Friday, April 27, 2007

Innocent Mage, Karen Miller

Firstly, this is real fantasy. Secondly, the author, Karen Miller is absolutely brilliant at what she does. Thirdly, contrary to a lot of other fantasy stories, this is very much a character driven novel. You intimately get to know Asher, the main character, what makes him tick, his hang ups (which are hilarious, sometimes) and his rise to becoming Gar, the Prince's man. Then we get to learn more about Gar, the royal family, their tribulations, hopes and dreams. It has the idea of epicness behind it, but because the writing is so tight, you don't really get to drift in a sea of political nonsense and a huge cast. You get to know this bunch of characters, their motivations quite well and you sit back and think to the blazes is she going to sort it all out in the second book...because there will only be a second book, not a third. Which is also a refreshing change.
I must say, I didn't actually pick it up to buy and read, hubby did. I was astounded. He rarely does that, preferring to read whatever I pick up. So he felt pressured, I think, in enjoying Innocent Mage. And he did, but he kept it quiet, only chuckling to himself now and again, then handed it to me with strict instructions to read. And I did, during my spell at home whilst struggling with godawful flu. And it swept me away. I really felt like I got to know the world, the characters, and what made them tick. One amazing thing though - she has the knack of showing, not telling - there was maybe a bit of telling, but the showing was clear and concise and you caught up on a lot of the finer aspects of the world the characters lived in.
Very vivid and a rollickingly good yarn. A warning though: if you do not like cliff-hangers. Don't buy it. Or rather, buy it, but don't read until the final book comes out, because it will make you want to pluck at your hair and scream at her. Devious author. But a very good one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dry Spell

I am struggling to stick with any books at the moment. Nothing has that edge to keep me reading. I have an entire bookshelf full of unread books. Maybe thirty books, and as I look at them, I think: "Nah, not that one, too much like (insert random book) and I don't feel in the mood to read about that..."
What I have been doing is picking up some of my older reference books on writing. It is amazing how inspired I am feeling. Phew. But hopefully the dry spell will end by the end of this week - I can't stand it otherwise!
Madness, I know.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Moonshine, Rob Thurman

The very talented Ms. Thurman is back with her second instalment of the brothers Caliban and Niko. And boy, do they get worked over in this one. All the characters introduced in Nightlife reappear, they get fleshed out, we learn a bit more about everyone, but the main character is still Caliban and he shines in his brilliant sulkiness and dark gloomy gothicness. Yes, that's a word. Because I say so.
The excerpt from the author's site:
After saving the world from his fiendish father's side of the family, Cal Leandros and his stalwart half-brother Niko have settled down with a new apartment and a new gig-bodyguard and detective work. And in New York City, where preternatural beings stalk the streets just like normal folk, business is good.

Their latest case has them going undercover for the Kin-the werewolf Mafia. A low-level Kin boss thinks a rival is setting him up for a fall, and wants proof. The place to start is the back room of Moonshine-a gambling club for non-humans. Cal thinks it's a simple in-and-out job. But Cal is very, very wrong.
Cal and Niko are being set up themselves-and the people behind it have a bite much worse than their bark...
Genuinely a book I would reccommend - completely. I hear the third installment is due next year only. A very very long wait. But it will be worth it.

Twilight, Stephenie Meyer

I bought this book from Waterstones on Wednesday and finished it last night.
It is a hugely annoying book. It's awful. I am deadly jealous.
No one, should be allowed to have this much talent. It's obscene. Sigh.
Okay, so I was lying when I said it's awful. That was me being jealous, greenly jealous. Ms. Meyer has an incredible talent and Bella Swann is a fantastic character, her inner life vividly drawn and the vampire she falls in love with will no doubt beat up the self-absorbed Lestat with one hand tied behind his back - both literally and figuratively. I am not a big fan of vampire stories - thank you for destroying that genre, LKH and AR, but this, this is something vastly different.
The storytelling is vivid, you can picture the town of Forks in your mind, the wet forest, the cold, the slowness of it all, the rare days when the sun does shine...and then the myths of the vampires. It sort of gets turned on its head a bit, but in a totally believable way.
Bella, as the MC, is a believable seventeen year old, with her feet planted firmly in the real world. She has her issues, and her hang ups, and is very innocent but very wise at the same time, having looked after a bit of a ditzy mother all her young life, until she decides to move to Forks and live with her father, Chief Swann of the local police force. Charlie is a cool dad, not very verbose, like Bella, so they get along perfectly fine. And it is an interesting relationship - very little trust issues.
It is a very personal and personable novel. I don't want to tell too much about the storyline because, hey, its more than girl meets boy, boy is a vampire, girl doesn't care, girl is in danger...much more.
I am struggling to get into anything else at the moment. Mainly because the writing style of Ms Meyer was just so beautiful. I think I need quite a break from reading, just to get Bella and Edward exorcised from my mind, a bit. The good news is, the follow-up novel will be out soon in paperback - it's in hardback at the moment. Waits impatiently by the clock.