It got off to a slow start, but once the story left Arctis Tor for more familiar stomping grounds, the story picked up steam. Harry Dresden is leveled...moreIt got off to a slow start, but once the story left Arctis Tor for more familiar stomping grounds, the story picked up steam. Harry Dresden is leveled up yet stripped down, and it freshens things up. I also appreciated that he questions how his growing power changes him.
I'm less thrilled by Molly's part in the story, but I suppose we'll see how that plays out in the next installment. (less)
I picked this up just for the Kim Harrison story, in order to flesh out my understanding of her latest Rachel Morgan book. Her story was cute, and it...moreI picked this up just for the Kim Harrison story, in order to flesh out my understanding of her latest Rachel Morgan book. Her story was cute, and it was nice seeing fresh-faced, 18 year old Rachel, and the glimmerings of the woman she would become.
The rest of the stories were just okay, though, maybe because they're from authors that I'm not as familiar with. I prefer shorter stories in anthologies, rather than 100 page novellas, especially if said novellas feel like a small part of a larger series that's I'm unfamiliar with. Glad I got it from the library, and not from the bookstore.(less)
This story, following Georgina, a succubus who also happens to be a bookstore manager, was definitely a fun romp, and a great piece of mind candy.
The...moreThis story, following Georgina, a succubus who also happens to be a bookstore manager, was definitely a fun romp, and a great piece of mind candy.
The supernatural community in Seattle is being attacked by unknown forces, and it's up to Georgina and a motley crew of demons, vampires, imps, and angels to figure out what's going on before anyone else gets hurt. While facing the supernatural threat, Georgina also finds herself threatened by her growing attraction to two mortal men- one of them her favorite author, who has just moved to town and made himself comfortable in her store.
Lots of fun, and a look at succubi et al from a different perspective, which I always appreciate. I look forward to reading on in the series!(less)
This was ooookay. The main plot centers on Rachel Morgan, independent "runner", as usual, and in this instance she is going after a particularly vicio...moreThis was ooookay. The main plot centers on Rachel Morgan, independent "runner", as usual, and in this instance she is going after a particularly vicious banshee who attacked her police friend, Glenn. However, Rachel is also dealing with attempting to recover her memory of her twice-dead boyfriend's final moments, shunning by the magical community, and a ghost from her past who is kidnapped by her demon mentor. Yeah, she's got a lot on her plate.
Unfortunately, the plot seemed to drag in places while Rachel navel-gazed about her precarious social situation, the will-they-or-won't-they tension with her friend Marshal, and the always present relationship issues she has. Frankly, Rachel spends a lot of time feeling sorry for herself, repeatedly thinking about what a romantic albatross she is, and wibbling about being thought a black witch (frankly, if I were Rachel, I wouldn't care a whit about that- the demons seem a lot more fun than the uptight hypocrites who shun her and celebrate Trent Kalamack). The plot did wrap up satisfactorily enough, and the Kisten issues should hopefully be resolved after this book, so I wasn't totally disenchanted. I just miss the by-the-seat-of-her-pants action that was so present in earlier volumes.
Another thing I noticed were repeated phrases that yanked me out of the story- most egregious were repeated references to Jenks being in "his best Peter Pan pose," which all occurred in the first few chapters, making it very noticeable, but Harrison also uses "U-bangy" for U-turn several times, and has various characters with various personalities refer to another character as "Rachel candy," even the demon Al.
I am curious to find out what happens with Rachel's shunning, the new character that introduced and turned out to be quite charming at the end, and the mysterious chrysalis Al slipped in her pocket. I'm also intrigued to see where Al's growing liking for Rachel goes; I'm an unabashed Al and Minias fan, so when Al is repeatedly voicing his concerns about something hurting Rachel, my interest is piqued.
All in all a decent installment but not my favorite. Hopefully with the Kisten stuff behind her, Rachel will regain some of her fiesty self for the next novel.(less)
So, I came into Bitten having read nearly all of the other books in the Women of the Otherworld series. In fact, the books with Elena narrating are th...moreSo, I came into Bitten having read nearly all of the other books in the Women of the Otherworld series. In fact, the books with Elena narrating are the only ones I haven't read. It was very interesting to read this one, knowing it was the first in the series and already knowing in broader strokes who major players like Elena, Clayton, Jeremy, and Karl, are.
The narration in this book is much darker than in her more recent works, where the women seem more vibrant and infused with personality, and it took me a few chapters to get comfortable. Once I got used to Elena's voice, however, I found that I quite liked that it was not so light in tone. Elena's story is darker, for one thing. She struggles with a difficult childhood and a terrible betrayal as an adult, as well as her dual life as a werewolf, and so the darker tone in appropriate, I think. I remember not liking Paige as much, right away (Dimestore Magic was the first Armstrong I read); I think I actually came to like Elena more quickly, or maybe I just found her easier to relate to than sheltered girly girl Paige.
Elena's first story, which focuses on her return to the Pack when it is threatened by a group of outsiders, is really about her coming to grips with herself, not only as a werewolf, but who she is as a person. She has to learn to accept certain things about her nature, and reconcile her past with her life now. She also has to resolve her feelings for Clay, the wolf who she fell in love with, and who betrayed her in the worst way possible, by making her a werewolf without his consent. I found her personal journey just as compelling as the more action-oriented parts of the plot.
There were a few elements in the book that I struggled with. One, the infidelity. Elena has constructed a human life for herself, living with a human man and holding down a regular job. When she returns to the Pack, her feelings for Clay resurface, and while she struggles with the emotional side, she easily gives in to the physical. I think having suffered infidelity in a serious relationship in own life, I find it very difficult to sympathize with those who commit it. The other issue I had was learning to like Clay. I see his biting Elena without her consent as a form of rape, worse than anything her foster fathers did because she trusted him and loved him, and rather than offering her a choice she might well have taken, he made the decision for her. Elena eventually decides that being a werewolf is a good thing for her, but she was still made one without the opportunity to say yes or no. In the long run, I just had to buy into Elena's way of thinking, and roll with her decisions.
Overall, though, I thought Bitten was excellent. The plot revolving around the Pack was full of action, but Elena's emotional journey was the meat of the story for me. I'm very glad I finally picked this book up. (less)
I picked this book up because I finished Living With The Dead while visiting my in-laws and wanted something new to read for the trip back. It was on...moreI picked this book up because I finished Living With The Dead while visiting my in-laws and wanted something new to read for the trip back. It was one of those books I always picked up, thought looked interesting, but never quite got around to reading- probably because it seemed like more of the same old, same old I get from so many other urban fantasy authors.
It was not.
Saintcrow blends sci-fi and fantasy pretty seamlessly, creating a world where hover crafts and cyber-age drugs blend with demons, necromancers, and practitioners of magic. The focus is almost always on the action, and while there is romantic interest, Saintcrow, and her main character, Necromance Dante Valentine, are never sentimental or driven by their libidos. It is a particular feat, I think, that the reader is simply thrust into this new world, with back-story trickling in through the plot, but I never felt like I was struggling to keep up or understand terminology and technology.
Working For The Devil's plot introduces POV character Dante Valentine, a bounty hunter gifted with the ability to speak to the dead. Her day job is settling probate questions; her side job, however, is bit more action-packed. The novel opens with Dante receiving a summons from the Prince of Hell, Lucifer himself, who wants her to track down a demon who has escaped Hell with a dangerous artifact. He assigns his Right Hand, Japhrimel, to assist Dante with the task. Both Dante and Japhrimel have personal reasons for wanting to track down Santino, the escapee, and they grudgingly agree to work together. Dante assembles a crack team, including her best friend and fellow Necromance, a male witch, and a shaman. Once the hunt is on, they use all the magic, technology, and physical skill at their disposal- and still discover they might have gotten into a bit more than they bargained for.
I will definitely be reading on into this series. It's rare to find an author with an original idea, a truly kick-ass heroine, and the ability to rough up her characters and her readers to turn out a truly thrilling plot. This book was an excellent blend of action, fantasy, and science fiction that hit all of my buttons.
I liked this latest installment from Kelley Armstrong, although it's not one of my favorites.
It follows the story of Robyn, who is surprisingly quite...moreI liked this latest installment from Kelley Armstrong, although it's not one of my favorites.
It follows the story of Robyn, who is surprisingly quite normal. She is, however, best friends with Hope Adams, the protagonist from Personal Demon. Robyn is the publicist to a Hilton-esque celebutante, and when the Paris wannabe is killed, Robyn finds herself the main suspect in a murder case that quickly becomes tangled with clairvoyants, necromancers, sorcerers, demons, and werewolves. Of course, the demon in question is Hope, and one werewolf is Hope's boyfriend, Karl Marsten.
The main issue I had with the book is that there are so many different POVs that I had to check the front of the book, to be certain it was indeed written by Armstrong, and not George R.R. Martin. In fact, every main and secondary character gets a POV chapter except Karl, which is too bad as he's the one I would've most liked to have heard from. I did like the introduction of John Findlay, or Finn, a cop who also happens to be a necromancer, albeit one who's entirely ignorant of the larger supernatural world until nearly the end of the book. I have a feeling that if Armstrong gets to write the Men of the Otherworld into the series (I am aware there is an anthology coming out) like she wants to, we have our next POV character.
This book could be read as a stand-alone, but it really helps if you're familiar with the series, and the following: the interracial council, vampires, Hope Adams, Karl Marsten, the Nast cabal, Savannah, Eve, Lucas Cortez, Paige Winterbourne, Kristof Nast, Sean Nast, Jaime Vegas, Clay and Elena, Jeremy. All of them turn up, either in person or by reference. And that's in addition to new characters Robyn, Damon, Finn, Rhys, and the kumpania (clairvoyant compound). See what I mean? I like the book, but wow, it helps if you've read the rest of the series, and if you can keep track of all the different voices. (less)
This short story collection of humorous horror was hit or miss for me. I loved stories by Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nancy Holde...moreThis short story collection of humorous horror was hit or miss for me. I loved stories by Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Nancy Holder, Nancy Kilpatrick, Sharyn McCrumb, Joe Lansdale, and Jeff Strand. The rest were either unmemorable or just plain bored me. I was surprised to find Charlaine Harris' story all right, not anything special, when she is usually a favorite for me.
My favorite of the stories was Jim Butcher's "Day Off," a truly funny story in which poor Harry Dresden finally has a day off, and so of course everything goes to hell.
My least favorite of the stories were a tie between Mike Resnick's "A Special Kind of Girl," which was written in a very strange, almost future-tense, and had little to offer in way of plot, and Janet Berliner's "High Kicks and Misdemeanors," which was a bizarre story revolving around ostriches.
Overall, the book is worth picking up (at a library, I'd say) for the Kelley Armstrong and Jim Butcher stories, both of which take places in the worlds of their popular series (Armstrong's is a Jaime Vegas story; Butcher's, as noted above, is a Harry Dresden story). As always, I picked up a few new authors to check out, which is the best thing about anthologies.(less)
What if American teenagers began coming back from the dead? And what if, instead of wanting braaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnssss, they wanted to play football and...moreWhat if American teenagers began coming back from the dead? And what if, instead of wanting braaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnssss, they wanted to play football and go to the homecoming dance? What if the non-living-impaired didn't want them to? That's the premise of this clever novel, a refreshing teen paranormal that stands out in the sea of vampires, werewolves, and witches.
It's not perfect: I felt like the author was trying a little too hard with all of his Goth references, and I can only hope the abrupt ending means there is a sequel in the works. However, I did like all of the main characters- even the villain had a fairly well-rounded character- and while there are romantic elements, the plot is much more driven by the difficulties of zombie assimilation.
This book would, I think, appeal to both boys and girls, and for all that it has a love triangle featuring a "differently biotic person," it is wholly appropriate for teens of all ages. Two thumbs up.(less)
This is one of my all time favorite books, so my rating may be a little high because of the sentimental attachment I have for the series. I first read...moreThis is one of my all time favorite books, so my rating may be a little high because of the sentimental attachment I have for the series. I first read the Vampire Diaries back in high school, so at least 15 years ago. I would finish book four and go right back to book one. I think it's awesome that the books are being released in these combined trade paperbacks, and for a good price (looks like they are doing the same for Smith's Secret Circle series, as well). I guess SMeyer was good for at least one thing: paranormal YA renaissance.
In fact, if you read this series, you will note a few similarities to Twilight; just remember, Smith did it fifteen yeas ago, and she did it better. The story features a popular girl, Elena, who is strangely attracted to the new guy at school, an Italian exchange student named Stefan. Strange things begin happening in their small, Southern town, and it's not long before people are looking at Stefan with a wary eye. Elena discovers Stefan's secrets, and a new world of intrigue and terror opens up as they fall for one another, and the town is threatened by a dark menace.
So yes, vampires in daylight, in high school, and a love story. But this series has plot right out the gate, antagonists with depth, and a love story that takes time to grow. If you were disappointed with how Twilight ended, or even if you loved Twilight and want something similar, give this series a try. It's a terrific YA vampire series with characters you will fall in love with.(less)