Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Reckoning

The Reckoning is the final part of Chloe's arc in the Darkest Powers series and Kelley Armstrong successfully provides an exciting end to the trilogy.  The long set up of the love triangle finally comes to fruition.  Secrets are revealed and alliances formed, some with shady characters.  Not all problems are solved in the end leaving enough to be answered in the new series, set in the same world but in another location that has links with Edison Group, which starts with The Gathering.  I can't reveal too much without spoiling such an interlinked series, so the best advice I can offer is to get your hands on a copy and see what you think, especially if you're a fan of Armstrong's Otherworld series (or just an individual book/short story of hers) as you won't be dissapointed.

99 Coffins

David Wellington's first Laura Caxton novel was impressive, but reading about her second outing in 99 Coffins was a constant struggle.  While somewhat endearing in 13 Bullets, Caxton hasn't changed.  She may have gotten a promotion, and embarked on a new romance, but she still lacks the confidence, or even fore sight, to be a good vampire hunter. 

Set in Gettysburg, 99 Coffins are found on an archaeological dig.  Wellington splits the narrative between the present and the civil war, which details how the coffins found their resting place,and it is pretty much the same story different town.  There's plenty of gore and a battle between a human army and 99 freshly arisen vampires through the abandoned streets of Gettysburg.  I just wish there had been more character development.  Also, Wellington mentioned in the previous book about Laura's susceptibility to the mind tricks of the paranormal, but this is not acknowledged.  I hope there is some further elaboration in the next story as it was the plot point that I had the most interest for in the previous book.  However, I still find Wellington's take on the vampire genre a breath of fresh air, and the final chapter sets up an intriguing storyline for the third book, but I may put off reading the next instalment for a couple of months.

First Grave on the Right

I had such high hopes for this debut novel from Darynda Jones.  First Grave on the Right is about Charley Davidson: PI, police aide and Grim Reaper.  I had first spotted it in the States; but due to a bad exchange rate I ordered a copy from my local library so it would be waiting for me upon my return.  When the time came I noticed, that like many trans Atlantic editions, the cover was different and underneath the blurb on the back cover was the thing I dread most on a book jacket: a shoe.  From experience, shoe(s) on book covers mean only one thing: chick lit.

  In no way am I an advocate for that genre.  This may have placed the seeds of doubt into my head, but once I started reading my suspicions were only confirmed. 

The premise was interesting and perhaps if given to another writer with more natural talent or a bit more experience this could have been the start of an excellent series.  However, it felt like Jones was trying too hard.  The supposed humorous quips felt like padding, or nervous chatter.  The attempt to give her Grim Reaper a history became lengthy and forced.  Instead of being brought up gradually every revelation about Charley's past was a massive anvil.  This resulted in every instance a derailment of the story and by the last proclamation I couldn't help feeling that there were too many of these horrible childhood moments.  While on the subject of unbelievable there is also the obligatory sex scene at the end. 

Maybe Jones had the Dummies guide on how to write paranormal fiction and from following those instructions so mechanically her finished product lacks any real magic.  Don't get me wrong; there are good things about First Grave on the Right but it was really hard to look past the rubbish.  It reminded me a lot of MaryJanice Davidson's Undead series, so if you're a fan of hers be sure to get your hands on FGotR.  I have the second book to read, as they were ordered together, and now I'm more aware of what to expect perhaps I may find reading slightly more enjoyable.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Happy (Belated) New Year!

So there wasn't too many posts before Christmas and there hasn't been many after either.  It isn't that I wasn't reading or writing, it's just that Holiday shenanigans took over. 
Giftwise, I was spoilt this year.  I got a few cookery books, that I may review at a later date, and a plethora of other gifts that included the annual family vacation.

Whilst on my trip to L.A, my family and I had a mall day.  Usually this consists of locating the nearest Borders so my mum can feed her addiction.  However, with their closure earlier this year it was uncertain as to where she would get her fix.  We visited 3 different locations and only one had a bookstore, tucked away in the back corner.  It was a great second hand place, which reminded me a lot of Felixstowe's very own Treasure Chest, just without the winding stacks and foreverness about the place.  There was a great selection, one book even had a Richard and Judy book club sticker on, and I managed to pick up three books for $3.23 which would probably equal to one book over here, so this pancake was chuffed. While it was great to find a store, it's scary to think a bookshopless town is probably where many places are headed.  I had decided to boycott Waterstones this year and instead buy/order books through Magpie, our local bookstore, which has been in town as long as i can remember.  This plan has now been scuppered as Magpie is closing down.  We have two other second hand stores and a Whsmith's but I can't help but wonder how long it will be until I'll have to rely on purchasing via the internet, especially with the constant threats to the funding of English libraries.