Happy Halloween…

Posted On 31 October 2014

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However you keep Halloween – enjoy and be safe!

Trick or treating

Scary movie-thon:

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The Endangered by S L Eaves

The Endangered is a fast paced novel, dark and slick revolving around the central theme of a war between vampires and werewolves.  That isn’t particularly a new concept in vampire stories but what is different with this story is that the vampires are actually trying to protect everyone’s way of life maintaining a minimalist presence whilst the werewolves are plotting something on such a huge and nefarious scale that it will completely change the nature of the world as we know it.

At the start of the story (following a short prologue involving a car chase) we’re introduced to college student Lori who is going about her normal, regular life oblivious to the existence of supernatural creatures until the night she meets the enigmatic Catch who she almost instantly feels a connection to.  Catch of course is a vampire and has been given instructions to recruit Lori.  The background to this, which is fleshed out more in the book, is that vampire numbers are dramatically decreased to such an extent that they are actually losing the fight against werewolves.  Lori has a certain ‘condition’ which I won’t expand upon but gives the vampires who have chosen her the belief that she will have the ability to foresee events.  To a certain extent this is true although the visions are rarely helpful so far which could simply be that she has not as yet fully developed the technique.

Lori and Catch share a love hate relationship.  No instalove – just intense attraction followed by bitterness, from Lori, at the way Catch has changed her world and regret from Catch over the way he’s changed her world and the surprise he feels at how attached he appears to be becoming towards her.  On top of that – Lori is introduced to the rest of the vampires.  They all inhabit a large mansion in the English countryside which whilst appearing to all extents and purposes to belong to something out of the dark ages is fully equipped and modernised within.  It’s here that the vampires train using a vast array of weapons before going out to target and eliminate the wolves they have uncovered.  This frequently involves them taking flights at short notice to locations around the world.  Werewolf activity is not after all restricted to one geographical location.

In terms of characters the author is rather brutal to say the least.  Basically it doesn’t pay to become too attached.  There is plenty of action and naturally casualties as a result.  I wouldn’t say that the characters are particularly well fleshed out, I would have liked, for example, to get more into the head of Lori, particularly after her ‘change’ but the focus here is more on the action and the ongoing war.

I think it’s probably inevitable that people will make comparisons to Underworld which is in a way appropriate in terms of the fact that there is plenty of fighting and the vampires inhabit a dark and modern world, a world where they have been used to having the upper hand and even now have a superior attitude.  They try to avoid exposure to humans at all costs and in that respect they ‘police’ their own behaviour.  However, during the course of one of their werewolf fights they start to uncover a real threat being hatched by the werewolves.   From there on out it’s all out action, fights, buildings blowing up and car chases not to mention deceit and betrayal.

I enjoyed this.  It was a quick read, fast paced and action packed.  If you’re looking for a gothic and sinister read or wordy and weighty descriptions then you may be disappointed.  This is not that type of novel.  I would have liked a little more character development but I guess that could be expanded upon in future novels.

I think this will definitely appeal to readers who like a more quick and compelling read and providing you go into the story with that knowledge you’ll enjoy this – it’s a quick read and quite a page turner.

I received a copy of this through the publisher in return for a honest review.  The above is my own opinion.

Fan Art Foxes..

Fan Art Up is a weekly meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. So, this week I’ve been reading about all the creepiness!  Mainly focusing on vampires.  However, I couldn’t come up with a drawing of a vampire in my tiny brain.  Instead I thought I’d try a character from Generation V by M L Brennan – a shapeshifter called Suzume.  I loved this book and I thought Suzume was an amazing character.  The one on the left was my first attempt to try and draw a foxy/sassy character – and also I tried to jot down a fox.  The pencil was my second attempt which I attempted because the others were on lined paper!  My husband didn’t really like the second attempt!  I guess the first one looks a bit more cartoony – but what is the hair about.  The problem is with pen – once you’ve created an outline you’re pretty much stuck with it!  On reflection I don’t think this is how I pictured Suzume – but, at least there’s a scruffy looking little fox!

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“I beheld the wretch — the miserable monster whom I had created.’

Every Thursday I go a travelling with the Fantasy Review Barn and various other wanderlusting and most excellent bloggers around the tropes of fantasy as part of Tough Travelling.  This week is all about monsters – rather appropriately timed given Halloween!:

‘MONSTERS are likely to lie in waste areas, caves, and old ruined cities. You can usually detect their presence by smell.’

Firstly – honorary mentions.  LoTR – so many to choose from Uruk Hai, Balrog, Cave Trolls, Shelob!  And, Harry Potter – Basilisk, Aragog – not to mention Fluffy – the huge ass three headed dog!

Moving on:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – the Sleer.  This is a very creepy monster, it lives under a grassy hill in the graveyard.  It was abandoned there a very long time ago and awaits the return of it’s master. 

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – the Crawler that lives in the Tower (which actually isn’t a tower at all but a staircase that winds down into the earth.

City of Stairs by Robert Bennett – the multi tentacled monster that goes on a killing spree round Bulikov.  Also, American Elsewhere by Robert J Bennett – there are plenty of strange and monster like characters in this book.  Particularly one that lives in a cave surrounded by tiny rabbit skulls – be afraid.

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams – Dragons!  Well, this dragon/divinity escapes from the caverns beneath the Citadel and takes an army of strange lizard like females on a march of terror across the land.

The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore – I loved this book.  The clue to the monster is in the title – a huge serpent in the canals of Venice!

That’s it for me this week.  Tell me all about your little monsters!

Generation V by M L Brennan

Posted On 29 October 2014

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Just finished reading Generation V by M L Brennan. I loved this.  It was a total whirlwind of a book as I simply couldn’t put it down.  I think I’ve found another definite series to add to the list here – in fact, who am I kidding, I’ve already bought No.2 and preordered No.3 – yeah, that good!  Such a treat.  A vampire story with a difference in that at the moment the main character Fort barely has any vampire characteristics at all and therefore the whole paranormal element is brought to the story by others.  Anyway, not to get ahead of myself.

Set in New England in modern day times the story brings to us the Scott family.  Madeline, proud vampire matriarch and alpha of not just her family but the whole region.  She rules with an iron fist and doesn’t suffer fools.  Her children.  Prudence, Chivalry and Fortitude.  The whole family differs in age range and although vampires are incredibly long lived they aren’t immortal.  Madeline now looks more matronly, I can’t remember how old she is to be honest but let’s just say she has a lot of years behind her.  Consequently, she is a very powerful vampire.  She’s unable to tolerate sunshine.  And, she has sired her own offspring.   Prudence and Chivalry are both also fully fledged vampires.  Fort however is the baby in the family – he’s in his mid twenties and not yet grown into his fangs.

The central story revolves around another vampire entering Madeline’s territory, with her permission of course.  Unfortunately this particular vampire has rather unsavoury tastes to say the least and although he has been given freedom to hunt his actions are really quite revolting!  Fort, who is still more human than vampire is unable to stand by while this predator stalks the neighbourhood and unable to compel his family to show compassion takes matters into his own hands.

The problem of course is that Fort has no more ability than a regular mundane person.  No outstanding speed or strength and to top matters he’s frankly a bit of a pushover.  This guy brings a whole new definition to being a ‘doormat’.  His flatmate abuses his hospitality and doesn’t pay rent, his girlfriend abuses his nature and sleeps with his flatmate!  His own sister hates him (although this is a feeling which he returns with interest) and his brother is frequently exasperated by his immaturity and ‘humanness’.  He’s not exactly a good match for an old and strong vampire.  However, what he lacks for in brute strength he makes up for in dumb persistence.

Enter the scene, Suzume.  I love this character.  Suzume is a foxy female and I mean that literally.  A Kitsune is a type of shapeshifter although I understand that Suzume’s ability to shift is to that of a human, a fox being more her natural state.  She’s an excellent character, she has her limitations and she certainly isn’t capable of kicking everyone’s ass but she is such good fun to read.  She frequently steals the show and she had me laughing out loud quite often.

Brennan also brings other supernatural creatures into play in a way that has them living amongst us poor unsuspecting humans.  Elves play a part in this story and I imagine that the list of supes is going to increase as the series progresses.   Not to mention the whole ‘Renfield’ twist to the story.

The start of the novel takes a little time setting out the whys and wherefores so doesn’t fly off to an immediate start but I think this element is necessary in order to fully understand Fort and the problems he has not only with his own family but also with accepting what he is and more to the point what he will eventually become.  There are no angst ridden sparkly vampires here but if you think of Rice’s Louis then you’ll have an idea of the type of torment that Fort is going through.  He dreads becoming a monster and strives to hold onto those elements of his nature that other vampires eschew such as compassion and sympathy.

However, as soon as the creepy slimeball vampire enters the scene the action ramps up dramatically.  At this point we do see a slightly different side to Fort’s family than the one that he has portrayed and Brennan also ends the book with a question mark over a long standing friendship that could possibly turn sour.  So, things are turned on their head a little by the conclusion

In case you haven’t picked up yet I really enjoyed this book.  I’m not going to deny that it does have some rather uncomfortable elements to it.  This isn’t YA for sure – it definitely sits in the adult arena.  It is however a completely gripping novel with two amazing characters in Fort and Suzume.  I can’t wait to read the next instalment!

I’m submitting this for my RIP event booklist over at Stainless Steel Droppings details here.

Check out this cheesy cover – this is a fine case where not judging a book by it’s cover is more than proven to be sound advice!  No offence intended but there it is.  Cheesy.

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