I thought I could, but I couldn't. I couldn't finish this. It was just too slow, too unbelievably good that I got bored. And when I say "good", I mean...moreI thought I could, but I couldn't. I couldn't finish this. It was just too slow, too unbelievably good that I got bored. And when I say "good", I mean that nothing bad happened in the first half of the book. The author has Will and Elly living peacefully with each other despite being strangers and newly married. It's a great premise, and one I wanted to really get into, but no. Just no. Lula, the town harlot, seemed out of place and besides throwing herself at Will, there wasn't anything extraordinary about her that really moved the story along. The librarian seemed overly stereo-typed, and appeared to have the answer and ability to get Will everything he needed. Maybe the librarians of the 1940's were tight mouthed, rude old biddies, but today's librarians are not and the author's portrayal just grated on my nerves. Even the town grocer, who didn't really have a part, seemed to accept things without question, and Will and Elly were able to sell without incident. The judge--oh, the judge. I can't see a judge being so chipper and willing to help an ex-con and a pregnant woman so jovially. His reaction was far from believable! A busy man such as him wouldn't have stopped to wed someone, let alone make nice to a kid. I wanted them to get out of that judge's way or face contempt! I wanted a cranky bull of a man to tell them NO!
I enjoy romance novels, but I also enjoy action. It keeps the story going, even if it is just lovers' drama. But Morning Glory didn't even have that. Life isn't perfect and happy all the time, and I wanted to see angry tussles, the town rising up against Will in an all-out-Hillbilly-War. Something that would have me stop and go OOOH.
So, this may have very well ended great, but getting there was a chore--even half way. Not for me.(less)
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---...moreYou 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 was...moreI 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.(less)
One reviewer labelled this as more of a western than a romance, and I have to agree. My experience with regular romance (not including paranormal roma...moreOne reviewer labelled this as more of a western than a romance, and I have to agree. My experience with regular romance (not including paranormal romance)is limited to Cassie Edwards' Falcon Moon and Isabel Alende's Daughter of Fortune. They were not the best--Edwards' takes the cake at the worst written, in my opinion--and I left feeling cheated from both.
Not so with Linda Lael Miller's The Man from Stone Creek.
Within the first few pages (I read the Kindle edition) I was taken by the words "shit-bucket". I don't know if other Western romances are the same, but I can appreciate a non-paranormal writer using such language. It was unexpected, I knew right off the bat that I was going to like this book.
And I did. The main male character, Sam O'Ballivan, isn't a typical Fabio-esque male. He's written as a few-words-spoken-rugged type of man, who gives a smile only when he's at his most comfortable. He makes for a poor schoolmasster though, especially since he didn't do much teaching so far as I know.
Maddie Chancellor, the main female character, I feel made the most change. She started out hard and untrusting of not just newcomer Sam, but of most of the mentioned townsfolk. She's overbearing of Terran, her brother, and fiercely mouthy towards Sam. But I actually loved her for her strong her will. She wasn't afraid and weak, and just as I would expect a woman in the West to behave: both fierce and proper.
The story did bring in other points of view of non-main characters, and it was done so as to give the town of Haven a solid foundation. I enjoyed the little snippets into other characters' heads. Terran and Ben were well written for being children; Undine and Mungo Donagher were interesting; and Vierra, oh Vierra. Such a swarthy, charming character! If it'd just been between Sam and Maddie, I'd have put the book down, or read through it like Falcon Moon laughing my bottom off.
This book takes place in 1903, about a day's ride from Tucson/Tombstone, and directly across the river from Mexico. The specific timeframe was unnecessary, as it read earlier. Also, it's hard to imagine Tombstone without the OK Corral of 1881, and that rough-and-tumble era. That Tombstone had an ice cream parlor in 1903 blows my mind.
All in all, this was a pretty fun read. The romance at the end wasn't over the top, and I gave a sigh of relief that everything worked out between Sam and Maddie. Of course I knew they'd end up together; it is a "romance" after all! But I was very glad to see that the two didn't go gaga over each other right at the beginning. Their love grew through daily interaction and tribulations. Sure the instant attraction was there, but they acted like adults and more or less kept their hands to themselves.
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking to venture into light Westerns or looking for a good, heartwarming romance experience. I can't wait to read the next in the series. (less)
I'm not sure how I honestly felt about Preacher, Vol. 1: Gone to Texas other than I know it's not a series that's for me.
The blurb and premise sound i...moreI'm not sure how I honestly felt about Preacher, Vol. 1: Gone to Texas other than I know it's not a series that's for me.
The blurb and premise sound intriquing. But what is actually presented is a slow, and cliched story of a group of people who seem to be well adapted to handling the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. If finding out you're carrying around the offspring of an angel and demon inside of you, and that you caused an entire church to go up in flames, wasn't bad enough, then what about the vampire and Killer of Saints? The characters' reactions to such events are troubling in that there are no true freak-outs. They are all linear and flat boring stereo-types: the outlaw preacher turned Hand of God; the jilted girlfriend who just so happens to run into her preacher ex-boyfriend; the snarky know-all vampire with a poorly written accent; the in-the-closet-homophobe who is overly aggressive. The list goes on and on!
The artwork wasn't thrilling. Sure Arseface (the son of Sheriff Root) is a bit unnerving, but that was about it. The violence depicted seemed to be a little over the top. I honestly can't picture a constant stream of bar fights, or cowboy style gunfights in the middle of street happening on a regular basis as depicted in the artwork and writing.
The supernatural elements are a bit overdone. God leaving or disappearing from Heaven has been done numerous times, and its a shame to see it done so poorly here. I can say, however, that the idea of an all-powerful offspring of an angel and demon is a bit intriguing, but not enough to keep me reading the series.
Sadly, there is no draw (no pun intended) to this story. It was a bore and I don't recommend it to readers looking for a pinch of religion coupled with horror. They're just not going to find that within the pages of Preacher: Gone to Texas.(less)
I've held off reviewing this because how do you review a graphic novel? Great artwork? Fantastic writing? Both? I'm very limited in my comic book read...moreI've held off reviewing this because how do you review a graphic novel? Great artwork? Fantastic writing? Both? I'm very limited in my comic book reading, so I have only Lady Mechanika, Fathom, and a slew of Star Wars related graphic novels to go by.
Overall, this was a pretty interesting take on modern-day American Vampires. The story bounces between the 1880s Wild West, and 1920s Hollywood. For the most part, it's easy to comprehend the change in time and persepective, though I did find myself a little confused. It really seems that three different time frames are taking place within the novel itself. On one hand, you have the birth of a new species of Vampire in the 1880s, and then the story bounces to the early 1920s (possibly the same time as Pearl Jones), and then to the birth of Pearl Jones. Again, this is great at establishing characters and past events, but does make for a confusing read at times.
The fact that two authors (Scott Snyder and Stephen King) wrote this together might make one think the writing would be choppy given writers' separate styles. This is not the case. The writing is fluid and solid, weaving together perfectly. I've not read either author before (but who hasn't seen a Stephen King movie, right!?), but as King is well beyond established, I couldn't imagine anything less from him. As for Snyder, he's done a fabulous job at character concepts and setting and I'm glad to see tough, mean Vampires stalking the streets.
Rafael Albuquerque's artwork is well done, adding faces and creating the scenes where just writing would have failed. Beyond that, I'm not any good at judging artwork other than, it's beautifully grotesque. (How's that?)
The Vampires in Snyder's universe are cold and calculating, domineering and vile. The Old World Vampires are drawn much like Count Orlock from 1922's Nosferatu, though they are able to walk in the sun for a short time thanks to an extra strong sunscreen. (Which, by the way, I didn't even know existed in the 1920s, much less the 1880s when we first see the Vampires.) It's not until the emergence of Skinner Sweet, a rough-and-tumble cowboy who is once again on the run from the Vampires of Old, that evolution plays the old school vampires a nasty hand. Sweet is, until he changes aspiring actress, Pearl Jones, is the only vampire who can walk freely in the sun. And the Old World Vampires want to know why and so begins a silent war between the Vampires.
I can definitely recommend this series. Hard core vampires are such a rarity these days, so if you're tired of sparkling, brooding Vampires, then seek this graphic novel out.