Friday, June 29, 2012

110:70 Way of the Barefoot Zombie by Jaspar Bark

Doc Papa is running a course he calls "The Way of the Barefoot Zombie" in which the richest people are invited to come and try to learn how to detach themselves from their emotions in order to do what needs doing to make more money.  They learn how to move among zombies safely by imitating them right down to the eating of living human flesh.  The course culminates in the removing of the Gros Bon Ange, the higher reasoning part of the soul, through voodoo means and trapping it in a vessel so it can be returned later to argue the person's case to get into heaven unaware of what was done while they were removed.

Two of the current crop of students are more than they seem tho, they are members of the Zombie Liberation Front, and mean to set the noble dead free to roam the Earth rather than being used in this fashion.  Another is also not as she appears, a voodoo practioner in her own right from the island who had escaped when Doc Papa first came into power.  She is back to free the souls of the zombies so they can move on and to take the island back from Doc Papa.

An interesting take combining zombies and voodoo (ok, that's not unusual).  I found it a bit slow in the beginning but it picked up towards the middle.  There were some parts I felt were just thrown in for the ick factor and it could have been just as powerful without and I thought part of the ending was just a little too hokey but otherwise, a decent zombie book.

Page count: 239p/22,642p ytd

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

110:69 Poltergeist by Kat Richardson

The 2nd book in the Greywalker series.  It's been a couple of months since the events in the previous book that led Harper Blaine to become a Greywalker.  She's become more comfortable with the Grey in that time but when she's recommended by Ben to help with a poltergeist experiment that seems to have gone wrong she's about to get a crash course about all she still doesn't know.  She's hired to find the person faking the phenomenon of a collegiate research project about what a group collective can achieve but it's quickly obvious to her, although the professor won't hear of it, that they've managed to create a true spirit that is under the control of one of them and the person controlling the spirit is neither kind nor forgiving.

Lots of running around for Harper again as she tries to figure out who exactly is controlling the "ghost" which has now been used as a murder weapon.  She continues to call upon Ben and Mara who are dealing with their own problems as their son, Brian, has reached that lovely toddler stage and turned himself into "Rhino-Boy" with a penchant for headbutting and causing immense amount of chaos around him.  She also has to deal with Carlos again but that maybe something she ends up regretting in the future.

I really enjoy these books. Urban fantasy but not the same old werewolves and vampires that are so prevalent in much of the genre these days. The writing is incredibly descriptive which slows me down reading it to make sure I catch it all but even after a few pages I swear I've read way more than that because so much has happened.

Page count: 341p/22,403p ytd

Friday, June 22, 2012

110:68 Greywalker by Kat Richardson

The first in the Greywalker series.  Harper Blaine was a regular PI before she was beaten and left for dead, which she was for two minutes until she was revived.  Ever since then, she has seen weird things that don't seem quite real and shapes emerging from a grey mist.  She's not crazy tho and with the help of some friends of one of her doctor's, she finds out that she is now what is known as a 'Greywalker', one who can walk in our world but also the grey world where things like ghosts can exist.

Now, the things she always thought were fictional are coming to her for aid but how will she be able to help vampires and ghosts especially when she is still trying to figure out what is going on herself?

I appreciate that the author just throws us into the fray and we don't even know the main characters name for the first couple of chapters and that the entire premise is new and intriguing. The writing is incredibly descriptive and the action decently paced.  There were slow places as the author is setting up the world but I would be very surprised if that continues in subsequent books.

Page count: 352p/22,062p ytd

Monday, June 18, 2012

110:67 I am Legend by Richard Matheson

This book included not only the novel "I am Legend" but also a number of short stories.

First, I am Legend.  Robert Neville is just a regular person who happened to survive this plague that has turned the majority of people into "vampires".  We watch him as he tries to learn all he can about what could have caused it and consider ways to cure it while continuing to fortify his house and eek out a survival.  We share his loneliness, his despair in his unchanging and never-ending days.

I'd seen the movie and while I knew it would be different I was unprepared for the movie to bear only a passing similarity to the book.  They really are two different things (sort of like I am Robot).  The book was very good in it's own right tho but it took me a while to wrap my head around things and stop expecting it to come back around and meet-up with the movie.  I think looking at both, the book is better and in it's own way, scarier.  

Second, the short stories.  There were about 10 and they were all W-E-I-R-D!  And in a seriously creepy way.  No simple stories as even the shortest would have some bizarro twist to them which left me open-mouthed saying "Oh, no, he did not just do that".

So in all, an incredible read.  Just don't go into expecting anything like the Will Smith movie because you most definitely won't get that.

Page count: 320p/21,710p

Friday, June 15, 2012

110:66 Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton

The 21st book in the Anita Blake series.  Dear G-D, why do I keep reading these books?!  This series is such a train wreck and Ms. Hamilton is a complete tease.  The last book reminded me why I keep reading as it was something other than a massive orgy, characters I enjoyed were back and she set up some really interesting future plotlines.  With this one, I had high hopes going in.  The first 150p there was a bit too much mention of sex but no actual deeds and there was actual plot.  There were younger vampires kidnapping underage people to turn them, dead cops, no master of the kiss.  Lots of things to figure out.  And then Anita went home and the sex and relationship drama continued for the next 150+pages.  She talks all about how she's so happy with how her life works but then there's Asher or Sin or Dev or or or.  I guess we should all be thankful that she didn't add any more men to her harem but OMG, the repetitive nature of her personal thoughts, the sex scenes, and how every man makes her feel really makes me want to buy Ms. Hamilton a freaking thesaurus.  It's the exact same thoughts, scenes, etc and the words barely change.  And these are the exact same things she's stated and described in every book for the last 10!

As I said, I had high hopes starting this book.  The last one actually had me very curious about what would happen with Olaf.  He wasn't to be found in this one and I was a bit disappointed but the plot was moving nicely and then it just stopped.  Instead we got an all time cop-out when after all the monotonous sex scenes, the human servant of the missing master shows up at the police station and hands them all the information on  a silver platter.  REALLY?!?!  No investigative work, no mystery, nada.  It just gets handed to them with a big freaking bow on it and all they have to do is go shoot some people.


I keep saying I'm through with this series and then I end up getting pulled back in and I'm sorry enough to say that likely the next one will have that glimmer of hope and I'll end up reading it but again, it will be because my library has a copy.  I am sticking to my resolution not to pay for this drivel because you never know what you are going to get.  It seems to be about every 3rd book really packs a punch and reminds me of the start of the series but the in between ones are just pathetic attempts at erotica.  I don't think any other author I've read has disappointed me as much as Ms. Hamilton as she did have a good series until she screwed it up.

Page count: 359p/21,390p

Saturday, June 9, 2012

110:65 The Enchantress by Michael Scott

The 6th and final book in "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" series.  The battle for Earth is coming and the twins are finally reunited again but back in Danu Talis 10,000 years in the past.  Many of their friends are also there (Scathach, Prometheus, Joan of Arc, Saint-Germain, Shakespeare, and more) but this battle will truly come down to the twins and no one knows right now which side the twins will take or even if they will stand together for the prophecy states that one will destroy the world and the other will save it.

Nicholas and Perenelle are in SF modern times dealing with the creatures trapped on Alcatraz that are to be set loose to ravage the city but their time and power is almost up.  With few resources to call upon and only a few friends at their side, will it be enough to save the city?

Very fast paced and well done ending to this series.  Some people switched sides, there were a few "what did you say?!" reveals that made you stand up and take notice, epic battles, and a good resolution.  I admit, I like a good HEA but at the same time, there are some books that just doesn't work with and it feels cheap when you get it.  Mr. Scott didn't pull punches.  This was a war and not everyone lives.  The twins have to make some hard choices and while there is a resolution, I would hesitate to call it a HEA but it's not one that disappoints or leaves you super sad or angry.  More like hopeful with a touch of regret.

I admit, I'm going to miss this world that Mr. Scott has built but the story has been told.  He's done a few e-novellas which allows him to keep playing in it but on a much lesser scale and so far, I've not found them exciting but I remain hopeful for the new one featuring Billy the Kid.  I would really love to see backstories on all the immortals and how they ended up as immortals and get bits of what they've lived through but I'm not sure if this is in the cards.

Page count: 517p/21,031p

Friday, June 8, 2012

110:64 Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow

I've read a few other pieces of Doctorow's work and they were always enjoyable if a bit strange and out there.  This one went so far out there into strangeland, there were no Taco Bell's to be found.  Alan (Adam, Alric) seems almost normal, a bit odd to be sure and maybe a bit overly friendly but that is only because no one knows of his past.  He grew up in the shadow of his loving father, the mountain, and was rocked in the embrace of his mother, the washing machine.  As each of his brothers was born, he cared for them and tried to help them fit into the world but that wasn't always possible.  Bradly (Bobby, Branden) could see the future.  Craig (Charles, Chris) was destined to become an island, a miniature of their father.  Davey (Darren, Doug) was a sick and twisted child who delighted in tormenting others while stuck in his desiccated, falling apart body.  Edward (Egbert, Ernie), Frank (Franz, Fred), and George (Greg, Gordon) are a trio of nesting dolls who can't survive without the others.

Alan has come off the mountain and been moderately successful through his study of people.  He has now bought and remodeled a new house, gotten to know his new neighbors (a brother and sister trying to figure out their lives, a girl with wings, and a surly young man) and is ready to start writing a novel when Ed & Frank show up on his doorstep to tell him that George is missing and they think Davey is behind it.  Alan invites them to stay while they try to find the missing brother.  But then Frank disappears and then Ed is abducted down a drainpipe in the fountain outside his home.  Now he is remembering his past and trying to figure out Davey's next move before Davey comes for him.

So yeah, as I said, it's very strange.  The timeline jumps all over the place as well.  But you know, it works.  You very quickly figure out when things are taking place.  You figure out what is going on with the character's names.  Really, about 20% of the way through, I didn't really notice any of it any more and was just immersed in the story which was incredibly well told.  My only complaint is the ending left me wanting to scream as it was totally unfulfilling but in it's own way, that too totally works with the rest of the story.  This is not a typical story with a clear cut beginning, middle, and end.  It's much more like a snapshot of Alan's life with enough background so you can understand the present day events but since his life doesn't end at the end of the story, the story doesn't have a real resolution.  In all, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to someone looking for something very different.

Page count: 331p/20,514p