3-5

Jeaniene Frost – Once Burned [1]

7039218Geez, I’m a sucker for Dracula, and so I read anything with him in it, even the questionable romance books. Like “Once Burned” by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince 1; ISBN 006178320X; 346p.; Goodreads). It wasn’t bad, but it’s one of those romances. Like stand-alone’s by Nora Roberts or Jude Deveraux. Vampires were pretty cool thou, and Dracula wasn’t a complete disaster. Heck, it feels like author actually did some research before writing, which I respect.

After an accident in her childhood Leila carries a physical scar on her body, and one in her psyche too. She pumps actual electricity out of her arms, and if she wishes to touch someone – she has to first let the charge out into some lightening rod or something. And even then she’s doubtful, because touching a person means seeing their greatest sin. And sometimes their future, which soon gets her into trouble. For after warning a woman of hey boyfriend’s plans to murder her, she’s soon kidnapped by a vampire gang. They want her to find another of their kind. Yes, no other but the prince of the darkness himself, Vlad Draculea.

The problem arises when Leila actually finds him mentally, and sees him. For he opens his eyes, and looks right at her… Leila needs to decide, and decide fast with whom she has better chances at survival.

It’s not a good book, but by far not a bad one either. I will read the other ones, gladly even. They’re simple, vampires are quite alright, and as I said before – Dracula had some research done on him. Author knew important details, and used them to her advantage well. I can give it 3 out of 5, but that’s not a bad rating.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Dracula, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anthony Horowitz – The House of Silk [1]

11093329I’m not the biggest Sherlock fan, but I’m still a fan. And everywhere I turned in Lithuania, I kept seeing other book by Anthony Horowitz, second book to “The House of Silk” (Sherlock Holmes 1; ISBN 0316196991; 294p.; Goodreads), so I had to start from the start, before moving on to Moriarty. And I must say, I’m not very impressed…

Book is narrated by our one and only, John Watson. On his own request it is published after his death due to sensitive, and gruesome case that it is. And it all started like such an ordinary case. A man came to their, his and Sherlock’s, place, claiming a gang leader has followed him all the way from America, and will kill him to avenge his dead twin brother. But from the moment Sherlock started investigating the man’s family, everything started going down hill, fast.

Their mother died suffocated in her own room. His sister is getting weaker by the day, as if poisoned, even thou all her food is being tasted. And while the man himself keeps seeing his to-be murderer, here he is, alive, and well. What concerns Sherlock more, thus, is that one of his boys, a kid he hired off the street to help, has disappeared after, apparently, seeing the gang leader’s face. Later kid was found tortured to death, with a white silk ribbon tied around his wrist. What could possibly evoke such brutality? Was it truly the mere fact that the kid saw a face?

The book is fairly interesting, but much too simple. Author tried to make it up with shock-effect, but any reader will agree with me – that doesn’t help mediocre books. Even as a detective it was pretty weak. But. It was easy to read, and had the perfect Sherlock-y tone to it, so I can give it 3 out of 5 easily. It’s worth the while, even if it’s not the best detective novel you will ever encounter.

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Dmitry Glukhovsky – Metro 2035

2035Let me tell you straight away, I’m angry. I am very angry at “Metro 2035” book by Dmitry Glukhovsky (ISBN 1539930726; 497p.; Goodreads), the final book in the story. All that you might have loved about those books is destroyed here. You’ve been lied to, you’ve been deceived. This is no better than another Silo/Wool book, because all I hated about those is now true here.

Artyom, for hell knows what reasons, keeps fighting his way out of the station, onto the surface. There he climbs the highest towers, undisturbed by anything living, with not a single monster in sight. Then he takes out his radio, and tries to contact the rest of the world, hoping that the Moscow Metro, the same one that thinks him a hero for ridding the world of the Dark Ones, is not the only humanity left. Only his own station knows the truth, and thinks him a madman. They believe that the Dark Ones, back in the day, cracked his brain a tad bit, and constant exposure to radiation is by far not helping the condition. They’re getting more annoyed by a day, for, by going out, what’s he dragging back in? All that opening and closing of the seals can’t be healthy. And it’s hardly a coincidence, that the mushrooms, the same ones whole Metro is eating as main source of food, is now suffering a devastating plague.

Homer travels all the way to the station Hero lives in, hoping to hear his story from his own lips, hoping to write a book. In the end, it wasn’t just Miller who mentioned Artyom, but Hunter too. He has to see this legendary young man, and find out why he, he alone, the savior of this Metro, believes that he doomed the humanity by destroying its worst enemy – the Dark Ones.

 

I loved the first book. Nothing was real in the darkness, and you could trust no senses. The voice might be real, but it might as well be the dark seeping through your ears, telling you lies. Artyom, in the dark, was told to stop once, and he did. And that saved his life. I loved the second book too. Hunter was a broken man. Dark Ones tried to communicate, but found his mind incompatible, thus accidentally, or purposefully, splitting it. Now he lives with madness inside of him, and constantly battles his other self. And then there’s this shit. Whatever you loved – is a lie. Whatever you liked – was faked. To add to that, the plot has ridiculous holes to it too. So I give it 3 out of 5, merely because of good wishes, and memories of those other good books. Metro 2035 is a book about mushrooms. Metro saga ended at ’34.

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Stephanie Garber – Caraval

Caraval_Everywhere I turned there was this book. Social media is filled with pictures of this book. Whoever did the advertisement – got a serious hype response, and it’s admirable. Especially since oh so many of those said bookstagram pictures claimed people didn’t even read it, but were oh so excited to do so. Therefore I hurried up and read “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber (ISBN 1250095255; 407p.; Goodreads), just to see what’s all the fuss about. How was my trip on this bandwagon? So-so.

Dragna sisters live on hope, hope to escape their vicious, vile, murderous father, and this damned island they feel imprisoned upon. Arranged marriage might be the key to the door for Scarlett. She’ll just pack up her sister, and they’ll both escape to live with her wonderful husband, whose name she currently doesn’t even know. It’s left to her sister to wonder whether this said key is to freedom or simply a new prison. After all, what fair person would have dealings with their father?

In her life Scarlett had only one true dream: to see master Legend Caraval perform. He was there when she was very little, and all the girl has now are stories of magic, wonders, and most importantly – miracles. But with reality sinking in, her marriage behind the corner, Scarlett composes final letter to master Caraval as a farewell. Just to receive an answer, the very first ever, and three invitations to come to his performance. And just a few days before her wedding, with their father seething in anger…

Nothing is real, but everything feels very real. Clues scattered around, time ticking away, and the nightfall making people who didn’t make it to shelter disappear, quite literally. It sounds good, doesn’t it? But sadly it isn’t. The book is fairly simple, with a lot of high speech, and little actual things. Pompous descriptions mask lack of substance in plot. Scarlett had a lot of feelings about a lot of things, and everything was arranged to make her fall in love, but not completely, but she did fall in love, and did so completely, and of course he wasn’t who he said he was, so there had to be that awkward phase of “no more lies”. I had a very low rating prepared for this book. And the true reason why I won’t give it as little as I’d like to, is author herself. At the end of the audio book there was an interview, and honestly, I think her trying so hard has to be worth something. So I give this book 3 out of 5, and wish the author very best luck. After all, I’m sure there’ll be many who will love this book.

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Hugh Howey – Dust [3]

dustAnd so ends the Silo trilogy. With Hugh Howey book “Dust” (Silo 3, ISBN 1490904387; 458p.; Goodreads), which is not even translated to my native yet, but then I’ve read them all in English, so whatever. Not the best dystopian post-apocalypse story, but ended well, and thus it’s fine. I’m feeling very neutral about it…

All the while silos were told the world upstairs was poisonous, and unsuitable for living. Something happened up there long ago, and thus Silos doors need to stay firmly shut. But Jules is no longer content with their stories, proven too often to be nothing but a bunch of lies. She’s up to figure out what’s wrong with the surface on her own, careful to avoid the prying eye of Silo 1. Test the soil in earnest. Test the air. And if she really can’t cross her way via surface to the other silo, she might as well dig…

Silo 1 is in turmoil too. Something’s happening. Dead people, murdered people are appearing. Someone from the top was awakened from their cryogenic sleep, and is feeling enough guilt on what happened to those poor people for all. Things are about to be changed, whether these comfortable puppet masters want it or not.

The books are not bad, they’re just not for me. Everything’s clean, bright, but poisonous. I missed the mind-invading darkness of Metro 2033, and thus I guess my expectations were way off the radar. I’ll give it 3 out of 5, and I assure you, this is NOT a waste of time. In the end, it’s a good story.

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Hugh Howey – Shift [silo, 2]

shiftSo ominous the warnings, don’t dig, don’t search for the truth. Then the story gets told to the reader backwards, and I find myself rolling my eyes… “Shift” by Hugh Howey (Silo 2, Omnibus edition; ASIN B00B6Z6HI2; 520p.; GoodreadsGoodreads) was a challenge to read. I don’t have a good memory, and thus find it preferable to follow a plot, rather than try to remember several characters, and update their stories as they progress, or give prequels.

Story follows several characters. Some built the silos, back in the day. Others lived in those that fell first. Some survived the falls, others survived the truth. And each one has knowledge of something that could be groundbreaking, that could cause another silo, or all of them, to fall, riot. How was the world before, and what caused humanity’s retreat? Can they ever go back up, and could it be, that not all of the world is as devastated as this corner of the earth with buried silos is? Each one, in their own way, is prepared to go beyond these walls.

The book could really serve as a prequel with inserts of current event updates. There’s really little new to the now of it all, but a lot of backstories. Like Jimmy, the previously sole survivor of one of the fallen silos. Or Mission, who witnessed the start of the fall, and knew the culprits. Or Donald, who approved Lucas promotion, and spoke to Juliette, giving them grains of truth, without them knowing that he too, doing this, has rebelled.

Honestly, I find it a bit ridiculous with premonitions like “the truth will kill you, oh don’t go looking for the truth!” – it’s the same damn thing I keep getting in Nightrunner, and it makes my whole reading process lag. The truth is – nanotechnology. Great, that’s new and unique, unlike atomic bombs would be. But so what? I just can’t see why this kid, knowing his great great great great grandfather maybe helped doom humanity to live in a silo should beat himself over it. Strive to fix it, sure, but go crazy and run out, where the air itself is going to kill you due to the knowledge? 3 out of 5, no more. I’ll read the last one just to close it up. Story has and had potential, but having it, and using is – are two different things.

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High Howey – Wool [Silo 1]

wool_omnibusSuch a good rating, so many good reviews. And yet Wool by Hugh Howey (Omnibus; Silo 1; ASIN B00873GRU4; 509p.; Goodreads) didn’t make a fan out of me. While a good story, and thus not a bad book, it felt dull, at times – forced, and very repetitive.

Whole of the humanity is contained in a hundred story silo like tower underground. World above is devastated and deadly, watched via screens transmitting the image from sensors above. In the dusty dark brown world that eats everything which doesn’t belong these sensor lenses get dirty with time, making the oppressing view skewed. No one has memory or knowledge of how it happened to be so, but no one is ready to abandon the little glimpses of sun in dirty clouds either. Enter the cleaners.

A cleaner is someone on death row, or a volunteer, either way – a dead man walking, who gets an isolated suit, oxygen, and a piece of wool to go up, out, and clean the sensors. The rest of the silo treats this almost as a celebration, gathering by the screens as soon as the person, oddly euphoric, runs off into the distance, just to collapse in a similar distance to everyone else who ever did the same cleaning duty. For the atmosphere eats their suit, and then eats them too. Juliette’s friend just took this duty, just a few years after his wife went raving mad, begging to be let outside. After all, screens are not exactly windows…

I usually like this kind of books, but this one didn’t feel right. Constant repeating of events soon got to me: he found a grain, he committed a suicide, she didn’t believe it was a suicide, so she started searching, and found the grain, and… died? I hoped to get another Metro 2033, I guess, and instead received Ember City in a Silo. 3 out of 5, no more. But I will read the next one anyway.

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Frank Herbert – Dune Messiah [Dune 2]

dune2Right, well, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (Dune 2; ISBN 0441172695; 331p.; Goodreads) felt far longer than it actually was. Odd how the peak of the story came to be at the end of the previous book, and now – everything spiraled down. Truth be told, if there’s nothing to pick it all up in book 3, I’ll abandon the Saga, glad I’ve read the first book.

Muad’dib has power beyond measure. He’s in sole control of Spice mining, and everyone needs it, everyone wants it. Drowning in visions induced by air saturated with this very spice, Muad’dib is dreaming of the simpler days. With no empires to rule, no legions to control. With no intrigues, politics, and those nasty fate lines he can see so clearly now. One wrong step is all it takes for it all to fall. The face changing assassins. His dead mother’s sect in hunt of, what, his genes? Stolen worm to be taken to another planet in attempts to take away the monopolis from Muad’dib. The most trusted friend once dead, now alive again, dubbed Hate by smiling faces. Just one step, and…

The Dune is changing. There’s now plenty of water for everyone, but not everyone is happy about it. Worms went deeper, further away into the desert, for they fear all this moisture. And people too feel there’s something wrong in this lavish…

 

As you can probably tell already from the hard-to-read writings of mine, I didn’t like this book much. I can give it 3 out of 5, no more. For there were indeed plenty of very good parts, but they reminded me more of gold veins in marble. You follow this thin line, twisting, breaking, turning. The rest was filled with that superbly common topic of those on top dreaming to be simple men. It was mighty boring to read of a person with, what, super-awareness? Someone who can remember what her ancestors might have known, dreaming to “just be loved”.

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Elizabeth May – The Falconer [1]

FalconercoverfinalAh. There are books you read in one sitting, because they’re just THAT good. And then there are books you read in one sitting, because you already know what’s going to happen in the next page. I’m sad to say that “The Falconer” by Elizabeth May (The Falconer 1; ISBN 1452114234; 378p.; Goodreads) is the latter kind. If you read more of this YA kind of fantasy, there’s no reason for you to pick up this one. In short: time trial for the chosen one to close a thing before bad things come out of the thing.

She is one of the kind. And the last of her kind. The awkward Scottish lass leading her double life. During the day hours she is attempting her best to salvage her reputation scraps, and build new contraptions on the spare time (steampunk theme). And at night time (and I’m almost quoting here), she’s trying to sate her unquenchable bloodlust, her need for murder, power, by killing the very bad fae. The fae are usually all teeth and claws, fairly scary if you ask me, and they all feed on human energy. Those who resemble humans more can put you to such awe, that you’ll be tempted to throw your reputation in 1844 Edingburg right there, out the window. That’s called Faestruck, by the way, and our so very bad and murderous heroine is apparently immune. Apparently.

Time Trial begins. A gate to fae prison is opening, and she’s the only one who can close it before all the bad things come pouring out to hunt humans as they used to, and destroy all the things. So she packs up her flying contraption, her own made weapons, which are impressive, I admit, and the Mister Unfriendly Fae friend for whom, of course, she’s developing feelings, and goes to close that damned thing! Did I mention it has to be done during specific lunar event? Well, in my humble opinion, that was obvious anyway.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all is bad about this book. I’ve simply had oh so many like this one in my hands before, that I can no longer appreciate the simple beat-the-clock script. If you don’t read many of this kind, it’s a very good starter book. Story has all the things, Steampunk, decent jokes, funny heroine, the inhuman love interest, best guy friend who will marry you because that’s his duty as your friend: to defend your tarnished honor, and references to Scottish folk tales, that are pretty damn great, if you ask me. But for me, in my own personal opinion, this is not worth more than 3 out of 5, and that’s mostly because her fiance drank his own tea, and then hers too, because her butler was too slow in filling his cup.

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

Anne Rice – Pandora [New Tales of Vampires #1]

pandora3Post Marius’ book I realized I don’t know one important vampire mentioned there (more than mentioned). And it’s all my fault, for in the past, truly long ago, there were people who informed me on the chronology of these stories, and what is best to read after what. This sense was confirmed after finishing “Pandora” by Anne Rice (The New Tales of Vampires 1; ISBN 0099271087; 406p.; Goodreads), where at the very end of it I found it saying “the story will be continued in Vampire Armand” book. But it is as it is, nothing can be done now, and it’s not all that bad either.

David Talbot, probably overjoyed that now he has time for everything, continues to lightly harass all the older vampires for their life stories. Pandora got into his visor too, and barely even noticed the trick of his gift of notebooks, which she filled with her memories. Born in Roman Empire under the name of Lydia, living girl whose hand was requested by Marius himself. Escaping the execution by a hair, barely twisting herself out of yet another trap laid for her by someone dear, she is haunted by visions that seem to overtake great and greater portion of her life every night. For they come at night, these dreams. Dreams where she stands witness to a goddess tormented, blood drained from her, her burning in the sun, unable to die, yet in suffering killing off so many of those who foolishly thought themselves immortal…

The book, in my opinion, didn’t reach the full potential. Some good ideas where passed here and there, but abandoned quickly enough through the pages, in exchange for others, maybe more pleasing for the author, maybe merely more convenient. I’ll still give the book 3 out of 5, and consider it a worthy read if only to lift the veil of myth off this Pandora, Mad Love of Marius. For she herself put more passion into describing the fake leg of her servant, than Marius himself, even if she did claim loving him.

Pandora_full

Categories: 3-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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