These are not the 'droids you're looking for. Trust me. Rushed & cliched & dull and I barely managed to finish the Elizabeth Stewart story bef...moreThese are not the 'droids you're looking for. Trust me. Rushed & cliched & dull and I barely managed to finish the Elizabeth Stewart story before I gave up.(less)
Even by the often excruciatingly low standards of this genre, this book features one of the most deeply stupid women in all of pulp romantic fiction....moreEven by the often excruciatingly low standards of this genre, this book features one of the most deeply stupid women in all of pulp romantic fiction. She is unusually annoying, thoughtless, oblivious, has no sense of self-preservation, and just generally deserves to have her membership to the 21st century revoked. She is every brash, braying, self-righteous American tourist you've ever had the misfortune to meet (oh, you know the one's I'm talking about, all of you who live in a touristy city) only she's inflicting herself on the 1800's AND on on another country. I can't bear to read all the way to the end. I simply could not care less about the overly neat happy ending no doubt waiting for this fool and her cardboard cut-out of a hero.
A perfectly decent puppy and Colin Firth were harmed in the making of this book.(less)
I realised early into Ghost Planet that the chances of finishing it weren't looking good. This reads like the script of an action/adventure movie inst...moreI realised early into Ghost Planet that the chances of finishing it weren't looking good. This reads like the script of an action/adventure movie instead of a novel: shallow and (way too) fast paced, as if there's a 90 minute deadline to hit before the credits roll. I wasn't initially hating it enough to chuck it, but I wasn't really being caught up in the story either - I kept feeling that the writer was telling me to accept ideas just because she's said so and that I - like the characters - should really ignore the need to question things. Really? Scientists and explorers and profit focused corporations whose reaction to something new & bizarre is to ignore it until it goes away and everyone accepts it wholesale even if it means torturing what looks & feels & smells like your loved ones? Really?
I rather liked Elizabeth (asking questions, using her skills & knowledge, refusing to accept her - frankly rather ridiculous- fate) right up until she let her libido rule her head to such an extent that she had unprotected sex with someone in a well-observed cell and never once thought they might be part of a breeding experiment or something equally sinister. They might have space ships and all the technology interstellar travel implies, but there's no chance they have any night-vision cameras, right? Bonus points to Murphy for shagging a ghost/alien life form the moment he had a free minute, because imprisonment should never stop you from getting a leg over.... because the lure of her alien/undead vagina triumphed in a matter of days over years of institutionalising and enforcing the idea that the ghosts are inhuman freaks that you shouldn't be looking at, let alone making with the sexytimes.
Maybe I was expecting something more like the Petaybee series by Anne McCaffrey (centres around sentient planet interacting with human colonists, so Ghost Planet didn't feel all that original to me)?
(I went off and read some GOOD science-fiction-with-some-romantic-elements (Song of Scarabaeus) and now can't bring myself to go slumming with the rest of this book. Couples that shag in improbable situations and have nothing but attraction holding them together kill a romance novel for me and this book certainly doesn't hold up as a science fiction work alone. Giving up at 45%.)(less)
The first chapter or two were amazing, but the rest of it has absolutely no flow. Every moment, every action, every conversation, every thought lasts...moreThe first chapter or two were amazing, but the rest of it has absolutely no flow. Every moment, every action, every conversation, every thought lasts half a sentence before being interrupted by the main character’s unending mental babbling or by the interminable repetition of Latin phrases or AU concepts. I dislike 1st person POVs at the best of times so the first issue was never going to work for me, and the second just screams of a weakness in the story-telling being covered up by authorial strong arm tactics.
The world is interesting and the story has potential and the action aspect of it is fine (although let's be honest: the action is straight out of Avatar: The Last Airbender but without the martial arts) but the relationship simply has too many shadings of kiddie porn for me and makes it impossible to remember what I liked about this book. Kiss him on the head and call him "little man"; tie his shoe laces; discipline him in public; say things like “You mind me, now” to ensure obedience to your wishes; keep potentially important things from him so his poor little head isn't overwhelmed... and then shag his brains out 4 times a night? No wonder we keep being told that Felix is 25 - repeating that number is our only evidence that he's of legal age. Little man, climbing into the "big guy's" lap for cuddles and kisses. Ick. It is so easy to focus on the negative in the relationship as it overwhelms both the underlying plot and the world building.
The two main characters are too thinly sketched out. Felix’s backbone evaporates the minute Seven shows up (much hated romance novel behaviour) and robs us of our ability to take his character development seriously. Seven is a meat-head who seems relatively intelligent when dealing with minor characters but is an utter alphahole with his supposedly precious soul mate. We’d be raging about Seven being an aggressive, misogynistic, patronising dick if Felix was female. At one point, Seven yells at Felix “I could stop you,” he snarled. “All it’ll take is me alerting everyone in the fucking building, and you won’t be able to leave. I’ll have you locked up until I can beat some fucking sense into you!” Would you swoon if your lover spoke to you like that, or would you knee him in the balls? Precisely. Dick. By the time traitors and plot twists and secrets are revealed, it's too late - your lack of interest in the main characters has taken hold and can't be shrugged off.
If only this had been edited by someone who didn't enjoy Twilight and it’s emotionally OTT ilk, it would have been amazing. As it is, its fairly standard YA paranormal fare regardless of the stated ages of the characters.
I firmly believe that there is a really REALLY good novel somewhere underneath there or I’d have lemmed it halfway through (ergh, my skin would crawl every time Seven pawed at Felix in public). I’m also sure that there will be people at the end of the trilogy (?) commenting on how they should have been edited down into one tight novel, but I’m afraid I won’t be staying with the series to find out. Damn, what a waste.
Good world building & writing, but the relationship starts as just insta-lust with some paedo-ish overtones. Its creepy enough when the younger on...moreGood world building & writing, but the relationship starts as just insta-lust with some paedo-ish overtones. Its creepy enough when the younger one is a girl barely out of the schoolroom, but the age/experience gap between this jaded man and the wide-eyed virgin is a bit creepy when the shelf-life of a set of ovaries is no longer a consideration. I may not have bought into the relationship, but the world created (preserving the male line of inheritance taken to the extreme) is interesting enough to make me want to read more in the series. (less)
Turns out that Casanova was a prize jackass and a complete waste of space. Everything in his life is tedious repetition of what has gone before and I...moreTurns out that Casanova was a prize jackass and a complete waste of space. Everything in his life is tedious repetition of what has gone before and I cannot summon any sympathy or empathy. By that age, in that era, he would have been considered an adult, but he behaved like a modern teenage walking hard-on. The memoirs are supposedly genuinely written by him, but the tales of excess and adventure are as plausible and sincere as a James Bond movie and smell rather strongly of a need for an old man dying alone to fluff up his past to make it seem less shallow and hollow.
There is, however, nothing like a thorough Cumberbatching first thing in the morning. Mmmmmm...(less)
I am a loss on this one. Do NOT be fooled by the seemingly adult description of the book. This is not a supernatural novel featuring scholars with tow...moreI am a loss on this one. Do NOT be fooled by the seemingly adult description of the book. This is not a supernatural novel featuring scholars with towering intellects and magical abilities. It’s Twilight for people who loved Twilight but are embarrassed to admit it in front of other adults because they know its really aimed at teenagers.
Why create a character who is an author and scholar of note in an obscure subject that requires knowledge in several fields... and then turn her into a giddy girl who can’t bear to discuss her will the week before she does something life-threatening and untested? Why create someone who is tomboyishly athletic and independent enough to turn her back on her innate gifts and centuries of tradition... only to have her swoon over a pretty face and to mindlessly accept his patronising, literally medieval views on gender roles? I can’t forgive the author for starting off with such a bang and then so quickly fizzling out.
Matthew is a nauseatingly perfect cliche – even in his overbearing moments, even when he repeatedly brushes off her concerns and ideas and even when he constantly refuses to impart information that she wants or may have real need of, he is never described as less than dreamy. Nothing he says or does is ever indicative of a personality flaw, even when his high-handedness hurts her. He has no bad habits; there is no skill he hasn’t pursued & mastered; there’s no echo of the real flawed human he would have once been. He ends up being rather dull and lacking in dimension as a result - especially when compared to the brilliant scientist and wine connoisseur he’s introduced as. The too-perfect knight/Cullen clone he becomes is nowhere near as attractive as the stone mason/science nerd/yoga practitioner we could have spent a couple of hundred pages with.
No book this long should have sudden transitions and just a little editing could have resolved so much with ease. We’re just suddenly dumped in a world with friendly ghosts and houses with personalities when she’s never hinted at just how much magic existed openly in her childhood home. The protagonist’s talents bloom out of nowhere. There’s no mention of mating habits or marriage rituals, but he suddenly comes home and tells the little lady that they’re now married. Why they don't have sex is still a mystery: they’re married and in love and attracted to each other, they are constantly at risk of being torn apart, they live in the era of safe sex ... I’m far less accepting of his stupid excuses than she is for why he won’t do more than kiss her. What? He wants to wait until they’re in an era with straw mattresses and no birth control and nary a bottle of body wash in sight before they get it on? Ergh!
No, sorry, not reading the sequel. Wish I hadn’t read this one. (less)
I initially didn't want to read this as the writing standards, themes, and the characters' ages in most YA novels hold no interest for me, but having...moreI initially didn't want to read this as the writing standards, themes, and the characters' ages in most YA novels hold no interest for me, but having just finished the My Life As a White Trash Zombie sequel, I thought I should give this a go. Perhaps it's just in comparison to Outlander (lemmed) & In Bed with a Highlander (meh), but I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would. Compared to the heroes and heroines in January’s VF book club picks, Bram and Nora are shining beacons of common sense, intelligence, and self-preservation, and their banter is much more readable than the unrelenting cliche’s, rampant misogyny, and spunky defiant quips that pass for dialogue in many of the other PNR/UF books I’ve read. Nobody being a bully or stubborn just for the sake of it? Being a complete person with mood variations? What a treat.
Despite being just 18 with a brain that’s quite literally rotting away, Bram isn't the usual psycho bully rapey dull douchebag jerk we see in many romances and he considers her thoughts and feelings before he acts because he knows they're in this together or that she is being unfairly treated. What a delightful change from the alphaholes the genre is littered with who can’t see anyone else’s POV. Despite being a fairly sheltered teen, Nora is smart and self-aware and prefers to act rather than having life happen at her. She strikes a balance between following Bram when the situation calls for it and asserting herself when she needs to look after her own interests. The more I think about it, the more I hate the main characters in some of our other VF picks for not being a bit more like Bram or Nora.
As for the neutering of zombie-kind and turning them into leads, romantic or otherwise: Moaning, shuffling zombie hoards have never seemed too scary to me to begin with, so I actually think it could make them far more effective “monsters” if they have the same intelligence and motivations that the rest of us have. The smart zombies in this book are a much more modern nightmare: the well trained and well armed soldier who has nothing to lose. We don’t need vampires to represent sex acts/sexual predation/lust anymore, so why should zombies not undergo a few upgrades, especially if science can eliminate a few of the icky aspects of being undead? Besides, (view spoiler)[ all of the prosthetic face & body parts kept making me think of survivors of landmines and other such tragedies, so I felt a bit compelled to keep asking myself if I’d turn away the love of my life if s/he had a skin condition, prosthetic limb, glass eye, etc. If Bram was an attractive boy to begin with and was well-preserved, I can easily buy her not caring about it. She’s a bit dark anyway, so a dead boyfriend would fit her really well. (hide spoiler)]
This book also embodies my favourite type of world-building: brief and relevant. The physical & social landscape not described in the opening paragraphs unfolds as the story moves on, rather than bogging us down in dry detail. After Outlander and Kushiel’s Dart, I appreciate a book that lets my imagination have some say in the world the author is sharing with me. I always feel my intelligence is being insulted when the author thinks I can’t pull together the background strands as I go along. I don’t need 38 pages of a National Geographic South America special when you can give me one moment of someone looking out the window and mentioning they can see the Andes in the distance. That’s 38,5 pages more for the plot! I’m a bit embarrassed that the YA author gives me more credit than the others do. I also enjoyed how modern technology has been advanced and incorporated into a society that regressed a few hundred years in every other way. I find this a very plausible description of how things would unfold in a post-apocalyptic world: the rich/strong dominating weaker/poorer/minority groups & robbing them of modern liberties but refusing to give up their own modern creature comforts and conveniences. Corsets and cellphones, indeed!
I also loved the multiple POVs! Loved! First person narration tends to bore me, so it was a great change of pace to see the unfolding events from different viewpoints with the characters not knowing what was going on in other characters’ lives. The author & the reader should be all-knowing & all-seeing, not the irritating drip whose head you’re trapped in who just miraculously finds out about events that she wasn’t party too. Definitely reading the sequel. (less)
"Terror. The black crow of panic was perched on her shoulder." That line? That's when I knew this book was going to be so excruciatingly bad it would...more"Terror. The black crow of panic was perched on her shoulder." That line? That's when I knew this book was going to be so excruciatingly bad it would round the corner and become good for all the wrong reasons. The black crow of panic?
Only a short way in I knew this is going to be one of those books where, no matter how I hate them and hate myself for reading them, I'm going to compulsively work through the entire series because I have to see how ridiculous it gets. Thank goodness I already have a GoodReads shelf called "car wrecks I have to look at".
The "its so bad its almost good" feeling abates halfway through the book as you experience a bit of burnout, but if you choose to focus on how OTT it all is- how ridiculous the premise and how poor the execution - you'll get back to enjoying the awfulness. The gaping plot holes... the continuity errors... the unending too-stupid-to-live behaviour from both the heroine and (how unusual) the hero... the heavy use of cliches... the formulaic PNR characters... the unappetising and unbelievable sexual chemistry... This book should be used in a Lit class to illustrate just how terrible a book can be and still be readable, just as long as it isn't too offensive or too insulting to the reader. It's dullness and blandness works in its favour and the best thing I can say about the book, overall, is that I finished it. Yes, the end was rushed and disappointingly weak and disconnected from the rest of the book's pace and "plot". Pretty much what you'd expect, really.
A few gems that I have to share:
Cliche: “Smart idea. So you're like the canary in the coal mine. If you go down, your leader knows there's danger. ” (First you resort to a cliché, then you feel the need to explain what it means. Wow.)
Too Stupid To Live: “Kelly had opened her mouth to offer to watch Neva when she looked at the other woman's face. Glazed eyes and all, Neva's focus was only on Macario. She wanted the pack leader. Alpha girl hadn't scared her off. Kelly closed her mouth.” (Thus abandoning her emotionally vulnerable & recently traumatised friend to an entire werewolf pack they’ve met a few minutes beforehand and the aggressive experienced alpha female werewolf who has laid a prior claim to Macario.)
Plot: “Everything depends on me and my freaking flute.” (Despite an entire page of dialogue discussing how the opposite was true.... and then she proceeds to find a series of excuses for not having said flute at the ready anyway.)
Pure Wtfuckery: “Ty sat on the couch eating his meal. He wore a clean pair of jeans. She had a brief but intense underwear moment. Was he wearing any?“
If the authors who've sold their souls to you want to write about skittish virgin girls,the big, butch men who love them, and th...moreDear Siren Publishing,
If the authors who've sold their souls to you want to write about skittish virgin girls,the big, butch men who love them, and their frequent & painful sex lives - you should just let them write straight erotica. That way there will be at least one self-lubricating body in the room so I won't feel grossed out reading about how apparently losing your ANAL virginity coated in ONE application of SPIT is going to work out well just as long as he's THE ONE. Really? Because he's your soulmate? Really? That tiny little guy and the other monstrously big guy and some rimming? The first time? Did I miss a reference to Little Guy's surprising looseness and Big Buy's teeny weeny wanger? I know they're wolves, but to be such horndogs that the Big Guy can't be bothered to get off the bed long enough to fetch the lube he knows is in a bag in the room just meters away?
Seriously - I am able to suspend my disbelief to the point where I can read mpreg without hesitation, but all the suspiciously vagina-like ani (anuses?) and the tops who can't tell the difference at Siren creep me out. Bleugh.
Dreadful! Really & truly dreadful! I have no idea how this could have been written by the same author as the 1st book in the series.
The "Hero": T...moreDreadful! Really & truly dreadful! I have no idea how this could have been written by the same author as the 1st book in the series.
The "Hero": Thinks with his dick ALL the time. He's literally watching her bosom heave while she's trying to explain the horrific depths of her poverty to him. He's also a lying stalker who doesn't respect her wishes or privacy in her own house and then bitches at her for nearly getting hurt in situations he's the cause of. There's those cliched "oh you infuriating wench!" bits of dialogue whenever he doesn't get his way and it makes him sound like a whiny spoilt brat rather than a trained spy. He bullies her and belittles her and is extremely patronising: because having kept Minerva House going for years, the only way the place will survive another weekend is if a big, strong man extends his protection and wisdom.
The "Heroine": She can't seem to remember for more than 5 consecutive minutes that she's running a shelter for abused women even though she keeps claiming that this is her raison d'être. It all goes out the window after one kiss from a guy she met a few hours ago. Seriously - you have a new woman fleeing from family in London move in with you and you don't think its a coincidence that two men from London show up in your village within two weeks? Even if you really think its a coincidence, why would you ask strange men to enter the shelter ESPECIALLY without making any sort of effort to confirm their identities? Oh, yes, years of experience in hiding women on the run quite evident there!
They're both too stupid to live. I hope Callie & Ralston banish them to the country for the duration of book 3. (less)
I've only read a handful of books in this genre (paranormal chick-lit) and already can't tell the sassy heroines or their supernatural-hottie vs real-...moreI've only read a handful of books in this genre (paranormal chick-lit) and already can't tell the sassy heroines or their supernatural-hottie vs real-world-hottie love triangles apart. It also reminds me of this other book about dead people that has a pretty, creepy, stalkerish mostly-dead guy that the heroine is sooooooo into that she swoons at the mention of his name.... okay no, that's not fair. In this book, people shine instead of sparkle.
Also, we get it. He's the most beautiful man ever. If Jensen Ackles and Matt Bomer had a baby, it would grow up to be this guy's homely cousin. He's so good looking that it apparently makes up for him threatening a bit of choking and rape on the first date back when she was a young teen.
I'm sure it really is a great 1st novel in this genre and that the writing improves and the story fleshes out as the series progresses, but do yourself a favour and read One For The Money instead. Just pretend that Stephanie Plum has some supernatural ability and you'll be happier than anyone who read this book. Also Stephanie Plum has no affinity for slogan t-shirts and bumper stickers that I can recall. Don't ask. Shudder. (less)