Posts Tagged With: book review

Kerri Maniscalco – Stalking Jack the Ripper [1]

28962906I saw a giveaway for Kerri Maniscalco book “Hunting Prince Dracula” somewhere. Being a fan of Dracula that I am, I’ve decided to go look into it. Well, the book is not yet published, but then, it is also the second book in series. The first one is “Stalking Jack the Ripper” (Stalking Jack the Ripper 1; ISBN 031627349X; 326p.; Goodreads), and I’ve just read it. And it was… Okay.

Audrey is a young woman, aspiring to get proper medical background, become a scientist, in a world where high-born ladies don’t do such nonsense, and rather learn how to embroider things nicely. Her father, and brother allow these studies with her uncle only to some extent. Her uncle, of course, extends those limits a tad bit. But then, all three of them would be better pleased with her sitting home when a maniac starts killing women on streets, and stealing their organs. Sadly, Audrey was never one to sit, and wait to see what happens.

There’s three suspects, each one more loved than the other, thus she refuses to believe. One is her father, addicted to opiates ever since her mother died. Second is her uncle, for he’d be perfect for quick murder, and organ stealing due to his background in medicine, anatomy. And third might just be his new student, the same one her beloved brother keeps warning her against…

As a detective this book is pretty poor, but then, story is quite alright, easy to read, touching on subjects that matter today too. I really liked the writing style, consistency in text, and direct to next book ending that actually made sense. So while this book wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad either, and since it was more good than bad, I can give it 4 out of 5, because author, I believe, should very much write more. Good choice in topic, fairly unique, if not overly impressive take on that topic, and, as I said before, very good writing style.

Categories: 4-5, Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marissa Meyer – Heartless

heartlessI like re-tellings of Alice in Wonderland story. But I admit, I didn’t know this is one, when I took “Heartless” by Marissa Meyer (ISBN 1250044650; 453p.; Goodreads), and only after I got suspicious of why are there so many similarities, I went to google. This is a story of how Queen of Hearts has lost her own heart. And it’s pretty damn good.

In one night whole Catherine’s life turns over. She dreamed of being a baker, having her own little store, and living a simple life of baking delights. Instead here she stands, in a red dress her mother tricked her into wearing, before the King of Hearts, in one of his black and white parties, where everyone, of course, wears something black or white. From the ceiling descends his newly hired joker, and saves her fainting little self, too weak from lack of oxygen due to the nasty corset, and lack of food her mother strictly forbade. At least, he believes that’s what he’s saving her from. Instead, while Catherine is safe on her way home, the rest of the party goers, her parents included, are trapped inside the castle, where a myth of horrors, Jabberwock, is trying to get in…

Her parents want her to be a queen. Her best friends thinks it’s a great idea. They think baking is work fit for servants, not noble born girls. And nobody cares what Catherine wants. Due to them believing to know what’s best, she suffers a betrayal, after a betrayal, and her soft heart is slowly turning to ice.

It’s a pretty damn good story, that shines very fitting perspective on the Queen of Hearts as we know her now. I have not yet read anything else by this author, and I don’t even know why I picked this one up first, but her other books are already on the list. This one, in the meantime, gets a firm 4,5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, 5-5, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kristin Cashore – Fire [2]

fireI’ve read the first Graceling Realm book fairly recently, and can’t say I liked it. It’s just that I liked it about enough to get to the second book. And after I’ve read “Fire” by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Realm 2; ISBN 0803734611; 480p.; Goodreads), I don’t know how to pick up the third one, so that I can actually finish the trilogy.

The setting of this story is just behind the mountains that separate Seven Kingdoms and some other place. This place has no gracelings. Instead here live monsters. Really, just regular things, but so intense, so vivid, in color, in presence, in mind, that no one can resist them. People walk out willingly to be eaten by giant raptor birds. They might kill a regular biting beetle, but not the shiny blue monster beetle, who, by all means, is the same beetle, but severe and saturated. And of course, there are human monsters too. Fire is one of them. With her hair the color of fire, her flawless beauty so startling, and her power to influence thoughts, and emotions, she seems almost divine. And men do want pretty things…

While a monster might want to eat her, due to her own monster nature, human men are much more graphic when they lose their wits in sight of her, much more violent in expressing what should happen before they kill her. Thus Fire lives her life constantly nudging, pushing, and altering the course of people’s thoughts, steering them away, trying her hardest to quench their desire to hurt, rape, and murder what they can’t have. It doesn’t help that there’s spies appearing in their forests. Tension for warfare is rising, and their small land is far too little to defend themselves. They’ll be needing allies. To make allies they need to know where the spies came from. And to know that one only needs Fire’s powers. And everyone knows the value of such a tool in the shed.

The book is very pointlessly long, and happens before Graceling took place. In a sense, this is a prequel: King Leck’s Rising, if you please. And the idea of monsters is, of course, wonderful. But most of the book concentrates on telling the reader how horribly everyone wishes to either marry or rape Fire, and her crying for not being able to have children doesn’t help the already heavy feeling that sets before us. She walks with guards surrounding her, and still people randomly run at her with knives, or yell obscenities. And there’s a lot of this walking back and forth, with war happening somewhere out there, with someone else fighting it… So… All in all I can only offer this book a 2 out of 5. While the idea is truly good, execution of it was poor.

Categories: 2-5, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin [3]

acowarUsed to be I disliked series. Now I love series! Because who wouldn’t love that odd sense you get after you finish one, where you don’t know what to do with your life anymore. Everyone’s living their lives, as if you hadn’t just survived a wizard war or, in this case, a fae war. Yes, I have finished “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas (acotar 3; ISBN 1408857901; 699p.; Goodreads), the last one in acotar series or trilogy. And while they’re not as great as, say, Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab, they’re still pretty damn amazing.

 

The Wall between humans and fae was never meant as permanent solution. It was made to cease fire, to give time for healing, to learn co-exist. Yet humans have short lives, and horror tales of fairies got worse, and worse with every new generation. While fae lived long enough to have seen humans freed, and witness this day with wall about to crumble. And not all who did feel that it is right to co-exist with great-great-great-great-grandchildren of their former slaves. The war is inevitable. All there is to do now is prepare.

Cauldron once created this whole world, so how does one stand against a weapon able to create the cycle of life and death itself? Fayra and Rhysand are trying to gather allies, rally everyone they possibly can. They’re seeking any advantage points in this overtipped scale, and if that means unleashing Death Gods themselves, Fayra is willing to make a bargain again. Bargain she was warned against while she was still mortal. And with worse beings than fae…

Rhysand, on the other hand, has his own little (or not so little) problem. How does one convince the world that this mighty High Lord of the Night Court to whom Court of Nightmares bows, wants to protect, and defend, rather than wreck havoc? How does he gain trust once the mask falls, and who will dare to stand with him? Especially with Tamlin running amok, with a tale of betrayal in his court, by no else than Fayra, his mate.

And Lucien? Lucien, like a stray kicked cat is testing the waters with caution. Being left courtless, which is pretty much homeless, twice in his life now, he fits into the Court of Dreams by his nature of an unwanted oddity alone. But can Rhys, this mortal enemy of Tamlin’s, his friend’s nemesis, really be trusted to not just give him up to his family, where he’d surely be killed? He’s willing to try his luck, if carefully, at the very least, for his mate, who now lives under Rhysand’s wings.

So, the book. Whole inner monologues of “how and why I feel” almost ceased to exist. And once you start believing that pace of the book is too slow – someone drops a brick on the heroes heads. Or an army.  There’s funny, there’s witty, there’s edge-of-the-chair intense. So I give it 5 out of 5, for now the story truly earned it.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses [1]

acourtofthornsandrosesI won Sarah J. Maas book “A Court of Thorns and Roses” (ISBN 1619634449; 421p.; Goodreads) in a contest at P.S. I Love That Book. And once I finished the Silo trilogy, I really had no reasons to put the reading of this book off, as I did in the past, without the physical copy to beckon me (I’m an advocate for e-books, but I admit, sometimes there’s more moral obligation in me to read a physical book, than the endless supply of e-books provides). And besides, I like pointy-eared warriors…

In the dark forest, thin due to it being dead of winter, and so very too close to the wall separating world of mortals from that of the immortal and brutal fae realm, Fayre is searching for any prey that could feed her family. The only solace to her heart, filled with dread by stories on fae being merciless, is the sole ash arrow in her quiver, said to be the only weapon against the immortal folk. But the giant beast of a wolf she gazes upon in the dark gives her doubt enough to stop and reconsider the purpose of that highly priced and rare arrow. If it eats her, her family starves. If it eats her prey, her family starves. And the two meager regular arrows she has might not even slow the great creature down. There’s only one way out of this.

One night later their whole hut shivers in protest, as the door splits apart, huge horned creature storming in through it. He’s here for a blood debt. Life for life. He’s here for the hunter who killed his friend.

I admit, at points this book is mighty boring. But then the good parts are oh so worth it. I believe I loved their world the most, in the whole setting. Much like Shades of Magic, this one too was so alike our own, that I could almost believe it real, but so very different, and thus so very much more worthy to imagine as true. A world full of magic, curses, and unbreakable promises. I will also admit that I already started the second one. I’ll give this one 4 out of 5, due to some things bothering me a lot. Like constant “male” and “female“. While it made sense, it also made me cringe oh so many times. And second thing being empty threats. “There won’t be anything to burn once I’m done with you” – and then the “done” part is as good as a stab with a butter knife. Even if it did work – there’d still be plenty to burn!

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: 3-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Merrick [VC #7]

1So far I didn’t know Anne to be able to refrain from describing countless of art pieces her characters encounter in Vampire Chronicles, but here it is. Merrick by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles #7; ISBN 0345422406; 370p.; Goodreads) is a fairly easy read in many a sense. Maybe it is because David Talbot told it. Maybe because it was spun around Mayfair witch and archaeology, two topics I delight in. Or maybe just because it’s getting better by the book.

Louis is tormented by the idea that so many people claim to have had encountered his beloved Claudia, and yet he was always blind, and deaf to ghosts, hers included. Thus he turns to David Talbot and Merrick Mayfair, a known powerful witch, able to summon and converse with spirits. David, in turn, having had Merrick as his friend, and lover for so many years, being witness to spirits possessing her, and the very air around her, the danger they pose, is unable to let this pass so easily. Thus he takes it upon himself to tell Louis her story, in hopes that he will spare his own heart from the malicious child-vampire Claudia, and his friend from the threat such a spirit would pose.

As I said, this was an easy read, especially in compare to Body Thief or Memnoch. I believe I will forever remember and compare those books to other Vampire Chronicle pieces, due to their heavy, and thick nature in story telling. And unlike Armand’s story, this wasn’t filled with descriptions of paintings, and architecture. In fact, I feel like this was the first book in Vampire Chronicles that I encountered, where details were spared for the reader by sparing the reader (mind you, details aren’t always bad, I’m just saying that it makes it hard sometimes to sift through them, and all things must have balance). I give it a firm 4 out of 5, and am glad to finally get to know this famous Merrick.

merrick

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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