Wednesday, November 26, 2008

#36 Cirque Du Freak #9: Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

The vampires continue to fight the ongoing war with the vampeneze, the War of the Scars as it is to be known. The vampaneze are an evil race of vampires who broke off from the Council hundreds of years ago and don't follow any of the vampire's rules of conduct; in particular, they have no respect for human lives.

As prophesied by Mr. Tiny, the three vampire hunters—Darren, Mr. Crepsley, and Vancha March—must defeat the Lord of the Vampeneze in one of four potential encounters. The fate of the entire vampire race depends on the outcome of this war; for if they do not manage to kill the Vampeneze Lord, then the vampires will perish, and the vampenze will rule.

The hunters, along with Little Person Harkat Mulds, have already let the Lord of the Vampenze slip through their hands once. So now they have only three more chances to defeat him. Unfortunately for Darren and the hunters, they don't even know the true identity of the Vampaneze Lord, and they have no idea what he looks like either, so their task is quite difficult! There's also several surprises and a few sad endings in store in this one....

Killers of the Dawn picks up right where the previous book, Allies of the Night, left off. With this series, there's sometimes be a little break in action between books; but at other times, you're left at a cliffhanger and the next book picks up right where the previous one left off, often at the very same scene. The latter has been the case with the last few books.

Like all the previous books, I really enjoyed this one too. It was quick and action-packed. Plus there's some really neat revelations beginning to come out! *shhh* LOL I really wanted to start on the tenth book, The Lake of Souls, right after I finished this, but for a change, there actually seemed to be a bit of a break at the end. So instead, I'm holding off while I catch up on some other reading, and then plan to finish the series with books ten through twelve all in one fell swoop, since I do have the remaining three waiting on Mt. TBR. :)

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CONTEST - The Twilight Saga hardcover boxed set by Stephenie Meyer

Check this out!! Bitten by Books is hosting a contest to give away a complete hardcover boxed set of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga! This set includes all 4 books in the series—Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn—all in hardcover format.

For full details including how to enter, visit this entry at Bitten by Books. Contest closes on December 7th and is open to U.S. residents only. w00t w00t!! :P

Saturday, November 15, 2008

#35 Circus of the Darned by Katie Maxwell

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Circus of the Darned is the follow-up to 2005's Got Fangs?, the first book in the Goth series, and takes place in the same world as Katie MacAlister's Dark Ones series. The name Katie Maxwell is a pseudonym used by Katie MacAlister with her young adult titles.

Francesca "Fran" Ghetti has been traveling across Europe with her mom and the GothFaire for the last several months. Fran is finally beginning to realize that she'll never have a normal life she once craved. The traveling GothFaire and all the strange and mysterious people that work there, her Wiccan High Priestess mother, and Benedikt, a really cute Dark One (aka vampire) who claims she is his Beloved are just the start! She's also got to deal with her psychometry skills—the ability to read a person or object's past, as well as their thoughts and emotions, through touch—and try to integrate that into her life. But at least she's beginning to accept, perhaps even like, her new life.

However, just as things have started to look up, it all begins to fall apart. First, someone steals her horse Tesla, most likely the oddly curious man who had expressed an interest and offered her an amazingly large sum of money for such an old horse. Then, she accidentally manages to raise an entire battlefield of warring, Viking ghosts... who refuse to move on to the afterlife! Buggers! All this just in time to ruin her first "real" date with Benedikt on Saturday.

While this book had a good story to it, there were several things about Fran's character that bugged me. For example, I got tired very fast of all the teen-ish giggly, girly stuff going on. I had to laugh though because even Fran herself would admit she didn't like "going all girly". Too bad she can't listen to her own advice. LOL But it's not just this book really... I have the same problem with most of this author's characters—they're all too ditzy, girly, catty, or just plain stupid for my taste; she's never really written a character that has endeared herself to me. (For proof, just search for "macalister" on my blog to read my past reviews.)

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Friday, November 07, 2008

#34 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

After moving from sunny Phoenix to bleak and rainy Forks, Washington, Isabella Swan is prepared to be bored out of her mind. But it's a sacrifice she's willing to make for the good of her parents, allowing her mom time to travel with her new husband, Phil. Once in Forks however, Bella becomes quite taken by the beauty of the mysterious Cullen family, and is pleasantly surprised when the gorgeous Edward Cullen begins to show an interest in her as well.

For a very long time now, Edward has held his family's secret close to his heart, no one in town knowing their true nature as vampires. But now that Bella has his heart, and falling for a human is completely new to him, it's her right to know... and his job to protect her from the others of his kind.

I was looking forward to reading this book due to all the attention it's been getting and because the movie is due out at the end of this month, November 21st to be exact. Based on the movie trailer, the movie would seem to follow the book pretty closely.

Unfortunately, despite all the hype, this book didn't quite live up to my expectations. For starters, it had a bit more romance than I usually care for. Besides Bella going on and on for pages on end about her feelings for Edward *gag*, the plot of the story itself was very relationship driven (thus marking it as a romance) as opposed to action driven, which is generally my preference in the paranormal and fantasies titles I read.

I've seen P.C. Cast's House of Night series (a favorite of mine) compared to the Twilight books several times, but in my opinion, the only thing the two series have in common is that they're both a series of young adult novels based in a world where vampires live among us. End of similarities.

In Twilight, the relationship between Bella and Edward takes center stage to drive the plot line forward. In the House of Night books, the plot is advanced by other action going on, not by the relationship between the main characters. Of course, the amount of romance one likes in their reading, and the presence or absence of a romantic plot or subplot is a highly subjective matter. I've made it known in several of my previous reviews that I don't particularly care for romance novels on the whole, unless the romance is more of a subplot of the main story.

Further, many of the characters in Twilight seemed very one-dimensional and even a bit stereotypical. Bella's new school friends, for example, seemed to be there for her convenience, to fill her time between that which she spent with Edward or otherwise pining after him; she didn't even seem to care for them all that much.

The Cullen family of vampires were all beautiful, ethereal, and exotic, typical vampire characteristics. But alas, I appreciate that here the author at least took a few liberties with some of the qualities these vampires possessed. For example, the fact that they don't sleep, or the way they sparkle in the sunlight, the latter bringing to mind images of faeries flitting through a garden. LOL

But overall, I thought the characters seemed pretty shallow and I wasn't particularly endeared to any of them. Perhaps this first novel lays a lot of the groundwork for the series and certain things will be better developed in later novels. I hope so because I have the rest of the books waiting on Mt TBR and I'd really hate to be let down by all of them in the same way.

In short, I'd still say that Twilight was a decent enough read, but it wasn't the "blow me away" novel I'd been expecting based on all it's hype.

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