East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2007
hmmm... I think this story would have been better in paper format because every time the protagonist gets into a fight (or recalls a fight/emotional moment) - and there are a lot of these scenes - the narrator whines her communications - making Kate sound weak and complain-y rather than strong and kick-butty. It was so bad after the first 5 hours that I actually fast-forwarded through the fight/emotional moment scenes because I got sick of listening to the supposedly strong female protagonist being narrated with whine and whimper and squeak.
And I'm not sure if there are too many fight scenes or just that the fight scenes each last too long - I'm not a teenage boy and don't need pop-bang-pow over and over and over again to keep my attention. (Not that I think teenage boys would even read this book.) Kill a dozen monsters and move on with the plot, don't go killing another dozen in case I missed the first batch of gore. And if it's a necessary fight scene, please, it doesn't need to go on and on and on - more plot, less... whiny fighting? (Sorry, I think the issue is that I can't determine if the fighting would have been as annoying if I had read it, or if it was just the bad (whiny) narration that tainted the whole thing.)
The narration of the story, excluding the emotional/fighting points, was not bad - it's just that Kate ended up sounding like she was crying anytime she should have sounded like she was killing something.
The story itself is good, and the magic is cool, and the characters are interesting. If I had read this in paper format, it'd be a 4 star. I will read the next book, just won't get it in audio.
I don't know that I'd go as far as to say the book is misogynistic... more like the author pokes fun at the stereotypical relationship where the wife has the husband's balls in a cup. But, perhaps, it's the fact that the narrator mentions this fact EVERY SINGLE TIME the wife is in the scene that makes people think it's misogynistic.
The fart humor (yes, I use that word VERY loosely... kinda like the sphincter control in the story) is here - and more frequent - than in book one. I guess the fact that the dog, or the narrator, farts in every chapter is FUNNN-Y. I laughed and laughed and laughed, until I farted.
So, those points aside... did I like this book? Not as much as book one, where we see the family escape from zombies... this installment has them leading zombies across the country. This could have been okay except for the tiny little fact that about 1/3 of the way through, the narrator REALIZED a) that they are being followed by the zombie hoarde and b) WHY they are being followed. And, instead of dealing with WHY they are being followed (there are things he could have done to stop this following), he just continues on, blundering into one event, then another.
I don't mind fantastical plotting, but I do require that the characters - once they know what a problem is - at least attempt to deal with it... not just keep carrying on because that's the only way the story is longer than 80 pages.
The story is sorta wrapped up here... well, not really, but at least it's not a cliffhanger ending. I already own the next couple books in this series, but they are quite a ways down my to-read list now. The fart subplot left a bit of a stink in the air and I'll wait for that to clear before continuing the series.
It starts off as a straight up butt-kicking action novel, with a tiny hint of political back-story to give it some suspense. This continues nicely for about half the novel, then there is an 'intermission' where we get a very long lecture on how horrible eugunenics are. First one character, then the next, then the next, weigh in on the misery behind eugenics or genetic cleansing, or nazism...
Don't get me wrong, these are all bad things, but i don't want a 20 minute lecture in the middle of an action novel about the horrible-ness of it all. If I wanted to read a treatise on ethnic cleansing, I'd go pick up a book on that subject, not one that I thought was a quick and easy butt-kicking action novel.
Even the romantic component is lame...actually, it's so pathetic, I'm not going to bother talking about it. Fortunately, it can be safely overlooked as it's just a quick plug in (heheh, no pun intended) here and there in the story. I suppose it was there to give more depth, but... anyway...
If one could overlook the moralizing and lecturing (which I don't think you can because there is a LOT of it from midway onward), it would be more like 3.5 star. I just can't get all the blah-blah-blah out of my head, and the whole premise is a little too fantastical for my tastes... either it's a thriller, or it's a fantasy. But don't go putting dragons in my butt-kickings. And, no, I don't have a problem with superhero-like butt-kickers, I just don't want the story overstepping its own reality.
ahh... a book with pure vigilantism. No need to worry about hearing a lecture, and no trying to figure out if there's a moral here... there isn't. It's simply toe-of-boot (or more accurately tip-of-gun) meets bad guys' heads. Rinse and repeat until only our hero and his girl are left standing.
That being said, however, the ending - specifically, the resolution of the relationship between the hero and his girl - was a bit on the lame side of the fence. Oh well, she was really just in the book so he'd have a reason to blow things up. And that's why we read this kind of book, right? To watch a good guy do bad things to bad guys for a good reason.
Were the bad guys stereotypical? Sure. Were all of the characters other than the Gray Man cardboard cutouts? Sure... does any of that interfere with the butt-kicking action, nope, not at all.
I think it was my favorite of the Gray Man series... it was a smidge over the top how he manages to survive certain things, but not nearly as extreme as the earlier books in the series. There's not much I can compare it to, except maybe Lee Child's Jack Reacher series (though, those are not as violent).
The story is wrapped up within the book, but there are enough questions left about the Gray Man's future that I can see how another book in this series would not go amiss - and if there was one, I'd certainly buy it.
The book has an interesting concept. The 'realities' are not really spelled out until quite a ways in, though, so you have to just go with the flow until, all of a sudden, the setting makes sense. Of course, the book doesn't present a "future" that could be possible - like some types of sci-fi where you can see how technology could advance to the point that humankind could reach the described future - the fantasy component is too much for that, but as long as you can suspend disbelief, the story's setting/reality makes enough sense.
It is pretty violent and quite mature (language and actions, no sex though). It is kinda like a dark noir fantasy vigilante story. You might like this book if you like the kind of "human darkness" found in Joe Abercrombie's books: where men are very very bad, and nobody really calls them on their very bad behavior until the HERO steps in. My only problem with the book, actually, is that I think it went on a bit too long, and there was just a smidge too much political commentary on the state of the world (with the suggestion that the path it's following will result (socially) in where this book takes us). Maybe the moral in this story is "true", but I still prefer my butt-kicking to come without lectures.
It has a tone very similar to Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon series - and a kinda similar setting... but Morgan's is less "fantasy" based and quite a bit more sexually graphic. I'm going to read the rest of the series. The narration is very good.
Short and sweet. Both words here apply: the story is only a novella = short, and there is a blossoming romance = sweet.
I liked it better than I thought I would - there is a great sense of humor throughout. It's not so much a "vampire" novel as a romance novel that has a vampire character. In fact, other than the vampirism being an explanation for the circumstances of the main characters meeting, there are no "supernatural" abilities required in the story (though they are used a couple times, this is not a significant component of the storyline).
I'd read more by this author, in this vein, if I wanted a light and quick read with a sense of humor and without a lot of deep thinking, darkness or gore. I understand that this book had references to characters in other books written by this author - I haven't read anything else by this author but didn't feel like I missed out on anything in this story because of that. The narration is good.
Grim and dark... just the way I like my vigilantes. Okay, so maybe Gerry's not really a vigilante... but... when a bad man does bad things for a good reason, how can you not side with him?
I was very concerned when I bought this book that it would have a supernatural thread. But it doesn't, not really - it's certainly not a supernatural story... it's a gritty, dark noir where a man tries to find absolution for things he's done.
Are there ghosts or is Gerry insane? I don't think it matters: the story isn't resolved via some supernatural interference so it never got into the "fantasy" realm. This keeps the story particularly dark and grim... but that's Gerry's life, isn't it.
There is quite a bit of Irish 'politics' which was very different from the usual setting of this type of noir... I liked it for the difference, but it was a very unfamiliar atmosphere. The history of the 'troubles' in Ireland set the stage for the whole story, but you don't really need to follow that history to follow the story.
All in all I thought the book was terrific and have bought the next in the series already. This story is wrapped up (no cliffhanger) but how can one say no to another book with Gerry in it?
The narration is done with Irish accents which might be hard to follow at the start if your ear isn't used to it (I find Irish accents some of the hardest to follow), but it gets easier as the story progresses. The characters are distinctly narrated though - you can tell who's talking at any given time. There is lots of violence - it's not too graphic - some swearing but no sex.
The story is told from three points: Darya Lang and party, Louis Nenda and party, and Hans Rebka and party. If you don't know who these characters are, you probably won't enjoy this book much. This is book 4 in a series that revolves around these characters, and you really do have to be familiar with them in order to appreciate this story since a lot of it has the characters performing actions that really only make sense if you know why they're acting the way they are.
That being said, if you have read the rest of the series, this story won't disappoint. It is as good as the second book in the series, and a bit better than the third. Sure, the story does jump from one area of space to the events in another, but you won't have trouble following who's doing what as long as you're familiar with the characters.
I enjoyed how the mystery of the Builders was (almost) wrapped up. I liked how the recurring characters were further developed. I liked the space/time concepts. There is not much "techy-talk" and you don't have to understand physics to follow the story. I also don't think you really have to know/remember much about the Builder Artifacts either - the story flows along and it won't matter if you've forgotten from book 2 what the Pandora Artifact does.
There is no graphic violence or sex or foul language. While there is another book in the series, this book didn't end with such a cliffhanger that you'll have an urgent need to start the next one immediately.
The names of the first two characters starts the story off confusingly - Katie and Jenny - and it went downhill from there. And I'm not convinced the author kept the characters straight either: it felt like sometimes Jenny was the hysterical useless twit, and at others it was Katie. Unless both women were supposed to be hysterical twits?? perhaps...
Jenny is an abused wife, but this felt like a feminism 101 version of spousal abuse. Jenny recollects how she was planning to leave her hubby, then a few pages later, she goes on about what a terrible wife and mother she was, and how much she needed a "strong" person (aka Katie) to follow. It's like the author read a book about how abused women behaved, and tried to incorporate this into the book. Including a moment where Jenny was going to "pay back" Katie by offering her sex. It didn't feel real - especially since I'm pretty sure women don't turn lesbian in a matter of a few hours.
And Katie says when offered the opportunity to join an armed group: "I think we're better off on our own"??? are you nuts? Yeah, sure... a couple of people against the world - it's even irrelevant that they are both women... nobody wants to face a zombie apocalypse with just one other person at their back. (Of course, the next day, they're all gung-ho to join a group...the reader is not told what stimulated this sudden change of mind.)
Then when they finally find a place where they think they'll settle down to stay (the author - I mean Katie - tells us directly that they want to stay here)... all of a sudden Katie (a lesbian) realizes that she has felt a connection and "feeling that they have a future together" with a man she met 30 seconds ago. Err... I'm not clear if this is meant to show that lesbians turn straight when necessary, or...
It is one of the more poorly plotted (two women take a road trip through the zombie horde, then they take another one), stereotyped (lesbian and abused wife), and repetitive (enter building, fight zombie, run to truck, run over zombie, rinse and repeat) zombie books I've read. I decline to read any more in this series.
Try Mark Tufo's zombie books if you want this type of story with better plotting and characters who act more like normal people would. Or Grant's Deadline series if you like more conspiratorial zombies. Or the Day by Day Armageddon series for a journal style one, or the Undead Situation for a one-off zombie book... they're all better written.
Even though the reviews nearly scared me off from this book, it turned out I quite liked it. If one were to put the tons of urban fantasy books written by women into a pile organized by quality of writing and orginality, this would be in the top 3/4 of the pile. Probably not the first book I'd pick up (Harrison's Rachel Morgan series, or Moning's Fever series are more suspenseful) but certainly it is better written and more original than many.
The romance wasn't really much of a romance though - and there is no sex during the book (I think there is a flashback to it, but not much in the way of details). Actually, this is probably the weakest part of the book - I think Meding was going for "angst" (i.e. should Evy love the man she had forgotten she loved, or the man the body she was possessing loved, or neither of them?) but it felt like this whole thread was sorta dropped, and ended up with the easy solution.
I did find the concept of solving your own murder quite original and even suspenseful. There are the usual supernaturals in the book, and they aren't elaborated on much, but they aren't really that important to the story anyway. Well, the bad guy is important, but the fact that he was a supernatural was actually not important to the story since he could have been any "bad-boy character" and still been there to cause havoc. We just get a hint at Evy's new-found powers, but they were interesting and I suspect they'll grow in future books.
The story is wrapped up in the end (no cliff-hanger) but I ended up buying the other books in the series... I'm curious as to what Evy does with her new life. The narration was good - I never had any issues following who was talking.
This book had been on my wishlist for a very long time. But that was because I had thought it was a science fiction book about time travellers. It is not.
The back story (i.e. how the characters got to the 16th century) is science-fictiony, but the story itself is an attempt at a literary romance (with religious underpinnings) set in the 16th century. The only humor is in the anachronisms the author intentionally added to the story (i.e. the main character accidently shows a 16th century maid a magazine from the 23rd century... haha)
I read somewhere that it is similar to Connie Willis' books (To Say Nothing of the Dog, for example), and that is actually a very accurate comparison. I don't like historical fiction, and don't find this kind of humor funny, and don't really care about romance in the 16th century, or the religious underpinnings of that era... hence my great disappointment in this story.
If you like Willis' work, you will probably like this story. If you're looking for a science fiction take on time travel, you won't find it here.
Don't get me wrong - it's well written and somewhat engaging, it's just not a science fiction novel as I had expected. If you like historical fiction this is probably a pretty good one. (And I will re-iterate that I really don't enjoy historical fiction so the fact I even finished this book says something as to how well it was written.)
The narration is well-done. There is no gore or foul language and no descriptions of sex (people have it, it's just not described).
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