the first entry in Kelley Armstrong's "women of the otherworld" series is still her strongest, and it's a really good read. this story of a woman unwi...morethe first entry in Kelley Armstrong's "women of the otherworld" series is still her strongest, and it's a really good read. this story of a woman unwillingly changed into a werewolf avoids any mention of mysticism or ancient curses and makes the idea that werewolf packs are hidden in the world quite believable. supporting characters are individuals instead of generic stock copies of each other, which is good considering this is basically a tale of human(ish) relationships.
shame about the covers, though, since all the paperback ones have this generic "nighttime" or "supernatural" look, while the 1st ed hardback had one of the best covers in recent memory (a faceless woman in a 'flaming june' colored dress, limbs twisted at strange angles...a blonde tail subtly peeking from below the hemline).(less)
one of the blurbs on the back of the book describes this as "the 'gone with the wind' of werewolf novels," and perhaps that's accurate for some people...moreone of the blurbs on the back of the book describes this as "the 'gone with the wind' of werewolf novels," and perhaps that's accurate for some people...this book was a looooong slog to get through, anyway. the story revolves around a boy with multiple personality disorder, the illegitimate son of an eastern european count who is gathering all of the fellow werewolves in europe to emigrate to america, seen as some sort of chosen-one of the native werewolf population. somtow does an excellent job of making these creatures all animals - pissing on everything is the most common descriptor throughout the book - but a lame job of making you care about anyone in the story. there's a good tale in this brick, and a more aggressive editor would have done a lot to pare back the crap to bring it out. (less)
for anyone looking to get into a tough, gritty sort of urban fantasy - don't start here. go back to book one. saintcrow is name-dropping from the prev...morefor anyone looking to get into a tough, gritty sort of urban fantasy - don't start here. go back to book one. saintcrow is name-dropping from the previous 2 books in the set, but at this point it's gotten dense enough already that the action (and maybe more importantly, the INTERactions between people) can't be re-capped in a quick one page summary, so new readers will be somewhat lost.
dante valentine has several screws loose. a survivor of both childhood abandonment and a brutally sadistic prep school for those with psychic & magical talent, girl's got some major trust issues. we spend a lot of time in her head here, agonizing with her over the loyalty of her demon boyfriend who's just negotiated a contract that has her working for lucifer himself for the next seven years. as other reviewers have remarked, this constant anguish starts to get a little old in short order, but it is refreshingly *real*. for those of us who've complained about the mary-sue-ism and increasingly godlike powers of various other paranormal chicks (laurell hamilton, i'm looking at you here), this is a nice change. our heroine is in over her head here, interacting with malevolent forces that could destroy her with a glance, and she doesn't escape from these things unscathed. the suspense is real and engaging - you don't have that automatic assurance that all will be neat & healthy at the end.
this novel, much like the second one, seems to be transitional, moving from the powerhouse first into a more series-adventure setup. i'm intersted, i'm hooked, and i'll be reading on to see if it starts to hit its stride in the next ones, but i do prefer things to be more "contained" (read: a complete story) in each individual book.(less)
it's been many a year now since the first time i picked up these super fun Anita Blake books, the words that launched a thousand imitators and were pr...moreit's been many a year now since the first time i picked up these super fun Anita Blake books, the words that launched a thousand imitators and were pretty well the start of the whole modern-times supernatural adult fantasy/horror/mystery genre (see also: Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Lilith Saintcrow, Kim Harrison, etc etc). this is the first book-club edition of her stuff, comprising books 1,2, and 3 of the series, and up through book 6, this is the best it got.
the series deals with an outwardly-feisty but internally-prudish/shy/haunted animator (as in, she raises the dead for a living. go ahead and ask dad about that disputed clause in his will.) and the occasional work she does helping out the police with supernatural-based crimes. over the course of these first 6 books, our heroine is involved with bounty hunters, hit men, vampires, fairies, and a dizzying plethora of were-creatures of every stripe. it's every bit as fun and action-packed as it sounds, and each book is a breezy quick (nearly un-put-down-able) read.
while you don't have to read any of the first 6 strictly in order, there's solid story arc and character development going on over the course of these books. the world the characters inhabit is real in a matter-of-fact way, just different enough from ours to make you consider the fact that it might actually be that way in the next state over.
a word of caution: after book 6, the author started taking this series in a radically different direction (detour to porn-land) that just didn't work out so well with the established characters. so if you like a good story, read these first ones and then stop. if you like more erotica, pick it up at book 9 and go from there.(less)
**spoiler alert** there's basically a spectrum for these things classified as "paranormal romance" regarding quality/depth of plot. some are basically...more**spoiler alert** there's basically a spectrum for these things classified as "paranormal romance" regarding quality/depth of plot. some are basically gritty modern urban fantasy novels, just with their sex scenes written more often and more juicy; others are standard harlequin romances where the main characters just happen to be not entirely human. i strongly prefer the former, this book is most definitely the latter.
written in first-person POV of the male character, a hitman who survived a werewolf attack some year or so before the story takes place, the book never manages to make you believe in the narrator. just stating "i'm billy bad-ass" every so often does not a hard-bitten realist make. the worst offense, though, is the unlikably weaky & whiny female main character. she's hired our narrator to kill her, since she can't stand the overbearing demands of her family. i kid you not, the most conflicty thing these authors came up with was insensitive inlaws dropping the kids off for a weekend. the hitman provides her with earth-shattering all-day sex and appointments with his friend the shrink.
in the very last few pages, an organized council of shapeshifters appears to mentor the pack-less werewolf, hinting at a far more interesting and complex world to come in future installations. they might well be worth it. but this one? not so much.(less)
vampires & werewolves walk among us, and the real world is about to find out about the hidden one. nothing totally groundbreaking in this book - i...morevampires & werewolves walk among us, and the real world is about to find out about the hidden one. nothing totally groundbreaking in this book - if you've read the worlds written by kelley armstrong or patricia briggs before, you've got the concept down - but that's not a bad thing. this one's just as good as those other very nice entries into the urban fantasy genre, and if you like them, you'll like this one. an easy writing voice, a likable heroine, and an engagingly gritty plot that doesn't offer sunsiney promises that everyone's going to get out of this unscathed: quite good.(less)
THIS, dear readers, is total fluff. if the O-face in shadow on the front cover wasn't enough of a tip-off, let me clear up all doubts that this book i...moreTHIS, dear readers, is total fluff. if the O-face in shadow on the front cover wasn't enough of a tip-off, let me clear up all doubts that this book is about much more than teh sexaytimes.
that being said, bonus points for Arthur by figuring out that the PNR/UF trope of making time for a quick shag while hiding from the bad guys is utterly silly...unless you have a compelling reason to do so. we meet heroine riley walking home from work (in 6" heels, natch) just about to start the "moon dance" phase of a werewolf's monthly cycle. see, when the moon's about to get big, so does all lupine sex drive, to a level of undeniable biological imperative: this book spends a lot of time with any and all of the characters romping through the sort of no-hang-ups friendly sex that would be the reasonable result of actually being in heat. in between all the supernaturally beautiful people bumping, uh, pretties? there's a mystery to be solved, involving megabillionaire secret cloning conglomerates & illegal designer drugs. it's a fast-paced, fluffy bit of cheesecake, with some touches of interesting worldbuilding that may make future installments in the series more interesting if the ratio of story:sex gets adjusted a bit.
i've never felt the need to put a TRIGGER WARNING in a review before, but there were a couple of things that most definitely qualify. (view spoiler)[this book has a lot of "grey" rape in it*. there's not so much stereotypical brutalization of women to be found here, since the heroine is herself a rather tough supernatural creature. however, she is drugged by a long-term consensual sex partner, which results in sex without her knowledge, and the "moon heat" being brought to life-threatening levels results in her having sex with this same jerk later, after she's said she wants nothing to do with him again. the heroine views all of these episodes as non-consensual, and never makes excuses for the weasel or justifies what he's done to her. at no point does her inner monologue touch on the self-loathing or terror of being traumatized, though, so we have a depiction of the actuality of rape without a lot of the horror that survivors often go through. everyone's experiences of such things are reasonably self-defined, and it's handled in a way here that's appropriate to the character.
*"grey" being used here the way that idiot politicians would. there is no doubt that this character is raped. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
this vampire series - unique and fun for it's rustic, earthy main characters instead of the usual vampire flash - is still going strong 6 books in. wa...morethis vampire series - unique and fun for it's rustic, earthy main characters instead of the usual vampire flash - is still going strong 6 books in. warning, though: there's no way to cram 5 books' worth of back-explanation in. if you're starting with this one, you'll miss out on a lot. they're each light, breezy reads, not as silly as chick-lit, not as porntacular as many paranormal-romance novels are; worth perusing in general.(less)
the "kitty" books are thusfar definitely closer to urban fantasy than paranormal romance territory, so if you prefer your creatures of the night to ha...morethe "kitty" books are thusfar definitely closer to urban fantasy than paranormal romance territory, so if you prefer your creatures of the night to have more angsty love & sex than angsty plot development, move along. those of us on the other side of the equation, though, will enjoy these adventures. a fast-paced, quick read, perfect for spending a lazy morning late in bed.(less)
supernatural super thief may (a doppelganger created from her naiad twin's shadow & common sense) is bound and obligated to the whims of a demon....moresupernatural super thief may (a doppelganger created from her naiad twin's shadow & common sense) is bound and obligated to the whims of a demon. in the course of stealing an object at the demon's command, she meets the dragon gabriel; romance & eternal commitment ensue.
macalister is really really cheating here.
by book 4 of her 'aisling grey, guardian' series, we've figured out 2 major weaknesses: while they're fun and breezy, the heroine's ditzy "oops, i'm in another pickle!" thing has gotten kinda old; a secondary male character is by far more interesting than the lead hero. and as though macalister read my mind, she figured out a way to fix that problem. poof, a spin-off series starring a much more grounded, sane heroine and that interesting hottie from the other series.
so what's the problem with that?
well, if you're reading this one as a stand-alone (and the cover doesn't tell new readers that it has anything to do with a previous series at all), the romance of the pair seems unrealistically lightning-fast. those of us who already love gabriel are a good bit more ok with all of this, but still, going from zero to forever in a handful of pages is a little rushed. i do like very much the direction this story is going. it's leaning a lot closer to urban fantasy than straight-up romance, thought there's enough graphic sex to keep it on the latter shelf. a quick & fun read, probably closer to 3.5 stars.(less)
a weighty, sprawling tome that takes a while to get off the ground, but that's just because it's setting the hooks in you. by the time you've met the...morea weighty, sprawling tome that takes a while to get off the ground, but that's just because it's setting the hooks in you. by the time you've met the runaway drug addict, her haute-couture designing sister, pair of viciously politically ambitious brothers, strung-out wannabe rock-star cousins, managerial ice princess, and the rest of the gang - all werewolves - it's definitely become the sort of book that makes you annoyed at the rest of your life distracting from your reading. the brief chapters and engaging plot are endlessly tempting to read one or two or five before going off to that job that's so annoyingly taking you away from your book. highly recommended. (less)
i had an interesting experiment from this latest trip to the library. i was one of those people that fell totally in love with this se...more2.5 stars, even.
i had an interesting experiment from this latest trip to the library. i was one of those people that fell totally in love with this series several years ago when LKH was starting out with it. and like pretty much everyone else who was reading along from the beginning, round about book 9 or 10, i finally got frustrated enough to toss that thing across the room and give up on the badly written porn.
the experiment was that i haven't read any of her stuff in a couple of years now (well, except for a re-read of the first 4 or 5 books last year), and i wanted to see if it would still ignite some sort of rage of betrayal response. the answer is, pleasantly enough, nope. at this point, it's all silly fun instead of tragic disappointment.
there's some ballet dancers on the front cover, but people don't make it to the ballet until the last 40 pages or so. no major plot point gets resolved in the least - a bunch of new master level vampires that have shown up for said ballet never leave the city or get their business with the head vamp concluded. what we do get in this tome is several instances of our heroine having extremely satisfying (to the reader!) moments where a lightbulb goes off in her head, and she apologizes for being a hypocritical asshole to her bed buddies & friends. thanks, anita, now if we could just squeeze a little more plot in there, in between random hurried sex sessions, it'd be a whole lot more entertaining for everyone.(less)
the short version: it kept my up way too late one night, then kept me firmly on the couch a good chunk of the following day. very compelling.
the long...morethe short version: it kept my up way too late one night, then kept me firmly on the couch a good chunk of the following day. very compelling.
the long version: Jim Butcher is sneaky. he sucked you in a long time ago (and if you haven't been sucked in, get right on in there. and start from the beginning, it's important & well worth it) with a fun couple of books about a hardboiled detective of a wizard. at some point a few adventures in, though, this lark started getting serious, and the mysteries our hero was sorting out got less about a random client in trouble and more about keeping himself & his friends alive. nobody is invincible, and for every step won there's a pretty steep price to pay. it's compelling, interesting, complex without being bogged down in gimmicks reading. anyone else would have jumped the shark 11 books in, but this keeps getting better.(less)