Tag Archive: vampires

Given that it’s a Tuesday and I’m still studying for finals, I thought I’d take a quick break to post my review for J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld and remind everyone about the Maiden in Light giveaway that ends on the first.

FBI agent Jackie Rutledge is at least as tough as any of the supernatural killers she’s faced before, but when bodies start showing up exsanguinated and totally clean of evidence she finds herself faced with needing help beyond the FBI’s resources.  For this case she and her partner Laurel are going to have to rely on the Bruce Wane-esque P.I. Nick Anderson and his team of odd ball supernaturals.  Can they trust him though?  Nick’s keeping secrets that stretch back over a century that may drag Jackie and Laurel far further into a twisted game of vengeance than they ever should have gone.

My impressions of J. N. Duncan’s Deadworld are colored by his use of a few tropes that tend to really annoy me as well as an immediate degree of respect for his writing for using them in a way that takes them from annoying to genuine feeling plot twists and bits of character development.  Jackie is six kinds of emotionally messed up and hard to like because of it, but then character development happens.  She’s still messed up, but it’s an understandable level of messed up that she doesn’t just magically get over all of the sudden.  Laurel’s most blatant characterization for a big chunk of the book seems based on her sexuality, but she’s not written as just a bundle of stereotypes and gets nearly as much development as the main characters.  Nick gets slightly less active development, the guy’s a pile of secrets and guilt from cover to cover, but he gets a back story that shows why he has that guilt and a personality that almost gives reason to the secrets.  That said, the villain is never given any reason for his actions aside from doing it for the sheer evil of it and to mess with Nick for no adequately explained reason.  I will complain that there were some moments of dialogue that seemed completely out of character and threw me for a bit of a loop, especially towards the end.  It’s also a nitpicky little thing, it may be the stilettos or the leather pants, but I can’t see Jackie as the cover model.  It’s also worth mentioning that Duncan didn’t immediately shoe horn Jackie and Nick into a relationship, a definite plus in my book as they’re both too damaged for something that fast to work out, but seems to be easing them towards something.

For the little things and the fact that I have problems with the lack of villainous reasoning, I give it a four out of five and wait impatiently for the October release of book two The Vengeful Dead.

Nothing much to say here. Think I may have a bit of the flu, but I’m getting over it.  No sightings of tall skinny fellas recently, so on to the review.

In light of the trend towards YA vampire titles recently, I was a little hesitant when I started reading Will Hill’s Department 19. Happily my doubts were more or less put to rest rather quickly, this is not a weepy diluted romance novel nor a particularly angst filled rage at the world in general.

Jamie Carpenter’s father was killed two years ago by men in black uniforms, shot down as a traitor to England.  Now his mother has been kidnapped by a terrifying man with abilities that can’t exist, a man who seems to know him.  If Jamie is going to save his mother he’ll need the help of Department 19 the mysterious government agency that protects Britain from the things that go bump in the night.  With that help comes information he may not want to know about his father, Jamie will have to deal with the past to face a monster beyond anything he’d imagined before.

Now for the fun part, this was one of the better YA vampire novels I’ve read so far.  With exception to Larissa, most of the important vampires were of the classic undead near-Dionysian sadist persuasion doing what they wanted simply because they could.  The exceptions were, while sympathetic, minor character.  I was rather caught off guard by some of the language used in Department 19.  It was accurate for the way many modern teenagers speak but with far more profanity than I’ve come to expect from a YA novel.  I personally found this refreshing because it shows that the author knows a bit about how his target audience interacts.  Some of Jamie’s interactions with Frankenstein came across as a bratty kid know-it-all to his Watson, but can be forgiven fairly easily.  He is a brat for much of the book, understandable in that he’s a teenager, but it kind of makes me wonder if he was taught any manners.  I didn’t like the speed at which Jamie mastered the skills needed to fight vampires, but acknowledge that it was necessary to the plot and to keep down page length.  My only serious problem with Department 19 was the sequel hook at the end.  We are talking a near painful jar apart the conclusion sequel hook that makes me wonder if all YA novels are part of a bigger series now.  It loses points for that, but for the quality of writing up to that point and the enjoyment I got out of the parts that Jamie wasn’t being a brat in, I give it a four out of five.

Because it is Friday, and because I had fun with the book and can, I’m going to post another early review.

Nicole Peeler’s Tempest Rising, is one of those books that I’d seen a few times at the bookstore but hadn’t thought much of.  Later I picked it up at a sale as part of a “buy x, get one” deal.  It had a good review from an author that I already knew that I liked, and the blurb had me expecting something along the lines of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods mixed with a romantic suspense novel.  When I started reading it, I was struck by the narrator.

Meet Jane True, your protagonist and narrator for the evening, she enjoys going on nightly swims in the freezing cold ocean near a whirl pool.  When she discovers a body in the Old Sow, she gets thrown into a world that she never knew existed.  Enter hot vampire Ryu, an investigator for the supernatural world’s ruling body.  Suddenly it turns out that many of the people who were kind to her aren’t human.  The following investigation leads Jane further and further into her mother’s world, and closer to Ryu.

Because Jane is the narrator, we spend the entirety of the book in her head.  This gives the reader a great view of her interests, her opinions on other characters, and a ton of self-pity.  Jane’s thoughts do seem to fit those of an actual young adult, unfortunately this leads to her hitting the same idea a dozen different ways.  At the same time, she is brave, she is clever, but she also seems to get side tracked quite a bit.  Add in Ryu, Jane’s love interest.   He’s attractive, he’s protective, he’s romantic, but he also tends towards trying to protect Jane from things that she really should be aware of.

My only real problem with the book was some of the word use. .  Peeler writes almost exactly like I would expect an English professor to.  She tends to use large words where smaller, more common ones would do, and seems to be trying too hard to get her twenty something protagonist to sound twenty something.  Jane used words in her thoughts that I don’t think I have ever heard anyone use in real life and used a couple of words in rather odd ways.  The story was fairly solid, with a pretty good mix of plot and action, but I had some trouble with some of the descriptions due to them being offered in the form of movie comparisons.   In a rather strange turn I found myself repeatedly reminded of Twilight, but then found that subverted in the next few lines.  For example, Ryu is described as being really well put together, hotter than a match head, the whole nine yards.  He also frustrates Jane a number of times and tends to seem rather temperamental.  The two leads fall for each other almost immediately, but Jane doesn’t call it “true love” or obsess about Ryu.  The series could very easily fall into clichés, but manages not to by mocking some of those very clichés.  I will definitely be reading the next book when it comes out.