I left comic books behind many, many years ago. Decades. Loved them up to age about 14. Had not understood the reason some were referred to as 'graphiI left comic books behind many, many years ago. Decades. Loved them up to age about 14. Had not understood the reason some were referred to as 'graphic novels'. Thought that was really about adults trying to disguise the fact that they hadn't outgrown a childish medium. Adult males, specifically.
However. I became aware of Alan Moore when 'V for Vendetta' came out in cinemas. Was intrigued by the politics in the film. After that, I saw the amazing trailer for 'Watchmen' that Zac Snyder did. The guy can seriously cut a trailer. Didnt know any of the characters referred to, but asked my son and he told me the comic was brilliant. I bought 'Watchmen' a few months before the film came out, so I wouldnt be too lost in the cinema, and HOLY MOLEY!
It. Was. Brilliant.
'Watchmn' is not a comic book. It is, indeed a GRAPHIC NOVEL.
It is quite complex involving visuals, document extracts, dairies, an additional illustrated novel/story. Its layered. All woven together in a mystery- who killed the 'hero' who dies violently in the opening pages? And Why?The film- which I really liked- could not/did not use all the elements that make up 'Watchmen'.
The graphic novel is a brilliant collaborative effort between Alan Moore - the writer-, Dave Gibbons -the artist- and John Higgins- the colourist.
It is an analysis, a deconstruction of the superhero. A 'What if?' that considers what life would be like if costumed vigilantes did indeed exist. The effect on the heroes and on society. Some would be government hired sociopaths, some would be subject to depression if away from the adrenaline ride that is the violent action, some would be too-rigid dispensers of justice acting as judge, jury,executioner, some would use it as a business opportunity...the list goes on and on. Not only could power corrupt. It could change the course of human history. It could alienate the wielder from humanity. If this was the only thing Alan Moore had ever done, his godlike status in the comic book industry- and indeed, in the film industry- would be understandable. He's done a range of amazing work, however. He's full of ideas on the big questions in life. What he does is really not for children. And he hates what has been done to his work, when transferred to the screen. He's a very, very grumpy god. He will openly cuss and castigate film people and comicbook industry people, whilst they grovel...and try and use as much of his work and/or ideas as they can. He's an immense influence.
The Merry Gentry series. Sigh. Fond memories. This review is for this book AND a general comment on the series. This first book- setting up the characteThe Merry Gentry series. Sigh. Fond memories. This review is for this book AND a general comment on the series. This first book- setting up the characters and the major premise is fabulous. The research done here on the Fae, and legends about them is very thorough, and the way they have been recognised in human society is quite brilliant.
Laurel K Hamilton is a trailblazer at this sort of thing.
So the fae princess working as a private eye, Merry is in an interesting predicament. Literally, fuck or die. And as always, Hamilton is fantastic at depicting female villains. Merry's aunt Andais, Queen of the Unseelie fae is frightening in her unpredictability, narcissism, cruelty. A number of the eleven men portrayed, who become Merry's lovers, are well drawn- Doyle, Rees, Frost, Galen in particular. I'm not sorry I bought books in this fascinating series. The power struggles and political intrigue, the use of a wide variety of types of fae is fantastic. BUT. Be warned. Like the Anita Blake series, it goes downhill. Hamilton has a big problem. She wants to write erotica, but she does it very, very poorly. Its not actually erotica, more schoolgirl smut. (Unimaginative, repetitive). It gets more noticeable as the series progresses. I don't object to the sex in her books. Just to how poorly written it is. So then, as she gradually increases the sexual content in her work, the quality declines. Not as badly as in the Anita Blake series- which has become unreadable.
Another problem is that eventually, readers end up wondering if she is using the heroine as an avatar.The heroine starts out three dimensional and over the course of the series becomes a Mary Sue. New powers. Lusted after by every male. Adored by the fae Gods. Sexing 24/7. Yawn. You start to feel embarrassed, as if Hamilton is inserting herself in the books, and her personal taste as regards men, and sex. Which is not daring and provocative, as she appears to think. Yuk.
Finally, most damning, Hamilton has an obsession with descriptions of people and hair and clothing and things, that she will become absorbed in to the detriment of plot and pace and characterisation, syntax and grammar. I've given it four stars because the first book IS very good. Just...bear in mind my caveats. She needs a very tough editor....more
Hmmm I've been reading- then skimming when there was too much repetition, or exposition, or eccentricities in the plotting and pacing- this series overHmmm I've been reading- then skimming when there was too much repetition, or exposition, or eccentricities in the plotting and pacing- this series over the weekend. I've learned the following:
White, blonde and green eyed=good. Mexican= VERY BAD Women in the post-apocalyptic future will all need protecting or they'll be sex slaves to the evil, non-white, non-blonde, evil Mexicans After a nuclear bomb drops, insects and rodents INSTANTLY mutate. The heroine is beautiful, and a doctor, and has magic powers, and every man who sees her wants her AND SHE HAS EXACTLY THE SAME NAME AS THE AUTHOR.
This is number 8 in the series. Usually by now, authors are somewhat comfortable. Not challenging themselves. coasting along.
They've shaken tThis is number 8 in the series. Usually by now, authors are somewhat comfortable. Not challenging themselves. coasting along.
They've shaken things up by removing Kate and Curran from the Pack. They've totally changed Kate and Curran's status: him no longer being the Beast Lord is a HUGE thing. They've moved the focus of the book away from the main supporting characters- so we don't get much of Jim, Derek, Ascanio, Dali, Andrea, Rafael, Doolittle. They've gone for a mythological villain outside western mythology And they take the gamble of letting us see more of the overarching big Bad, Roland.
The stakes get bigger each time.
Here, Kate is trying to track down a missing Pack member- without the Pack's help. Deal with a massive threat to the city. Juggle the new stresses of trying to live a suburban life with Curran and Julie. And, survive Roland's attempts to manipulate her life. She has to work on upping her power levels as fast and as much as she can for the inevitable showdown with him, that has only been postponed...whilst working out what his endgame is. How do you defeat a godlike being, millenia old, whose very essence is magic? Who can destroy and create life? Because that is what Roland is- godlike.
Even having shaken things up, there are the features we all love from past Kate Daniels books: Mortal peril for Kate and her allies. Witty banter. Impressive swordplay from our heroine, together with musings on the different types of swords and their purpose, and fighting techniques for varied situations. Seriously. I always appreciate how its made clear: the heroine is a trained, professional swordswoman, has been wielding a variety of blades since aged about 7, and has been through the urban fantasy equivalent of special forces training plus.
She KNOWS about close quarters combat, martial techniques, stamina, ways to disarm, maim, kill. And her significant other is not merely an alpha male posturer. He's a formidable fighter in his own right AND a strategist. The book makes clear he is also a natural leader and a born CEO... A warm, dynamic realistic relationship between Kate and Curran A massive, nail biting, edge of seat climactic battle with the book's Big bad
There's a reason why readers wait impatiently for the next Kate Daniels book. The writing duo Ilona Andrews are masters. We get it all: Plot, pacing, worldbuilding. And, above all, characterization.
These authors specialize in 3 dimensional characters,in a big supporting cast. So, they have the luxury of throwing us a curve-ball by concentrating on characters we've only had a small glimpse of before- George (Mahon's daughter) and Eduardo (her werebison boyfriend, who was on the ill-fated trip to Europe several books ago). And reminding us- even as the villain of the book appears unstoppable that there are beings out there even more ancient and powerful than Roland, who may be awakening...
One of the things that makes this series the best written of ALL the Urban Fantasy series, is that the heroine continues to be on a steep learning curve, both emotionally AND power wise. Its believable -given her upbringing by a warlord- that she's had to learn to deal with a range of emotions and being in a domestic setting. Its also believable that having been imbued with magic in the womb, without a specialist to teach her, she's had to learn as she goes along, pushing the limits of her magic abilities with each book.
Urban fantasy readers have preferences. Some like shifters, some like vampires, some like supernatural beings e.g fae, some like magic users -witches,wizards,warlocks, mages. I've never been particularly interested in magic users but Ilona Andrews gives us so many interesting variations of magic (casting, priest created, possession,acolytes, blood magic, ritual, curses,powerful objects/artifacts,legendary creatures to name but a few) and magic users ( technicians in police authorities who merge it with science, knights, Russian Volvs, necromancers, to name but a few) linked to mythologies around the world that I'm hooked.
Alrighty then.... Ladies, we all know we have fantasies. Thats why we read books, right? I mean, we all have days where we daydream that we'd like a liAlrighty then.... Ladies, we all know we have fantasies. Thats why we read books, right? I mean, we all have days where we daydream that we'd like a little caveman action. A gorgeous, super-dominant guy who just...instantly falls for us and captures us and takes us to his lair, and shags us silly um, discusses world peace. Because.
Hence, books like these.In that regard, this book delivers in spades. But. Heres the thing.
Ever since Fifty (Shades of G) there's been a lot of bandwaggon jumping. Writers going 'Want me some of that 70 million booksales, movie rights action.' So we get a ton of these post-Fifty books. Dominant, stalkerish heroes, who are 'damaged' and into bdsm. But like with that book, the authors haven't researched bdsm, and don't realize that to work, it has to be a) consensual b) genuinely pleasurable for the submissive.
Also, stalking is not the new foreplay. Also, damaged guys need therapy.
And each author-to get attention/sales- has to push the boundaries further. So you end up with a book like this: Virginal heroine? Check. Superhandsome (anti)Hero? Check. Stalkerish behaviour? Check. You-are-the-only-one-for-me-I-must-take-you-away-from-everyone-you-know-and-love? Check And to push it further, we have to get kidnapping, hostage taking, forced/coerced sex, beatings, mind manipulation...you get the picture.
Being ravished on a gorgeous tropical island, having fabulous clothes+food, and the overwhelming attention of Mr 'I've-Got-Too-Much-Goddamn-Testosterone' is all very well.But it doesn't really disguise the fact that the heroine, Nora is an abused teen, and the hero,Julian is her abuser.
The sex is well written- thats why I gave it 3 stars. Well written sex is way harder to do than people realize (I'm looking at YOU, Laurel K Hamilton).
The writer has talent. But the basic premise steps over the line by trying to turn a guy who has sociopathic tendencies into a romantic hero. I mean, there's Heathcliff...and then there's this motherfucker. Srsly. Is this a thing, now???? ...more
So... This book is a bit, um, startling. Because for a reader to feel this has a romantic element, or to view the heroine, Lake and the, guy who has buSo... This book is a bit, um, startling. Because for a reader to feel this has a romantic element, or to view the heroine, Lake and the, guy who has bullied and tormented her for a decade (her description) Kieran, as a romantic couple, that reader would have to be nuts. Or an (emotional) masochist. I mean, its well written, for the most part.
I wonder if the author has a fanfic background, or if this IS fanfic with the names changed. Because. This book seems to be a combo of angst and hurt/comfort, plus non-con with rapey overtones, and there are 180 degree turns in the trajectory of the journey the heroine and anti-hero/antagonist take. (And, btw I LOVE fanfic. The best matches top writers).
I mean, WHAT.THE.HELL.
I hope this isnt being passed off in any shape or form as a YA novel, with raunch, because though it is about teens, no teenage girl should be let near it. Seriously. There's enough of them who think some goodlooking, abusive wanker is Mr Brooding Hottie Twilight Dude. At least the hero in that- er Christian (?) was stalkery, but not downright abusive. The author took the line between possessive,alpha male, and dominant on the one hand, and stark staring brutish-should-be-locked-up on the other hand, and used a fricking pole vault to jump 200 yards (or 182 meters) past that sucker. Damn. Heroine needs to grow a backbone and shoot that g*damn f@*ker in the dick. Srsly. I gave it 3 stars because of the quality of the writing. The theme/message warranted a minus 1. This is for those who like to read a first person POV of a heroine who is on a ride to Low Self Esteem Central. Boy, was I clutching my pearls through this one....more
What a missed opportunity! Witches with inherent dragon wrangling abilities.Men who are/arent also dragons.Dragon sex. So imagine my consternation whenWhat a missed opportunity! Witches with inherent dragon wrangling abilities.Men who are/arent also dragons.Dragon sex. So imagine my consternation when this book turned out to be so low key as to be almost boring! The world building was minimal. The story too small- basicially its a romance concentrating on a very small pool of characters. No alpha males. No sense of what magic means in the world portrayed- which is our modern one. Inadequate physical descriptions of people, irritating social details, glacially slow pacing....
I could go on.
I appreciate the effort it takes, to write a book, and there is the kernel of a good book here, wrapped in a mediocre one. It needed either better editing or a co-author. Something. Cant believe this got to be a series...
If you're into Dragon shifter stories, you're better off with Thea Harrison's Elder Races series, or G.A Aitkens ...more
Meh. The Midnight Breed series has some great world building, and its the kind of thing you gobble up like chocolate, but this book in the series? Yawn.Meh. The Midnight Breed series has some great world building, and its the kind of thing you gobble up like chocolate, but this book in the series? Yawn. I kept fast forwarding- always a bad sign, because the two central characters were boring. Andreas 'my family has all been killed, revenge cakes, blah, blah' Clare 'Im so innocent I missed the fact that my husband is a psychotic @%$hole, blah' Really. I spent much of the book doing the literary equivalent of peering over their shoulder. Catching glimpses of others in The Order- the elite group of vampire warriors battling unspeakable evil.I loved the glimpses of Lucan, Renata, the little girl Mira, and my fave couple so far in the series, Tegan (Mr BAMF) and Elise (a gently bred society matron who taught herself to be a Mrs BAMF)
And wanting a book about Hunter- the Gen One genetic experiment freak vampire who had been freed and joined them. The long story arc about the main villain and his plan for world domination is fantastic, so I was also reading for that. But the two star crossed lovers? Nah. Whilst each was having an internal monologue of angst, about what they wanted, all l could think was: 'Yeah. And I want a pony' ...more
Holy Crap! I've been reading this series, which is not at all like the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series...ok, well it is, really. But why not? There's pHoly Crap! I've been reading this series, which is not at all like the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series...ok, well it is, really. But why not? There's plenty of story left to tell about Special Forces-like teams of elite vampire warriors built like WWE wrestlers, who all live in a high security compound/castle and fight unspeakable evil protecting their vampire bretheren and humans. Who are either revered or feared by their sophisticated vampire kin.Yet still have time to stumble across ravishingly beautiful human women who are innocent, passionate, and.. well, you get the gist. Anyhoo, Breedmates-the rare human women who can produce children with vampires- dont go out doing any of the warrior stuff *sigh* so you can imagine how stunned I was, when we encounter the heroine,Elise, a widow,formerly a high society Darkhavens resident, out and about tracking and killing baddies on her own using her telepathic powers to sniff them out, with a massive knife!Because she's seeking revenge after loosing her only son to a drug that turned him rogue. And she's done the whole cut-off-her-hair-and-get-weapons-and-swear-a-vow shit you usually get in Chinese martial arts films. I was half expecting to get a training montage...ok sorry, went off track there! Elise has offed at least a dozen baddies.Society Mom has turned stone cold killer!
So, Elise bumps into this series Mr BAMF, Tegan. Cold, ruthless, vicious killer of rogues, often does the solo assassin shit etc etc.He's spent 500 years indifferent to everyone, training himself to feel no emotion, just wants to be a killing machine, etc etc.
So, of course, the writer just has to match these two up.
They but heads. ALOT. Elise- in her genteel way throws down on Tegan, and says the (posh) version of 'Bring it, bitch!' and he's shocked, because no one usually speaks to a 6 foot five, 900 year old, armed to the teeth, 'My Middle Name Is Pain!' vampire like that.So of course, he has to help her, and they fall in love, but she remains badass throughout, including in the big final action scene! Where she rescues him, continuing to kick ass!
Um. Well. I've heard of guys in fiction being dominant, but the super-macho Law Castille,who scares the crap out of the hero (really, heroine) Tom in thUm. Well. I've heard of guys in fiction being dominant, but the super-macho Law Castille,who scares the crap out of the hero (really, heroine) Tom in this great little novella, takes domination to a new level.
The author must have gone shopping at Alpha-Males-R-Us,for the character of Law, because...DAMN!
Frankly, I'd have called the police if this huge, obscenely rich, brutally handsome @&$hole had turned up at my place of work, with a brilliantly evil plan for revenge on the ex who broke my heart.
But Tom lets Law persuade him to bring him to Tom's rich ex-boyfriend's society wedding. To a woman. To wreak revenge. As one does. Because... that's going to go so well, right? And Tom, (who is not a wuss, nor the kind of feminised man in so many of these fics) has the whole 'deer in the headlights' thing going on when Law is in the room, because he's so intimidating. And a control freak. And gives off an air of sexual menace, to boot.
Listen, I spent the first 1/3 of this extremely short book (and whats up with that, Jezz Morrow? huh?) putting my hand over my eyes, shrieking 'No!' and 'Run!' intermittently at Tom.
And I had the same sense of foreboding as Tom as to the 'price' Law would force him to pay, for getting him into the wedding. I'm...not going to say much more, as the scene immediately after the wedding is incendiary. Personally? I'd have called the police, AND got a restraining order against Law. I'm just saying.
Holy Moly! Georgette Heyer is brilliant, and this is one of her most famous regency novels. Its...two worlds colliding. One world is the over the top onHoly Moly! Georgette Heyer is brilliant, and this is one of her most famous regency novels. Its...two worlds colliding. One world is the over the top one of handsome, passionate cruel rakes, who love duelling, drinking, gambling, screw-- ok, you get the picture. This is the world from which the hero, a marquis, named Dominic, hails. The other is down to earth, normal practical world where someone knows the cost of a pint of milk, where to buy curtains,and has sensible bedtimes. This is the world from which the heroine, named Mary, hails.
Mary is normal, sensible (not boring) smart and real. Dominic is...madder than a bag of spanners. He's a real aristo, and will kill people in a duel at the drop of a hat, seduce women right,left and centre.On his way to a party, he'll shoot highwaymen and leave their corpses in the road,as one does etc etc. All while in the type of tight pants that leave NOTHING to the imagination. And, of course, he's jaw droppingly handsome. And a complete dick.
He and Mary wouldnt ordinarily meet, but she has a beautiful younger sister, who if around now, would make Paris Hilton look like a member of Mensa. She's been leading Dominic on after meeting at the regency equivalent of a mall, thinking marriage, but Mr Bad Boy is only thinking 'leg-over'. When Dominic has to flee England having killed one man too many, he decides to get Mary's sister to come with him. Mary finds out, tricks him into taking her (disguised as her sister)then reveals herself on his yacht and...it doesnt go down too well. He decides to ravish Mary. She wont be ravished, so she shoots him with his own pistol, and this, of course, makes him REALLY interested, and it all kicks off from there. He gets a sudden insight- 'hey, this woman is respectable!' and a belated fit of conscience, so says he'll marry her NOW, to save her reputation. Doesnt matter what she wants.
Mary's all, '@&&k that shit. Im'a get a JOB!'
She escapes Dominics clutches, running off.Not letting the fact that she's now in a foreign country with no money faze her. He finds out she'd gone,freaks out - like whoa!- and sets off in hot pursuit.
Its all fast journeys across France in horse drawn carriages,fighting, misunderstandings,costumed balls,arguements, running away, hot pursuits, duels, you name it. All the way through the book Dominic behaves like a classic, bodice-ripper hero. That is, like a real asshole. Displaying sociopathic tendencies, but sexy with it. Mary is wonderful, grown up, has a great sense of humour,and common sense. She can see the sexy, all right, but is fighting it. She is us, the reader. And she can manage Dominc just fine, thank you very much, but she doesnt want the hassle of dealing with his crazy, and being ostracised by his family and high society if she does marry into his class.
One of the best reviews of The Devil's Cub OF ALL TIME is here: http://bit.ly/w7HEzj Honestly, this is a book to buy, and re-read every year or so. Love it....more
A classic of the genre!If you like this sort of thing...then this is the sort of thing you'll like. The heroine is innocent, downtrodden, beautiful,anA classic of the genre!If you like this sort of thing...then this is the sort of thing you'll like. The heroine is innocent, downtrodden, beautiful,and narrates the story. The hero is very handsome, rich, powerful...and a psychotic asshole. Really. Domineering,obssessive, possessive, highly sexed, irresistible to men and women,and he likes torturing people. No bodice is left un-ripped. There's blood, bi-sexuality,rennaisance Italian history, sadism,insanity, revenge, and a little transvestism thrown in. Is there anything in that description that makes you not want to read it? Course not! It was madly enjoyable. Great way to pass an evening...more
Read this as a (precocious!) child at around age 10 or 11. I was a bibliophile/bookaholic. Growing up the only child of migrant parents, coming home fRead this as a (precocious!) child at around age 10 or 11. I was a bibliophile/bookaholic. Growing up the only child of migrant parents, coming home from primary school and letting myself in with the key on the string around my neck, books were my companions, were an entry into the strange new country and culture we'd landed in. They were the opening up of my imagination. I devoured them. The librarians in my tiny local library got used to the sight of this determined little, mocha coloured girl, her head full of tiny plaits, bundled up against the cold ( central heating wasnt in homes in Britain yet. And I was a child of the tropics) sitting with her nose buried in a book, taking new ones out, returning read ones. I must have been one of their best customers. It was near enough to where we lived, for me to walk there and back safely. It was my second home. Thank you, Maida Vale library!
The Illiad, and the Odyssey likely set me on the path of loving speculative fiction- scifi and fantasy- because otherworldly beings! Magic! Battles! Drama! They have it all......more