Sexy Times Book Genie | English Postgrad Goes Vamp: The Expositioning! | American Gods the book (but more importantly, Ian McShane) | Stripper Space Romance with Laser Guns of LoOoOove!
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Hunter Legends #1
Tags: contemporary, supernatural, Greek Gods, enchanted book, cursed, sex slave
Hoo boy, this book.
I will admit to finishing this book purely because a) I can’t leave things unfinished and b) I wanted to snark.
Love slave? Really? That’s stretching the definition of “love” a little bit, isn’t it?
Our heroine, a modern girl just trying to make a living in the city, drunkenly performs a ritual from an old book to call forth a “love slave.” Zap! There’s our hero, a Spartan general who has lived 2,000 years either trapped in a book (and before books, a scroll) or servicing masters who call upon him.
He’s the son of Aphrodite, and angered the gods somehow. The rules are these: says his name three times on the full moon, and he will stay with you for a month. By the next full moon, he will have to go back into his book. To break it: if you don’t fully consummate the relationship until the midnight on the second full moon, and if you stay *ahem* “joined” until the next day, the spell is broken, and he can be a human again.
I feel like Kenyon made this up with startling clarity, and then kind of fudged the rest.
“Julian,” she said, “show me how the gods meant a woman to be loved.”
“Umm, not like, really well. Considering Ancient Greece was a patriarchal society where the women weren’t even allowed outside their houses. And, as far as gods go, you probably want to stay away from that, since Zeus at least was pretty freaky, what with the bulls and swans and golden showers and such…”
I wish he had said that.
Okay, so among the other glaring plot holes in this book, the hero, Julian, a former Spartan general, does NOT get to play the pity card with his typical Spartan noble upbringing. Yeah, it’s weird and abusive. Yeah, six year olds had to fight each other for raw potatoes or something. But everyone went through that. You grow up in Sparta at that time, and it’s what you do.
Imagine whenever they have their children.
“What do you mean there isn’t a boarding school that encourages young boys to sneak out in the middle of the night and murder unsuspecting slaves?”
Our boy Julian is worried about staying in modern times because he literally has no skills to support himself. Damn, he can’t even READ. He learned English simply by listening to book store patrons over the millenia. Do you know how quiet bookstores are? Surely, he missed some crucial aspects of the English language.
Other than that, he can’t drive, has no schooling, and no skills. “All I know is war,” he said. But not, like, present day war. War 2,000 years ago, when the height of technology was the spear/shield configuration called the phalanx. But damn, those Spartans were proud of their phalanxes.
I can just imagine him taking his resume (that he didn’t write because he can’t READ) to the Department of Defense and just being like,
“Y’all like phalanxes? I can phalanx like a BEAST.”
No, dude. We’re good.
But you know what? Fine. All of that is fine. Because the HOLY GRAIL of all deus ex machinas shows up in the form of a James Bond grade dossier with All Documents Needed to Live: birth certificate, passport, bank accounts, PhDs in various subjects, all tidily handed over by Aphrodite.
So glad that living in Ancient Greek times makes me qualified to teach Classics at the college level. Now, if I could only learn how to read…
Ohhhh Kenyon. I had given up on you so long ago. Why did I come back? I know I have a rule to try out another series if I don’t like the first one, but, man.
If it wasn’t official before, it is now: Kenyon is on my Authors I Broke Up With List.
Author: Neil Gaiman
Series: American Gods
Tags: Greek gods, mythology, magical realism, not a romance, serious book club
Format: ebook, CD audiobook, AND online audiobook (it took me a while to get through this)
Rating for audiobook: Yay.
Rating for TV Series: Super Yay!
Rating for Ian McShane: SUPER DUPER YAY I LOVE YOU! (we all know who the winner is here…)
This was a pick from my Serious Book Club.
I didn’t pick it, but I thought it was an excellent choice for a book club. Neil Gaiman has always been on my list of Authors I Want to Read But Don’t Pick Up Because They Aren’t Romances, so I was thrilled to see this as a choice.
So this was my introduction to reading Gaiman. I have, of course, seen movies and such that were dramatized Gaiman, but never before picked up a book.
I will also preface this by saying that I watched the TV series, and that might have ruined, or saved this book for me, depending on the situation.
Now if I had a couple of months to kill, only listened to audiobooks while on walks through misty, green foliage, and wasn’t so fixated on romances, this would be the perfect audiobook. Gaiman is great at making this mystical, real/unreal feeling that could make everything around you feel a bit more magical.
Also, it is super long, with many vignettes, so a good long tramp through the wilderness might give you just enough time to explore a fantastical character to its conclusion, and end your walk at the end of the self-contained chapter.
Unfortunately, I listen to books all day long, and had given myself two weeks to read this whole freaking thing.
It is looooong. And long in a meandering way. A lazy cross country road trip where the roadside attractions are mythological oddities. Who doesn’t love mythology? Who doesn’t love oddities? As long as you are ready to sit back, and go with the flow, you can enjoy it.
In Relation to the TV Series
About one third of the book was straight up the first season, so I almost always replayed the episode when I came across those scenes. The series overshadowed the book, so if you hate that, I suggest reading the book first. If you don’t like to rely on your imagination, watch the show first.
It’s so easily translated into TV that I read some chapters thinking, “oh man, this would be great in season 2.”
I think my love for Ian MacShane might have enhanced the reading experience, because I could only think of Wednesday as Ian. Also, the narrator who did Shadow’s parts had a pretty hot voice.
The TV series is seriously 100% kickass. Gowatchitrightnow.
I heard a rumor that there might not be a second season, which super sucks.
About the Book Itself
It was a fun ride, sometimes boring, sometimes too intense, sometimes beautiful. I kept thinking this would be so much better as a graphic novel, because I REALLY love the Mickey Mouse Roll Call of Obscure Mythology in vignette form. As an imaginative person, I love the idea of personifying old gods and exploring their roots and personalities and history and everything. I could do that all damn day. And if it was presented to me in an easily serialized journey, I would be into it.
But this is a book.
A book has a beginning, middle, and end, typically. That was the weakest point of this novel. The stories, while fun, and interesting, and imaginative, didn’t really see to have a clear direction or solution. The plot itself was pretty superficial, the main character was just a lens to look into this magical world.
In short, it all seemed like some excellent character building that led up to a pretty disappointing story.
I mean, god war? Meh.
I feel like we got too much and not enough of each situation. Can we go back to the town and stay there? Can we focus on Shadow and really flesh him out? What’s up with the murder mystery at the end of the book? Did it even belong there? Could we see more, any, really, of the women in this book? Have them do anything at all?
Would I Read Gaiman Again?
Listen, I am a big fan of whimsy. HUGE. YUUUGE. But this book didn’t really convince me to seek out more Gaiman. If it fell into my lap? Sure. Fine. Otherwise no.
While I love the imagery, the whimsy, the characters, this book gets a big fat zero for the Women That Are Interesting category.
Lets see, we have:
- Former Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG), current Zombie Girl and Deus Ex Machina (she pretty much exists to get Shadow out of a jam).
- Sex Pot I Love Lucy character
- Sex Pot Estra
- Old people
- Ethereal Pixie Dream Girl moon lady
- MPDG hitchhiker
- Beleaguered Divorcee Mom
Aaand, that’s pretty much it.
Women in the vignettes, yes, but those women were subjected too more sexism and assault, so yeesh.
What I want is a woman with a magic sword who can make her own decisions.
That’s what I want from Gaiman.
I’m not even asking for a romance, since I tend to dislike romance whenever male authors write it.
Strong female main character that doesn’t get assaulted, please.
Some Girls Bite
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #1
Tags: paranormal romance, vampires, Mary Sue to Super, latent powers, vampire master, roommates, English grad, sword fighting, super police force, Darcy-esque
This book should have been called:
Chicagoland 1: The Expositioning!
There is A LOT of exposition going on up in here. Pretty much needs a revolving door for all the characters that come in to introduce themselves, their world, and the particular rules of their world. Vampire houses, mages and their union, a secret team in the Chicago police that does magic relations, and only hinted at however the hell shapeshifter and fairy groups are structured.
This is why I would never become a vampire.
SO MANY GODDAMN RULES.
She is accidentally turned into a vampire and she’s super bitter about it. She gets initiated into the vampire house with some weird cultish ritual. I just…don’t really want to deal with that.
Listen, this is not a bad book. Overall, it was actually kinda nice. I mean, the main character is not annoying, she has a close relationship with her roommates and a ragtag team to banter with. There’s a few twists on the vampire lore that makes it interesting. I like the whole learning to control her inner vampire thing. I thought that was well done.
I’m just not too excited about this book.
I was slowly getting into it, especially when something seemed to finally happen with the Vampire Master love interest. They have a sizzling conversation when she walks in on having sex, and I was like, “okay, I’m getting into it…”
Then we went back to more rules and it became BOR-ING.
I have a really hard time believing that she, an English post grad, is picked to become a sword wielding badass in leather and head of vampire security.
And she has a suitor she’s not interested in that is basically treading water, waiting for the main love affair to build.
However, (I really like this part) the cast did you use a lot of vocab words! I mean, have you ever heard munificent out loud?
Am I the only one that JUST figured out you can look up words on Kindle? It is SO USEFUL. Whenever I read a paper book now, I’m super pissed that I can’t just hold my finger over a word and find out what it means.
Not that it helps here, since I was listening to an audiobook.
Possibly the worst thing is that you can tell it is gearing up to be a long-ass series. And it is. There are 12 (12!) audiobooks in my OverDrive just for this series. She is going to draw out the love interest tension as long as she can until you are nearly beating your head against the wall, and then they will get together and you will ask yourself why you are still reading at all.
I was hoping for at least that each book would be first person from another person in the ensemble, but nope. It’s all her, all the time.
I also worry about the retention rates of their new vampires. I mean, she just goes home and has to figure it out herself. And our hero, who is the boss of 300 hundred vampires btw, shows up only to antagonize and proposition her, then leaves. Shouldn’t he be a little worried? Shouldn’t he work on the assimilation process? Seems like rogues are bad for business, and yet you aren’t really doing much to help her feel welcomed.
I like the way that the Parasol Protectorate deals with initiates. Biffy is having a really hard time meshing well with his packmates, and his Alpha is worried about him. They have him try out new jobs, and give special attention to him because they don’t want to lose him.
Be like that, vampires.
I could give the second book a chance, but 12? Sheesh. I really need to develop some kind of method in attacking series books. My current plan of “read that series nonstop until I hate it” seems to be detrimental to my health.
His Precious Cargo
Author: Ava Cuvay
Series: The Heart Nebula Series #1
Tags: space romance, smuggler, stripper, kickass heroine, anti-lady in distress, BDSM, action packed, Podcast book
Holy hell, what a kickass, action packed, full throttle, smutty, sexy, sweaty carnival ride of fun!
Can’t wait to review it with Ilana! We are recording this weekend, and I have lots to say about it, including:
- Feminist (?)
- Smutty book recs
- Sweet wittle golden boy
- The Purple Wonder
- How much better this was than Grimspace
- A space story WITHOUT an ensemble cast?!
- Withholding information from the readers in good and bad ways
Watch for the podcast next weekend February 25th!
Yes, yes, and yes. I have to say that I will be getting the next book in this series.