Showing posts from February, 2013

Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Vol 1

Thor: The Mighty Avenger Vol 1 Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson, 2010 Premise: This book collects the first four issues of the most recent all-ages Thor series, along with a reprint of Thor’s first appearance from 1962. Jane Foster is a historian. She’s already having trouble with her job at the museum and trouble with her love life, when an affable Asgardian appears one day to turn the world on its ear. This was impossibly cute. I absolutely adored it. This series reboots Thor from the ground up, so you don’t need to know anything going in. There’s humor and action, romance and friendship; the writing is clever and the art is clean and charming. I could do without the extra reprints in the back of the book, though. It’s not that it’s bad material, just dated and completely unconnected to the rest. It could be confusing for someone who just wants a stand-alone story, and isn’t interested in getting into the (frankly confusing) history of the character. The

Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell, Book Twelve)

Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell, Book Twelve) Laurie R. King, 2012 Premise: Sequel to Pirate King . Russell wakes in Morocco with her memories scrambled, but not her wits. Despite the loss of purpose and identity, she eludes pursuit and hides in the maze-like city of Fez. Holmes looks for her, and for another absent friend. They are both drawn into the complicated and volatile political struggle in the region, and each have a piece of the puzzle they’ll need to solve to make it out alive. This novel was not without flaws, but reading it was like snuggling into a cozy blanket with a cup of tea: familiar and comfortable and very pleasant. I think I had a big smile on my face during much of the reading. I enjoyed Russell’s attempts to deduce who or what she was by her meagre possessions and apparent skills. Holmes was very well written in this volume as well, and their sections complimented each other well. The politics and history are interesting. Don’t worry, Russell doe

Kitty and The Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, Book 1)

Kitty and The Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, Book 1) Carrie Vaughn, 2005 Premise: Kitty Norville is a radio DJ by night, werewolf by, well, other nights. When she starts talking to her callers instead of just taking requests, she accidentally starts a call-in show for supernaturals, cranks, and the curious. Her sudden success should be great for her, except her pack and the local vampires are angry about the potential attention, and someone’s determined to take her off the air. Oh, now this was an urban fantasy/paranormal whatsit I could really enjoy. Kitty is sassy and snappish and she’s scared, but gaining nerve. I really liked that her goals revolved around staying alive, staying sane, and keeping her job. There’s a cute guy, but that is not the plot. The supporting characters were pretty interesting overall. I hope that there are some less antagonistic female characters in the later books; one flaw here is that, other than Kitty, this is a bit of a sausage fest. The ac

Anno Dracula

Anno Dracula Kim Newman, 1992 Hey, look! Alternate History plus monsters before it was a trend! Premise: What if Dracula didn’t lose. What if his bid to settle in England was successful? What if he then - a prince of Transylvania, after all - married Queen Victoria? This is the story of a very different history. I really enjoyed this book, despite a few glaring plot holes. Dracula’s rise to power, for example, is generally glossed over. All the things that follow from that: social positions of prominent vampires, rebellions, etc. work well from the premise, but how exactly he managed to get there is left a bit fuzzy. This was mostly only a problem at one point, when you see Dracula in person, that how he became so powerful became hard to picture for me. Luckily the rest of the book is simply lovely. The assortment of characters is delightful for those of us who like to play “spot the reference”: some are original, some from history, some from literature. The main plot fol

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book One)

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, Book One) Charlaine Harris, 2001 Premise: Sookie is a waitress; she mostly keeps to herself. She sort of has to, otherwise she ends up reading people’s minds and knowing things she’d rather not. She’s intrigued when the first vampire shows up openly in their small town, which quickly turns to worried when her new friend is suspected of murder. This was....fine. Nothing special. It’s cute, I guess, and the writing is competent and I was curious enough to get to the end, but in the end I just thought it was fine. My main problem with the book was Sookie. Laying aside her annoyingly cutsie-pie name, she’s irritatingly dense. Why are you surprised when something paranormal happens? YOU CAN READ MINDS! You ARE paranormal! And then, why are you surprised the next time something paranormal or scary happens? And the time after that? And the time after THAT? I know it’s a lot to take in, but she is really incapable of rolling with a situation, and

Night Shift (Jill Kismet, Book 1)

Night Shift (Jill Kismet, Book 1) Lilith Saintcrow, 2008 Premise: Jill is a hunter, someone trained to battle the things from hell that sneak onto Earth to cause death and corruption. But she isn’t without weakness and darkness of her own, and with a force like she’s never seen causing havoc in her city, she isn’t sure whether she can still stand and fight. Hmmm. I read a historical romance by this same author and rather liked it most of the way through, hence picking this up off a dollar-book rack. Sorta wish I’d grabbed something else now. It wasn’t out-and-out terrible, I was curious about the setting and the plot, the hell creatures were interesting, and the fact that there were plenty of kinds of were-creatures and the story doesn’t bother to break you in easily about it was fun. I feel sort of uneasy about my opinions here, too. Did I dislike this book because Jill is just too rough around the edges for me? Because she’s weak? Because the unpleasant parts were too u

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1)

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) Patricia Briggs, 2006 Premise: When a runaway kid shows up at Mercy’s auto shop looking for a little under the table work, it doesn’t seem like much. But a hungry teenager who’s also a new rewolf is a recipe for trouble. Luckily Mercy knows enough about wolves to give the kid a hand, until it drags her into an interstate plot that could put all the local paranormals in danger. The “our world except some paranormal folks are out in the open” setting is pretty familiar at this point to anyone who reads urban fantasy or PNR. The twist on this one is that of all things, minor fae were the first to go public, and it looks like other folks will eventually follow suit. So part of the background of the plot is a conversation internal to the werewolf community about being public or not, and that’s pretty interesting. It’s not really explored the way it could be, but it’s a neat aspect to consider. Mercy is fun, she’s not a were, but sort of simil

It's Vampires for Valentines!

Welcome to Vampires for Valentines Week! I’m posting a new review every weekday this week, each one of the first book in a series. Monday: Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs Werewolves and vamps cause trouble for shifter Mercy Thompson. Tuesday: Night Shift , by Lillith Saintcrow Okay, there’s no real vampires in this one, but there are shapeshifters, demons, and demon hunters. Wednesday: Dead Until Dark , by Charlaine Harris Yup, it’s the True Blood series! Thursday: Anno Dracula , by Kim Newman Something a little different: this's Paranormal Historical Fiction, kiddies. Vampires all over the damn place. Friday: Kitty and the Midnight Hour , by Carrie Vaughn Radio DJ Kitty Norville starts a call in show for the undead and part-time furry. Let’s get started, shall we?

The Lodestone Trilogy

The Lodestone Trilogy Mark Whiteway, 2011 I received a copy of this book from BookRooster for the purposes of review. Premise: The Kelanni are ruled by a Prophet who might not have their best interests at heart, might not even be part of their species! Rebels Lyall and Alondo, kitchen-maid Shall and former soldier Keris must team up to save their people. This is a first for me. I didn’t finish this book. Well, technically I finished the first book, but it’s a trilogy in one volume, so I didn’t finish the whole thing. Generally, if I don’t finish a book, I don’t review it, but in this case I did get a galley, and if I don’t write something about it now, I’ll feel like I have to read the rest, and life is just too short for that. Is it terrible? No. It’s passable sci-fi on an intriguing world. But the characters are unlikable cardboard and the details are maddeningly inconsistent. I think I dislike all of the main characters. I dislike how most of them are introduced, wi

And All the Stars

And All the Stars Andrea K. Host, 2012 Premise: Maddie wasn’t where she’d told her parents she was going, instead she was on her way to meet her cousin, to work on the painting that she hoped would win her an important scholarship. Then there was an explosion, and afterward, everything would change. Another winner from Andrea Host! This was a great read, full of interesting characters and fabulous plot twists. The premise is strong: aliens invade, but in a different way than I’ve ever seen, affecting people in various ways and quickly threatening to take over. Maddie and a growing collection of new friends first have to survive and then figure out whether they can fight back. I really liked Maddie’s perspective throughout. She’s a little shy and awkward, and she has a particular way of looking at things which is filtered through her artistic abilities. This can make her seem cold and distant, and she’s surprised how quickly things change for her after the initial catastr

Comics Update and Valentines Announcement!

Hey fellow readers! An update and an announcement today. As you may have noticed, I’ve stopped doing the weekly comic reviews. We moved to a new city last summer, and the combination of altered budgets, crappy titles (I hate you so much, NEW 52) and no great comic stores means that my comic buying habits have dropped way off. However, the existence of lots of great used book stores means that my graphic novel buying has increased, so you’re likely to see a higher volume of graphic novel reviews interspersed with books. Also, I’ve decided it’s time for another THEME Week! Next week, it’s Vampires for Valentines here at The Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf. I’ll be reviewing Book One of five different urban fantasy or paranormal series, so stay tuned!