Next to "Outlander" and Jamie & Claire, this is probably the BEST Highlander romance/story that I've ever read! OMG, I can't believe it - but thisNext to "Outlander" and Jamie & Claire, this is probably the BEST Highlander romance/story that I've ever read! OMG, I can't believe it - but this book so pulled me in... I couldn't put it down.
I loved reading about the colonies and the "French-Indian War" with Scottish Highlander "outcasts" and the British army. So much history, color, and "flavor" of the times was filled in for me from Diana G's Outlander series. This book takes place about 12 years after Culloden and 10-12 years before Jamie & Claire come to America. So there's so much I learned about Ticonderoga and upstate New York... the battles for Fort Ticonderoga long before the Revolutionary War battles.
I wept for Annie (Lady Anne) and all that she endured... Her horrid uncle, her imprisonment, her "life" in the colonies as an indentured slave. Then to face the French and hostile Indians, intent on raping and murdering her! Her courage was amazing, despite her youth and naivete about life in those times.
Iain and his brothers... well, you feel their hatred and frustration towards Lord William. And yet, the balance between Lord William and the Mackinnons is highly entertaining - a battle of wills and the mind. I alternated between hating Lord William with a passion and feeling compassion for him. He's trapped in his station and his role - something he doesn't even realize until Annie bests him in more ways than one.
Iain, especially, won my heart much like Jamie Fraser. He's strong, loyal, intelligent, "street smart" for his time, knowledgable, skilled, unafraid to take his place as a "laird". He's got the compassion for his men and the openness to listen to Annie and be a brother to Joseph and the Muhheconneok/Mahican tribe. Like Jamie, Iain suffers much for his noble and right decisions, including being flogged for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Like Jamie's men, Iain's men willing give everything they are (including their lives) to protect Iain and his.
I was awed by this book, which is strange, because I've read so many really, really good books lately! But something about this book and its characters touched me deeply. I'm sad there are only 3 books in this series, because I think I could read about Mackinnnon's Rangers forever!...more
This book has it all! Four short stories by Diana Gabaldon - all wonderful in their own way. And while it might not be obvious why these stories wereThis book has it all! Four short stories by Diana Gabaldon - all wonderful in their own way. And while it might not be obvious why these stories were grouped together in one book, as you get to the new story (A SPACE BETWEEN), you can see the pieces come together... but only if you've been paying attention to the names and characters from the previous short stories and have a background with the Outlander series. (Doesn't hurt to have a background with the Lord John Grey series, either.)
BEWARE - there might be unmarked spoilers in this review! If you haven't read all the Outlander books, you might want to skip this; if not, you were warned!
1. A LEAF IN THE WIND OF ALL HALLOWS: The story of Roger Wakefield MacKenzie's parents, Jerry (Jeremy) and Dolly (Marjorie) MacKenzie. Jerry is a WWII pilot who just happens to be in the right place at the right time when British Intelligence officer Frank Randall needs another pilot to fly over Poland and take pictures of the German concentration camps.
But when Jerry is practicing with the new cameras over Northumberland, his Spitfire goes down... in a ring of standing stones... near All Hallow's Eve. Jerry finds himself in a strange place and time, where there are no roads or buildings where they ought to be and suspicious folk who'd rather beat him and steal from him than help him. Could that be because he can't understand a word they say, and vice versa?
After wandering around for awhile, stealing food and clothing where he can, he ends up captured and locked into an outbuilding. But 2 mysterious men - 1 of whom seems to know him quite well - rescue him and send him back to his wife and son through the same stones.
Jerry makes his way to London, only to discover it's two years after the day he went through the stones. While trying to find his wife, Dolly, and their small son, Roger, another bombing attack starts. Jerry hurries into the subway - one of the bomb shelters - only to see his wife with wee Roger in her arms on the stairs above him... and the stairs are collapsing. Dolly, smiling through her tears and radiant as ever, throws the wee boy into his arms, just as the stairs finally crumble from another fierce shake of bombs... ================ This is such a beautiful, bittersweet story. It makes me cry every time. Jerry and Dolly obviously love one another very much, despite being separated by war. You get the sense that they have the same kind of fiery-fierce love that Jamie & Claire have, just in another place and time. Which is brought home all the more when it turns out that Frank Randall is the British Intelligence officer who meets Jerry and recruits him. Frank has to visit Dolly to tell her of Jerry's death... And wee Roger, who reminds me so much of Jem!
The ending of this story is so sad, and yet, it's hopeful and happy, too. (view spoiler)[Because we see Dolly & Jerry together again, at last! And we know that the grown-up Roger has had the chance to see his father and know him, even if for only a day. The hug that Roger gives to Jerry is bone-crushing, in more ways than one. (hide spoiler)]
2. THE CUSTOM OR THE ARMY (A Lord John Grey story): This story takes place just after Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, "Lord John and the Haunted Soldier", during Voyager before Jamie & Claire are reunited, and just before Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner. In it, Lord John Grey finds himself in Canada, after a party incident with electric eels and a challenge to a duel! But there, Lord John finds an old friend (and lover) who needs his help to bring charges against another officer. This is important, because the crux of this story is finished in Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner; in that book, Lord John continues his crusade to get the culprit, while dealing with his feelings and need for Jamie Fraser. Lord John is mixed up in a court martial and somehow, in the amazing Battle of Quebec, where soldiers scale the impossible walls of the Quebec cliffs to surprise the French general and win the day. Lord John also makes the "acquaintance" of an Indian who becomes rather important to him... and is even mentioned in latter Outlander books. (Hoping for more info about Manoake and Lord John, either in MOBY book 8 or in another Lord John story. Lots left there to explore.)
3. LORD JOHN AND THE PLAGUE OF ZOMBIES (A Lord John Grey story): This story takes place during Voyager, after Jamie is in Helwater and after their adventure in Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner. Lord John is sent to Jamaica to deal with a slave revolt. Or is it? The soldiers and locals claim that zombies are causing the revolt. What part does the mysterious Mrs. Abernathy play in all of this? As he digs deeper, Lord John discovers there's more than meets the eye at work here....
4. THE SPACE BETWEEN: This is the NEW story. All the others have been published as either solo works (now) or as part of an anthology. But this story is brand-spanking new.
It's the story of Michael Murray, Ian and Jenny's middle boy, who has been apprenticing with Cousin Jared in France at Fraser et Cie, the wine & spirits company. Michael has just lost his wife, Lilli, and had been home to Scotland for his father's funeral. Poor Michael is weighed down in grief. Luckily, he has a task to keep his mind somewhat occupied: he's escorting Joan Mackimmie MacKenzie to France to join a convent.
Joan is Leoghaire's second daughter, and Jamie's step-daughter. Joan has wanted to become a nun all her life, despite never knowing or seeing a nun. But Joan has her own secrets... she's afraid she's got the same malady as Joan of Arc - she hears voices that tell her prophetic things to say to others... and she can tell when someone is going to die soon. Joan thinks that in joining a convent, perhaps she can get some perspective on this "gift": is it a curse from the devil, himself, or a gift of God? Is it angels or demons speaking to her? What is she to do with this gift?
Joan's new order is headed by none other than Mother Hildegard, Claire's friend from Dragonfly in Amber. Joan has a letter to Mother Hildegard from Claire; but Joan's French isn't quite up to speed, and she inadvertently says that she's Claire's daughter, rather than step-daughter (of sorts).
That small mistake leads the Comte St. Germain (no, he's not dead!) to mistake Joan as the daughter of La Dame Blanche - a woman he never wants to meet again. But the Comte (who's given name is important) has been madly pursuing his sorcery ever since his mysterious "resurrection". He teamed up with a female sorcerer (whose name is important) in France for awhile; she told him about time travel and stones... The Comte has discovered a type of "light" around people and things that tells him if they're like he is - can travel or not. And the Comte has been trying to travel into the future; he's traveled a bit into the far past and even into his own past.
When the Comte hears that "the frog" or Master Grenouille (French for "frog" has been looking for him, he's afraid and excited. It was this man (Master Raymond) who gave him the Dragon's Blood that seemingly took his life in the court of King Louis XIV. But the Comte is intrigued by what Master Raymond might want of him and wants to ask his own questions. When Raymond tells the Comte that he's looking for "his lost daughter", the Comte thinks that she must be Joan - the daughter of La Dame Blanche.
Thus starts an intriguing mystery that entangles Joan, Michael, Mother Hildegard, the Comte, and Master Raymond.... ======= My only nit is that THE STORY ENDED!!! I wanted so much more - but that's the way Diana Gabaldon's writing is - I always want more.
This is a clever story that amazes me, especially the way that Diana says she writes - in scenes, not in outlines. Perhaps that gives her a wider range of freedom with her characters and new stories, but I have NO IDEA how she keeps things wrapped so neatly together!
I caught her "hint" within this story, but even so, it was nice to have a not from Herself at the end to confirm it... just in case her readers didn't pick up on it.
Also, pay attention to the Comte's dealings with a certain young whore... that answers a few questions that arose in my mind during Echo In The Bone - namely, how did the Comte have other heirs? (view spoiler)[I also found it delightful that Fergus's eldest is named Germain! Since I was paying attention to names, this one finally hit me. How ironic, right? (hide spoiler)]
AN AMAZING BOOK!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
To say that the 3rd book in this trilogy is any less than the other two is far from the truth. The book is a (Wow - that's my first impression... Wow!
To say that the 3rd book in this trilogy is any less than the other two is far from the truth. The book is a (mostly) satisfying end to the story and drama that we've come to know -- about Lisbeth Salander and how she became the person she is, about her unconscionable loss of her rights and privacy at the hands of an inner "secret" police group trying to protect her lousy "father" Alexander Zalachenko a criminal and murderer of the worst kind. But it's not just about Lisbeth Salander... it's about the tough footwork, police work, and legal work that went into finally exposing The Section -- that inner, secret group of the Swedish secret police that did anything and everything to continue its power and criminal way of doing whatever its current leader deemed necessary to keep The Section going.
It's also about Blomqvist, the journalist who came to know Lisbeth and respect her. It's about his quest to see her well and free. It's about his mucked up life, for Blomqvist is a flawed man. He can't manage to hold down a true relationship for any length of time. His most long-standing relationship is his off-again-on-again sexual relationship with Erika Berger, his co-worker and long-time married friend. Blomqvist was married once, but that marriage ended when Blomqvist and Berger started up again. It's a bit disappointing that Blomqvist's daughter is never heard of again, except for a brief mention in Book #1. I expected her or the ex-wife to be used as leverage of some sort; or perhaps Blomqvist's sister's family... in a way, it's a relief that Larsson didn't stoop to the obvious.
It's also about Berger, who at the end of Book #2 had decided to leave Millenium as editor-in-chief and take on the same position at a large Swedish paper. In this book, her life is hell as she takes on that charge. She's got a twisted person out for revenge -- someone close enough to write emails to her and supposedly being her of a terrific sexual nature... someone who's violated her home security and stolen sensitive photos and videos that Berger doesn't want the public to see.
What a shame that Mr. Larsson died so unexpectedly! On a website, stieglarsson.com, it mentions that his long-time partner Eva has possession of what was to be the 4th book in the series, "God's Hand". Legal battles between Eva and Larsson's family have held up the book's completion and publishing and probably will until the end of time. Such a shame, because Larsson leaves us with the impression that there's still a lot for both Salander and Blomqvist to do -- even hinting at a possible professional partnership. Blomqvist may or may not be in his first serious relationship since his failed marriage; Berger's tried to promise not to interfere - can she keep her promise? Because Blomqvist's new love won't stand for a rival - she's made that perfectly clear.
And what about Salander? What will her life be like now, when most of her secrets have been told to someone? How will it be for her now? Can she live any sense of a "normal" life after spending so much time trying to avenge the wrongs done to her? I doubt Salander can or will change much from who she is, and perhaps I'm putting my own wishes upon her, but it would nice for her to find some sort of love -- a love relationship where she can learn to be "safe". Not the casual sexual encounters she specializes in. Someone even to bridge the way into something more long-term. Is that possible for Salander?
But undoubtedly, Salander, Blomqvist, and the staff at Millenium have the opportunity to once more expose and right wrongs within the system. They now have the attention of the police, the secret police, the justice system, and the public. What could "God's Hand" be about?
The intensity of Book #3 makes it, for me, the most difficult book to read. As readers, we know most of Salander's "secrets" by now, so their unveiling isn't the shock or suspense value. No, it's the success or failure of the police and those trying to piece together the "real" story and find the justice in it... will they succeed? Can The Section truly be brought down with minimal blood shed? Who will live and who will die? Are there other "arms" of The Section that we don't even know about who will take revenge upon Salander et al next? And what about Armansky and his security company?
While so much is finally brought to light in this book, AND some justice is served, is it enough? I said this is a mostly satisfying book... mostly, because there are still so many open questions about what's next in the lives of Salander and Blomqvist.
But perhaps it's best for readers to make up their own minds about what's next.
FWIW, the Swedish films of the 3 books are available at netflix.com. I've seen movies 1 & 2, and they're quite good. It's always jarring to "see" someone you've been picturing for yourself, so I can't say that Mikael is who I would cast or even Armansky. But the movies are a good representation of the books - mostly faithful, because how much of these books can you fit into just over 2 hours? So many of the smaller details are left behind, which can be a bit disappointing. But overall, the movies are worth watching. The actress who plays Salander IS Salander. The American version of Book 1 is due out Dec. 21, 2011. It'll be interesting to compare and contrast that version of the movie with the Swedish movie and then to Book #1....more
OK, so I'm just a sucker for Jamie Fraser... and any book that he's in.
2nd read: Feb 2012
Just gets better! Not much to add this time3rd read: Feb 2013
OK, so I'm just a sucker for Jamie Fraser... and any book that he's in.
2nd read: Feb 2012
Just gets better! Not much to add this time through, except that I appreciated the nuances of this book so much more. I was, however, dismayed to realize that the name Tobias Quinn never darkened our door before in any previous Outlander or Lord John book. That was a mystery to me, but...
Also, I'd missed the resolution with Betty, the ladies' maid at Helwater in the 1st read. I was too focused on Jamie and Lord John and the "main" story. When Lord John realizes what's happened at the very end of the book, it finally resonated with me; I wonder how and where DG will take us from here? Her focus is on Outlander book #8 (MOBY), but I foresee much more info about Lord John and how he got involved with The Black Chamber coming. And I suspect that Bowles goads LJ into the intelligence area by virtue of this book - and perhaps, LJ's secret life and what happened with Percy Wainwright. We'll see!
1st read: Nov 2011 OK, I admit, Lord John might be growing on me.... I truly enjoyed this book -- probably because Jamie Fraser has a co-starring role. It was good to see and hear more of Jamie -- learn even more about his time at Helwater, and see him develop a relationship with the toddler William. We're even part of the magical moment when Jamie realizes that he loves the little tyke that he can never claim as his own.
Warning: There is some steam in this book, which comes from Lord John's encounter with Stephan von Namtzen. It's not a long scene, and if that type of scene isn't your cup of tea, it's easily skimmed.
I have to say though, I was actually glad to see LJ and Stephan have their time together. The chemistry & attraction between them has always been palpable, but there was always the question if Stephan swung that way. Even LJ thought that Stephan might be unaware of it, himself. No, I'm not fans of these particular scenes, especially since Ms. Gabaldon is so good at writing steamy sex scenes... but if LJ has to have a lover and Ms. G has to write about it, I was glad that this time it was Stephan. (I never did care for Percy.) Stephan and LJ have a long-standing relationship, a tender friendship; they've both seen each other through joy, war, loss, sorrow, and pain. And it was particularly endearing that this was Stephan's first time with a man; LJ literally made himself vulnerable in his lovemaking with Stephan -- I would argue as vulnerable if not more than he did with Percy. And that shows hope that LJ can and will banish that dark shadow to its rightful place... and perhaps have some true happiness and love. IMO, Stephan is the right person; the problem is that Stephan likely won't be in England a lot, and so I wonder how much time the two can spend together without lifting eyebrows.
While LJ and Jamie take center stage, we still discover new and interesting characters (such as Quinn and Edward Twelvetrees) and receive interesting revelations about characters we already know, either from Outlander or the LJ books, especially Minnie (Hal's wife). I'm not certain if I didn't pick up on something that I should know about with her (is she a secret Jacobite? or was/is her father the Jacobite?) or if this is something to be revealed in a future book. The fact that she knew Jamie and had run messages between Jamie and her father was enlightening. And the way she met and eventually married Hal -- that's quite a story!
The intricate plot of soldiers, war, duty, politics, and spies doesn't disappoint. And in her usual way, Ms. Gabaldon gives us plenty of unforeseen twists and turns, until we tumble onto the truth -- at the very end. This cannot be the last of the LJ books, because it seems as if she brought us up to the brink of what must be LJ's time in the spy-game -- the one he alluded to in "Echo in the Bone" in his musings about Percy and discussions with Percy and others.
And Jamie. *sigh* How can one not love and adore the man? I had to start re-reading my favorite parts of "Voyager" again -- where Claire returns to Edinburgh.
I'm also glad of this book, because I couldn't imagine how LJ and Jamie repaired their relationship, after their violent and emotional encounter at Helwater in the previous LJ book. How did we get from there to the scenes in "Voyager" between LJ and Jamie? In "Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner", we see the beginnings of how their friendship was re-established, if not repaired. Beyond their trip to Ireland, the happenings in LJ's club where someone actually yells out that LJ is a sodomite, and both Jamies and LJ's actions after that show us that, despite everything, there is still a solid and true friendship between the men.
And, interestingly enough, we also see how and when LJ realized that William is really Jamie's son. LJ tucks that away in the back of his mind, his thoughts revealing that he might plan to use that to keep Jamie his prisoner. So, of course, we need to know more about that. As well as how Isobel agreed to become his wife. Again, we see how the pieces might just fit together to make that marriage happen; but we still don't know whether Isobel knows LJ's preference or how their marriage progressed. There is true affection between the two, no doubt, and likely love, just not romantic love. And many marriages of that day had a lot less than friendship and love!
Which brings me to say what I never thought I would: After Outlander book 8, I can truly say that I'm looking forward to the next Lord John book!
Speaking of which.... At the back of the book, Ms. Gabladon treats us to some sneak peeks at "Written in My Own Heart's Blood" (aka MOBY) -- short vignettes, to try to satisfy us until that book is complete and ready for publishing. Ms. Gabaldon says the writing should be done by the end of 2012, which likely means that we won't see the actual book until sometime in 2013. But we can always cross our fingers, can't we? In the meantime, follow Ms. Gabaldon on Twitter or tune into her web site or her Facebook site to catch her daily lines......more
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this installment in the Magnus Bane series.
We see Magnus encounter Valentine and his Circle... and we see Jocelyn bringing baby ClaryLOVE, LOVE, LOVE this installment in the Magnus Bane series.
We see Magnus encounter Valentine and his Circle... and we see Jocelyn bringing baby Clary to Magnus, begging his help to keep Clary from knowing her heritage or seeing that world.
It's stark, realistic, sad, dangerous, scary, and downright ugly. It really brings us full-circle in the Magnus story, although there's one installment left in his chronicles. But I got some of what I've been missing in the TMI series - the feel of "you are there" in the early days of Valentine and his Circle.
The authors don't take a heavy-handed approach, which helps us, the readers, to truly grasp the horror and magnitude of Valentine in his heyday. It's so easy to see Valentine in the role of the Hitler of the Shadowhunters - not because we're forced to see it, but because we experience it through Magnus' eyes.
We also see those in the Circle, including Luke and Stephen Herondale... we see their misguided zeal, and yet we're gently shown how they made their own choices. No blaming He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or some cruciatus curse for forcing them.
In fact, we see the event that led to the splintering of the Circle, where some of Valentine's followers start to question him in the light of Magnus' logic.
Powerful book in this world, not just in Magnus' series....more
Wow! This is the 2nd book I've read by Susanna Kearsley, and I think I've just found my new favorite author! And I adore many authors -- Diana GabaldoWow! This is the 2nd book I've read by Susanna Kearsley, and I think I've just found my new favorite author! And I adore many authors -- Diana Gabaldon is at the top of that list.
I didn't think I could love another book or proclaim another book as "perfect" like "The Rose Garden". But "The Winter Sea" is, too. I rejoiced, I wondered, I awed, I shivered, I feared, I cried, I loved... I experienced the gambit of emotions and didn't dread a single bit of the history that the book contained. In fact, the passage where Graham explains to his brother Stuart about The Stewarts and how the Jacobite followers came to be was the best, most concise, and most understandable presentation! I finally "get" all the pieces and the players and the politics!
At first, the device of going back and forth between Carrie's novel/Sophia's memories and Carrie's present might be irritating, especially for those who are just getting "in" to the story of the past. But that device didn't bother me at all in this book. Because Carrie was writing the book, and because Sophia's memories were the book, I was quite satisfied. Sure, there were times I wanted to skip ahead into one side of the story, but I'm glad I didn't.
Ms. Kearsley amazed me again - perhaps more - at her ability to weave history, romance, and fiction. Even more with this book, because she used so many real characters and places. And while I admit, my hopes were along the lines of what occurred at the end of the book (view spoiler)[ Namely, that Moray would take a new identity and become Carrie's ancestor (hide spoiler)], I couldn't have envisioned it better than she did. The only true heartbreak was, hopefully, also covered...(view spoiler)[ with the assumption that Graham could have descended from Anna, Sophia and Moray's child. I'd hoped that perhaps the Countess had adopted her and she'd become one of the outspoken Countesses of Earl, but that was before I got to the part where Sophia had placed Anna with Kirstie's sister's family. *sigh* We can't have it all... and it did fit in nicely. But the idea of Graham being related, I think, might also be tied to Colonel Graeme -- Graham & Graeme? Maybe I'm stretching that one. (hide spoiler)]
My only nit is that, at times, this book felt so melancholy, I wasn't certain I could bear it any longer. But I suspect that was on purpose -- it had to do with the winter sea... and there are some nice quotes along those lines:
(Colonel Graeme speaking to Sophia) He nodded. 'Aye,' he said. ';there is no sight so melancholy as the winter sea, for it does tell us we are truly at the ending of the year, and all its days are passed, its day of joy and sorrow that will never come again.' He turned to look at her, and smiled. 'But so the seasons turn, and so they must, by nature's own design. The fields must fall to fallow and the birds must stop their song awhile; the growing things must die and lie in silence under the snow, just as the winter sea must wear its face of storms and death and sunken hopes, the face ye so dislike. 'Tis but the way of things, and when ye have grown older, lass, as I have, ye may even come to welcome it.'.... 'For if there was no winter, we could never hope for spring.' His eyes were warm on hers, and wise. 'The spring will come.' He paused, then in that same sure tone he said, 'And so will he.'
What a truly marvelous book!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Finally finished The Infernal Devices series... and I don't think I can quite write a review just yet.
I kept expecting to be bawling my eyes out, as mFinally finished The Infernal Devices series... and I don't think I can quite write a review just yet.
I kept expecting to be bawling my eyes out, as my GR friends seemed to do. I wasn't, until the Prologue. And then I simply couldn't seem to stop.
I knew (view spoiler)[that Jem was Brother Zachariah, and yet... in this prologue, he seems to have left the Brotherhood. But in the previous The Mortal Instruments, City Of Lost Souls, Brother Zachariah was trying to help Jace with his "heavenly fire" issue. I'd imagine, because it's similar to Tessa's own "bout" with it.
This book, however, leaves us with the impression that Tessa and Jem are going to be married - or at least spend their lives together. Does that mean that something happens to Tessa?
We saw the Clockwork Angel pendant in the New York Institute in the previous TMI books, too. While this book doesn't say that Tessa continued to wear it, I'd suspect that she kept it with her. So now I'm curious to know more about Tessa and Jem, post TID. (hide spoiler)]
The tie-ins with The Mortal Instruments are good. Seeing all the Shadowhunters from the past... the family names... it's interesting to speculate who got with whom to create the modern day versions. I seem to see some Tess, Will, and Jem in the more modern day counterparts. Wondering if it's Gideon or Gabriel who are the forefathers to Lightwoods that we knew in TMI? I'd speculate (view spoiler)[Gabriel and Cecily (Will's sister), based on their personalities and physical descriptions. (hide spoiler)]
I really hope that we see more about how those tie-ins worked. And I hope that we see more of the foundations of The Infernal Devices woven into The Mortal Instruments. Because there is so much about the TID series that is nobler and better than TMI.
That's all for now...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I can't believe I didn't write a review of this book, but it looks as if I didn't!
This is my 2nd favorite1st read: June 16, 2011 ?th read: Feb, 5 2012
I can't believe I didn't write a review of this book, but it looks as if I didn't!
This is my 2nd favorite book in the series, just after the 1st book Outlander. I really enjoy learning about Jamie's history after Claire left him in Dragonfly in Amber. I wasn't even irritated that the story bounced back and forth for awhile, between Bree-Roger-Claire and Jamie. In fact, I enjoyed the "hunt" and the tidbits of information that Roger, Bree, and Claire picked up which led into Jamie's story. I was completely taken up with what was going on and hoping against hope that they'd find Jamie alive.
But when Claire travels back, again, to Jamie - I was as excited and happy at their reunion as Claire was! And I truly appreciated that the author was able to take us through that from Claire's eyes - AND that Claire was able to pull back enough to see that she had been preparing for months for this event, but that Jamie had no preparation at all.
And all the hullaballo that happens when Claire does return! In the space of a month's time, too. I was wondering, with Jamie, if perhaps Jamie couldn't have his "life" and Claire, too. If there was something about the two of them together, being out of time and place, that forced impossible events to occur. But I held fast and kept reading!
I must say, the whole China man scenario was convenient and out-of-place. But when I'd finished the book, I could see that the author did a good job of pulling it all together, and making Mr. Willoughby an integral part of the story. How else would Jamie be able to make such a ship voyage without acupuncture?
And Lord John Gray... Voyager marks the start of LJG's tales - with and without Jamie. I can say that each time I read his conversation with Claire, I feel the bitterness in my throat, just as Claire does, winding her way through the story of Jamie and LJG. I feel her twinges of doubt as to what this relationship between the two is all about - what happened and which emotions are engaged on Jamie's part? It's a tough pill to swallow. In so many ways, I feel as if Lord John Gray is the *biggest* threat to Jamie & Claire's relationship... and that all started with this book. However, I must say in all fairness, that I've come to appreciate LJG, and even to like him, for his own sake; I just don't want him around Jamie & Claire - LOL!
The story with the younger Ian... breaks my heart. But such an adventure! Jamie has two "foster" sons now, Fergus and Ian. He was definitely meant to be a father!
The return to Lallybroch... Claire reuniting with Ian and Jenny. It seemed so idyllic, until... Leoghaire! I wasn't expecting that at all, and I was as angry as Claire was, at the beginning. I was angry at Jamie for keeping it from Claire. I experienced all that Claire did, and I was glad that we both (LOL) came to the same conclusions at about the same time. And we managed to continue.
I was amazed at how the Frenchman's Gold story was so interwoven with the treasure, Ian's capture, the voyage to rescue him... and then Geillis! What a horrifying treat!
Voyage just keeps on giving. Every time I thought that finally Jamie & Claire might just have a breath or a break, something else would come into the picture: the mess in Edinburgh, Jenny and then Leoghaire, young Ian's capture, the Porpoise and her ill crew, Fergus and Marsali, Lord John Gray, Geillis, Mr. Willoughby, Rev. Campbell, and even Lawrence Stern! There is more adventure and danger and excitement in this book than most people have in an entire lifetime! And all were woven together in an intricate and wonderful tale. I didn't want the adventure to end!
I laughed, cried, gasped, was terrified, spit nails, sighed, was romanced... the entire gambit of emotions! Truly a great book!...more
June 2011 (1st read) While the first 70 pages or so of this book may not be the most interesting, they're definitely important to the story that unfoldJune 2011 (1st read) While the first 70 pages or so of this book may not be the most interesting, they're definitely important to the story that unfolds... After that, you'll be swept into Claire & Jamie's love story for the ages -- sweet, funny, steamy, touching, and to-die-for.
Diana G provides us with a cast of well-developed characters, who remain true to themselves through-out the story. Not always a pleasant story, but one that peels back time and shows a glimpse of 1740s Scotland in the Jacobite era. When Claire is accidentally whisked back in time from post-WW2 Scotland (1945) into 1743, we feel her bewilderment and shock. Along with the history, we're also reminded just how different the customs, culture, and daily activities were from now and then -- remembering that "now" is 1945.
A few slight complaints, such as Claire's attitude about women is probably a bit more feminist than most 1940s gals, especially in England. But this story and these characters definitely stay with you, and you *want* more... luckily there are a few more books in the series! ----------- Jan 2012 No matter how many times I re-read this book, I'm always captured completely by it! IMO, no other fictional characters can touch JAMIE FRASER & CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP RANDALL FRASER!!! Their lives, their love, their story... *sigh*...more
A lot happens in this book. So much, that I frequently had to return to the beginning to remember that yes, that event *did* take place in this book.
WA lot happens in this book. So much, that I frequently had to return to the beginning to remember that yes, that event *did* take place in this book.
We've fast-forwarded another 6 years in the book, so we start 12 years after the 1st book. Which means that Granuaile is ready to e bound to the earth.
Problem is, before they can get started, Atticus and Granuaile run into Loki, who's loose and out to destroy Perun for killing Thor. Go figure.
They get Perun safely to Tir na nOg, only to be commanded to Brighid's Fae Court. She's none too happy to discover that Atticus is still alive, when the Morrigan notified her that he was dead. There are a lot of politics still in play between Brighid and the Morrigan, so Atticus seeks to leave as soon as possible. Problem is, he learns that he and Granuaile can't hole up anywhere in America for her binding ceremony; only land touched by the Eurasian plate can create the binding. AND Atticus discovers that something or someone has blocked all his paths to Europe, except for the portal closest to Olympus.
Knowing that Bacchus is still out for his head, Atticus and Granuaile employ the help of Olympia, the local element. She protects them the best she can, but they're interrupted twice during the 3 month ceremony of Atticus creating the necessary tattoos. Gaia lays the pattern, but Atticus must use a thornbush (still attached to the Earth) and create the tattoos one little stab at a time.
As Atticus unravels the mystery of who's after them and why, he and Granuaile come across Leif. And Leif is likely up to his old tricks of getting Atticus to help him be the primo vampire. Of course, Leif provides his aid, especially against the dark elves who are known assassins and likely hired by one of the Fae, not Bacchus or another Olympian god. Problem is, which Fae and why?
I felt like FINALLY in this book:(view spoiler)[ * FINALLY Granuaile is a Druid! She gets her tattoos, and we learn which animals she can transform into. She gets a super-charged staff, courtesy of 2 cool Fae, including an invisibility spell from Flidais.
* FINALLY Atticus and Granuaile get busy! She shows him their relationship through the magical spectrum and convinces him, as we all know, that they're not just fly-by-night. As usual, it's done very tastefully - a very YA rating.
(G)"You're still pretending." (A) A bit wounded by the accusation, I replied, "I'm not pretending at all. I've always made it clear that our relationship needs to remain strictly professional." (G) "Right. You go on and keep telling yourself that. You can't hide it anymore, Atticus, so just stop, okay? You know we both have feelings that go beyond that."
It's not until Atticus really takes a look at their bond using his magical senses, that he realizes it's silly to go on pretending...
Once I removed by blinders and looked at the emotional ties between us, I knew precisely what I was looking at. I'd seen knots like this before. Some of them were lust. And some of the, the ones I hadn't dared to confirm for fear that they wouldn't be there, were love."
BUT, while we learn a lot more about the Fae and the Norse myths, especially Ragnorak, the book tends to drag, even as it quickly switches us between places and characters. There's a lot of action. And, unfortunately for Atticus, a lot of guilt. Things that he set in motion to get the apple for Lashka and to get Leif to Asgaard to kill Thor are still costing him and bringing chaos to the world. Like Loki being free, and his daughter Hel wreaking havoc.
Atticus pays his blood price to the Norse gods with Granuaile's help and some of Freya's help. But Atticus learns that he's brought quite a price to the dwarves, when he set Loki on them in the name of Eldhar. So many more deaths and so much more destruction on his head.
We do get some respites here and there. And, of course, Oberon provides a lot of the humor. But in this book, Granuaile is quite the source of humor, too. When she changes into her panther and roars, and then helps Oberon and Atticus hunt had me laughing out loud.
(A) We failed miserably to find any dik-diks, but Oberon wasn't the least bit disappointed. He was highly amused by the entire trip, because Granuaile kept sneezing and didn't get used to her new sense of smell.... Once we passed near an impressive pile of rhino feces, she gagged and tried to run away from it, but her gagging turned the normally smooth mechanics of a jaguar into a jerky, trembling dance. Oberon chuffed so hard he fell over and pawed helplessly at the sky. (O) "You know, I've bascially been bored for three months while Granuaile was getting bound, but now I'm good. I feel repaid. Never thought I'd see a jaguar brought it its knees by rhino sh*t. And it probably dumped that here when she roared."
As usual, some of the best lines are associated with Oberon:
"Hey! Who did that? Mother clucking chicken!"
"Alert! Much fear apprentice shows! Adopt Yoda syntax you must!"
"Great Lord Sirius, Atticus, this is the best suasage ever! Mannan could rule the world with this sausage. Why he could probably even teach a rottweiler manners with sausage like this....This is the Sausage of Great Price."
(O)"I could refute that easily by pointing out that there is, in fact, no poodle bitch trotting along beside me now, but let's see if you'll give me this: Will you type out my holy writ if I dictate it to you? (A) Sure. What's this religion going to be called? (O) "Poochism." (A) And the name of the holy write I will be typing for you? (O) "The Dead Flea Scrolls: A Sirius Prophecy."
"Okay, for the record, what you're doing is nothing like dogs barking, and I object to the whole bow-chick-bow-wow meme in principle."
"Fine. But human mating habits are stupid."
Anxiously awaiting the next book, due out June 25. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
4+ stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Iron Druid Chronicle fans and ANYONE who loves a good adventure chock-full of mythology, Druids, and magic
One of the best in4+ stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Iron Druid Chronicle fans and ANYONE who loves a good adventure chock-full of mythology, Druids, and magic
One of the best in the bunch!
Silly dark elves. Earth is for Druids.
This book reminded me of why I love this series so much! It had the right balance of action and story. As a reader, I appreciated that we started right back where we left off - it helped me to pick up the action right away. I was truly engaged and absorbed. I could NOT put this book down, and I did so only grudgingly to do real-world stuff, like work and eat and sleep.
I love that Granuaile's POV is included. I felt more of a real sense of WHO she is this time, especially when she was doing the talking. But even from Atticus' POV, Granuaile didn't come across as "just a side-kick" this time. She's really coming into her Druid status and showing her own style.
Oberon is sassy and smart as ever. He's the best comic relief!
(Oberon) "I've never run this fast for so long. It's better than sticking your head out a car window, that's for sure."
(Oberon) "Oh, great big bears, Atticus!" he said as he laid into it. "This is the best prime rib ever!.... Stolen and succlent, like forbidden fruit when I'm already starving. This shall be known as the Great Meat Heist of Poland That One Time. All future meals will be measured against this one. It's even better than the Big Juicy Barbecue if Atlanta That Other Time, do you remember tha? Or the Beloved Boar Sausage We Had Once. And do you remember the Heinous Worldwide Bacon Shortage of 2013? This totally makes up for it!"
True tear-jerk moments with the Morrigan, but mostly with Atticus' thinking of her. It was heart-breaking to realize along with him just what the Morrigan had done & said. And how he could see clearly now what he'd missed before. I liked that there was so much *more* to her than what we saw. Her actions and words made so much more sense in this book and during Atticus' musings.
While on the run from the Roman and Greek gods, Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon encounter just about every possible Greek or Roman god possible, along with some Irish gods, an English god (of sorts), and Norse gods. Loki is featured, and he provides one heckuva show at Windsor!
Lots of surprises, a new unique villain, more Leif, and a few other familiar, welcome faces. Love all the twists and turns! Reading this book definitely runs the gamut of emotions! It's like your favorite roller-coaster ride. No matter how scary or how much you scream, it's still a thrilling, fantastic, awesome experience.
In the end, we add to the team... interesting prospects for the next books. I'd hoped that vampire problem in Poland would be mentioned again. I'd "assumed" that Atticus' deal in Tir na nOg would take care of his debt to Malina's coven. But nothing about Malina, her coven, or vampires being killed in Poland was mentioned. (Unless I missed it.) I'm assuming that'll be covered in the next book.
ARC provided by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes verified with the first version published June 25, 2013....more
========== I'll update soon with quotes and more =====================
Really, really tough ending. This is the 3rd book in the series, and3.5-4 stars
========== I'll update soon with quotes and more =====================
Really, really tough ending. This is the 3rd book in the series, and the one where Atticus has to make good on his promises to Laksha (the witch) to grab a golden apple from Asgaard and to help Leif kill Thor v1.0 in Asgaard.
Oberon and Granuaile aren't in this book very much. The book focuses on Gunnar, the alpha leader of the werewolf pack in the Phoenix area (Atticus' laywer, Hal, is 2nd in command), Leif (Hal's law partner and a vampire), and Atticus.
Hammered is a very good title for this book! It starts out with a major BANG, with shocks and surprises for everyone, including Atticus. And it just keeps going from there... the v1.0 pantheon of Norse gods gets involved and most are wiped out by the end of the book.
We also meet some new characters, most of whom I'd never heard of before and had to look up. And many have names I couldn't begin to type or pronounce. Let's just say that Perun, a Slavic god of thunder, and Zhang Gao Lao are some of my new fav characters in this series. We also get to meet several of the frost giants from Jotunheim.
This is a tough book to read, once the big battle begins. It's tough to follow all the action, since it happens in battle-time, which means fast and furious. And the names of the various characters involved sometimes had me confused about who was whom on which side.
Before the fatal trip to Asgaard, both Jesus and The Morrigan warn Atticus that killing Thor will have major consequences. And The Morrigan is concerned - she possible sees Atticus' death (it's unclear). Because the Valkyries are the equivalent of the Morrigan in Asgaard, if something does happen to Atticus, Morrigan can't assist Atticus - which means that their deal about him not dying is null. So that causes several tense moments. (Except that knowing the series continues means that Atticus doesn't die. And that can't POSSIBLY be a spoiler to anyone, can it?)
It's a tense, tough, emotional book. But we learn so much about Gunnar and especially Leif. Leif has been so mysterious for so long... it's nice to finally know more about his life, even before he was a vampire, and why he has such a beef with Thor. In fact, we learn all the stories of those involved in the battle about why they hate Thor. Yep, this isn't your Marvel comics Thor; this Thor is a true jerk. It's easy to see why so many in the god-world (and paranormal world of Kevin Hearne), want this guy dead.
More another time... I want to include some more thoughts, especially about how Hearne continues his philosophical/religious discussions in conversations between Jesus & Atticus and Atticus & Perun....more
3.5-4 stars - kinda undecided.... RECOMMENDED FOR: Troubleshooters fans, Izzy fans, and those who want to know what happened to Murphy
This book... is A3.5-4 stars - kinda undecided.... RECOMMENDED FOR: Troubleshooters fans, Izzy fans, and those who want to know what happened to Murphy
This book... is ACTION-PACKED! And it's LONG! Not necessarily in a bad way, but I couldn't believe all that had happened and I wasn't even to the 50% mark yet! Wow. This book takes you to the edge and back, many times.
It's heart-warming, sad, healing, funny, heartbreaking, adrenaline pumping... and so much more.
We meet new characters, like Dr. Jo, the psychologist hired by Tom P at Troubleshooters, Inc. to help the team deal with all their past "stuff", especially the Dave/Sophia/Decker thing that explodes. Not to mention Jimmy Nash and Tess... and Decker and Dave explosion. But who is Dr. Jo? Is she there to help or hurt? We get a lot of insight into Dave and Decker, as they manage to open up to Dr. Jo, even against their will. And even some more additional insight into Sophia.
But frankly? I JUST WANT THE DAVE/SOPHIA/DECKER THING TO BE OVER! And it looks like, by the end of this book, it might just be resolved. And I'm HAPPY! Because the Good Guy doesn't always win. (I don't want to mark spoilers just yet, so I won't tell you who I think the Good Guy is, but you can probably guess if you've read the book.)
Murphy and Hannah... they're supposed to be the main focus of this book, but Angelina is a very real shadow/ghost. We learn so much more about Hannah and her friendship with Angelina. For that matter, we learn so much more about Angelina, and it's not all roses and sunlight, like we thought. (Or I thought.)
No one's seen or heard from Murphy since after Angelina's funeral... He just took off. We learn that Hannah has seen him, but not frequently. And Murphy is A MESS! But you'd expect him to be. Problem is, even after Murphy gets his life back together, there are gaping holes when he was too blitzed out on alcohol and grief to even know what he was doing.
And that's a problem because the jerk, Ebersole, head of that Neo-Nazi so-called Freedom Network thing that got Angelina shot is dead; his body was "just discovered", even though the murder took place 4 months ago. And Murphy doesn't have an alibi or a clue where he was. Except that he and Hannah finally determine that Murphy WAS in the area. He could have shot and killed Ebersole, he just doesn't know for sure. Hannah's in love with Murphy - always has been; but when Angelina told Hannah that she & Murphy hooked up, Hannah let go.
But now, Hannah's not about to let Murphy be taken in for questioning. She knows he'll never see the light of day. And so, despite her gimp ankle and loss of hearing resulting from an OTJ accident when she was a cop, Hannah is at Murphy's side, trying to help him piece together what happened.
Then there's IZZY! Izzy might not be the most handsome guy to cross our paths, but he's definitely got charisma in spades! And a body that won't quit. He's a SEAL, after all. But Izzy's best features are his sense of humor and deep-down honor. So when the most beautiful girl he's ever seen wanders into the Ladybug Lounge looking for Gillman, Izzy's gone. Poor thing needs a place to stay - her boyfriend dumped her in a Krispy Kreme, and her bag with her ID, cash, and clothes was in the car.
So Izzy feeds the girl, Eden, who's turning 18 at midnight, and takes her back to his apartment while he tries to get Jenk and Lindsay on the phone so that Eden can stay with them. 'Cuz Izzy's way too tempted with hot little Eden wandering around his apartment. Since they just got back from a mission, Jenk wants a little more time with Lindsay. So he convinces Izzy to keep her there for another hour or so. Jenk even thinks that Gillman will be coll with it all, 'cuz Jenk will tell Gillman that Izzy went "above and beyond" trying to find a place for Eden to stay. Izzy's thoughts?
Gillman would thank him--as a trio of pigs singing "Lean of Me" in perfect harmony flew past Izzy's apartment window.
We learn quite a bit about Eden and Gillman, as the book goes on. You see, the book starts with a brief "6 Months Ago" thing that brings Murphy/Hannah and Izzy/Eden together, and then fast-forwards. Eden went to Germany to be with her dad, while Gillman grudgingly provided the funds. Murphy left Hannah after a drunken one-night-stand that almost ended with Murphy killing himself with one of Hannah's uncle's guns. Instead, Murphy wandered out into the night.
After the 6 months goes by, though, Murphy and Hannah are trying to piece together his actions. Dr. Jo is in the mix, stirring the pot. And EDEN is 6 months pregnant. And she says that Izzy's the father, which is ridiculous, since Izzy and Eden didn't have full-on sex. Yes, they gave each other hand-jobs, but that was it.
Except we all know Izzy. And he's got a thing for Eden. So he goes along with it, and allows Gillman to drag him back to Vegas to confront Eden. Gillman's step-father has Eden locked in the bathroom, because he wants her to sign away her baby so that he (the step-father) can make some cash. Izzy is LIVID! And in saving the girl, he manages to avoid busting a few heads and proposing. Izzy's proposal to Eden is to get married so that she has medical insurance and a home for herself and Pinkie - what she calls her baby boy. If after Pinkie's born Eden wants to leave, they part ways. Problem is, Eden clearly doesn't know how to have a relationship; to her, it's all about sex, has been since she was 14. Eden only knows how to relate to guys through sex and the power and control she can have through it. So... it's a rocky road for Izzy and Eden.
In the middle of all of this, Murphy's located. And the gang, including Jules Cassidy, is involved with trying to get to Murphy and find out what really happened 4 months ago. Did Murphy shoot Ebersole?
During the hunt for Murphy, though, we discover that Jimmy Nash is doing "odd jobs" for someone other than Troubleshooters, Inc. And he's in DEEP - so deep, that his and Tess' apartment is trashed, and it's clear that not only Jimmy is in danger, but Tess is, too. A parking lot melt-down has Jimmy shouting at Tess, Dr. Jo, Dave, and Decker... and stalking off into the night. The gang can't deal with Jimmy, 'cuz they're hot on Murphy's and Hannah's trail.
SO MUCH HAPPENS! Let's just cut to the chase: Jimmy is mortally wounded at Hannah's cabin. Tess is shot, gun whipped, and drugged. Hannah and Sophia are drugged. Tess, Hannah, Sophia, and a 6-month pregnant Eden are all taken hostage by the Freedom Network. All because Hannah and Murphy infiltrated their "lair" and took some wild pictures of a very weird "ceremony" at the cabin in which Ebersole supposedly was killed.
The Freedom Network wants to discredit Murphy, so they've taken the hostages and demand that Murphy kill himself after confessing that he set it all up AND killed Ebersole. It's clever, but this team of SEALs, Troubleshooters, and FBI with Jules at the helm aren't giving up. They're going in to rescue the hostages.
Who survives? Who doesn't? What's the truth? Wow... you've got to read this non-stop book to find out!...more
4 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Troubleshooter fans and those who want to see how the Decker/Sophia/Dave thing works out
Wow! Another adrenaline-pumping book!4 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Troubleshooter fans and those who want to see how the Decker/Sophia/Dave thing works out
Wow! Another adrenaline-pumping book! Lots of action in this one that kept me on the edge of my seat. And yes, I was guessing about what would come next and who was behind it all. Of course, by the time we got into the last 1/2 of the book, I was fairly sure I knew. And I was mostly right... which is a tribute to Ms. Brockmann, because I'm usually right on. Only my friend Wendy is more spot-on than I am - LOL!
Anyway... tough to review this book, because I went on a Troubleshooters run and finished all the books over the 4th of July holiday - my tribute to the SEALs and our nation's heroes. So from there on out is mostly marked with spoiler tags, so as not to spoil anyone else's reading fun. But I'll break it down into people and segments, if I can.
Generally, this book seems to be about LETTING GO. How to let go of the control and fears and lies... how to be honest with yourself, so that you can be honest with the ones that you love.
Decker/Sophia/Dave I was fairly certain that Sophia was FINALLY going to see Dave for who he was, based on the ending of the previous book. It seemed as if talking to Dr. Jo allowed Sophia to really see what she wanted. That, and practically losing Dave several times in this book. Sophia wanted SAFE. And to her, Dave was safe.
He kissed her again, and she knew in that instant what her real problem was. She'd gotten into this relationship with Dave, thinking that she was settling for someone nice enough. Someone who loved her and would never hurt her. Someone who would be a good husband and a loving father to her children as they sailed through life on an easy, even keel.... Her real probably was that, after all the sorrow and loss in her life, she desperately didn't want to be in a relationship with someone she absolutley couldn't bear to live without. And yet here she was, with the same fear she'd felt last night, as she followed Dave into the hospital, welling up in her throwat whenever she so much as thought about his putting himself in danger.
But poor Dave... he just can't believe that Sophia wants him - not really and truly:
It was only in his wildest dreams that he'd ever imagined confessing his feelings. He and Sophia were friends, buddies, pals. For years, he'd been terrified of ruining their comfortable relationship by revealing the pathetic truth. for years, he'd convinced himself that he was content to love this incredible woman from afar--to keep his feelings for her hidden, unrequited, and pure.
He also knew what--precisely-- this was. The first runner-up could still get the prize if the real winner bowed out.
That's just sad... I knew that Dave had a warped image of himself, and that he never felt "worthy" of Sophia. But all of his insecurities just come running out in this book. And honestly? It gets a little annoying before it gets better.
Because, you see, Dave turns into Mr. Super-Spy/Almost James Bond in this book. And that bothers Sophia's nice little picture of him. The nerd Dave. The guy who takes her to lunch. The one she pours her heart out to. Not the guy who goes on secret missions back to Kazbekitstan to find out what she, Sophia, really went through when her husband was beheaded by the warlord who "married" her and made him part of his harem. Not the guy who takes out a huge, angry Irishman with 3 switchblades. Not this guy that Dave is turning into, as he and Sophia run for their lives....
For awhile, I wasn't sure what would happen to them - if they could survive the book as a unit, together. He couldn't seem to hear what she was so clearly saying to him... until she said it. Point blank:
"...And I convinced myself that you were exactly what I needed because you were safe, because you would never, ever leave me--and even if you did, it would be okay because I didn't love you the same way I loved Dimitri...." "But I do," she said. "You're not listening to me. I do love you. I love you more than I ever loved Dimitri, more than I ever loved Decker, because I wasn't friends with either of them, Dave. Not the way I am with you." "You're my best friend," Sophia told him and he focused on her face, on that gracefully shaped mouth that he loved to see curving into a smile, "and you're my lover--you're my everything (view spoiler)[including the father of my child (hide spoiler)]. You're my life, Dave...Because I wasn't supposed to care. I wasn't supposed to love you that much." "But I do. That's what I'm trying to tell you. I do."
Decker and Tracy At first, I wasn't at all behind this pairing. I couldn't understand where it came from or why it was even feasible. It felt as if Tracy had a personality transplant... that she'd "suddenly" become more serious or... something. But then, I realized, no. After Tracy said goodbye to her ex Lyle and after she braved the events of Into the Storm, Tracy grew up. She became a better person, more at home with herself, less of a woman throwing herself at every available man. Tracy certainly appreciates men, no doubt. But she has become a valued member of the Troubleshooters team, even if she is the receptionist and doesn't go out on missions. Tracy has the ears and eyes of the company, and not much gets past her.
Although it did seem that Tracy too quickly pieced the puzzle together to figure out that Nash wasn't really dead. For the sake of the book, it was necessary. But in real life, I'd have expected it to take longer than it did.
As for Decker and his "secret"... I kept trying to guess what it could possibly be that had such an uptight guy like Decker so ashamed. I figured he must be a cross-dresser or into some really kinky stuff! But Ms. Brockmann keeps Deck true to himself and his perfect image by making it about giving up the one thing that he can't seem to ever give up: control. And in this way, Tracy is her perfect match. Because she has absolutely no hang-ups with sex. And she has no problem getting right in Decker's face and arguing with him - something else that no one else, it seems, will do. Everyone is too afraid of him or too in awe of him. But not Tracy:
"I think you wouldn't recognize happiness if it came up and bit you on the butt," she countered now. "Or maybe you would, but you wouldn't know what to do with it."
"Wow, that's part of the problem. You're so completely my type. A pulse and a dick, yes, but a giant stone in place of your heart. If I'm sending mixed signals, it's because I am drawn to you, like a moth to a flame. But I'm smarter than that, and I am not doing this."
And when Tracy finally uncovers his "secret", she's already broken him down and shown him that she sees him for who he is. So it's no surprise when she tells him
"There's nothing wrong with you," Tracy said again. "Except for the fact that your inner prude has been shouting at you for years, telling you that you're screwed up. You've got to bring the logical part of your brain into the mix. Because how can there be a right or a wrong way to have sex? I mean, psycho-killers aside, there's just not. The only question that you need to be worried about is Honey, do you like it when I do that? If the answer's yes, game on."
And just in case you didn't get it by the end of the book, and you're still struggling with Decker and Tracy as a couple, Ms. Brockmann slams it home:
"She sees me for who I am," Decker interrupted. "And she treats me like a man. Like an equal. Not some hero or... I don't know what. She's not afraid of me. She says what she thinks, she never pulls her punches and... I like the way she needs me. I really do. It's clean and... honest." "And guilt-free", Sophia added. He nodded. "Yeah, that's part of it. It's complicated--like every relationship is. But I can relax around her." He searched for the right words. "I feel... safe when I'm with her."
And them words aren't words I think I've ever heard a MAN say about a woman! But it's so Decker. And it cements why he & Tracy are a good couple.
Unfortunately, we never find out if they stay together, except that it's implied, as all the couples are. But I've read through the rest of the books, and there's nary a word that I remember about Decker and Tracy. Which is too bad, because I could see them being an Alyssa and Sam or a Jules and Robin kinda couple - ones to watch and root for. I just don't think that the general readership took to this pairing well enough to give them a shot.
For the record, (view spoiler)[I never thought that Dr. Jo was a strong contender for Decker's affections. And I'm sincerely glad that it didn't go that way. Dr. Jo might have been only in her 40s, but her dress and her mannerisms made her seem so much older to me. And it was just icky to think of her and Decker together. Although, it's obvious that she wouldn't have turned him down.
It's also kind of icky that Tracy and Dr. Jo shared the same man, albeit not at the same time. It was really clever of Ms. Brockmann to take that quick affair that Tracy had and exploit it into this plot. She probably had it planned all along, but it was very clever! And I liked it, a lot. (hide spoiler)]
Jimmy (Nash) and Tess Again with the angst and tears and lots of "stuff" getting in the way. But Ms. Brockmann helps us to see that Jimmy's LIFE has mostly been about survival. And that survival only came from playing whatever role he was needed to play at the time. Which meant lots and lots of lies... protecting others by taking it on himself.
Thank goodness for SAM! He sits down with Nash and gives him a real heart-to-heart. And Sam is a credible source, 'cuz not only is he a former SEAL, but he's married to kick-ass Alyssa. And we all know that their relationship has to have its ups and downs; yet they've found a way. Sam's found the way to deal with it without constant fights:
"...But see, we're both in a unique position, being connected to women who can kick most people's asses. As much as we might want them to stay out of harm's way, that's not in their nature. We love them because they're in the thick of it--so we've got to let them go be in the thick of it."
But probably the MOST profound thing that Sam tells Nash is how to deal with it and be honest, yet still manly:
"This is hard for me and I'm gonna need your help," Sam repeated. "Those two little sentences can make a world of difference."
Sam encourages Nash to open up to Tsss and *share* with her his feelings, even when he thinks that she'll be mad. Because Sam knows that these women (Alyssa and Tess) aren't strangers to their world or dummies. They can take the honesty, and it'll win points with them if their men can honestly share with them. It'll make it easier when their men don't want them involved -- to know that it's not that they can't take care of themselves, but it's that their men want to take care of them and protect them as much as possible. I really love Sam!
And Jimmy finally realizes... and he lets go. Enough that he and Tess can build on that and rebuild their relationship. =========== It was nice to get some resolutions. The love triangle. The "who's after Nash and others" question. I was concerned that last one would be stretched out over several more books. Glad it wasn't.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more