Unwept (The Nightbirds, #1)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Unwept (The Nightbirds, #1)
Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman, 2014

New Release! I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review.

Premise: Ellis wakes up on a train after a terrifying dream. She is sitting across from a woman with a baby, who tells her that she’s been sick, and she is going to stay with her cousin. She has no memory, only a sense that something is terribly wrong.

This is one of those books where the discovery is half the joy. You, the reader, will figure out things faster than Ellis, who doesn’t have the ability to notice references and foreshadowing. I went back and forth while reading the book over which of a few possible reveals I thought it would be, and which I wanted. While I’m not 100% on board with the final reveal, I think the world could go interesting places from here.

The setting, a tiny New England town, is perfectly creepy, and the build slow without losing tension. It helps that the book is rather short. Ellis uncovers one unnerving thing after another, while everyone around her is so happy that she’s back, and so eager to hear about her trip to the city, which of course she can’t recall.

All the details about the town and the people in it just contribute to the mystery, and just a heads up: the tone of the book takes a swing from dark fantasy into horror for the last section.

I really liked Ellis, I liked the way she tried to stand firm as everything around her fell apart, I understood her fear and confusion, I liked where she chose to push and where she chose to conserve her strength.

I wish the book had more of an ending, but this is a ‘real’ series, where you’ll have to read the next one to find out what happens…

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

All-New X-Men Vol. 1: Yesterday's X-Men

Monday, June 23, 2014


All-New X-Men Vol. 1: Yesterday's X-Men
Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, 2013

Premise: Henry McCoy, aka Beast, is struggling with his life, with his mutation, with recent events, with their place in history. He has a crazy idea. It involves time travel. It also involves the teenaged original X-men. Collects All-New X-Men #1-5

I had heard all sorts of good things about this title, and I'm happy to report that it lived up to my expectations. I should mention that while everything is explained, if you don’t already know what happened with Cyclops and the return of the Phoenix and A v X and Schism and the splitting of the X-men characters, this might not be the best jumping on point.

This is one of those times, not all that rare in comics, when something awesome and intriguing comes out of something annoying. After A v X, parts of the X part of the Marvel Universe seemed too far gone, but give that wacky starting point to a solid writer with a good idea, and suddenly you've got a story!

The writing is strong here, every character gets their moments. The art is great, I love the details around uniforms and powers.

Honestly my main problem with this volume is that it's almost all set up. It has to set up a lot, from the teen team, what's going on with Logan and Storm and Kitty at the Jean Grey School, what's going on with Scott's team. Everyone has plans and plots and emotional issues. I’m glad I read this volume, though, and I’ll look for more. I’ll look for it to be on sale (how I got this one), but I will keep an eye out.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book

Earthly Delights (Corinna Chapman Mysteries, Book 1)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Earthly Delights (Corinna Chapman Mysteries, Book 1)
Kerry Greenwood, 2007

Premise: Corinna left a life in the corporate world and the spouse who fit there to move into a building full of friendly eccentrics and open her own bakery. She has a routine, regular customers, and cats. Then an overdosing addict shows up on her doorstep, the women in her apartment building start receiving odd threats, and she meets a charming man who seems to be charmed by her. It’s all a bit much at once, but Corinna faces everything in life straight on.

This is the modern-day series by the author of the Phryne Fisher books. And yes, I agree with all the folks who say that, at least in this volume, it isn’t nearly as good.

The characters are fun, if often stereotypes of a sort. The setting is interesting, and the dialogue and narration is snappy.

“I believe in absolutely nothing except yeast and the inevitability of politicians…”

The beginning of this book was exactly what I needed when I opened it up. I loved getting to know Corrina: her daily routine, her world, her attitude. Somewhere along the way it all started to seem a little too easy and ring a little false, though.

The main climax was… weak. Lets just say it was supposed to be both tense and erotic, and all I could think was: really? All the psuedo-realism earlier and no one’s going to mention how insanely unsafe of a sex act that just was? Not normally unsafe, crazy unsafe. This is not the 70’s. You could die doing stupid shit like that. The explanations about the plot were more than a little hand-wavy, too.

That said, I loved the beginning, and I did enjoy most of the other sub-plots, so I will try the next one to see if it finds its feet. Also, there are recipes in the back.

3 Stars - A Good Book