I can't seem to find a decent UF book these days. Either I've read all the good ones, or I'm simply tired of the genre altogether. If it's the former,...moreI can't seem to find a decent UF book these days. Either I've read all the good ones, or I'm simply tired of the genre altogether. If it's the former, I'm in deep trouble and I have to wait for next installments of all the series I'm already attached to. If it's the latter, I'm in even deeper trouble since I don't seem to enjoy much else. But let's get back to the reason I'm this depressed. I’ve long ago promised myself that I’ll never start paying attention to the language of these books (or any non-classic books for that matter). As a linguist, I tend to lose myself in poor stylistic choices and not notice the plot at all. So to avoid gritting my teeth, I’ve developed the skill of not caring. But here I have no choice. And idiot could have written this book. I’ve seen 6th grade students do a better job. The sentences are short and in no way linked together, especially in various descriptions. You could almost shuffle them all without making a bit of difference. Here’s a small example:
The sign for the store hung from an archway between to buildings. The tunnel led to an ivy-draped filled with statuary, small stone benches, and a bubbling fountain. The hidden garden smelled of rosemary, sage, and other herbs I couldn’t identify. Small twinkling lights draped over more ivy, which hung over the open front door.
Oh, God. The sign hung, and ivy hung, and everything hung from something, and there was ivy, and some more ivy, and come on!!! If you used do be an editor and then decided to write a book, at least do it properly.
I have to admit there were some funny parts. The demon, Gighul, was hilarious at times, but as such, he was not used enough. Here’s an example (favorite quote, btw):
“Why haven’t you exploded yet?”The demon was closer now, only a few feet away. I opened one eye to look at the arrow. Blood bloomed from the site of impact, just over my left breast. “I – I don’t know.” Holding myself up became difficult as the seconds passed. “Hmm. I wonder if I should stake you just to be sure.” “I’d really prefer it if you didn’t,” I said. “I’m sure I’ll ignite any second.”
All in all, Red-Headed Stepchild, I had such high hopes for us. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.
First of all, please allow me to get this off my chest: Why on earth would a self-respecting vampire want to be called Disco?! It’s just ridiculous. I...moreFirst of all, please allow me to get this off my chest: Why on earth would a self-respecting vampire want to be called Disco?! It’s just ridiculous. I guess the author wanted to be original and Disco is original, that’s for sure, as in: no-one-would-ever-be-crazy-enough-to-do-it.
I have become like the ancient Fae in Fever: I read so much UF books, the only thing I judge them by is whether they amuse me or not. This particular book only mildly amused me. It was a good story, but very sloppy writing. It’s just my luck to pick two such books in a row.
I liked the story well enough, and because of that I was reluctant to write about all the inconsistencies I noticed. I don’t understand how things like that can happen: they are not some small errors than can just slip by all the controls and proofreading. They are MAJOR mistakes obvious to anyone who bothers to think while reading.
There were also too many grammatical errors. The sad thing is even I noticed them, and my English is terrible. It really ruined the novel for me, and it’s too bad, because the story had great potential.
Admittedly, it is not very original: Rihannon is a necromancer, and Gabriel (I refuse to call him Disco) is a vampire, and she’s helping him find the person behind the killings of his bloodsucking friends. Guilty Pleasures all over again. Then we have vampire blood sold as a very expensive drug on the streets. Been there, done that, have 10 Sookie Stackhouse novels to prove it.
So decide for yourselves: do you want to read a story you know all too well? I obviously did, and it was fun from time to time, but that’s all I can say. It didn’t change my life and it didn’t blow my mind. It only made me smile a couple of times. (less)
It's very hard to write a helpful review of Graywalker. It simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me – good or bad. The first half was far more...moreIt's very hard to write a helpful review of Graywalker. It simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me – good or bad. The first half was far more interesting than the second. It had the tone of a hardboiled detective novel and it was quite refreshing, so I was more than a little disappointed when it all went straight to hell in the other half. Harper Blaine is a good, strong character, but some of her choices weren’t quite clear to me, and the love story (well, lust story, to be precise) was weird and unconvincing. And let me just say that I like my male characters tall, strong and dominant (don’t we all?), but Richardson gave us a love interest who is ordinary, not too handsome and very whiny at times. I meet guys like that every day. Why the hell would I want to read about them, too?!
The worldbuilding was unimaginative and colorless. I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone except avid urban fantasy readers (Ooooops, I’m alone on that island, and I’ve read it already, so no… I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone at all). There were some good moments, but all in all, it just wasn't good enough.(less)
2.5 stars Hellbent was not what I thought it would be. After the mediocre first installment, I’d hoped that the second book would show some improvement...more2.5 stars Hellbent was not what I thought it would be. After the mediocre first installment, I’d hoped that the second book would show some improvement plotwise and character-wise. However, Hellbent was, in my opinion, inferior to Bloodshot in every way.
The events of Bloodshot proved to be life-changing for vampire Raylene Pendle. (And yes, I still find that name to be very inappropriate for a kickass vampire thief.) Raylene was never much of a team player: she found a way to leave her vampire House unharmed and she always did her very best to stay isolated. But after the loss of her apartment and her warehouse in Bloodshot, she rented a new building and invited some of our old acquaintances to live with her. Pepper and Domino, homeless siblings who squatted in Ray’s old warehouse somehow became her responsibility along with Ian, her blind vampire sometimes-boyfriend. If you add to that the ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen Adrian, Raylene suddenly has a pretty large and fairly dysfunctional family to provide for. Normally, I would have loved that development seeing as I find most of these characters very interesting. Who wouldn’t like a hot vampire who lost his eyesight after the government kidnapped him and subjected him to various cruel experiments? However, in all this, Raylene was very lost as a character. I loved her as a professional thief, but this time around she didn’t really take serious assignments. The brave, resourceful and daredevilish side of her felt completely watered down, not nearly as interesting and/or scary, and she reminded me of a soccer mom.
AND she didn’t steal a damn thing!
Of the three cases she was working on this time, I only found one somewhat interesting, and it was the one that got solved pretty fast. The penis bones were pretty hilarious at first and I loved the opening chapter. However, soon after that, the book took a seriously wrong turn and ended up being pretty boring. And this coming from someone who’s usually a huge fan of vampire politics.
It was still a pretty enjoyable read and I think I might even read the next book. Maybe. Probably not.
So to sum it all up, if you liked Bloodshot, you can pretty much expect more of the same from Hellbent.
I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. (less)
A fair warning: this review contains mild spoilers because writing my rant without them was next to impossible. Proceed at your own risk.
The Sookie St...moreA fair warning: this review contains mild spoilers because writing my rant without them was next to impossible. Proceed at your own risk.
The Sookie Stackhouse series is dying a slow and painful death. Everybody knows it. Charlaine Harris knows it. She knew it even before she signed the deal for the last three books. What’s more, everyone who’s been following the series closely can pretty much tell when she stopped caring. What started off as entertaining and steaming hot (albeit poorly written), is now similar to a diseased and dehydrated animal, just waiting to be crushed by an oncoming car.
So now that we’re here, mourning, let’s make a list of Charlaine Harris’s sins, shall we?
• She wrote no less than ten books going in one direction, only to change course rapidly and unexpectedly in book eleven, thus disappointing countless fans all over the world. • She created one of the hottest, most intriguing male characters in urban fantasy (and in general, ahem), and then she turned him into a monster I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Oh my. No cookies for you, Charlaine. • Every alpha male that ever showed up in the series was (and is) attracted to Sookie. While I may believe that she’s pretty and likable, I fail to see what makes her quite so special. The list is pretty long: Bill, Quinn, Alcide, Sam, Eric and many others, including her cousin and her great-uncle – barf. Also, once they fall in love with her, they never stop pining after her. Never. She ruins them for all other women. • Harris’s overly simplistic writing didn’t bother me back when her books were actually entertaining, but now that her plots are getting weaker with each book, her writing weaknesses are also showing a lot more than before. • She is prone to describing ridiculously meaningless details of her heroine’s everyday life. Case in point: Sookie spends exactly 10% of Deadlocked filling out IRS forms, and another 5% making sweet potato pie. I kid you not. At least now I have the recipe. • Sam. It’s pretty clear by now that Sookie is going to end up with him. He is the guy who’d failed to notice that he was dating a homicidal maniac (she wasn’t as secretive as all that) until a completely random stranger warned him about it. In my opinion, Sam needs to grow a spine before he becomes a serious love interest, and I don’t see that happening. • In one of her many interviews, Harris said that the bond between Sookie and Eric is her biggest regret. The way she chose to get rid of that bond was ridiculous at best. • Faeries. I don’t think I need to elaborate. Everything went downhill when Sookie’s heritage was discovered. Her great-great-grandfather freaks her out, she describes him as both creepy and scary, she saw him no more than five times total, and yet she insists that she loves him. Because he’s beautiful. And a prince. Duh. • Monkey sex and ice packs. Enough said.
This was my very first urban fantasy series. It’s what got me hooked to what later became my favorite genre in the world. That’s why watching it bleed to death right in front of me hurts like hell. It really should have ended with book 8. After that, it just went from bad to worse.
You are more than welcome to contribute to the list in comments. I’ll add some of your comments to the actual list, together with your name, if you want.
Dead Ever After? No, thank you! (Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I’ll read it.)
2.5 stars Well, look at that! Once again, everyone’s favorite druid Atticus O’Sullivan somehow managed to anger just about every deity from every panth...more2.5 stars Well, look at that! Once again, everyone’s favorite druid Atticus O’Sullivan somehow managed to anger just about every deity from every pantheon worshiped by mankind. (Well, everyone except Perun, but that’s understandable – Perun is Slavic and our gods are all kinds of awesome. Not too bright, but awesome.) This is turning out to be a special talent of Atticus’s, and a good thing too, or we would have nothing to read about.
After twelve (!) years of training, binding Granuaile to earth should be cause for celebration, not yet another problem on Atticus’s list. But with everyone chasing them for some reason or other, finding a quiet place to bind Granuaile and turn her into a full druid is proving to be somewhat... difficult.
Oh, but Hearne loves his lectures! He can’t seem to control himself. With each new book, the stories that slow down… no, make that completely block the plot progression become longer and longer. I appreciate well-built worlds. I even appreciate mythology lessons. But Hearne is taking it all just a bit too far. By the time I reached the last part, I barely even understood what was going on.
The romance we’ve all been waiting for it’s finally here and let’s just say it’s a bit underwhelming. Five books we’ve waited for Atticus to finally find someone worthy of him, someone interesting and competent enough to live and fight by his side, and now that he has, I expected... more! Fireworks, at the very least. I love them both separately, but together, they do nothing for me.
I really thought the previous book, Tricked, was a one-time disaster, but now I’m beginning to think that someone stole Hearne and replaced him with some pod person. There's just no way that the same person could have written those first three books and these last two, it’s just not possible. I’ve rarely seen a series so completely and thoroughly ruined.
When I lose interest in a book, it usually happens around the middle, not during that last, most exciting part. With Trapped, I struggled through the middle, true, but the last part was more than I could handle. Instead of building the tension and ending with a really god action scene, Hearne inexplicably had Atticus and Granuaile sit down and listen to some long, unnecessary and mostly boring story. This has pretty much become his modus operandi: they run, they win a fight against all odds, meet someone willing to tell them a story – twenty pages of pure boredom ensues. Rinse and repeat.
This is where Atticus O’Sullivan and I go our separate ways. However, keep I mind that the series still has many fans and that those first three books make it worth your time. Please don’t hesitate to read them because the fourth and the fifth aren’t as good. You’d be missing out on a lot.
I don’t much care for books that are almost urban fantasy, but not quite. In a Fix has a bit of urban fantasy, a bit of paranormal romance and a bit o...moreI don’t much care for books that are almost urban fantasy, but not quite. In a Fix has a bit of urban fantasy, a bit of paranormal romance and a bit of chick-lit, I suppose. It is light-hearted and sure, it’s occasionally funny, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
The paranormal element is so weak, it’s almost non-existent. A group of people, including our heroine Ciel, has the ability to steal the smallest piece of someone’s aura, which allows them to assume the form of this person. It’s like Polyjuice potion, minus the nasty liquid. As you can imagine, this is a very fertile ground for humorous situations, especially since Ciel, and her two best friends and love interests, Billy and Mark, all have this ability. However, lack of worldbuilding made me think that most of the elements in this book were just thrown in in the attempt to make it as funny as possible and little things like making sense became of secondary importance in the process. There are authors who are skilled in writing books like they’re episodes of Looney Tunes, but sadly, Linda Grimes is not one of them.
Not every heroine needs to be a kick-ass heroine, but every heroine needs to have at least something I deem worthy of respect. There isn’t much to admire about Ciel – she is indecisive, whiny at times, utterly childish and incapable of standing up for herself. She is constantly upset that her family sees her as a child, and yet she behaves like one in every situation. She has a schoolgirl infatuation with a family friend and CIA agent, Mark, and even keeps a diary full of her fantasies about him. Can you imagine Kate Daniels with a diary full of her name combined with Curran’s last name, surrounded by little hearts? I think not. This little detail was probably meant to be cute, but honestly, that’s not how I saw it at all.
What made it even worse was that I simply couldn’t understand the attraction. If Mark had any qualities worth mentioning, anything other than his good looks, I might have found the whole thing entertaining. But see, Mark was a condescending jerk who kept treating Ciel like a two-year-old. His every sentence was awfully patronizing.
The plot itself, if it can be called that at all, wasn’t much better. I won’t even try to explain it because it can’t be explained. I’ll only mention that it involves a spoiled little rich girl, CIA operations and actual Vikings and dare you to come up with a story that would combine these three things and actually make sense. You can’t. I win.
I always want more from urban fantasy, even when it’s insanely good, like the aforementioned Kate Daniels series. I want well-defined worlds, admirable characters, solid plots and decent writing at the very least. Grimes achieved none of those things.
Based on the reviews I’ve read, people seem to have liked this book much more than I did, so please take my words with a grain of salt. Give In a Fix a chance if it sounds at all interesting. I tend to be overly sensitive when it comes to urban fantasy.
Objectively,his book really deserves more than 2 stars, but two stars means it was ok, and that's all it was for me. I like my urban fantasy a bit mor...moreObjectively,his book really deserves more than 2 stars, but two stars means it was ok, and that's all it was for me. I like my urban fantasy a bit more straightforward and Between is more fantasy than anything else. Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me. Full review to come.(less)