Friday, May 22, 2009

Dragonfly in Amber

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 2
Genre: Historical romance
Published: 1992

Recommendation: For those who enjoyed the first book or like strong female protagonists and epic stories this is a must read.
Rating: 9/10

Summary: Claire Randall and her 20 year old daughter Brianna come to Scotland where Claire tries to uncover what happened to the men of Lallybroch to tell a complete story of her trip to the past to her daughter. Most of the book narrates the adventures of Claire and Jamie trying to prevent the Battle of Culloden picking up where the last book left off.

Reactions: Dragonfly in Amber has been sitting on my shelves for some time now, while I gathered my courage to start on this 800-page tome. Yet once I started, I enjoyed the book immensely. I really like the language of the book, it's easy to read but descriptive, the kind of language that immerses the reader into the atmosphere of the book and keeps her there.

The plot moves along well, every time I put the book down, I felt there was something interesting to come back to. I kept my interest throughout and now I am looking forward to the next novel in the series since this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger.

The two main protagonists are Claire Fraiser/Randall and her husband Jamie Fraser. Both are extremely likable, but Claire is my favorite in particular. In this book especially, she develops her ability as a healer and shows her strength of character throughout the many trials she goes through. At the same time, she is feminine, funny, with her own flaws. What's not to like?

Overall, it was a very good read. Lots of adventure, emotions, discoveries. I definitely recommend it even for those who don't usually read this genre.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Title: Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville, book 1
Genre: Urban fantasy
Published: 2005

Recommendation: Pick this one up if you enjoy urban fantasy in the style of early Anita Blake.
Rating: 7/10

Summary: Kitty is a night DJ on a local radio station and was turned werewolf a few years back. She is trying to get her life together when she begins discussing supernatural life on the waves. From then on, her show takes off, but not everyone is happy about that...

Reactions: I picked up this novel because I've read a few blog posts by Carrie Vaughn awhile back and while I don't entirely agree with her thoughts on the genre, I thought her books might be worth trying. Overall, Kitty and the Midnight Hour was a fun read. I read it pretty quickly and it was satisfying: well-moving plot, interesting characters, a nice mystery resolution, and a hook for the next book.

At the same time this book seems very heavily influenced by the Anita Blake series. Carrie changes the main character enough to suit her own tastes (the main character is blond and doesn't wear stilettos on her arms), but there are plenty of similarities. Kitty does investigations in a style similar to Anita's, she consults for the police, she develops a friendship with a werewolf/vampire hunter so much like Edward in Anita series I'd have trouble telling them apart. Carrie also gets caught up in Vampire/Lycanthrope politics and befriends people on both sides of the fence.

While there are plenty of similarities to Anita Blake series, I like the fact that Kitty is much easier to relate to in her struggle than Anita. Her transformation from very passive to aggressive is a little forced and I felt the author gets her out of some situations a little to easily, but overall I find Kitty quite likable and realistic. Her unusual profession is also a plus in my books.

To sum it up, Kitty and the Midnight Hour is a well-paced book taking traditional urban fantasy tropes. If you enjoy urban fantasy, chances are you will enjoy this book. I will probably pick up the next book in the series.

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Recap

I was very sure I would get through more books this month, but once again I finish the month with only three books completed. Well, at least the reading was quite rewarding. The Shadow of the Wind is the best book I've read this year and it felt great to immerse myself in Zafon's world. I am also making my way through Eclipse Two anthology, so there will be more short story reviews forthcoming. But here's the tally for the month:

Books Read: 3
  1. Five on Kirrin Island Again by Enid Blyton
  2. Daemon by Daniel Suarez
  3. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlor Ruiz Zafon
Favorite book: The Shadow of the Wind

Stories Read: 4
  1. The Candidate by Jack McDevitt
  2. Exhalation by Ted Chiang
  3. Michael Laurits is: Drowning by Paul Cornell
  4. Elevator by Nancy Kress
Favorite story: The Candidate

Male: 5
Female: 2

Posts: 10

Thanks to Carl V., wend, and ediFanoB for leaving comments!