starts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/a...morestarts off as eye-rollingly silly as the blurb makes it sound, but manages to very quickly get right on track as a snappy-paced swashbuckler of a UF/alternate history. massive bonus points for having both male and female main characters be actual well-rounded characters, not just stock-issued love interests or generic ass kickers.
random PSA for the day: this is SO not steampunk, guys. they may be wearing corsets and outdated fashion for the whims of their centuries-old undead monarch, but they have cell phones and cars, not dirigibles and clockwork.(less)
the world here is all kinds of interesting - there are hints that it's a sort of alternate-history, that it takes place in an america of feral shapeshifters, where civilization as we know it never really happened. the social interactions of various flavors of non-humans is likewise interesting, and best of all, we get the suggestions of barracks of enslaved human prophets that can see the future within their own blood, sold to the highest bidder.
but the characters, GAH! we're told repeatedly that all the shapeshifters are dark and ominous and rule the earth like kings crushing puny humans beneath their heels...and this story is about the monsters tenderly protecting their stray lamb of an innocent girl. it's far too much like the set-up for a cheez romance novel wherein the male lead is a Bad Boy (tm) who becomes good only for his true luv. thankfully, this book doesn't veer into romance territory, but even worse, it doesn't richly explore a whole lot of the actually very interesting things it sets up. ultimately, therefore, a bit bland and a bit frustrating.(less)
skimming through this book's page, i'm amazed by the consistent 4- and 5-star reviews. so take it with a grain of salt that while i really didn't like...moreskimming through this book's page, i'm amazed by the consistent 4- and 5-star reviews. so take it with a grain of salt that while i really didn't like this book a whole lot, most other people apparently do.
the start of the book finds us discovering along with jessica that she is the one and only female werewolf in existence (e.g., Bitten). this may have some upcoming lifestyle changes necessary for her PI job (e.g., harry dresden, anita blake...oh, who am i kidding, 50% of every UF knocks off either harry or anita) and everyone's efforts to keep the supernatural secret world hidden. as the plot sails along, a love interest as obvious as the red paint on a firetruck is introduced via a super sultry phone call (cuz you usually get those at work), and jessica also finds out that she's a megasuperbadass despite a lack of any previous combat training. and then the book ends in such an abrupt way that if it weren't for the "jessica's story continues in book 2!" announcement at the bottom of the same page, i would be worried my kindle copy was defective.
the pacing and the plot of this book were great - it's a fun read, and it doesn't drag - and the sex scenes are fantastic (NOT a skill every writer has), but the characters are about as complex as tissue paper, and i ultimately didn't care in the least what happened to any of them. jessica is nice, doesn't treat coworkers rudely, whines a little when life gets crappy, is loyal to her family...and has absolutely no depth or moral ambiguity. her defining character trait is that she's fictional. her love interest is 500 to her 25 (e.g., just as creepy as Twilight), and is bound to her by clichéd mystical woo-woo destiny. her father is noble, her brother is reliable, some vampires are antagonistic, and each of them is as interchangeable as the other.
in other words, every possible trope of the genre is trotted out here. it reads like copy edited self-published fan-fic, and doesn't even have the decency to come up with an ending. despite the pseudo-cliffhanger, i don't have enough of an attachment to jessica & pals to worry about what happens in the continuation.(less)
yeah, it's a little formulaic (when the first major male character walks on scene, he might as well be wearing a t-shirt that says "love interest"), b...moreyeah, it's a little formulaic (when the first major male character walks on scene, he might as well be wearing a t-shirt that says "love interest"), but it's a super fun and fast-paced read. don't be distracted by the eye-rollingly awful cover, it's actually an in-joke in the book, not just some trashy exploitative thing (tho, obvs, it is that, too).(less)
your average UF book is about a wizard/witch/spellcaster of whatever flavor that's a little bit badass, going to battle for the forces of good and all...moreyour average UF book is about a wizard/witch/spellcaster of whatever flavor that's a little bit badass, going to battle for the forces of good and all. i love a good hero/ine as much as the next girl, but i've read that story enough times that it's nicely refreshing to come across one with an entirely different approach.
Edie is a nurse, about a year out of school, worried about everyday mundane things like where her student loan payments are going to come from and how she's going to get back that furniture that her junkie brother pawned last week. she ends up working the night shift at a secret hospital ward that cares for supernatural patients; shenanigans (e.g., warring vampire courts) ensue. Edie is refreshingly "normal" - her problems and her responses to crazy things happening are completely relatable - so she makes a great window into this world. it doesn't hurt that my mom is a nurse, so i could have fun imagining a younger version of her bandaging up a zombie. bonus points for the lingo peppered throughout this book being dead-on accurate.(less)
an engaging, likeable heroine and an alpha male who's thankfully not a blockhead make for a pretty snappy read. there's more danger and battl...more3.5 stars
an engaging, likeable heroine and an alpha male who's thankfully not a blockhead make for a pretty snappy read. there's more danger and battle and blood than in your standard PNR, but more than a few of the standard tropes, too (e.g., lots of secret-keeping, a dash of "chosen one" angst). one of the better freebie/indie books I've read. (less)
I picked this up years ago at a used bookstore, probably due to its exuberant back-cover blurb: "perhaps the finest novel about werewolves ever publis...moreI picked this up years ago at a used bookstore, probably due to its exuberant back-cover blurb: "perhaps the finest novel about werewolves ever published!" this year's "read 12 grandmasters in 2012" challenge has finally brought it bubbling up to the top of the TBR pile, and while I don't know if it's the best, it certainly is a refreshingly unique take on lycanthropy.
will barbee is an alcoholic newspaper writer, reporting on the return of an expedition from the far east. they arrive with a mysteriously heavy locked box and a discovery that will change the world, if only one of them can stay alive long enough to tell it. a more complete summary would be overly spoilery, and a large part of the fun (and horror) of this story is the unexpected angles in the plot turns.
like plenty of 50+ year old novels, this comes off a little dated. people generally don't dess up for dinner anymore, and the idea of keeping your secretary-mistress in a swank apartment-hotel seems like the seedier side of a b&w donna reed era. the prose is often a little too restrained and mannered: in a way, is is about spiraling into madness, and I think the horror would have been more immediately visceral if it was written a bit messier. that being said, the plot itself and the science (science! in a werewolf novel!) were utterly fresh and accessible. (view spoiler)[huge bonus points for the bleak ending that avoids the reluctant hero's triumphant cliche. cool!! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)