This book is actually three stories in chronological order with the same characters and world. There isn't an overall story arc really, so calling thiThis book is actually three stories in chronological order with the same characters and world. There isn't an overall story arc really, so calling this a novel is a little off.
It's an enjoyable read, although not nearly as deep as the story likes to think of itself. Some aspects between the different stories are irritatingly repetitive, as similar themes and idea get rehashed the same way in each story, with similar conclusions.
That being said, I quite appreciated the wry Russian humor in some parts, and the world that's created is certainly interesting. It's not a must-read, but if the description seems of interest, you will be entertained....more
An interesting work, filled with dark and mystical themes. It's a little hard to get into, there's a unique rhythm to the narrative that the reader neAn interesting work, filled with dark and mystical themes. It's a little hard to get into, there's a unique rhythm to the narrative that the reader needs to find before they can really flow with it. The world is being controlled by an alien (extra-dimensional) conspiracy that forces people into soul-less compliant behavior, and the Invisibles are a secret society of guerrilla cells that practice both physical and psychic warfare against said conspiracy.
It's an ambitious plot, and this first volume does an admirable job introducing the reader to the concepts, but the narrative suffers a bit as a result. It doesn't help either that at least in this volume the overall impression of the central characters on all sides is that they are either vaguely drawn (and I don't mean the artwork) or completely unlikeable.
There is some intersting ideas at work here, but if I hadn't picked up the next two volumes at the same time (based off of recommendations from numerous people) I probably would have stopped here....more
This book takes you deep into the depravity of the people in power, which demonstrates the importance of the war the Invisibles are fighting.
The centeThis book takes you deep into the depravity of the people in power, which demonstrates the importance of the war the Invisibles are fighting.
The center of the story arc is the origin story of Lord Fanny, and I found her vision quest as a child to be quite fascinating. That being said, I'm uncomfortable how marginalized a character she is, and that her sexuality is portrayed in way that is almost freakish (forced into it, prostitution, heavy drugs).
This volume ends on a cliffhanger, and so I was compelled to pick up the next volume....more
The plot accelerates quite a bit in this volume, and the metaphysical portions of the story come into greater focus. I almost expected some sort of PhThe plot accelerates quite a bit in this volume, and the metaphysical portions of the story come into greater focus. I almost expected some sort of Philip K. Dick Valis moment when King Mob states that one of his names is Morrison, but that appears (at least now) to be a red herring.
The characters seem more likable now, but honestly some still seem crudely drawn (from a narrative, not art point of view) and function primarily for convenience more than anything. For example, King Mob: why do I care what happens to him or what he's doing? Yes, he's there to STOP THE BAD GUYS, but I don't really know enough about him to care. Certainly, not enough to care that he's the central figure in peril.
Speaking of characters, lets look at Dane McGowan who if you believe the casting text at the beginning of the volumes is supposed to become the next Buddha despite being one of the most unlikeable bastards in the books. That being said, there's some character growth here, and enough information to pique my interest in some of the other characters.
Honestly, if I hadn't bought the first three volumes at once I wouldn't have come this far in the series, but now I have to say I'll probably eventually buy the next book to see how things develop. That being said, if that one doesn't knock my socks off, I'll probably call it quits with this series....more
I've been enjoying the Marla Mason series, and while I think the first book in the series had some rough edges, this one is very polished. They're notI've been enjoying the Marla Mason series, and while I think the first book in the series had some rough edges, this one is very polished. They're not deep novels, but a fun way to while away a weekend afternoon. I worry that future books may get a little formulaic, but for now this series is going on my guaranteed fun list....more
I discovered this book after attending Odyssey Con where Emma Bull was one of the Guests of Honor. It's an enjoyable book, and holds the position of bI discovered this book after attending Odyssey Con where Emma Bull was one of the Guests of Honor. It's an enjoyable book, and holds the position of being one of the first books of what we now refer to urban fantasy genre. It's a fun book, dealing with a young mortal musician who gets caught up in a war between the Seelie and Unseelie courts of Faerie.
It's a quick and fun read, and the characters are enjoyable, although in some cases perhaps too broadly drawn, and in some ways I felt like it should have been more epic somehow. There's an almost absurd speed to the ability of the mortal characters to accept what is occurring, which bothered me. That's also true of some of the dialogue, which seemed rushed to me in a few places early in the book. As if the current of the story was too strong for Bull to slow down enough to capture the full conversation.
Still, I enjoyed the book and it made for a quick read, which was perfect since I was in the mood for a little bit of fun....more
This might be one of the best-written urban fantasy novels I've read recently. It's approach to the urban fantasy setting, and without giving away anyThis might be one of the best-written urban fantasy novels I've read recently. It's approach to the urban fantasy setting, and without giving away any spoilers, I found the concept of the Warden to be fascinating. Peters manages to weave in magical creatures, both mythological and original, in an effective effort of world building that doesn't feel cheap or tongue-in-cheek. The result is an urban fantasy novel that, while still having the trappings of the genre, feels new and unique.
The characters were interesting, although at times they acted in a manner that didn't make sense. For example (without spoilers), it isn't clear to me how it is possible for the protagonist to be so (supposedly) unaware of the mystical considering the descriptions of what she had to deal with growing up. That's really my only sticking part of this novel, as the whole is quite good, but it did throw me off a bit reading it which is the only reason I took off one star.
It says here that Ghost Ocean is Whitechapel #2, which was a surprise when I came to write this review. I had started on Whitechapel Gods quite a while ago, but I was very busy at the time and didn't get very far. I now feel compelled to pick up that book and give it another shot, both because Peters has impressed me with Ghost Ocean and because I am very curious what connection lies between the two stories....more
What do you get when you combine the genres of hard-boiled detective noir, spaghetti-western and urban fantasy set in L.A.? You get Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey.
This book was recommended to me by my friend Quentin, and my fiancé had also mentioned to me that she had read a promising review of the novel. Intrigued, I read through the first few pages at the bookstore, which involved the protagonist's return from Hell upon a pile of flaming garbage, and I was immediately hooked.
Stark, the protagonist, is a dirty punk magician that was betrayed by his buddies and sent to Hell while he was still alive. The residents of his new home were so amused by him that they had him fight unholy creatures and demons in an arena, gladiator-style. He very quickly became "tough to kill", and graduated to working as a hitman for one of Lucifer's generals. Now, he's escaped, and he's back to take vengeance on the bastards that sent him to Hell in the first place. It's a gritty, violent story, featuring an amoral protagonist most easily recognized by his multitude of scars and his tendency to inadvertently destroy his own clothing.
Things are not all joyous though, as the book does suffer from some issues that I would normally consider fatal for a fantasy, such as not having any consistent framework of rules for the magic that appears in the story. The explanations given for it are vague at best, and half of the time, the cosmology is dropped in as an afterthought, while the other half of the time the exposition is completely unnecessary, serving only to set up the world for an apparent sequel. The latter issue is a bit annoying, but there is a certain adrenaline-infused momentum to the story that makes it easy to ignore the former and just go along for the ride. In the end, I didn't mind the lack of these details much because it's pretty clear that Stark doesn't care much about the rules or abstract concepts and his murderous single-mindedness makes it pretty hard to argue with him.
Regarding the cosmology, I have to admit that I was fairly sure that I was going to be disappointed by this aspect of the novel. The whole Judeo-Christian war between Heaven and Hell with mankind caught in the crossfire has been done a heck of a lot in fiction, and in most cases, it has gotten to be a bit boring. I was worried that the same would happen in Sandman Slim, and that I would be rolling my eyes during the climax of the book. I think Kadrey must have been aware by this danger, which is why he ensures that Stark makes clear that he does not care about the ongoing war across the planes. His protagonist's obsession with revenge and stubborn refusal to take interest in the overall conflict, except as a means to an end, means that the reader doesn't spend a whole lot of time caring about it either. This was a really smart move, because by the end of the book, I was not thinking about the fate of the world, I was worried about whether Stark was going to catch up with his enemies and get the brutal, messy revenge of his dreams.
Ultimately, my review of the book boils down to the fact that Sandman Slim is a hell of a lot of fun, with some great action and a gritty thug of a hero that wants none of your pity, but earns it nonetheless. It's a quick read, with some great lines, and enough Tom Waits references that you'll be ready to pour yourself some whisky and listen to Alice, Rain Dogs and Mule Variations all over again, though not necessarily in that order. If you are craving an entertaining, moody and dark dance with the supernatural, Kadrey's Sandman Slim is certain to satisfy your hunger.
I quite enjoyed this book. It takes place a couple years after the events of The Jennifer Morgue, and once again Howard is drawn into a dangerous andI quite enjoyed this book. It takes place a couple years after the events of The Jennifer Morgue, and once again Howard is drawn into a dangerous and complex web of intrigue by his superiors. Armed with only his shiny new smartphone, Bob Howard is forced to face off against the undead, ancient horrors, and worst of all, the bureaucrats within the Laundry itself.
I think this book may even have flowed better than The Jennifer Morgue, and I was pleasantly surprised by the book overall. I was worried that Stross wouldn't be able to keep it entertaining without being able to parody the Bond mythos like he did in the previous book, but the book was fast-paced, well-written and quite funny.
He still does the occasional POV shift this time, but he does a better job of making it flow within the structure of the story....more
With both this and Mr. Monster I can't decide whether to rate this 4 or 5 stars. Ultimately, it comes down to the enjoyment factor, and for that, I'llWith both this and Mr. Monster I can't decide whether to rate this 4 or 5 stars. Ultimately, it comes down to the enjoyment factor, and for that, I'll toss the fifth star on anyway.
With both this and I Am Not A Serial Killer I can't decide whether to rate this 4 or 5 stars. Ultimately, it comes down to the enjoyment factor, and fWith both this and I Am Not A Serial Killer I can't decide whether to rate this 4 or 5 stars. Ultimately, it comes down to the enjoyment factor, and for that, I'll toss the fifth star on anyway.