About the only exciting thing I learned from this book is that Rula Bula is a real place, and I live about forty minutes away.
I wanted to like this boAbout the only exciting thing I learned from this book is that Rula Bula is a real place, and I live about forty minutes away.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. It's by a local guy and takes place here in the Metro Phoenix area (Tempe, specifically). I thought, "Hey! I can relate to this place!" And hooray for Irish dieties!
The premise sounded great. A centuries old druid mucking it out in the hot Arizona sun with the rest of us plebs, hiding out from his past and trying to avoid the old gods bent on putting him to ground.
Atticus sounded hot; I pictured him as such. But then he quickly fizzled and took on the Marty Stu shroud. He was too perfect, too quick to heal, too everything. He literally had zero flaws. That is not a deep character. That is a train wreck.
I expected as much from the gods, but the main character? I constantly rolled my eyes and prayed for the end to come.
Of the gods, I love that Irish deities were the villains. I love Irish mythology, so it was shaping up to be a new look at beings I'm familiar with. My only gripes is that I wish they were the ONLY gods in this book. Too many religions and beliefs, gods and goddesses (of which Atticus seemed to know them all), was a headache.
This was, apparently, the abridged version, though still nonetheless very well done. I've tried reading Dracula a couple of times now, and I don't seeThis was, apparently, the abridged version, though still nonetheless very well done. I've tried reading Dracula a couple of times now, and I don't seem to make it past Lucy's mortal demise. So this was nice having Sir Christopher Lee read to me through Spotify. I about fangirled myself to death when I saw that Spotify now offers books to listen to, and then my eyes fell on Dracula and I just had to listen.
I don't mind that Lee's version is abridged. It was still fairly long at just over 170 minutes; each part (there were four) averaged around 45 minutes. So perhaps the length of a movie and then some.
I'm just glad that I can now say I've "read" Dracula (abridged or not), and can safely add it to my list of vampire reads....more
This is more of 4.5, but definitely worth the read. It lost a half point due to editing errors where important words were strangely omitted, such as "This is more of 4.5, but definitely worth the read. It lost a half point due to editing errors where important words were strangely omitted, such as "to" (the most common). Otherwise, this is a beautiful book!...more
I was at work, wandering through the stacks looking for a book to read when I came across our new book section and I found this. The blurb on the backI was at work, wandering through the stacks looking for a book to read when I came across our new book section and I found this. The blurb on the back sounded interesting coupled with the cover of a bad ass chick about to break someone's face. I've never read any of Anna Kashina's books; heck, I didn't even know who she was until I picked this up.
Sadly, this book did not live up to the blurb. In fact, the blurb has nothing to do with what is actually written. Blades of the Old Empire is not a story about Kara, but about Kyth and Ellah, and their journey of self-actualization. Kara just happens to have her own subplot and be on the cover.
I can't really say that what I read was particularly memorable. All of the characters--and by all, I mean ALL of the characters--were one dimensional. There was not one character that stood out to me as being their own person. They were all flat and lifeless. Combine this with forced, blocky dialogue and you have Flat Stanley.
Kashina's descriptions were so stereo-typical, so boring, so full of "so". Every female described, aside from the Cha'ori leader, was so perfect, so lythe, so gloriously beautiful they had no flaws whatsoever. So. So. So. The males were no different. Kyth could have been twelve, Evan in his twenties, for all the description that was given. I thought Princess Aljbeda was a woman until Kashina came out and said she was five, and then I was like, "Gross." And speaking of the little princess, for being a five year old, she spoke like she was thirty. Even if she had been schooled in proper princess-y etiquette and politics, I can't imagine her intelligence to be much higher than her age. For how she spoke, she might as well have been the woman I thought she was. I mean, my kid is six and still speaks like an alien half the time, and she's pretty damn smart!
Every man on the planet seemed to lust after Kara. Yet no one lusted over Ayalla (except for Alder), who was described as being the most beautiful woman ever. (And no one seemed to mind that the Forest Woman walked around naked half the time, either.)
Time between the beginning and the end felt skewed. Each party only had X-amount of time to take care of business before they needed to return for a grand council meeting. But for what goes on, it definitely felt like things were happening too fast to be believable, and even then I wasn't sure how much time passed by.
Orbens are NOT rare if everyone has them.
Lastly, Kashina had a fondness of repeating certain words and phrases--constantly. As a writer myself, I can understand when something sticks with you and sneaks back into your prose. Once or twice is forgivable. More than once in the same page, every page, is annoying. Especially when one character thinks of it to themselves, and then POOF! another character thinks the exact same thing. I might have lost my ability to eye roll for all the times that I did.
I should say something positive about this book. But I must not tell lies. For the first book in a series, that is part of a grander series (though that's never mentioned!), this book just didn't cut it for me. It was mediocre at best and I was glad to be able to get rid of it....more
Except for the atrocious editing of this Kindle edition, the story was pretty decent. I am not sure what the male protagonist's name was, as there werExcept for the atrocious editing of this Kindle edition, the story was pretty decent. I am not sure what the male protagonist's name was, as there were four--yes, FOUR--different spellings of his name! They were Kam (what I stuck with), Kara, Karn, and Karr. So, who knows, but I liked him, and Britta was all right. I didn't think there would be elements of fantasy in this, but Squires made it believable.
For the book itself, I'd recommend it. But stay away from the Kindle version!...more
You know a book is good when you’re sitting at the kitchen table, morning coffee in hand, and you slam the mug down and yell, “But what happened to---You know a book is good when you’re sitting at the kitchen table, morning coffee in hand, and you slam the mug down and yell, “But what happened to---!?” That’s when I knew I had something good in my hands.
Grimspace is herald as a science fiction story, but it is so much more than that. It has adventure, romance, betrayal, political mind games, and one hell of a crazy protagonist. As a person living with OCD, I related to Sirantha Jax right away because I’m no stranger to the dark, paranoid thoughts of imminent (and often unfounded) dread. She lives in her head, helped by the fact that Aguirre writes in first person present. So the reader gets to really experience Jax’s thoughts and emotions on a more personal level that if they were just viewing things from afar. Not only that, I haven’t seen such a well balanced mental case since Nancy A. Collins’ Sonja Blue series, and that’s saying something. You don’t find many strong female characters—and hardly any when it comes to anything remotely romantic—but Aguirre’s Sirantha definitely breaks the mold.
The other cast of characters were a good mix of dark, funny, witty, and dangerous. In just the few locations that take place in the book, Aguirre populated the universe with a diverse group that was well rounded despite being secondary characters. How often do you find an author able to give backgrounds to almost all of the characters encountered in such a short amount of time? George R.R. Martin did, and look how BIG his books are. Even the alien races were written well, even for the short time we got to encounter them.
I really enjoyed the idea behind the FTL travel, and the concept that a ship’s pilot and jumper—a person capable of guiding the ship into a wormhole-like place called grimspace—are bound to each other beyond physical contact. It was interesting to see two people forced to work together and open themselves up, leaving them raw and forever changed. And when the romance came about, it wasn’t forced or cheesy; it fit in at just the right moment and didn’t become too distracting from the main story. In fact, the story itself was a roller coaster of slow times (as in, the characters actually took a moment to rest and reflect on recent events) and action. It really felt like a movie unfolding before my eyes.
I wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to. I mean, it has two of my favorite genres--vampires and Steampunk--mashed together, so what wasI wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to. I mean, it has two of my favorite genres--vampires and Steampunk--mashed together, so what wasn’t there to love?
A lot, apparently.
The Greyfriar is more-or-less a post apocalyptic story in which vampires have come out of the coffin and taken over the Northern hemisphere. It's colder and more inhabitable for them. And well, they wilt in the heat like little undead flowers after a few hours in the sun. So enter the new human empire, Equatoria, and its failing emperor, child prince, and a princess betrothed to a cocky American, vampire-killing Senator.
What starts as a routine tour of the Empire for royal siblings Adele and Simon, turns into terror, death, and all that fun stuff that makes up a romping good action flick. Yet the authors (this is written by a husband/wife team) seem to rely too heavily on the action, and not enough on the character building. Each chapter, save for a bit toward the end, is a fight scene that is drawn out in excruciating detail. That's not a pun, by the way. The amount of detail is so overwhelming that I caught myself actually skimming over them and rushing to find the end so I could get on to the next battle.
As for the characters, they all felt rather two-dimensional, including the main characters: Princess Adele and the Greyfriar himself. Sadly, Adele is a typical Mary Sue. She's weak and lovely, and all seem to want her, and more so when she wields an amazing glowing sword and kicks vampire ass. Wait. What? Yes, she is more or less Neo from the Matrix. She was completely hollow for a main character, and in an attempt to make her dynamic, the authors tossed in a few "changes" that seemed far too out of place. I found her description to be lacking and all but nonexistent as she was lost in the ambiance of the setting. In fact, I couldn't tell you what any of the characters really looked like! As for the Greyfriar, he falls under Adele's charms almost immediately and vows to protect her no matter what the cost. When the truth is finally revealed to Adele--a truth revealed to the reader much too early in the story--the result is typical of a cheesy romance story. He lied; she resents him; he saves her life again; she loves him. The End. Attempt was made to give the Greyfriar personality, though his was slightly more opaque than Adele’s transparent one.
When it came to the Steampunk element, this book catered to goggles and steam airships, swords that glowed, and a world torn by war. Pretty basic elements, all in all for a Steampunk story. However, the vampires were a mystery. My image of the vampires were a mix between 30 Days of Night, the Necromongers’ sniffers (from the “Chronicles of Riddick” movie), and regular human beings. I love vampires. Love. I didn’t even mind these vampires being able to walk in the sun, or their ability to fly like Superman. But aside from their claws, not much was described about these warmongering fiends and what they really looked like. It was all a guessing game.
For an introductory novel in a series, this does set up the world…abundantly. But for such an interesting mash up of genres, it would have been nice to get to know the people who inhabit that world. I’m hesitant to read the next book, and am not sure I can totally recommend this one....more