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Posts Tagged ‘angels’

Book Review: Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm (Series, #1)

March 8, 2012 5 comments

Man shoving his hand into a person's chest against a blue background.Summary:
Sam sold his soul to the devil in the 1940s and ever since then he’s been hopping from body to body, possessing and utilizing them to perform his task–collect the souls of the dammed.  Although he can possess anyone, he prefers the recently dead.  His new assignment stops him dead in his tracks though when he touches the 17 year old girl’s soul, a girl who supposedly killed her mother, father, and brother in cold blood, and finds it untainted.  His refusal to collect her sends both angels and demons after him, eager to restore the balance, but Sam insists that collecting her soul will only bring about the Apocalypse.

Review:
I’m not sure why, but somewhere between my email from Angry Robot about this then upcoming book and actually reading it, I forgot what it was about and assumed from the title that it’s about zombies.  Um, not so much? Haha.  Actually, it is an urban fantasy film noir.  Instead of a detective we have a collector, who, a friend pointed out to me, is basically the same as Sam the Reaper on the tv show Reaper.  Our femme fatale is Lilith (you know, the first woman god made but she refused to be subservient to man so she got kicked out of the garden and went and hung out with demons.  I always liked her).  It all sounds super-cool, but I was left feeling very luke-warm about the whole thing.

First, there’s how Sam talks, which I get is supposed to come across as witty banter, but I myself didn’t find that amusing.  Perhaps I’m way too familiar with the classic works of film noir and to me this just didn’t measure up.  Perhaps I’m just a mismatch for it.  I feel like people with a slightly different sense of humor would enjoy it more, though.  Personally it just read as Sam trying too hard to sound suave, which I always find annoying.

My other big issue with the story is a couple of really unbelievable action sequences.  Ok, I get it that this is urban fantasy, but even within that we still need believability.  What do I mean by this?  Well, if something huge happens that affects the mortals, there should be discussion of how the immortals cover it up or deal with the fall-out.  This doesn’t really happen in this book.  One sequence in particular that bugged me involved Sam and the 17 year old hijacking a helicopter, flying it all over NYC, then crashing it in a park AND THEY GET AWAY.  Does anyone believe this could actually happen in a post 9/11 world unless some sort of otherworldly shielding was going on?  I don’t think so.  It was at this point that I knew the book was just not gonna work for me.

Does this mean that I think it’s a badly written book?  No.  It’s an interesting twist on urban fantasy and film noir simultaneously.  The characters are interesting, and the plot wraps-up fairly well.  I personally found it difficult to get into and found some sequences simply too ridiculous to believe.  However, I do think other people might enjoy it more, perhaps someone who has an intense love for urban fantasy and doesn’t mind ridiculous situations.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Kindle copy from publisher in exchange for my honest review

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Book Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead (Series, #1) (Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge)

February 11, 2012 5 comments

Red-headed woman in front of Seattle skylineSummary:
Georgina Kincaid is a succubus.  Has been for hundreds of years.  She’s currently assigned to the demon district of Seattle, but she’s not really feeling being a succubus anymore.  Oh, sure, she still needs to eat sexual energy from men, but she tries to keep it to the low-lifes, like cheaters, and avoid the good guys.  Thankfully her demon boss lets her lack of stealing souls for the bad side slide.  All in all, life is pretty good for Georgina.  Her favorite author is even coming to do a reading at the bookstore she works at!  But one night a vampire is killed and threats start coming in against all the baddies in Seattle–including Georgina.

Review:
Sometimes the books I’ve read for the Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge make me wonder what the hell past Amanda was thinking, and other times they make me realize that past Amanda was still me…..and I really do love to love the bad guys.  And hoo boy is this book ever about the bad guys!  Also, sex. Lots of sex.  I mean, a succubus has gotta eat.

Getting an urban fantasy that isn’t all about a demon slayer but instead is about the demons is just awesome.  It is really fun to be rooting for the succubus, demons, and vampires, but not in a Sookie Stackhouse sort of way.  These guys are the other side of the war, and are they ever fun.  It’s obvious that Mead is aware that she’s flipping the typical story on its head from a delicious tongue-in-cheek scene in which an angel’s helper shows up completely covered up and mocking Georgina’s sexy succubus outfit and blushing at all the swear words the bad crowd tosses around.  And it’s so true!  The good guys wouldn’t be *fun*.  The good guys would be boring, and they sure as hell wouldn’t say fuck.

Also, it’s nice that for once we pop into the middle of the main character’s life instead of meeting her right when she gets her powers.  It lends more depth to the character, adds mystery, and lets us just get on with the supernatural.  This makes for a much faster moving plot as well, which is definitely appreciate.  Plus, there’s the historical aspect to Georgina’s flashbacks, and that’s always fun.

The sex scenes are well-written.  Um, really well-written.  *coughs*  The love interest is realistically attractive and intelligent, which is pure win.  For once we aren’t stuck with a gorgeous, perfect man.  We have an imperfect one who is still totally loveable.

So what’s keeping it from five stars for me?  I’m not a fan that Georgina has somehow turned into a reluctant succubus.  I want my succubus to steal men’s life energy and LIKE IT.  But I get it that this makes Georgina more lovable to probably just about everyone else.  I am still hoping that this reluctance will change in the next book.  Haha.

Overall, this is a delicious urban fantasy that I highly recommend to fans of the genre who enjoy steamy sex and rooting for the bad guys.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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Book Review: Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Series, #1)

April 26, 2010 6 comments

Female neck wearing a pearl necklace with bite marks against NYC skyline.Summary:
The students at Duchesne Academy in New York City appear to be your typical bunch of wealthy, elite teenagers.  Naturally gorgeous twins Mimi and Jack rule the school.  Bliss became part of Mimi’s entourage when her oil wealthy Texas family moved to NYC.  Schuyler is part of the crowd of misfits who wear goth clothes instead of the more typical Louis Vuitton.  They all gradually discover, however, that the secret to their families’ wealth isn’t just that they came over on the Mayflower.  They are Blue Bloods–vampires who retire from their human shells every 100 years or so then come back with the same blood.  Their teenage years are vulnerable ones, and someone or something out there is managing to kill some of the young Blue Bloods.

Review:
The vampire lore behind this story is not my style.  It is so much not my style that just writing the above summary made me cringe.  None of the official summaries of the book reveal much about the vampire lore, so let me tell you just in case it’s not your style either.  Blue Bloods is heavily steeped in Christianity.  The vampires are fallen angels who are attempting to atone for their rebellion.  They face hundreds of years of punishment trapped in human bodies that they must eventually retire then return in new ones.  The vampires accomplish this reincarnation by taking some of the blood from the dead vampire and implanting it into a vampire woman’s uterus.  It all rings as a bit odd when you have a teenage character who’s never done anything more wrong than sneak into a club be told that she must atone for this rebellion against god that she doesn’t even remember doing hundreds of years ago.  It really takes the bite out of vampires and makes them kind of pathetic.

Where the book is strongest is oddly where the vampire thing is on the back burner.  Schuyler and Bliss get to model for a jean company, and that scene was actually quite enjoyable to read.  If this had been your more typical murder mystery at an elite high school, I think it would have been a much better book.

Some reviewers had a problem with the presence of teenage drinking, drugging, and sex.  I actually thought the sex was handled quite well, with teens talking about it a lot but nobody actually managing to do it.  That read as very real.  The alcohol is kind of a non-factor, since vampires can’t be affected by alcohol.  My only confusion with this is if that’s the case, then why are they risking breaking the law to drink?  I suppose it seems minor compared to convincing a human to become your familiar so you can feed off them.  The drugs are entirely presented in a negative light the few times they are briefly mentioned.

What shocked me, and I can’t believe how infrequently this is mentioned, is that there is incest and the vampires accept it.  Gah!  There are times when incest is present in a book, and it is handled so that all sides of the issue may be seen–all of the accompanying emotions are delicately handled.  Here, the vampires just say that it’s the way it should be and are protective of the siblings.  Not much else is said of it, beyond a few teen vampires being grossed out, but it is made clear that their reactions are considered inappropriate by the vampires.

That said, it’s not badly written on a sentence level.  It reads naturally, which is probably the only reason I struggled through the cringe-inducing lore.  It is essentially Gossip Girl crossed with Vampire Diaries with some incest and Christianity tossed in.  If that’s your thing, you will enjoy it.  All others should probably pass though.

2.5 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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