Ever had the feeling that the characters were too big for the story?
I haven’t read much of Gaiman’s work, and my sentiments after reading this book is...moreEver had the feeling that the characters were too big for the story?
I haven’t read much of Gaiman’s work, and my sentiments after reading this book is probably something familiar among his fans, but in reading The Graveyard Book, I could not help but have this niggling feeling that we were only being shown teasing glimpses of the promise behind each character.
Naturally, I think a lot of people will agree that the story will be far less interesting were it not for the mystery that is Silas.
Actually, all I really want to talk about is Silas.
And how badly I wish there’s a separate story about him. And the Honour Guard. And how he lived before being part of the Honour Guard. And how he and Miss Lupescu and Kandar and Haroun slew evil as the Honour Guard.
But if I were to solely focus on this book, then I suppose I can say that Gaiman was successful if his goal was to instill restlessness among his readers long after they have turned the last page. Because I definitely wanted more out of his characters. The Sleer? Definitely more. The ghouls? For certain. Even the Jacks.
Added to that is the conflict I felt towards Bod and his own conflict over his home and his wanderlust. The moments when he felt more comfortable being ignored while attending school were the times I liked him best. While him wanting more interaction with live humans made me side-eye him a bit. And yet I envy him having the hutzpah to go after his desire to travel the world. See? I’m confused.
I ramble on.
This has been an engrossing read. I should have said that from the first. But yes, I enjoyed this story.
As far as paranormal romances go, Showalter definitely used a lot of imagination for this series... (it would be promptly obvious that I haven't read...moreAs far as paranormal romances go, Showalter definitely used a lot of imagination for this series... (it would be promptly obvious that I haven't read the first installment. So there.)
The fact that this story is not another one of those vampire-romances (are we done with those, yet?) warrants a semblance of appreciation for its attempt to be ingenious in matters of plot.
Plus, the sexual tension between the couple is at a healthy level. That's good enough for me if a quick, entertaining romance read is what I'm after. I needn't worry that I might just stumble upon a mindless sexfest as 'erotica' seems to be a common word used in relation to Showalter's novels. There's actually a decent endeavor by the author to provide suspense, action, and humor outside the confines of the bedroom.
The only niggling thing I can't shake off is the fact that the heroine has GOLD skin.
Since one of my pet peeves is anything related to glitter (it really really annoys the hell out of me), and I can't seem to find any other way but to imagine Eden Black as having head-to-toe skin that up close looks like the slightly rough/corroded surface of glued-on gold glitter, I kept thinking half the time that I'd rather she has cute horns on her forehead or a demonlike tail or something along those lines. Anything but the apparently-sexy gold skin.
Eh, well, that's my problem.
Near the end of the story, too, the hero Lucius lost a bit of his 'wow' factor what with being held captive and all and our glittery heroine being left to do the rescuing. Something about that just didn't quite satisfy me... (although that encounter with that Devyn fellow was quite yummy...)
Oh, yeah, and another thing (I know I said only one niggling thing but it seems I'm on my trolling state), some aspects of Eden's behavior were a bit annoying. She's bad-ass and all, good for her, but that streak of over-competitiveness just put me off at times. And there's a dash of the brat in her, as well. But hey, with other readers it might just be nothing more than her having a strong, independent will...
Anyway, all-in-all, not a bad read. Didn't really egg me on to lust after the next installment, but neither am I regretting reading it.
Hellboy gone deliciously jaw-dropping (with a friggin’ medical degree, to boot) and a bad-ass slayer with hang-ups she doesn’t even know would require...moreHellboy gone deliciously jaw-dropping (with a friggin’ medical degree, to boot) and a bad-ass slayer with hang-ups she doesn’t even know would require a shrink (and no, it’s not the I-can’t-have-orgasm-oh-kill-me-now thingie)…
[FYI, Dr. Dreamy has brothers, too. No guesses needed on how they look. Dayum!]
Okay, so perhaps the only beef I have with this first installment is his name. Resorting to calling him “E” felt too much like BDB to me (and I kinda wanted those guys to remain just the tiniest bit untouchable, so…).
No wonder even Hellboy began to sound endearing. Not that terribly original, true, but it definitely beats having to say (or, as it applies during mind-numbing sex, hoarsely shout) the slightly tongue-twisting-inducing “Eidolon”.
I appreciate ms Ione for bringing in a new paranormal romance series that is not reliant on fangs jutting out at the slightest whiff of blood, gorgeous hunk of men that unfortunately cannot show off their fabulousity out in broad daylight (no sparklies, ¡por favor!), or those same men having to make regular body checks with either werewolves or their own breed who have gone rogue.
Sure, the whole premise of “Demons” actually being just as sane, dysfunctional, and, for some of them, possibly having a garish affinity for all things perky and pink (a crazier version of Acheron’s Simi?) as humans is perhaps TMI at first take. Having to be acquainted with their staggeringly complex demon classifications might just also take some getting used to. (As I type this, a pulsing, writhing mound of big, fat maggots just popped in mind.
Please… uhm… a moment…)
Okay. Sod it. I’m just damned glad that it’s not a rehashed plot.
So, yeah, I’m gonna put up with the concept of S’genesis, the intricacies of breeding between different kinds of demons and between demons and humans, the apparently blatant exhibitionist and philandering behavior of demonkind, and the vague dynamics of ‘bonding’.
The Aegis slayer Tayla’s slow incorporation into the world of demons and the soul-searching she is forced to go through in trying to ‘see’ these ‘monstrous’ foes in a new light were sketchy at times. Rightfully, she should have been expeditiously dispatched once she has accidentally infiltrated the not-at-all-awkwardly-named UGH premises. Her job as a demon-slayer should have been enough impetus for Hellboy and Co. to make sure she doesn’t live to tattle. I mean, c’mon, just this one time, shouldn’t the safety and secrets of their own brethren weigh more than whatever good Tayla’s existence might indirectly provide?
But heck, that’s just it. Hellboy and Co. are a different breed of demons. They have principles. And… and… honor. Even a dash of mercy. And, god help me, humor.
They may get cranky, they may all be ingrained with the fine art of slicing and dicing, they may have a fine thirst for revenge and gore, but it turns out that they have no hankering for any megalomaniac soul-sucking world domination, and that, indeed, just like humans, they feel that life is shitty enough as it is and that Beelzebub himself is more of a bogeyman than anything else.
Personally, this first installment is probably best enjoyed for its novelty in the overall idea, but not necessarily in the particular goings-on between Eido—pardon, Hellboy and Tayla. Sure, the sex is nice (that first mindless sexual foray inside the hospital pretty much outshone the rest, no?), but more often than not, it was the escalating tension (unfounded or no) between the Demons and The Aegis that made centerstage.
Am not exactly sure if that is a good thing or not. No, I’m really undecided about it. I mean it’s good that it’s not a sexcapade every 10 pages or so – even though that looked to be the likely possibility given the off-the-charts chemistry between Hellboy and Tayla – but neither did I relish having their relationship gain momentum only in the last quarter or so of the novel.
Or maybe it’s just me.
Seriously, though, for the lulz of it all, I would recommend this start to this new series. I’ll just have to see with the next book if this new line of paranormal romance is worth cozying up to ‘til the end. (less)
**spoiler alert** Interesting spin on the Arthurian legend…without actually saying much about it.
A lot of inconsistencies with the premise. Or, perhap...more**spoiler alert** Interesting spin on the Arthurian legend…without actually saying much about it.
A lot of inconsistencies with the premise. Or, perhaps, too many ‘convenient’ turning points that left me hanging.
Like the fact that Merrick’s amnesia and subsequent inadvertent ‘dawdling’ with the gypsies seem to hardly make a dent in his timetable for finding the stone. He’s been using his powers during his blissfully ignorant days and yet, despite the proclaimed fears at the start of the story that these are as good as waving his whereabouts to the bad guys, no one traces and pursues himtill after he regains his memory. How convenient.
Despite the looming, persistent threat of the gypsy guy (see, I can’t even recall the name) who has perverted designs on Jenny, he is made to ‘conveniently’ disappear by the time Merrick and Jenny leave the gypsy camp. No more threat. No more troubles. It’s like he was just there to sprinkle in a bit of tension while Merrick and Jenny live out their stay there as a married couple.
And then there’s Reverend Usher’s threat, and his use of ‘goons’ to pose as men of the law in order to flush out Jenny. The fake constables were hardly heard from ever again (their portrayal became superfluous, then). And, even if Usher’s demise was a fitting one, the way in which it was done was too abrupt – hardly meriting the protracted fear that Jenny had over him.
Oh, and yeah. Merrick can turn back time. Whoopee. Jenny is made to live again.
Did I fail to mention that the woman gets slain? Don’t worry. (Refer to above).
Then come the time when Merrick (with Jenny) went back to his own time and place. A little skirmish here and there, followed by that ridiculous it-would’ve-funny-if-it-wasn’t-so-sad stupidity in the villain’s end by whispering his sorcery on Jenny’s wrong ear…and everything was happily ever after. Nice.
Even Merrick’s taken-for-granted ‘agreement’ (read as betrothal) with that supposedly powerful woman of his clan did not even escalate into something dramatic when she was confronted with Jenny. I was hoping that that at least would be a soap operatic turn of events. But no. Hardly a buzz.
To say that I was frustrated with the whole thing is a bit of an understatement.
And what’s with the author’s preoccupation with describing Merrick’s uhmm… ‘organ’ always as a c--? Has she no other adjectives on her arsenal? Even erotica fiction are imaginative when it comes to describing the male tumescence. By sticking to the c-word all the time (I would say it out loud…but people are so squeamish), Maguire makes it appear as if she’s just compensating for mediocre writing by telling the reader that she can use a hardcore word when it comes to the sex scenes.
But, really, take that ‘vulgarity’ (I use it sparingly) away and what’s left? Hardly any chemistry. Barely any thrill.
Other romance readers may love the story. But I think from now on I would have to edge away from any book with Maguire’s name on it. And that really makes me sad. (less)
I’m sure other readers would have more flattering things to say about this new paranormal series (well, new for me...morePassably good, fairly entertaining.
I’m sure other readers would have more flattering things to say about this new paranormal series (well, new for me anyway); but coming on the heels of The Black Dagger Brotherhood, The Dark-Hunters, and even the Dark Carpathians series, not to mention a few more other vampire-romance titles dizzyingly vying for space on bookshelves by up-and-coming authors and even from established ones who have succumbed to the popularity of the genre (like Medeiros, Dodd, and Sands), Lara Adrian’s The Midnight Breed, in my opinion (for what it’s worth), faces a veritable burden. And that is of needing to have something spectacularly jolting and provoking for it to steal the attention of an ever-widening audience who may already be over-saturated with this popular culture of vampire-slash-paranormal romance.
Frustratingly enough, even though the last BDB I have read was over a year ago (hence, should have dulled my memories of it), Adrian’s Midnight Breed felt so much like it. And sad to say, not *really* in a good way.
Frankly, it felt a little bit like a pale version of Ward’s.
From the tech-gizmo Gideon (who acts a bit like Vishous), the brooding Tegan (who, surprise-surprise, felt and sounded a bit like Zsadist), to even the warrior-leader Lucan (who felt like…guess-who), the Breed Warriors might as well have been the next-door neighbors of the Black Dagger Brothers, regularly coming over to swap secrets of the trade…except that they (the former) come off less like a close-knit family and more like a small corporation with members just conscripted for the job. At its extreme…they sound a bit…uhm…well…boring. Just a tad, mind.
When I read over what I have been saying so far, it sounds so harsh and wholly unfair, I know. But I think that is precisely the pernicious nature of a reading audience—especially romance readers. We are a sensitive, even fickle, lot. And for authors to earn (and keep) our adulation, they have to continually, aggressively feed our need for fascination and novelty.
Adrian’s series somewhat fails me on that score. The plot of a band of vampires rounding off their kind who have become renegade, as well as humans who have been brain-washed by the latter is not terribly original. Dress it up in as many other nouns as you could—“rogue,” “fallen,” “daimons,” “lessers,” etc.—unless the storyline jumps out at you in a fresh way, these characters would ultimately run the risk of sounding just like any other personas from other books.
Certainly, however, this series does not deserve to be unconditionally written-off. I can personally vouch it to be better than other vampire novels which have lame plotlines and ridiculously over-the-top premises (you can understand if I’d rather not name them—I’m doing enough damage to this one author, I think). In fact, what could be a different ingredient in this series, and may even be lauded by those who wish to have the “formula” twisted, is that the male protagonists are not “heroes” or “protectors” of the human race.
There. Stew on that =)
Anyway, if you are really seeking a large dose of knee-weakening, envy-inducing romantic shenanigans, this book could probably be relegated to the lower rungs of one’s “to-buy/read” books.
Read it for entertainment but not much more. It’s not a regrettable I-wish-to-god-I-never-picked-this-book-up kind of story, but neither does it make you overly drool, pant, hanker, and itch to grab the next installment…which I’ve experienced before.
Oh, shoot. Too much info? *runs off in shame* (less)
So, I admit to having a smidgen of skepticism when I see a romance story claiming to be paranormal with words like "The Nightw...moreSensational new series!!
So, I admit to having a smidgen of skepticism when I see a romance story claiming to be paranormal with words like "The Nightwalkers,"--I mean, what the heck is new with vampires or even werewolves consorting with hapless humans?? None. They're almost as old as...well...as these supernatural creatures themselves. Er...you get it. The formula's old.
Certainly I was on the verge of saying "oh, no, not another one...sheesh!" when I read the first few passages of Jacob,--it felt too much like Lucian speaking (from Christine Feehan's Dark Guardian), being an enforcer of their species' law and justice and all that. And since Lucian is my favorite supernatural hottie, you can imagine how reluctant I was to be pulled in by another magic-wielding macho. He had better be good.
But then, once the scene shifts to Isabella's POV and her encounter with Jacob (did I mention he's supposedly handsome? No...make that, per Bella, "beautiful."), things start to become interesting. Jacquelyn Frank lays down all the lowdown (sorry, can't help it) on the Demon species. And even the characters of Noah, Elijah, Legna, and Gideon are instantly fascinating.
Though I found Bella's calm acceptance of being embroiled in Jacob's world sketchy at best, her quirky and quick-witted attitude makes her quite adorable to me, despite my better judgment--she's like a less acerbic Anita Blake. Half the time I forget that Bella's supposed to be a wisp of a thing.
And I have nothing but gushing and blushing things to say about Jacob--a true gentleman who thrillingly loses control over the woman he loves, who never loses sight of his role among his people, and is surprisingly funny as well at the most unexpected times. No clichéd brooding warrior in him.
And his yummy factor really need not be belabored.
Anyway, what really made me finish the book until well into the hours of dawn is the sizzling chemistry between him and Bella. In the back of my mind, I know it's going to be really scorching--Jacob is already shown as one of the most powerful Demons who turn out to possess a latent smouldering passion; ergo: "hot sex."
Beyond their bed scenes, though (which, for the sake of modesty I have to keep mum about), the attraction, pure need, and possession that arises between the two every time they are together, despite the presence of other people, are like goodies for a starving romance junkie. "Destiny" about the two of them aside, they really are two halves of a whole. And the author does not stint on making Jacob and Isabella voice their love for one another--without verging on the syrupy.
So, yeah, ms Jacquelyn Frank, you have a fan in me. Jacob is a thrilling, action-packed new beginning to another breed of paranormal heroes. Heck, his and Bella's story is even quite satisfactory enough for me. There's a really warm and giddy feeling by the end. But then, such is the thrill infused in these characters that I really am looking forward to Gideon.
Three novels deep in her works and I'm still hooked.
When I first encountered a Karen Marie Moning romance (Kiss...moreThis author is seriously worrying me...
Three novels deep in her works and I'm still hooked.
When I first encountered a Karen Marie Moning romance (Kiss of the Highlander) and subsequently found myself rating it with 5 stars, I thought it was all nothing but a fluke—probably just my luck that I first happened upon her ONE novel that was any good.
Then there came Beyond the Highland Mist (yes, I am aware that my order of reading is ridiculous), and I was thinking, “okay, this may turn out to be just a so-so story, since series hardly can maintain more than 2 to probably 3 books that are really great...right?” But, no, I had to rate it 5 stars as well—don't take my word for it...just, you know, read it.
Understandably then (on my part, at least), I was well prepared—indeed, highly anticipating—that The Immortal Highlander would be the one to prove the cliché, “third time's the charm,” with the added reasoning in my perverted delusions that this one has, of all men, the sinister Adam Black as the hero (I readily thought he was too cruel and essentially villainous in “Beyond...” to merit his own story).
Either it's a consequence of my un-orderly order and incomplete reading of the series that I totally missed out on something regarding Adam, or, heaven forbid, Moning is THAT good of a writer that, just like the heroine, Gabrielle, I later found myself reevaluating my outlook about this dark Fae, but this novel, rather than affirming my cynical expectations of a dud, just made hanker for the rest of her installments.
As a matter of fact, this third one that I read is the best so far. It had a sassy heroine and a hero who takes the meaning of the word “seduction” to new heights; both of them are outrageously witty, if not outright funny; there was a respectable dose of conflict to get the story going without hampering the chemistry between the pair; and the ending was simply superb that I, against my better judgment, felt the beginnings of being choked up with tears. Truly.
And, that, in the end, is making me one part excited and one part agitated: excited that, unlike most of today's paranormal romance authors who fail to keep their series interesting after only a couple of books, Karen Marie Moning seems to defy the norm and just keeps getting better; on the other hand, agitated that a misstep from such a highly promising writer would topple her from such a steep pedestal down into the unforgivable capriciousness of romance readers.
But, for now, thanks to “Immortal...” I'm definitely shutting up and looking forward instead to the next novel of hers that I can grab...(less)
(FYI, because of this overblown hype [and yes, I'm aware of the redundancy:], this previously held-as-a-favorite novel is now relegated to a 'good' re...more(FYI, because of this overblown hype [and yes, I'm aware of the redundancy:], this previously held-as-a-favorite novel is now relegated to a 'good' read. Damn it.)(less)