- [Captive Prince] series by C.S. Pacat; Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion
I feel like I need no explanations here. Perfect illusion of love. Or an illusion of an illusion. Eitherway, this song had me a bit scared of what MIGHT be.
- [A Charm of Magpies] series by K.J. Charles; Marina and the Diamonds – Bubblegum Bitch
Don’t even know how this happened, but this seems a perfect song for mister “Six foot three of money, mouth, and cock” Lucian Vaudrey.
- [I Am Legend] by Richard Matheson; Kanye West – Monster
If you have not read this book, I might surprise you by saying that this is NOT in fact the anthem of the vampires.
- [Tzimisce] by Eric Griffin; Lord of the Lost – Blood for Blood
Ah, Tzimisce. I imagine they might enjoy the painful vibrations this song provides.
- [Anno Dracula] series by Kim Newman; Jessie J – Do it like a dude
I think this song got into my head mostly due to the ladies kicking ass when their men failed to Dracula. Funny how it seems he killed them all off, and turned most of the women.
Books of Dracula
Alternative History genre is among my favorites. It is just that: one or several historical facts are completely or partially changed in the book, and whole world is then perceived via the prism of that possibility. Steampunk genre is most commonly known in Alternative History genre, since it operates on alternative possibility of Steam Engine being the one that got developed wider and longer than it actually was.
My most favorite examples of Alternative History could also be called Alternative Reality, since fantasy enters (fantasy as in supernatural, not as in mere fiction). One being Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. We all have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, haven’t we? Or at least seen the dozens of movies that we can choose from without even looking for them (and if you do look, there’s hundreds awaiting). There the brave men ganged up and killed our Father in Darkness (in Anno Dracula that is how your sire is called, Mother/Father in Darkness). Yet in Newman’s story that is not what happened at all. Some meager little men against someone like the Impaler? Ha. He rips them to shreds, in some cases even literally, and slowly but surely brings vampires into the daylight. Not literally. History proceeds as is, but vampires are a great part of it. Say, Bloody Red Baron tells the famous Red Baron story, yet here we not only have some epic pilots doing their jobs, heck, we have giant blood thirsty bat-dragons.
The other example is Bartimaeus sequence by Jonathan Stroud. Empire of Great Britain has never crumbled, but just went on, and on, and on, becoming the greatest power since Roman Empire if you please. History ceases here, since this is not the main genre of the book, and yet it fits the frame.
There are, of course, many more, since I told you what Steampunk is at the base, so even our very own Tapinas with his Wolf Hour is guilty of being Alternative History writer. It’s a genre for all those who overthink things, I think (see what I did here?), since it allows us a wider view of what could’ve been, and how that would’ve changed our lives as we know it.
I feel like thanking so many people and so many circumstances that led me to this book. I assume that the dumb smile it left on my face basically means one thing:”An Unattractive Vampire” by Jim McDoniel (ISBN 1941758649; 309p.; Goodreads) is one damn good book. Never have I laughed so much out loud.
Yulric Bile is an ancient saxon vampire, a master of survival and deception, a true evil mastermind of the kind that was neither pretty, nor good. The type that does not get “sired” or “created“, but rather is too evil to stay dead. He lived this long thanks to his cunning, and, of course, immortality, so when an angry mob with pitchforks and torches marches towards his home: Yulric doesn’t break a sweat. After all, everything is going according to plan. Right?
Right. Until the witchhunter out there to get him figures this is a far too old, and far too cunning beast he’s dealing with, so he walks an extra mile to imprison Yulric for as long as possible, if not forever. And thus, in our modern times, vampire wakes in a suburban pink house basement, and is greeted by a brand new world. A world where vampires are show stars, attractive, sexy, and bweh – good! A good vampire! Unheard of! He needs to find out who is making these awful creatures, right now! Which just happens to fit okay with the plans of immortality his house inhabitants had themselves, when they were digging him out. Of course, they didn’t expect someone like Yulric: ugly, bony, with jagged sharp teeth and horror for a face. But if he really wants to meet these “vampires“, well, they’re happy to oblige. Especially if it gets him out of their house. Which, apparently, is actually his.
The book is not a parody. It is its own thing, and just happens to mock some other vampiric pop shit we got. I have laughed my butt off reading it, there are so many good jokes, and the fact that Yulric is terrible to behold gives such a wonderful relief of lack of love interest! No love triangles, no sparkly vampires, no overly-handsome… I take that back, there are those, but Yulric made the same face you probably did, when thinking of it. The “ew, what stinks so bad?” face. So anyway, 5 out of 5, goes right to my favs, and I’ll be looking into getting a physical copy. I have to own this. Anyone know the author? I want to thank him.
Right. So. I have never before heard of this author, but I do enjoy myths, legends, and the occult stories. I also collect all the books with Dracula that I can get, preferably historical ones (if anyone wants to make me a gift – have that in mind, I love having different copies of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” too, so far I have four, only two of them being in English – you have a great sea of choices before you), with Vlad Draculea. And since he’s a common guest in vampire media, fictional or meant for/as research, it was only natural for me to take this “Vampires: The Occult Truth” by Konstantinos (ISBN: 1567183808; 208p., Goodreads) book with me and add it to my collection. I am absolutely not sure as of why I feel the need to tell you of how I obtained or why have I picked this particular book to read every time, but here it is.
The book is split into many parts, including those slightly annoying little introductions “in this part we’ll speak of this” there and here. Yet it wasn’t dragged, every word seemed weighted and counted to fit this amount of pages and no more. Author speaks in a pleasant manner too, a manner that allows a skeptic to remain a skeptic or reconsider, while a believer can continue believing or reconsider too, nothing is pushed, everything is questioned. We get explanations of what vampires there could be, are they mortal or immortal, are they physical or spiritual, do they drink blood or drain energy. Then there’s the names of vampires in different cultures, pointing out how so many different parts of the world believed in these beings (and how some of our religions took some of the people from meager roles and made them great). Further on was my most awaited part: The Historical Figures. Yes, among them was Vlad Dracula, and I can gladly say, facts were not mixed with anecdotes (in my extent of knowledge at least). And if I can give a plus for that, I can take it away for searching vampires in graveyards, figuratively speaking. Author wanted to find those who believe themselves vampires, the so called mortal blood drinkers. And to do so he wrote to a magazine that has “fang” in it’s title. Yes, an alternative magazine for alternative people. I mean, a vampire has all the world, all of our night life to explore. Why would one sit reading such a magazine? But then again, somewhat quoting the author: while I can’t believe a single (some where amazing stories, by the way) story he printed from those people, I have no proof of them being false either. Besides, author did make some good points as of why he chose to print those letters and not the others. Trust me, he makes a firm case, this man.
I’m not going to talk about the second half of the book, dedicated to energy vampires, merely because I’m very uninterested in the topic. But those who are: information provided is very useful, so go ahead. And in conclusion I’ll give this book a solid 4 out of 5. Merely because I still don’t think it’s a good idea to search for vampires among those who are into vampires.
Some people do know how much I love Vampire the Masquerade. I push it to all my friends, tho some of them claim the game looks too ugly to play (I bet they watch porn for stories too), I tell about it to all those friends who don’t play video games, ever, too. Thus you can imagine that I nearly flipped when I saw that vampiric Ankh cross on the back of this book in Gravesend, (Kent; UK) second-hand store (It’s by a bus stop that’s close to church, if you really need to find it, msg me, I’ll google-map it for you). Few days later I found a third book, but no more since. There’s twelve or thirteen total (and since they’re not re-released yet, if anyone has a copy they want to gift – it’d be loved forever in my hands). They’re clan books, different authors wrote it, but they co-operate, so it’s one smooth story nevertheless. This one’s by Stewart Wieck and it’s called “Clan Novel: Toreador“.
The reason I like VtM so much is the fact that it’s good enough to become cult vampire story, but it doesn’t clash with the myth much either. Garlic doesn’t work, stake paralyses you if it hits your heart, running water is nothing. They bathe. Some of them. But head-shots? Sun? Bloodlust that maddens you? All that’s there. Oh, and I could say that there’s another reason. The Clans. Ever after vampire Father Cain, the First Murderer killed his brother Abel, his children or “children” turned to blood-thirsty demons, vampires. And bit by bit, they split apart into clans. Different views, abilities and general properties of the person. Say, Nosferatu have the talented information seekers mostly. Therefore they’re the clan of spies and information. If you need something – you go to them. If you’re a class hacker (as VtM portrayed Mitnick), they might just knock on your door one night. The characteristics of Nosferatu clan that comes with the blood are horrible thou. Their bodies deform, rot and turn disgusting to behold. Thus they, as evolution demanded, I guess, developed stealth abilities, skills that help them disappear, come unheard and leave unnoticed. The Toreador clan is complete opposite. Often they’re viewed as shallow because they care for the beauty of life, not the knowledge like Tremeres or the information as the Nosferatu. Often they’re chosen for their beauty or talent in arts. They’re seductive and mesmerizing, which is part of what the Clan Blood is all about – to enhance the beauty, the seduction. Never lock eyes with a Toreador.
Vampire Leopold is a vampire-orphan. His Sire (not a master, not a creator, a sire) ditched him after erasing his mind of own existence. Leopold even doubts that his memories of his own past are real. In fact, he’s sure they’re not real. And he wishes to remember who he was and who his Sire is. Maybe it’s a desire to belong, for it’s only his obvious Toreador characteristics that got their Primogen in Atlanta to accept him as part of the clan. Unless a vampire is, in a way, adopted, or accepted into a clan by a clan primogen, one is clanless, which is terribly shameful, for mostly it’s the Thinbloods, who are clanless (thinbloods are too far a generation from Cain and thus no clan characteristics pass into their new undead being, they’re considered weak, thin of blood). Yes, sometimes a different clan member can be adopted into another clan. Their skills or characteristics don’t change, but they’re refereed to as the clan they belong to. Thus, being baffled, Leopold turns to a strange Primogen of Tremere clan. Tremere is the clan of knowledge and sorcery, so it’s no surprise Leopold is afraid to ask her, Hannah, for help. But she seems fond of the Toreador and agrees to help him in return of a sculpture, for Leopold is a great sculptor.
His skill is proven when Toreador primogen, Victoria Ash, asks him to make a statue in scene of Cain killing Abel. It’s needed for the evening she’s throwing for the Atlanta vampires, in expectations to step a bit higher in her career. As you may guess, being a Primogen means pretty much being the head of your clan in the state, thus it’s not very high climb up. But a very hard one. All must unroll in this one evening she planned so carefully and thus, little orphan Leopold might feel less neglected if he has a chance to show off his skills too. But there’s a reason why superstitious Kindred (vampires) say that one should neither be near, look upon Cain statues, nor even say his name… It’s a terrible omen, and a hundred times worse when all the walls of the great hall where you’re at are lined with tens of the scenes, of Abel’s corpse and Cain hovering over him.
It’s a slow-starting book and you can definitely sense the year it was written in within the pages. But as it goes on, it gets better. Those who played the game – will enjoy this. Those who didn’t – don’t worry, everything is nicely explained in this, the information is neither lacking, not annoying, you go on and read this if you like more classy vampire stories. I’ll give this book 4 out of 5. Gave it a point, because it mentioned Dracula. Then took it away, because Leopold thought the man to be a myth. And we know that ain’t so. We even know that he belonged to one of the scariest clans out there… Which is the second book theme, by the way.
Such a vast topic and yet such a narrow book. I bought Dr Gregory L. Reece‘s book “Creatures of the Night” (isbn 978-1-84885-385-0) on sale in the beloved free-shipping Book Depository site. It cost around two euros at the time, so I figured – another book that mentioned Dracula will not be of harm.
As the greatly scribbled on cover claims – this books grabs on the topic of “so where where the hell did all the vampires, werewolves and demons come from”? Why are we afraid of them? And since we know we are – why do we keep telling stories of them? Don’t expect many answers, for author, sadly, bit off more than he could chew.
Through the well broken chapters we visit ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons and religions that might or might not worship the devil himself. It starts pretty well too, much alike to the famous series Supernatural – all well and good, demons and shit, but a few seasons/chapters in and suddenly we find ourselves torn between heaven and hell. I mean, don’t get me wrong, author himself asks all the right questions: why Lord Byron is so very alike Lord Ruthven, the famous vampire? Or how Mary Shelley, this admirable woman, wrote something like Frankenstein? Again, I found no valid answers beside one: We’re irrational beasts. We’re scared and we want more. We don’t know what scares us, but we want more. And when we do know what scares us, we turn into beasts of terror ourselves and then, obviously, we want more. Our heartbeat dictates how many movies of Dracula we shall see and which religion we shall turn to, apparently.
All in all, I’d say that the literature and movie list this book provides is of a lot greater value than the book itself. Yet I’m happy I bought it. Sure, I’m more happy I only paid a couple of euros for it, but am happy nonetheless. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5, for it wasn’t all that bad, lots of great quotes and sources are given and author was thorough, if narrow.
So, the usual. Went to UK, found myself a book of Dracula. Never heard of it, but here it is, Timothy E. Rodrigue – Vlad Dragwlya: Son of the Dragon, done and done. A historical… novel or what is this… A historical book, yes, historical book, of Draculesti family.
So far no one tops me C.C. Humphreys book on Vlad, so I just have to value each one of these by what they are and try my best to not compare authors. My respect goes to mr Rodrigue too, for he definitely worked his way through history to write this. It all begins with Vlad Dracul being introduced to the White Knight, the Bane of misBelievers, I’d say. Soon into the story he has to admit, Vlad and his elder son Mircea are stubborn and don’t really work well with him, but the man is a power to be cautious of. Thus using the fact that Dracul left two of his sons for the turkish to take care, as a weight that he shall not take up arms against Ottoman Empire, White Knight began plotting and scheming (as the -crows- do, if you know what I mean), until he finally set boyars against the older Dragon and his son and had them slaughtered in a terrible manner.
The news eventually reached Vlad Draculea or Vlad Dragwlya if you so please, and Murad, the then-sultan, allowed him to go and reclaim his throne if he sees it fit and is able to. Now that’s the problem, isn’t it? How can a boy reclaim his father’s throne? Thus Vlad fights and fights vigorously to take what he sees as his. And not a drop more, just that, just Wallachia. And then fights twice as much to keep it and most importantly – to clean it. Of filth, or rot. Eventually – of turk.
The last quarter of the book is always the best when you read a historical pieces of Dracula. Because this is when the author has to decide who Dracula is. A sadistic bastard who sated his cravings on the battlefields and beyond. Or a strategic-genius who was simply a pain in the ass for too many greedy bastards who later wrote the history pages. Thus I give the book 4,5 out of 5. Mr. Rodrigue, this isn’t perfect, no where near. But You’ve done a great job and I appreciate your liking to our Warlord. The ending was great. And, funny thing it was, to watch how they fought Draculas when they didn’t fight the Turk and fought them when they did fight the Turk…
Let me start with pretty little pictures for my mother, for she won’t read this in English anyways. I’ll remind you that I will be back on April 1st, but probably will write a blog only on around the 2nd, mostly because we usually return home very late in the night. Hope for good weather for us, okay?
The Car Boot Sale in Swanley gave me plenty of great book-y treasures. Like the one above. These are first ten Charlaine Harris books on Sookie Stackhouse, I paid 5 pounds for all pack of brand new, unopened pack. And some part of me still whispers I should’ve tried cutting the price. But the lad looked so very cold… It was windy, drizzly and I really wanted these.
Earlier in the week got these for a friend. He made a great logo for my sister’s project, and since he’s a fan, this is my thanks. Not just this, but other Doctor-Who item I can’t show, mostly because I don’t want to tease other Whovians in my friend list.
Now, the stuff here. First days were the most adventurous for me, I guess. I heard a granny claim she liked Retro before it was fashionable. Then I saw a girl fall backwards on an up-going escalator and black out (she received all the help possible and I didn’t stand gawking there either). I drank a ton of Energy Drinks but didn’t find my Relentless Passion. Found the Immortal one thou, which is just as good. Plus, RockStar made some new ones, like sour green apple, which is pure marvel. Then I ate Wonka bar, yes, Wonka chocolate bar. Then another one. And another one. And then I figured I’m fat and shouldn’t have, but… Who am I kidding, I don’t regret a bit! Eitherway I’m walking a lot, I get plenty of exercise! And the weather is warm and nice.
Second-hand stores are the greatest. I got a luggage worth of books, neither more expensive than 5 pounds (10 dollars or so), which I paid for my own stupidity of not taking the change, out of excitement, I guess. Even today I came back home with 13 books in hands and I am getting worried of how will they all be packed and sent back home. Or where I’ll put them when I’m back. Many are meant for friends thought, so it’s not that bad. Like half the Sookie’s lot will go to friends, Hannibal, Vampire Rites and so on. Then again, best of the best are for me. Like Dracula! The book so far is not too great, Humphrey made a better job, but I won’t look the gifted horse in the teeth – I found it, I bought it, I will love it and cherish it.
What else, what else? Well, today as I went back home, I decided I’ll pick out the change out of my broken-apart wallet and go around the second-hand stores nearby, and maybe get myself another energy drink (don’t get me wrong, I care non for the energy or caffeine. It’s the taste that I love!), so I fish out 1.30, and since 10 cents are in fives and I’m afraid to lose them, I take 1.20 and go out. First goal – the second-hand store, the only one I didn’t go into today (actually, it’s all “yesterday” now), because I will always, always rather buy books than unnecessary treats for myself. Book is a greater treat. But there I am, looking and looking and nothing good catches my eyes. Hard-cover are 0.30 and the paperbacks are 0.20 and THERE! Fourth book of Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles – The Body Thief. I’m trying to collect all ten books (and the plus ones if I can find those, like Vampire Vittorio and Pandora) for TWO of my friends, so since I found only the first one (Interview with the Vampire), it’s an obvious choice that the fourth one will go to the girl who already has three of her own. The cover is all battered and book seems… Believe it or not – sandy (and sand doesn’t look like anything from Gobi…), but 0.20 is not a price you seek high quality of material in. It’s the inside that matters for any price. I went to cash-register and the lady there was putting hangers on this metal rod, trying to slide a ton of them at once. As I came closer she probably assumed she needs to move faster to get to me and accidentally dropped most of them. She turns to me, with a smile and says: You’ve been waiting for me to do that, weren’t you? We laughed and I went off with my book! And thus, since I only found one book, I did indeed get a RockStar and finished it with a cup of sour watermelon gummies, while watching Sherlock (BBC) with commentaries. “THE WOMAN WOMAN!”.
In 2013 I’ve read around 70 books. 22 of them were e-books. 4 of those e-books I had taken from the library and mid way brought them back to read them in e-versions, for it was easier for me.
Some books were great, some were awful. Some re-inspired me to continue writing myself. Some taught me a lot, others made me re-consider my values. Eitherway in the end I can say it was a decent reading year.
I owe apology to Karen Essex – her book on Dracula, the “Dracula in Love” is actually a really good book. I just took the topic of Dracula too seriously, forgetting that not everyone is as obsessive as I am. I still think that were they Jack and Jill, John and Lisa or anyone else – the book would be a mad bestseller. But it’s Dracula and Mina, thus I fear there’ll be more like me, who misjudged the book too quickly. Don’t do that. It’s a good book. Ignore the names, just take it as a fantasy that it is, it’s worth it.
The Discovery of the year was Dmitry Glukhovski with his Metro 2033 serie. I wasn’t and FPS fan until those books hit me. And it did hit me, like a runaway train. After I finished the first book, and mind you, this happens extremely rarely, some readers will never know what this means, I had to stop reading for a period of time. It took me almost a week to collect myself and move on. Not without reading Metro 2034, mind you. And not without replaying the video game twice. I own the second one too now, no regrets.
The regret of the year is by Lithuanian author, my native woman, the name I forgot, but I spoke of her book in my blog. I recommended that book after getting suckered in by the advertisement it received and am deeply ashamed. Author later wrote to me, asking whether I read the introduction, where she clearly says people like (one doesn’t have to be a “book snob” to judge a book as I did…) me shouldn’t read her book. I won’t point fingers at the great authors who wrote same thing. The moment you release your baby-book into the world – your word means nothing to the reader. The reader will take your baby and form it as their own. But if she reads this by some chance – it’s your first book, isn’t it? Aim higher, the first step is rarely easy and good.
The surprise of the year must be Simon Brooke, who only when asked – told me he actually published a book called “Harem“. Don’t get taken aback by the awful cover, the book is a treasure. I, pretty much, ended my year with it and I think thus it makes it a good ending for the year. And, am I the only one who feels happy that this book is only in e-version of it? It’ll be more common in the future, and I dear hope that that future is not a millenia away.
The admired author of the year would be re-discovered Anne Rice. Her love to her fans is beautiful. Her views and ideas of what a writer is are even more so. This year I intend to read more of her works, in hopes to finish the Vampire Chronicles and see what else is in store.
The joys of the year that I could call little guilty pleasures would be J. Stroud’s Bartimaeus and R. Gordon & B. Williams Tunnel series. Mr. Stroud said there’s likely to be more Bartimeaus eventually and that made me very happy. While G&W last book of Tunnel series finally got translated to lithuanian, so I won’t have to buy an english copy and feel the OCD strangling me for having a serie of books with different editions in the set. Yes, it’s that bad.
The “Funny book story of the year” would be the fact that my bookshelf finally collapsed under the weight of the books. Luckily there were these two planks that went vertical and when the base cracked – those just leaned sideways and got propped against the wall. So it still holds my books. Just… Don’t touch anything without my supervision!
The “Greedy horder of the books” fact would be – I discovered that Amazon provides a 100% discounts on some kindle versions of the books. I own now over 700 hundreds, out of which some are known, famous or classic titles. I bought some for money too, worry not, I’m not a completely “if it’s free – I want it” freak.
I guess that’s that for the 2013. In 2014 first thing I’ll tell you about will be Murakami and a lithuanian author that makes me real proud! See you soon!