Wow. That was my final impression of the much anticipated fifth book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. Much like Harrison’s previous work, For aWow. That was my final impression of the much anticipated fifth book in Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. Much like Harrison’s previous work, For a Few Demons More was a non-stop, action packed romp through an alternate version of Cincinnati. My only complaint was that the relationship of two of the main characters seems to have taken two steps back for the single step forward it gained. And of course the death of a beloved character never sits too well with anyone. But enough of the teasing.
Poor Rachel, she’s a witch whose only desire was to become as good of a runner (a combination of investigator and bounty hunter) as her late father. But political machinations forced her to leave the I.S. and go it on her own. When she left she unknowingly took with her two new friends, Ivy Tamwood the last living Tamwood vampire and Jenks a temperamental pixie with a large family to care for. Throughout the series we’ve watched the friendship between this trio bloom as they overcame numerous obstacles set in their paths. Schemes were unraveled, trust betrayed and yet through it all they stuck it out and weathered the storm.
Now in the fifth book the numerous conflicts that have been simmering beneath the surface all come to a boil. Newt, the powerful demon who strikes fear in the demon Al and the elf Ceri alike, and the same demon whose mark Rachel now carries as a price for being carried over the ley lines, comes after Rachel seeking something that she has and that Newt wants back. Problem is Newt can’t remember what it is she’s looking for. If a crazy demon isn’t scary enough add to that the fact that this demon can blasphemy the holy ground she walks on without a conscious effort. There is no safe hiding place from this demon. The trio suspect Newt wants the Focus, the werewolf artifact that Rachel got stuck with in the previous book, which means now they have to guard the artifact that could cause a war from the werewolves, the vampires, and a demon.
At the same time the powerful and dangerous Trent Kalamack is getting married and wants Rachel to play bodyguard. After Newt’s visit she’s in dire need of money to fix the church and it’s really no surprise that she eventually caves and accepts Trent’s offer. We’ve seen that pattern before folks, her morals and ethics cause Rachel to tell Trent what he can do with his offers but in the end a combination of guilt over their father’s shared friendship, Trent’s father’s kindness, and sheer need usually force Rachel to give in. Maybe someday she’ll learn to save herself time and just accept the offer up front? After what happened in this book that’s not likely though.
So Trent is getting married, Newt makes an appearance, and everyone is fighting for control of the focus, that alone is enough to make a good fifth installment. But Kim Harrison wouldn’t be the author she is today if she decided to do things half way. Every “villain” Rachel and company have had to contend with puts in an appearance. From a walking in the sun Al to a free and clear Piscary, they’re all back and there is a murder mystery to solve to boot. Just reading the book had my mind boggling at the stress and my nerves became frayed at the thought of dealing with everything Rachel had to contend with. Fans will be pleasantly surprised to see how Harrison wraps everything up, it’s not exactly what you would anticipate but it’s far from a let down. [...]
As a dragon enthusiast I jumped for joy when I found this book on the bookshelf at my local bookstore. After I read it I couldn’t help but think thatAs a dragon enthusiast I jumped for joy when I found this book on the bookshelf at my local bookstore. After I read it I couldn’t help but think that this was what a dragon book should be. Mercedes Lackey has always been one of my favorite fantasy writers and in this book she proves why she deserves all of the praise that she gets. Fans of Anne McGaffry’s Dragonriders of Pern series will not be disappointed in this book. Despite the fact that Joust revolves around dragonriders, referred to as Jousters, Lackey’s book is a new and refreshing read that stands alone and alongside the Dragonriders of Pern series.
The story follows the adventures of Vetch an Altan surf, just another of the spoils of the Altan - Tian conflict. Vetch was merely a farmer’s son until the day the Tian army declared possesion of their farm after having gained more ground in the war. Before his eyes he saw his father murdered, his sister beaten, their possessions stolen, and then he and his family were placed into a life worse than slavery. Torn from his family Vetch is forced to serve a cruel master. Khefti the Fat, his master, continuously beats, starves, and overworks Vetch while his apprentices take great pleasure in tormenting him. This continues on for several years until the day Jouster Ari arrives at Khefti’s to stop for a drink of water and a small respite from patrols. There Ari witnesses first hand the harsh labor that Vetch undergoes and the treatment he receives. Seizing upon the law that states all Jousters may requisition anything they need within reason, Ari states he is need of a boy to tend his dragon and carries Vetch off to the compound.
Vetch’s lot improves greatly here where food is in abundance and he is treated with a measure of respect. In fact Vetch at times has trouble remembering the hate and anger that kept him going while working for Khefti. I found this to be exceptionally well done and played out. Throughout Joust Vetch is undergoing a major development. He began the story as an angry, spiteful, and vengeful child who was no longer really a child. Vetch’s existence was a miserable one and the only thing that kept him going was his stubborn will to live on despite the hardships, but the thing that fueled him the most was his anger and hatred for the Tians.
While Vetch is at the compound he begins to realize that the atrocities inflicted upon his people by Tian soldiers do not reflect the attitudes of all Tians alike. Indeed at one point he is even shocked to realize that he does not pray for Ari’s defeat, as he initially had, but that Ari would always return safe because Ari had become his friend.
As time passes on Vetch becomes as dragon obsessed as his Jouster but with the bravery and hope that only the young [and foolhardy] can have Vetch endeavors to purloin a dragon egg of his own to hatch and raise. The Great Tian King has ordered that the number of Jousters in the skies be doubled so that the Altans can be at long last crushed and Vetch seeks to learn how to the methods of raising a tame dragon to the Altans to shift the tides of the war.
Lackey’s story is beautifully told, the amount of detail an attention paid to the dragons is astounding. The reader’s mind will be filled with visions of dragons and soaring above the clouds long after they have finished the book. To top it off the setting for Lackey’s world is a sort of alternate ancient Egypt which gives the setting an extra touch of exoticness that somehow makes the world seem familiar and different all at the same time. Young and old readers, be they fantasy buffs, or just bookworms will adore this first book in an exciting series.
This story is, without a doubt, one of Lackey’s shortest works ever and yet Lackey easily manages to captivate her audience with it. The River’s GiftThis story is, without a doubt, one of Lackey’s shortest works ever and yet Lackey easily manages to captivate her audience with it. The River’s Gift is a short story contained within one hundred twenty-two pages in a bounded hardback book that is reminiscent of a child’s storybook. Now while the font style and even the concepts are easy enough for a child to grasp it would be a grave miscalculation to consider this a child’s book.
The story follows fifteen year old Ariella who is gifted with the healing touch. She spends her days caring for creatures of the forests which surround her father’s castle. Her acts of kindness keep the land peaceful which benefits the magical beings who inhabit the forest and entices them to make their presence known to her, including a kelpie by the name of Merod. With her father’s death however Ariella’s world is catapulted into chaos as she is ripped from her home and Merod must find a way to save her.
Although the story seems unbearably short much manages to unfold within the limited amount of pages without feeling rushed in the least. That alone is an impressive feat, but add to that the fully developed characters, an enchanting world, and a storyline the reels you in and never lets you go and it becomes no surprise why Lackey is one of the top fantasy writers. If you have only a few moments to spare and don’t wish to get involved in a larger read The River’s Gift makes an excellent choice, although the characters and their world will still be fully alive in your mind and your heart long after you’ve turned the last page.
Truth be told my only real complaint is that the story wasn’t long enough for me, I would have loved to see what new adventures awaited Merod and Ariella, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine the story going further without it ruining the flavor and feel of it. At the very least though I would have liked to learn what happened to some of the characters, such as Ariella’s lady. I’ve never been truly happy with stories that end in a “they lived happily ever after” or “rode off into the sunset” ending. While I like to leave some bits to my imagination there are some aspects I would always like to see closure to.
In all honesty though, my complaint is a minor and trivial one. The River’s Gift makes an excellent short read for fantasy lovers of all ages and walks of life and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy. This is one book that definately should be in every Lackey fan’s collection. Oddly enough however, it’s been my experiance that few have heard of this book and it is a little difficult to find as well. In all likelihood you’ll have to request it at your local bookstore, but it is well worth the effort.
**spoiler alert** As the title might suggest, Francesca Lia Block’s The Rose and the Beast takes some of the most popular of Grimm’s fairy tales and p**spoiler alert** As the title might suggest, Francesca Lia Block’s The Rose and the Beast takes some of the most popular of Grimm’s fairy tales and plops them down in modern-day Los Angeles. The tales are reworked to fit a modern day world, but the lessons, both new and old, behind each tale have not been lost in the least.
Now, much like the original Grimm fairy tales, these tales have not been sugar-coated in the least. While the author refrained from outright telling the readers what some of the heroines were going through, the vivid pictures Francesca Lia Block paints with her words leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind as to what they are witnessing. Sexual abuse, rape, molestation, murder - these are just a few of the things that plague the protagonists of these fairy tales.
Unsurprisingly, the more popular and well known fairy tales, such as "Snow White", "Beauty and the Beast", "Sleeping Beauty", "Little Red Riding Hood", "Thumbling", and "Cinderella", make their way into this collection. However, a couple of the lesser known tales can be found as well. I must confess to being rather disappointed with just how many of the more popular and well-known fairy tales made it into this book. While they were well written and enjoyable, they’re tales I’ve seen rewritten and redone numerous times. Just about every author who sets out to rewrite a few fairy tales picks one or two of the popular tales and rewrites them. Seeing not one but six of them in a collection of just nine tales was very disheartening to say the least.
Lia Block’s version of Bluebeard, entitled "Bones" in her book, is one of the few lesser-known fairy tales included in the collection, and also one of my favorites from said collection. A young girl stuck in a dead end job waiting, dreaming, and hungering for something better to come along, receives an invitation to a producer’s party one night. She’s alone in the world and unsure of her place in things - a perfect victim because she won’t be missed. The producer, Derek Blue takes an interest in her and invites her to stay after the party. Like the original tale, the heroine is presented with a key, however there is no need for her to wander into the forbidden room as the villain is more than happy to tell her about all of the other girls who have suffered the same fate that awaits her.
Now, what I liked most about this tale was the heroines’ ability to fight back and escape all on her. Rather than fall down in a heap of despair and terror, the story’s heroine acknowledges that there will be no brother’s running to her rescue and instead fights off her would be murderer with a pocket knife and runs for her life. Unlike trite horror movies, this girl has some common sense, so instead of running up the stairs or into the woods she makes a beeline for her car and escapes. Instead of the stereotypical bimbo we’re treated with a young girl who makes mistakes but has the wits about her to get out fast - I loved this.
The author's renditions of Thumbling/Thumbelina ("Tiny") was amusing and interesting to see adapted to a modern day environment, but was an overall unoriginal take on the classic tale. Likewise I found the renditions of Beauty and the Beast ("Beauty") and Snow White ("Snow") to also fall short of the mark. I was impressed with the author’s version of Little Red Riding Hood ("Wolf") however and how she cleverly weaved a tale of child abuse and domestic violence into the classic storyline and adapted it for modern times. The abused runaway daughter as little red riding hood, and the abusive father as the big bad wolf was absolutely perfect.
In short, while the author provides an interesting and unique spin on many of these fairy tales, the appearance of widely known, and thus widely-retold, stories will be a let down for anyone looking for a truly unique retelling of fairy tales. The fact that the bulk of these fairy tales are made up of commonly retold fairy tales also takes away from the enjoyment factor. Click here for the full book review....more
Butcher by Gary C. King ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1934-2 ISBN-10: 0-7860-1934-4
King’s accounts were clear and left no room for hiding facts or twisting the truButcher by Gary C. King ISBN-13: 978-0-7860-1934-2 ISBN-10: 0-7860-1934-4
King’s accounts were clear and left no room for hiding facts or twisting the truth. Instead he presented the facts of the story, and a great deal of information as well, and let the readers come to their conclusions. As a result I could finally understand just how a killer like Pickton could hunt in the same grounds for over and decade and continue on with seeming impunity. I found myself becoming disgusted with the obvious disregard that law enforcement viewed the continued disappearances of Pickton’s victims and their bumbling attempts at investigation. Their interrogation was truly laughable and the way he was eventually caught was purely luck. Very saddening.
Despite enjoying the book there were enough flaws present that kept me from awarding it a four-star rating. The biggest detracting factor was the way the book started off. While I thought it was wonderful that King fleshed out the stories of Pickton’s victims, thus making them real and human for readers, the way in which their stories was strung together and presented was initially jarring and confusing. The time line that the author attempts to build during the first ten or so chapters comes off choppy and can make it difficult for the reader to keep everything in focus. Especially since there is some chronological jumping around. While discussing the victims, specifically the older ones that have not yet had charges brought against Pickton for, King makes comments and references facts and later events that those not entirely familiar with the case will find confusing.
Given the fact that the Canadian authorities did a spectacularly awful job interviewing and interrogating Pickton, I’m not entirely sure why the author felt the need to dedicate so many chapters to the interrogation. I felt it would have been much better for King to give the readers brief glimpses of the interrogations, for the sole purpose of viewing the authorities poor abilities, and then conveying the information discovered in the author’s own words. The authorities’ methods and attempts read like a badly written B-movie and there was just no saving that section. As a result it dragged the novel down and detracted from King’s otherwise wonderful writing.
I must confess that I was also disappointed with the photos included in this book. The book is billed as having “16 pages of disturbing photos” and yet there wasn’t anything truly disturbing about the photos provided. The courtroom sketches of Pickton were haunting, yes, and the photos of some of the victims was saddening, but there was nothing out and out disturbing about them. In fact, they were all photos that could have been safely used on the front cover of a newspaper and probably have been. Not what I would expect to see in a true crime novel that purports to have “disturbing” photos.
For the most part, I found King’s Butcher to be a well-written account of serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton that not only chronicled his crimes, the events around and leading up to his capture, the actions of the blundering authorities, but also explained and answered just how and why Pickton was able to continue his heinous acts unchecked for so long. I will likely be adding King’s other true crime novels to my reading list....more
Upon completion of this novel I was sorely tempted to dangle my copy above some candles and watch it burst into flame. I suspect that would have beenUpon completion of this novel I was sorely tempted to dangle my copy above some candles and watch it burst into flame. I suspect that would have been more entertaining than reading it proved to be. The pyromaniac temptation, no doubt, was inspired by the candle pictured on the cover. I’m really not sure what the other item on the cover is supposed to be however. A cat paw maybe? The ambiguity of the second item is reminiscent to how I felt when I thought about what the author’s purpose in writing this book might have been.
Cat Toy revolves around four characters, primarily Yai (John) a human space pilot who crashed on a planet inhabited by Cat People, of which the population seems to be made up primarily of men. Tryl is the cat man who found John, named him Yai, and took him as his slave.
Initially, the story’s synopsis sounds promising. Science fiction meets romance, right? While there is space travel, planets inhabited by strange creatures, and some interesting technology, by way of the shuttles and the translating devices, that’s about it for the science fiction aspect of it. There is no real character exploration, no real discernible plot, and a complete lack of depth. The story itself is roughly eighty-plus pages in length; the author could have really used another eighty pages to flesh out her characters and plot.
By the end of the book I was just absolutely stunned at the complete lack of believability and realism in this book. Yes, it’s a work of fiction, however, as a reader I should feel as though the characters themselves are real. I should feel as though I had come to know them and their actions and thoughts should have been realistic to me. Instead I’m torn between laughing or cringing at the absurdity of the characters in this book. [...]
Full book review can be read at my book blog. I'm way too wordy according to GR! lol...more
The first book in a promising series by a new author - this is one you don’t want to miss! Carrie Vaughn has brought fresh blood, so to speak, to theThe first book in a promising series by a new author - this is one you don’t want to miss! Carrie Vaughn has brought fresh blood, so to speak, to the horror/paranormal genre by introducing Kitty (Katherine) Norvile, a bright and bubbly young blonde who is too sweet and soft for the life of a werewolf. Yes you read that right, Kitty the werewolf. Not very scaring sounding is she? Kitty is at the bottom of her pack’s hierarchy and she likes it just fine, it means someone is always there to protect her.
One night during the graveyard shift at the radio station she works at Kitty decides to skip the music and open up the phone lines to her listeners out there. She gets the ball rolling by asking the bizarre and strange questions (does Bat Boy really exist?) and before she knows it she’s a hit with her own syndicated show.
Of course not everyone is please Kitty is talking about the paranormal out there. Enter Cormac, a hired gun who specializes in Lycanthrope killings and he’s been paid to off her on the air. If that wasn’t enough stress for one girl to go through Kitty also has to deal with becoming the Denver police’s paranormal expert, a werewolf serial killer, and dangerous pack politics.
This book is anything but typical and there is certainly never a dull moment. The knight in shining white armor isn’t actually very ethical and there is an extreme possibility he might opt to kill the damsel in distress rather than save her. And the heroine? Well this is the most amazing and intriguing part of this book. The current fad of the horror/paranormal romance genre right now is “butt-kicking” femme fatale or quirky girly heroine. While I’m all for a tough female lead, it gets old and redundant when one can just guess what their appearance and attitude will be like. Vaughn has managed to give us a breath of fresh air with Kitty Norvile. Kitty is both girly and soft, the reader cannot help but to feel a strong protective urge yet at the same time you see this girl taking steps to grow up and shake off the confines of a sheltered childhood. In short, Kitty is much closer to your average Jane and readers will love her for that.
One thing that I really loved about Kitty’s character is that she starts off very submissive and afraid of her own shadow. She runs to her best friend T.J. and her pack’s alpha for help continuously in the beginning, it’s her nature and as she’s still a new werewolf she’s unsure of her world still. After getting her own radio show Kitty begins to get more of a backbone and to essentially find herself. It is very interesting to watch her development and growth throughout the book. Never once does Vaughn stumble in her characterization of Kitty.
To top it off, Kitty is a very upbeat and numerous character to follow. Kitty has a smart mouth which lands her in quite a bit of trouble but at the same time there is a well of wisdom and knowledge that peaks through her veneer. All of Vaughn’s characters were nicely fleshed out and the political scheming and under handedness of some of the characters will amaze and astound readers. There are many surprises, a ton of adventure, a truckload of laughs, and a dash of romance all rolled into this heavenly book which will delight readers non stop.
I was rather fortunate enough to be gifted with a copy of this book, and I am exceptionally grateful for this. Until that very moment I had not even hI was rather fortunate enough to be gifted with a copy of this book, and I am exceptionally grateful for this. Until that very moment I had not even heard about this book let alone contemplated reading it and after having finished reading this book I can honestly say it would have been my loss.
Now, Sundays with Vlad, despite what the cover might make you think, is not a horror book, nor is it a comedic-horror novel. It is however one author’s attempt to walk in the footsteps of billions of Dracula fans the world wide, his attempt to separate fact from fiction, to learn about the historical Vlad Dracul and the Dracula that has become embedded in pop culture of thousands of nations. Now, while this isn’t exactly a completely new and revolutionary project (After all how many other authors have gone off searching not just for Dracula, but for Nessie and Big Foot as well?) Bibeau does approach this from a unique stand point and proceeds to take a look at the culture that has sprung up as a result of Dracula.
I was rather pleased to see that he [Bibeau] attempted to take a look at cultures that people normally avoid, mock and ridicule to the extreme, or just pretend they don’t exist. By this I mean the vampire religion, the clubbing, and even Vampire RPG. I might as well flash my geek-credentials for the world to see when I admit that I got excited and rather pleased to see Bibeau talk about live action role playing and the White Wolf game Vampires. Truth be told, after reading Bibeau’s account of his first live action game I was sorely tempted to dig up my dice and my old Vampire the Masquerade books and characters. Sad no?
As someone who has read numerous accounts on both the fictional and historical Dracula, as well as other sources for the Vampire myth and accounts that “prove” the existence, I expected to find a lot of information regurgitated in the book. In reality, while there were quite a few things I did already know, there were also quite a few kernels of knowledge that were news to me. The Dracula attraction on the board walk, the fact that the coat of arms featured were actually from the British Royal family? News to me! What was truly refreshing however, was the manner in which the information and adventure were conveyed. Bibeau allowed the reader to experiance it from his point of view without allowing his own opinions and views to color the moment and bias the reader.
Don’t assume though that Bibeau took a meek and mild stance when immersing himself in this subculture, far from it in fact. Bibeau’s thoughts, witty humor, and light digs shine through even while he’s stepping back and looking at something objectively for the reader’s benefit. A talent I would expect from a former writer for the Washington Post, Mademoiselle, New York Observer, Cosmopolitan, New York Post, and Maxim. Any writer who can write pieces for that wide range of outlets has an undeniable skill.
For an example of the wit and snark that will have you laughing like an idiot, and subsequently scaring the hell out of anyone around to witness the event, I present to you this passage taken from chapter two, when the author and an acquaintance visit the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philidelphia. At the end of the tour they and their tour group are at long last able to see what they had come to see, Bram Stoker’s notes for the book Dracula. Unfortunately for Paul Bibeau, he’s mixed up with a interesting crowd: [...]
Eclipse is the third installment to Meyer’s tale of a young girl, Isabella “Bella” Swan, who has come to live with her father in the small town of ForEclipse is the third installment to Meyer’s tale of a young girl, Isabella “Bella” Swan, who has come to live with her father in the small town of Forks, Washington. Also living in this town is a family of vampires abstaining from drinking human blood, and on the neighboring reservation reside werewolves. In the previous books Bella had unwittingly attracted the attention of a vampire who likes the ultimate hunt, and after his demise, his lover vowed to hunt Bella down. As if a vindictive vampire lurking in the background wasn’t enough there is also the Volturi, the uncontested rulers and law enforcers of the vampire community, to contend with. They’ve issued an order, turn Bella into a vampire soon or she dies. Considering the fact that the love of Bella’s life, the vampire Edward Cullen, isn’t too keen on her becoming a vampire, you just know it’s not going to be an easy trip.
The stage is set for quite the supernatural showdown as the third book opens, and I must say that Ms. Meyer does not disappoint in that aspect.
The situation between Bella and Jacob Black, a young werewolf who is head over heels in love with Bella, is unresolved in the beginning of the book. I was actually concerned about how this relationship would develop since Jacob had a somewhat bratty attitude towards Bella and Edward’s relationship initially in the first book and parts of the second. As he became a werewolf and underwent changes however his sullen outlook took on a more angry tone that held a hint of danger. It’s hard though to blame Jacob or to look at him as an interloper. Meyer did a fantastic job on writing a character that the readers can be angry with while at the same time sympathizing with him and cheering him on. On one hand you want him to be the victor in the fight to win Bella’s heart, and on the other hand you know Bella and Edward really do belong together. For this reason, the ending that Meyer chose for this love triangle was very poignant and struck this reader hard. The pain that the characters feel is truly heartbreaking, and yet you can’t think of an alternative that would have left all three happy.
For the most part this book passed far too quickly. There was not a moment that I felt the novel dragged, although some parts did feel slow and a bit awkward considering the book’s pace and tone however. For example, although I desperately wanted to know Jasper’s history, the point in the story that Meyer chose to have Jasper reveal it felt horribly out of place. I cannot imagine a person who seemingly enjoys appearing as a mystery, to interrupt a planning session to tell the newcomer their entire history. Jasper’s flashback was rather lengthy, although quite rich with detail, and would have been better told chopped up. When Jasper decides to reveal his past the Cullens and Bella are in the middle of determining who is stalking Bella and what their plans are. It would have fit the story and the pace much better if Jasper had elected to reveal only the portions of his tale immediately relevant to their planning; how he knew what they [the enemy] were planning on doing and how to fight them.
The rest could have been revealed at a later time when Bella inquired about it or when she was alone with Jasper and Alice. Due to the length of the tale of Jasper and its odd placement I was admittedly tempted to start skimming some portions so as to get back on track. Rosalie’s own revelations seemed a bit out of character initially but they were thankfully better placed and more concise since Rosalie, upon finishing her brief tale, immediately got to the point of why she revealed it.
The Cullens are not the only characters for whom we get a back story to either. Also revealed in this book are the legends of the Quileute tribe [...]
The third installment to a series that just keeps getting better and better. After having been captured and subsequently forced to turn into a werewolThe third installment to a series that just keeps getting better and better. After having been captured and subsequently forced to turn into a werewolf on national television Kitty decides to take some time off from her radio show and retreat to a cabin in the woods. As an English major she’s think doing the whole Thoreau bit might not be so bad. The thing is, the isolation isn’t doing much for her and hearing someone else making a radio show like hers doesn’t help matters any. To top things off dead and skinned animals start showing up around her place and then Cormac arrives with Ben after a botched assignment. Now Kitty’s got to help coach her new pack mate and find who or out what’s behind the animal slaughter.
Some people may not care much for this book if they’re just looking for hard hitting action, oh it’s there I kid you not, but the main focus of this installment is the emotional and mental development of Kitty and her “pack”. Kitty has taken quite a few knocks in life, and most of them are recent. Her perception and view of the world has been altered completely and she’s questioning not only herself but her way of life. She’ floundering about a bit, but it’s completely understandable and realistic. Before Kitty can fall too much into the “woe is me” bit though trouble arrives followed closely by Cormac, and you guessed it, more trouble.
Someone wants Kitty to leave, and they’re trying their damnedest to curse her into leaving. The arrival of Cormac and Ben seems to acerbate the situation further. The interesting thing, and I don’t want to spoil this for readers so I’m going to really mince my words here, is that the two events are not truly connected. You have hints that they’re not but the source behind Kitty’s initial tormenting is separate from the trouble that follows Cormac and Ben.
Something I’ve found to be of particular interest is the fact that even though Kitty is a werewolf and has been one for a bit she was relatively clueless to the supernatural world. Each book, each adventure is a learning process for not just her but the readers as well. In the last book not only did we get a better understanding of the vampires in Norville’s world but we also got a taste of the fairy and hints of other supernaturals and supernatural abilities as well. Specifically of note was the brief taste of magic that we and Kitty got. Now in this book we get to delve deeper into magic and tackle it from not one but two perspectives as well. In Kitty Takes a Holiday we get a taste of magic from the Native American perspective and the magic practiced by witches. This is something not to be missed!
As if that wasn’t enough we also get to find out more of Ben and Cormac’s history. How they knew each other, how Ben became a lawyer and Cormac a werewolf hunter. Hell, we even get to know Cormac’s last name! ;) There is a surprising depth to Ben and Cormac which is shown nicely in this book. For the most part the emphasis is on Ben and Kitty though as Ben learns to accept and cope with becoming a werewolf and Kitty gets the chance to step into the role of mentor and guide Ben through the transition as T.J. once did for her. This situation presents an oppurtunity for Kitty to do a more thorough evaluation of herself and to step out of her misery to aide a friend and prevent him (or Cormac) from putting a bullet to his head. The new relationship between Kitty and Ben was a bit of a curve ball I have to say. You’re expecting something to develop between and Cormac but instead… [...]
Kitty Goes to Washington picks up about a month after the events of the previous book, Kitty and The Midnight Hour. As a result of her fateful rebelliKitty Goes to Washington picks up about a month after the events of the previous book, Kitty and The Midnight Hour. As a result of her fateful rebellion against the alphas of her pack Kitty is forced to pick up her things and move on, no longer allowed to live in her town of Denver. And really, with T.J.’s murderers running the werewolf scene there she isn’t too keen on sticking around anyway.
So for the past month Kitty has been traveling across the U.S. and hosting her show at a different radio station every week. It makes the full moon runs a little more hectic but so far she’s enjoying it. At least now she doesn’t have to pay a bribery fee to her “alpha” anymore and all of her show’s earnings are her own. Everything seems to be rolling fine until Ben, her attorney, calls up to tell her she’s been issued a subpoena to appear before a cabinet meeting of the Senate. What is the topic up for discussion? Why the existence of supernatural creatures of course! And Kitty, being an outed werewolf, is a prime expert witness to give testimony.
If you thought the first book was rife with humor, action, and surprises than you’ll be thrilled to hear that not only does Vaughn deliver as expected, she exceeds all expectations spectacularly. Vaughn does an excellent job of mixing political intrigue, action, mystery, the supernatural together with a liberal dose of Kitty’s wisecracks and a dash of romance. The surprises are non stop and even Kitty is left hanging with her jaw down to the fall at some of the turn of events. A good majority of them I did not see coming, but when they arrived I could have smacked myself in the forehead for not seeing them.
True to form, Kitty’s character undergoes amazing (but realistic) growth. Her perception and maturity grows exponentially yet still she manages to retain a sense of youth and naivety that clearly shows that Kitty still has quite a bit to go. Never once does the character come off as a “know it all” or far too dense. Vaughn does an excellent job balancing character growth and personality. Perhaps some of Vaughn’s contemporaries should sit up and take note on what true character development is? Just a thought. ;)
One thing that really impressed me was Vaughn’s ability to portray a variety of characters ranging all over the emotional and behavioral spectrum, and her ability to do so in such a believable fashion. I believe that Vaughn truly captured the essence of the politicians we all fear and love to hate. I’m sure readers the world over will see someone (politician or not) whom Senator Duke reflects.
A new character was introduced in this book who, in my opinion played a very significant role. Despite having a birth mother and speaking with her weekly Kitty seems distant from her mother, possibly as a result of not being able to tell her what she was for so long. In the vampire Mistress of the City Alette, Kitty finds both a mother figure who can understand and relate to her, a confidant, and a friend. A lot of Kitty’s emotional and mental maturity is due to her experiences with Alette. After witnessing first hand the cruelty and lack of humanity that her fellow supernaturals have, Kitty wavers under her belief that the supernatural community are people too. Alette provides the assurance that Kitty is not alone in this belief as well as the glimmer of hope that Kitty clutches onto tightly at the end of the book. [...]
Aerie is the final book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series. After the culmination of events in Sanctuary it seems hard to believe that thereAerie is the final book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series. After the culmination of events in Sanctuary it seems hard to believe that there would be any way for the story to really continue without it seemingly going on and on forever without end, somewhat akin to daytime television. Lackey does a nice job of of tying up all of the loose ends and unfinished thoughts of the previous three books.
Aerie is set approximately a year (or so) after the events of Sanctuary. Ari and Nofret are the Great King and Queen of Alta and Tia, now called Altia, and rule together from the new palace. Sanctuary itself has become a priestly city with priests from Altan and Tian temples alike setting up shop and hammering out details together. Because of the influx of priests to Sanctuary, Kiron and the dragon riders have relocated to Aerie, the dragon city, and are in the process of making it livable. Supplies are limited, conditions are harsh, and it takes a lot of work to get the place in order. Here, former Tian and Altan Jousters who have now raised their own dragons from eggs are working together, and are under Kiron’s temporary command.
Kiron, being younger than many and not of noble birth and lacking in traditional Jousting and combat experiance, does not seem to be an ideal leader in the eyes of the high born and former Jousters and this is starting to cause some friction. But Haraket, being a former overseer (remember, he oversaw the Tian compound in Joust) is even less favorable as Lord of the Jousters. To make matters worse, many are starting to question the Jouster’s place in things. They are not the army and it takes quite a bit to provision them, with Alta and Tia at peace what purpose do they serve? Kiron finds the answer, and subsequently earns the respect of the former Jousters, when they begin to patrol the borders and trade routes of Altia to protect merchants, traders, and the Bedu from bandits. Alas, a new enemy is coming.
The new enemy was well thought out, and readers will likely to be thrilled to just what the former oppressors of Tia, whom Ari mentioned in the first book Joust, have been up to and what their plans for Altia are. The mystery as to who is responsible for the disappearance of an entire village and magics used to block the priests from seeing this was well done, but the conclusion of the book and the solution that the main cast arrived at to defeat the enemy seemed a little too predictable to me. Perhaps it was due to my love of Greek mythology, but I found it no surprise that the Gods of Alta and Tia were becoming one and ended up contributing to the final battle. I suspected that we might see something akin to the battle of Troy, in that the gods would be fighting alongside the mortals, and I was correct. I’m still not sure whether I’m disappointed with that fact though. It was an exciting and riveting conclusion, but a little too predictable for my comfort.
Another thing of interest to note here is that Lackey allows the tale in Aerie to be told, not just from the point of view of Kiron, but from several other characters as well. The point of view switches from Kiron, Aketen, and Peri-en-westet, a new character to the story. While a good portion of the story certainly couldn’t have been told without the point of view changes since the events were spread out at various locations and Kiron certainly couldn’t have been everywhere at once, I felt that Aerie lost some of the aspects that made the previous three books in the series integral. [...]