Multilingual Previews, Reviews, Interviews & Point of Views...of/for/with/about various products, movies, books, people, things & events...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Silvered by Tanya Huff (Review)

Hardcover, 454 Pages, Year 2012
ISBN - 0756407435
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of
Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen—she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader—to save them. Together the two set out on the kidnappers’ trail, racing into the heart of enemy territory. With every step the odds against them surviving and succeeding soar….
"I had a hard time figuring out what I thought of this book. It was fun to read, although parts of the middle did drag on a bit. The world building and the conflict between science and magic that has been set up is intriguing, and I am interested to see where this goes in future books. My main problem with The Silvered was the rather simplistic relationship between Tomas and Mirian (and, to a lesser extent, all other werewolf/mage pairings). The attraction between men and women of the wolf/mage pack seems to be based almost entirely on visceral and instant connection (whenever a wolf met Mirian they couldn't stop talking about how good she smelled). This type of instant magical connection takes away from the build-up of a strong relationship for me. I actually didn't see much of a romantic connection between Tomas and Mirian outside of the magical connection, and it seems like a kind of lazy way to set up a romance so that you don't have to actually think about what might connect two characters. Having said that, I did like the end of the book and will be reading any future volumes in the series."

Rating - 6.5/10

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers # 1) Book Review

The Reapers are the Angels (Reapers # 1)
Pages - 225
Year - 2010
Author - Alden Bell

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself - and keeping her demons inside. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.


Book Review (GR)

Over a hundred people have shelved this as a YA novel. This is not a YA novel! The prose is artful and does not condescend, there is a fair amount of (admittedly half-baked, being birthed in the brain of an illiterate fifteen-year-old) philosophy that does not bear directly on the story, but most importantly, it doesn't have a YA ending.

YA novels pretty much have to have a happy ending. Or at least a triumph. Sure, the author might kill off a kid sister or a friend or two, but ultimately the heroine is going to find some measure of peace and happiness, or at least safety. There is closure of a nature reassuring to the kids who read YA novels and the neotenous adults who prefer them to adult literature.

The Reapers are the Angels has closure, but not that kind.

Temple was born after the zombie apocalypse ended most of what passes for civilization, and doesn't remember the old world. She is a wanderer by nature, with no surviving kin, but by chance she comes across a mentally disabled man for whom, quite against her wiser inclinations, she takes up the burden of escorting on a road trip to probably no longer living family on the other side of a zombie-ravaged country. Why? She never explains this herself, but it seems she just really doesn't have anything better to do.

Along the way, they encounter any number of horrors, and a very small number of kindnesses. The "meatskins" are really the least of the dangers — Temple dispatches them quite readily with a gun or her Ghurka knife. But there are creepy ordinary folks in mansions, and even creepier Texas Chainsaw Massacre-type folks in the hills. And then of course there is Moses Todd, whom Temple irks by killing his brother. Even he admits that his brother had it coming, but now he has to kill her. That's just the way it is. And like a slightly more affable Anton Chigurh, he pursues Temple and her mute companion (whom she just refers to as "dummy") across a blighted American landscape.

It is written in Southern Gothic style, and the dialect of Temple, who was born after the zombie apocalypse ended most of what passes for civilization, has shades of McCarthy and Faulkner.
It has become something to her, that memory — something she can take out in dismal times and stare into like a crystal ball disclosing not presages but reminders. She holds it in her palm like a captured ladybug and thinks, Well ain't I been some places, ain't I partook in some glorious happenings wanderin my way between heaven and earth. And if I ain't seen everything there is to see, it wasn't for lack of lookin.

Blind is the real dead.
Plotwise, The Reapers are the Angels is derivative of Stephen King and any number of zombie novels; the story is good enough, but this is the sort of book you're likely to like, or else find annoying, because of the prose.

If you are not completely burnt out on zombie novels, The Reapers are the Angels is a short, literary take on this well-worn theme. Highly recommended for YA readers as well who might like to try something a little more upmarket.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pelican Bay (Book Review)

Pelican Bay Review by Wanda (GR)

Pages - 209
Year - 2013, Publisher - Imajin Books

"Pelican Bay begins in 1931, the year of the great depression, and the drowning of a young boy, Aspen Langsley. It then jumps to present day and the lives of Ethan Hodges and Morgan Olinsworth. Ethan loved the sea and at a very young age he met Captain Shelby, a fisherman whose ship was always docked off the edge of the bay. Captain Shelby was a man of some age. Just how old he was no one knew but, regardless, he was a friend to Ethan. Ethan’s first surf board was made by Captain Shelby when he was just twelve years old. As Ethan grew so did his love for the sea and for Morgan. Ethan was a writer and Morgan was a librarian with a strong love of books and research. They had been friends since they were kids and Ethan loved Morgan fiercely. Getting Morgan to admit any feelings for Ethan was virtually impossible but he never gave up hope.

Then, one day, strange things started happening and after three mysterious deaths, including the death of Aspen Langsley in 1931, everyone began to suspect Captain Shelby. While Ethan loved Captain Shelby he also knew there was something strange about him. With Morgan researching Captain Shelby and rumors about him flying around Pelican Bay, Ethan isn’t sure what to believe. Should he trust his fisherman friend or be wary of him? Is Captain Shelby nothing but an old fisherman that loves the sea or is he a mysterious figured that is literally a part of the sea? Join Ethan and Morgan on their perilous journey as they work to solve the puzzle that IS Captain Shelby.

I had such mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the story from beginning to end and I kept finding myself wanting to know what would happen next. I did find it a little overly descriptive. Things were described with such fervor that I found it slowed my reading because I was trying to process the details, but, I DO think readers of mystery and/or fantasy will enjoy the plot. It is a book that I think would be more accepted by a young adult audience but, at the same time, I can’t in good conscience recommend it to young adults because it does contain strong language in a few places and I think the buyer needs to be aware of this in case they are purchasing the book for younger kids. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

Rating - 4/5

**A copy of this book was provided for free by the author for my honest opinion**"