Peter Grant is a junior constable when he stumbles into the middle of a grisly murder spree. If only he hadn't seen the ghost that night everything mi...morePeter Grant is a junior constable when he stumbles into the middle of a grisly murder spree. If only he hadn't seen the ghost that night everything might have been different. Now he's been reassigned to Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale of the London Metro Police - in a department that consists of only the two of them and can best be described as the department of weird shit. Ghosts, magic, elementals, vampires, Nightingale has dealt with them all and now Peter has to deal with them too as he races to find a supernatural killer intent on making London his public stage.
The characters and language of this book are excellent. The descriptions are the absolute best and Aaronovitch has a way with language that just makes me grin. The plot drags a bit toward the end but then speeds up. Overall I think the book could have been edited down a bit, but those are minor quibbles. There are too many other fantastic aspects not to give this book a go. I really appreciate that magic is actually hard work in Aaronovitch's universe and his characters and supernaturals conform to physical laws. Everything is so probable and well handled that you could almost believe the story possible, which is the best kind of urban fantasy. The language is gritty at times but it fits with the story. A good read and I'll definitely be looking for more from this author.(less)
Ten-year-old Jamie and his sister Jas, have just moved to the lake district with their dad. Jamie hopes the move will mean a fresh start for his famil...moreTen-year-old Jamie and his sister Jas, have just moved to the lake district with their dad. Jamie hopes the move will mean a fresh start for his family but instead everything continues to fall apart. His mum ran off with another man, his dad is drunk most days and just like his old school, Jamie has trouble fitting in with his classmates. Five years ago, his sister Rose, Jas's twin, was killed by a terrorist bomb in Trafalgar Square. That's when everything went wrong. Jamie isn't ready to give up though and he hatches a plan to bring his family back together even as he makes friends with the one person his dad will most disapprove of, a Muslim girl.
This is a fantastic, heart-breaking book that worms its way into your head and your heart. Too many books for kids are all sunshine and rainbows or wrapped up in a happy bow at the end. There is no perfect happy ending for Jamie and his family, there can't be and have the story stay true to life. But it is a good ending, one the reader can smile at. Jamie learns a lot and grows a lot during the story and sharing his journey is a pure pleasure. The language of the book is beautiful with great descriptions and memorable characters. And everything that happens, every single detail, is believable and real and unflinching. Excellently written, this is a book the reader will remember and love.(less)
In this latest installment of the Jane Yellowrock series, Jane finds herself in Natchez hunting rogue vamps against Leo's wishes. These rogues are tou...moreIn this latest installment of the Jane Yellowrock series, Jane finds herself in Natchez hunting rogue vamps against Leo's wishes. These rogues are tougher to kill, however, and something about the whole situation just doesn't seem right. Add in some witch magic, Rick and his government buddies nosing in and an old school friend of Jane's and suddenly things are getting pretty interesting for Jane.
Another fun, fast romp. Exactly what I want from an urban fantasy: characters I love, lots of action, great writing and a plot that isn't predictable. The ending felt a bit rushed after all the lead up but hopefully that's just because the next book is going to expand the events in this one. (less)
It's hard to find a good anthology where the majority of the stories are well done and worth a read. I can usually find one or two stories I like in m...moreIt's hard to find a good anthology where the majority of the stories are well done and worth a read. I can usually find one or two stories I like in most anthologies, but more than that is rare. An Apple for the Creature had 7 out of 13 stories that I enjoyed. Not a fantastic record but certainly better than most. For that reason, and the fact that I really enjoyed some of the stories a great deal, I'm giving the overall anthology a 3.5 rating. Individual ratings and reviews for each of the stories are below - I've done my best not to give away spoilers on any of them.
Playing Possum by Charlaine Harris (2 stars) Sookie Stackhouse short story- Sookie and a witch combine forces to thwart a crazy man intent on shooting up the local elementary school. needlessly long with all of the action and events packed int o the last quarter of the story. I'm sure the story will appeal to long-time Sookie Stackhouse fans, but overall it leaves me cold.
Spellcaster 2.0 by Jonathan Mayberry (2 stars) When someone sabotages the spell database a group of college kids is assembling, the demon summoning ritual their professor performs goes very wrong. Slow pace, long drawn out denoument. Semi-interesting characters but they feel like cardboard caricatures.
Academy Field Trip by Donald Harstad (4 stars) A special task force recruits a young law enforcement rookie to help hunt down a real life vampire. Nice twist ending, great descriptions, dialogue and characterization. Really good story overall.
Sympathy for the Bones by Marjorie M. Liu (4 stars) Clora is the local witchy woman's assistant, chafes at her mistress's hold on her and plots a way out. Interesting characters, good descriptions and pace. Good story overall.
Low School by Rhys Bowen (1 star) Hell manifests as the proverbial high school nightmare featuring demonic bullies, impossible tests and monstrous teachers dealing out torment. So utterly cliche it's cringe worthy. Predictable and filled with overdone tropes. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes throughout the story and wincing at every other paragraph. This story aims for literary analogy, trying so desperately to be clever it's like one of the pathetic students given lip-service in the narrative.
Callie Meet Happy by Amber Benson (1 star) Calliope Reaper Jones is sent to remedial Worm Hole Conjuring class and ends up opening a worm hole to another dimension just in time to save a ditzy actress and her hard-pressed personal assistant. The writing is clunky and uneven, each sentence filled with so many adjectives they practically out weigh any action in the narrative. I cringed at having a character named 'Happy' and the characters overall were very one-dimensional.
Iphigenia in Aulis by Mike Carey (4 stars) Melanie is trapped in a special school where the children are strapped in their chairs for lessons and never, ever touched or shown any affection. Really well written, interesting characters and a tiny bit of a twist. The surprise twist is predictable but in an enjoyable way and handled well. Great descriptions and dialogue.
Golden Delicious by Faith Hunter (4 stars) Rick LeFleur is sent to Psi-LED for training to become part of a special all paranormal task force, but he can't graduate unless he solves a violent and politically volatile murder case. Another fantastic addition to the Faith Hunter world and series. This one stands well on its own, however, for anyone who hasn't read the series. Great writing, good pacing, and characters you can't help but love.
Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews (4 stars) Julie ends up testing out a new school her adoptive parents want her to attend by helping find a missing girl. Another great addition to the Kate Daniels word but also a good stand alone story. I really like the character development Julie gets in this short piece. Well paced, well written and an engaging read.
An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism by Steve Hockensmith (2.5 stars) When a colleague's abusive ex moves back to town, a mild-mannered professor steps in with his supernatural talents to run the abuser off. This story left me tepid - it's not particularly bad but it's not great either. There is some truly cringe-worthy dialogue and the Hulk references were utterly cliche and annoying. The pace was rather slow and the twist ending was too little, too late and with too little interest.
VSI by Nancy Holder (4 stars) A pair of FBI detectives are forced to attend special training over the Thanksgiving Holiday, only to discover that vampires are real and at least one vamp has turned serial killer. Really good characterization, well written with good dialogue, pacing and a nice twist. Definitely an author I'll check out in future.
The Bad Hour by Thomas Sniegoski A fallen angel turned PI investigates strange occurrences at a local dog kennel and obedience school. I'm not a huge fan of talking animals, as they are so rarely done well. This is another case in point. The dogs in this short story are annoying and grate on the nerves. The plot seems thready and the action uneven. I wasn't a terribly big fan of the main character either. A disappointing read overall.
Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost by Toni L.P. Kelner While at a werewolf retreat a solo wolf is haunted by a belligerent ghost when he learns her boyfriend is a vampire. Based on the ridiculous story name and the overdone werewolves and vampires trope, I expected to thoroughly hate this story. I was wrong. This short story is the perfect example of how a good writer can make something out of even the most implausible idea and beaten to death theme. Great dialogue, a bit of a twist, good description and likable characters. There were a few aspects, in regard to the ghost's actions in the ending, that stretch credulity but overall this was a fun read. (less)