inverarity: (inverarity)
He's dark, dangerous, and undead. She's a ditzy human girl. You missed the crest of that wave by this much, Robin McKinley.


Sunshine

Berkley Books, 2003, 389 pages




There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while. Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't, when they're vampires.

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion-within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she's to be his dinner and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day.


Sort of an anti-Twilight. )

Verdict: Sunshine is a good story, decently well-written, that I probably wouldn't have started if I'd known beforehand that one of the vampires ends up as a love interest. So yay for subverting expectations. That said, while McKinley's fans have apparently been nagging her for years to write a sequel, I wasn't that invested in the world or the characters, so "better than Twilight" is about the most damnably faint praise I can give it.




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inverarity: (inverarity)
A hot mess of a book in which the protagonist hooks up with her high school crush in the vampire post-apocalypse (sigh). I only read it for the autistic character.


The Farm

Penguin Books, 2012, 420 pages




Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...


Why bother, it's YA? In which I stop taking recommendations from Maria V. Snyder. )

Verdict: Occupying the low end of "readable," raising absolutely no expectations where YA is concerned, The Farm is a YA-mill vampire book with a few salvageable bits that made reading it not a complete waste of my time, but it will probably be a waste of yours.




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A vampire story that sucks the blood out of weak-ass YA novels, and will also make you deeply uncomfortable.


Fledgling

Seven Stories Press, 2005, 317 pages




Shori is a mystery. Found alone in the woods, she appears to be a little black girl with traumatic amnesia and near-fatal wounds. But Shori is a fifty-three-year-old vampire with a ravenous hunger for blood, the lost child of an ancient species of near-immortals who live in dark symbiosis with humanity. Genetically modified to be able to walk in daylight, Shori now becomes the target of a vast plot to destroy her and her kind. And in the final apocalyptic battle, her survival will depend on whether all humans are bigots-or all bigots are human.


Only Octavia Butler could get away with this, and I'm still not sure what she was thinking. )

Verdict: Octavia Butler iswas :( brilliant and I have yet to be disappointed by her, and I loved this modern, highly intelligent take on vampires done in her signature style, which incidentally also happens to be a brilliant subversion of the YA & PNR vampire shit that has been afflicting shelves these past few years, though I don't think Butler intended it. I wish I could shove Octavia Butler into the hands of everyone who coos over the writing in a YA novel. But, this is also a book with some huge freakin' squicks for which it makes no apologies, so be warned.

And boy am I sucking at my Mount TBR challenge. This is only the second book I've picked off of it this year.

Also by Octavia Butler: My reviews of Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity: (Default)
A vampire story that sucks the blood out of weak-ass YA novels, and will also make you deeply uncomfortable.


Fledgling

Seven Stories Press, 2005, 317 pages




Shori is a mystery. Found alone in the woods, she appears to be a little black girl with traumatic amnesia and near-fatal wounds. But Shori is a fifty-three-year-old vampire with a ravenous hunger for blood, the lost child of an ancient species of near-immortals who live in dark symbiosis with humanity. Genetically modified to be able to walk in daylight, Shori now becomes the target of a vast plot to destroy her and her kind. And in the final apocalyptic battle, her survival will depend on whether all humans are bigots-or all bigots are human.


Only Octavia Butler could get away with this, and I'm still not sure what she was thinking. )

Verdict: Octavia Butler iswas :( brilliant and I have yet to be disappointed by her, and I loved this modern, highly intelligent take on vampires done in her signature style, which incidentally also happens to be a brilliant subversion of the YA & PNR vampire shit that has been afflicting shelves these past few years, though I don't think Butler intended it. I wish I could shove Octavia Butler into the hands of everyone who coos over the writing in a YA novel. But, this is also a book with some huge freakin' squicks for which it makes no apologies, so be warned.

And boy am I sucking at my Mount TBR challenge. This is only the second book I've picked off of it this year.

Also by Octavia Butler: My reviews of Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents.




My complete list of book reviews.
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One-line summary: Earth sends a crew of freaks and monsters to make first contact with an unknown alien race.



Reviews:

Goodreads: Average: 3.89. Mode: 4 stars (40%)
Amazon: Average: 4.0. Mode: 5 stars (52%)


Two months since the stars fell. Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around Earth, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown. Two months of silence while a world holds its breath.

Now some half-derelict space probe hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever's out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer.

Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn’t want to meet? Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he can’t feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they’ve been sent to find—but you’d give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .


This is how you mix vampires with science fiction! )

Verdict: While it's not that long, this is not a light read, nor a light-hearted one. However, if hard sci-fi with vampires sounds appealing, I urge you to check it out. Blindsight is a slightly weird book, but a rewarding one if you like your science fiction equal parts creepy and geeky.
inverarity: (Default)
One-line summary: Earth sends a crew of freaks and monsters to make first contact with an unknown alien race.



Reviews:

Goodreads: Average: 3.89. Mode: 4 stars (40%)
Amazon: Average: 4.0. Mode: 5 stars (52%)


Two months since the stars fell. Two months since sixty-five thousand alien objects clenched around Earth, screaming to the heavens as the atmosphere burned them to ash. Two months since that moment of brief, bright surveillance by agents unknown. Two months of silence while a world holds its breath.

Now some half-derelict space probe hears a whisper from the edge of the solar system: a faint signal sweeping the cosmos like a lighthouse beam. Whatever's out there isn't talking to us. It's talking to some distant star, perhaps. Or perhaps to something closer.

Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn’t want to meet? Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he can’t feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they’ve been sent to find—but you’d give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .


This is how you mix vampires with science fiction! )

Verdict: While it's not that long, this is not a light read, nor a light-hearted one. However, if hard sci-fi with vampires sounds appealing, I urge you to check it out. Blindsight is a slightly weird book, but a rewarding one if you like your science fiction equal parts creepy and geeky.
inverarity: (Default)


One-line summary: Independence Day meets Dracula.

Yeah, seriously.

Okay, I suppose that summary might be considered a spoiler of sorts, unless you've actually read what's on the jacket, looked at the title, and put two and two together?


Earth is conquered. The Shongairi have arrived in force, and humanity’s cities lie in radioactive ruins. In mere minutes, over half the human race has died.

Now Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky, who thought he was being rotated home from his latest tour in Afghanistan, finds himself instead prowling the back country of the Balkans, dodging alien patrols and trying to organize the scattered survivors without getting killed.

His chances look bleak. The aliens have definitely underestimated human tenacity—but no amount of heroism can endlessly hold off overwhelming force.

Then, emerging from the mountains and forests of Eastern Europe, new allies present themselves to the ragtag human resistance. Predators, creatures of the night, human in form but inhumanly strong. Long Enemies of humanity…until now. Because now is the time to defend Earth.


WTF, David Weber? )

Verdict: You may get a series out of this, David Weber, but I don't think you're going to get Will Smith starring in the movie. If the premise doesn't strike you as overwhelmingly silly and you love military SF, you can probably turn your brain off enough to enjoy this, but don't expect much beyond space invaders + vampires + lots of blowing shit up.
inverarity: (Default)


One-sentence summary: A plague turns everyone on Earth into vampires except for one man.

Vampire lovers, reclaim the night! Throw off the chains of shitty YA romances, cast off your sparkly blinders, and see these creatures for what they really are: literary representations of humanity's oldest fears. Start with the original vampire apocalypse, Richard Matheson's I Am Legend.

From Goodreads:


One of the most influential vampire novels of the 20th century, I Am Legend regularly appears on the "10 Best" lists of numerous critical studies of the horror genre. As Richard Matheson's third novel, it was first marketed as science fiction (for although written in 1954, the story takes place in a future 1976). A terrible plague has decimated the world, and those who were unfortunate enough to survive have been transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Except, that is, for Robert Neville. He alone appears to be immune to this disease, but the grim irony is that now he is the outsider. He is the legendary monster who must be destroyed because he is different from everyone else. Employing a stark, almost documentary style, Richard Matheson was one of the first writers to convince us that the undead can lurk in a local supermarket freezer as well as a remote Gothic castle. His influence on a generation of bestselling authors--including Stephen King and Dean Koontz--who first read him in their youth is, well, legendary.


The original vampire apocalypse )

Verdict: This is a classic for good reason. It's a quick and entertaining read that tells far more story in far fewer pages than its imitators. Anyone who likes science fiction, horror, or vampires should read it.
inverarity: (Default)


I tend to prefer compact novels nowadays, something tightly-plotted with tons of characterization and clear, concise writing. Tasty but nutritious and not too fattening.

But every now and then, I want to order a 13" meat-lovers pizza supreme with extra cheese and eat the whole damn thing.

The Passage features a huge cast of characters, including lots of unnecessary cannon fodder, spans a time period of more than a hundred years, gives us a bunch of improbable twists that I saw coming a mile away, some pretty decent prose that occasionally meanders into overwrought literary look-at-me-showing-off-my-MFA-I-am-not-just-a-genre-writer territory, and forty million vampires of the non-sparkly kind.


"It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born."

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.


It's true that once the vampire apocalypse goes down, things happen pretty fast, but it takes several hundred pages to get there. Is it worth it?

I loved it but I'm gonna hate myself in the morning. )

Verdict: This is a good book, not a great book, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. To reiterate the point I reiterated above, if you liked The Stand, you should like The Passage, and if you didn't like The Stand, maybe you should read something other than 800-page apocalyptic thrillers.

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