreI didn't finish. The basic plot was intriguing, but I was so turned off by the adultery and how it was portrayed. I don;t normally mind it- I know it happens- but I couldn't sympathise with either of the character involved.
You know, I normally never leave books unfinished; the number I've left unfinished lately is odd for me, but my TBR pile is huge, and I'm not wasting time on books that don;t hold my interest. It's rather freeing!(less)