Jace Valchek returns, and is back to form! Hopefully, if you're reading Better Off Undead (the fourth installment in the Bloodhound Files series), youJace Valchek returns, and is back to form! Hopefully, if you're reading Better Off Undead (the fourth installment in the Bloodhound Files series), you're familiar with the story: FBI Profiler Jace Valchek is sucked into a parallel universe where the paranormal is normal. She needs to catch an insane human serial killer to get her ticket home. Here, as a human, she's an endangered species, but Valchek might just be getting her wolf on. Oh, and she needs to catch an insane werewolf mob boss, too.
After a somewhat shaky third installment, Jace is back to kicking butt. She's settled into a life in this world. The Jace/Charlie banter that is the lifeblood of this series is back (it was sorely lacking, for obvious reasons, in Killing Rocks [obvious if you've read it, that is]); Jace is again learning more about Thropirelem, but seeming more at home; Cassius is manouvering. It's GOOD. The best since Dying Bites. In fact, I genuinely think this may be the best in the series so far. Some of my favourite parts of this book were Jace's interactions with her shape-shifting St Bernard, Galahad, and there was another scene involving a very new Lem, Billy Beta, that got me a bit sniffly. The [very obvious] parallels with our own universe's civil rights movements work here, and add depth, realism, and soul to this series.
Readers will also get some satisfaction as the ever-enigmatic Cassius gets even more backstory (there's a LOT of backstory when you're two thousand years old), and his relationship with Jace develops further. This is also an interesting aside: Cassius is fascinating, and I would have thought I'd enjoy seeing more of him--which is exactly what we got in Killing Rocks. While Cassius is (very) present in this installment, he's not half as ubiquitous as he was in the previous, and I enjoy his scenes all the more for the waiting.
These books are brilliantly plotted. They have tight episodic storylines, but the overarching story arc throughout the series is also splendid, and Barant doesn't seem to lose site of it. They books constantly reminding me of a TV series (Fringe!). Individual episodes, but a much larger story arc. You can tell DD Barant is a TV Writer, and it works. I haven't enjoyed a series so much, without reservations, in a long time....more
I first learned of the Dresden Files series in the short story by Butcher in Many Bloody Returns. I then watched the TV series, and it was finally timI first learned of the Dresden Files series in the short story by Butcher in Many Bloody Returns. I then watched the TV series, and it was finally time to read the first book.
Well I liked Storm Front. Harry is wise-cracking, cocky, smart-assed and self-deprecating, which makes being in his head fun. The mix of hard-boiled detective fiction and Harry Potter is both funny and clever.
My only issue is that every now and then it sounded like Butcher was trying so hard to make Harry cool in a careless 'I'm not even trying' kind of way (sweatpants? really?), and I kept getting pulled out of the story. He has his cool-boy duster, and he's badass, but there's other aspects of his character that felt slightly incongruous... but I'm beginning to think this was really the point.
Harry is a lost boy. No family, few friends. Despised, distrusted, and never allowed a normal childhood. He is a walking contradiction. He's seen enough in his life to make him jaded, but he cares. He's done bad, bad things but he wants to be good. He tries to be good, but sometimes he needs to be bad to do the right thing. He's powerless against the powers of the White Council, or human law enforcement, but has the power to change the world he lives in for good or bad. He's caught in the middle of two worlds--the one he belongs in, and the human world he tries to make his home in--and this is of his own making.
Ultimately, Storm Front is great fun, and a good read I'd recommend to anyone who likes detective stories and pinch of magic....more
"[What happens in Vegas, stays in vegas]... except for tatoos and STD's."
I enjoyed Killing Rocks, but it felt a little off.
Jace Valchek has always bee"[What happens in Vegas, stays in vegas]... except for tatoos and STD's."
I enjoyed Killing Rocks, but it felt a little off.
Jace Valchek has always been shoot first, questions later; running headlong into one disaster after another. She's ballsy, tough, and flawed. One of her faults is trying to do everything herself, and maybe being a (more than a little) bit reckless. In Killing Rocks, it feels like she's just following new character Azura (Avatar! Azula! Azula!) around and uncharacteristically not questioning what's going on. I did enjoy Azura, though. I hope we'll see more of her in the future.
"You're not fooling me. You're Satan, with... with perky breasts."
I know the situation she's been thrown into is bonkers, but no matter what was happening before, Jace has always been in control. Maybe not of the whole situation, but she had a plan, a direction. She's NOT for most of Killing Rocks.
Charlie's absence in book 3 creates a big hole. I miss Doctor Pete, though Tair is interesting. I miss Gretch, Eisfanger, Xandra and Gally (though I guess the point is that Hace does, too). I miss Cassius, whose appearances in book 3 just didn't feel right--like have a skim milkshake, or sugar-free chocolate. It just doesn't quite SATISFY.
Still fun to read, but dissapointing off the back of the first two books in The Bloodhound Files....more
Take Daybreakers and Fringe. Mix them together in a cross-dimensional blender, and add a smart-mouthed heroine. You'll have Dying Bites.
Sucked intTake Daybreakers and Fringe. Mix them together in a cross-dimensional blender, and add a smart-mouthed heroine. You'll have Dying Bites.
Sucked into a parallel universe, FBI profiler Jace Valchek's new boss, David Cassius (NSA boss, and millennia old vampire), tells her she has one option for a ticket home: track down a criminally insane human serial killer--who's murdering pires and weres. In this place, vampires (hemovores), werewolves (lycanthropes), and golems (Mineral Americans, is the PC term if you ask her new partner, Charlie Aleph) make up 99% of the population. Jace has a lot to process. And now she's now an endangered species, too.
Sometime around the 1300's, this world's history split off from our own. Over the centuries, the differences have increased. Were's run the Catholic Church, guns don't exist, Japanese Shintoism and African Sorcery are the two predominant belief systems on the planet, and magic is so common place that 'computer viruses' take on a whole new meaning.
"Charlie, how do you feel about scuba diving?" "About the same way an anvil does."
The book is funny. Laugh out (embarrassingly) loud in public, funny. Jace has a smart mouth, and her partner, Charlie, can hold his own, too.
Dying Bites is told in first person present tense. I'm all for present tense. The Hunger Games, and Across The Universe? Extraordinary. For some reason, though, in this book I occasionally found it hard to follow. Not a huge problem, though. It's a really good, fun, story. I feel the urge to inform that this is NOT a PNR. I'm not sure why I assumed it was. The cover? The name? Huh. There's definitely sparks and a hinted future relationship, but it's not a huge deal, and just a small part of the story on a whole....more