Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Angela Nissel: The Broke Diaries

This was a hilarious book about what it means to be broke. There were many parts of this book that I could completely relate to. Such as when she made phone calls from a pay phone using her ATM card and it allowed it. Then the bank charges her $300 dollars in NSF fees that they won't reverse, and then take that money out of her College Tuition check. So she closes her account, but now is reported on Check Systems and can no longer get another bank account.

There were so many funny stories in this book but my favorite can be summed up in a single word…REVOLUTION! When I first read this story I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. And every time it was mentioned after that, I burst out laughing.

Stories included swiping the teacher’s edition of the text book in order to pass a class, to going on a date with a chicken farmer in order to get a free chicken dinner, to forgetting that you’re not wearing underwear because none of it is clean and going to a clothes sale with a group dressing room. Absolutely hilarious!

I really loved this book and could identify with so much of it that it made me want to go out and write about my own misadventures. But wait, I did that already it’s on my blog at avinrider.bebo.com. Feel free to stop by and check it out. But until then…REVOLUTION!!!

Antoine de Saint-Exupery: A Guide for Grown-ups

A sweet little book filled with quotes taken from the books that Antonie has written including Night Flight, Wind Sand and Stars, Flight to Arras, The Little Prince, Wisdom of the Sands and Wartime Writing.
Chapters include subjects such as Happiness, Friendship, Love, Responsibility, Fortitude, and What is Essential.
Some of the great quotes in this book are Pure Logic is the ruin of the Spirit, and One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, when one yields - even to sadness.
Overall a fantastic read. Short, sweet and memorable.

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: City of Night

This book was an excellent continuation of the masterful first book, Prodigal Son. In this book Deucalion continues his quest to help detectives Carson and Michael stop his creator Victor Helios (Frankenstein). One of the best things about this book was all of the twists that took place in it. For example, the faltering priest clone decides instead of helping Deucalion as one would expect from his difficulties with his faith, he betrays him to Victor, earning himself a death in an experiment with another clone gone wrong. Randal Six decides the day help for Detective Carson’s autistic brother Arnie is a mother and must therefore be the secret of happiness. Deucalion takes Arnie to the monks in Tibet, and Arnie begins to understand how Deucalion moves at the quantum level. All in all, a whole lot of fun!

All is not fun and games however, Victor’s clones are mutating. Some hideously deforming, some losing lines of programming that tells them how to behave. This of course causes them to resort to their base instinct which is to kill. Unfortunately even the dead clones are not safe as they to have begun to rise in the trash pits where they are buried. Victor, knowing now that his first creation is alive, goes to confront him. Deucalion is unable to fight his creator but escapes easily using his quantum abilities. Detectives Carson and Michael move to the darker side of the law as they use an old contact to acquire illegal weapons to help kill Victor.

Overall, a fantastic read. An excellent build up for a climactic conclusion in the third and final book. Although when that book is scheduled to come out is anyone’s guess. If you know, please comment and let me know when it is due for release.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Laurell K. Hamilton: Danse Macabre

The latest book in the Antia Blake series. Hamilton is still building towards the eventual climactic face off with the Mother of all Darkness. Unfortunately this has been building for about three or four books now. I fully understand that Anita is still not ready to face the Mother of all Darkness yet but Hamilton is running out of baddies to pit her against to get her strong enough. As is common for Hamilton there is lots of very graphic sex in this book. Interestingly although her Merridith Gentry series starts out with sex, Anita didn’t start becoming sexual until after the first six books. Once she did, it was all out and the later books are packed with sex. Danse Macabre is no exception. Since Jean Claude (Anita’s vampire boyfriend and holder of her Human Servant marks) is an Incubus and holds the power of sex as one of his vampiric abilities, Anita also gains power through sex as what could almost be described as a Succubus.

This makes for an interesting beginning to the book as it starts out with a vampire get together where one of the visiting masters is married and mated to a Siren (a more powerful form of mermaid), who wants to know if Anita has enough succubus in her to be able to awaken Siren powers in her sons. Naturally this is emphasized by the fact that Anita believes that she is pregnant. Of course as an Animator and licensed vampire executioner raising a baby could be somewhat difficult and ends up being a major theme throughout the book.

As the story progresses, the main characters continue along their personality paths that are established through previous books. Jean Claude is still trying to gain more power, Richard is still a self-rightous jerk and Micah is still solid as a rock foundation for Anita. The only one who changes is Nathanial. Over the course of the last ten books no character has undergone more change than Nathanial. He went from a former child prostitute/stripper to an hurt submissive wereleopard to an semi-confidant house(husband) to the still submissive but now confidant man that he shows in this book.

The final portion of the book is almost anti-climactic when they finally see Danse Macabre, which is an all vampire dance troupe that uses their vampire abilities to dance in ways no human could emulate. Unfortunately when the most powerful of them, one named Merlin uses his powers on the other vampires in the audience the Mother of all Darkness uses him as an anchor to attempt to manifest in the concert hall. After another battle with Anita that is again a stalemate until Anita tries some lycanthropic tricks and then has sex some more.
The book finally ends with her having sex with Asher and almost allowing him to kill her while feeding but bringing him to a new level of his own power, his own animal to call, Hyenas.

Overall a good book. Wonderfully written as all of Hamilton’s work is. The only draw back is that the story is becoming a bit cliché. It is becoming too much for Anita to just become more and more powerful, to face Marme Noir over and over again, to have the same relationship issues with the same men again, all building to this eventual climax. It is much like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series where books 7-10 are just bridge books that don’t have much plot line on their own as they simply move pieces on the board building towards the eventual climactic end.

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One, Prodigal Son

A fantastic book that picks up where the Frankenstein legend by Mary Shelly leaves off. Or at least 200 years later. The basic precept of the book is fairly simple. Victor Frankenstein (Helios) I still alive having found ways to extend his own life far past that of other men, and is still experimenting. Only now he is using cloning and direct-to-brain downloads of information instead of grave robbing and lightening. Fortunately however, his first creation, made from the parts of criminals and brought to life in a bolt of lightening is still alive as well. Calling himself Deucalion after the son of Prometheus he too returns to the modern world and the city where Victor resides, New Orleans.

Once again this book quickly went to the top of my favorite charts because one of the protagonists, Deucalion received an understanding of the quantum nature of the universe from the lightening bolt that brought him life. This knowledge of quantum mechanics on a far more basic level than science has ever discovered, allowed him to perform incredible feats such as causing a flipped coin to disappear in mid-air, to give himself knowledge of things he did not witness, and even more interesting to allow him to travel on a quantum level using super-position to shift himself along the quantum field. Thus enabling travel instantaneously from anywhere, to anywhere with only a thought.

The actual plot line of the story involves one of Victor’s lab-born creations who starts loosing bits of his programming which allows him to kill at random. This of course brings in homicide detectives Carson and Michael in the hunt for the killer. Interestingly another character is brought in shortly thereafter, Randal Six. He is another of Victor’s creations, one designed to be autistic to allow Victor to study the condition in the hopes of being able to replicate it for his own uses. This additional character is interesting because both he and the killer have the same motivation. They both want to find the secret of happiness. The killer is looking for an organ or gland in the human body that produces it, Randal Six has decided that the autistic brother of Detective Carson has it and he must get it from him. Overall a great set up for the trilogy that easily and energetically brings in all of the major characters that will be followed throughout the series. I particularly enjoyed Deucalion not just because of his knowledge of quantum physics but because of the descriptions of his endless rage that he only barely keeps in check and yet still manages to do so. I also enjoyed Carson and her “must go faster” driving, and Michael and his endless smart ass comments. A fantastic read building great anticipation for the next book in the series.