Saturday, December 24, 2005

#86 Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

Every Which Way But DeadMy Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

I really liked this book. I’ve enjoyed watching Rachel’s character become more proficient in her magick throughout the 3 books of this series. And mmmm… yummy Kisten… I’m glad he’s playing a more prominent role in this book too, and we get to learn more about him as a person. (And that Rachel is finally ready to kick Nick to the curb as she turns an admiring eye towards Kisten. But I won’t say too much there and ruin it for you.)

Ivy is no longer vamping out all the time over Rachel, and their relationship, while still very platonic, is less stressed than it was in the previous book.

That said, I think I still liked the 2nd book the best so far of these three, although this is still a very close 2nd, tied with the first one.

I’ll be sending this book out on a private invitation-only bookring among some of my BC friends… you know who you are. :)

See the BookCrossing journal entry for this book for more links and information. See more progress on: In 2005 read 100 books.

Monday, December 19, 2005

#85 The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I liked it, though not quite as much as the second book in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, which was my favorite of the three.

The Amber Spyglass picked up right where The Subtle Knife left off, and having been a couple months since I read that, and 15 other books in between, I kind of forgot some of the finer points of the previous story. I kind of wish I’d had that copy handy for a quick refresher before starting on this one. I was able to get back up to speed quickly enough, but there were still some references to previous minor events that happened, and I found myself having to work back through memory or hoping that they’d expand if it was really important to the story. An example that kept being referred to is how Will was arguing with his father at the time he died in book 2. Well, unfortunately, I couldn’t recall the circumstances surrounding Will’s father’s death clearly enough in my head to know if what they were arguing about at the time was significant to the story, and I didn’t even know how he’d died until that detail was eluded to in a later conversation.

I don’t think this was as much of an issue between the first and second books because more of the minor plots and events were wrapped up before the end, while of course the big plot that spans the entire trilogy is left open… but you don’t usually forget the major plotline anyway, just some of the details of the minor ones.

So I always like to give an objective statement or review about the book as well as my opinions on it. And that said, I thought the entire trilogy overall was very good and well written. Though I was both pleased and disappointed in the way everything was resolved. How can that be?

Highlight the text below in order to read it.

Well, I didn’t like that Lord Asriel died, and I didn’t like that Lyra and Will couldn’t be together after all they’d went through. I guess both those points added a note of sadness to the ending. Of course, all the events that had transpired thus far lead up to the final resolution, and I enjoyed seeing the way everything fit together nicely.

See the the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more reviews and information. See more progress on: In 2005 read 100 books.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

#84 Sex, Lies, and Vampires by Katie MacAlister

Sex, Lies, and VampiresMy Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

This was a fairly good read, though not quite as good as the previous book in the series, Sex and the Single Vampire. (This is the third book in the series and A Girl's Guide to Vampires the first.)

Thank Goddess we no longer see Joy and Roxy, main characters from the first book who reminded me of a couple of whiny teenagers, in this one. We do have Ally and Christian and a few other characters from the second book though and I was glad to see them return in this one.

In this installment, Nell Harris, a Professor of Medieval History at the University of Washington, is also a Charmer who can create and disarm magical charms and curses, a practice she gave up 10 years ago when she accidently killed her best friend while trying to disarm a curse. She's been asked to the Czech Republic by Melissande, a Dark One (sorta like a Vampire), on the premise of translating an inscription on a fourteenth-century breastplate. The real reason behind Melissande's asking Nell to come though is because she's aware of her background as a Charmer. Melissande wants Nell to use her Charming skills to help find her 10-year-old nephew Damian who's been taken by the demon lord Asmodeus.

Immediately, Nell runs into "The Betrayer", Melissande's brother Adrian, who has been bound to Asmodeus, while searching for clues to Asmodeus's whereabouts in Christian's castle. Adrian whisks Nell off against her will when he realizes what she can do for him. Despite Adrian's curse binding him to the demon lord by his father when he was only 2 years old, Nell immediately sees the good in him and they soon realize that Nell is Adrian's Beloved. (A Beloved is a Dark One's "other half" who is able to bring light into his soul, etc.)

Melissande, Christian, and the other Dark Ones including Melissande's other brother Saer are all against Adrian and would prefer to just do away with him. But Adrian also wants to save Damian as well as have Nell remove his curse. So Nell joins forces with Adrian and while working to get the information they need to free Damian, they must also avoid the other Dark Ones trying to slow them down.

Thoughout the story, Nell's character reminded me a little too much of Joy or Roxy from A Girl's Guide to Vampires—her comments and American colloquialisms were meant to be funny, but I found them annoying more often than not. Plus, she's a bit too mouthy for her own good and doesn't think how her actions will affect what she's trying to accomplish. Fortunately, there were a number of other funny parts in the story, the mummies for instance, which had me cracking up!

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more links and information.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

#83 Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

I almost didn’t finish reading this book… the first 100 pages were very tedious and boring me to tears. However, I wanted to read at least 1/4 of the way through (about 100 pages) before making a decision whether to put this book aside since I’ve read a number of good books that also started off slow. In this case, I’m glad I continued reading as things got more interesting right around the 100th page, when Azriel was made into the Servant of the Bones.

I didn’t particularly care for the style in which the story was told, with Azriel telling his story to Jonathan, in the style of Interview with the Vampire. The story wouldn’t worked just as well without Jonathan’s character.

Azriel recalls to Jonathan his experiences serving various Masters as the Servant of the Bones, starting with his youth growing up in Babylon, circa 600 B.C.E., and ending in present-day New York, where he uses his supernatural powers to uncover a world-threating conspiracy by a magnanimous cult leader. And in the process, truly transforms himself from the demon he believed he once was, to a true Angel of God.

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more links and information. See more progress on: In 2005 read 100 books.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

#82 Fool Moon (The Dresden Files book 2) by Jim Butcher

Fool Moon by Jim ButcherMy Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

I really liked this book, even better than the first one. I think Harry’s character is endearing to both men and women alike so I just recently started my husband on this series with Storm Front since I believe he prefers a male lead. That said, many male leads are often indifferent or unemotional like so many men are, but Harry allows you to see his softer side at times too, beneath his tough outside exterior. Because every good guy has a good heart. :)

This book centers around werewolves and their various forms, and as Harry enters into a battle with the supernatural creatures, all the aspects of his personna are stretched and put to the test, including again, his friendship with Murphy, which still hadn’t fully recovered from the last episode. Susan is back and Harry looks deeper at his feelings for her, especially when their lives are threatened and they’re clinging to each other on what might be their last night alive.

(I hope this review is coherent… I’m writing under the influence of Dayquil and many other pain killers. Go Pats! Go Yule Tree! So much to do today… must banish all the ickiness!)

See the BookCrossing journal page for this book for more links and information. See more progress on: In 2005 read 100 books.