I enjoyed Johannes Cabal the Necromancer so much that I didn't want it to end. I would stop reading and sigh at the realization that the number of rem...moreI enjoyed Johannes Cabal the Necromancer so much that I didn't want it to end. I would stop reading and sigh at the realization that the number of remaining pages was slowly shrinking. Usually these pauses occurred after laughing uproariously at Cabal's adventures.
This is a wicked little book in the best sense of the word. Cabal (the necromancer) discovers to his annoyance that he shouldn't have traded his soul to Satan because he needs it after all and goes back to Hell to get it. Satan proposes a wager, and Cabal goes off to collect souls. Cabal plows right through moral conundrums with single-minded focus on his goal, much to the dismay of his less ethically-challenged brother.
Cabal and the narrative itself employ a hilarious dry wit that kept me, er, giggling. I often tracked down my husband to read to him the more humorous parts (such as the mob of insane asylum escapees singing a song about Cthulu as they march down the road).
My only complaint is that it made terrible bedtime reading because my frequent laughing earned me the stink-eye.
It reminds me a bit of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy because of the wit, but it is of course considerably darker than Hitchhiker's. (less)
**spoiler alert** Anne Rice's mythmaking shines in The Wolf Gift, but that's about the only redeeming factor.
The protagonist, Reuben, is a trust-fund...more**spoiler alert** Anne Rice's mythmaking shines in The Wolf Gift, but that's about the only redeeming factor.
The protagonist, Reuben, is a trust-fund baby who drives a Porsche and can buy a mansion at the ripe old age of twenty-three. I would expect this sort of set-up in comic books, not from Anne Rice. It's too easy, having all that money to toss around, and he is thoroughly spoiled by his creator in other regards as well.
I noticed parallels between Reuben's beginning as a werewolf and the circumstances of Louis and Lestat in the first two novels of the Vampire Chronicles. Rice apparently likes to leave her heroes without suitable mentors (which is a theme I enjoy), but she wraps it all up in a bow for Reuben at the end of the Wolf Gift. The last chapters also reminded me of the meeting of the elder vampires at the end of The Queen of the Damned.
The moral struggles of being a vigilante seem thin and inconsequential set in Reuben's posh world, especially since the ability to unfailingly detect evil is already worked out for him.
I think Reuben's elder brother would make a more compelling protagonist - a priest born with a silver spoon in his mouth who gives it all up for the priesthood and then has to cope with his brother's supernatural secret. His mother also sounds like an interesting character with some juicy internal conflicts to mine. Reuben? Not so much. Prior to becoming a supernatural being, his major conflict is that everyone babies him.
Perhaps my biggest complaint is a failure to understand why in the world two older women hook up with Reuben within hours of meeting him. The first one, well, OK, I guess that could happen. (But then she wills him a house! What?!) The second one wrecked my suspension of disbelief. What kind of woman has sex with a wolf man who just happens to show up in her yard one night? That would be some interesting psychology to explore in fiction. But Rice doesn't go there, she leaves that unexplained and puzzling.
The Wolf Gift definitely counts as a fantasy book, but it lacks the depth and complexity I enjoy in Rice's prior books.(less)
**spoiler alert** I think that the only thing keeping me from rating Daughter of Smoke and Bone a five is my own dislike of star-crossed lovers storie...more**spoiler alert** I think that the only thing keeping me from rating Daughter of Smoke and Bone a five is my own dislike of star-crossed lovers stories. Which is a goony thing to penalize a book for, but book reviews are subjective, so, meh. ;) ... Oh my goodness - that's just ridiculous. Thinking about how quickly I read it and how anxiously I'll be awaiting the next one ... yes, this is a five. Aside from the star-crossed lovers bit, the creativity involved in this story is just astounding. And that's why I think it's a five - how in the world does someone dream this stuff up? A giant puppeteer manipulated by the marionette? Hand tattoos that are specialized weapons? And the thing with the teeth?!
This is one I'll be recommending to my friends who are into fantasy. (less)
This is not a pretty picture of vampires; it stays very much in line with the original Dracula's presentation of the vampire as an irredeemable, evil...moreThis is not a pretty picture of vampires; it stays very much in line with the original Dracula's presentation of the vampire as an irredeemable, evil force that preys on people remorselessly.
I loved the tidbits of Romanian language and folklore - I feel like these things made the book even more entrancing.
Given the way Dracula was written, I thought that the storytelling-via-diaries was a nice touch - and believable, given the circumstances of the narrators.
My two quibbles with the book are the dip into VC Andrew's territory (*cough*) and the rushed ending. The entire book happens very quickly, but the last few pages in particular seemed really rushed for no apparent reason. (less)
Now I find it incredible that I didn't really like the first volume. After reading this one, I've been searching all over town for the fourth volume,...moreNow I find it incredible that I didn't really like the first volume. After reading this one, I've been searching all over town for the fourth volume, and I'm quite perturbed that I can't find it. I'm hooked. (less)
The first two books in the Noble Dead series had an element of mystery and suspense to them. This volume did in the first third of the book, but once...moreThe first two books in the Noble Dead series had an element of mystery and suspense to them. This volume did in the first third of the book, but once that ended, the rest of the book started to feel like a dungeon crawl to me. "Your party travels to get some piece of information. You encounter monsters along the way. Fights occur." Eh.
I decided to move on to something else since the characters alone aren't enough to keep me reading. Magiere needs some personality other than being afraid of her nature, hard to deal with, and miserly. So far, I think the most interesting characters in the series is the vampire coven in the first book, and Welstiel.
I'm not really sure why I finished reading this book, but I did. I liked some of the minor aspects of the story a lot - the random old woman, the area...moreI'm not really sure why I finished reading this book, but I did. I liked some of the minor aspects of the story a lot - the random old woman, the area around the bookstore, how people react around V'lane.
I didn't like Mac. Her motivation of vengeance seems out of sync with the other information that the narration supplies about her. I was also really irritated with her bitchy attitude toward Barrons - and I was annoyed with him for putting up with it. I like sassyness, but I like smart sassyness. Mac spends most of the book blundering around without much forethought and being bitchy to people from whom she should be learning information that will help her.
(And yeah - where was the romance?! The spine of the book categorizes it as romance, but I didn't notice anything romantic going on. There was some sexual stuff, sure - but not "romance.")
I read the first three chapters and determined that this book just isn't my style. It's loaded up with snark, action, and angst. Jaz's retrospectives...moreI read the first three chapters and determined that this book just isn't my style. It's loaded up with snark, action, and angst. Jaz's retrospectives are heavyhanded. It seems like it would've worked better in the 3rd person rather than the 1st. And I got tired of "But I don't want to think about that right now." Then save that part of the internal monologue for later!
I see that another reviewer compared it to James Bond, and I'll agree with that. I'm not a fan of Bond, either. ;)
The concept of Night Watch is brilliant, and that's the one thing that kept me reading it.
In my opinion, the book has a major flaw: The characters ar...moreThe concept of Night Watch is brilliant, and that's the one thing that kept me reading it.
In my opinion, the book has a major flaw: The characters are very sketchy and indistinct. The narrative specified a few lines about the appearance of each one, but that's about it. Most of the characters were essentially flat characters - they didn't become believably animated in my imagination because they suffered from a lack of personality.
Now that I think back on it, I think that the best character studies in the whole book were the three prologues that appear at the beginning of each third of the book. The actual members of the Watch ... they were always shadowy and vague. Even the protagonist isn't well-rounded - we learn all about his stress and existential drama, but we know next to nothing about the little details that make characters really live in the imagination. He's defined purely by his angst and the fact that he doesn't think he should be a field agent. Well, I guess that's angst too. He's just a ball of angst.
The plot set up great scenes and showdowns, but actually reading them ... blah. It wasn't the emotionally gripping experience that I expected.(less)