Holiday Schedule

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Blue Fairy's Bookshelf should continue to update as normal.  If I miss a post, it'll be because of the new holiday blog I'm co-writing with my husband!

Come visit!


Diana Gabaldon, 2004

This was a Kindle freebie, and the longest book I've read on my Kindle yet.

Premise: Claire Randall is visiting Scotland with her husband in 1945 when she tumbles through a time-portal to 1743. Unable to return home, she falls hard for Jamie, a fugitive Scotsman. 

This book felt uncomfortably caught between genres. The time travel aspect was somewhat clumsily added to the romantic plotline, and so I was left unsure how much fantasy is possible in that world. Some things, like time travel and possibly the Loch Ness Monster, are real, but witches are an obvious myth? Really? It just feels like it wasn't completely thought through.

Claire bugged me as a heroine at times, because she was sometimes clever, and sometimes PAINFULLY dense and naive.

Outlander: with Bonus ContentMaybe I'm just used to YA style world-travel, but she comes from the 40's, after the start of science fiction, after the publication of The Time Machine and Princess of Mars. If I fell through a freakish screaming hole in space-time, I would assume there was a chance I'd time traveled. Given the obvious nature of her first encounters with the Scots, I have no sympathy for how ridiculously long it takes her to figure it out. Or how hard it is for her to really grasp the ill intent of other characters, no matter how many times it is demonstrated.  She served in WWII, and she has trouble with the idea that someone might betray her or do her violence?  Really?

All that said, I read the whole book, and thought it was overall pretty good. It was well written, with good pacing, exciting scenes and well-drawn minor characters.

On the other hand, reading it knowing nothing about it except the promotional description, I was surprised and bothered by the ending. Nothing resolves, and it goes on far longer than it needs to. Then I realized that it's a series. A really long series. I see. I don't care enough about what happens to read all those other books.

There was an interview with the author at the end of the Kindle book, in which it was confirmed that the time travel was incidental to the story, that she stuck a modern(ish) woman into her planned historical romance because she wanted to write a spunky heroine. This makes it a bit more forgivable that the time travel itself doesn't resolve in the book, but it really annoys me to use a great device like that but not actually make use of it, to not even explore the question of the repercussions of what she does in the 'past'. There's a moment here and there, but for the most part it's ignored. That's a squandered opportunity.

There were characters that I liked (some who were not in enough of the book, like Gelilie. I really wanted more of her story) and overall the book was fun to read.

So on balance I'm going to have to go with:

3 Stars – A Good Book

But it isn't one I liked enough to seek out the sequel.

See more about Outlander for the Kindle

Book Blogger Hop Nov 26

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Blogger Hop
This is the Book Blogger Hop, hosted at

This week's question for discussion:

"What is your favorite book cover?"

I have to say, I am a sucker for covers with pictures of the characters, rather than abstract images.  When I was young, I took all my favorite ones to the color copy place, got them copied and enlarged, and decorated my bedroom with book covers.  Mostly of Dragonlance Books.  A few Redwall and Mercedes Lackey here and there too.  One of the best of those was The History of Dragonlance, which features this painting on the cover:

On the other hand, our hardcover of Lord of the Rings is lovely. It's this edition:

The dust jackets have beautiful Alan Lee paintings, while the cover itself is a lovely dark fabric with the Eye of Sauron inlaid in foil.

Of course, I'm also proud of the book covers that I worked on, although neither depict characters:

See Facsimile and For Love of Children on Amazon. 

(Hint, hint...)

Adaptation Decay?

With Tangled opening, I thought it would be a good time to touch on fairy tales again, this time to talk about interpretations thereof.

One of the complaints I've always heard about Disney flicks is that they 'tone down' or 'sanitize' the old stories. While I understand where the idea is coming from, sometimes I want to ask, tone down compared to what?

Fairy tales and folk tales have been altered, changed, made more or less sexual, more or less violent, etc. throughout time. The people who finally collected and wrote down the stories had their own agendas and made their own changes.  Tales change from region to region. There is no true “original” version, just the oldest we have extant.

I'm not saying I always approve of Disney's editorial decisions, just that you can't fully justify the argument that the writers are being “untrue” to the “original” story.

Well, not when the story is a fairy tale.  When it's a history, okay.  Then I completely understand the objections to drastically altering the story. (Pocahontas is one particularly troubling example.)

Adaptation in general is a sticky subject, and whether or not I can mentally separate a book and film and appreciate them each for what they are is completely dependent on my personal experiences with the subject matter.  Even then, context matters.

For example: I had an extremely negative reaction to Disney's Hercules when I first saw it, because they threw out so much of the myth, but I enjoy Hercules:The Legendary Journeys, which plays fast and loose with both myth and history.

I am interested in adaptation in general, what makes a good one, which ones people enjoy, etc.  I know there are a few films I admit to liking better than the original books.  How about you?

Comics Briefly: Action Comics #894, Batman Beyond #6, Batwoman #0, plus Bonus: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Favorite Book this Week: Batman Beyond #6

First three books new in stores on 11/24, Avengers was new on 11/10.

Action Comics #894
(1st story) Writer Paul Cornell, Artist Pete Woods
(2nd story) Writer Nick Spencer, Pencils by RB Silva

The first story, Vandal Savage's obsession with Luthor, was entertaining and clever, but I think I needed some more background in what's been going on in DCU proper to fully understand.  I kinda skipped that whole Black Lantern thing.  Of course, I bought the issue to get the rest of the story with Jimmy Olsen and the partying aliens.  It didn't disappoint; lots of fun was had by me.  (I am including this, my favorite, panel for my super-knitting friends.)

Batman Beyond #6
Writer: Adam Beechen, Pencils: Ryan Benjamin
Inker: John Stanisci

Art continues to be up and down, (faces could use a little less detail in some shots, actually) but the story really came together for the last issue of this miniseries.  A little too obvious here and there, couple lines just over the edge into corny, but overall it was a really solid action-packed finale. This miniseries has been enough of a success that there's an ongoing series starting in January.  I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to collect it.

Batwoman #0
Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Art by J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder with Richard Friend

I read through this in the store but didn't find it very interesting.  It's essentially a little gimmicky intro that tells us that Kathy Kane is Batwoman and gives a little bits of her backstory.  What I didn't like was that I didn't learn anything from her perspective, just from Batman's thoughts about her. It'll have to be more compelling than that for me to pick up Issue #1 when the series starts. Also I dislike that she looks like a cross between Batman and the Joker. What's with the face paint look? 
See the first few pages here:

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1
Story by Christopher Yost, Art by Scott Wegener, Patrick Scherberger

I'm not sure how I missed this coming out a few weeks ago, since we have been enjoying the new animated series. This was cute, but not quite cute enough to pick up, since I'm currently mostly unemployed. This first issue has both the humor and the heart that I've enjoyed in the cartoon so far. Cute jokes, fun moments, bright shiny art.  I liked it.

Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle

Monday, November 22, 2010

Premise: Collection of short fantasy works by Peter S. Beagle.

Mirror Kingdoms is a collection of short works, but not quite a book of short stories. Many are a little long for that term, and I find that I am not properly appreciative if I think of them as short stories. Most are more like modern fairy tales than anything else.

The writing style is loose and dreamy in some, tight and present in others. I must admit, I didn't feel in the mood to read a whole book of them this week, though that's a fault in me, not in the writing. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, as the stories saved for late in the book are phenomenal.

Let's get the main thing out of the way first: what did I think of "Two Hearts", the "coda" to The Last Unicorn? Mixed, honestly. The tone is fine, the voice is great, but I'm just not sure of the point, either of the story itself or the reason for writing it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.

Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. BeagleThere were certain stories that I really liked. "Salt Wine", about the dangers of taking favors from merpeople, was pretty fantastic. In "El Regalo", a girl has to rescue her brother, trapped in last Thursday. "The Tale of Junko and Sayuri" is a hauntingly evocative story grounded in Japanese myth. "Giant Bones" is one of his more well known short pieces, and its descriptions of giant life are pretty amazing.

My favorites were "The Rock in The Park" and "We Never Talk About My Brother". In the first one, a young boy with a gift for words and his childhood friend with a gift for pictures meet some unusual travelers in a park in the Bronx. The end of that one is absolutely beautiful.  In "We Never Talk About My Brother", Jacob relates the story of his brother the famous anchorman, who has a troubling secret power.

I don't want to say more, because discovering the richness of each world is a large part of the enjoyment of these stories. I didn't enjoy each and every one, but some people can write a whole novel with a less fully imagined world than is implied in most of these stories. Many do.

Most if not all of these stories have been printed before in other volumes, which is good, because Mirror Kingdoms is already out of print.

4 Stars - A Really Good Book

See other collections by Peter S. Beagle on Amazon:
We Never Talk About My Brother (Includes title story, The Tale of Junko and Sayuri, and 3 others also in Mirror Kingdoms)
Giant Bones (Includes Giant Bones and one other also in MK)
The Line Between (Includes Two Hearts, El Regalo and Salt Wine)

Kiss for a Killer

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kiss for a Killer
G. G. Fickling, 1960
I picked up this book because:

1) It was $1.00
2) Awesome cover art
3) Back cover copy claimed: “The Ficklings are widely credited with creating American fiction's first female detective”

Premise: Honey West is a private investigator, and like most, she has a talent for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  This time, however, her sometime flame Rip Spensor is messily dead, and Honey heads the list of suspects.  The rest of the list includes a Italian movie starlet, a reporter, and the leaders of a nudist cult.

I'm a fan of classic noir and pulp, but I haven't read any in a while, and most of what I've read was from the 30's and 40's, not the 60's.  In short, I had to readjust my brain to get into this, but then I flew through it.  It's really short.

I was disappointed with this book.  It starts strong, and has some good parts, some clever turns of phrase, but it's just not great.  I like the serious, self-mocking tone of classic noir, but this goes all the way over into self-parody.  Apparently the semi-campy book series was turned into a really campy TV show, which sounds about right.

There are some downright weird bits.  Really effective hypnosis? Sexually charged nudist cults? Sheesh. Also the climax doesn't make much sense.

The thing that I found most surprising, and then most sensible on reflection, was Honey's attitude towards life and everyone around her.  She is spunky, very lovely, and seems to have some trouble keeping her clothes on (getting drenched in rain, imprisoned by nudists, etc...) The men she works with and around are mostly pretty free with their innuendo, and instead of squashing them, she plays into it.  At first I was bothered by it, and then it occurred to me that she was trading vaguely obscene barb for vaguely obscene barb, acting like “one of the boys”, which was (and is) often normal for a girl in a “man's” occupation.
“...I've got a passenger.”
…. “A man?” Mark said.
“Of that there is no doubt, Lieutenant. Now be a good boy and go to bed.”
“Is that where you're off to, Miss Four Poster?”
“Lieutanant, you don't quit, do you? This man's a possible client.”
“For what?”
“For the Rip Spensor case. Now are you satisfied?”
“No!” Mark bellowed. “You stay away from the Spensor case. It's hot.”
“Not as hot as my client. Bye-bye, black sheep.”
So, in summary: the style is fun, but the plot was too nonsensical for me.

2 Stars: An Okay Book

See Kiss for a Killer at

Comics Briefly: Batman Inc. #1, Darkwing Duck #6, The Last Unicorn #6

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Only a couple notable books for me this week.
Favorite Issue of the week: The Last Unicorn #6

All comics were new in stores 11/17/10

Batman Inc. #1
Writer: Grant Morrison, Penciller: Yanick Paquette

Shrug.  This was okay (I also skimmed Batman: The Return, which had better art, but was way overpriced), but I could have done without the hentai joke in the middle, or the...well, any of it. I'm kinda bored with most of the Bat-verse just now. (Did not purchase issue)

Darkwing Duck #6
Writer: Ian Brill, Artist: James Silvani,
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse

This is such a fun book, and it always makes me laugh. Magica De Spell and Negaduck's evil plans proceed apace. Although not a lot of plot was covered in this issue, there was room for lots of fun little easter eggs in the art.

The Last Unicorn #6
Written by Peter S. Beagle, Adapted by Peter B. Gillis
Art by Renae De Liz, Color and Ink by Ray Dillon

This is the final issue of the comic adaptation of the book. (If you have not read the book, go read it.  Right now.) It has all the weaknesses and strengths of the previous issues: a bit hard to follow the plot if you don't know it already, gorgeous art and amazing hand on the dialogue. I don't know if it's a pavlovian response from my experiences with the movie and the book, but I find it hard to breathe, so hard not to break down in tears in the face of such heartbreaking beauty.

So yes, it was very good.

Bullet (Anita Blake 19)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bullet (Anita Blake 19)
Laurell K. Hamilton, 2010

This book is definitely NC-17. My review is merely PG-13, but I'm sticking it behind the cut anyway because it is slightly spoiler-ish, but mostly for the general trend of the series.

Book Blogger Hop Nov 12

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks Book Blogger Hop is twofold: a challenge and a question.  I sadly have to admit that, while I put several new blogs on my reading list last Friday, and have read their posts this week in my RSS feed, I was very busy with work last weekend and Monday. Since then I have been catching up on other tasks (cleaning the apartment, formatting Facsimile (see sidebar) for ePub...) and didn't post five comments on any one blog.  Ah well.  I'll stick to my tactic of only commenting when I really have something to day, I guess. ;)

Now today's question:

"If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

I am fairly inconsistent about this, actually.  Sometimes I am stubborn about reading the first book first, or reading all the books in a series. For example, I own all of Fleming's James Bond novels because I was reading them in order from the library and I just could not get the library to send me a copy of The Spy Who Loved Me, even though I'd been trying for months.  So I broke down and bought that one and a couple more, and then I fell subject to collection sickness and had to get them all.

On the other hand, a mass market paperback that I just happen upon in the library I might try out regardless of whether it's the first one, and decide later whether I want to backtrack.  That's how I read When The Tide Rises by David Drake, although I didn't like it enough to track down the earlier books.

Or if the most famous book in a series is in the middle, and I don't intend to read them all, I might jump around. When I was getting into classic noir, I read The Long Goodbye first, and then ended up going back to read all of Chandler's Marlowe books.  This is usually a good tactic for books that can stand alone, but are tied together by a character or world.

That's another good point actually.  I used to always read series and not mind plots that might not get resolved until the end of the trilogy or what-have-you, but nowadays I tend to prefer books that either can stand alone or be part of a series.

Continuity Conundrums

I learned the most delightful bit of fanspeak the other day.

Watsonian Vs. Doylist.
(Time-Sink Warning, that is a TVTropes link.)

In short, this means the difference between rationalizing a story element within the context of its own continuity, or within the context of its author's purpose or circumstances.

For example, a Watsonian might say: "I guess the character is right that they never noticed the vampires before because they were hiding", when a Doylist might say "I bet the author is just jumping on the bandwagon, there weren't any vampires in this series before!" Another example: whether a character was 'meant' to die in a particular TV episode vs. whether the actor wanted to leave the show.

I am personally quite Doylist, more and more so as I get older. I am fascinated by authors, and the larger stories behind, for example, making movies. Audio Commentaries are often a Doylist's dream come true.

But few people are always one or the other. I know there are certain worlds that I prefer to think about in-universe, and Twitter interactions with "fictional characters" are sometimes quite fun.  Also I am certainly critical if a piece breaks its own internal rules, even for an external reason. It is a spectrum, not an either-or.

Appropriately, where I've been struck the most by this is in my attempt to read The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, by Baring-Gould. I love the Holmes stories, and have read sections of this annotated version. I haven't devoured it straight through, though, because it gives in-continuity explanations for everything!

Baring-Gould attempts to reconcile Conan Doyle's typos, inconsistencies and continuity errors into a fairly convoluted timeline, instead of just admitting that Doyle forgot, or decided to contradict, what he'd written in previous stories. I admit, while I find it adorable, I don't quite understand.

Comics Briefly: American Vampire #8, Batgirl #15, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6, Birds of Prey #6, Dungeons & Dragons #1, Khan: Ruling in Hell #2

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wide assortment of books this week, and they were all good to great issues.

My Favorite Book of the week is American Vampire #8, even though Return of Bruce Wayne #6 and Khan #2 were both awesome.

All issues were new in stores on 11/10/10

American Vampire #8, (Devil in the Sand Part Three)
Written by Scott Snyder
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque

Yay! More Pearl! (If you've missed this series, check out the graphic novel of the first arc. Pearl Jones, flapper era actress turned new breed of vampire, is one of my favorite things in comics right now.) This entire issue was really solid, I thought. All the parts of this arc are coming together nicely, and the art was pretty fantastic. I know I've said that I don't like “scratchy” art, but the heavy blacks really work for the tone here.

Batgirl #15
Written by Bryan Q. Miller, Pencils by Dustin Nguyen, Inks by Derek Fridolfs

Bought this one because I enjoyed the Batgirl issue of the Bruce Wayne: Road Home so much. It wasn't quite that level of glee this time, but that's only because I read the first few pages on the internet earlier this week. The rest of Stephanie's current adventure is fine, but those first panels are fantastic!

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6
Writer: Grant Morrison, Penciller (some pgs): Lee Garret
Art (other pgs): Pere Perez, Inks: Alejandro Sicat

This marks the end of this much delayed mini-series, and it actually had a decent wrap-up! I wouldn't have believed it, given the scattered nature of the five previous issues. I think it works because Batman is written well, and all the other superheroes are written really well. The time-busting effect was awesome, too.  It is not my favorite book of the week, though, because there were some weird plot jumps in the middle that I had a lot of trouble following.

Birds of Prey #6
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Alvin Lee

Didn't actually purchase this issue, just skimmed through it in the store. Seemed fine, better than the first few of this run, but I'm waiting for the collection at this point. High point: Huntress got to be badass, always nice to see.

Dungeons & Dragons #1
Writer: John Rogers, Artist: Andrea Di Vito

And I didn't purchase this one either, although it was a near thing. It's a cute adventure romp, full of entertaining action and plenty of quips. If it had made me laugh once more or been 2.99 instead of 3.99 I probably would have bought it.

Khan: Ruling in Hell #2
Written by Scott & David Tipton
Art by Fabio Mantovani

I really, really liked this.  It's sad and lovely, close to heartbreaking, a fitting prequel to Star Trek II. Well, almost.  I am continually distracted by the woman wearing nothing but nets. It made some sense as a real costume on a real person in the 60's. Drawing it just looks silly.

There are a couple of awkward bits of dialogue, but overall the dialogue is amazing, and it is very close to a perfect book.

Under Heaven

Monday, November 8, 2010

Guy Gavriel Kay, 2010

Premise: After the death of his father the great general, Shen Tai chooses to honor his father's life by spending his mourning years laying the dead to rest in a haunted battleground. For this deed he is granted respect and honor from his native land of Kitai, and two hundred and fifty priceless horses from the neighboring realm of Tagur. Now Tai must return to civilization and relearn how to survive the delicate and deadly dance of life at the court at Xinan. At least long enough to use his new wealth to secure his family and figure out who could be trying to kill him.
 "You gave a man one of the Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You gave him four or five of those glories to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank – and earn him the jealousy, possibly mortal, of those who rode the smaller ponies of the steppes.
The Princess Cheng-Wan, a royal consort of Tagur now through twenty years of peace, had just bestowed upon him, with permission, two hundred and fifty of the dragon horses."

Guy Gavriel Kay has made a career out of thoughtful, almost quiet fantasies. I am not a fan of The Finonavar Tapestry, but I have consistently enjoyed his alternate histories. Other ones I've read by him include A Song for Arbonne: a fantasy set in an alternate Europe, focusing on the lives of troubadors. The Sarantine Mosaic is set in an alternate Byzantine Empire.

Under Heaven is set in an alternate China, circa 750 AD. And so, it is as much about the wealth, influence and culture of Kitai (China) as it is about the characters. In fact, some of the plot and many characters are lifted directly from history (albeit altered for the purposes of the tale).

I very much enjoyed this book. It is contemplative, which feels right for the setting. Even when events are rushing by quickly and there is action and violence, there is a propriety to the characters, and always an awareness of the importance of poetry in the way they think about the world.
"The slash-and-withdraw was precise, elegant, her wrist flexed, the blade swiftly returned – to be levelled towards where Tai had been. No time seeming to have passed: time held and controlled. The Kanlin were taught that way."
All of the prose is lovely like that, although the plot loses some steam in the final third of the book. I didn't like parts of the ending as much as the rest, because some of the character resolution felt forced, it almost explained too much.

Unanswered questions don't bother me in a book like this. As usual, Kay has a nice turn with mysticism; he presents the supernatural without explanation, giving just enough information so that you understand what the characters understand, which is never the whole truth. The repetition of the theme of horses in the various plot threads is also a nice touch.

I also enjoyed the exploration of women's roles throughout the novel: the complicated power wielded by the women of the court through beauty and subtle strategy, the emotional strength of Shen Li-Mei, Tai's sister, and the physical strength of Wei Song, a trained warrior and bodyguard.

I imagine that students of Chinese history will be able to see aspects of the plot coming, though I could not. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to educate myself some about a fascinating period.

Despite a weakness in the ending, I'm giving it

5 Stars – An Awesome Book

Announcement - Facsimile is here!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Okay, time for a quick plug. Facsimile, a sci-fi novel edited by me and written by my husband, is now available on

Paperback: $8.99  Kindle: $2.99

I may be a little biased here, but I honestly think it's quite good.

Premise: Persephone lives in the near future, when most people use a profiling service for social networking. The company sells you a little camera that you wear constantly. Data that the camera picks up is used to create a highly realistic simulation of the user. Users can interact with their own profile to understand how they appear to the world (like seeing/hearing yourself on film, but interactive.)

Some people use this to construct elaborate concepts of self-image or contemplate their identity. Most people interact with other people's profiles to decide if they would like to hire or date or befriend that person. Profiles cannot learn or change on their own, they can only respond to stimulus based on the way the subject has been recorded responding to stimulus in the past.  At least that's where the book opens...

Check out the free sample for Kindle! (If you don't have a Kindle, you can read the sample on the free Kindle for PC software, which will have to suffice until Search Inside goes live.)

For more information, check out

Book Blogger Hop Nov 5

Book Blogger Hop This is the Book Blogger Hop, a Blog Party and link list hosted by

Today's question is:

"What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?"  

I have so few regular readers that to worry about losing them seems counterproductive. I just write what I would enjoy reading, and readers will either enjoy that or they won't. A lot of people stop by this site to get information on a particular book, and aren't interested in following the blog.  That's fine too.

I find the second part to be sort of a double-edged question. It implies the sort of Follow-for-Follow rule that I just can't do, partially because I don't use Google Friend Connect. If someone comes by and leaves a comment, I'll check out his or her blog, and will probably follow it for a while (via RSS). I read all my blogs and feeds via an RSS reader, and I freelance, such that when I'm working, I don't have time to do anything but work. This means that at the end of the day, I have tons of articles to page through, from book blogs, science blogs, feminist news, world news, theater news, takes a while. If a month or so goes by and I realize that I haven't enjoyed anything or learned anything from the posts by a particular blog or website, I'll remove it from my feed.  I can't follow everything; there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I think, if you never stop following anything, either you're probably not reading much of it, or you've left no time in your life to read books. And aren't we book reviewers all doing this to celebrate reading?

Comics VERY Briefly: Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No comic books came out this week that I am collecting.  I did look at the hard-cover Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale graphic novel.  Apparently it was planned to be released as a mini-series, and then after many delays they decided to put it out as a slim graphic novel instead.

I skimmed it, and while it looks decent, it doesn't look much better than the other Serenity comics, which have all been just okay, in my opinion.

And I'm not going to pay $14.99 for 50 pages of just okay.

Ah well, next week there are 6 titles scheduled that I have some interest in...

Flirt (Anita Blake 18)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Flirt (Anita Blake 18)
Laurell K. Hamilton, 2010

Premise: Anita is actually at her day job, raising the dead, when she's interrupted by abduction and mercenaries threatening her loved ones. This is why super-heroes have secret identities.

Wow.  Can I just say wow?  I admit that I am impressed. After having fallen so low, to be able to write up out of the hole, without actually ret-conning the mess out of existence. That takes some remarkable skill, or incredible luck.

It was fun and exciting and dark in the right places. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and that's the first one in this series I can say that about without reservation probably since book number 11 or 12.

The quote on the cover is right. It is good to see Anita raising the dead. In some of the recent books a reader could easily be forgiven for thinking she didn't have a day job.

Part of what's so good about this one is the simplicity. It's a short book in which Anita has to make the hard choices, and to use her powers both to protect and destroy. She feels like she's coming into her own, at last. She knows how to handle her power, now she's learning how to decide when to use it. I always like her power, her necromancy, to be a bigger deal than all the other supernatural abilities she's gained over the series.

In this one she managed to deal with the whole internal-beasts-but-not-really-a-were thing in a way that didn't feel nearly so ridiculous. I chalk that up to some actually decent writing. Although, I would like to see some vampires again in this vampire series. (Interesting vampires, please; not boring/repetitive like in Skin Trade (book 17).

Yes there is still a somewhat silly sex scene. And I already need a chart to understand her love life, so I hope LKH is done adding characters for a while. But I'm not sure I should hold out much hope for that.
It was one of those moments that Miss Manners didn't cover....if your guy friend and sometimes lover feels left out when you're cuddling your boyfriends at lunch, do you owe him a cuddle?
I also really enjoyed the extra back matter – the “how I got the idea and wrote this book” Author's Note. I just love Author's Notes, and this one is quite friendly and well written.

4 Stars – A Really Good Book