I've been waiting to read Blood on the Bayou for a long time; ever since I finished Dead on the Delta, in fact. That kind of anticipation can make som...moreI've been waiting to read Blood on the Bayou for a long time; ever since I finished Dead on the Delta, in fact. That kind of anticipation can make some high expectations...and spectacular failures when an author doesn't live up to them. Stacey Jay didn't let me down though. I loved every bit of Blood on the Bayou. While it wallowed a bit in relationship angst--be prepared for her love life to get even more complicated than in the first book--I forgave it because of the pure awesomeness of the rest of the book.
I think the most notable thing about this book is that it made me laugh. It's certainly not a comedy--there are high stakes and danger aplenty--but the dialogue and the way Annabelle handles the multiple crises in her life...I couldn't help the occasional burst of laughter. And the humor was really needed because there are a lot of bad things going on, both on a personal level for Annabelle and on a bigger scale as well. We learn more about the fairies and the invisibles, though certainly not all. I feel there is much more to come on that score. Also, my need to see some positive change in Annabelle's character was satisfied. The storyline involving Deedee from the first book was particularly heart-wrenching, and I was a bit teary about it by the end.
I will be snatching up book three as soon as it is available in paperback.(less)
I was seriously disappointed in this book. I'm a fan of Seanan McGuire's October Daye series as well as her Newsflesh series written under he...more1.5 stars
I was seriously disappointed in this book. I'm a fan of Seanan McGuire's October Daye series as well as her Newsflesh series written under her pseudonym, Mira Grant, so I went into this expecting to like it. Things started off okay. I thought cryptids (basically creatures, sentient and nonsentient) were interesting, different enough to keep me entertained for a full book. However, things started going wrong the minute Verity Price (our first person protagonist) meets Dominic De Luca, a man belonging to a fanatical organization called the Covenant. The Covenant's doctrine is to exterminate every cryptid out there whether they pose a threat to humanity or not, and Dominic supposedly is no different. Verity's family has a history with the Convenant, having once been members, though they now reject the Covenant's genocidal ideals and are in hiding from the organization.
Now we're going to get spoilery. (view spoiler)[In her very first meeting with Dominic (in which he's snared her on a rooftop), Verity boldly announces that she's a member of the Price family, thus putting herself and her family in danger. She is saddened that he's a murderous scumbag belonging to a fanatical organization that wants to kill all her friends and family because he's pretty freakin' hawt. Eventually, they end up in bed, even though he's still a murderous scumbag as far as she knows. Then she takes him around town and shows him some local cryptic hideouts, just in case telling him all about her family and where to find them wasn't enough.
Dominic, for his part, spews Covenant propaganda through at least their first few encounters, but then his lifetime of brainwashing at the hands of the Covenant is cured by some crazy singing mice and a nice piece of tail. Fortunately, Dominic later assures Verity that this is the first time he's met sentient cryptids, and he's basically only killed the nonsentient kind up until now. Whew! Verity really dodged a bullet on that one, eh? His change of heart is so complete that he offers to go down into the dangerous sewers to collect the corpse of a cryptid so her family can perform their death rites and she can rest in peace.
With Dominic's unbelievable change from raging fanatic to bleeding heart proponent for cryptid rights over the span of days and the completely contrived relationship between Verity and Dominic, I just couldn't get behind this series. It was trying too hard to be clever and funny and just came across as needy and pathetic to me. Seanan McGuire is no longer on my instant to-buy list after this mess, and I'll be sure to do my homework on any future series before purchasing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I thought a lot about this book and why I didn't like it--maybe too much. It's not really a book meant for deep thinking. Lets go over a few things in...moreI thought a lot about this book and why I didn't like it--maybe too much. It's not really a book meant for deep thinking. Lets go over a few things in order of annoyance to me.
Typos/editing mistakes. There were a ton of these. While this wouldn't automatically put a book on my 1-star list, it certainly doesn't help. It speaks to the overall quality of the book, which is pretty poor.
Lack of originality. Now I read a lot of urban fantasy, so it gets harder and harder to find new things with each read. However, I can't point to even one thing in this story that was fresh and new, and many of the main themes were very similar to those in other, better written urban fantasies. Since I've read those better written urban fantasies first, that left me extremely disappointed.
Flat, inconsistent characters, including the main character, Rhiannon. Even with it being an editing disaster and nearly plotless, I still could have had a fun ride if I had loved the characters, but I couldn't find an ounce of caring for any of them. Rhiannon has a tragic abused past (as so many PNR heroines do), yet this didn't seem to affect her personality past a lot of internal monologue about never being controlled again and giving her an excuse to be a rude bitch. But as soon as the love interest showed up, she didn't seem to have a problem ceding all control of her life over to him. And with his crystal blue eyes and smooth white marble skin and all black wardrobe, Disco, the aforementioned love interest, isn't much more than a walking stereotype. There wasn't even enough to him to be inconsistent. Past the overused physical reactions to each other, I could see no reason why the two were together and in such looooove. The rest of the characters were little more than cardboard cutouts there to hand Rhiannon information when she needed it or to cause her a little trouble. I felt no connection with any of them.
So, while I didn't enjoy this book particularly, it did make me want to go reread my early Anita Blake books and maybe some Rachel Morgan too. (less)
**spoiler alert** Unfortunately, I had some issues with this book, mainly inconsistencies in plot and character action. I enjoyed the free sample chap...more**spoiler alert** Unfortunately, I had some issues with this book, mainly inconsistencies in plot and character action. I enjoyed the free sample chapters, but the rest of the book didn't hold up for me.
My first issue came with Aunt Mab, who is supposed to be a reasonably intelligent person. After all, she trains Vicky to hunt demons, and this is the person Vicky comes to with all the hard questions. So why did she leave an extremely dangerous demon summoning book in the library, then tell teenage Vicky to read every other book in the library except this one? To leave it alone, never touch it or even think about it? Did she really think that would work? Why not destroy the thing or hide it, not keep it out in plain sight in the library?? Then, once the inevitable happens and Vicky summons up a demon she wants to try to kill, which ends up killing her father instead, Aunt Mab's response was...different. Instead of saying, yeah, Vicky, you screwed up bigtime and now your daddy's dead, so let's all learn a lesson from this, shall we? Oh no. She tells Vicky, don't worry about it. It wasn't your fault. Some prophecy said your daddy was going to die by demon anyway. Erm...what??
Next issue. So apparently in this world paranormals are restricted to living in Deadtown, though some can travel freely outside of it...I think. You see, at first, Vicky (considered a paranormal herself because she's a shapeshifter) is outside of Deadtown and she's carrying the permit to allow her zombie sidekick Tina to stay with her (but not one for herself), and later her werewolf boyfriend gets permits to take zombies out of Deadtown too (but no mention is made of one for himself). I'm thinking, okay, maybe it's because zombies go all crazy hungry at the sight of human blood that they are restricted. But vampires do too, and no one is carrying around permits for Vicky's vampire roommate to leave Deadtown. Then her werewolf boyfriend also needs a permit to go to Washington later, so the permit thing isn't restricted to just zombies. This could have been a great plot point, but I was so confused on what was allowed and what wasn't that it completely lost all meaning for me.
Now, onto the zombie virus. Maybe I was spoiled with the extensive explanations on how zombies could come from a realistic virus by reading Feed, but the Deadtown zombie-causing virus made no sense. It swooped in and killed everyone in a specific area and nowhere else over the course of minutes. Yep, just like that all at once. One minute Vicky is going for lightbulbs, and the next everyone not a paranormal just falls over dead. Then, before it can do any more damage, the virus mutates over the course of days into nothing more than a bad cold. The original strain doesn't bother anyone again. Again...what??
Vicky herself isn't above this inconsistent behavior. She's supposed to be a pretty smart cookie, yet she does some pretty dumb things. First, she gets harrassed by a giant corporation that is doing research on paranormals (up to and including experimenting and killing them). This is legal in whatever state they are based out of. She tells them to kiss off and that she's not interested in helping them, then thinks no more about it. Not even when some thugs try to kidnap her. Nope, her first thought is that her boyfriend did it because he doesn't like her latest client. It could have also been the evil sorcerer who has let loose a Hellion demon in town, but she never even considers that.
Well, her client turns out to be someone who supports stripping all rights from paranormals, so it would be legal to kill them. This doesn't bother her as long as he can pay for her services. Yet, even when he fires her later, she continues to protect him, going so far as to break into his building. This makes absolutely no sense to me.
Also, if you knew your right arm was compromised by a demon mark that would render it useless in a battle against said demon, wouldn't you...I don't know...maybe train with your left arm before the night of the battle with that demon?
So, with all my issues, why two stars instead of one? Well, first off, I was interested enough to finish, and the demon mythology was pretty darn cool. I thought there were some good ideas, even if they didn't go much past the surface. I tend to overthink books and want explanations past what other readers would be satisfied with, so take that into consideration if you're wanting to read Deadtown. Vicky wasn't so bad to follow along with, and you could certainly read a lot worse than this. (less)
How does one make a pill-popping, booze-drinking, brain-eating zombie girl into a sympathetic and appealing character? I don’t really know myself, but...moreHow does one make a pill-popping, booze-drinking, brain-eating zombie girl into a sympathetic and appealing character? I don’t really know myself, but Diana Rowland sure does. Her main character, Angel, is all of those things and more. She reminds me of Annabelle from Dead on the Delta, another book I thoroughly enjoyed. Both are deeply flawed women who are not your typical heroine by any stretch of the imagination. I think the greatest strength in this book—aside from all the brain eating, of course—is in the evolution of Angel’s character, and I was eagerly turning pages to see how things would work out for her. I sympathized with Angel’s rather pathetic home life, and it made a good backdrop to show how she got to where she was, but Angel doesn’t ever use her crappy childhood as an excuse. She’s aware she’s screwed up but doesn’t spend a lot of time bemoaning her fate, which would have made her character a lot less sympathetic. It was enough for me to know that those things were in her past and draw my own conclusions.
Now I fully admit to being a zombie fan. I faithfully watch The Walking Dead every week, and 28 Days Later was awesome and scared the piss out of me (yes, I know it’s not a real zombie movie, it’s an outbreak movie, but if people turn crazy and start running around eating other people, I’m going to call them zombies). However, the “white trash” part of the title made me a little skeptical. White trash sounds way too much like my real life, and I read books to escape that. Plus, I knew that meant there’d probably be a ton of swearing, something that grates on me after a while (not for any moral reason—I just see it as a severe lack of vocabulary in the swearer, which is a way worse sin). Well, there was a lot of swearing, but it was worked in so well it seemed kind of a natural part of Angel’s thought processes. I’m not sure if that makes much sense, but in this case I felt it was an appropriate part of Angel’s inner voice.
The only reason this is a 4 star book rather than a 5 star one is the ending. While I enjoyed it, everything worked out just a little bit too neat and tidy for my taste. We’re talking about a book whose main character eats brains and literally falls apart if she doesn’t get enough, but the ending tied everything up with a nice little bow, no messy smear of blood or brains left behind. Still, this is a small complaint, and probably not one most people will share, and I would recommend this to anyone who likes zombies, urban fantasy, or unlikely heroines.
Oh, and I can’t write a review of this book without mentioning the cover. I freaking love it! It’s what caught my eye in the first place (though it did get me a few strange looks while I was reading it at my children’s band concert). Major Kudos to Daniel Dos Santos for making a cover that actually captures the spirit of the book it is representing. (less)
This book really impressed me. After a string of mediocre urban fantasies, this one makes me believe in the genre again. And let me tell you, in the h...moreThis book really impressed me. After a string of mediocre urban fantasies, this one makes me believe in the genre again. And let me tell you, in the hands of a less talented author, this book could have been a mess. Writing a troubled, near alcoholic, but still sympathetic main character (first person, no less!) in the form of Annabelle Lee is no easy task, but Stacey Jay manages it well. Annabelle is flawed, but she never once struck me as a helpless, whiny victim wallowing in her own self-pity. I saw growth in her over the length of this story, and I hope to see even more in future books.
I got the sense that author put a lot of effort into thinking about the world she was creating. What would the societal, political and even scientific changes be if fairies mutated and looked at humans as more delicious than chocolate chip cookies? Not that you get bashed over the head with this information; it is woven into the fabric of the story, giving even fantastical elements a level of logical realism that is so often missing in the fantasy genre.
The relationship/romance part of this book made me want to cheer. This is so often a sticking point to me (instalove and other kinds of fated love story lines set my teeth on edge) but here we have romance built over time. Not everything is picture perfect, not by a long shot, but the relationships in Annabelle's life feel complicated, layered and, best of all, completely believable.
The mysteries explored in this first novel had me glued to the page, and I spent a whole day and most of one night devouring it. There is a satisfying resolution in book one, but this is obivously the first novel of a series, and a lot was left to explore. Definitely a series worth continuing.(less)