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A Reader of Fictions: January 2011

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Papercut - Linkin Park

Death's Sweet Embrace
Dark Brethren, Book 2

Author: Tracey O'hara
Genre: fantasy
Pages: 336
ARC Acquired From: HarperCollins via NetGalley

For the second installment, new characters come to the forefront of the story. Antoinette is back as a supporting cast member and Christian makes one cameo. The new heroine is Kitt, a felian (a snow leopard shifter). She is educated, a doctor, and is called in by Oberon's new organization to perform an autopsy. Turns out there is a new paranormal serial killer on the loose and its up to these guys to stop the murderer. And of course, this will require Kitt to get up close and personal with her baby daddy, Raven (a canian/wolf shifter).

I am totally okay with the shift in main characters. It's a good way to write a long romance series without having the main couple get together and break up and get together and break up, etc. What bothers me is that the construction of the book is different from the first in the series. Rather than following only the two main characters, the view point follows others, including the serial killer. The reason O'hara did this brings me to my second concern.

This book has three or four villains/organizations (although maybe they're all part of the same cause?). There's the serial killer, the aliens who originally brought the paranormals to earth as their slaves, the organization the baddie from book one was a part of and the crazy Aeternus who is creating a pack of Necrodeniacs. Overkill much? Because there is so much going on and the group has to split up all the time to deal with the many problems, she could not write from the perspective of just two characters.

I really don't think that the addition of more view points or bad guys added to the book. Now the book is taking itself way too seriously; it is trying to be more fantasy/adventure than romance. This book has very few steamy scenes. What with the shifting between characters and all the action scenes, there just isn't time. That is a shame. Books need to be what they are...and this is a romance series. O'hara needs to do what she does best.

P.S. And twins, really? (This will only make sense to those who finish the book.)

"It's like I'm paranoid lookin' over my back
It's like a whirlwind inside of my head
It's like I can't stop what I'm hearing within
It's like the face inside is right beneath my skin"

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God of Wine - Third Eye Blind

Vanishing Acts

Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: realistic fiction
Pages: 418
Publisher: Washington Square Press

Brief Summary:
Delia Hopkins has a fantastic life. Her dad is the greatest: he does magic tricks, makes pancakes and has always been there whenever she needed him. She has two best friends, Eric and Fitz, who have lived near her as far back as she can remember. She and Eric have a beautiful daughter together; Fitz will do anything for her. Although sometimes disheartening, she loves her career as a find and rescue professional and her bloodhound Greta. Her life begins to unravel the day her father gets arrested. For kidnapping. Her. And apparently her name is Bethany. And her mom hasn't been dead for the last 24 years like her dad told her.

Jodi Picoult is one of the most popular contemporary authors. I have read and enjoyed (to varying degrees) three of her other novels. For one of my classes at Pitt, we read My Sister's Keeper, or were supposed to. I had read the book prior to taking the course and did not reread it. That one was my favorite of the Picoult books I had read. Imagine my surprise when all of my friends hated it. They said the writing was absolutely atrocious.

In my reading of Vanishing Acts, I paid way more attention to the construction of the novel than I ordinarily do on a first time through a book (in which, unless the story is absolutely awful, I focus on the plot and the characters). I still thought the story itself was engaging, but I definitely found weaknesses in the characterization/writing. The main problem is that, if the fonts were not different for each character, I would constantly have been forgetting which character's point of view I was currently reading. They lack a unique voice. And even when they were freaked out about something, they all continued to read as a bit disaffected.

Although changing the font for each different character is neat, I really think you ought to be able to tell which character is 'speaking' without needing that. Or even without a heading. Also, I have to admit that I was annoyed by the similarity between Andrew's (Delia's father) and Eric's (Delia's fiancee) fonts. Is Picoult (or the publisher) trying to suggest that Delia has serious Elektra complex type daddy issues? Or were they just too lazy to find another font that looked entirely different from the others? There are thousands of fonts; how hard can it be?

All three had two things in common, despite their differing plots: a focus on family and a twist at the very end. The twist here was...pretty much nonexistent. The only things that could maybe called twists are Delia's continual rediscoveries of memories and a 'revelation' that was completely unsurprising given the discourse of the previous chapters.

A decent read on an interesting subject, but not an astounding book. Now for some lyrics! (This song was also selected because alcoholism is a huge topic in this book; about half of the characters are, were or were related to alcoholics).

"And there's a memory of a window, looking through I see you.
Searching for something I could never give you.
There's someone who understands you more than I do.
A sadness I can't erase, all the love on your face."

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Beware! Criminal - Incubus

Night's Cold Kiss
Dark Brethren, Book 1

Author: Tracey O'hara
Genre: fantasy, romance
Pages: 352
Publisher: Eos

Brief Summary:
Antoinette is a Venator, a trained hunter of vampiric killers (necrodeniacs). The world has come to an agreement with many kinds of paranormals (including the better-behaved vampires called Aeternus), but Antoinette does not trust them, because one killed her mother. Too bad for her that she now must work with a slew of paranormals to get revenge for her mother's death.

Night's Cold Kiss is not exactly deep and meaningful fare, but nor did I expect it to be. O'hara delivers a raunchy, paranormal-filled romp that is sure to delight fans of the Sookie Stackhouse or Karen Chance books. Believe it or not, this book is actually steamier than those books, although not as steamy as some of the Laurell K. Hamilton books.

The characters are fairly one-dimensional, but they are at least somewhat interesting and not offensive. Antoinette kicks ass, which is always a good thing to see. Christian, the love interest, does have the whole perfect and broody thing happening, but manages not to be quite as insanely over-protective and irritating as the Edwards or Bills of the paranormal world. My favorite characters were the ursian (shifts into a bear) Oberon and the malamute Cerberus.

I have three rather nit-picky criticisms. One: the names. The character names are almost all absurd. See Antoinette (how would she not have abbreviated this?) and Christian (good name for a vampire). Antoinette's brother is nicknamed Nici (for real?). Two: the drinking. Antoinette says at the beginning that she rarely drinks and then proceeds to imbibe spirits (more than are good for her) in every scene until the action (ahem) really begins. Three: vampire healing or lack thereof. An Aeternus character heals from multiple broken bones in a matter of minutes. Another Aeternus is killed by a single silver bullet wound in a matter of minutes. Really? Sure, silver is bad, blah, blah, but that still seems a bit swift and unlikely.

But really, who cares about that? If you want to read a hot paranormal romance, Night's Cold Kiss will satisfy.

"You came, you saw, you conquered
I'm left here bleeding.
Oh, what went wrong?
Yeah I'm down, but not out
And far from done.
Hey all, Beware! Ooh...
Beware! Criminal... criminal... criminal"

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The Red - Chevelle

Superman: Red Son

Author: Mark Millar
Genre: alternative history
Pages: 148
Publisher: DC Comics

I enjoy comic books, although I have not read many of the classics. At least not yet. Superman is one of my least favorite superheroes; he is a boring do-gooder with a lame disguise. For this alternative history, I was willing to give Superman a chance.

For any history lover, this is a must read. The idea of a Soviet Superman is incredibly interesting from a Cold War perspective. I wish we had read this for my Soviet Union class in undergrad (only sort of kidding). I took this in to work today and showed one of my coworkers. He is in his upper 40s or so and was absolutely astounded and horrified at the thought of a Soviet Superman. Having been such an American icon, this is a really amazing reimagination.

The historical goodies in here are just delightful. For example, Superman's Soviet emblem or the propaganda posters. The absolute corruption of absolute power is certainly in evidence too. Watching Superman transition from goody two shoes into the heir of Stalin is remarkable, but believably accomplished.

I loved this, except for one thing: the ending. It's a bit open-ended, so I am not one hundred percent sure I hated the ending, but I am definitely annoyed by it. There must have been a better way to conclude the story.

A quick, wonderful, thought-provoking read set in the Cold War era. (Can you tell us where the nuclear wessels are?)

"So lay down, the threat is real,
When his sight goes red again.
Seeing red again,
Seeing red again."

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Her Ornament - The Verve Pipe

Tramps Like Us/Kimi wa Petto

Author: Yayoi Ogawa
Genre: josei
Volumes: 14

Brief Summary:
This josei manga tells the story of a 28 year old woman who finds a 20-year old guy in a box outside her building. She brings him into her apartment, so he does not have to sleep on the street. Then, she decides to keep him as her pet. Strange as it sounds, this relationship proves beneficial to both parties.

For those of you not familiar with the different kinds of manga, a brief explanation. Josei is manga for women, the adult counterpart of shoujo. The themes are, unsurprisingly, ones that would be of more interest to a grown woman. Romantic relationships are often key, but there is also a focus on the workplace, family and sex.

I didn't expect to like this series as much as I did. The plot, of an older woman taking in a younger man as a pet, held little appeal. I have never been a fan of age gaps and the whole pet thing sounded super creeptastic. Still, the whole thing was done very tastefully.

The master-pet relationship was achieved without any sketchiness and the feelings grew slowly and naturally. One of the great things is that Yayoi Ogawa managed to make their relationship in the early volumes feel completely platonic and then had the relationship grow and change over time.

This is really a story about people's expectations. Sumire was looking for a guy that would fulfill her three qualifications: high intelligence, high salary and height. She finds that guy and then struggles with the fact that she still does not feel satisfied. She cannot be herself with him; nor is he entirely happy with her. What people think they want/need is not always what they really do need. To quote Wonderfalls, one of the best shows of all time:

Gretchen: (About her husband) He's great if I was gonna make a list of what I wanted in a husband. Which I did, actually. Well, Robert is that list.
Chuck: So, he's the man of your dreams?
Gretchen: He's the man of my list.
Chuck: Do you love him?
Gretchen: No. I don't. I don't love my husband. Did I ever? I mean, I converted for him. That's a lot of work! There's like, tests and stuff! I was so busy worrying that Robert didn't love me that I never considered if I loved him.

The story got a bit disjointed here in the last volume and even took a strange fantasy plot twist at the very end, but was still a fairly satisfying conclusion to the series. This definitely is not going to be for everyone (manga tends to be a hard sell to American adults to begin with), but, if you can get your hands on it and willing to give manga a chance, this is a good one to try.

"Her shadow seems much cooler
Camouflage myself and plan a special entrance
I just want to be her situation pending expectation
I just want to be her ornament"

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Pure Imagination - Gene Wilder

A Little Princess

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Genre: children's literature
Pages: 199
Publisher (of this terrifying edition on the right): Sterling Publishing, Co.

I am going to deviate from my standard formula here (and will probably do likewise for other books as well known as this one) and skip the summary portion. I am assuming that a good number of people will have grown up with this story, like I did. I actually have never read this book before (maybe...I might have read it when I was quite young, but this is a true statement so far as I recall). I usually post a picture of the cover of the edition I read, but I was really tempted not to here. Check out the ridiculously terrifying cover on my library copy!

Sara Crewe is a child gifted with a remarkable imagination, intelligence and a doting father. When her father dies, her intelligence is useful certainly, but it is her imagination that really pulls her through the tough times. She wonders in the beginning of the book whether she is actually nice or not, because she has never experienced a hardship. I really loved that when hardship came, she struggled to maintain her princess demeanor. She got angry and wanted to respond spitefully to ill treatment, but made the conscious decision to rise above. This makes Sara feel like a real girl, not like some absurd Pollyanna.

I am always happy to find another book lover, and such is Sara Crewe. One of the most trying moments of the book for her in her battle to keep her temper is when her reading is interrupted: "Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment." Delightful.

There was one element of the story that is a bit...odd...from a modern perspective. That is that the Indian servant, Ram Dass, watches Sara while she is inside and even comes into the room while she is sleeping. His intentions are entirely noble and he is doing good. Still...it's hard not to be at least a wee bit creeped out by that these days.

Although a children's book, this classic loses nothing when read by an older audience. I highly recommend this to anyone who believes in magic! Also, if you haven't seen it, definitely check out the 1995 film version, because it manages to capture the magic of the book and even improve upon the story (in my opinion)!

"If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it

Anything you want to, do it

Wanna change the world?

There's nothing

To it

There is no
Life I know

To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free

If you truly wish to be"

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Over You - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap

The Iron Queen
Iron Fey, Book 3

Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: fantasy, romance, young adult
Pages: 368
ARC Acquired From: Harlequin via Net Galley

I finally made it through the third book in the Iron Fey series. For a while there it felt as though I would never make it! Since I had a copy of the ARC, I felt it my duty to read it. That said, here's the review.

The elements of book one that were worthwhile and made me hope for the rest of the series either ceased existing or became incredibly irritating through repetition. A perfect example of the former are the pack rats, who I found delightful in The Iron King. They show up only once in the subsequent books (in this book actually), but they get no lines and are mindlessly doing evil. No mention is made of their fate. Of the latter, Grimalkin is an excellent example. I loved him in the first book, because he's so cat-like and judgmental. Now I hate when he shows up. For one thing, there's the fact that every time he appears/disappears the surrounding characters say the same damn thing. Plus, he never does anything without washing his paw/tail or twitching his tail. He's a cat. I get it!

I also liked that Meghan tried when scary times happened. She sometimes had to be saved, but she also helped others when she could, either with wits or magic. In this book, she trains and gets stronger physically and magically. Despite this, she still relies on Puck and Ash to keep her safe. When she does try to act on her own, Ash returns to his "cold, unreachable Ice Prince" self. Her continued/forced reliance on others to save her despite being one of the most powerful characters is incredibly aggravating!

Another major issue I had with this series was that I shipped Meghan with the wrong guy. I knew it was coming from book one, but I can't help it. I don't like Ash. He's lame and overly controlling (see above). Puck isn't perfect by any means, but he is way more like a real person with a personality than Mr. Grumpy I-want-to-be-a-warrior-with-Darcy/Edward-moping-abilities. (Plus, Puck turns into a crow, which reminds me of Nawat in Trickster's Choice! ) Ash says things like "You are my heart, my life, my entire existence." Seriously? Is this a kind of love I should be envious of and aspire to? Ick. Cheesy to the nth degree.

Writers borrow from other writers. It happens and it's not plagiarism to be inspired, which is why people can write sequels to other people's books. Kagawa is trying to create her own unique fantasy world though, which is why I'm bothered by a character that talks (and sort of acts like) Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. The Gremlin named Razor speaks thusly after Grim (the cat) captures him: "Evil, evil, sneaky kitty! Bite your head off in your sleep, I will! Hang you by your toes and set you one fire! Burn, burn!" Replace 'sneaky kitty' with 'tricksy hobbitses' and you will definitely see what I mean.

On the plus side, there's another book in the series. If there's a midnight release party, I will be there with bells on! Ahem. In all seriousness, if you're interested in this series, do yourself a favor and quit after book one.

"And I guess there's just no getting over you
And there's nothing I can do
But spend all of my time
Out of my mind... over you"

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur - Sigur Rós

The Silver Sea (Originally Published as Wolf Cry)

Author: Julia Golding
Genre: historical fiction, young adult
Pages: 334
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Brief Summary:
Ohthere, a Viking lord, comes back from a sailing voyage to find his village destroyed and everything gone but his daughter Freydis, now crippled by a pirate sword. Her brother, Toki, the only child who meant anything to him, has been captured by the aforementioned pirates. Ohthere had picked up a slave, with mysterious blue-black skin for her. Enno, the slave, did not want to feel compassion for the Vikings that enslaved him, but finds himself drawn to Freydis, whose treatment is little better than his. Along with Ohthere's crew, they set sail to rescue the rest of the villagers and brother Toki.

First thing, which really does not matter at all, is that I cannot figure out why they changed the name of the book. The new name, Silver Sea, does not really have any correlation to the story. Yes, they spend a lot of time sailing on the waters, which are probably silver sometimes when the light shines off of them the right way, but there is actually a prophecy in the story referred to as 'Wolf Cry.' I could not find an image of the cover I read that was the right size, so exhibited enjoy the more Viking-ish cover! Pointless change is pointless.

Last year, I read my first book by Julia Golding: Dragonfly. Although the story was largely predictable, I loved it. The characters were engaging and felt like real people. (And the P&Pish nature of the romance held appeal too.) I expected this book to be much the same: predictable, but quite enjoyable and clever in spite of that.

Well, I was wrong. I totally thought I knew what was going to happen. But I was wrong. For one thing, I didn't get the super happy ending that I was expecting. Most books for teens end pretty happily, although I can name a good selection that don't, although most are somewhere in the middle of a series or a dystopia. In this instance, the sad ending does make for a more realistic story given the setting. Still, I was rooting for the characters and hoped all the good people would get to have everything they wanted and the bad people die.

Julia Golding writes strong women, although not necessarily physically strong. They are clever, resourceful and determined. Although I recommend Dragonfly more than Silver Sea, I will definitely be reading more Julia Golding and think she is a fantasy author well worth trying.

"Á silfur á
Lýsir allan heiminn og augun blá

Skera stjörnuhiminn

Ég óska mér og loka nú augunum

Já, gerðu það, nú rætist það

Ó nei"

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Merchants of Soul - Spoon

Major Barbara

Author: George Bernard Shaw
Genre: play, humor
Pages: 110 in my edition
Publisher: my edition is Barnes & Noble Classics

Brief Summary:
The play opens on a controlling mother and her grown, but still cowed, son. The mother wants more money from the father, who evidently has not been around for years; both daughters are engaged to useless men and will need more than the allowance upon which they have been living. The family gathers to meet the father and convince him of the need for additional funds. He does not know who anyone is but his wife. The father, Undershaft, is a maker of cannons and guns and proud of it (and the money it brings him).

Major Barbara, the title character, actually appears relatively little. She and her father agree to visit each other's places of work to see who can convert the other. She works with the Salvation Army, feeding bellies and souls with Christian charity. The play is essentially about the dynamic between his work and hers.

This is one weird play. None of the characters seem like real people and they are all obnoxious. The main theme is an interesting one: an argument betwixt right and wrong. Shaw points out that all money for organizations like the Salvation Army comes from the war-makers and booze-makers. What meaning does salvation have in this context? Also, how much does a salvation borne of starvation fed mean? It actually occurs to me that the dynamic between charity/morality and between industry/immorality is somewhat reminiscent of The Fountainhead.

George Bernard Shaw has a fairly recognizable style. The most noticeable aspect is his scene setup. He describes the scene down to every last detail. Where Shakespeare plays have exceedingly brief notes, Shaw goes on for a page or two any time there is a location change. I really have trouble imagining how the scene change in the middle of the third act would be accomplished, since two very precise sets would need to be made.

The other thing about Shaw that I noticed is that he is much like Wilde, only perhaps not so funny. Both Wilde and Shaw were born Irishman. Shaw moved to England as a young boy. Still, you can see his judgment of the English in his writing, which is why the characters are so irritating. Like Wilde, the humor in the story comes from the mocking of the English, particularly the upper crust.

Best line, which comes after Undershaft tells Barbara that he saved her from the seven deadly sins:
"Yes, the deadly seven. [Counting on his fingers.] Food, clothing, firing, rent, taxes, respectability and children."
And yes, I do love this largely because children are listed as a deadly sin. How hilarious is that?

"The fiends are fiendin' outside
Merchants of soul so unkind"

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Enter the Young - The Association

The Daykeeper's Grimoire
Prophecy of Days, Book 1

Author: Christy Raedeke
Genre: mystery, fantasy
Pages: 352
Publisher: Flux
Brief Summary:
The MacFirelands just inherited a Scottish castle, Breidablik from an ancestor they barely knew. Daughter Caity loves exploring the castle and Mr. Papers, the origami-folding monkey that lives there, but she is still uncomfortable with the idea of living on the island of Huracan for the foreseeable future. She misses her best friend Justine in San Francisco. Of course, staying might not be so bad if she can get to know the housekeeper's gorgeous, accented son Alex (which ought to be doable, despite his model looks, since she is the only girl his age on the island). As she explores the castle, Caity unravels a mystery and discovers a prophecy, in which she is the central figure.

I really loved the opening of this book. The characters and the inheritance plot were just ridiculous enough to be hilarious and somewhat believable. Caity seems intelligent enough, despite her constant worry about her frizzy curls (with which I totally sympathize).

As the book moved along, I became a bit more concerned and a bit less entertained. Certain things I really loved, like Mr. Papers, the capuchin monkey. He is way smarter than pretty much anyone else in the book. Also, he's just awesome.

On the other hand, the whole prophecy plot and what Caity has to do to fulfill it struck me as absurd. For one thing, Caity is told that she has to do everything, but is actually pretty much led along like a puppet by mysterious adults, who warn her not to trust other mysterious adults. Yikes. It was cool that you really couldn't tell who she should trust (although sometimes it was pretty obvious when someone was evil or good, but not always).

The Prophecy of Days is about the Mayan calendar and the fact that it ends in 2012. According to Raedeke, this may not betoken the end of the world, but merely a complete change in consciousness. To keep evil forces from preventing human's evolving to a new level, she has to get teens to start using the Mayan calendar. She makes a website, sends out an email that sounds like junk mail and it catches on like wildfire. Umm, what? This was laughable.

I have not yet decided whether I want to read the second book in the series when it comes out. Parts were really clever and interesting, but other sections were a bit boring or absurd.

"Enter the young, yeah
Yeah, they've learned how to think
Enter the young, yeah
More than you think they think
Not only learned to think, but to care
Not only learned to think, but to dare"

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Intuition - Jewel

The Unidentified

Author: Rae Mariz
Genre: dystopia
Pages: 296
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, a HarperCollins imprint

Brief Summary:
Katey Dade, aka kidzero, is a part of the Game. Instead of a regular school, she attends the game, wherein learning is made fun and popularity contests earn class credit. Katey does not really care about most of that; she just wants to spend time with her two best friends, Mikey and Ari, and make music. She worries about Ari's need to be branded, to get a sponsor and all of the perks that come with that. Everything changes for Katey when a prank occurs in the Pit and she suddenly finds herself going from a zero to someone everyone is watching.

The dystopian vision of The Unidentified is restricted primarily to education and the impulse to materialism. While some aspects of the Game are hard for me to imagine as a realistic path a society might take, they are made more convincing by their interweaving with current technologies.

Every student in the Game carries an intouch®, on which they update their network. The network page has the functionality of Facebook: chat, information about interests and friendships. In addition to the importance of this, there are also the streams, based upon Twitter. Everyone communicates via these modes of communication and a whole culture has developed around following people's streams; for example, it is rude to comment on a conversation not directed your way and it is a big deal to be @ed by a branded person.

I found Katey to be a very likable a and realistic character. She is mostly a loner, preferring the company of a select few to popularity. Still, she can be led astray and make bad choices. Even so, I forgave her for her errors and transgressions, because they are so high school. I can remember feeling the way she does in the book, feeling like maybe it would be worth sacrificing some parts of yourself to be popular. Just because she falls into that trap does not make her any less clever, it just makes her human.

I really loved this book. It manages to make a dystopian society that really isn't terrifying or violent. It's mass consumerism, popularity contests, and connection without closeness. Very well done. I hope to see more from Rae Mariz!

"I'm just a simple girl
In a high tech digital world
I really try to understand
All the powers that rule this land
They say Miss J's big butt is boss
Kate Moss can't find a job
In a world of post modern fad
What was good now is bad"

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The Mummer's Dance - Loreena McKennitt

The Professor's Daughter

Author: Joann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy
Pages: 64
Publisher: First Second
Brief Summary:
In this fantasy version of London during the Victorian era, remarkably well-preserved Egyptian mummies walk around and even fall in love. Lillian, daughter of a renowned professor, takes Imhotep IV out of his sarcophagus for a walk one afternoon and sets some crazy events in motion, which even include the kidnapping of the queen.

The story is a weird but interesting one. I really enjoyed the beginning where the two of them walked the streets of London. Imhotep IV and Lillian bond over their marginalization and powerlessness in society. Both are loved by the professor, but more as possessions than as real people. They also both suffer from daddy issues.

After the opening though, I thought the story went downhill. The plot is a bit far-fetched, even for a fantasy story. The actions that the characters take at pretty much any point do not seem particularly likely. The perfect example of this is the kidnapping of Queen Victoria, which, while funny, serves absolutely no point. It is merely to be entertaining. The plot, such as it was, failed to wrap up in a way I found satisfying, as the big issue with the romance was entirely ignored.

I was also a bit bothered by the fact that the mummies were capable of just sloughing off their bandages and looking like real men again. If so, why wouldn't they just do that? Why live the life of a mummy, destined to be stuck under glass for a museum display, when you can just walk around like a normal man?

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Illumination - Secret Garden

My Trip to Orlando

The reason I haven't been posting, or finished any books, this week is that I have been on a journey. I went to Orlando for the wedding of my dear friend Annie. I was actually a bridesmaid, which was really sweet of her. She was the most beautiful bride! I know people always say that, but she looked like an elven princess from Lord of the Rings...it doesn't get much better than that! She walked down the aisle to the lovely title song, which I simply had to acquire post-wedding weekend.

The half a week that being down there took up was incredibly busy. I took my Kindle, but had not a second for reading. There were college friends to visit with, the bachelorette party to attend, photos to smile for and bridesmaid duties to perform. I never realized how much work it is being a bridesmaid (mostly because of the trying to stand still in tall heels at the front of a church with a brick floor). On the plus side, I didn't fall. Also, bridal party dances are mighty awkward.

The excitement didn't end with my time in Orlando. On my way back to Atlanta, I got stuck in a snow storm. What the what?! Atlanta has 5-6 inches of snow. It's more snow than I remember us ever getting before. Pretty much crazers. I plan to take some pictures tomorrow and will post them (I wanted to today, but it kept sleeting and I worried for the safety of my camera).

Book reviews will return soon. Either this evening or tomorrow!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Romeo and Juliet - The Killers

The Iron Daughter
Iron Fey, Book 2

Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: fantasy, romance, ya
Pages: 304

The Iron Daughter
definitely feels like Romeo and Juliet in some ways. Girl and boy from rival groups meet at a party. They dance and fall immediately in forbidden love and passion. They manage to spend time together and begin a forbidden, star-crossed relationship. Her friends and family want him dead; his want nothing more than to see her frozen alive or killed. Of course, this doesn't happen, because the book series would have to end.

When the story diverges from it's star-crossed inspiration, boy leaves girl, trying not to get them both killed. Girl feels betrayed even though he warned her eighty-five bajillion times what was going to happen. Girl decides to lead on/flirt with her best male friend who is in love with her too. She does this while continuing to want nothing more than forbidden boy. Seriously? This story is supposed to be really romantic, but how can I want this obnoxious girl to end up with any of these guys (except maybe the jackass from her high school who she still finds attractive) when she clearly will go with whoever happens to be there at any given moment? This little side plot is just what was needed to make the whole forbidden love angle even better.

Meghan has not improved much as a main character, mostly for the reason above. She continues to save herself and others sometimes, which is nice, but she generally expects the menfolk to save her, which is less nice. The other really frustrating thing about her is that she continues to be an airhead. So-called plot twists are obvious, but she never sees them coming (i.e. Ash being all ice prince-y to her in front of his mom). Smaller things baffle her as well. For example, she tries on a dress that has just been finished for her to wear to a prom-like event (at her high school that she no longer really attends) and observes that "it fit perfectly, sliding over my skin as if made for me." Umm, yeah, hon, that's because they made it for you! Also, don't get me started on the whole the-only-way-to-heal-the-faery-prince's-injuries-is-to-go-to-a-school-dance-thing.

"Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded in my heart
And I forget, I forget the movie song
When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shame
Both dirty, both mean, yes and the dream was just the same
And I dream your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me, as if I was just another one of your deals?

you can fall for chains of silver, you can fall for chains of gold
You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin
Now you just say, "Oh, Romeo, yeah, you know
I used to have a scene with him"

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