LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this installment in the Magnus Bane series.
We see Magnus encounter Valentine and his Circle... and we see Jocelyn bringing baby Clary...moreLOVE, 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.(less)
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 were...moreThis 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"]>(less)
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 (...moreWow - 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.(less)
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 this...moreNext 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!(less)
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...more3rd 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...(less)
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 Gabaldo...moreWow! 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"]>(less)
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 m...moreFinally 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"]>(less)
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...more1st 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!(less)
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 unfold...moreJune 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*(less)
4.5 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Lovers of "The Meryl Streep Movie Club", Strong friendships between women, Women seeking themselves, and anyone who wants a...more4.5 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Lovers of "The Meryl Streep Movie Club", Strong friendships between women, Women seeking themselves, and anyone who wants a FEEL GOOD read!
Mia March does it again! More soon... but this book made me laugh, cry, and sigh. I got so wrapped up in the characters and their lives, that I didn't want it to end. In fact, I really, really want a follow-up!!!
This book provided by the publishers and Netgalley in return for an honest review.(less)
========== I'll update soon with quotes and more =====================
Really, really tough ending. This is the 3rd book in the series, and...more3.5-4 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.(less)
I don't know how to rate this book!!! I love Karina Halle, and I recognize that this is well written and a complete story. But it's so dark...more2.5-4 stars
I don't know how to rate this book!!! I love Karina Halle, and I recognize that this is well written and a complete story. But it's so dark, harsh, and gritty... I feel like wimp, but I don't enjoy stories like this, because they're so well done, they make me *feel* what Ellie/Eden is feeling and thinking. And I don't want to be in that place.
The part of me that doesn't want to read any of this gives it 2.5 stars. The part of me that loves Karina Halle's work and recognizes this as great wants to give it 4 stars.
I have to say, that I expected a short novella here, and this is a full-fledged novel. It took me off guard... took my breath away... kept me guessing.
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.
W...moreA 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"]>(less)
3.5-4 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of the "better-written than FSOG" stuff, like the "Inside Out" series with Sara and Chris or "Bared to You" with Gide...more3.5-4 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of the "better-written than FSOG" stuff, like the "Inside Out" series with Sara and Chris or "Bared to You" with Gideon and Eva - lots of steam, some kink, but decently written books
OK, OK... I have a weakness for the latest fad in contemporary steamy romances. I call it the "Better Than FSOG" genre. You know, the one where the 20-something beauty just starting her career can't stay away from the barely 30s, hot, hunky, domineering, control-freak, mysterious, dark past, damaged millionaire/billionaire? Yeah, those books.
If they characters grab me, I'll go along with some suspension of disbelief and enjoy the ride. And there are some differences in this book and series that make it stand-out from the crowd:
NIKKI, our heroine, is very smart! She's got a dual-degree, can write code, has published a couple of her own mobile apps, and has a good business sense. Yes, she's damaged. By her mother, who could have her own reality show about pageant/back-stage mothers. You see, Nikki is a former Texas beauty queen. And you guessed it, her mother ruled her life with an iron fist. Nikki's moved to LA, determined to make her own life and be different from her mother. But her damage has her still locked into her coping mechanisms: her multi-personas (like Social Nikki, Public Nikki, and Polite Nikki) and cutting/pain.
DAMIEN is the dark, damaged, mysterious hero. He's a former tennis star who obviously is overcoming a murky past and a bad father. Damien fired his father as his manager at the age of fourteen. He quit tennis not long after. And he's a business whiz, of course.
And, of course, Nikki is drawn to Damien. She has been since she ran into him at a pageant. Nikki was at the food table, hoping to sneak some cheesecake when Damien appeared and nonchalantly slammed a few. He made a cryptic remark about them "being similar". Nikki realizes quickly that her domineering mother and his domineering father forced both Damien and Nikki into lives that they weren't sure they wanted early on.
It doesn't take long for Damien to make Nikki an offer: allow him to have her painted nude and have her mind-body-soul for the time it takes to paint the portrait, and he'll give her 1 million dollars. (Insert Austin Powers stab here.) Nikki agrees, thinking that Damien only wants the beauty queen and will change his mind when he sees the scars on her hips and inner thighs. But she wants the money to start up her own business. And... we all know she can't resist this dark and dangerous man.
Adding to the cast are Nikki's best buddy, Jamie, whom she shares an apartment with. Jamie is a wanna-be actress who hasn't had her break yet. Jamie's way of coping is sex; she does them and moves on. No repeats. Ollie is another good friend from college; he's a new lawyer in the firm that just happens to be the law firm that takes care of all Damien's legal needs. And Ollie doesn't want Nikki anywhere near Damien.
But Damien seduces Nikki with his need for control and his inventive mind. Their first "encounter" is phone sex, while his limo and driver take Wasted Nikki home from a swank party. Damien commands and Nikki responds. With a few twists of her own.
There's light bondage and Dom/sub in the sense that Damien likes to be in control and run the show - in and out of bed. Nikki's past and taking control of her life (after her domineering mother) make her somewhat whiny and mistrustful. And all the mystery surrounding what might or might not be in Damien's past, including allegations that he murdered his fiancee during kinky sex, start to wear a bit.
And some of the prose is... a little scary at times:
(Nikki describing Damien) He is Jason and Hercules and Perseus--a figure so strong and beautiful and heroic that the blood of the gods must flow through him, because how else could a being so fine exist in this world?
(Damien to Nikki) Do you know what passion is? Most people think it only means desire. Arousal. Wild abandon. But that's not all. The word derives from the Latin. It means suffering. Submission. Pain and pleasure, Nikki. Passion.
But I'll admit that this freebie hooked me. I want to know more.(less)