If I had to sum up this book in one word, that word would be fun. This is not a message book or a portrayal of anything. It is just an exceptionally e...moreIf I had to sum up this book in one word, that word would be fun. This is not a message book or a portrayal of anything. It is just an exceptionally entertaining urban fantasy with a feisty queen of witty come backs heroine and a dark mysterious sex god of a hero with tortured past, no thinking required. It was precisely what I was looking for.
The heroine, Charley Davidson ("There's a certain responsibility that comes with having a name like Charley Davidson. It brooks no opposition. It takes shit from no one. And it lends a sense of familiarity when I meet clients. They feel like they know me already. Sort of like if my name was Martha Washington or Ted Bundy.") is a grim reaper. Or rather, she is the grim reaper. She sees the dead, the dead see her (apparently, she is very bright) and she helps them to cross to the other side by passing through her:
"...my job was to lead people into the light. Aka, the portal. Aka, me. But it didn't always go smoothly. Kind of like leading a horse to water and whatnot."
Charley works as a private investigator and also helps the police (namely, her Uncle Bob and her dad before him) to solve crimes (it is much easier to do that if you can ask the deceased who killed them) and every night for the past month she has been having wet dreams featuring a dark stranger who materialized out of smoke and shadows.
At the start of the book, Charley is woken up from one of those dreams and is thrust directly into a murder mystery which will lead her to several near death experiences, some discoveries about the world and her purpose in it and Reyes Farrow, a man she has only met once before but who has left quite an impression.
Charley's character is what made this book for me. She posesses that rare gift of which I am eternally jealous and appreciative. And that is humour. Charley is a hoot. And while Darynda Jones does go too far at times (Charley telling Garrett Swopes, aka Mr. tall, dark and skeptic, the names of her breasts was funny, until you realise that she is actually serious and she has named her own breasts and refers to them by their names during sex) but overall, I loved Charley and her witticisms. And I am totally looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.(less)
Ten strangers arrive on a private island just off the coast of Devon invited by a mysterious host, a dark secret is revealed about each of the guests...moreTen strangers arrive on a private island just off the coast of Devon invited by a mysterious host, a dark secret is revealed about each of the guests at the first dinner and one by one each is killed off following a children's rhyme about ten little indian boys which starts with "Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine..." and ends with "...and then there were none" of the title.
This was a little too murder by numbers for my taste. I couldn't believe in the story because life is never so neat. I did enjoy trying to guess who the murderer was but at no point could I imagine this as a real situation and, as a result, I could never fully invest myself in the story. It felt more like a puzzle than a book. (less)
I'm not, I'm afraid, a huge fan of steampunk. It's not that I mind it, so much. I find some of the ideas quite intiguing. I like steampunk drawings an...more
I'm not, I'm afraid, a huge fan of steampunk. It's not that I mind it, so much. I find some of the ideas quite intiguing. I like steampunk drawings and artwork, I used to enjoy Jules Verne as an adolescent and Brazil is one of my favourite films of all time. It just doesn't rock my world, I suppose. Or, to put it another way, it's not of itself enough to have some dirigibles and goggles to make a book for me.
I am also beginning to get slightly fed up with vampires and werewolves. Pure oversaturation. So it is, perhaps, no surprise that this one took me forever to finish. To be fair, I have been manically busy, had family visiting and have been away some of the time but still, it has taken me over three weeks to finish this book, an it is not particularly long.
I loved how the book is written and the characters are still all larger than life with some new exciting members added to the cast but there was absolutely no spark between Alexia and Connal and the story line lacked momentum to really draw me in. I couldn't care less about the mystery and what the cause of the "plague" was, to be honest. Until the very few last pages the only thing keeping my attention was watching the characters and listening to the way they talk. And then... this is the astonishing part... there was a slight twist, a few words and, just like that, I was hooked and couldn't wait to get through the next book in the series. (less)
This book is fantastic. It has that rare combination of gorgeously rich language and a complex engaging plot full to the brim of diabolical schemes, v...moreThis book is fantastic. It has that rare combination of gorgeously rich language and a complex engaging plot full to the brim of diabolical schemes, villains, thieves, madhouses, violence, lesbians, murder, love, betrayal and the kind of twists that will make your head spin.
It is a story of two girls, Sue and Maud, whose destinies are indelibly linked, though layer upon layer upon layer of deceit will need to be stripped away before it is revealed exactly what that link is.
Sue has been brought up among thieves, though she has been largely sheltered from the harsh realities of life in the poor part of Victorian London by the kind care of Mrs Sucksby, who earns her living by "farming" infants. Sue's life changes when she is drawn into a plot by Gentleman, Richard Rivers, to help him convice Maud Lilly, a rich but simple-minded heiress living in a gloomy country manor with her "scholar" uncle, to run away with him to marry, whereupon Maud would be stripped of her inheritance and deposited in a madhouse for safekeeping.
So the story begins but before too long you find out that practically nothing that you see in the first part is what it seems and there are lots of layers to peel away before we get to the root of it all.
The characters, including the secondary ones like John Vroom and Dainty, the servants at Briar, the nurses and other inhabitants of the madhouse and so on are vividly drawn and fascinating. Really, I do not have enough words to praise this book highly enough, suffice to say that all the glowing reviews (on this site and elsewhere) and accolades that this book has received are richly deserved and if you have not yet read this, you are in for a treat. (less)
I was a bit apprehensive starting this, having seen lots of negative reviews on GR. Now that I have read the book, I can certainly see why lots of peo...moreI was a bit apprehensive starting this, having seen lots of negative reviews on GR. Now that I have read the book, I can certainly see why lots of people would dislike it. However, this book's particular brand of quirky silly charm and no nonsense taking heroine worked for me.
Alexia Tarabotti is a parasol wielding fashion consious 26 year old spinster of unfortunate half Italian parentage and a rather large personality living in Victorian London. She is also a preternatural, i.e. does not have a soul.
So, the premise is a bit ridiculous and one of those things that you just need to swallow without thinking too much about it and, I'm sorry to say, Ms. Carriger dose not have a particular talent for the romantic parts, the story was also extremely predictable and a bit too farcical in places.
Despite all these flaws, and once I decided not to look at this as a romance, I did find that I was enjoying myself quite tremendously and constantly breaking into smile. The main charm of the book for me is that it is just full of Characters. The vast majority of them with a decidedly capital "C". Miss Tarabotti herself, the flamboyantly camp vampire Lord Akeldama, the vampire queen Countess Nadasdy who looks like a shepherdess, the BFF with a taste for hideous hats, the Beta werewolf Lord Lyall with a penchant for meddling and even the self-absorbed shallow mother were all quite delicious and made for a great read.
On the romance, I was at first disappointed that things were progressing quite so swiftly. I like the suspense to remain for a while and things to stay unresolved between the protagonists (I'm afraid I'm one of those people for whom the romance between Sookie and Eric started to fizzle after she boinked him while he couldn't remember himself and died an untimely death round about the part where they get married). In this instance, however, because the steam was quite underwhelming and the romantic suspense not that suspenseful to begin with, I'm thinking it will almost be better to have them married so that they can skip over those parts and plunge straight into the sardonically indulgent marriage part.