I stand by what I said below about the first book, but now that I have read the whole series I have to say that as a writer, Jim But...moreUpdated 4/19/2010:
I stand by what I said below about the first book, but now that I have read the whole series I have to say that as a writer, Jim Butcher improves with each subsequent book and as a story, this series is amazing. The TV series may have outstripped the first book, but by book 3, the books win hands down. The long-term story arcs, the rising stakes in each book, and the development of Harry himself are terrific. Plus, while there are arcs that span several books, each book comes to its own satisfying conclusion. If you like modern fantasy at all, you need to read these books. Forgive some early technical difficulties and you will not be disappointed!
I got into this series after watching the television show on the Sci Fi channel. I admit that I liked the show better than the book, which is weird to say. I did like the book -- don't get me wrong -- but it was strong in story and a bit lacking in implementation. Dresden came across as whiny. Long, repetitive descriptions bogged down the narrative. Finally, the narrative would pause in the middle of climactic scenes for a recap of all the events that had led us to that point.
But if you're willing to overlook a few stylistic issues, this is a fun and even clever story about a wizard PI. I enjoyed reading it overall and would recommend it to people who like fantasy or crime -- and especially people who like both!(less)
I’ll admit it — I wasn’t in a big hurry to pick up this novel despite all the hype. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, although I recently enjoyed Jim Bu...moreI’ll admit it — I wasn’t in a big hurry to pick up this novel despite all the hype. I’m not a huge fan of vampires, although I recently enjoyed Jim Butcher’s novels and his depiction of vampires. So when my book club decided to make this its October pick, I thought, “What the heck?”
At first, I found it relatively engaging. The writing style is competent and the story makes you feel like you’re in high school again.
But the book soon had me questioning what the hype is all about. The story is uninteresting, the characters unlikable, and the romance was disgusting. Much of the middle of the book is given over to a dialog-based info dump in which the main character, Bella, asks her new boyfriend a hundred questions and he gives her answers that feel like they come straight from the author’s notes.
Bella herself, a girl who is supposed to be smart, is unbelievably stupid at times. She has no sense of mortality, which is possibly realistic for a teenager, but annoying as heck to read.
And then there’s the romance. Between a young girl and a monster who is attracted to her because he wants to eat her. I enjoy romance in my stories, and I even have a secret soft spot for men with a dark side, but I’ve always liked my men with a pulse. The repeated references to how cold Edward was just made me feel the chill and his almost psychotic display of how easily he could kill her made my skin crawl.
I have no plans to read any of the other books in this series.(less)
Enchantment is a modern retelling of "Sleeping Beauty," written in Orson Scott Card's easy, readable style. When it comes to Card, he has some real wi...moreEnchantment is a modern retelling of "Sleeping Beauty," written in Orson Scott Card's easy, readable style. When it comes to Card, he has some real winners and some real stinkers, but it it is absolutely worth it to read through all of his books to find the true gems. This is one. Oh, I could nit pick if I really wanted to, but I'd rather just enjoy the simple, magical tale. (less)
I've decided to reread Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels in chronological order. I don't remember when I first read this, although more than a decade...moreI've decided to reread Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar novels in chronological order. I don't remember when I first read this, although more than a decade would be a fair guess (which was why I didn't leave a review when I first rated it here on goodreads). I find my rating remains the same, but now I have a more detailed opinion to go with it:
The Black Gryphon is Skandranon, an intelligent creation of Ortho, the Mage of Silence. He is just one piece of an army attempting to withstand the forces of Mar, an evil mage attempting to take over the world.
This is the story of the final battles of a war that is not going well for their side. The two main characters are Skandranon, a loyal, arrogant daredevil, and Amber Drake, a (keslachairn...that is not at all how it is spelled, but I listened on audio, and haven't the foggiest what this made up word was supposed to look like). Amber Drake is presented as a mind healer, though he uses unconventional methods (including sex) in his treatments. He's a camp follower, though one in the thick of things, which helped offer a unique perspective. Actually, very little of this war book was told on the battlefield, which was nice. It had a more personal feel to it.
This is what I loved about it:
The world is richly designed and described. The characters are dynamic, believable, and intriguing. The story itself is very human, demonstrating the cost of war.
I have one reservation that kept me from giving it five stars, and this is something that I, unfortunately, recall from a lot of Lackey's books: It seems to me that for a novel with such wonderful characters, whose personal tales are just as important as the global conflict, that a lot of key moments get skipped. For example, Amber Drake and Winter Heart become a life bonded pair, but many of the important moments leading up to this connection simply aren't there. Winter Heart is in a terrible relationship at first, and she does eventually break up with the guy, but instead of living this moment live, we get a recap when she tells Amber Drake all about it. I wanted to know more about why she decided to do it, and how she felt when she did. That whole thing led to her and Amber Drake getting together, which came upon them too suddenly for me to follow. Similar moments were missing with the relationship between Skandranon and Janeal (sp?). Janeal's story, in particular, had some holes, because one session with Amber Drake seemed to have undone a lifetime of self-doubt and self-loathing. (Amazing!) She plays hard to get for a while, and then -- it happened so suddenly I had to hit rewind to make sure I hadn't missed anything -- they're together. No buildup.
But with that one reservation, I really do recommend this book. It's a wonderful fantasy read full of personality.