3-5

Holly Black – The Cruel Prince | The Folk of the Air 1

26032825Holly Black‘s book “The Cruel Prince” (The Folk of the Air 1; ISBN 0316310271; 384p.; Goodreads) was an impulse read to me. Just a book I kept seeing everywhere, and heard everyone talk about. The last time this happened, I got mighty disappointed. This time it was better. In fact, the book ended so well, I will read the next one, just to find out whether it worked or not, and how if it did.

Jude and her two sisters, then little, were taken by a fae warlord out of our world into the High Court of Faerie, all because the eldest was his legitimate daughter. Madoc, the said warlord, or rather a general, I guess, came in with no mood for compromise, for he thought his wife dead, as he found remains of what he thought was her some years back, after his home was set ablaze, and now he knew he was lied to. But who’d give up their child so easily? So he slayed all he found living in the house, and took all three girls with him: his wife, so his daughters. The girls swore to hate him forever, but as years went by, and he was nothing but kind and attentive to them, the promise grew hard to keep. And Jude wants nothing more than to have a place among the fae folk. Every day of her life is filled with bullying, ridicule, and even fear for her life. They despise humans, and she seems to be right at the end of the spectrum too. They think her a liar, for folk cannot lie. They think her already dead, rotting in her own shell, for she was born a mortal. They can glamour her into jumping out of towers, if she’s not extra careful, or eat the fae fruit, that’d drive her mad with wish to make them happy for another bite of it. With all that knowledge, her wish seems insane.

Yet when the time comes to either run, or seize power, Jude has no doubt she wants to stay and become something here, in the Faerie. So she becomes a spy to the King-to-be, one of the many princes in the royal family. Each one is more cruel than the next, and it fills her heart with dread to think one of them the High-King. On top of it, her work as a spy, at which she is very good, keeps revealing more and more secrets, intrigues, and gruesome plots. To the point where Jude’s not sure at all whom can she ever trust.

Author has a great writing style, the plot twists were perfect, often I didn’t even suspect one coming. I loved that Jude wanted to be a knight to set her feet in the Faerie, and not, say, find a good match of a husband to do that for her. What I didn’t like was the romance line. The whole “I treat you like dirt, because I like you” and “I almost killed you, because THEY would’ve killed you” is unpleasant to read to say the least. I hate how easily heroines, yes, heroines! forget all about the fear and horror they’ve been put through by the man who is kissing them now. I’ll give this book 3 out of 5, and will read the next one, with hopes it grows into something better. The plot outside the romance is great, and romance can improve, the way Sarah J. Maas books did (that’s personal opinion, of course).

 

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Categories: 3-5, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kim Newman – Johnny Alucard | Anno Dracula 4

15798788Yes, I was reading this book for years. Just happened that I dropped it, and haven’t picked it up for forever. Kim Newman is definitely not for everyone, and maybe not for me, but I have still troopered through “Johnny Alucard” (Anno Dracula 4; ISBN 0857680862; 400p.; Goodreads), and I will absolutely read the fifth one, no matter what.

Imagine America during the 60s to 80s – full of vampires. Andy Warhol? Vampire. Mad Men? Probably vampires. Vampires, just like the warm, feel the need and want to get famous, become movie stars, rock stars. Much like actual movie stars, famous people, rock stars – wish to become vampires. Problems are: some vampires don’t even show up on film, leaving them with such duties on set as special effects (ripping off clothing, carrying “floating” things around); while talented folk who are becoming vampires – often lose their talents. But this problem, unlike having no image on film, can be solved by faking it. There’s a new drug in town, called Drac, that gives you all the vampire traits for an hour or six. And this is how some young man named Johnny Alucard has evened out the scales among these two tribes of humans vs vampires: both parties crave each others blood. For if Drac runs out, well, some states don’t even consider vampires legally alive to be killed for blood again. In the meantime, Dracula is on everyone’s lips. Stoker’s name as pseudonime is as common as Smith. Directors are trying to overthrow each other by making better Dracula movie. Adult film industry is blooming with Dracula Rising and Dracula Sucking. Capes, castles, and intense need to tell the folk you are an indirect Dracula’s get is a must in Hollywood if you want to be a somebody.

Johnny Alucard, back then known as Ion, is the last of Dracula’s get. During war in Romania his own people, his own commando, threw him at Dracula’s feet as a tribute, as a snack, as an exchange for their own necks. Ion felt no regret over it for, in truth, the boy barely felt anything at all. This empty shell of a boy, with no fear or emotions in him, became the perfect vessel for Dracula and his final plan. For, after all, World can be taken in more than one way, and it doesn’t have to involve guns.

The book is very fine and interesting. It’s the author’s constant need to put names, backstories for the names, references, and so on, together with massive scene descriptions (which are great, don’t get me wrong, but what’s too much is too much!) – made it a chore, no longer a pleasure. I couldn’t listen to this book in audio form, for my mind would start filtering the droning that was in no way relative to the story and the next thing you know – missed a bit. So I can’t give the book more than 3 out of 5, but be assured, I shall read the fifth one in the series.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Dracula, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christina Henry – Red Queen | The Chronicles of Alice 2

27246122I wasn’t really in the mood for anything wonderlandish, but I needed something short and light, and so I picked up second book in The Chronicles of Alice by Christina Henry, the “Red Queen” (The Chronicles of Alice 2; ISBN 042526680X; 291p.; Goodreads). It was pretty good, but again, not the best as Alice’s retellings go, and maybe a tad poorer than the first one too.

Lands beyond the Old City are burned, scattered with bones, and patrolled by strange people in even stranger contraptions. But this is the path Alice and Hatcher must take in order to find his daughter Jenny. So they simply move forwards, trying their hardest to survive against the climate that lacks so much as clean water for drink, and hides many a predator, let alone all the spells, traps, and schemes cast upon the land by White Queen and Black King.

The Black King was once a man. A man no one said “no” to. He was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it. Including magic. Their family magic was fairly weak, so when a magician got in his way on one of the hunting trips, his fate has been sealed. And not even because he wanted it all that bad. No. More because the White Queen has wanted him to, and likely instructed what must be done to obtain that power. But their hearts were not meant to be, for one didn’t wish to belong to another. And so today their spill their anger and sorrows onto the former green and hopeful lands.

For some reason these books reminded me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle stories. Likely because of how magic works, or how Alice wields it so similarly to Sophie. I really loved the White Queen’s story too. But all in all, I can only give this book a 3 out of 5, but if there’s gonna be more, I will read more.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Joe Hill – Nos4a2

15729539I’ve read “Heart-shaped box” by Joe Hill a fair while ago. I didn’t like it much, which, I guess, resulted in me forgetting all about this author. Until his “Nos4a2” (Nos-Four-A-Two; ISBN 0062200577; 704p.; Goodreads) appeared in my sight. And while this book wont become my favorite any time soon, it was still better than the previous one. But whether that is because I’ve read a translation of that one, and original of this one – who could tell now?

Charles Manx is a nosferatu in more sense than one. He feeds on human happiness and youth to remain youthful, and seemingly, immortal himself. Of course, he doesn’t have to drink blood for that. Not that he’d want to either. All he has to do is save the abused, underloved children, and take them to the Christmas land, where happiness is eternal, and frowns are against the law! Charles Manx wholeheartedly believes that what he does is right. And so, no one will ever stop him, he will save as many kids from their awful parents, as he absolutely can!

Victoria McQueen was likely the only Manx’s victim to ever escape, and that only thanks to the ability both she and Manx have, which is to open a way elsewhere. Manx opens a road to Christmas land riding his car, and Victoria opens hers to just a general place elsewhere, wherever she needs to be, a sort of a shorter way. Her run-in with the Christmas land got written down as mental illness, caused by stress of being kidnapped by a molester. She was medicated all her life for it, so, naturally, when Manx’s body disappeared from the morgue, she’d rather not hear about it. Even if she is the only person who can possibly stop him.

As I said, I do believe this book to be better than the “Heart-shaped box”, but I’m still not a fan. 3 out of 5, no more, no less.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Horror, Crime Books, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Seth Grahame-Smith – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

5899779I didn’t except to read a book like this for the first of October, but here I am, on perfect timing with the month of Samhain. This book sat on my to-read list for a fair while now. Which is why I like the “suggested for you” book sections. It reminded me of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith (ISBN 1594743347; 320p.; Goodreads), and I may cross it off my list now. What a good year for that, really. Mind you, while this book was pretty good, I still have a feeling I might have liked it more if I have actually read Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Someone let me know!

Zombie plague is terrorizing England. The dead don’t stay dead. They crawl out of their graves in search for juicy brains. As a result, whole England is transformed. While before it might have shown your worth and class to be able to, I don’t know, darn very well, or have a famous piano instructor, now your worth is determined by where you learned your oriental fighting skills, how many ninjas you have serving for your safety, how well equipped is your dojo, and so on. but that said, even if our dear Bennet girls are as deadly as standards require and then some, they still dream of marrying well.

It is an amusing story of English girls of fair birth and ruthless oriental training attempting to tempt an officer, or any decent man really, to become their husbands. There’s plots, and schemes, and no man is who he seems.

The book won’t leave you without sleep, it’s not scary. It is horror only in a sense of setting, but other than that, this is humor, and satire too, I feel. Still, all said, it being a light read, it still is a read that is easy to forget. Not very special, not very captivating. I can only offer it 3 out of 5, as tempting as it would be to give it more.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Other Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

A.C. Bextor – Empires and Kings [1]

x3Sometimes I pick a book up just because, because it sat there, taunting me or whatever. Sometimes due to such an action I even find good reads. Sadly, “Empires and Kings” by A.C. Bextor (Mafia 1; ASIN B01MZA0MS5; 322p.; Goodreads) is not one of those. It’s just a book about a Russian Mafia Family head, portrayed as the most vile and ruthless monster, who, beside the few base things he did that’ll make you roll your eyes, rather than fear him, hardly did anything.

The book is told from two perspectives. One, the first, belongs to our scary mister Vlad Zaleski, the head of this Mafia Family, one of the most powerful men in the underworld. Back in the day he was required to exterminate a family of a traitor. Wrong time, wrong place, the traitor’s daughter, a mere child, runs into the room, scared by all the noises. Vlad makes her watch the killing of her family, and, due to reasons unclear, takes her with him, and puts her into his own family. Maybe he took pity on the child. Maybe he wanted her there, as a reminder to anyone else who’d like to try and betray him, what’s left of the last man who did: a single girl devoted, loyal to him.

She’s better known as the Traitor’s Daughter. She grew up fearing and revering Vlad as some sort of a god. His son became her best friend, her brother. His sister became her sister, and best friend. Growing up among the mafia men has changed her perspective on life, has given her a different rhythm to things, a certain sense of power, even in captivity, where no one could touch her, for she was jailed and protected by their boss. The only truly bad outcome in this is that she fell in love with her god, she fell in love with Vlad.

Talk about Stockholm Syndrome, right? The book has a good idea, even for a romance novel it’s a pretty fair one, for I am sure there’s many who’d enjoy a creature like Vlad, the mafia boss, the gangster, the mister danger in the modern world of darkness. Yet the story, the way it was told, the fleshing out of the small ideas, making them seem artificially bigger felt a bit weak. So for the time being I can only offer this book a 3 out of 5, and we’ll see on whether I can pick up the second one.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – Friday Night Bites [2]

x1So here goes my last German edition of the Chicagoland Vampires book by Chloe Neill, which is merely the second book in the long series. “Friday Night Bites” (Chicagoland Vampires 2; ISBN 045122793X; 357p.; Goodreads) went a little slower, and the title was sadly the only amusing thing. The whole substance of the book was spread too unevenly for me. Too much was caked on relationships, Merit’s, and other people’s. And much too little on the fun, and interesting stuff, like how are raves – vampire thing, why does a human have to die to become a vampire, what happens if you don’t die fully, etc.

Your friendly neighbor vampire will always ask for your consent before biting. Maybe that’s the reason these vampires didn’t get too aggressive outlash when they came out of their coffins, seeing how they don’t have the luxury of True Blood. This same lack of luxury has made vampires put rules and laws on drinking from living donors. It is no wonder thus, that they were the first to react when the safety of their own being in this human world was threatened by rave parties sprouting all around. Big deal, rave party, right? Well, apparently the very title “rave” was taken from vampires, for it’s less a human party, and more of a one big trap party. Humans have fun, rage, dance, use substances. Vampires feed themselves silly on them, and any stories that leak outside the walls of the illegal parties are rendered bogus told by junkies who got too high. It’s only a matter of time before these parties leave more than trash behind… (yes, I do mean dried corpses)

The rest of the book was mostly about Merit’s work for her liege. He wants connections, her family has those, so here start the parties, designer dresses, and overdescribed snacks. To add more salt on those, Merit tries her best to keep a relationship going with the vampire from the other house, the same one her liege has basically forced her into to begin with. The same one he’s now so very much trying to disrupt.

 

The books are very easy to read, so I can’t complain. I believe I’ll just get myself a little audiobook collection of them, and listen to them while doing work around the home. I feel like they’re perfect for it, especially if you listen on higher speeds. For the time being I can give it 3 out of 5, but we’ll see how things go.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Supernaturals, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lynn Flewelling – The White Road [5]

6290240Here goes another Nightrunner book by Lynn Flewelling. Honestly, I don’t know why the books are called that way, when there’s far more, far greater things happening in them, and nightrunning is a rare occasion. But I digress, as I often do, let’s instead talk about “The White Road” (Nightrunner 5; ISBN 055359009X; 385p.; Goodreads), for this, sadly, is the less interesting book, again. Can’t be helped, the previous one was pretty great.

Sebrahn, a homonculus child, created out of Alec’s blood, was considered a failure by his maker. Alchemist was prepared to chop the kid up in pieces if it failed it’s primal purpose of healing, for that’s what the client, one of the Aurenfae clan leaders, has requested for. Yet here he is, more unique than any other homonculus ever made. More useful, and far more dangerous than any before him too. But before his maker could figure all that out, Seregil and Alec made a run for it, grabbing Sebrahn with them, and killing the alchemist. By doing so, tho, they condemned themselves to be hunted once more.

The dying clan leader, at the very least, wants the books back, and is willing to take any measures necessary to get them. If he could possibly get Sebrahn too, it’d be even better, for one can never know how much time one has left. But that’s by far not the greatest of dangers Alec and Seregil are about to meet. The magic that created Sebrahn belongs to Alec’s people, and they want it back. These secretive, secluded people, ruthless with their rules, and unbelievable with their magic.

The book was a bit unpleasant to read. While we were assured that homunculus is more a dragon that looks like a humanoid, everyone around Alec treats it like it is a child, especially Alec himself. So when they start pondering whether to give the kid to whoever promises not to kill it, how difficult it is with him, etc., it just strikes all the wrong cords for me. And in general – there was oh so much traveling, walking, riding. I’ll give this book 3 out of 5, but I do expect the next one to be better, as tradition sorta demands now.

Categories: 3-5, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – Some Girls Bite [1]

8160905I recently received the gift of books, first two in Chloe Neill series “Chicagoland Vampires“. Lucky for me, they came in German too, and believe me, there’s no better way to refresh your memory on a language, than something as light as these kinds of books: the Sookie kind, with vampires out and about. So I went ahead and read the first one, “Some Girls Bite” or “Frisch Gebissen” (Chicagoland Vampires 1; ISBN 0451226259; 341p.; Goodreads). It’s not a masterpiece, true, but if you need a light read that leaves little to nothing in your brain afterwards, it’s always better to have vampires, than not to, right?

Caroline Merit was never good enough for her New Money family. They finally have the New American Dream life, and want to show it, while she doesn’t care all that much, and prefers making her own life, for herself, not for show. But she was coping. Up until everything went to waste on that bad night, when she got attacked, and had to be turned to have her life saved. To her family it’s just another silly, and rebellious act of hers, as if she asked to be turned. Tho, mind you, that does happen. And to Merit this is a start of a very annoying series of events.

For from now on Merit belongs to an infamous house of supernaturals, the kind that still drink from humans. She has to swear fealty to their insufferable master, learn their rules, learn to fight, learn their history, learn the history of other supernaturals… And then also deal with the murders somehow connected to her house, house rivalry, and the angry scent of war in the air, for by far not everyone’s happy about this whole coming-out thing.

I both liked, and disliked the book. I didn’t like it, because there’s just no simpler than this. But then I also liked it for it. Really, there’s worse things than vampires who always want to chew on something. And the little detective story wasn’t too bad. Too bad was that whole scene with the favors and oaths… Anyway, 3 out of 5, and I’ll go read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jessica Day George – Silver in the Blood

22929540Sometimes I just type “Dracula” into the bookstore search engine, and see what comes up. This time it was “Silver in the Blood” by Jessica Day George (ISBN 1619634317; 358p.; Goodreads), and it might be the weirdest bloodline story I’ve read so far. That’s telling, seeing how I’ve read a story of Dracula with fae blood…

Dacia and Lou are well born society girls from New York. For their seventeenth birthday, the girls get to go on a trip to Romania, and visit the more mysterious side of the family, and preferably – find themselves suitable husbands. Soon into the trip – odd things start to happen. Wolves interfere with the train ride. Mysterious figures appear in their paths. They keep hearing these strange epithets aimed at them: The Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke. And even their companions start acting strange.

By far that is not all in this strange land of Romania, once home to Vlad Dracula himself. Their heritage is here, and one of them is to be married off to a prince, even if one only by formality. But whether they’ll want this cursed thing is still in question…

This was a pretty damn boring book. It’s rarely this dull when it comes to Dracula, but then, he himself wasn’t present anyway. I can only give this book 3 out of 5, due to too same sense as Caraval, but with actual shifters.

Categories: 3-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books: Dracula, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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