New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands | Member Since 2006
Yeah, as a fan of Rollins' Sigma Force stories, as well as most of the stand alones, I was expecting a rip-roaring tale from "Blood Gospel." I don't know, either this was the driest vampire tale I've ever read or it was the driest vampire tale Baskous ever read, but this one tried to put me to sleep. Though, out of my respect and enjoyment of past Rollins tales I did make it through all 12+ hours!
Was it the reader, or was it the writing? It's hard to say. Perhaps a bit of both. The story has the classic 50's sci-fi movie set up with the ballsy, brash Hero, the intellectual and repressed Heroine and a Quest, but it's missing the fun! The interplay between the Hero and the Heroine is limited to exposition as dialog and action sequences. We learn about their growing mutual attraction through inner dialog. And then there are the vampire priests - zzzz
Guilty vampires are interesting if their guilt drives them to action (Blood Oath). Pious guilty vampires, turns out, are a lot less interesting.
Baskous' narration, with its white-noise pitch and cadence, didn't help. He wasn't feelin' it, or maybe there just wasn't much to feel.
But this is a great story that truly cannot be summed up in a simplistic formula; however, readers might recognize elements of all of the above flavored with Mievillesque surrealism.
There are differences: it’s Jane Bond not James, and her Bourne-like memory loss is due less to amnesia and more so because she’s become someone else -- or someone else has become her (it makes sense in the story), and there are people with X Men-like abilities, but there are also vampires, and other, uh, entities.
Readers familiar with Mr. Mieville’s work will recognize and perhaps feel comfortable with the wave of weirdness when it hits. Unfamiliar readers might exclaim “what the frak?!” and feel that the book has gone off the rails or jumped the shark because the story does get a little… out there.
There’s also plenty of human drama, enough to care very much about our heroine Myfanwy, enough to feel eager for the next book. Mr. O’Malley has done a fine job with his first book, and I can’t wait to read more about Myfanwy and the mysterious Cheque organization. Oh, and good job with the trailer for the book. It's very funny.
If you’re trying to diet and having a hard time of it, reading this book will help – it will kill any desire you have to eat anything, for hours. And personally, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat vegetable soup again!
Other reviewers have said it, but it bears repeating – this book is gross, and should probably come with a warning: not for those with sensitive stomachs or sensibilities.
Keene is an artist with words, and in this book he paints the most vivid, horrible images for your mind to conjure. You can sense the gleeful pleasure he must have had describing the inhabitants of the house and the horrors they inflict on the victims trapped within.
However, too much of the storytelling is sacrificed for the gore, and the six main characters – the young people that get trapped and set the ball rolling – serve in the role that all young people have served in slasher films since the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But I wish there had been more story because I wanted to learn more about the inhabitants; they are far more disturbing and interesting than the average slasher film boogyman.
Still, this story is a study in description. For wannabe writers - like myself - pay attention to not only how Keene describes (word choice), but what he chooses to describe, and think about what it is about his descriptions that makes you grimace and the bile rise in your gut. Besides, focusing on the story academically does make it easier to, um, choke down.
The narrator, Jeff Pringle, didn’t do a bad job, but he was not the best choice for this book. His “tell me a story, grandpa” voice and inflections clashed with the events, characters and language of the story.
This was my first Steve Berry novel and I enjoyed it! I enjoyed it despite Scott Brick, (Brick has ruined more audio books for me than any other reader) and I almost didn’t get it because of him, but the premise was intriguing enough – I mean, who ever really thinks about Columbus? I didn’t, but I love this type of historical fiction because it inspires me to think about the past in new and interesting ways… and the next time I see a Columbus biography in the bookstore I just might pick it up and flip through it!
The writing and storytelling here is more solid than anything from Dan Brown, but the two main characters, Tom and his daughter Alle, are a bit melodramatic – we meet Tom just as he is about to commit suicide over an apparent mistake he made some years earlier. He is interrupted by a man with a video showing his daughter being held captive by a couple of guys with rude hands who threaten to do worse to her if Tom doesn’t agree to have his father exhumed, and with him, the bad guys hope, a secret of history and religion that links Columbus and ancient Judaism to the New World! This sets Tom and Alle on a world tour adventure to discover the ultimate secret before the bad guys. The catch? Alle Does Not like or trust her father, and Tom needs to get over himself and man-up if he’s going to win this one.
Berry packs a lot into this book – the father/daughter conflict, secret sects, a Jamaican crime lord, historical flashbacks and “fun facts” about Columbus, Judaism and Jamaica – but he keeps things moving briskly enough that not even Brick’s quavering voice and clipped cadence can slow things down.
I think I'm a new Berry fan.
I think not!
But I get it. This is meant to be a cautionary, worst case scenario tale against doing nothing to prepare against an EMP event. If that was the goal, then I think it could have been better handled as a satire, (A Modest Proposal) because Forstchen’s portraiture of America and Americans didn’t ring true for me.
In under a week the protagonist, John, is publicly executing looters. In less than 20 days this small town representation of America has turned into a “show me your papers, please,” East Germany, and in less than two months the author has us devolving into cannibalism. Not unlikely events, to be sure, but on that timeframe when all the buildings are still habitable, roads passable (with the dead cars out of the way), potable water and fertile land? Bear in mind, there’s been no direct nuclear devastation, no pandemic, no major natural disaster – no zombies or aliens. Power is out, communications are down and transportation is limited.
In trying to paint this bleak picture of America, Forstchen neglects one of the ingredients that makes America, America: imagination. If we lost the use of our cars, and cell phones, and computers, and drugs we would be annoyed and frustrated – and scared, but we wouldn’t become helpless to the point of cannibalism in less than 60 days! Not our DIY, “think globally, buy locally,” live off the grid, alternative fuel, ride your bike to work day society!
Throughout the story, too many times I caught myself thinking things like, “wait a second! You mean to tell me that a small community outside of progressive Asheville doesn’t have a co-op run organic farm or a community garden? It has horses but no mounted police? No farriers? No yuppie urbanites with $3000 dollar bicycles to form a courier system or bicycle brigade? Really?”
This is a town made up of chain smoking college professors and ex-military, Cold War military. There appear to be no artisans, blacksmiths or gunsmiths... or carpenters, electricians, or plumbers. The youth at the local college are particularly useless and only good for training as militia. Where are the nerds – the engineers, the techno and auto geeks who would view the lack of electricity and functioning circuitry as a challenge? There are Civil War re-enactors, but no Native American folk-life demonstrators, or traditional life-ways practitioners? There are “survivalist-types,” but none with a stockpile of MREs? Really? And no one, except for the campus security guard, demonstrates any real individual leadership, not even our protagonist. He gets placed into leadership positions through circumstance.
In the best post-apocalyptic, dystopian future novels (think Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Atwood’s A Handmaiden’s Tale, Orwell’s 1984 or King’s The Stand) the “bad thing” happens before the story and the story is about how the indomitable human spirit overcomes. In the end, One Second After is a cautionary tale against homogeneity and the loss of imagination – killers of our human spirit, for without that, whether we face a super flu epidemic, an EMP strike or the zombie apocalypse, our society is lost.
Don't get me wrong! This is another fine entry in the Iron Druid series. I love that Coyote is back -- he's not called the Trickster for nothin'! And Atticus resolves his problems in the most interesting and entertaining ways! He doesn't have many friends to lose, so when one turns on him it is fairly devastating. I caught myself saying "What?!...No!" out loud to my iPod, but still...
As much as I love Oberon, he's like a potent spice and a little goes a long way. Tricked had just a little too much Oberon for my taste. He made me smile at the start of the book, but towards the end I was wishing he would just keep quiet.
If Hearne hasn't done it yet, maybe a short story or two from Oberon's perspective might help satisfy his - and fans - need for an Oberon fix.
Daniels does a good job, but, maybe because he had so much Oberon to do, I was starting to hear Scooby Doo towards the end.
...and intellectual demons.
I can remember a time when vampires were monsters and they were terrifying. Now it seems vampires have become the hot and shiny sexual substitute for women of a certain age. And there's nothing wrong with that! As I too am a woman of a certain age I can certainly appreciate the hot and shiny, however, vampires to me are still monsters, and as such they should be scary. The vampire's allure was meant to be a lure -- a trap, a manipulation because humans are (were) food. Now they've become these I'm-not-such-a-bad-guy-after-all kind of incubi. Also, I just can't seem to wrap my head around the idea of a being that's lived 10+ generations on earth but hasn't until now, with our heroine, found true love. I just don't buy it!
I was drawn to this book because I enjoyed "The Historian" and "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," and I thought this might be along the same lines, but I think this one would appeal more to those who enjoyed "Twilight" or the Sookie Stackhouse series, or even Jane Austen. There is a shadow of Austen here with Matthew the Vampire in the Mr. Darcy role and Diana as Lizzy.
Otherwise, the book is twice as long as it needs to be - lots of needless narration about what people were wearing or eating, and there's a yoga scene that I'm not sure has a point other than to show that all supernatural creatures can get along! And I have to agree with other reviewers about the heavy-handed foreshadowing and meandering plot - this book should have been about either the developing romance between the witch and the vampire, or about the mysterious book and the unification of different supernatural beings, but not both. Harkness could have spent this entire book showing us the world of witches, demons and vampires, and why they don't get along. And the story's Macguffin, this mysterious book that's supposed to be so important doesn't really seem to be all that important as no one tries all that hard to get it or get Diana to get it.
Jennifer Ikeda does a wonderful job with the voices of each character.
Jeff Pringle, with his Country Bears voice, was the wrong reader for this horror story. It was like listening to Santa Claus read Lovecraft - a complete mismatch.
The story wasn't bad, though it brought to mind the plot for "Chubby Rain," the movie being made in the movie Bowfinger. Perhaps it wouldn't have if the reader had been Phil Gigante or Bronson Pinchot, someone who could have made the terror terrorizing. Still, a fair effort from Malfi at a SciFi/Horror mashup.
Susan Hill is a fabulous writer, but damn, this one is depressing!
Lots of illness, lots of death, and the murderer in this one is killing people just at one of the happiest moments of their lives.
I can understand wanting to prune away some characters in a serial, but really, did she have to do it all in one book? Maybe it's like tearing away a band-aid as opposed to easing it off - it hurts less if you go fast and just get it over with. I dunno. I'm not quite getting Hill's gimmicks - the loose ends, the depressing plot points - but she's a good enough writer (and Pacey a reader) that I'm gonna go along with her...until I can't anymore!
If you're new to Hill, don't start with this book! Go find "The Various Haunts of Men" and start there. That one is not a happy story either, and if you're sensitive to crimes against children, even fictional (crimes and children), you might prefer one of her ghost stories instead. No one is safe in a Susan Hill book!
Fans of Lescroart know him for his vivid portrayals of San Francisco and his distinct characters. Unfortunately, fans and new readers won't get that sharply drawn portrait here!
The Hunter reads like his heart wasn't in it. The plot starts off intriguing but it feels like he was "phoning it in" in between high points. The narration is bland, the dialog flat, and his characters are conventional if not stereotypical. Who else wasn't convinced by the blossoming romance between Hunt and...the new object of his affection? I just couldn't see it!
And none of this is helped by Eric Dawe's take on the character's voices. Oh my!
Bad falsettos, stereotypical old guy/old gal voice, and he made Juhle sound ah, well, "challenged."
It's too bad. I was starting to like the Hunt Club after "Treasure Hunt"!
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