Sunday, November 23, 2008

Swallowing Darkness

Swallowing Darkness
(Merry Gentry Book 7)
Written by: Laurell K Hamilton
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Language: English
November 2008, $25.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

I am Meredith, princess of faerie, wielder of the hands of Flesh and Blood, and at long last, I am with child–twins, fathered by my royal guard. Though my uncle, Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, claims that he is the true father since he abducted me from my home, betrayed, and defiled me. And now he has branded my guards as a threat to my unborn children.

Bearing an heir has placed me halfway to my aunt’s throne, that much closer to my reign over the Unseelie Court–and well ahead of her son, my cousin Cel, in this race. Now I must stay alive to see my children born and claim my place as queen.

But not all in faerie are pleased with the news, and conspirators from every court in the realm plot against me and mine. They seek to strip my guards, my lovers, from me by poisoned word or cold steel. But I still have supporters, and even friends, among the goblins and the sluagh, who will stand by me.

I am Meredith Nic Essus, and those who would defy and destroy me are destined to pay a terrible price–for I am truly my father’s daughter. To protect what is mine, I will sacrifice anything–even if it means waging a great battle against my darkest enemies and making the most momentous decision ever made as princess of faerie.


+++++++++++++

If you’ve read my earlier review on the Harlequin then you know how I feel about Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. And while the Merry Gentry series is not light on the smut either, it was in this volume and in subsequent volumes there has been a point to it. And that point was first to get pregnant not only gets to rule the Unseelie Court, but gets to keep their life. Some volumes are a bit better than others, but the thing I have loved the most about this series was the sidhe themselves. I love how Faerie is returning to life and I love reading about this new awakening. It’s magical and a joy to read, but then again I am a sucker for anything fey (same goes with zombies and vampires).

I saw a lot of bad reviews for this one and to be honest I am a bit surprised. Not that it is without flaws, because they are there, but it is one of the better volumes and if Hamilton decided to stop there I would be okay with it (she is not though and has said so on her blog). Although I will say when the title was first released I laughed out loud. ‘Swallowing Darkness?’ Really? Considering that the lead male character is called Darkness and the books have never been light on the smut. You can see why I laughed out loud, but could you really blame me?

But back to the book. A Lick of Frost, the previous volume, ended on bit of a downer. Despite Merry finally becoming pregnant (which we knew would eventually happen), Frost, my favorite character beyond Doyle, was sacrificed so that Merry could be Queen. Worse, Merry herself was raped by her Uncle, the King of the Seelie. Not a happy place to start Swallowing Darkness with. And it shouldn’t be. The loss of Frost is still raw and so are uncle’s doings. The rape is a bit glossed over and that is a flaw because Merry should have to deal with it psychologically at some point, but the gal has a lot to still deal with. Now that she is carrying twins everyone wants a piece of her. Some want her to rule the Seelie Court, some want to keep her as far away from either throne as they can. And even more still worry about the strength of her future kings. Getting pregnant was the first step, but it is all far from over.

The one thing I liked about Merry in this book was she finally started acting like a Queen. She was no longer a hesitant oh woe is me chickie. She became her father’s daughter, albeit a bit more ruthless and willing to do whatever it takes to protect the lives of the children she carries and the men she loves. There are many who don’t think she should have the throne with her human lineage, but the Goddess makes it quite clear that she is tired of the Sidhe not recognizing the gifts and boons she is giving them through Merry and perhaps it is time that magic came to the mortal world. I am glad this isn’t the end, because I think Hamilton could do a lot with this series if she wanted to. This is the beginning and things are finally on Merry’s terms.

As I said there are flaws though. Cel’s character did change a bit, but then again the man is a complete nutter and to be honest nothing would be surprise me although I was expecting a bit more of a fight and sadly it was a bit anti-climactic. Queen Andais wasn’t in it a lot, which is unfortunate because I love the beautiful and twisted sociopath. But I understood her at the end, madness at all. What wouldn’t you do when it really came down to your children? Is she contradictory, yeah. I got it though. Sure I missed some of the intrigue, the misdirection, but I know it will come back. The ending is a bit rushed, but as I said I know this is not the end.

More action that sexual antics, this was a great volume in my opinion though I think it may be one of those that you either love or hate. For me, it proved that the Laurell K Hamilton I fell in love with is still out there and that hope I spoke of in my Harlequin review just got a little bit bigger. It’s not tidy, its not perfect but it exceeded my expectations.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

BSG: Sagittarius is Bleeding

BSG: Sagittarius is Bleeding
Written by: Peter David
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Language: English
June 2007, $6.99
Genre: TV Series Tie-In/Sci-Fi

President Laura Roslin bears a heavy burden. Since becoming the president of the twelve human colonies when the Cylons brutally attacked and destroyed all but a small remnant of humanity’s billions, she has been the voice of a civil authority, counterbalancing the military leadership of Commander Adama of the Battlestar Galactica. President Roslin has been a source of inspiration to the tens of thousands who survive on Galactica and the other colonial ships. They look to her for honesty, integrity, and courage. For fairness and an evenhanded rule. And most important, for the prophecy she has shared with them: Earth, the fabled home of the lost colony, can be found. She has seen this in a vision that has the power of truth.

Recently, though, her dreams have been darker, of a galaxy overrun by Cylons…Is she having visions of an inevitable future? Or are these terrible dreams caused by the powerful medication she’s been taking? More dangerous, the Midguardians, radicals who believe that the end of humanity is coming soon, have learned of Roslin’s dreams and taken them as a sign. Now the Midguardians prepare to act. President Roslin faces the most important decision of her life. Should she tell Commander Adama about the Midguardians and risk being imprisoned again as a traitor, or dare she keep her secret and possibly endanger the future of the entire fleet?


+++++++++++++

If you couldn’t tell by now I am a Battlestar Galactica geek (I don’t know what gave it away) who has big girly crush on Miss Kara Thrace (so beautifully damaged I cannot help but adore her and her snarkiness) and most of the male cast (what can I say I am a girl and one who appreciates Lee Adama in a towel). Geekiness aside I picked up most of the re-imagined tie-ins, especially when you have months in between seasons. I need to get my fix somehow of course.

Set in the second half of Season 2 after Commander Fisk from the Pegasus is killed. Sharon is still pregnant with Hera and in the brig while Zarek is busy making trouble as per usual. Unfortunately, this one took me a few tries to not only get into but to finish. It wasn’t a horrible book, but it did have some noticeable problems for me. Some of the characterizations (Baltar in particular) are fairly off, there are some large continuity problems and it took forever to get to the meat of the story. But it does have some great moments. Roslin’s characterization was fairly good and I did like some of the questions posed with Sharon. In fact my favorite scene in the whole book was Sharon gaining information from a certain character and the inner monologue she has with herself.

Probably my biggest problem with the novel was the implications set by the ending. I could have done without his character in the first place, but to then imply that he was a Cylon just made me giggle like a schoolgirl. While my hopes of Kendra Shaw or Romo Lampkin as the fifth Cylon are big longshots, this character is even more absurd. Of course, there was also a point in the novel where Roslin sees “Head Six”. Moore and Co haven’t revealed why Baltar sees her in the first place, so for David to give a confirmation of her presence just doesn’t work. Now I realize this novel was written long before we know what we know now, but it ruined things just a bit for me.

As I said there are moments. David does a great job of questioning what effects Roslin may have had with Hera’s blood running through her veins other than the cancer remission. I like the exploration of human rights and defining a Cylon in the eyes of the law. The Midguardians were a good idea, but didn’t pan out the way I would have expected or liked.

Not bad for a BSG novel, but I expected much more. Unity, even with its small problems was a better read for me. Of course as a fan its worth the read, but I expect other fans may be a bit disappointed. I guess that means I will just have to watch the teaser clips during the Bond marathon on Sci-Fi to get my BSG fix for now.

2.75 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Doctor Who: The Stone Rose

Doctor Who: The Stone Rose
Written by: Jac Rayner
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: BBC Books
Language: English
June 2006, $11.99
Genre: TV Series Tie-In/Sci-Fi

Mickey is startled to find a statue of Rose in a museum - a statue that is 2,000 years old. The Doctor realizes that this means the TARDIS will shortly take them to Ancient Rome, but when it does, he and Rose soon have more on their minds than sculpture. While the Doctor searches for a missing boy, Rose befriends a girl who claims to know the future. But then the Doctor stumbles on the hideous truth behind the statue of Rose - and Rose herself learns that you have to be very careful what you wish for...

+++++++++++++

Let me say that I probably enjoyed this even more because it was the audio version I “read” with David Tennant behind it all. For those who know me I am a fairly big Doctor Who fan and absolutely love David Tennant as the 10th Doctor (which makes me even more morose that he is leaving). But beyond my need for Tennant to read the phone book to me, which sadly I would probably also enjoy listening to (what can I say it’s the voice and the pretty little picture I have in my head as well). Tennant’s Doctor is charming, quirky and manic in a completely good way. He’s a bit geeky, snarky and did I mention charming? I will say that Rayner managed to capture him fairly well, though admittedly it does help that Tennant reads it with the personality and fervor of the character he plays oh so well.

However, beyond that the story, despite being a bit cliché, is just like an episode. It’s a bit campy, has spirit and action, some puzzles, and made me smile. I could picture everything in my head as if I were watching the episode and that is always a good thing. Plus it takes place largely during ancient Rome and as a mythology buff it made me even more giddy.

I thought it was worth it, definitely worth the listen, but I imagine just reading it alone would have been fine. For a novelization it did lack some of the emotional depth and deeper characterization that you can do with the written word, but as I said I didn’t really mind.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Mind the Gap - A Tale of the Hidden Cities

Mind the Gap
(A Novel of the Hidden Cities Book One)
Written by: Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Spectra
Language: English
May 2008, $11.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

For as long as she can remember, 17-year-old Jazz and her mother have been taken care of by the enigmatic dark-suited men known as the Uncles, equally relying on and fearing them. For that same length of time, Jazz's mother has drilled into her a sense of paranoia and distrust, to be wary of everyone, no matter what their outward appearance. There's the feeling that they're all waiting for something to happen, and one day, it does. Jazz comes home to find her mother murdered by the Uncles, and a last message written in her own blood: Jazz hide forever. And so Jazz runs, fast and far, ultimately ending up deep under London, in the vast labyrinth of tunnels and forgotten subway stations and abandoned bomb shelters, where the city's lost and unwanted congregate. There, she meets Harry, a smooth-tongued thief and modern-day Fagin who runs a small gang of teenagers he calls the United Kingdom. They take Jazz in, making her part of their odd little family, and she learns how to steal with the best of them, though never forgetting to be wary, never forgetting to keep an eye out for the Uncles and their agents. Even the Underground isn't entirely safe, for it's down here that the ghosts of London's past still dwell, existing in a tortured state of in-between, appearing only to those few with the ability to perceive them... like Jazz.

The longer Jazz spends with Harry and the others, the more she realizes that she's at the center of a great mystery, a mystery that's claimed numerous lives already, and bound to claim more before it's over. Who are the Uncles, and why did they kill Jazz's mother, and why are they after her? How does Harry fit into this? And what part will Terence, a dashing rival thief, play? The search for answers will take Jazz from the homes of the most important men in London, down into the forgotten depths of the Underground, and force her to stop running and make a stand once and for all. But one thing remains constant: trust is earned, not given, and there are far too many people with far too many secrets for her to be comfortable. Unfortunately, these secrets are worth dying for.


+++++++++++++

I have been a fan of Christopher Golden since the Buffy novel days as well as the Shadow Saga which is a great vampire series. His newer work including his collaborations with people like Mike Mignola (Baltimore), Thomas E. Sniegoski (The Menagerie series), and Amber Benson (Ghosts of Albion) have been great as well as his solo outings such as the Lost Ones series or the Ferryman. So it was hardly a surprise that I picked up his latest book. Plus I love the idea. When you think about it there are hidden cities everywhere, and not just in the Neil Gaiman Neverwhere sense. Instead cities that were created underground during wars, cities of the dead, or just cities built on the ruins of others.

The action in the novel begins right away when Jazz’s mother is murdered by the “Uncles” and its stays fairly steady until the second half of the book. When Jazz flees to the Underground she sees the ghosts or rather the echoes of those that once inhabited that same space. In fact the Hour of Screams was one of my favorite parts. With the United Kingdom there is a bit of Oliver Twist with the thieving and I enjoyed it. Even the nod to My Fair Lady. The action slows down midway and takes a bit of a turn, but it was one that I didn’t mind because it picks up again at the end. It’s a great story that is part urban fantasy, part thriller and part suspense. While I prefer some of Golden’s collaborations a little bit more, this was a quick, but solid read I look forward to seeing what Golden and Lebbon will do with New Orleans which is the Hidden City for the next volume.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Harlequin
(Anita Blake Book 15)
Written by: Laurell K Hamilton
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Berkeley Hardcover
Language: English
June 2007, $25.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Anita Blake is about to face the challenge of her life. Into her world--a world already overflowing with power--have come creatures so feared that powerful, centuries-old vampires refuse to mention their names. It is forbidden to speak of The Harlequin unless you've been contacted. And to be contacted by The Harlequin can mean three things. It can mean that they're watching, or that they're tormenting, or that they're going to kill you. The Harlequin belong to Marmée Noire, the Mother of Darkness, a figure so old, it's not known whether she's a vampire, a lycanthrope or something else. Long-time rivals for Anita's affections, Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the City, and Richard Zeeman, Ulfric of the local werewolf pack, will need to become allies. Wereleopards Nathaniel and Micah will have to step up their support. And then there's Edward. In this situation, Anita knows that she needs to call the one man who has always been there for her, but he responds in a way that she didn't anticipate.

+++++++++++++

Before I review this, I should say that I have been reading the Anita Blake series since they first came out. I fell in love with Anita and the universe. Anita was snarky, one hell of a necromancer and I found myself getting lost in the supernatural world Hamilton created. The plots weren’t bad either (Bloody Bones is my favorite book). And yeah, I wouldn’t complain if I had the men in my life that Anita has in hers. And then for me it began to fall apart around Obsidian Butterfly, and perhaps a little before that, when sex took precedence over plot. Now I am a fan of smut and am not puritanical in any sense, but the one thing I respected the Anita series for was not making them “girly” aka making them more about boy meets girl then having a strong female with thrilling plots. I didn’t mind a little graphic sex and I had a feeling the ardeur was going to stay. Now I read Blood Noir before I read this which I found to be an absolute disaster (its actually the book after this one) and had me seriously reconsidering even reading this one at all. But I did because somehow I hope and have faith that Anita will get back on track. Because I saw glimmers of my old Anita in the Harlequin. I will commend Laurell for not creating some magical loophole to squash the negativity. And in her defense we keep picking them up despite our outrage at times. I just miss the old Anita. I respected the old Anita. I liked the old Anita. But I digress.

The Harlequin is a hit or miss Anita Blake. It has some great moments, the last half battle of wills in particular, and some eye rolling moments as well. However, The Harlequin are a great villain; observers, executioners and enforcers of vampire society and the Council. They are creepy and scary and I like the idea behind the colored masks. But alas they don’t get a whole lot of screen time instead we have to endure the usual Anita soap opera which has gone beyond tiresome for me. I also liked seeing some more of the supernatural hierarchy. Court politics and intrigue make me happy and the triumvirates have made things interesting. I will admit I did like seeing Edward and even the chilling Olaf again, but they didn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked. The prose is a bit lacking in this one as well, but then again this is the fifteenth book and it is hard not to retread on things we have already read.

You still have the usual smut of course. Thankfully its not every other chapter, but it is still a bit more gratuitous than I would have liked. Someone once pointed out that Anita’s men exist only to fulfill Anita’s needs and sadly they tend to be fairly two dimensional and they are woefully thus in this outing. I am not asking Anita to be monogamous or as I said for the ardeur to be quickly tied up in a bow, I just want the books to be Urban Fantasy again. I want Anita to stop being the Mary Sue she has become. If I wanted a flimsy plot and lots of sex, I would just head on over to the romance section of the bookstore. Anita cannot keep thinking of herself as a prude when she’ll jump a complete stranger, no scratch that several strangers in one book.

Anyway, maybe I am fool for standing by my book and not being able to just say no, but I love to read and like I said I keep hoping that my love affair with the Anita series will blossom again instead of wilting away. This volume had potential and I could see the glimmers of old school Laurell K and Anita. There was a decent horror/thrill story it just got lost. Find your way soon is all I can say because there are many more authors I would rather spend my 19.99 on.

2.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Feast of Fools

Feast of Fools
(Book 4 of the Morganville Vampires)
Written by: Rachel Caine
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Signet
Language: English
June 2008, $5.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Young Adult

The wait is over. dig into the feast...

In the town of Morganville, vampires and humans live in relative peace. Student Claire Danvers has never been convinced, though—especially with the arrival of Mr. Bishop, an ancient, old-school vampire who cares nothing about harmony. What he wants from the town’s living and its dead is unthinkably sinister. It’s only at a formal ball, attended by vampires and their human dates, that Claire realizes the elaborately evil trap he’s set for Morganville.


+++++++++++++

I am a fan of Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series and when I found out that she did a young adult series about vampires I thought I would give them a go. I am now four books into the series and while it is primarily a young adult series it’s not bad. It must not be horrid or else I wouldn’t keep buying the books. *smile*

The third installment was largely an exposition novel and frustratingly some of the questions that volume posed were not answered as I would have liked in this fourth installment. But this installment has its moments. Not only is it a bit more tension filled due to Bishop’s arrival and those vampires he brings with them (especially since one of them decides that Shane, Claire’s boyfriend, needs to be a personal pet), but because of the action that happens in the second half of the book.

I like this series of books because of Morganville itself. I like the vampire hierarchy. I like the feudal system that goes on between the vampires and the humans of the small town. Claire is an interesting character and so are her friends. I even love to hate Miss Teen Morganville and her snooty friends. Sure these are mainly for teens, but if you changed Claire’s age and introduced a little TV-MA to the situations you would find it right next to Caine’s Weather Warden series.

Unfortunately you can’t really pick this one up and know what is going on without having read the other three. But they are fun quick reads and I imagine I will probably pick up the fifth book which comes out in January.

3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Monday, November 10, 2008

Marvel 1602

Marvel 1602
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by: Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
June 2001, $14.99

In Marvel 1602, award-winning writer Neil Gaiman and artist Andy Kubert present a unique vision of the Marvel universe set four hundred years in the past. Classic Marvel icons such as the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Daredevil appear in this intriguing world of 17th-century science and sorcery, instantly familiar to readers, yet subtly different in this new time. Marvel 1602 combines classic Marvel action and adventure with the historically accurate setting of Queen Elizabeth's reign to create a unique series unlike any other published by Marvel Comics.

+++++++++++++

I heart Neil Gaiman big time so anyone who knows me should not find it unusual that I picked up Marvel 1602. I am also a costume drama fan when it comes to my film picks as well. Combine Gaiman and the Elizabethan age with some of my favorite superheroes and I am one happy chick. Of course the prospect of having Dr. Strange, The X-Men, Nick Fury, etc mingle with Queen Elizabeth is too good not to pick up. And I was happy to discover I was not at all disappointed and in fact, I wanted it to go on (though I hear the second volume not penned by Gaiman isn’t as good).

I had a blast deciphering who each of the heroes and villains were because some of them are not easily recognizable at first. Is it as deep as Sandman? No. But it is so much fun that you don’t care. A shame Gaiman didn’t do the second volume.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Pride of Baghdad

Pride of Baghdad
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by: Niko Henrichon
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
June 2001, $14.99

A fictionalized account of a true story, Pride of Baghdad tells the story of four lions that escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during the 2003 invasion of Baghdad by US forces. During their brief freedom, they explore the ruined city. It is the pride's first taste of freedom. But at what cost?

+++++++++++++

The story begins with a change in the air, a change that all of the animals have begun to feel. Though there is a hierarchy in the zoo, some of the animals have broken this code (the monkeys conspiring with the lions) in hopes to secure freedom. Then we meet the four lions - Zill, his two wives Noor and Safa and his son Ali. Zill does not mind the confines of the zoo. He is comfortable and fat though he admits wanting to see the horizon one day again. Safa, Zill’s bitter old lioness also has no desire to leave the zoo as she remembers what ‘freedom’ was like (a gang rape by a band of male lions) and has no desire to risk personal safety over life beyond a cage. Then there is Noor, Zill’s current mate who wants nothing more than freedom as she believes that being free would bring her happiness. Finally there is the impulsive and inquisitive Ali, Zill and Noor’s son. He is a child and acts thus.

Of course early on, you discover that though Pride of Baghdad focuses on the lions it is hardly about the lions. Lions don’t gang rape. And though the not so subtle allusions to war and the political and social commentary can be a little heavy handed at times, it still breaks your heart. I felt the same way about Orwell’s Animal Farm. It is a heart wrenching story about freedom and the cost for that freedom. And as I said earlier it breaks your heart. For example there is a turtle who mourns the deaths of his entire family and the “lions of Babylon” that will destroy everything. I don’t like seeing animals in pain, fictional or not. More than that, I get what Vaughan was trying to do and say.

One of the best things about this graphic novel though is Henrichon’s artwork. It is stunning and beautiful. In one volume you see the tragedy of war and the beauty of the King of Beasts. The animals remained realistic and didn’t go Lion King on me despite being able to read the different emotions and expressions on their faces. In fact, Henrichon’s art is so gorgeous that I would like to find more comics he has worked on.

Between Y: The Last Man, this and his work on Buffy Season 8, I am seriously developing a crush on Brian K Vaughan. This is an amazing graphic novel and deserves the praise it has received, though I know I am a little late to the party. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

November Urban Fantasy Releases

I read a lot of different genres, but urban fantasy is probably my favorite. Urban Fantasy is contemporary for the most part where the supernatural mixes with the mundane. Think Charles de Lint, Simon R Green, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, etc. So, if you are a fan like I am here is some of the stuff coming out this month.


NOVEMBER 4th
The Memorist
By MJ Rose
“As a child, Meer Logan was haunted by memories of another time and place, always accompanied by the faint strains of elusive music. Now the past has reached out again in the form of a strange letter that sets her on a journey to Vienna to unlock the mystery of who she once was. A a gripping and unforgettable novel about a woman paralyzed by the past, a man robbed of his future, and a centuries old secret… This is a loose sequel to The Reincarnationist.”

Night Work
By Thomas Glavinic
“An ordinary man wakes up on an ordinary day to find that he's the only living creature in the entire city. The radio and TV are suddenly filled with white noise, there's no newspaper, the Internet is down and no one's answering the phone. What happened? How? Why? And why is he still here?”

Escape From Hell
By Hal Duncan
“A hitman, a hooker, a homosexual kid, and a hobo suicide make the ultimate prison break . . . escape from Hell itself! But when news of their attempted escape gets out, the souls of the damned are transformed into a rioting mob, and all Hell truly does break loose. It's Escape from New York meets Jacob's Ladder.”

The Reawakened (Book Three in the Aspect of Crow trilogy)
By Jeri Smith-Ready
“In a world besieged by escalating conflict, fate has marked Rhia—bound to the Spirit of Crow—to deliver the Reawakened from oppression. Now, with a mighty army of Descendants threatening to crush what's left of her people's magic, she must trust an ancient prophecy and accept the deadly power of her birthright. For while the storm of revolution rages, the legacy of the Reawakened is about to be rewritten . . . in her family's blood…”

Swallowing Darkness (Merry Gentry series Book 7)
By Laurell K Hamilton
“I am Meredith, princess of faerie, wielder of the hands of Flesh and Blood, and at long last, I am with child–twins, fathered by my royal guard. Though my uncle, Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, claims that he is the true father since he abducted me from my home, betrayed, and defiled me. And now he has branded my guards as a threat to my unborn children. Bearing an heir has placed me halfway to my aunt’s throne, that much closer to my reign over the Unseelie Court–and well ahead of her son, my cousin Cel, in this race. Now I must stay alive to see my children born and claim my place as queen. But not all in faerie are pleased with the news, and conspirators from every court in the realm plot against me and mine. They seek to strip my guards, my lovers, from me by poisoned word or cold steel. But I still have supporters, and even friends, among the goblins and the sluagh, who will stand by me. I am Meredith Nic Essus, and those who would defy and destroy me are destined to pay a terrible price–for I am truly my father’s daughter. To protect what is mine, I will sacrifice anything–even if it means waging a great battle against my darkest enemies and making the most momentous decision ever made as princess of faerie.”

Magic to the Bone
By Devon Monk
“Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control…”

Better Off Undead
By Martin Greenberg
“From vampires to mummy con artists, this collection explores the many forms the undead can take in stories that range from the chilling to the hysterical. There are those who people the Afterlife, others who wander the lands of the living in ghostly form, and even those who walk about in the flesh. Featuring 18 original stories, Better Off Undead will provide a range of intriguing answers from those who are undead…”

The Last Watch (Night Watch Book 4)
By Sergei Lukyanenko
“Part fantasy, and part detective potboiler, the Night Watch (Day Watch, Twilight Watch) series is the most successful science fiction series of all time in Russia, and a true international sensation. Now, in the breathtaking final novel in the series, Anton is sent on a mission that takes him from Edinburgh to Uzbekistan to Moscow and back again, as a murder investigation spirals into a larger, more complex, and more terrifying threat than the world has ever faced…”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

NOVEMBER 13th
Thirteen Orphans
By Jane Lindskold
“As far as college freshman Brenda Morris knows, there is only one Earth and magic exists only in fairy tales. Brenda is wrong. A father-daughter weekend turns into a nightmare when Brenda’s father is magically attacked before her eyes. Brenda soon learns that her ancestors once lived in world of smoke and shadows, of magic and secrets. When that world’s Emperor was overthrown, the Thirteen Orphans fled to our earth and hid their magic system in the game of mah-jong. Each Orphan represents an animal from the Chinese Zodiac. Brenda’s father is the Rat. And her polished, former child-star aunt, Pearl—that eminent lady is the Tiger. Only a handful of Orphans remain to stand against their enemies. The Tiger, the Rooster, the Dog, the Rabbit . . . and Brenda Morris. Not quite the Rat, but not quite human either.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

NOVEMBER 18th
The Rose Labyrinth
By Titania Hardie
“Before his death in 1609, brilliant spy, astrologer & mathematician, John Dee, hid many of his papers, believing that the world was not ready for the ideas they held. For 17 generations, his female descendants have protected his most precious secrets, waiting for the right moment to reveal them. In 2003, Diana was forced to pass the enigmatic legacy to her son Will, leading him into a world of extraordinary riddles and dangerous secrets…”

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NOVEMBER 25th
The Reach
By Nate Kenyon
“Young Sarah is no ordinary girl. She’s been diagnosed as schizophrenic and locked away in a children’s psychiatric ward. She also has a very strange—and powerful—gift. Scientists have been studying Sarah’s remarkable psychic power for years, enhancing it, manipulating it, and twisting it into something evil. But their plans have gone horribly wrong. How much longer can they control Sarah? And what will happen if her powers are unleashed?”

The Devil’s Due (Morgan Kingsley Book 3)
By Jenna Black
”Possession was never this much fun. Trust me or die…That’s the choice Morgan Kingsley, exorcist, is given by the gorgeous rogue demon who’s gotten inside her. The truth is, Morgan has dozens of reasons not to trust anyone, from the violence that torched her house and killed her father to a love life that’s left her questioning her relationship with her erstwhile boyfriend, Brian. But Lugh, a king among demons, won’t take no for an answer. He’s prying into her body, her mind, even her sex life. And he’s just pulled Morgan into a power struggle that could have devastating consequences for both the human and demon worlds. But Morgan still has a job to do: investigating the highly bizarre possession of the son of a wealthy Philadelphia couple. That hunt leads Morgan into a realm of sexual depravity, then a terrifying kidnapping.… Now a woman who makes her living prying demons from their hosts finds her day job colliding with the night: a darkness that is attracting demons of the damnedest sort, including the one who’s about to demand his ultimate due.”

New Tricks
By John Levitt
“Former enforcer Mason would normally be concerned with finding ghosts and vampires stalking the Castro section of San Francisco. Fortunately, Halloween provides the perfect explanation for the abundance of ghouls. But someone is trying to possess his old flame, Sarah. Now, with the help of his magical dog Louie, Mason must uncover the black magician responsible.”

On The Prowl (Tales of an Urban Werewolf Book 2)
By Karen MacInerney
”Talk about a bad-hair day! Sophie Garou is a master at taming her inner beast, which comes in handy since she’s a werewolf. With a big promotion at work and a supersexy boyfriend, Heath (whom she recently spotted leaving a jewelry store with a beguiling ring box), she’s one happy girl. But when Heath starts spending long nights at the office with his new associate–a dead-ringer for Career Day Barbie–Sophie smells trouble. And when her professional relationship with her big new client–who also happens to be Texas’s brilliantly blue-eyed most eligible bachelor–begins to sizzle, she wonders if her animal instincts are leading her in the wrong direction. Just when it seems that things can’t get any more complicated, they do. The Houston werewolf pack has sniffed Sophie out, and their message is chillingly clear: you’re either with us or against us. And unless she can prove that she’s with them, the next full moon may just be her last.”

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lucifer Volume One

Lucifer: Volume One
(Devil in the Gateway)
Written by: Mike Carey
Illustrated by: Scott Hampton, Chris Weston and James Hodgkins
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
June 2001, $14.99

From the pages of THE SANDMAN, Lucifer Morningstar, the former Lord of Hell, is unexpectedly called back into action when he receives a mission from Heaven. Given free reign to use any means necessary, Lucifer is promised a prize of his own choosing if he fulfills this holy request. But once he completes his mission, the Prince of Darkness' demand shakes the foundation of Heaven and Hell. Now as his enemies unite to stop his reemergence, Lucifer gathers his forces as he prepares to launch his new revolution.

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I will start off by saying I loved Neil Gaiman’s take on the Morningstar in the Sandman comics. Though a minor character and a right bastard, he was also one you couldn’t help but like. Enter in Mike Carey, whom I also like from the Hellblazer comics and more recently his Felix Castor series of novels. I had heard great things about the series and apart from Death, Lucifer was one of my favorite of the Endless. Voila, Borders has a buy two get one free on their comics which gave me the perfect excuse to finally pick up some new comics.

The last time I saw Lucifer, the Morningstar abdicated his throne in Hell, had his wings cut off by Dream and retired to play host and play the piano at a nightclub called Lux in Los Angeles along with Mazikeen, his longtime companion. Carey had a daunting task: how to keep Lucifer the intriguing, charismatic, and deadly character that I had grown to love in the Sandman comics, but create storylines that were believable and suspenseful considering that the protagonist is the former Lord of Hell. But he did it. Lucifer remains chilling and dangerous and yet witty and likable as well.

I also enjoyed the fact that each of the story arcs has a different artist, though not each of the story arcs is a complete one shot. My favorite tale was probably the second tale though as a whole I am excited to see what else is in store. You don’t need to read the Sandman comics, though you really should, to enjoy or understand the Lucifer series because it holds it own and like I said I cannot wait to read more. Now if Borders would just have another sale.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks