Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Awakening

 The second book of Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series, The Awakening, sees fifteen year-old necromancer Chloe plotting her escape from the Edison Group.

I can't say too much without giving both the plot of the first book, but The Awakening is definitely a slightly weak bridge between The Summoning and The Reckoning, which is the final instalment in the series.  The first book definitely had a stronger story, this one tended to get a little repetitive in places, but The Awakening wasn't any less enjoyable.  I noticed the hints that Chloe will probably have to make a choice between the charismatic Simon or his grouchy but protective older brother Derek, but these possible romantic feelings were still a side note to the main plot.  Questions left from The Summoning about the Edison Group were answered, but enough were unanswered so that hopefully all can be revealed in what should be an interesting finale.   

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Surgeon

Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon is set in Boston: Detectives Jane Rizzoli and Thomas Moore are investigating a series of murders that have been attributed to 'The Surgeon', labelled so for horrific but precise skills used to maim victims. 

The branding of  as a 'Rizzoli and Isles Thriller' is slightly miss-leading: Isles is not present and Rizzoli, while having her primary character traits and family history established, almost takes a back seat to Moore's story arc with Dr. Catherine Cordell.  Their arc in particular reminded me of Girl Missing, a stand alone Gerritsen story, especially with the lemon Mercedes.  Other than that The Surgeon was a great start to the series; it has a steady plot that gave no early hints or clues as to who the eventual culprit is, which ensures that Gerritsen will keep you hooked until the last page.

The Summoning

 Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning is the first book in her Young Adult Darkest Powers Trilogy.  Set in the Otherworld, but with no appearances from characters in Armstrong's lead series, this is possibly the best YA novel I have read.

Fifteen year old Chloe Saunders has been sent to Lyle House, a small group home for troubled teens, after an outburst at school.  While her teachers thought she was a suffering a violent mental break, Chloe was experiencing her first instance of interacting with a ghost.  Chloe is desperate to get out of Lyle house and get back on track to achieving her dreams of becoming a director, but her efforts propel her into discovering the true nature of group looking after her.

What struck me most is there's no focus on what seems to be the obligatory teen romance that clogs so many young adult novels.  Priority is, rightly, given to the excellent plot that is paced so well that The Summoning could easily be stocked in the adult section of a bookstore and attract an older audience.

Terrifying in places, with a good twist at the end (especially if you have no prior knowledge of Armstrong's work), I was smiling when I finished and couldn't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Dark Matter: A Ghost Story

Set in 1937 and told through the diary of Jack Miller, Dark Matter is about a scientific expedition to the arctic which seems to be cursed from the offset.  One by one strange events cause men to leave the island, and even the locals, who provide transport from the mainland, are wary of island and try their best to dissuade the group from staying.  As the Arctic Winter descends upon Jack, so does the feeling that something else is out there.

As the nights are drawing in, and the temperature drops, I find that there is nothing better than settling down in a comfy chair with a good ghost story.  Michelle Paver's Dark Matter did not disappoint proving to be aatmospheric, frustrating, and slightly scary.  It reminded me of Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, only the foggy marshes that surround Eel Marsh House have been replaced with an abandoned miners hut located on an isolated island of Gruhuken in the Arctic.  Highly recommendable, a quick but effective read.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

13 Bullets

13 Bullets is the first part of David Wellington's Laura Caxton series.
In a world where Vampires once existed but have thought to have been eliminated, U.S Marshall Arkley dedicated his life to eradicating the vampire threat.  His last official case nearly killed him, so when there's the slightest evidence that there has been a resurgence he reluctantly recruits State Trooper Laura Caxton into helping him with his investigation.

Wellington's vision of what a vampire should be is akin to Justin Cronin's man made monsters in The Passage.  This is a horror story and these vampires aren't going to save a teen damsel in distress in return for her undying love.  With their Nosferatu appearance and super strength, Wellington reels off plenty of information about the mythology of his creatures without slowing down the story.
  It may not have the most original plot, but after a few years of reading books with neutered vampires it was a nice change to read something with a bit of bite.

Girl Missing

Kat Novak is an M.E for the city of Albion.  What she thinks is a normal case of O.D turns into something far more sinister.  Upon finishing, my first thought was 'I'm glad Tess Gerristen moved away from romance novels and into crime.'  According to her introduction Girl Missing was Gerristen's first attempt at mixing both together.  While the crime element is superb; the romance is all too cliched and when I read those parts I couldn't help reading them aloud with my best sweeping dramatic, faux romantic voice.  I intend to start reading Gerristen's Rizzoli & Isles collection, which has been made into a t.v series, as soon as I can get my hands on the first book.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Spell Bound

Starting directly after the events of Waking the Witch, Savannah Levine has lost her most powerful asset - her magic.  With a witch hunter after her, and something much bigger brewing in the supernatural world, now is not the best time for her to feel powerless.

Kelley Armstrong's penultimate Women of the Otherworld series did not disappoint.  If anything I grew sadder that the series is about to end when she can deliver a novel like this.  It was filler, tying up loose ends and setting up the endgame, but proper filler with a core story: Growing Up.  Yes Savannah is 22, and she's an adult in a literal sense but emotionally she's still been that cocky twelve year old girl I first read about in (book 2) Stolen.  Nearly everyone from the series makes a cameo of sorts, but it never felt forced or unnecessary, each meeting was helping the story edge along.

I was getting to the end and was like, hang on, I want more!  Which is always a great feeling.  I hope Armstrong can wrap up the Otherworld, not neatly or too mushily, but with the amazing flair that has kept me hooked for 12 books.