Tag Archives: vampires
Wow, the things to say about this book. I avoided A Discovery of Witches for a long time, cause it was really popular and that usually ends with me thinking it’s so overrated. I tentatively put it on my to-read list when I heard the two main characters, Diana and Matthew, compared to Jamie and Claire from Outlander. And I FINALLY got around to reading it last week for the Bout of Books readathon. I started it on audio and got sucked into the story, but I have to say that I didn’t really like the narrator, so I switched to the paperback copy a few chapters in.
Well, it would help if I told you what the book was about, right? Diana Bishop is a scholar and comes from a long line of witches, though she rejects her magic. While doing research in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, she comes across a magical alchemical manuscript but returns it to the stacks in an attempt to keep magic out of her life. But by finding the manuscript, she’s suddenly drew the attention of daemons, witches, and vampires who all want it and will go to drastic lengths to get it. Among them is the handsome vampire Matthew Clairmont, who has an interest in the book but also starts to show an interest in Diana.
BUT IT’S ABOUT SO MUCH MORE. There’s a lot to like in this book – it starts off with the mystery surrounding the manuscript and evolves into a complex plot with a wide range of characters. I’m trying to avoid saying “It’s so good and you should just read it” so how about I list the stuff I liked about the book, mmmkay?
- The magical world set-up. Basically there’s 4 types of beings – humans, witches, demons (daemons just looks so silly), and vampires. And they all kind of stick to themselves and all have their different quirks. Again, so much more to go into here, but it would spoil some of the discoveries made while reading so I won’t go into detail.
- The history and scope of the book. The characters visit at least 4 different countries throughout the book, and there’s a good amount of history mentioned in the background of some of these characters.
- Diana and Matthew – of course they’re a cool couple and I rooted for their romance. I would NOT compare it to Jamie & Claire – they’re not that good. In fact, in the beginning they’re a little bit Twilight-ish which turned me off, but the dynamics of their relationship changed as they story went on so that wasn’t an issue.
- Awesome secondary characters, including Matthew’s friend Hamish and Diana’s over-protective aunts.
- The fun whimsical stuff that accompanies paranormal and magical stuff in books – cool powers, ghosts, traits of the creatures, etc.
- A whole lot happens in this book and kept me reading at a really fast pace, and even though this is very clearly the start of a trilogy it had a good solid ending too. I can’t wait to start the sequel, Shadow of Night. I already have it!
And for some balance, a couple of things that bugged me…
- Diana’s personality throughout the book completely changes. It’s good, cause she was a bit narrow-minded and whiny in the beginning. I’m actually pleased with the way her character grew, but the growth was a bit abrupt, at least to me.
- Vampire-lore. I get that vampires are fiction and therefore the rules can be played with, but really – vampires that can be in the sun AND can eat regular food on occasion? That’s a little convenient. But thank goodness there’s no sparkly vampires, so I guess no harm really done.
Sick of me rambling yet? A Discovery of Witches is a really good book. There’s a little something for everyone: magic, history, science, ethics, mystery, romance, action… you get the picture.
Sarah Says: 4.5 stars
Good morning everybody! OMG I’ve been up since 6:30 am – weird for me on my days off, but that’s when the honeyman gets up for his new job and so (being the nice girlfriend that I am) I got up to make breakfast and such. Therefore it’s only a little after 9 and I’m already tired – made breakfast, did dishes, went grocery shopping, cleaned up the house. ANYWAYS despite my being sleepy again, this Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the lovely The Broke and The Bookish should be easy – this week’s topic is Top Ten Books To Read Around Halloween! However… this is kind of the same topic as last year around Halloween, so I’m going to TRY not to repeat.
1. Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris – Are they great writing? No. Is the True Blood TV series better? In my opinion, yes. But that doesn’t mean the books don’t make for some fun, quick reads full of vampires, werewolves, shifters, witches, maenads, and who knows what else.
2. Comanche Moon by Catherine Anderson – Conditioned as I am by years of school, I equate autumn with Native Americans. So if you’re in the mood for some romance but still want that autumn feel, try this. It was FANTASTIC, definitely one of my favorite romance novels. (Of course, autumn doesn’t really equal Halloween, but whatever.)
3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen – Because the main character eats a lot of candy and sweets. And because it’s a really cute book with a surprisingly dark twist.
4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman – In the words of the book itself, it has “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.” – How could you go wrong? (Watching the movie is also acceptable, because it’s just as good without all of the random author-butting-into-the-story that Goldman does.)
5. The Postmortal by Drew Magary – If dystopia is your kind of scary, then this might be good for your Halloween read. I’m reading it now and really enjoying it - basically someone found the “Cure” for age, and theoretically people could now lives for hundreds or thousands of years assuming they don’t die from violence, diseases, etc. It’s really interesting so far.
6. Comics – Because you know… people like to dress up as superheroes for Halloween. Sadly, as much as I LOVE superhero movies (X-Men movies are my JAM), I haven’t ever really delved into the comics and therefore don’t know the true stories. I really need to rectify that some day. However I do know enough to say that I am a total Marvel girl, DC sucks.
7. On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony – I didn’t love this book, but it fits the Halloween thing kind of. A guy accidentally kills Death and therefore becomes Death himself. Antics and problems ensue.
8. Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko – Again, didn’t love it. But the fantasy world created is really interesting – there’s good guys and bad guys and big epic struggles for power and such. Plus it’s in Russia, so it has that gloomy feel to it.
9. Perfect Fudge by Hazel M. Larsen – I actually really, really liked this book! There’s kidnapping and people that claim to be angels and cool stuff like that.
10. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – OK I actually started reading this but haven’t finished it yet because I got distracted by other things. Plus I was reading it while I was sick and part of me is associating it with feeling crappy. But it did have a great spooky, pirate-y feel to it! Stevenson is actually great at creating a whole mood for a book. (Again, watching a movie is acceptable since I haven’t finished the book yet, but do remember totally loving Muppet Treasure Island.)
Holy crap I did it! I came up with ten books and didn’t repeat at all from last year’s list! Granted, some of them are a bit of a stretch but you’re not gonna tell anyone, right? I really need to read more spooky books before next year…
So, recently reading and reviewing Perfect Fudge by Hazel M. Larsen (see previous post) has got me thinking about supernatural creatures, and the choices characters make in these books about whether or not to be one (if they even have the choice). Now, as a human I don’t want to live forever. I’m hoping to keel over when I’m a little over 70. But as a supernatural creature, it’d be so fun to be immortal. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
So, here are a bunch of supernatural / paranormal / fantastical beings I’ve read books or seen movies about.
Angels: I’m about to get a little spoiler-y here, because I want to clarify why the angels in Perfect Fudge (see previous post for review) are so cool and a fun concept. As you know if you read my review, it introduces a unique concept of guardian angels. These guardian angels don’t really have any biblical connotations, but they help people. They can also fly, teleport, turn invisible, cook food with their mind, heal, clean with the blink of an eye, and whether they start out older or younger, they’ll eventually and then forever appear to be in their 20′s. Of course this is a kind of new version of the idea of angels, but I think it’s awesome.
*I would totally choose to be an angel. There’s almost zero downside.
Vampires: Of course the paranormal lore is different according to legends / authors / movies, but most agree that vampires drink blood (human or animal in most cases), have super speed and strength, and are burned by sunlight. I think the slight majority opinion is that vampires can hold on to their humanity if they choose – at least Christopher Moore, Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, and Stephanie Meyer think so. (I probably just discredited this theory a bit by mentioning Meyer, but hey whatever). I personally agree with this – I think vampires can choose how humane they want to be. I don’t believe that vampires are “damned”, but that has more to do with the fact that I don’t believe in heaven or hell, so how could I believe in damnation? And even if someone showed me proof that all that existed and your soul could be damned… well I don’t know if that would convince me not to be a vampire.
*If a vampire walked up to me tonight and offered to make me a vamp… I would definitely want to say yes. Honestly, the only thing holding me back here is that the honeyman said that if I was a vampire, he’d have to try to kill me. And you know, that kind of means breaking up, and I don’t want that, I love my honeyman. Honestly, angels can do more cool shit than vampires, but for some reason the idea of being a vampire is more appealing to me… it’s probably just more familiar of an idea.
Werewolves: Again, the lore is really different here. Some say that werewolves only change during a full moon and have no control during that time. Some say that weres that change whenever they want and are conscious the whole time. Most agree that you transform into a big huge scary wolf-like creature (unless you’re the director of the 3rd Harry Potter movie, in which you think weres transform into some weird, sad hairy mandog-looking creature). Generally though, werewolves are bad-ass and powerful and scary-looking.
*Whether or not I agree to be a were would depend on the lore we’re going with here. I personally choose to think that weres are like the ones on True Blood – that they can change at will and know what they’re doing when they’re in that form. And if that were the case then hell yes I’d be a werewolf.
Witch / wizard: Okay, does this one even need much explaining? The term witch general means one who can do magic – cast spells, has powers, etc. They’re usually not immortal. My personal favorite? The Charmed witches. I love Piper. Oh and Harry Potter of course, can’t forget him.
*I’d agree to be a witch in a heartbeat.
Elves: Elves are cool fantastical creatures. They’re usually nature-nuts, proud, arrogant, secretive, and skinny. But they’re also powerful, graceful, and have magical abilities. In most fantasy, elves are not to be trifled with.
* I suppose that yes, I’d agree to be an elf. Even if meant me getting all weird and slender looking.
Fairies: I think that sometimes the lines between fairies and elves blend and are kind of together called “fae” creatures. I usually think of fairies as little pixies – tiny winged creatures with magical abilities, like Tinkerbell. Gotta love Tink.
* I don’t think I’d agree to be a fairy… depends on the scope of magical abilities. But I think I’d feel too vulnerable being that tiny, and the biggest appeal of being a supernatural creature is being able to feel like the shit and be powerful and stuff.
Mutants: Now here’s a fun one. I’ll let in on a little secret… I believe almost any of these paranormal creatures could exist. Who the hell am I to say that they don’t just because I’ve never had the luck to meet one? I know, I know, I’m like a big kid. Anyways, I like the idea of mutants because to me they are the most likely supernatural creatures to exist. Well, actually they’re still technically humans. They’re not magic, they’re just evolutionally-advanced humans. But still, I’m counting em. Think of the X-Men, the X-Men are awesome! Sure, some of them have pretty lame mutations, but most of them are cool and useful in some way (after all, the point of nature evolving like this would be the progression of human life).
* Sign me up! I know I’m 24, but I’m still hoping some sign of cool mutant abilities will show… or maybe I’ll just go the Alex Mac route and get cool mutant-like powers from radiation and chemicals It’s either mutant powers or cancer… 50/50 odds aren’t too bad, right?
Zombies: Okay, who the hell would want to be a zombie? I’m including them on the list because they are a really popular paranormal creature these days, but they’re basically rotting humans that can’t think anything other than “BRAAAIIIINSS”.
* Hell no, I wouldn’t be a zombie. But I can’t wait for the zombie apocalypse so I can be a zombie-killer! I’ll judge anyone who actually says they’d choose to be a zombie. Weirdo.
Unicorns / Dragons: These are two of the most popular paranormal animals really. Unicorns are supposed to be all sweet and crazy magical, and dragons are supposed to be all nasty and fire-breathing. Honestly, I think both are really cool but I don’t think I’d ever choose to turn into one. I’d feel like a magical pet.
Giants / Goblins / Leprechauns: So these don’t need much explaining. Giants are huge, goblins are tiny and mean, and leprechauns are tiny and lucky. I think I’d reject all of these just on basis of size.
Gods: Well, gods are pretty self-explanatory too. I’m thinking of two sets of gods in particular – the Greek mythology gods, and the gods and godlings in the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Either way, all are bad-ass. I love that gods are such all-powerful beings, but that they’re also usually petty just like humans. I don’t know why humanity ever gave up on Greek gods as a religion, I probably would have been a believer.
*I would totally be a god. You practically can’t be killed, and you are the baddest mofo out there. Seriously as powerful as all hell. For someone whose severe lack of ambition means I want to be a housewife, I’m surprisingly power-hungry when it comes to paranormal creatures.
I think that covers most of the supernatural creatures I’ve been thinking of…
Oh, and for funsies here are some of my favorite books / movies relating the all of the above:
- Perfect Fudge by Hazel M. Larsen (angels)
- Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (vampires, werewolves)
- Inheritance trilogy by N.K. Jemisin (gods, godlings)
- Bloodsucking Fiends /You Suck / Bite Me by Christopher Moore
- Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice
- X-Men movies
- Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (time-travellers, not mentioned)
- Living With the Dead series by Jesse Petersen (zombies)
- Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (dragons, elves, fae)
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (witches, wizards, unicorn)
- The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (wizards, fae)
- True Blood tv show (vampires, werewolves, fairies, fae)
- Charmed tv show (witches, leprechauns, giants, fairies, vampires)
So, whatcha think?
If one of these creatures walked up to you and offered to make you one of them, would you do it? Which one would you want to be the most? Any that I missed that you’d choose to be? Or would you go the crazy route and refuse them all and choose to remain human?
OK… I can’t believe I’m trying out this series. Paranormal romance that borders on erotica isn’t really my cup of tea. However, an acquaintance / friend really loves this series and we kind of traded some books of each other’s to try. So you know… that’s my excuse.
Also, in all fairness, this isn’t a whole book. It’s a 180-ish page short story featured in a collection of erotica called Playing Easy to Get. So I’m hoping that this means the rest of the series isn’t quite to sex-heavy, and that there will be a better plot in the next book since there will be at least twice the number of pages.
So, this is the start of the Immortals After Dark series. Basically there are groups of supernatural beings that make up The Lore, which is basically a way of saying various supernatural beings. Two of those groups are Vampires and Valkyrie, both immortal.
From what I gathered in this story, two factions in the Vampires are warring – the Vampire Horde versus the Forebearers. Essentially the vamps in the Horde are kind of insane from drinking their victims to death – their eyes turn red and they go insane from the accumulated memories of all of their victims. The Forebearer vamps are humans turned into vampires who don’t drink blood from any living being because they’re afraid of going insane. Also, vampires walk around completely undead until “blooded” by their pre-destined Bride. Essentially meeting this chickadee will make a vamps heart start beating, and their blood will start flowing again. Ummmm… for lack of a classier way to say this – a vamp can’t pitch a tent in his pants until he meets his Bride, and then can only get “relief” from her. Also, I can’t tell if there are female vamps or not… it didn’t really mention in the book.
Little was really said about the Valkyrie – they’re comprised of some bad-ass women, they like to kill vampires and ghouls. They’re also really mesmerized by shiny objects, which seems like a very silly weakness. Oh, and they feed off of electricity, like lightening.
Anyways…. Wroth is a Vampire who discovers the Valkyrie Myst in a dungeon when his army overtakes a castle. They flirt a little, trying to figure out who the other is. Not surprisingly, Myst is apparently his Bride because he gets “blooded”. She apparently has made a career out of blooding vampires (and then killing them – badass!), but she doesn’t. Instead, she ditches him for the next 5 years. Again, unsurprisingly, he finds her and blah, blah, blah they suppose they’re meant to be together and will go against the grain to stay together.
Again, not the best story but the plot isn’t the main point of this short story. The point is all the doin‘ it. Now I like romance novels and sexy scenes don’t really make me blush or anything, but these scenes were too frequent and vulgar for my cup of tea. I don’t really think that name-calling, violence, or being magically forced to do things is sexy. Call me crazy, but whatever.
Gross sex-stuff aside, I can see why the paranormal aspects attract some readers. The author is almost as crazy as Stephanie Meyer in her deciding to make up some weird-ass paranormal character traits. Luckily, there’s no sparkling vamps but some of the stuff is still kind of out-of-the-blue. But, it’s different. If immortal beings were written the same way in every book it wouldn’t be such an uber-popular genre, right?
Also, I really liked the character of Myst. She was really snarky and I love snark. For instance, one quote:
Wroth: “You’re the most malicious bitch I’ve ever known.”
That’s a good example of the name-calling I was referring to, but anyways. I like that Myst is snarky and kind of crazy and a totally bad-ass warrior. I actually wish that her character hadn’t been wasted in this little novella, cause she was pretty great. Wroth on the other hand was okay… nothing special really made him stand out.
I can’t believe I’ve gone this in-depth here. Anyways, it was okay. I’m hoping that the second ACTUAL book, A Hunger Like No Other, will be better. Hopefully more plot, more character development, and less focus on the hanky-panky. I’ll probably be disappointed, but we’ll see.
Sarah Says: 2.5 stars – 2 for Myst, and .5 for inventive paranormal world-creation
Once again, I like season two of True Blood better than I liked this book. In both, the storyline is just kind of messy, but it’s more so in the short book-version.
In this book, a mysterious creature called a maenad comes to Bon Temps and attacks Sookie, as a message to Eric. In an unrelated matter, Eric convinces Sookie and Bill to go to Dallas for him, so that she can use her mind-reading to find a missing vampire. Also, one of the employees at Merlotte’s is found dead in Andy’s car, and Sookie eventually works on trying to find out who’s responsible for that as well, mainly by attending an orgy.
I liked this book less than book #1 for a couple reasons. One is that Sookie was more annoying to me in this one… a bit more air-headed and nonchalant about things. There was also a lot more sex, which just seemed like wasted time. Yes, I get that Sookie and Bill have an erotic relationship – instead of the constant examples, I wish Harris had spent more time on the plot. The maenad really has no connection to anything important – she’s more of a mild annoyance. Eric’s interest in the Dallas vampire didn’t feel real, although there was a lot of Eric-and-Sookie flirting, which I loved. I really like Eric, so I liked almost all of his parts. And pretty much all of the action at the Fellowship of the Sun was skipped over.
Some good things about this book? Tara finally makes an appearance, we get a glimpse of other shifters and werewolves, the Fellowship of the Sun is introduced, and woot! for more Eric time. But otherwise, the storyline is kind of a mess. I love what the tv show added to it, because they made everything fit together more coherently.
Anyhoo, I want to start the third book, but I’m going to wait. I’ve only seen half of season three and since I watch it with my boyfriend, I’m going to wait and watch it on DVD next month, and then I’ll read the book afterwards.
Sarah Says: 2 stars
OK, so I did it. I finally read the first novel in a series of books that inspired the AWESOME show True Blood. The first book is called Dead Until Dark. I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions about these books. It seems lots of folks didn’t like this book and couldn’t continue on with the series, but later ended up liking the show.
I have seen 2 and a half seasons of True Blood, and I love it. So it’s hard for me to separate my feelings here. But I’ll try to be as objective as I can.
For those of you that haven’t heard the premise, these books (and the show) are about Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress in her 20′s living in Bon Temps, LA. She’s able to read minds, which actually makes her kind of a homebody because it’s hard to block out everyone’s thoughts all the time. Anyways, vampires have been “out of the coffin” for about two years, with some of them mainstreaming and trying to live among humans. This is thanks to scientific advances that led to the creation of bottled synthetic blood. One night a vampire named Bill walks into the bar that Sookie works at, and she’s immediately intrigued – and pleasantly surprised when she realizes that she can’t hear his thoughts. Almost right after Bill moves to town, a bunch of chickadees start getting murdered, and things get tense from there.
OK, as a fluff book – this is pretty good. I didn’t find Sookie unbearablely stupid like some people, but that may be because I’m used to True Blood. She is a bit ditzy, but it didn’t irritate me. Her world is just interesting – her being a mind-reader, and the fact that in this book series a whole new culture has come about as a result of vampires letting their existance be known. If you like fluff, this is pretty decent. I’ll definitely continue to read the series – I’ll probably read the next one tomorrow, since I got the first three from the library. The writing isn’t the best – I found the writing a little too direct. Almost like the author couldn’t think of a way to convey the thoughts and feelings of the characters without just plain saying it outloud. It got easier to ignore as the book went on.
If you’re a True Blood fan (POSSIBLE SPOILERS PEOPLE), there are some differences, of course. True Blood definitely improved on this book – the book only revolves around Sookie, so there’s no Jason, Lafayette, and Tara storylines. In fact, Tara doesn’t exist in the book, which kind of stinks. And there isn’t any mention of the vampire politics going on – they’re not on the news, there’s no VRA, etc. For creating such a new unique society, you’d think Harris could have made it a bit more detailed. Luckily the peeps who made True Blood did all that, or the show would have really fallen flat. One thing not in the show but in the book is the appearance of the vampire Bubba, which I think the show should definitely work in somehow.
Anyways, I once again half-wish that I’d read this before I had seen the tv show. The first book and the first season are pretty similar overall. I say, give it a try. It’s less than 300 pages, so you have nothing to lose.
Sarah Says: 3 stars