This is the second last mini-reviews for the year – I know I’ve not properly updated my spreadsheet for the past few weeks, and while reading has been lighter with the madness of the final weeks of the year, I’m certain I’ve missed some. However, today is not the day for cross-checking the shelves and spreadsheet. Today I’m mainly posting because I wanted to post my thoughts about Slights, by Kaaron Warren – I’m sure there will be people out there who disagree with my opinions on this one, but I needed to get them down while they were fresh! Thus, I had to list what was in the spreadsheet along with it…
Eclipse 3, Jonathan Strahan (ed.) – Top quality and engaging stories. If I have any complaint, it is that quite a few of the stories are extremely light on in spec fic content, but all are excellent!
Salvation in Death, JD Robb – Still good!
Crime Spells, Martin H Greenberg & Loren L Coleman, 309pp. – Possibly the best DAW antho I’ve read this year – quite a dark collection, but not always from the criminal POV – enjoyed it a lot!
Embrace the Twilight/Edge of Twilight, Maggie Shayne – Issued under a single cover, these two books in Shayne’s "Wings in the Night" series are the first of her novels I’ve read, although I’ve come across at least one short set in the same world. Didn’t suffer for not having read the others, and thought both books were a great blend of paranormal and romance. Will be keeping an eye out for others in the series, as they were among the better ones I’ve read in recent times.
Divine Misdemeanors, Laurell K Hamilton, 333pp. – Hamilton herself says this is the start of a new story arc for Merry and her band of men, and it shows. Reading far more like early Anita Blake than the previous seven faerie books, Divine Misdemeanors has a strong focus on actual plot and, gasp, crime investigation! And there’s no sex until almost halfway through (although it is, as usual, wild and heavy once it starts). An enjoyable read, and it really seems as if Hamilton has listened to her fans and started to get back to the origins of her stories.
Hunger Games Book 2: Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins – Considering I haven’t read the first Hunger Games book, I was impressed by how much I enjoyed this. Collins has done a good job in this sequel, and it was both readable and exciting. If I have one complaint, it’s that things got wrapped up very quickly at the end, which left me feeling a little unsatisfied, but otherwise, pace and character were engaging and enjoyable.
Earth to Hell (Journey to Wudang Book One), Kylie Chan – Almost gave up on this a number of times. I’ve read the previous trilogy, and I was completely lost as to character and plot. Chan does NOT have the ability to layer backstory in any way, and there are so many characters in this book, that the plot gets lost under the weight of the faces. And nothing really seemed to happen. Not recommended unless you’ve read the first trilogy, and recently.
Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick & Fallen, Lauren Kate – Hush, Hush and Fallen pretty much sit on a par for me – writing standard similar, similar premise (fallen angels), nothing all that innovative, but a solid YA read that the vampire fans will no doubt migrate to. Fallen was perhaps the darker of the two angel stories, and I think if I had to pick, Hush Hush would slightly edge it out for a better story.
Slights, Kaaron Warren – While this has been one of the most talked about books this year, I didn’t get as much out of it as I thought I would. Admittedly, horror isn’t really my genre, but I do enjoy a good horror story, having been a long-time fan of King, Koontz and the like. Horror is a difficult genre though, and the stuff I like best is more the supernatural horror – I find psychological horror doesn’t interest me as much, and this book, despite my expectations, is more psychological and situational horror than anything else. The subject matter is horrible, but not, to my, horrifying. The writing is very good, but the book felt overlong to me. By halfway through, I was over the shock value of it, and just wanted to know what happened in the end. I’m a big fan of Warren’s writing, and think she does both subtle and shocking creepiness and horror extraordinarily well, but I’m not sure Slights actually demonstrates this as well as some of the short form of hers that I’ve read.