Monday, May 30, 2011
Author: Various (edited by Darrell Schweitzer and Martin H. Greenberg)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
The theme of this anthology is "Werewolves in the big city", which is a bit of a problem. Besides a somewhat liberal interpretation of the term "big city", I get the feeling that someone at Simon and Schuster thinks this is a more clever concept than it actually is. Yes, in general, werewolves are associated with nature and wildness, and so you commonly find them in suburban and rural environments, where they can wolf out in peace. But a quick glance through the titles in my archive will reveal that there's no reason you can't put a werewolf in the city. Depending on the rules the author applies, ignores, or subverts, it might not be difficult at all. Hell, there are entire series of urban fantasy books featuring urban lycanthropes. But we're getting off on the wrong foot here. Like any American college student will tell you, a party doesn't need a reason. It just needs an excuse. So let's see what this party has to offer...
Monday, May 23, 2011
Author: Rachel Vincent
My experience with series books is that sophomore jinx is very much a reality. There are several possible causes: a planned trilogy that tends to sag in the middle, a swiftly-produced add-on to book that was never intended to have a sequel, or an author who just hit the big time and isn't terribly sure on his feet. Whatever the cause, book #2 tends to feel like a step down from book #1. But there are always exceptions, and with the followup to Stray Rachel Vincent has done things right. Not only does she tell a much better story, she's improved markedly on her setting and world-building. Stray was a book with potential, but Rogue has started to realize it.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Author: Clare B. Dunkle
Publisher: Square Fish
(Review copy courtesy of Blue Slip Media)
By These Ten Bones is one of those most annoying of books: the kind that can't live up to it's ideas. It's a decent plot, but there's a difference between a good plot and a good story. Turning the former into the latter requires skill, time, and effort. In the case of By These Ten Bones, one or more of the three was sorely lacking. The result is a book that left me completely and totally cold.