Aw, crap. More teenage vampires that attend high school and fall in love with mortals as opposed to eating them. These at least didn't appear to be of...moreAw, crap. More teenage vampires that attend high school and fall in love with mortals as opposed to eating them. These at least didn't appear to be of the sparkling variety, so I thought I would give them a shot.
I knew what I signed on for the instant I read the preface and learned the two rules of the Night World: don't tell mortals about it, and don't fall in love with mortals. Thanks for spoiling the ending. There was a bit of sameness about all three stories and I started rolling my eyes at the repetition of the soul mate principle, but overall it made for fun, quick reading.
-Secret Vampire- What can I say? This one exceeded my expectations. I like the idea of born vampires and made vampires because I haven't seen that one often enough for it to feel boring yet, and I haven't seen the need to drink blood going beyond simple thirst at all. Poppy was spunky but not insufferable, and I liked twin brother Phil, but I felt in the middle of the road about James. He wasn't what I would call a bad character, but he didn't jump out and grab my attention. The mental link during the actual blood drinking was my favorite part and I liked the conflict about Poppy's transformation, but the ending just felt too easy for me, like Smith suddenly got bored and decided to wrap things up as quickly as possible and took the path of least resistance. Too feeble! I loved Poppy's reaction to James confessing what he is. If I had a terminal illness and the best friend I grew up with claimed to be an immortal vampire, I'd be pissed, too. Nice start, lousy ending...I'll give this one a three.
-Daughters of Darkness- Shucks, more vampires. I thought there were more creatures in the Night World! This one was the exact opposite of Secret Vampire. It took me forever to get involved in it, but I actually liked the ending. Rowan, Kestrel, and Jade never made it past two-dimensional for me, but I liked Mary-Lynette a lot and Ash was a lot more appealing on the whole here, lazy, arrogant smart ass and all. Theirs was the most interesting plot line of the lot, though I had brief doubts when Jeremy became a major player. In fact, I could have done without the Mark and Jade love story entirely. Come on, two sets of soul mates among the same two sets of siblings? It seemed obnoxious and redundant. But the ending! I must return to the ending! I was sad to see it come to that conclusion all around, but it was a nice, solid finish that made up for the slow start. I'll give this one another three.
-Spellbinder- This one was the strongest of the book. It grabbed me and didn't let me stop until I read the whole thing...which I did in one sitting. Ugh, again with the instant soul mates thing that seems to be some sort of epidemic in the Night World, but I like how this one played out the best. Blaise was the most complex, unpredictable character by far, the subplot of a vengeful spirit on the loose actually supported rather than detracted and distracted, and the love story reminded me pleasantly of a book I read years ago and enjoyed quite a bit. Score! Aside from the insta-love that strikes within the first three chapters, I have no gripe with this one. It started good and ended even better, and even if the first two stories let me down this one made the whole book worth it. I give it a five!
So, calculating the overall rating based on the individual ratings and rounding up according to the decimals, I give volume one four stars out of five, and I stand behind it. Now get me volume two!(less)
So, when I started reading this, I took notes with the intention of writing a review based on my opinions as I read. Instead, it turned into a little...moreSo, when I started reading this, I took notes with the intention of writing a review based on my opinions as I read. Instead, it turned into a little play-by-play commentary, which I decided to use anyway. It summed up my opinions better than a review could. So here it is, verbatim! Spoilers ahead! And language when I couldn't control my enthusiasm!
PROLOGUE -Bernice seems intriguing, active with a morbid imagination -Immediate mental correlation w/ Dracula--"Leppington, the town built on blood" -As always w/ horror: I want to keep going just to see when it gets scary -What is B's obsession w/ Mike Stroud?
ONE AND TWO -Chapter structure similar to "It"...bad sign? -David Leppington seems...arrogant? Have to wait to see what he'll do
THREE -Skinhead punk on the train is going to get it, isn't he? At least, I hope so. He's annoying me. A lot. -Wait...I thought fag meant something else across the pond?
FOUR -Leech farm...huh?! -*cough* Disney World! -Now a slaughterhouse...pretty grisly so far -Who the flying fart is Katrina? -Nice touch w/ slaughterhouse and sewers -Should I start tallying use of the word "fatalistic" already?
FIVE -And "flippant" while I'm at it?
SEVEN -Katrina = variation on Renfield
EIGHT -I definitely like Bernice -Electra might be twisted -Jason Morrow is in denial -Red felt-tip scar again...Clark has redundancy issues -OK, make that Dracula/It crossover
TEN -Skinhead seems to be telepathic. Boy, I wonder how this will work out? -Definitely Dracula/It crossover
ELEVEN -George seems to have some hellacious longevity. Suspicious?
TWELVE -George...what do you know? -Norse gods, descendants of Thor...I need a break -Oh Lord, now stories about magic swords. And conquering empires w/ supermen. Vampires, you mean?
THIRTEEN -Is George setting the vamps loose? The plot thickens... -Could be...this legend seems to point that way. You know, this isn't much like the blurb described, and it has yet to get scary
FIFTEEN -Uh oh...watch out, Dianne -Told you so.
SEVENTEEN -Because it's not real horror w/out an abundance of horny people getting ganked in the middle of fu-- uh, fornicating -Bernice, I thought you were smarted than that! You NEVER go into the basement! -And you never ever EVER open the door! Don't open the door, don't open the door, don't open the--
EIGHTEEN -Saved by the skinhead! Who'da thunk it?
NINETEEN -now we're getting somewhere! But still not scary, damn it! -Still not entirely sure about David...
TWENTY -Skinhead, perhaps a hero? You know, maybe we ought to stop calling him that and start using that stupid alias he gives everyone. -Holy crap, I really think Jack Black might be warning them. -Feeling sympathy for a troubled past? But he was such an asshole a few chapters ago! -Jesus H. Christ...I know that one! -Don't worry, Dave! They've recognized their overlord!
TWENTY-ONE -Electra...what do you know?
TWENTY-TWO -A guest named Matt Smith...cue Whovian enthusiasm! -All right, Electra, what the hell do you know that you're not saying?
TWENTY-THREE -Bingo! Jack's got it! -Oh, so now we think of Katrina? -Watch out, fella, she bites. *morbid chuckle* -Watch out, lady, that ain't your husband. -Well, I notice Clark has finally utilized the insidious nature of modern vampires and he isn't skimping on blood and death...but this still ain't scary.
TWENTY-FOUR -Wait, so George isn't the overlord? -Oh, shit, he turned them loose! -Well, if setting them loose would annihilate mankind, why the hell did you do it?
TWENTY-FIVE -This thing is inventive, if nothing else. -Oh, she's having fun, Dad, don't worry. -David Leppington is in denial. -Electra is definitely twisted. -Bingo! Bernice is getting there!
TWENTY-SIX -Wait one damn minute! I thought this was Norse myth! What does the Middle East have to do with it? -David is in serious denial. Electra has been in some serious denial. -Well, you're all making progress and maybe Jack Black isn't such an asshole, but what do you mean, you're going into the basement?!
TWENTY-SEVEN -You know, I want David and Bernice to end up together. I really do. -Tunnels under Leppington...and sewers under Derry! -There's that word again, flippant. Why do you keep using it? I don't think it means what you think it means. *snicker* -Well, if he doesn't believe after all that, he's a hell of a lot dumber than I thought he was and I give up on him. -Hell yes! War council! Now we're talking!
TWENTY-NINE -So the slaughterhouse was on purpose...I knew it! -And here comes Hindu reincarnation. Holy shit, man, make up your mind.
THIRTY-ONE -For want of a better word, for want of a better word--I tell you, this man Clark has redundancy issues. -But he researched his names. Impressive!
THIRTY-TWO -I saw the reincarnation coming, so I wonder if I can guess how all this ends... -All right, now that made my skin crawl. About damn time, too. -Man up, bitch! These things want to eat you! -I predict either Black will turn on the others and David will have to kill him, or that Black will turn noble and sacrifice himself. Either way, the vampires will be destroyed somehow, and Black bites the dust. Just my guess.
THIRTY-THREE -Something big is about to happen, isn't it? -Watch it, Bernice! -Oh shit! -OH SHIT!
THIRTY-FOUR -Tom and Jerry reference. I approve. -And George's sword is going to figure into saving the day, isn't it? -That's how you take care of old-school vampires, you nincompoops! Good old decapitation!
THIRTY-FIVE -Take back everything I said about Jack Black. He's not so bad after all. -Cocaine in Coca-Cola...coke squared! -Ooh, Electra's smoked them! But just what the hell is going on here? -Yes! I knew there was something about Maximilian!
THIRTY-NINE -Even the name "Harker" made it in here. -George, you old coot, what have you done now? -Man up, bitch! They'll kill you as soon as they get the chance! -Uh oh, it's fixing to get bloody.
FORTY -OH SHIT! -Ew, gross. -Ah, and Bernice has an epiphany! -Oh come ON, man! Humane, my ass! You are an idiot! -She's going to wake up, I know she is. -TOLD YOU! -Ew, gross.
FORTY-ONE -Aw, shit yeah. That's the ticket! -CHAINSAWS!
FORTY-TWO -So...this is getting pretty bad ass. -HUH?! -Oh shit. -I suppose it's only fair that the American is the bad guy in a British novel. After all, how often are the Brits the bad guys in American movies? So long as we stay friendly outside the realm of fiction, I'm cool with it. -Oh shit. -Damn. That's a good speech.
FORTY-THREE -See? Told you. Kinda sucks, though. -Run, Forrest, run! -WHOA! -Oh come on, Electra, you won't take the bait. -Whew, close one, and I'm relieved and all, but I still think it's going to end badly. -Oh NO! -Uh oh. No no no no no no.... -NO NONONONONO! -DAAAAAAMMMMNNNN IIIIIIIIITTTTTTT! FUCK! SHIT! SON OF A BITCH!
FORTY-FOUR -Aw, shiiiiiiiitttt.....
FORTY-FIVE -God, I hope I can finish this before work. -GAAAAH, YOU BASTARD! -YEAH! FUCK YEAH! -Aw, man, this is going to suuuuuuuck....
EPILOGUE -Oh, poor thing. -OK, that was a bit cheesy for me, but it's minor. -You know what, that was actually kinda good.
Rose Abbott may be my favorite of Michelle's heroines so far. I identified with her so well and so quickly she couldn't help but shoot to the top of t...moreRose Abbott may be my favorite of Michelle's heroines so far. I identified with her so well and so quickly she couldn't help but shoot to the top of the list. Living in a dream world, always full of stories with some too close to her heart to share lightly, determined not to settle when it comes to love, "beautiful and brilliant," and definitely not a damsel in distress. Then on the other end of the spectrum, we have Channing, the eighty-something vampire who, to all appearances, doesn't look a day over twenty-two. Channing is deadlocked in reality and on a mission for vengeance that has spanned over sixty years. You could say his personality is prone to obsession, and you would only be more convinced once he set eyes on Rose.
Beautiful language, humor, conflict within and without, and true love; this has everything I've come to expect from Ms. Rodriguez, and lest you get too comfortable, she threw in a few curve balls. Misuse of supernatural powers, a hero behaving like a villain in many different ways, the vampire equivalent of drug use, and what I feel is Michelle's creepiest baddie to date. It's just as dark as Opera Macabre, her previous vampire novel, but it's balanced with Channing's wise-guy sidekick Schuyler and Rose's two sisters, Millicent and Prudence. The interaction and the bond between the sisters really made the story for me, especially in light of the book's dedication, and it felt much more personal and (if possible) more heartfelt because of that.
Michelle has told her fans this has a Phantom of the Opera flavor, and I can see that element in play, but I thought of it most as "Beauty and the Beast." Through a terrible curse, and ordinary man becomes a monster, and the key to breaking that curse is through the love of a woman who sees beyond the monster. Rose's story of the rose and the weed was one that will stay with me for a long time, and her tales of the Dark Man in her dreams were the best part of all.
All in all, another great story and one that's earned a place of honor on my bookshelves. And now, I leave you with a few of my favorite quotes!
- Perhaps I've believed in fairy tales too long, but I want someone who would adore me in a way that alters every bit of my world. I will not settle for plain love when I want explosions of firelight.
- Do you believe in shadows? Shadows with hands that come out of the night and can steal you away if you wish hard enough?
- Yes, he was her nightmare, and she was his dream, and that made them as far from each other as possible.
- I've always been a little in love with a character in my head, and not a single one of those ridiculous gentlemen could live up to my fantasy.
- She doesn't look like the violent sort, but the deadliest ones never do.
- You know what monsters lurk in the dark, and yet you embrace it anyway. (less)
I like my chances at getting a novel of my own published by a major company, because it looks like they'll print anything these days...
I'd be really p...moreI like my chances at getting a novel of my own published by a major company, because it looks like they'll print anything these days...
I'd be really pissed off that I spent money to buy this if I hadn't gotten it dirt cheap at a thrift store. Two dollars buys a book worth only two stars, who'da thunk it? In the end, I went with two because I couldn't even muster the energy to out and out dislike this book. The most it got out of me was a "meh." As a vampire novel, it failed. The word didn't even appear until halfway through the whole thing, not counting the title. As a Pride and Prejudice sequel, it failed. Darcy was stiff and boring, and Lizzy was never this slow, insipid and needy. As a Jane Austen retelling, it really failed. Grange completely lacked the wit, humor and charm of Miss Austen and can barely stand on her own merit without trying to cash in on someone else's.
I'm not saying that a P&P-with-vamps story can't be done. As a matter of fact, I'm tempted to try it myself. I'm saying that this ain't that story. This is more like a rip-off of Twilight than P&P (and I paid for this crap?!). Darcy may not sparkle, but he turns transparent at dawn, so that's close enough for me. And hell, even Bella freaking Swan figured out about Edward Cullen before Lizzy found out about Darcy!
That's not what ticked me off the most. It was the constant, direct quotes from the original that did that. Always verbatim, and always at least three in a chapter. What was the purpose of this, exactly? To prove that Grange read the original? Not very well, it seems, as both hero and heroine are so far out of character to the point of assassination. Was she trying to separate it from Twilight by throwing as much of Jane as she could in there? Was she trying to be clever, in putting such a spin on a classic? In this, she also failed.
The atmosphere threw me off as well. P&P is bright, cheery and playful. This is not. Decent vampire stories are dark, full of mystery, and occasionally scary. This is not. I have no idea what this is, but I can only call it bad fan fiction. Not the worst, as I've read some pretty nauseating garbage, but bad enough to be getting along with. It was dull and uninteresting, and I only finished it because it was so short and I literally had nothing else to do. This thing only serves to prove that if you pander to the folks in charge at the publishing houses and give them what sells--in this case, vampires and retellings of classics--then regardless of talent or worth, you too can see your name in print!(less)
Let me start with the story here. I watched enough of the movie to get in a few good scares when I was ten, and Pennywise the clown has been nagging m...moreLet me start with the story here. I watched enough of the movie to get in a few good scares when I was ten, and Pennywise the clown has been nagging me ever since, the creep. Things shifted around, and I thought the time was right to pop those damn balloons, so to speak. And I'm left asking myself, "What the hell was I so scared of?!"
As a horror novel, this blows, to use the slang term. Bigger than Mount St. Helens. There was nothing remotely scary or even creepy about this thing! The worst I got was goosebumps at the very beginning when George Denbrough was killed, and THAT'S ALL. There were some good parts, some downright bizarre (as in what-the-heck-is-going-on) parts, and quite a big huge chunk of boring. Not to say that this didn't have its moments of being interesting and occasionally good, but this was over a thousand pages long, and I was expecting something terrible! Just goes to show, it's never as bad when you meet it head-on.
You know, I think I'm learning how to read Stephen King...expect a lot more depth than first anticipated, and a whole lot less scary stuff. Go figure.
I ended up giving this only three stars because, while it did have some good stuff in it, there wasn't enough of it for a book this long. Mr. King makes some valid points with his assertion that children, more vulnerable to danger than adults, are better equipped to face it because of their abilities to accept the strange and unknown, then move past it. The connection between communication and salvation especially hit home for me due to some struggles with selective mutism, and I really think finally getting the courage to read this might have finally helped me overcome some personal difficulties. Therefore, Mr. King, while I say you have still failed to knock my socks off with some good old-fashioned horror, you still ultimately have my respect and I take my hat off to you.
One more observation before leaving: it wasn't It itself that really creeped me out. Heck, I figured it was more like a boggart out of Harry Potter, and that was the end of it! It was what the people of Derry did to each other, even without Its influence, that got me. It was Richie Tozier who said monsters are cheap, and I'll see him and raise him. Monsters are cheap, but it's people that are scary!
So that's it at last. I've done away with an old fear, discovered what may be the Stephen King formula (dark, evil forces exploiting the darkness and evil in mankind and using it for nefarious purposes), and made note of the score. Gemma-2. King-0.
Think I'll give "Carrie" a shot next...third time's the charm, eh?(less)
Wow! And another wow! I'm even more ashamed I didn't read this faster than I did! I even...liked it better....moreWhat emoticon am I looking for? Oh yeah! 8O
Wow! And another wow! I'm even more ashamed I didn't read this faster than I did! I even...liked it better...than...Opera Macabre! (There, I said it!)
Where to start? From the very first, I was hooked. I've often noticed how easily darkness pulls us in--a theme that's incidentally addressed here--and the first chapter held that allure. And it didn't let up from there. Maggie Sloane is cursed with visions of the damned, forced to witness the acts that condemned them to hell. She also sees the ship that ferries them there, the Devil's Galley. And these details are enough to incite the interest of Rafe, a fallen angel and captain of the Galley. Unfortunately, it also attracts Rafe's fallen angel brother Azrael and Lucifer himself.
As is typical with Ms. Rodriguez's work, I found myself laughing, crying, pondering, hopping up and down where I sat, and shouting four-letter words on occasion. I need to find a new analogy, as I use this one every time: It was a roller coaster ride! I can't rave enough about it, but I feel I'll give it away if I say too much!
One scene in particular that stands out for me is Maggie and Rafe aboard the Galley, playing chess and talking about hell and damnation and free will. Apart from the idea of playing chess with an honest-to-goodness angel (fallen or otherwise), Ms. Rodriguez sparks some food for interesting conversation with her observations. Yet the topic of damnation is countered by the focus on redemption and salvation, and the book fairly shines with it. The image of the lighthouse as an object and a symbol adds resonance, and the idea of guiding lost souls home--be it to heaven or hell--gives it another dimension.
You'd never be able to tell by my raving, but I'm speechless at it all.
And what's this? Volume one of the Angel and Demon Chronicles? As in more to come? Egads, I can't wait!(less)
I've been a fan of Ms. Rodriguez's Phantom of the Opera short stories for some time now, and I'm always amazed at her knack for putting the reader rig...moreI've been a fan of Ms. Rodriguez's Phantom of the Opera short stories for some time now, and I'm always amazed at her knack for putting the reader right in the action, tugging on the heartstrings, and adding her own little spin. Imagine how blown away I was when I saw what she can do with an original story and her own characters!
This book took me on a roller coaster ride from one emotion to the next, and I was hooked from the very first page. It was torture every time I had to step away from it! Her characters were so vividly drawn I felt as though they might materialize spontaneously as I read, and you honestly feel for them. Bianca was such a strong, spirited heroine, and the despair and pain she had to endure really did bring tears to my eyes. Rufus, her demon guardian, was as engaging as his suits were eye-catching, and his relationship with Bianca was truly moving. As for Count Aiden de Lazarus...when you have heroes like him, who needs Edward Cullen? (No offense meant to the Twi-hards.)
The emotions were so deliciously intense: passionate, sorrowful, tragic, hopeful, terrifying, and so unbelievably romantic! This was a wonderful, and much-needed escape I can already tell I'll be coming back to time and again. It made me cry, for Pete's sake! Any book that can do that deserves some recognition by my reckoning! I can't wait to see what she decides to share with us next!(less)
I have to say, I didn't like this one as much as Fallen. I can't quite put my finger on it, other than it just felt tired. The interaction between Luc...moreI have to say, I didn't like this one as much as Fallen. I can't quite put my finger on it, other than it just felt tired. The interaction between Luce and Daniel was always the same, there were occasional insights into Luce's past lives that seemed to slow things down rather than add momentum, and Lauren Kate keeps her readers on a string and refuses to answer even the most trivial questions! I can understand not wanting to give away too much, but you have to give your audience some information, for Pete's sake, or else they'll just walk away in disgust. Can we please be trusted with a few details? Why is Luce so important in the war between Heaven and Hell? Why does it seem like there's more than a truce between Daniel and Cam? And when are we going to learn a little more about Luce's and Daniel's history other than "she turns up, they fall in love, and she dies...again?" I'm halfway through the series, and still feel like I just started it. Not good! There were redeeming moments, but it's a shame I can't think of them so much because my complaints get in the way. Ah well, there's still two books to go, so the series might spring back. You just never know.(less)
Not being a huge fan of the urban fantasy genre, I didn't really expect to like this book as much as I did. I was hooked from the prologue, and could...moreNot being a huge fan of the urban fantasy genre, I didn't really expect to like this book as much as I did. I was hooked from the prologue, and could hardly put it down until I'd finished it.
Strangely enough, what struck me most was the use of setting. Ms. Kate puts her semi-Gothic, antebellum, remodeled reform school to work that only serves to make what is already a shadowy, enigmatic story into a thriller. Cemeteries, cathedrals, creepy woods...it all heightens the suspense, and what better setting for a story about angels?
The characters kept me going too. Just when I thought I'd figured everyone out, the plot takes another turn and I had to reevaluate the conclusions I'd reached. Daniel himself is described as "hot one minute and cold the next" and Luce, while not being so mysterious on her own, certainly was in the middle of a big mystery. Why are so many people interested in her? What are the shadows that have stalked her all her life?
Again, even though I'm not a fan of the genre in general, I really enjoyed this book. It was romantic, suspenseful, funny, and addictive. I can't wait to read the next one in the series!(less)
I think it took me so long to review this because I felt so ambivalent about it. I wanted to like it, but...well...
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad...moreI think it took me so long to review this because I felt so ambivalent about it. I wanted to like it, but...well...
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book. In fact, it was pretty good (I don't regret spending money on it, at least). But it grossly misrepresented itself. I thought I was reading a love story with a ghost, and what I got was a weird, paranormal mystery with plots and subplots and anti-plots and un-plots and re-plots and a lot of "What the flaming ostriches is going on here?"
Lisa Cach can write, or I would never have made it through this. But her descriptions tend to wander off without adult supervision and I had to skim several paragraphs about the layout of Chateau de la Fortune. There are a TON of secondary characters that probably should have either gotten bigger roles in the action or been dispensed with. The greater part of the book was so intricately laid out that the ending felt too easy and fell flat. This either should have been longer, or had a sequel to go along with it.
And that's pretty much it. I really don't have a lot to say about this one. Again, it wasn't bad, but it just didn't do much for me.(less)
**spoiler alert** Now is when it all becomes clear. The Gemma Doyle trilogy is just an exquisite display of decadence and deception. Everything you th...more**spoiler alert** Now is when it all becomes clear. The Gemma Doyle trilogy is just an exquisite display of decadence and deception. Everything you thought you knew about everyone is revealed to be sheer nonsense, because here is where you learn the truth about everyone. Pippa Cross is a beauty, but she's also a sinister manipulator that can give any evil cult leader a run for his money. Ann Bradshaw is even more of a downtrodden pessimist than we're originally inclined to believe who needs stronger people to push her forward. Felicity Worthington is a spoiled, egotistical harridan with serious issues--wait, we already knew that. Kartik is still a hard character to pin down, but he cares about Gemma even more than we ever gave him credit for. Circe is next in line to rule Hell if Lucifer steps down, but she also retains a bit of affection for the red-headed protagonist. As for Gemma herself, draw your own conclusions. There's still way too much going on here to reasonably fit into one book, too much intrigue to wade through, too many alliances made and broken to keep them all straight, and too many bombshells dropped for any of them to have much impact, but I'll forgive Libba Bray for all of that. Her deep, dark Gothic action saved her hide in my opinion. I said the reader should concentrate while reading Rebel Angels, but don't do that here; it's too mind-boggling and you'll miss out on all the fun stuff. (less)
Suffice it to say that Rebel Angels is more long-winded than A Great and Terrible Beauty, but at times it's not such a bad thing. There's a little mor...moreSuffice it to say that Rebel Angels is more long-winded than A Great and Terrible Beauty, but at times it's not such a bad thing. There's a little more action in London here, which I loved, and things get pretty hairy in the realms, but that gets to be slightly infuriating at some point. Trying to deal with the superficial gentry of England and make sense of what's going on in the realms requires all the reader's focus, so I'd recommend you stay sharp--miss even the slightest detail and you'll be thrown off course a few (hundred) pages down the road. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Trust me, if Bray didn't make up for the tedium in some way, I would have given this book a lower rating than I did.(less)
Definitely a good read for escapists. I did, however, have problems believing that any girl of this period behaved the way Gemma Doyle does. She's des...moreDefinitely a good read for escapists. I did, however, have problems believing that any girl of this period behaved the way Gemma Doyle does. She's described as sardonic; I think a better word for it is snarky (though to be honest, I've always found that to be an entertaining quality). Libba Bray seems to be trying to break free of stereotypes here, but she puts her foot in it big time. Gemma is a bona fide outcast even among her family, Felicity Worthington is your typical catty, superficial rich girl, Pippa Cross is the tragic beauty valued only for her looks, and Ann Bradshaw is the downtrodden pauper. Altogether not the group of girls you'd expect to become friends. What you really notice about this book is the bitter taste it leaves in your mouth. It's not a bad book, but very little hope permeates it. It's gothic in every sense of the word. Bray does throw off the image of Victorian girls as docile, doe-eyed porcelain dolls that have to be careful lest they smash, and you have to give her credit for that. Stereotypes aside, these are modern girls in an era that doesn't take kindly to spirited females. There are several predictable plot turns, and things get a little steamy with the local Romany men for a Victorian-based story, but I repeat: definitely a good read for escapists.(less)
Having seen and loathed Francis Ford Coppolla's film adaptation, I was determined to read the original novel and see how it stacked up. Needless to sa...moreHaving seen and loathed Francis Ford Coppolla's film adaptation, I was determined to read the original novel and see how it stacked up. Needless to say, the book won. Mr. Stoker's affection for his characters is plain as day, and so is his revulsion and fascination for his own villain. The story gave me chills as I read it (late into the night, of course), and I was honestly spooked at some of the more suspenseful parts. While today's horror genre is a little more hard-hitting than it was when this was first published, I can easily see how this one might have knocked someone's socks off back in the day, as mine were well and truly knocked off having been exposed to stuff like Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock. What struck me most, however, was the bond between the heroes: They weren't just brothers-in-arms, they were real friends, the kind you wish you had when there's a vampire to be vanquished. It was definitely worth reading, and would be worth reading again.(less)