If I had a time machine, there would be several things I would do with it. High on my list would be helping my roommate expl...moreAs seen on Rabidreads.ca:
If I had a time machine, there would be several things I would do with it. High on my list would be helping my roommate explain the nature of time travel in such a way as it does not interfere with his narratives. At number forty nine on the list would be uploading this review sooner so as to save whatever woman or man put this book on request while I still had it checked out. Avoid this book. The vanilla villains, vanilla main characters, vanilla side characters, vanilla world, vanilla whodunit hackney cart, and too-long-for-its-own-vanilla plot make the only thing barbed about this read a certain bit of tiger male anatomy. And you know I was so excited about were-tigers! They are only big cats after all. You may be thinking all this mention of vanilla makes me crave the taste of vanilla or how great vanilla wallpaper can look in comparison to white wallpaper. When vanilla is in such excess as this, however, it burns. IT BURNS!
Whoever built the house of this book spent too long making sure the carpet was pristinely white, cleaning the carpet until their hands were raw, rather than developing its facade, chimney interior, or plumbing. Why would you eradicate the dirtiness of the carpet? That was where its character was! All the cat spit-up and tiger droppings are gone and what do you have to answer for it?
This book introduces our protagonists in the most bland of scenarios, an arranged marriage, and I’ll admit in concept it sounds promising. One could have colorful family guests like lecherous Uncle Bob or cantankerous grandmomma Wimmy and they could be arguing over who stole a purse or who split the champagne on Aunt Rosa’s dress that she spent three years sprucing up for this special event and Uncle Bob could be getting an eyeful as Wimmy rants to him about his clear drinking and woman problems...
But the plot introduces an additional convenience by having both families fresh off a flight from Europe, which could also upon reflection be colorful with jet-lag, awkward meetings, or lost luggage...
Our main characters are just two bland individuals who met once when they were children where it was already rumored they would be married. This childhood meeting is not provided with more than a paragraph of dialogue. I know once again it is a dynamic scene. But back to their blandness. How are they bland you might ask. Both are inheriting gobs of wealth, which could be interesting if they had some specific goal in mind like fighting crime, avenging parents, disappearing from the world, or traveling but the Missus just feels unsteady about the marriage even as she follows her father’s orders and the Mister is pioneering his father’s company. So you see a lot of this depends, as much of Western Literature does, on how flavorful the fathers are. I’ll admit I don’t remember their names or their descriptions, just two moneyed ciphers who didn’t even think it was best for the tribe to bring these two together. They have been ordered by the tribe to do so, which, on reflection, could have depth. They may be fighting world tiger hunger or crafting the perfect tiger heir, one tiger heir to rule them all...Not a chance.
The sex is, at least, acceptable. A book of were-tiger sex scenes would have been a lot better. (less)
One would think such a short read with such simple plot and simple language could not try the nerves, but Point Omega manages to do all of the above....more One would think such a short read with such simple plot and simple language could not try the nerves, but Point Omega manages to do all of the above. It begins quite mysteriously in the midst of an art exhibit and it will end as its book cover tells you somewhere in the desert. But as with all of Don Delillo's novels, its strength/weakness resides in how little changes between the two.
The plot arrives as much of a surprise to me, so I will not spoil it. And it is hard to not loop over the book's length in writing about it (it is I will stress so brief that one would think Delillo were trying to grapple with the nature of a gluon or any of the as of yet undiscovered subatomic particles). The art exhibit, in question, that the novel opens on is a rendition of Psycho in excruciatingly slow motion. Psycho as told over the space of twenty four hours, seven days a week. Perhaps what Delillo tries to achieve is the stillness inherent in all of our movement, how the smallest things can crop up in the midst of so much action. Let us not forget the blade raised in Psycho. The journalist at the center of the novel meets with a former Department of Defense official so as to glean what is going on in the military industrial scene. I am not the fairest reviewer as I was expecting at any moment for the reveal of a underground military base or some other fantabulous protuberance in the plot, rather we are left with dialogue and a steady accumulation of character between the journalist, the official, and the official's daughter who comes to visit. Where this goes I will continue not to tell. And in many ways, I am starting to warm up to the idea of (non) motion being present throughout the plot. I will just say do (not) come into this novel looking for the payoff or payload. (less)
I’ve been dodging this review for awhile. This was the first book that really felt a labor to read. Not that anything within...moreAs seen on RabidReads.ca:
I’ve been dodging this review for awhile. This was the first book that really felt a labor to read. Not that anything within it is bad. It’s just the way it puts the pressure on and then takes it off is predictable. And I don’t mean it’s predictable because of who is doing the pressuring, it’s more the pacing that becomes predictable. Chapters pretty much bleed one into the next because they always end on a hanger. And this does give it momentum but it also gives it a sprinting feeling, which is great if you like being rushed out of your books. Everything about the world comes across as sort of shallow whether it be dialogue or description. And I know that’s all in favor of resembling our world as much as possible but...
Let’s get to the characters. The book has a nice balance between yin and yang. I would be hard pressed to say if either of their voices really trumps the other. They’re both truly strong whether that be in the midst of sex or battle. The few times we are put into other character’s perspectives struck me as pretty blah. I mean I’m all in favor of giving a lot of character’s perspectives but if you’re going to do that you have to keep them balanced and developed and you have to feel like you’re not just being shown this to fill us in on what’s going on. I can really only think of one scene that is incredibly guilty of that, a scene putting us right in a villain’s head. These scenes can be cool if given the time to shine. To make such a villain, however small, quirky or “human”. Unfortunately, majority of the side characters fall to the wayside. Only members of Lucas’ wolf pack have any hope of coming out of the shadows, namely Dane and Piers. But keep in mind this is only because their morals are interesting to watch.
This would be one of the more sexually explicit books I’ve read. So let’s just say at the first mention of a particular body part, it lost a lot of its subtlety. I found the sex scenes embarrassing to read so that probably means they were a success. What I liked above all was the flavor of the world, the jackals and charmers and demons. I imagine it would look a lot like True Blood. I’m not sure, however, how apt that comparison is only having seen like three episodes myself.
Also the title is pretty good. In fact, it gives the book a lot of ambiguity which its interior kind of lacks. For that if I were being nice, I would raise an extra paw. (less)
I was looking forward to reading this book. Its cover was subtle. Unfortunately as you can see I did not like it which makes...moreAs seen on Rabidreads.ca:
I was looking forward to reading this book. Its cover was subtle. Unfortunately as you can see I did not like it which makes me wonder why I am doing a review for it. It must be because I think it's hip to be reviewing it. The book is being picked up as a TV series for Netflix to be directed by Eli Roth. Its author is supposedly speaking for all the disenfranchised werewolves and vampires of the world who want their thirst for blood back.
As if the book were some blocky Golem who only had said goal imprinted in its wax, the book only manages to impress the reader with its dreadfully muddy appearance. Within the first two pages we have the protagonist bumping into a schizophrenic hobo while the cops discover a brilliantly mauled corpse. The catch is it is not our werewolf protagonist doing the killing.
The author uses some ancient names to spice up both his protagonist and his vampire partner but they remain essentially what they are, two teenagers playing Hardy Boys. The concept sounds promising even the writing can at times. Disappointment, however, quickly sets in as you realize that the author isn't going to give us anything but surface. I do not think I could tell you what I had figured by the end. None of the characters are developed for more than a few pages before we skip perspectives. And this book suffers from skippage like a disease. Sure...it allows for some quick reading and I'm sure it will make a much better TV series than a book but I really wished I hadn't been led on so much by the numerous unresolved implications.
Chapter to chapter consistency is pretty bad. Sometimes we are reading e-mails. Sometimes we are reading interviews. But there remains no pattern just the continual mumbling of Ouroboros as if it were both a dreaded prophecy and a bioengineering program. Sad fact is I don't think it's either. In many ways, I, at least, like the notion of a highly literary type tackling the werewolf and vampire program but this guy took himself too seriously and couldn't puncture the surface. Lord knows he tried. (less)
Liquid Lies probably could have done with some cuts. It takes awhile for the passion we all know is going to happen to happe...moreAs seen on Rabidreads.ca:
Liquid Lies probably could have done with some cuts. It takes awhile for the passion we all know is going to happen to happen and it takes stars for Gwen, our diplomatic protagonist, to make the critical decisions. This tremendous delay comes with some benefits.
When Reed and Gwen finally do connect (I hope that isn't too much of a spoiler), it feels like much has passed between them and not just a lot of dialogue, mainly a lot of tension. Even with all the space the two characters are given to be fleshed out, Reed and Gwen still come off as caricatures. Not to mention Griffin and Gwen's father, her family, who quickly disappear into the organization they briefly stuck their heads out of.
Gwen, a bit of a Daddy's girl after losing her mother a little ways back and having her sister banished due to her fraternization with a Primary, works under her father and the Board at the Company where they as aliens that appear human sell magical products that alter people's appearances. If this all sounds a little too corporate, it is.
Reed, also known as the Retriever (a complete joke of a title, please tell me it's a joke), "retrieves" important people. Surprise, surprise Reed's path crosses Gwen's. It is unclear who should trust who.
The alien backstory gradually becomes more and more of the interesting centerpiece in this otherwise predictable world until about a third of the way through when its imagery and imagination completely steals the show in one stunning scene, then it is forced to succumb to our original Reed/Gwen truststory. From what is shown in that one scene, it feels like the author has much more to offer rather than this hokey - not even worthy of the defamation B-plot tag - story. The first few pages of the next book in the series also direct our attention to more quirky protagonists.
Perhaps the feeling here is that the author could have gone out on more of a limb than she has? With stories like these, when entirely new cultures are introduced, there should be opportunities for inserting more totally alien fixtures, colors that our eyes cannot see, things that completely defy human communication and certainly there is a bit of that with the fact that Gwen can speak twenty + different languages but that is all handled in a minimal, nearly offscreen way.
Although I begrudged the beginning and the end of this book (and had some sort of hope three quarters of the way through) I will hold out hope that the next book, Alien in Ice Land, will deliver.(less)
Visions of Chains gives us a vision of an America turned in upon itself to exterminate the witches. The First Amendment is i...moreAs seen on Rabidreads.ca:
Visions of Chains gives us a vision of an America turned in upon itself to exterminate the witches. The First Amendment is in danger of being overthrown so as to prevent the naysayers and yeahsayers alike from forming opinions about the witch topic.
Over top of this political witch hunt, we have Deidre, the President's daughter, discovering that she may just be one of the Chosen Ones (I have invented this title; just know she has incredible power). The Chosen Ones each have their consort, an Eternal, who has braved the test of time to hook up with the reincarnation of the Chosen One. So while Deidre has been cycling through bodies in Jerusalem, London, Montreal, and Baghdad, her Eternal, Finn has been waiting to Awaken her memories through interpersonal means.
While it may make some uncomfortable for me to lay into the third book without having endured the visions of the first or second, I think it is safe to say, using this one has a model, that any notion of tension and/or climax has completely escaped this world, except for the one that granted Finn and Deidre must act out to Awaken their powers.
Why, if Deidre does Awaken her powers (is that a spoiler?), does she continue to adore her mother? This question bothered me frequently. I kept waiting for the tide of memories to overpower Deidre and for her to forget how important her current incarnation is in the grand scheme of things, for if she did and should have, I feel the major conflict, that between trusting Finn or her mother, would absolutely collapse. Instead we are led to believe, quite contradictorily to all the Awakening propaganda we have heard, that Deidre would still believe this presidential mother could be trusted, even after several meetings tell her not to.
The setting, mostly a network of tunnels underneath Washington D.C., is admittedly pretty cool. But why, if Deidre is just so darned powerful, does she cavort around with the Witch Liberation Front, once again in total contradiction to the memory overlay we are led to believe she would be granted? I must have missed somewhere that the Awakening, a deep pool of hundreds of years of power and memory, would have no effect on those who were Awakened at all.
The primary conflict then that appears to exist at the level of the composition is between present day and eternity. How much should we care about this disaffected United States when we must also care about these reincarnating lovers? Of course, I am blowing my complaints out of proportion when the level of this disunity is hardly explored beyond the surface. I am withdrawing from this book because it is underdeveloped. Enough said.(less)
Blessed by a Demon's Mark tells its tale of murder and deceit without the hint of a smirk, wink, or flirt. Kat Redding's mod...moreAs seen on Rabidreads.ca:
Blessed by a Demon's Mark tells its tale of murder and deceit without the hint of a smirk, wink, or flirt. Kat Redding's modes: pissed or enraged. Time to sit back and engage with pop culture exists not.
For some this vanilla, all blood and all betrayal, read will fulfill Urban Fantasy's core requirements, fantastical happenings in an urban jungle, without the constant insertion of irony, backtalk, and snappy dialogue which usually engulfs the genre.
This late in the series, at least, three different factions are vying for Redding's Next Top Enemy. This gives the book a feeling of irresolution concerning the previous happs. and those to come. What exactly was accomplished here? You'll be asking that.
If one accepts this as the rather dry, all gore and all grim, read it is, one can somewhat delight in Redding's inability to manage the most basic social interactions and I am not saying that in a "she usually gives away more information than she's supposed to" sense but rather a "she explodes on the people most capable of helping her and attempts to block them completely out as if they would not be endangered no matter due to their proximity to her".
I would have preferred more exposition and thinking on Redding's part. It is not that she suffers from a death wish like some protagonists but her motives and to-do list are not usually clear. Certain voyages appear out of the blue, quite in contradiction to the absolute red everything else is painted in.
Maybe Redding in general suffers from a failed evolution. Whereas she could have taken the path to humoring the situation, she instead takes them seriously enough that others suffer bloody consequences. Thus everything surrounding her looks to be a tragedy.(less)