Monday, 10 September 2012 09:39 pm
seryn: flowers (Default)
I read a book from my TBR pile since I killed my Kindle. I've had the Kindle for 2 years now and a couple weeks ago, it slid out of my hand while I was lying in bed and never worked again. I did all the advice listed online, contacted customer support, who said, basically, "It's dead, Jim." They offered me a discount on things I had no interest in. So I decided I would just get another one exactly the same, even though the name had changed to "keyboard". But I dragged my feet and Amazon announced the new series of Kindles so I pre-ordered a Paperwhite.

The book I read, which was awesome, was Reflex by Steven Gould. It's the sequel to Jumper which was one of my favorite books when it came out. I didn't particularly like the movie. This book, however, was a lot more reminiscent of the first book.

There was only one aspect that I didn't like. Davy, the main character from the first book, is married in this book and his wife wants children, but he doesn't. Plot happens and at the end of the book, he's been having unprotected sex with her, but didn't know. I hate that. Men shouldn't have to ask, "Are you still taking the pill?" every time they have sex in order to find out their wives have stopped taking it. That should be a mutual decision that is discussed beforehand. I don't hate that she talked him into trying, I hate that she didn't tell him they were trying already.

What I liked about the book was that Davy's wife grows to understand him and his choices where before she'd been sort of unclear on how and why he drew the lines he did.

But we'll be honest, this was a book that reiterates the origin story of most superheroes, "With great power comes great responsibility." And it was sort of the grown up version of that. Jumper showed us a teenage Davy who grew up, somewhat, while we watched, through the exploration of his abilities. Reflex shows us what happens when someone who is already an adult gets similar abilities. I'm afraid that I've grown old and experienced, so a lot of how Davy handled things in Jumper seems kind of immature now, but which seemed very resonant at the time.... the adult characters in Reflex reflect the older me a lot more.

I suspect the author grew up some between the two books.

Now. I am not recommending this book. I mean, if you like science fiction and thrillers, you might like it. But I can't say. Jumper was so near and dear that it's possible that I liked this just for its recreation of that experience. Jumper is in the top 10 books ever, for me. Right book, right time. I've re-read it as an adult and found myself frustrated with my inability to smooth things out for Davy and my younger self with the knowledge I've hard won since, but I didn't have that visceral disappointment the way I did with Anne McCaffrey's works when I re-read them after understanding what that really meant instead of glossing over it.

I liked Blind Waves sort of, but hated Helm. So I'm still a little mystified as to why we're expected to have author loyalty since even my favorite authors have such mediocre averages. I'm starting to suspect that most authors don't have multiple books in them. So writing one great book means nothing about the next ones. Past performance is not an indicator of future success. I will, however, be ordering the third Jumper book, Impulse.

Book Rec!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012 06:36 pm
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
Stray is free again.
I really loved this book. There are two sequels that I even paid for, but they weren't anywhere nearly as good as this first one. Highly recommended.
(they're by Andrea Host, with an umlaut, but for searching purposes.. o is o.)
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I finished a real book, you know one of those things with the tiny print that isn't just fluff to fill hours when there aren't any reruns on the television even if you stored a TiVo full of things for the holidays (when there is no tv).

It was called The Left Hand Of God and was by Paul Hoffman. I borrowed it from the library.

Overall my impression is this, WHAT WAS I THINKING?


I read the whole thing. I have no idea why I didn't just stop. It was kind of catchy, but thinking about it after the fact, I don't know why.

The characters were not at all developed. They had personalities, but those bases were known solely to the author and the characters appeared to act randomly. The situation and plot bothered me immensely.

Honestly, it was supposed to be a science fiction book. But it appears to be set in some post apocalyptic New England (according to the map) and there doesn't seem to be any magic in it whatsoever. It's full of hands-on battles akin to ancient times and medieval ones. Not that I'm historian enough to know what I'm talking about, but swords, arrows, crossbows, armor, horses. So what's differentiating this from being an alternate history book that could be marketed toward the non-genre fiction grouping that supposedly carries less stigma for publishers? I have no idea.

It's like if it's not real history and there are sword battles, then it's "fantasy".

But to me, there was enough Handmaid's Tale style realism in this to make it repulsive.

Supposedly we're supposed to see the main character as this amazing guy who has brilliant strategems for any situation, who can predict what an opponent will do, but the author doesn't have a Dr. Watson character who is explaining it to the reader by asking questions to elicit detail, so we're merely told this is what Cale (the main character) predicts. And when the author shows us that happening, we're told, "See? Cale's awesome!"

All of these things would not have bothered me, however, had the book not been Christo-preachy. Sure it's got another "name" to it as a faith, but it's the same thing. Son of the male god is sacrificed so inherent sins are washed away by his blood for everyone who accepts this as truth but anyone who doesn't is a heretic who should be slaughtered. Corrupt priests torture young boys and defile them because otherwise "The Redeemer" will have sacrificed in vain.

There is a rule. If you create a fantasy world, you shouldn't drag the same shit we already have and hate with you. If you're going to bring it with you, write something here and now; don't bother creating your own world.

It is anathema for a book to be considered science fiction or fantasy and be about the glorification of Christianity. The whole point of imagination is to imagine how to make things better than they are or at least to see how things play out. If it's a thought exercise to warn people about the dangers of a paradigm, fine... but lately more and more of the time science fiction horror novels are taken as a playbook by the government and the peoples in power. So, at the very least, there should never be a book published in the genre that dutifully toes the line that the base strata of reality relies upon which isn't intended as a warning.

I'm offended this was ever allowed out of the religion section. And if it had to be allowed out, then it should have been excluded from science fiction because this kind of claptrap should be preserved for the non-thinking masses.


Sunday, 25 September 2011 07:56 pm
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I'm still reading the latest Butcher book, Ghost whatever. I don't think I've touched it since I posted last though. I'm not a huge fan of Butcher. Simon loves his books through. And Dresden did grow on me once he finally grew up. But I generally prefer books where the characters flail less.

I've started on the latest Todd McCaffrey book, which he collaborated with his mother Anne McCaffrey on. My complaint about Todd's books is that they're OC fanfic. And back then Anne had said no fanfic, it's my playground, you stay out. But Todd's work was amateurish and confusing and frankly uninteresting. So it was okay to Anne if people fanficked her world, but only if they were family and making buttloads of money off it--- even if the quality was terrible. This one, mommy has come back to drag Todd's ass out of ignominy. And the editing is so bad, you'd think it was a Laurell K. Hamilton book. So far it's the same story yadda yadda not enough dragons. Dragon riders suspiciously laggy and lethargic... hmmm. maybe it's the same thing it was the last 3 times we've seen it! Dragon riders go back in time or forward in time and double up so they can pull a magic cure out of their collective asses. And this might be interesting to me if any of the main characters were of interest. Ah well, I borrowed it from the library, so at least I didn't pay for it.

I also have another book, by E.E. Knight, who I have never read before. It's book 5 in the series, but that's the only one the library owns. I figured I could at least see if the writing suited my preferences before I invested a lot of money.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I read Vampire Mine by Kerrelyn Sparks.

It is a steaming pile of old rubbish. There was no indication of this from the sample chapter which was included in the e-book version of the first book in the series.

The heroine is an angel. Like an actual Christ-worshiping, heavenly-host, actual fucking angel. The whole book is chock full of this proselytizing claptrap about He LOVES us.

I sincerely find that level of belief in the Christian God to be totally offensive in real life, and doubly so in fiction where the author doesn't have to have the same protective lying about the delusions required by society. (Plus it's uncreative... if you can imagine vampires and werewolves and a whole society with its own television network, why does it have to have the same religion?) The premise simply isn't true. It wasn't true in this book. If you torture someone, which happened to the angel in the sample chapter (but before we knew it was "all God's plan"), then you do not love them. If you think you love someone and you are still torturing them, then you're a twisted fuck that needs to be taken out for the good of the universe.

Add in the rest of the problem, that the girl who dropped from a lightning storm just happens to have exactly the superpowers they need to kill the heap big evil. Add the fact that the title has fuck-all to do with the book. Add the fact that there is absolutely zero reason why they "fall in love"--- she likes his accent and finds him attractive. He likes that she's not a total bitch about his deep trauma. That's seriously it.--- Add in the fact that the family members of someone she kills just forgive her because she says sorry. The sum is that this is not a novel, it's a tract promoting a religion that I consider to be based upon a false premise.

Never reading a Sparks book again. The author is obviously god-ridden and baby-mad. Books that aren't intended to be entertainment fiction should carry warning labels. "Author has an agenda."
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I got the latest Southern Vampire book from the library. I really really enjoyed it, Dead Reckoning.

For spoilers, for repetitiveness, and for seemingly contradicting myself. )
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I'm reading the new Patricia Briggs. One of the Mercy Thompson ones... I like the series okay but it reminds me of watching Ghost In The Shell anime.... when I watched GitS, I continually felt like I was only seeing about 1/7th of the story. The rest of the audience had required reading between episodes and only the interesting bits would be illustrated and shown. The other problem with it was that by the time GitS was on Cartoon Network here, it had been out for years.

There's nothing really wrong with the very first Mercy book, except Briggs was about 5 years late to the party and it wasn't anything extraordinary to make it worth waiting for. Then the next book took years. The book after that took years. And years. In the books, less than 2 years have passed, but this is about the tenth book in the series.

Most of the really illuminated worldbuilding occurred in a companion series (Alpha and Omega) and if you weren't reading that, the Mercy series feels like you missed years of character interaction that the books say is merely a few weeks.

My previous complaint about the series is that Mercy went on and on and on about her current life dramas. Knowing, now, that these things took place not 2 or 3 years apart, but weeks of character time, helps a lot. I'm at a completely different place in my life now than I was when the series started and I'm really not feeling the connection to Mercy. I didn't feel the connection originally because she was too young. Now she's still too young and I'm even older. But honestly you remember when you're 30 what it was like to have a new relationship where you act like spoiled high school kids in a way that you don't when you're 40 and you're looking at life insurance and who is going to get your yarn when you die.

It's really not that there is anything wrong with these books, but this field is so crowded that there are tropes like there are in fanfic. You can, as the reader, tell where the writer started in their exploration of "urban fantasy" as a sub-genre, and which kinds of things they favor. In a field like that where many of the authors put out two books per year while they're kick-starting a series, it's absolutely imperative that you keep up the pace. If you're not going to keep up the pace, and you're not doing anything special, then you have to turn out phenomenal work where everyone really meshes with your characters. And what I keep saying is, "There's nothing wrong with this."
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I finished the third Softwire book, Wormhole Pirates On Orbis 3 by PJ Haaaaaaaaaarsma. *pauses to look that spelling up* Haarsma.

The first book in the series, Virus On Orbis 1, was a free k-book. I enjoyed it thoroughly though I felt it would have been a better book if it hadn't been as short as it was because there were a lot of interesting characters we could have done more than glance at if there'd been time. But the plot was great. The conflicts were well developed and although they felt sprung on us, we were seeing from the perspective of the 11 year old main character and those kinds of conflicts are sudden because no one tells children enough for them to extrapolate, even if they'd learned how already. It was extremely well done to pull us along when we weren't ready and hold us back when we wanted to skip over parts. If it was an intentional technique, then the author is extremely talented.

I borrowed the second book from the library. It was really hard to follow. It had the same kind of convoluted plotting but by now the main character is 13, and has had some shitty life experience so we'd expect him to not be quite so oblivious. In fact, the plot depends upon him having enough life skills to get to the layer right under the surface, but the reader isn't shown that information and it looks like Deus ex Machina intuition. I'm sure there's a fine line between showing the reader so much that they want to scream at the characters for being fuckwittedly stupid (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, can you hear me?) and just seeing the solution at the end of a 2000 page mystery novel. Again we didn't get to see much of the interesting characters we've seen glimpses of.

The third book though really shows that there is a failure in the authorial technique. The main character hasn't matured at all. His life experience hasn't seemingly taught him anything about the underlying motivations people have or that he needs to be aware of subsurface coercion. If this took place 2 weeks or a month after the first book, sure, I can see this. But supposedly it's 2 years later. A 15 year old probably should be able to accept a gift horse without making it bite him so he can check its teeth. It might have helped if someone explained the hidden secret stuff so he didn't have to circumvent the adults trying to protect him. But honestly, he hasn't put forth any effort to either explain his thinking (leaving me with the impression that he doesn't actually do any) or have the author show us what information he is reacting to. The plot was absolutely ludicrous because it was so much of a curveball.

The main character has these massive super powers that should give him dominion over just about anything he wants to survey and he doesn't even fix the obvious problem that he's a slave even when given the best opportunities to do so. Then we find out that his massive super powers only work [sometimes] spoiler ). Making his choices not to improve his base situation even stupider.

There is a fourth book, but I find that I really don't care. Which is good because the library can't find their copy.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I read Indulgence In Death recently. It's a JD Robb book (who is really Nora Roberts). I read the most recent book before this one because of library issues and my complete inability to tell what order things go in.

I've read most of these. I think they've gotten both better and worse.

They're better in terms of the characterization. The characters are actually characters now. They're people we're starting to get to know and I enjoy visiting with some of them. They're better in terms of fewer cut&paste sex scenes. (There were adjacent books where the exact same wording occurred in the sex scene. And it wasn't exactly great wording anyway, because "pistoning" sounds really unpleasant to experience in intimate locations.) I also like that Eve is almost growing up. She does nice things unprompted and realizes when her skills are not going to cover something. I also like that there is less sparring between Eve and Roarke.

Some of the things I think are getting worse: the level of violence escalated. Not in this book or the latest one, but there have been a number of books lately that were so graphic that I felt quite ill reading the descriptions. I also miss the futuristic details that made the books stand out. We don't see as many instances of new slang, or gadgetry beyond what we actually have today. I'd expect some leaps since 50 years ago we didn't even have FM radio in cars, so 50 years from now, putting "eyes and ears" on someone shouldn't be a big deal requiring several pages of description. And finally the major reason I'm less thrilled with these books, Roarke has started talking about their future children. Read more... )

This particular book's plot didn't work for me. Eve made this leap of intuition that I didn't agree with or follow and then, despite what was shown to the reader, seemed to struggle with proving it. It looked like a slam dunk from what she'd discovered. Having her say that it wasn't enough to close the case seemed really strange. Because she's done more with less before.

So. To sum up, the earlier books were more futuristic and childfree-friendly. I liked that better. But I like Eve more now that she's opened up some to being a friend to the people in her life. I liked Roarke a lot more early on because he had his own interests and his own life. Now he "partners" Eve on every single one of her cases... but it's not a partnership, he's submissive to her and I think badly of him for it.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I finished reading the e-book version of She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell.

Strangely I find it incredibly difficult to form an opinion of this. It's an American-set historical novel set in like 1900 ish. It's about debutantes and balls and how marrying well is the only thing girls are good for.

But the main character actually has character. She's almost interesting. If you'd taken her out of the restrictive context, I'd even retract the almost.

The plot of the story didn't seem all that interesting. I didn't understand why she had to marry the top-shelf man when she loved someone else. Why would her new husband give her parents anything?

Anyway. I don't read a lot of historical novels. This one didn't suck because the protagonist was interesting. Most of the loose ends were tied up and I liked the ending.

But these historical novels... they're like horror stories. It's horrible and scary and abusive and people die for stupid reasons. I found it very difficult to enjoy the story. But I'm reading a horror-genre book, I can't complain when it's scary.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I'm about halfway through The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I read the prequel short story recently (it was a free Kindle book) and I liked the writing enough to see if the library had any other of his books in the series.

I am finding it alterately speeding along and a hard slog. It's hard to recommend it because of that.

I do really like the typesetting in the book. There was a lot of effort to convey the effect of Noise... (like an unfiltered telepathy) by using various fonts and arrangement effects. If it were done in straight-up text, the experience would have been seriously degraded.

But the main character is under-educated and wavers between choosing the adult path and being extremely childish. It's hard to not hate him just for constantly monologuing in Hagrid-speak.

What's redeeming this as a book is that it's actually a real science fiction type story. It's marketed to the YA market, but it's not fantasy-romance or fantasy-horror or sf-war or whatever cross-genre publishers are pushing because they're afraid calling something science fiction will crush its chances. And to a certain extent that actually uplifts this book from the morass that adult fantasy has trended toward. There are some serious concepts in this that if the book had been written with adult protagonists would have been completely appropriate for a non-age targeted market.
seryn: tea (virgin tea)
I'm reading a k-book, Love, Unexpectedly by an author I'm too lazy to look up right now. It was free when I got it. I have been enjoying it fairly well. It's moderately edited, no glaring gaffes, but the flow is a bit awkward due to the his and hers chapter alternation which makes for some redundant reading. It's still tolerably well put together, on par with better fanfic and Harlequin type novels.

But there's this really weird thing and I can't get past it.

The heroine is a native born Canadian living in Montreal, though she's from Vancouver. The hero is originally from India and has lived in England and France before moving to Canada. The heroine meets the hero while she's dating someone else and hero is her new neighbor. So they become merely friends even though the hero wants to be more. He blames their being friends for why she doesn't see him as a potential lover.

There is never any indication that there might be any other problem.

I'm still blinking about that 90% through the book. I would have a really serious concern about marrying someone who wasn't from my own country. If nothing else, for the legal reasons that it's extra complex with the paperwork and the hassle with family visits. (Hero's family lives in India.) Personally I would be a lot less likely to marry someone of a different race as well, for prejudicial and practical reasons. (I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but shared values make for a stronger relationship, and when you don't share a common upbringing, it seems more likely that there will be too much friction to overcome. I'd be more likely to marry someone of another race who was from a similar midwestern background to my childhood, and then only if we were compatible in terms of food and religion and family expectations. But it's hard enough meshing those issues with someone who was already similar.) Combined with the fact that the book never indicates that the heroine was attracted to the hero, it seemed completely unreal to me that he thought the problem was that they were friends first and he was caught in "the buddy trap".
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I re-read a book I own in paperback on my Kindle, How To Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks.

What astonished me is that I liked it so much better this time than previously. I can't decide whether that is because I have such lower expectations of Kindle books or because the ambient quality of books has declined in 5 years to the point that it actually seems better comparatively

January 2006 review )

2011's comments:
I still disagree with the title. They don't get married in the book.

I liked how the main characters fell into a relationship. I remember that kind of instant attraction and I know about being an adult where responsibilities and long-term planning counteract that kind of hormonal reaction. (Though they didn't co-exist for me, I stopped making instant connections with people before I left high school.) The story starts out with a depressed vampire who ends up meeting this woman who is part of the witness protection program and whose cover has just been blown. He's got that vampire strength and power and uses it to save her. Her reactions are on key for someone with paranoia and having people actually after her being rescued by a stranger.

The plot wasn't ridiculously cumbersome. Stuff happened, but it seems organic and like things the characters would mostly do. I really enjoy that in a book, especially since lately authors suck at that. Most authors treat their characters like Jobian constructs.

I thought the characterization was weak for the heroine. We're told about her foibles and she reacts with them, but it comes across as poor acting. The vampire hero character's characterization goes massively downhill when the author introduces too many other players. You just have to accept that the vampire hero guy has stopped being depressed even though there's not a lot of rationale for it beyond the, "Ooh, pretty girl!"

I liked a lot of the side characters a lot and I found some of the world building quite interesting. I really enjoyed the conflict between the "good" vampires and the "bad" vampires, especially in terms of the setup where the book started. It didn't seem as clear cut as it was presented. Although the bad guys were definitely evil, and they were led by someone monstrous, there was a point behind what they were saying... that 20 years doesn't change the entire culture of a long-lived people. If everyone lives to be 500+ years old, 20 years really wouldn't change how they all think, and it isn't really long enough for them to assimilate the changes without nostalgia for the old ways.

My original complaint was that this felt like a setup for sequels. There is a sample from another book in the series at the end of the Kindle book. I'm considering buying it because it focuses on one of the more interesting side characters.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
Insatiable by Meg Cabot, the same Meg Cabot who wrote The Princess Diaries.

I did not like it )

On the plus side, the title actually makes sense. It's called after the soap opera show within the book.
seryn: flowers (Default)
The book, No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon is in my bag to go back to the library. I finished it. But I feel guilty for doing so.

I read the very first book Kenyon did in this series. The library gets approximately half of them. I have read about a quarter of them.

Interestingly enough this one relied heavily on one's knowledge of Acheron in order to understand one of the really fundamental conflicts of the book, which makes me suspect that I'm missing a lot of the rest of the subtext by skipping previous books.

But the series relies heavily on truly horrible events that the author describes in extreme detail. Acheron is an immortal god and spent thousands of years as a whore to a sadistic goddess. His book is a giant tome and fully half of it is graphic descriptions of him being raped and the aftermath. The other half of the book was a terrific romantic story. Kenyon's first book in the series was a terrific romantic story with a flawed hero who had suffered in the past but we do not see very much of it directly. The next book in the series I read had so much blood and gore, I thought Stephen King's nightmares were being transcribed by someone else. But generally even during the most romantic of Kenyon stories, we have at least one character who has been brutalized sexually. It has frequently been the male character in the non-consenting role, which makes it different than the similarly popular series by Christine Feehan--- which I do not read (because in every book the female character has a psychic whammy put on them so they cannot decline sex, if you cannot say "No." because of another person or substance, then that is rape. Feehan's books seem to say "women want to be raped if the sex is good." So I do not even read Feehan books from the library because I want the library to buy fewer of them.)

No Mercy doesn't have anything obviously horrible in it. Bear lost some siblings as a child and his parents had too many kids to love them all, but eh, not graphic or violent. There was some plot. But mostly it's a romance set in this world where all the other characters are rape survivors and who are fighting an ongoing war to keep New Orleans safe for good people.

I should just stop reading these. I hate it when authors write about how all these monsters come and congregate in New Orleans, but no one ever seems to consider leaving there. Seems pretty obvious after a dozen of these Kenyon books that they should evacuate and then call in a tactical strike. I'm pretty sure that most of the world would agree this version of New Orleans would be a great spot for further nuclear testing. "Oh. Damn. That's still deadly enough to kill sand into glass... Shucks all the monsters got vaporized!" It never looks like anywhere anyone would want to go, and it's ludicrous that the "good guys" wouldn't just concede that territory and go off to somewhere tolerable.

I don't buy books set in New Orleans, but I am occasionally seduced into reading books set there when they have werewolves, or in this case, were-bears. But I feel kind of dirty in my mind because I liked this and when we saw Acheron again, I was reminded that this woman tortures her male characters vilely. I should stop reading these.

book: Naked Heat

Monday, 21 February 2011 02:20 pm
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I'm reading Naked Heat by "Richard Castle", it's the book that the character Castle wrote during the show Castle. The "show within a show" except it's a book. I wish we could have read Thom E Gemcity's book by "Timothy McGee" from NCIS too. Naked Heat is okay. If you don't like the show, you won't like the book. Reading it is astonishingly like hearing an audiobook from my own imagination, but it's got about as much depth as an hour-long episode of the show and I've been reading for many hours now.

I didn't read Heat Wave, but it's not like I've missed anything. I would like to read the Derek Storm series that "Richard Castle" supposedly wrote beforehand.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I'm attempting to read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and translated by some guy.

The movie showed up as available for Netflix streaming, so I borrowed the book from the library. I fell asleep twice in the first 20 pages. There was a prologue, which seems to be completely independent of the rest of the story. I think it's supposed to set the tone, but I really detest prologues. I should have skipped it even though it's only 2 pages.

The book starts out with some guy getting convicted of something but walking free. There were about 61 flashbacks during this sequence, with none of the characters introduced, and there was a flashback within a flashback which also had a flash forward. The guy who is taking center stage is extremely unfortunately less than likeable. If I were The Daily Show, I would be calling him a douche. During the pieces of the situation we've seen, it's quite clear that he shouldn't be the hero of the book. Supposedly he's got this big war with some dude, and also with some other dude, and who the fuck knows who they are or why there is this big deal enmity between them. Without any rationale, the center stage guy... he really does look like a moron. We're supposed to believe he's a "real journalist" (unlike one of his enemies who is a fake journalist) but he doesn't know what can be printed about people legally?

Supposedly the book is kind of like a William Gibson book with computer hackers and that kind of thing. So far it looks like a non-genre book that stars regular off-the-street morons who are pissed that they're not smart enough to be the stars of the book.

I'd read more and tell you if it improves, but I'm not tired right now.

(edited for author name spelling)
seryn: flowers (Default)
I read Hara's Legacy this weekend. It's by Bianca D'Arc, published by Samhain, and free for Kindle and Nook during February 2011.

I really enjoyed D'Arc's Lords of the Were which I bought a print copy of years ago. What's not to like about mmf threesome werewolf fic? And it didn't suck. But I also didn't think it was worth the price they charged for it. It was on par with a mediocre Harlequin and those sell for $5-6 and are frequently discounted. Samhain trade papers cost $12 discounted.

I liked the D'Arc significantly better than the Maya Banks I bought in the same order, Blackmailed. But I hadn't actually bought any D'Arc k-books even though 2 are in my wishlist. (They weren't discounted so there wasn't any reason to buy them now as opposed to waiting.) But the Resonance Mates series wasn't top on my list.

After having read it, I am impressed that she managed to make a post-apocalyptic setting tolerable to read. I didn't really like it though because it's set in a gruesome world where there is this pervasive misery that anti-highlights the book's scenes. I hadn't known it was post apocalypse because the "back of the book" talks about the psy powers and the aliens and clearly indicates the poly romantic relationship. But it was pretty good despite being a yucky trope.

However, I have one issue. It's rather petty, but it will keep me from buying D'Arc's books because this level of editing fail docks her work from professionally published to "worse than some fanfic". If you have a poly relationship with one woman and three men, it is NOT a threesome! And that mistake happened over and over in the book. At least a half dozen times. Foursome was never used. And the "threesome" usage would almost always occur during a scene where one of the men was feeling "forgotten". It's impossible to believe anyone could stay with a story supposedly concentrating on the sad and lonely family who is struggling emotionally while there is that level of unintentionally humorous ironic vocabulary failure.

I was aggrieved enough that I would have emailed the author, but there was no contact point provided on her website and I can't be bothered to make a pest of myself when reader contact is discouraged.

Hara's Legacy was free, and if you like that sort of book, it's actually tolerable. But if you ever go out for lunch with Bianca D'Arc, make sure you get separate checks because she can't count to four accurately.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I read two books recently, Catalyst and Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

It's really hard to like these books but there isn't much that I can specifically point to that bothered me. Maybe they just aren't my thing.

I was really appalled by the fact that no one ever faces any consequences for anything. Guy who commits grand theft, gets rewarded. Pirate lady, gets rewarded. Guy who induces a government crackdown on all livestock and causes the majority of animals throughout the space-faring region to be destroyed.... just walks away. And because of this, everyone we meet in the story who is supposedly a "good guy" is swindled by this con-cat.

It's really a strange pair of books because everything in the plot happens because no one stands up for anything until after it's too late. It made all the characters (and the book head hops continually) seem unfortunate and stupid and like they deserved to suffer the whims of the sadistic authorial plot.

So, cast of characters whom I disliked universally. Plot that was stupid and mostly involved the cast whinging about how unfaaaaaaaiiiir things were, when they could have done something to stop it if they weren't busy whinging instead.

Not a lot to like here.
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
I mentioned a while back that I'd finished the second Collegium book by Mercedes Lackey. It is called, Intrigues.

I have been a fan of the Valdemar multi-series for a while. I have read every book in it at least once. Some of them I re-read. I have strong opinions about the consistent "failure" of Lackey to write a decent third-book in any trilogy. There are several sub-series that I actively dislike, generally the ones with female main characters.

However, the first book in Collegium was only okay. The main character was sympathetic, how can you not be sympathetic toward a slave?, but uninteresting. His main characteristic seems to be that kind of social invisibility that makes for being a good spy. Then the people above him pressure him to spy for them. They have a demonstrable need and no one else could manage it, but it's definitely abuse of power to tell someone they have a choice and then make the consequences of refusal extreme. The whole point of the Heralds, and having the head of government be a Herald, was so they have the metaphysical backing of many minds and could make wiser decisions when evaluated against the fullness of time. It's easy to make the best choice when you're not in the heat of the moment and have personal experience to compare it to. It's also easy to listen to a bosom friend who has had that personal experience. So Heralds should be able to make wiser choices because of good counsel. Having the Heralds abuse a recently freed slave was appalling.

The second book didn't have as much of that pressure. It felt more like parental advice, "You should go out for [sport] so you can make new friends." But the kid is obviously broken due to a massive period of over-reaction. And the previous book's abuse of him set him apart from everyone else, ensuring that he will never be able to fit in and will not make friends among the other Heralds. It's possible this would have been the case anyway since the other Heralds seem to universally come from privileged backgrounds. But it feels like they isolated him on purpose because they're lacking in spies.

The plot of the second book was uninteresting to me. It also seemed garbled.

There's not a lot that's hugely wrong with this book, exactly. It's more that Lackey has had two decades to write more of this world and this is what she came up with? Sure, she's been busy writing alternate history books and her weird dragon-slave series and that other pair of trilogies (Phoenix and the other). And there have been some Valdemar books scattered through this time period, including the drecky shit with the weaponsmaster.

For me though, having complacent-evil Heralds abusing children is the JarJar Binks in my StarWars.
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