Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern

I liked this, though I had trouble getting into it at first. Actually, I'd put it aside, then loaned it to Melanie, a young friend (my ex's daughter) who was visiting that week. She devoured it in an afternoon, then told me she was going to recommend that her high school's library purchase it. So I picked it up again... if it wasn't too opaque for her, I wasn't going to let it be too opaque for me.

I had a dream once where I was wandering around a house and somehow came across a room which contained all the umbrellas I've ever lost. This book has a place like that, and I was enchanted by the idea. I liked the main character too, prickly and obsessed as she was.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Melusine and The Virtu by Sarah Monette

At first I didn't realize Melusine was the first in a series, but I should have. So I was very frustrated when I came to the end and it just stopped. I did get The Virtu a day or two later... if it hadn't been out yet I'd have been pissed.

The plots of the two books were basically fantasy quest variants (get to someplace, fix the whatsit), but hardly mattered to my reading of the book. What the books were about was the relationship between the two main characters, half brothers who meet for the first time part way through the first volume. The story's told in first person, with viewpoint switching back and forth between the two brothers, who have have very distinct voices. They're both emotionally screwed up to the point that it's something of a surprise that either is capable of walking around upright, and one of them spends most of the first volume being insane. I have to admit, I love that sort of thing when it's done well, and it was here.

There are two more coming out in the series, but Melusine and The Virtu make a solid duology - the story doesn't need any more.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Odd book.

A woman of ice meets a man of fire. The ice is metaphorical -

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Night Fall by Anne Stuart

I read and loved Anne Stuart's earlier Black Ice and a review on All About Romance made this seem like a similar type of book, and also gave it a grade of A. So I requested it from the library.

I was disappointed. Um... ok, major spoilers here. The supposed hero needs to find someone to look after his children. The best plan he can come up with is: pick a woman whose picture he likes and treat her nastily to manipulate her into falling in lust with him. This apparently will induce in her a level of devotion sufficient to cause her to move to a different country and spend the next X years in hiding looking after aforementioned youngsters alone. He occasionally tests her fitness for the task, not by observing her with actual children or attempting to get her sympathy for his children by telling her their pitiful story, but by treating her ever more cruelly and noting with satisfaction her failure to sensibly flee. Were I the parent, I would not want a potential role model for my daughter to behave like that.

Black Ice had some similarity: a hero who behaved unheroically, even nastily. But once you accepted the basics of the plot (he was infiltrating a multinational arms cartel) his actions made sense; he behaved ruthlessly, but not psychotically. And when he started to care for the heroine, it changed him. It didn't make him into a nice person, but it had an impact, and watching that impact happen was the most fascinating aspect of the book.