Friday, 30 April 2010

DIK Challenge Review - Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh

Vampire hunter Elena is hired by Raphael, the archangel of New York to track another archangel who has been consumed by bloodlust. Left with little choice but to accept the offer she soon finds herself in more danger than she can handle, drawn to Raphael with a passion she can't deny and finding out secrets that the archangels can't afford to let her know.

Angel's Blood was a DIK pick of Little Alys - so far I'm keeping up the trend of picking a book from a different DIK lady every month. I don't know why this book has been on my TBR pile for so long. I love Nalini Singh's writing but for some reason after I bought it I never seemed to be in the mood to pick it up. But boy am I glad I finally did. I loved it.

The vampire and angel mythology is quickly explained at the beginning of the story, Angels are the masters of the vampires and create them from a chosen few. In exchange for the 'gift' of immortality a vampire agrees to serve the angels for a hundred years. Some vampires however, choose to run rather than keep their end of the bargain and that's where the vampire hunters come in. However, this isn't the whole truth, we discover the more complete story as Elena does.

Elena is perhaps an almost typical UF heroine - kickass...
"You ask a lot of questions for a dead woman."
"What can I say? I prefer to die well informed."
...independent, she cares for her friends but is estranged from her family.

Raphael on the other hand is a refreshingly different 'hero'. He's arrogant, ruthless, logical and calculating - he has to be, he cannot afford for his rule or his judgement to be questioned.
"I don't like to play games."
"Learn."
The chemistry between him and Elena is apparent almost from their first meeting. She refuses to allow him to ride roughshod over her, even though she knows how dangerous it is to deny his request. I thought The Quiet was an interesting concept - a state that Raphael enters into where he becomes ruled by reason and ruthless logic.

I love stories where the protagonists change something in each other. In the case of Angel's Blood the changes are both physical as well as the way they perceive the other. This is a relationship that has only just begun, it's not going to be smooth or easy, but it wouldn't be as compelling if it were.

I thought Nalini Singh's angels were unique, something I hadn't read before. However, they did remind me slightly of the Vorlons from Babylon 5 - imposing their own order on the Universe. Part of me did wonder if the last line of the book
"So it begins."
was intentional. I'm sure this line was said by Kosh (my favourite Vorlon, lol,) in Babylon 5.

This book works very well as an introduction to the world of angels and vampires. We get an immediate sense of how the world works but are left with lots to find out. There are plenty of interesting secondary characters I want to know more about:- Raphael's bodyguards - the Seven, Ilium (I want to know more about the flaw that caused his fall), Ransom and Dmitri (a very sexy vampire), and also how the relationship and dynamic between the angels and vampires works. It's an incredibly rich world and I'm looking forward to going back there.

If I had any quibbles it would be that I didn't always picture the angels with wings. I found it a little difficult to get a picture in my head of how their clothes worked round the wings, how Raphael fit in the bath and why his wings dried so quickly and didn't get waterlogged. Just the little things that niggle at you while you're reading.

Considering this book took me quite a while to get round to. I am desperately looking forward to reading Book 2 as soon as it arrives.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Prequels - Post 2

I wasn't actually going to post about prequels again. But I was quite surprised by the number of posters last week who said they don't like prequels. My main problem with the e-book prequels was not the fact that they are a being marketed as a prequel but the fact that they are in a different format to the rest of the series.

So I've been trying to think of prequels that I like.

I know Alpha and Omega was mentioned last week. And this is one of my favourite prequels. I think I like it more than the first book of the Anna and Charles series - Cry Wolf - to the point where I have bought the illustrated, autographed version from Subterranean Press.

I also love Cordelia's Honor which is the prequel to the Miles Vorkosigan series. The main series follows Miles from child to adulthood. The prequel follows the relationship of Miles's parents from their first meeting, their courtship and marriage, the attack on them that resulted in Miles's birth defects and his birth. I read this before reading the main series and maybe this is why I've liked all the prequels I've read because I've actually read them before reading the rest of the books.

The only prequel I can think of that I read after reading the first book in the series was the prequel to Kelley Armstrong's Bitten - the short story Beginnings, which details the first meeting and developing relationship between Clay and Elena, leading up to the moment she is bitten. I also enjoyed Savage and Ascension the two prequels dealing with Clay's conversion to werewolf and Jeremy's ascension to pack alpha. Maybe this is because Kelley Armstrong has such a good handle on her characters, that you feel you are learning something new and not just retreading ground that you already know about.

If you don't like prequels do you think it's because in general you've read them after reading the main story and have no real interest in seeing where it began when you already know where it's ending? Do you think if you read the prequel first it would be more like reading a continuation of the series rather than a separate part? Do you think too many prequels don't bring anything new, that if they are part of a popular series it feels like they're written just because the publisher knows the fans will buy them? Are there any prequels that haven't been written that you'd like to read?

I have a copy of Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler to give away to one poster to this thread. Winner to be chosen by random number at randomnumber.org on Saturday because I'm one day late posting this week. :)

Friday, 23 April 2010

Winner of...

E-Book Prequels Yay or Nay giveaway is:-

Tracy

Tracy was the fourth poster and the number chosen at random.number.org was 4. There's a copy of Touch of Evil waiting to be posted to you.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

Jane True lives in the small town of Rockabill, Maine. She'd always felt herself something of an outsider, but she's just found out that may be more true than she realized - she is only half-human. When she discovers a dead body, she is pulled into the world of supernaturals and begins to understand how different she really is. But this new world is dangerous, and with a killer targeting half-humans it will be up to Jane and her new friends to discover who the killer is before it's too late.

I should love this book - all the ingredients are there. It ticks so many of the boxes of my favourite things, but it doesn't all work for me. The part that works, works really well, but the part that doesn't is rather like an annoying toothache that you're constantly aware of.

First the good stuff.

The cover. I think it's original and fun, something which gives the series a unique look. It's nice to see something a little different.

I love the heroine. She's snarky, self-depracting and klutzy.
"It was also rather handy...to have access to one's own personal sex shop during long periods of abstinence...such as the last eight years of my life."
The book has an almost manic sense of humour, usually only witnessed as events spiral completely out of control. You know when everything is falling apart around you but you keep going forwards hoping that if you do, at some point either the world will catch up with you or you'll catch up with the world. But in the meantime you're just going to keep smiling.

I really liked Jane's inner voice, the way she processed her thoughts about people. And the third person is written so tightly you are right there with her. She's a very honest and real character.

I also like how we start off in this 'reasonably' normal world and as it becomes apparent that nothing is quite what it appears, we see the world in a completely new way through Jane's eyes. But it's not the world that has changed, just Jane's perspective of it. For example I loved the fact that one of the supernaturals - a shifter - has decided to live his twilight years as a human being's pampered pet. jane only knew him as an animal not a person. It's only once she enters the supernatural world that she starts to see things are not always as simple as they appear.

While I liked the relationship Jane developed with Ryu the vampire.
And then Ryu was kissing me.
And then I was agreeing to everything he said.
Little rat bastard.
I didn't love it. I think part of the reason for this is that Ryu feels like a temporary hero, a placeholder until the 'real' hero turns up. Jane mentions how often Ryu laughs, comparing it to 'barking like a seal', 'yipping', and I can't shake the feeling that in a book or so, she's going to start finding it annoying. (And turn to Anyan, the more reserved hero waiting in the wings). I just felt slightly like there was a big signpost saying - This is what's going to happen.

I think I'd already mentioned in a previous blog post that Jane is somewhat obsessed with clothes, which is not something that works for me. That's not specific to this book, it's not something I find interesting in general, there's also a bit of designer name dropping and quite a few pop culture references which I think is not always a good thing it very much ends up tying a book to a specific time and place. I got most but not all of them which means - unless you're prepared to research the reference - you don't get the joke.

I don't want to put anyone off. I definitely think this is a book which is worth checking out. Especially if you like slightly fluffier UF. The heroine is very appealing and the dialogue is sparkling and funny.
"Why didn't you tell me you could talk?"
..."I'm sorry," he said, his tail going down between his legs. "We didn't want to give you too many shocks in one night."
"Oh yes, it's a better plan to spread the shocks out so I can embarrass myself as an added bonus," I spat back.
Maybe it's the fact that recently I seem to prefer my UF with a high level of angst and this is slightly too jolly for me. I really want to like it, I want to love it but for whatever reason I'm just not meshing with the story. However, if you prefer slightly lighter UF this is one that I'd recommend.

Monday, 19 April 2010

E-Book Prequels - Yay or Nay?

So at the moment I'm reading Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh. This is book 1 in the Guild Hunter series. Before this book was released an e-book prequel Angel's Pawn was (and still is) available to buy. The e-book is a standalone set in the same universe as the main book.

This isn't the first series where this has happened. Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series also had a standalone e-book prequel - The Darkest Fire. This book will soon be available in the print anthology Into the Dark.

I wondered what everyone thought about this kind of thing. I admit I'm not keen. If I'm following a series in e-book I'd rather stick to e-book, if I'm following it in print I like to have the whole thing in print. I don't like to mix and match.

I'm pleased that the prequels aren't required reading for the rest of the series. But I still can't help feeling that I'm missing something. But if at some point in the future the stories are going to be available in print anthologies I'd rather wait and get the story in print.

So am I just being a stick in the mud? Am I missing out? Or do you prefer to kepp e-book series and print series separate as well?

I have a copy of Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp to give away to one poster to this thread. Winner to be chosen at random by randomnumber.org on Friday.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Apologies...

...for the absence. I'm currently writing my DIK blogs for next week when I'm blogging there. Hope you'll all pop over and see what I'm writing about. I'll post links next week.

Also - does anyone - when the Always ads come on and wish you a 'happy period' - want to punch your fist through the tv screen? Whoever thought that was a good slogan needs help.

Review for Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler coming soon.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Winner of the....

...Dresses and/or Food giveaway is

Nicole

Nicole posted the second comment and the number picked at random.org was 2. I have a copy of Lord of the Dark Sun, ready to be posted to you.