I enjoyed every moment of it. I had a bit of trouble at first in understanding the background but after that, t...more**spoiler alert** What an amazing read!
I enjoyed every moment of it. I had a bit of trouble at first in understanding the background but after that, the characters just pulled me in. I was fascinated!
I was on the edge of my seat through the whole story. At first, by the demon introduction. Then by the ways Tenzjin might hurt Mot since the young man seemed to fragile and sensitive to everything. Then the awful possibility that Mot might indeed be a demon. And the climax scene where there seemed to be only 2 choices, both dreadful: either Tenzjin would discover that his fears were unfounded but would hurt Mot badly or that Tenzjin would prove Mot to actually be a demon and have to kill him.
Shukyou did an amazing job in creating the suspense throughout the story and inserting little tidbits that only heightened the mystery and left me wondering what was real and what wasn't. I too felt the hairs on the back of my head stand when Tenzjin discovered the description of the "blood anger demons". Again when he learnt about Ngamotzjang, the death god. And the ritual...I felt that if Tenzjin had finished that ritual things would have ended badly no matter the outcome.
I just loved this story, for its style, the open-ended finale, the mystery sprinkled from start to finish for the wonderful way in which various elements were given a dual nature and could be either taken as a source of supernatural or explained by rationale. Wonderful!(less)
I was emotionally invested while reading this. And the reason for the 4 stars.
(view spoiler)[OK, so... you have to suspend logic and go along with the...moreI was emotionally invested while reading this. And the reason for the 4 stars.
(view spoiler)[OK, so... you have to suspend logic and go along with the idea that repeated sexual intercourse (often unwilling) with multiple partners (in fact just males) is required to survive the virus that has wiped out most of humanity. So yes, the story more or less starts with our hero having to choose between consensual rape or death. Not a pretty picture. But the world they are forced to live in has done away with most of social etiquette. And I suppose it was that differential that made the story more appealing, made the forced sex more bearable. None of the characters really understand, let alone observe the moral standings. They know them but don't respect them anymore. So I can't really fault the men for forcing themselves on Rhys.
And the author did a good job in getting me inside Rhys' head. I sympathysed with him, through his humiliation at the hands of the squad of soldiers, through his shame at discovering his kinks trying to resist them, through his grief at losing his loved ones, through the horror of waiting for death. Through the first uncertain steps of falling in love. I loved his fighting spirit, his tenacity and endurance and the way he managed to connect with the other characters, despite being raped (or what I perceive to be rape) by most of them for half the book. He was brave even when surrounded by men of superior strength and placed in dangerous situations. He was considerate enough to want to sacrifice himself for his sister and nephew, to put other people’s needs before his.
Darius is a different matter. He was a fine example of how I like my heroes to be. Tough when need be, resilient, unflinching, kinky and possessive but also protective and caring in a gruff way. I perceived him as the hardcore commander that struggled with his growing emotions for the weak survivor his team came across. He reluctantly agreed to try and save Rhys but in the process ended up falling in love with him. He was capable or looking out for his team and Rhys’ best interests. And his kinks matched Rhys’.
But the pair’s adventures and resolution wouldn’t have been as impressive had it not been for the believable world created around them and for the side characters that brought color to the story. It made it more bearable to be around the men (maybe even like them) despite their behavior towards Rhys. The story gets 1 star deducted because at one point I got fed up with Rhys’ fear of what Jacob might think of him. And because the story dragged a bit towards the end. Both Rhys and Jacob were subjected to the same ‘treatment’ so Rhys’ reasoning seemed faulty: why would he care what Jacob thought or said about him? I disliked the fact that no one tried to stop Jacob, only after Jacob had ran off with 3 survivors. And I didn’t see the point of adding that final chase after Jacob, with a pregnant survivor escaping his clutches and Rhys getting a regular infection from a revenant’s bite. (hide spoiler)]
But when all is said and done, I felt Rhys’ emotions. I cared for him and Darius. I loved the kinky, non-consensual intercourse and the slow build between the MCs. I enjoyed the details that brought the story into focus. I would very much like to read more about them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I assumed this was meant to be an alternate universe or some sort, where society approved of slaves and...moreWell, this was disappointing. 1.5 stars worthy.
I assumed this was meant to be an alternate universe or some sort, where society approved of slaves and eunuchs. But some of the masters did all the work in the house, letting the slaves rest (or maybe they just did that with Vasilios only). Can't say how many times I rolled my eyes at having Markos or Nereida take care of Vasilios. Bottom line was partway into the story, I couldn't really understand the dynamics between the characters. I felt cut off and couldn't really enjoy the story.
I couldn't understand how after more than 2 decades of following orders, being calm and collected, Vasilios was losing control, crying and raging against his fate. Once you follow a pattern for some time (especially as long as Vasilios has been a castrato and serving Panagiotis) one develops a routine, it becomes ingrained in you. Yet suddenly, Vasilios was complaining about not speaking up when he was sent to Anthimos. My understanding of social hierarchy was that his status did not allow him that privilege. He only had to do what he was being told.
I didn't understand the part of Vasilios being named 'the Patient'. Was it supposed to make reference to him enduring the rough treatment from Anthimos? If that's the case, then it's soooo corny. Otherwise, that was just added to the story without any value to the story as it was never brought up again.
What exactly made Markos fall in love with Vasilios when they rarely saw each other? Towards the end of the book the author seems to realise there was no basis for Markos to have any feelings for Vasilios and had Markos make some comments that he had noticed Vasilios for some time.
I was thrown off course by the whole religious vibe throughout the story, mixing Christian elements with other religions and just throwing that combo over the story. For that fact, it was somewhat off-putting to focus one moment on supernatural elements and finding a way to kill the demon, then the next moment focus on Vasilios’ abuse and hard living. It was like the author couldn't decide which plot line to focus on. And just to be bitchy all the way, I saw no reason why Vasilios had to be an eunuch. His social standing could have been added to the overall hierarchy without actually cutting off genitals. The last few pages of the book where Markos and Vasilios become intimate were right down ludicrous. Markos did not enjoy penetration, Vasilios didn't either and also disliked blowjobs. So, it pretty much summarised the whole book, where there had been only a platonic, romantic notion between the two. I really didn't care to read about them rubbing against each other.
So yeah, complete opposite to what I was expecting. This gets a very low rating from me.(less)
Was it over the top and highly unrealistic? Pretty much! Was it action packed, adrenaline pumping? Hell yes!! Did it have emot...moreOh my God! I loved this!
Was it over the top and highly unrealistic? Pretty much! Was it action packed, adrenaline pumping? Hell yes!! Did it have emotional bonding and romantic moments to melt your heart away? God yes and then some! Did it have witty dialogue and funny repertoire to ease the tension? Still wiping away laughing tears. Did it encompass a wide array of characters, all charmingly flawed and wonderful in their own way? Definitely so!
This story pushed all my buttons! I couldn't put it down until I had read the very last line and then was dismayed I had to say goodbye to the cast of unique misfits. I was thoroughly enamored with them! For all the reasons above this book is truly deserving 5 stars and a promise to re-read whenever I'm in the mood for action-romance-angst-alien chasing-happy ending story!
Thank you Riayl for putting this on my radar! I'm forever in your debt!(less)
**spoiler alert** It was an interesting story. I was most impressed with the first part of the story where the horrors of imprisonment and conditionin...more**spoiler alert** It was an interesting story. I was most impressed with the first part of the story where the horrors of imprisonment and conditioning were revealed. And indeed, it felt like the worst pain to inflict would have been to give 374215 hope then crush it. But that wasn't the case. He was getting to know his rescuer and later on, husband.
I liked how the story unfolded: first pulling me within to experience what 374215 felt, then having the past uncovered. Another thing I enjoyed quite a lot was the way Tal's happily ever after was made known. Passage from history book detailing his victory over the torture at the hands of the Andalusian Corporation, being able to find love with Marcus and continuing to help the fight against oppression.
It was a nice story. (view spoiler)[I had some problems accepting Stone's sudden change of heart and h...moreI'd rate this somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.
It was a nice story. (view spoiler)[I had some problems accepting Stone's sudden change of heart and his decision to disobey his commanding officer, after years of programming. And I personally wouldn't have linked their minds after Connell died. I much rather would have wanted a bittersweet end where Connell lived only in Stone and Pearl's memory. Stone could just as easily have gone to slumber after Pearl's death and reanimated if ever a ship threat appeared.
But I enjoyed the slow way in which Stone and Connell learnt to communicate and live together. It brought a smile to my face to see them care so much for Pearl and work at making a life for themselves and her. It was touching to see Stone as the gruff dad, reluctant to let his daughter find a mate.
And it did make me wonder what would happen after the ship beacon sounded and what threat it announced. And how Stone would react to it and whether he would live again... and maybe seek another mate. (hide spoiler)] I'd read the sequel, if there ever was one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I loved the Rownt world with their strange customs and rituals and physiology. And...moreIn the words of Loederkoningin..."This one was a strange little gem"
I loved the Rownt world with their strange customs and rituals and physiology. And I was enthralled by the fusion of alien practices and Liam's submissive urges.
For some reason I started the book believing it was a collection of short stories. I was happy to see it was only one. I loved Liam with all his insecurities, misconceptions, misunderstanding and desires. And Ondry was just as captivating.
I would love to read more about these two and how they bridge the gap between the races.(less)
Quite an original concept. Or at least one I haven't come across yet. Humans turning into weapons.
(view spoiler)[Fil has spent his entire life pleasur...moreQuite an original concept. Or at least one I haven't come across yet. Humans turning into weapons.
(view spoiler)[Fil has spent his entire life pleasuring Ordnances, gifted people that can transform any part of their body into a weapon. In this strange world, men and women were marked, from an early age, with blue or red marks on their body which meant they would join the army. The blue marks meant becoming a Gunslinger, one who had to provide as many climaxes/orgasms as possible before a battle for the Ordnances, people marked in red, who could turn into weapons. Fil has lost count of the Ordnances he's lost and feels lost as there is nothing else he knows to do. Enters Morris, the oldest Ordnance to get the mark and join the army. An unlikely pair, as Fil expects to be treated as a sex doll and Morris wants for them to be friends. There is some teasing, some heartfelt moments, plenty of sexual tension that just makes the story more interesting.
I felt the characters were nicely drawn out, the plot was more than PWP. My only regret is the shortness of the story. Just when I was getting into the rhythm of things, everything fast forwards to peace, leaving the two MCs with their happily ever after in a secluded place in the mountains. (hide spoiler)] I had plenty of questions about the world and would have liked to read more about these two. So 4 stars for that.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Bounty Hunter - 2 stars Changing the Guard - 4 stars The Machinist - 4 stars My Rifle Is Human - 4 stars In the Pines - 3 stars Compromised Judgment - 4 st...moreBounty Hunter - 2 stars Changing the Guard - 4 stars The Machinist - 4 stars My Rifle Is Human - 4 stars In the Pines - 3 stars Compromised Judgment - 4 stars
(view spoiler)[Bounty Hunter. I'm not much of a fan for cowboys (or maybe haven't found the right book). And I was getting confused when the action jumped to moments in the past. I liked the MCs well enough and the idea that they added the hunt to the thrill of their relationship. But did not love the story.
Changing the Guard was well done. I liked the characters and their interaction throughout the book. Tomi was sweet in his policy to follow rules (and did that ever turned out to be a good thing). The background was interesting, with living on a different planet, cast away and alone. I wouldn't have minded reading what happened to the two after the brief encounter.
The Machinist was the most brutal out of the anthology. I originally picked up this book solely for this story alone. So I left reading it last. Avery is a machinist in a world plagued by fearsome beasts, where the population is split into colonies and the only rule is 'survival of the fittest'. He is rescued from a colony only to end up prisoner to another colony lord. Only this one has no qualms about using force to convince Avery to be their machinist. I actually winced in sympathy when Avery was fucked with the gun he had cleaned (even if he seemed to enjoy it) and then fucked by Harrow with barely any preparation. However, by the end of the story, it seemed he got off on rough playing, so his capture wasn't without benefits.
In the Pines was the saddest of the bunch. As I read, I kept hoping my suspicions would be wrong. As Tyler kept spending more and more time in the dream world and as Flynn kept asking him to join him in his world, with Tyler waking up with the gun pressed to his head, I figured where it was all headed. I kept hoping till the last line in the story. I felt sad that Tyler died. It would have been nice if a different alternative had been possible.
Compromised Judgment was pretty complex and well shaped out. I could really get into the skin of Ignác with this story, feel his thrill at playing with the gun. And there was some nice imagery in describing the guns and how they were made, carrying a part of their creator. I would have liked more room for the world to be described as I felt rushed to understand the hierarchy and social move of the characters. But the action scenes and tension between the MCs more than made up for that. And the ending scene with Ignác and Konrád in the bedroom, playing with the gun and Ignác having to prove his worthiness for using Konrád's creation... very hot! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for...moreThis proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for 3 stars though it does not reflect the overall book. And this is partly my fault.
(view spoiler)[ I started the book on the premises that I would read about a dashing young man, brave and fearless forced to sacrifice himself for the good of his country. He would be dragged off into slavery kicking and screaming and would not give up fighting no matter what they did to him. He would, of course, fall in love with his captor and come to enjoy the 'tortures' he was subjected to and decide to stay with him once his freedom was restored. This story had none of that. It took me half the book to shake off this impression.
Kynon was too young to be chosed as tribute. Oh, he was of age and had spent 3 years battling the enemy but that, in no way, prepared him for life. I kept waiting for him to continue his struggle against Brasius and the Segasa people. And he didn't. Which frustrated me to no end (until I realised he was not the kind of character I had envisioned before starting the book).
Another thing that threw me off was the swift transition to pain lover. I didn't understand, or couldn't visualise/empathise with Kynon and how he transitioned from pain to pleasure, how exactly the Segasa chose to 'torture' the tributes. I was still in the mind set of courageous warrior forced into slavery. So, having the tributes forced to sexual peak time and time again was definitely original but took me a while to understand.
And last but not least, I might have spaced out a bit because I was just as confused as Kynon in regards to what attitude, position, behavior he should take before the Senate, before his master, before the procurators. I didn't understand (I'm hoping that I, at least, figured out the big picture by the end of the book) what the whole tribute process involved and what exactly the tributes would be doing after their training. Were they released back home? Did they stay and represent Segasa in other countries they took over? And for that matter, what kind of army did they have if former tributes were part of the army? What would Kynon do once he was set free? Actually, what exactly did he choose to do, after surviving Hera's punishment? (On that note, I believed at one point in the book that she might be Brasius's wife - to explain for her hate and harsh punishment - and thought it was a clever name for her, hinting to Hera of Olympus...) I'm rambling. (hide spoiler)]
Bottom line is that I read the book but not sure I completely understood the book. There were interesting concepts in the plot line and interesting characters (though I wish Brasius had had a voice in the book - it made it hard to read him when his wishes were in opposition of what the Senate and Hera wanted and he hardly communicated at peer level with Kynon). Everything was nicely grouped together to keep me reading until the end. The only problem is figuring out exactly where to place the book in my personal rating folder.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
As evidence by the time it took me to finish this, I had a hard time getting into the feel of the story. But by the middle of it, I became interested...moreAs evidence by the time it took me to finish this, I had a hard time getting into the feel of the story. But by the middle of it, I became interested in what the characters would do and what would happen. How they would come together and how the action of each character would affect the others.
Logen. I liked him from the start. He was the simple kind of person, taking things at face value, no pretend and no deceit. (view spoiler)[And I was even more surprised by the appearance of that strange double personality that loved to hack and kill at random. I definitely want to learn more about it. There is more to Logen than meets the eye. He can talk to spirits, inhale fire spirit and turn into a killing machine. (hide spoiler)]
Luthar. I understand his character and know the real world is full of people like him. I don't like them. His only concern was to make an impression, assure himself a good position in society and impress friends and family. He starts his day with compliments to his looks, then invests time and energy only into things that will improve his social standing. (view spoiler)[I kept hoping he's grow some backbone by the end of the first volume. No such luck yet. (hide spoiler)]
Glokta. I sympathise with his ordeal and the horrors he had to endure (while being held captive, then afterwards, having to live with the scorn of all he called friends and the pain of his mangled body). I understand how that could harden his soul. However, even with all that, there is a seed of cruelty in him that keeps me away. There were times when I liked him and hoped he might improve but then he would feel the pain and harden again. Not to mention his fondness for torturing.
And then enters Bayaz, the mysterious magi, gathering Logen, Jezal, Ferro, Malacus, Longfoot for an unknown journey to the end of the world. I also liked Logen's former band, the Named Ones. (view spoiler)[I was really sad when the Weakest died. He didn't deserve such a reward for trying to do a good deed. (hide spoiler)]. I wonder if Ardee or her brother West will play any part in the upcoming volume.
Plenty of characters, each distinct and memorable. Pretty interesting plot. But for some reason I couldn't fall in love with the story. Perhaps it took too long to bring the characters together and unite them in a common goal. It's a solid 3.5 stars for me but only because I'm picky sometimes.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I admit, it took me a while to get the feel for Bat and understand the depth of emotions he felt for Gene and the grief he experienced after his death...moreI admit, it took me a while to get the feel for Bat and understand the depth of emotions he felt for Gene and the grief he experienced after his death.
(view spoiler)[I slowly came to understand that Bat was young, probably experiencing for the first time what love meant (in a platonic way with Gene, then more deeply with Cowboy), thrust in the midst of a war he didn't understand. It was especially interesting to read about his desire to fight back and still be at Cowboy's mercy. Something that had ignited in him and yet Bat could not fully understand. "This had been more on the lines of assault than genuine invasion, and he felt almost … disappointed to be getting off so easily."
And I liked Cowboy for going for what he wanted and using what ever means necessary. Covering up the death of the mechanic, using blackmail and comfort to get close to Bat and get the captain to notice him. (hide spoiler)]
It's a HFN ending but I like to feel optimistic and hope the two heroes managed to escape the dangers of the war and were able to communicate their desires so they could be together.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
To give it 1 or 2 stars. I'll give it 2 stars because I reserve the 1 star for the books that I really hate. This was one merely... meh.
(view spoiler)...moreTo give it 1 or 2 stars. I'll give it 2 stars because I reserve the 1 star for the books that I really hate. This was one merely... meh.
(view spoiler)[I was very surprised by the personality and characteristics of Lucas and Noah. They differed too much from what I expected that I was unable to get to like them. I was annoyed by the fact that the only angst was caused by Lucas' worry that he would take advantage of Noah and Lucas' stubbornness in not confessing his feelings for Sergeant Hammond. I was annoyed that the author felt the need to add a anal intercourse in the last pages of the book (I understood it was hard to accomplish such an activity while in enemy territory and almost always on duty but frankly by the end of the book, I could have done without it). I was annoyed that the author threw some military terms in the mix but the fights themselves were less than spectacular. I was annoyed that for 80% of the book it looked as if the mighty Americans were the only ones who had werewolves in the military and when they did finally face off a different pack, they easily defeated them. I was annoyed there was only 1 True Alpha in the army (really?) and that all of a sudden, right before the end of the book, Noah is to become leader of all werewolves in the army. Why then when Noah had been in the army for some time?
There were interesting concepts and new ideas to the werewolf story and interaction with the human population as well as social criteria within the pack and between its members. I'm sorry I couldn't come to like it more than I did. As it stands, it barely gets 2 stars. I won't be pursuing this series further.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at lea...more**spoiler alert** "I just want to have somewhere to call home." -- I don't think there could have been a better ending than that. For this book at least!
Manna is perfect at choosing titles. While the main story focused on Warrick's family crisis, there was also Toreth and Warrick moving in together (and all that implied) but also a surprise inclusion of Toreth's family and another glimpse into the man's past.
I have to say I was pretty furious with Warrick in the first half of the book as he took so many unnecessary risks in trying to protect his family and do the right thing for this brother. While Toreth's wasn't 100% correct in his arguments, it had a certain logic to it, considering who they were up against. Without Stable's help (and I have my doubts whether the help was actually that - the man did kill Kate after all) Warrick and Toreth might not have gotten away with it. But every step of the investigation was thrilling to read. The fear that at any moment, things would spiral out of control and land both of them in prison kept me hooked to the story.
And then the whole fiasco of Toreth moving in with Warrick. I cringed every time anyone made the slightest, most innocent comment in reference to it, half fearing they would drive Toreth away (and for a little while, Toreth did decide to abandon the whole idea of living with Warrick). Not go away permanently, since Toreth himself has admitted he can't leave Warrick. But their staying together was something for Warrick, after all the compromises he has made in their relationship. It felt something concrete; something equal to the promise Keir had made to never leave Toreth. I breathed a sigh of relief when Toreth made the surprising request of wanting to move back with Warrick. As I mentioned before, that last parting phrase completely melted my heart.
Then there was the vague references to Toreth's past, leaving me unsure whether he had indeed killed his brother or not. There are always two sides to a story and my heart would side with Toreth but my mind is conflicted by the opposing testimonies. I can only hope more will be revealed in upcoming stories.
I'm glad to see some development and change in Toreth. Actively resisting the ingrained suspicion that Warrick would cheat on him with Carnac (Carnac, of all people!!!). Refusing to storm out of the house whenever they had an argument. Slowly accommodating to the idea of living together with Warrick. A slight decrease in the number of fucks (though that could have been a lapse from the author, not a trait of Toreth's per say). Gradually coming to terms with his feelings and the fact that others are aware of his feelings for Warrick.
It was an impressive read! It's all due to the author: not just for this latest story but for the slow build-up of the characters that made me love them despite their many flaws. I can't accept that it's over. I have to read more of them! Imagining on my own is not as fun as actually reading it! I'm not ready to let them go! I have to have more!(less)
There was danger, there was careful planning, there was revenge, there were catastrophic truths revealed,...moreI have no words to comment this installment.
There was danger, there was careful planning, there was revenge, there were catastrophic truths revealed, there was pain, so much pain and hurt... and inability to change.
There was Carnac! There was the dreaded moment I feared the first time he appeared. There was the sick pleasure he took in hurting and destroying Toreth! There was pure evil shaped in a different form.
And then there were Warrick and Toreth! Despite high complexity of the story line, they hold central stage. There was so much emotion in this book!
(view spoiler)[I would love to read more. Both F.B. and Matt were nicely portrayed and there was ground for the stor...moreLovely read! Definitely 3.5 stars.
(view spoiler)[I would love to read more. Both F.B. and Matt were nicely portrayed and there was ground for the story to develop. The bit about an ex marine trembling at the smell of coffee was quite amusing, made me like FB even more.
My only discontent was with continuity in the story, namely when they were having sex. F.B. puts on a condom to later on climax and have his semen sliding out? Did the condom break? (hide spoiler)]
It felt like both men could be hiding a dark past, one that would make for an interesting reading as they worked to creating a relationship. But as short stories go, this was one entertaining.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Quite a pleasure to read this. Second book by this author and I was not disappointed.
Voinov did a great job in giving life to this sci-fi story, the s...moreQuite a pleasure to read this. Second book by this author and I was not disappointed.
Voinov did a great job in giving life to this sci-fi story, the same way in which he built the world in Scorpion. (view spoiler)[The main reason I fell in love with Kyle was because he was not your average hero, putting his spying skills to the test to bring down a criminal. He was not going to be able to overcome his condition. He was forced to use prostheses to avoid being a cripple and any fighting skills he might have had, were now history. He had basically signed up for a job he was physically incapable of finishing. And even though he had his dark moments, he bore it well, making the most of what was available to him. It just made me like him more.
Grimm was quite the character. Up to the bedroom scene, I wasn't ready to join sides with Kyle and think of Grimm as being the morphing Glyrinny. Even with evidence pointing him as the shape changer, I liked him too much to be the wanted fugitive. And what a turn of events when his actions made him the good guy in the story, coming to Kyle's rescue again and again: first by healing his injury, then saving him from Commonwealth's hands. (hide spoiler)]
The plot and world were intricate and lovely to explore. It wasn't your average alien story, so there was a lot of information but that actually helped center the way Kyle and Grimm interacted. There wasn't a lot of emphasis on the romantic development between the two but there was no need as the action and relationship building between the MCs occupied center stage.
My only regret is that "Incursion" ended too soon. I'd love to read more of these two. Easily a 4.5 star rating for this.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[Stories involving characters from different backgrounds require more work to ensure them a hap...moreI enjoyed reading about Adam and William.
(view spoiler)[Stories involving characters from different backgrounds require more work to ensure them a happy ending. As was the case here. It meant one of them giving up his routine to mold to another way of living. In the end, both had the chance to start over and be together.
The author was very skilled in writing the characters and the story so that, even having the story told from one point of view, I could understand both William's and Adam's stand, understand their reasons and way of thinking as well as their reactions. I was saddened for both of them during the scene of their break up, even as I kept wishing William would not say those hutful things, knowing they couldn't erase the pain of betrayal and would only deepen the wound.
The historic background of the story was amazing. It made me stop the story and read a bit more on the "Battle of Dublin" and understand the feel of that time. Made me like Adam and William more because of the harsh time they had to endure and the sacrifices they had to make. (hide spoiler)]
Everything worked well in the story: the characters and their interactions, the setting in which they came together and the happy ending they earned.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It proved to be an intense book, at times difficult to read. But a great story nonetheless.
(view spoiler)[I would have given this 5 stars if it weren'...moreIt proved to be an intense book, at times difficult to read. But a great story nonetheless.
(view spoiler)[I would have given this 5 stars if it weren't for the brutal second half of the book. And yes, everything was impressive and well witten but I, personally, would have preferred a bit more cuddle and happy time before the book suddenly stopped. I know it leaves the audience with a HEA but I was still reeling in from the torture and self-inflicted pain when just like that, it all ended. Not to mention I felt cheated when the last pages of the book turned out to be advertisments for other books.
I really liked Cyke. He was resilient and determined, no matter the situation. He didn't allow himself any weaknesses and always pushed himself further, no matter the expense at his body, mind or soul. And I was touched when he slowly allowed himself contact with someone else, admitted to needing/wanting someone by his side and the sacrifices he was willing to make for Bear.
Bear was just as sweet. Morally flexible, as Cyke pointed out, Bear gave me the impression he was initially attracted more to Cyke 'ware rather than the man himself. But it was nice to see that every time he helped him, Bear became more attached to Cyke. The development of their relationship was rightly explained in the last lines of the book: "Bear had become as integral to his system as his platform chip, had planted just as many tendrils in his head and his heart."
The story itself. Great! Lots of technical terms but I was still able to visualise the world, the technological enhancements Cyke displayed and the various interactions he had with the virtual world. The second half of the book was just as visual, albeit a great deal more violent. Some of the scenes actually made me a little sick, they were that that well written and made me feel right in the centre of the action. But great, nonetheless. (hide spoiler)]
Fabulous story, fascinating characters and believable world. A bit longer and perhaps a tad less violent and I would have gladly given it 5 stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[No, I'll expand a bit. To copy Susan's review, The writing is elementary, the characters flat, and to be honest, M...moreOne word review: Meh.
(view spoiler)[No, I'll expand a bit. To copy Susan's review, The writing is elementary, the characters flat, and to be honest, Matt, the MC, is so aggravating.
I think that is the main thing that put me off the book, the annoyance I felt towards Matt's behaviour. He doggedly kept up the idea of being faithful to Brian when the conniving jerk was just taking advantage of him. Then came Matt's self deprecation... in contrast with friends' opinions who said he was handsome, smart and worthy of something better. Then out of nowhere he is kidnapped and thus meets some Navy SEALs (one of which is conveniently gay and the other has no problem sleeping in the nude with him despite various creative slang and insults he makes towards gay). Don't even get me started on the ridiculous scene where Matt meets Brian and punches him in connection to some nasty comments the stupid ex had made about Travis/Mope...argh. (hide spoiler)]
I felt distanced from the MC and rather judged harshly his choices and motives than sympathised with him.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Overall, I'll give this a 2.5 star rating. But frankly, there were moments where it barely passed 2.
The starting point was interesting enough. Near fu...moreOverall, I'll give this a 2.5 star rating. But frankly, there were moments where it barely passed 2.
The starting point was interesting enough. Near future, separation of power, ostracism of gays as background and as main plot, two former friends and high school colleagues reunited. I thought the story would detail Matt going in to save James and the perils he fought to ensure Ayala made it back safely. I was somewhat put off by Matt turning into a needy teenager, leaving all responsibility and action on the person who needed saving. If James was so self sufficient, why did Matt even bother to save him?
The story had a good pace but I always got side-tracked either by burst of emotions from James/Matt that seemed out of place or by them going at it like rabbits. Whenever I thought I was starting to like the characters, they did or said something that didn't seem to go with the situation or state of mind. Example: "snort fest". I was too surprised at how it appeared in the scene, to find it funny. And other small things like that.
I might be picky but personally, I found both the characters and the story flawed as if various story lines or characteristics were put together, without a care to make it smooth. And the basic idea and occasional funny moments weren't enough to make it a good read.(less)
It's hard to rate this book. I swayed between 2 stars and 3 stars. I suppose I was expecting something different from what this book offered.
The first...moreIt's hard to rate this book. I swayed between 2 stars and 3 stars. I suppose I was expecting something different from what this book offered.
The first book I read by Mr. DeMille was Spencerville some years back. It was good enough to make me want to read "The General's Daughter" and that really impressed me. So I tried a couple of other books by him, coming to expect the same level of liking from everything he wrote. "The Lion's Game" however was totally different from everything I read till now.
The most obvious feature was the narration from the bad guy's point of view. So much, that at times, it felt more like his book than John's, with Asad Khalil doing his best to avoid getting captured and making the police, FBI, CIA and every other American organisation seem incompetent. And just how John mentioned in the book, I was looking forward to him going out on the streets, hot on the trail of Asad, not sitting at a desk, going to meetings, flirting the hell out of his partner, exchanging witty retorts heavy with sarcasm and waiting for something to drop in his lap. While I do love his (sometimes dark) humour and sarcasm, it gets boring when the book doesn't include anything else.
I was touched by Asad's story, the way he lost his family and appreciated the genius of the author in the way he shaped Khalil's personality and way of thinking so that each of his actions was justified and righteous. He was the perfect assassin. No doubt about that. Calm, assured, confident, capable, detached. The perfect killing machine. The only discrepancy I could find was when he was told of the affair between his mother and Gadhafi and he showed strong emotions in an otherwise perfectly controlled behavior (though I remember that he knew of the relationship when he was young). And I can't decide how I feel about his escape. On the one hand, I am sure he would not have surrendered to the authorities but on the other hand (as Kate said) how can you let someone like that go?
Another mystery turned out to be John and Kate relationship. I was a bit surprised by the marriage proposal since I didn't sense that much feeling between the two (other than the sexual tension). But then again, perhaps it was too subtle for me.
Another thing. I appreciate DeMille's attention to detail and accuracy, but as a layman to military and American geography, it seems a bit excessive and I found it distracting. It pulled me out of the book when I couldn't figure out what DeMille was trying to describe or whether the characters were going in the right direction or not.
But overall, it is a strong book. And the author captured the essence of geopolitical relations before 9.11 (albeit portraying America a bit too idealistic). There were many facets to the story, striking characters and a well executed hunt (from whichever point you want to look at it). So for that, it gets a 3 star rating from me.(less)
This was quite good. I had my doubts seeing it's overall rating.
I read this much slower than other books. Some of it was due to the British vocabulary...moreThis was quite good. I had my doubts seeing it's overall rating.
I read this much slower than other books. Some of it was due to the British vocabulary which had me reaching for the dictionary on several ocassions. The other reason was the style itself of the story which compelled me to slow my reading pace.
(view spoiler)[I liked both characters. There was extensive description of their personality, habits, ideas, feelings, emotions. Even if the story was told from Tom's point of view, I felt as if I could sense Flynn's emotions as well. Their casual acquaintance didn't seem of importance but it sparked an interest in both of them, shocking them out of the routine they had immersed. Tom was haunted by his military service in Afghanistan and the loss of his lover, so much that he isolated himself, hiding in drinking and OCD behavior. Flynn blamed himself for the death of his team and sought penance in the brutal treatment he received from colleague and lover Robert Tremaine. I was really drawn to these men, with all their hang-ups, flaws and qualities. It made for a very nice read to see that after so much hardship, they got their happily ever after. Oh, and I loved Bella, how she liked Flynn from the start and protected them along the way, especially that night when the tower collapsed. (hide spoiler)]
I stumbled a few times when the story moved from one scene to the next suddenly and I had to re-read the portion. The writing style was different from what I've read so far and it took some getting used to. But I finally came to like it and appreciate it. Definitely worthy of a 4 star rating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It was such an endearing story! And the final punch line was so funny and yet right as an ending to the scene (and beginning of a relationship between...moreIt was such an endearing story! And the final punch line was so funny and yet right as an ending to the scene (and beginning of a relationship between the two)..."Hey, what’s a little panic attack between friends?"
The story had just the right amount of adrenaline, witty dialogue and deep feelings to turn this short telling into a lovely Happily Ever After romance.(less)
Quite a story. Voinov succeeded in portraying an amazing world and cast of characters that mingled to create a great story.
I admit I had prepared myse...moreQuite a story. Voinov succeeded in portraying an amazing world and cast of characters that mingled to create a great story.
I admit I had prepared myself for a muh darker story than Scorpion turned out to be. Some of the reviews led me to think this book would be heavy to read and very complex. 1/3 into the book and I realised it wasn't as worrisome as I had pictured it to be. But the plot and the creative interaction between the characters captivated me.
Each character had their own doubts and fears which dictated the path they would choose. There wasn't a clear distinction between right and wrong and it was thrilling to read about the multiple facets each character wore throughout the book. Equally interesting to watch how they came together after seemingly unrelated scenes. There were several turn of events that came as a surprise, others that were predictable, there were emotional moments between the characters and smoking sexual encounters that set the pages aflame.
I quite enjoyed this story and the world it presented. Would definitely read the sequel, should there ever be one.(less)
It's a bit hard to decide exactly what rating to give this book. I finally settled for a 3 star rating.
The reason why the story got this rating is due...moreIt's a bit hard to decide exactly what rating to give this book. I finally settled for a 3 star rating.
The reason why the story got this rating is due to the first half of the book. Personally, I found it hard to relate to the characters, despite the thorough attention to put the reader in that fantasy world (characters and environment alike). Perhaps I am too immersed in what I believe to be behavior for prisoner and jailer. [spoiler ahead]And one thing that truly surprised me (and had me put down the book for a few days) was Ayden asking for a bath after being touched by Kona. It was the first time to read such a line from a male character. I only ever read it said by female characters and it seemed incongruous with Ayden's personality and character.
However, once Ayden and Freyrík left to fight the Surge, I was able to enjoy the story more. And actually feel Ayden starting to change his mind about Freyrík. Though, it did seem a bit brusque, after half a book of witty and snippy remarks. Or perhaps, despite reading both sides of the story, I still sided with only one of them.[end spoiler]
The cliffhanger was and was not a total surprise. I surmised from the general feel of the book that it would have a happy ending but could not imagine it, with all that happened and the hate separating the two characters. I did not foresee however the twist of events leading them to the High Court. I am interested in reading the sequel to see what happens there.(less)