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1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

Probably The Adventures of Robin Hood  or maybe King Arthur by Howard Pyle. I think those two have been there since I was five? But of books I picked out myself... The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Poor thing's been read almost to death, but I have owned it since 5th grade...

books and more books )
summersdream: (secretly reading porn)
 Crossed
JF Lewis 
Pocket Books Urban Fantasy 

So there's this vampire, right? And he has some brain damage, so sometimes he blacks out and wakes up and finds himself holding dismembered bodies and doesn't know how it happened. Or sometimes he forgets what decade he lives in, or that he's dead. He is also, incidentally, a BAMF and on the vampire scale he's scary hardcore uberpowered vamp. Except for that little hiccup regarding his brain- but that kind of just makes him a SCARY BAMF. 

Also, he owned a strip club for a while but then it got blown up so now he owns a bowling alley, staffed by a lot of former strippers. He has a daughter vampire who has an eating disorder so sometimes she just eats everything in sight when she has a bad day. He's got a wife vampire who can make herself seem like a living breathing human. He has a classic Mustang that is possessed and therefore is just slightly a bit carnivorous, and also may be able to fly, and can drive up buildings. Fang makes Christine cry oil tears and hide in the garage. 

All of this I explain to you so that you see the pure WTFAWESOMEsauce of this series. I will also say that I never finished Book 2 (ReVamped) because I really just lost interest in it, but I still gave Crossed a try and I'm really glad I did. All the fun stuff that made the first book, Staked, rock kind of comes back on for this one. 
 
I don't think you can read it without at least reading Staked, because the world it's set in barely makes sense anyway (I swear, everybody gets a new power of the week or like, a magic sparkle of some kind or some damn thing) but you need to know what was in Staked, to get us to the point of Crossed. 
 
In Crossed, Eric the aforementioned bamf vampire, is going on his honeymoon to France. Which is cool, because we get out of Void City (I don't even remember if that's its actual name anymore. I think it's a nickname that everyone just calls it by...) and hit Paris. And in one of my personal credits for making any action-oriented adventure good, we do in fact watch the characters shoot the ever-loving fuck out of Paris. Well, not shoot exactly, but there are fights on the Eiffel Tower, giant traffic-disrupting megafights, and exploding explosions. 
 
Meanwhile, back at the Void, his vicious vampire maker shows up (and I'll be honest I have no idea why she shows up anymore and totally never cared in the first place) and she wants to kill him (again I have no memory of why and meh, does it really matter? No it does not). The psychotic vampire girl with the eating disorder, Greta, and Eric's buddy and were-cat-deity-thing Talbot set about kicking her ass. Or, um, trying. 
 
Then there's stuff going on with shifty Lord Philip who is like Prince of the City or something, and Ebon Winter who is vampire pop rock god in a way that's kind of more awesome than Lestat, and something about the soulless priest, and then Eric's magic haunted gun finally comes in handy (I love his ancestral ghost JP who drawls and hangs around bitching about his not-so-living descendant). 
 
This is not the series to read when you want high fantasy and detailed world building. But when you want shiny, shiny bloodspatter, violence, really disturbing imagery, and general crazy? Pick it up. It does not disappoint. 



ETA: 120 days til Dance with Dragons
 
summersdream: (reading)
This is the second book in the Gentleman Bastards Sequence, sequel to the quite fantastic Lies of Locke Lamora. It opens two years after the disastrous final act of Lies, with Locke and Jean running a new game in the sort of Medieval Venice-Vegas-Monte Carlo amalgam of Tal Verrar. Like Ocean's Eleven they're going to rob the ultimate casino, called the Sinspire (only it's more like Lamora's Two now). They have been working for two years on prepping this thing and right as they're getting ready to spring the game, the military tyrant-thing of Tal Verrar, called the Archon, drags them into his awesome clockwork lair. He demands they work for him, and by demand he means he has poisoned them and if they want to live they'll work for him. But it's not just any con they're going to run: he wants them to con the entire city-state into launching him back into power with a war. A war against pirates. Jean and Locke must go forth and incite the pirates of nearby Port Prodigal to rise up again... 

So it's like if Pirates of the Caribbean met Ocean's Eleven and had one too many martinis, then woke up two days later on a beach in Maui wondering where its pants went. 

 I read Lies of Locke Lamora ages ago and I reread it last summer out of boredom. I really liked the setting and the world building Lynch had done, which to me stood out even more than the actual characters the first time through. I'm intrigued by the mystery of Locke's world: who and what the Eldren were, what caused them to disappear. That there is one group of sorcerers left in the world and they have forbidden even street illusions... there are so many little things running around that are incredible to think about. Red Seas only heightened that curiosity with its visit to the Ghostwind Isles where it is only too clear that something is still awake and lingering in the world, that is not human and never has been. 

That said, the pace in Red Seas Under Red Skies drove me nuts. I wasn't all that happy that it started two whole years after the last book, and while in Lies the flashback chapters worked as interesting breaks and to illuminate what was going on in the present, the time-jumping in Red Seas felt weird and a bit awkward. 

I was halfway through the doorstopper before I was actually interested in what was going on. I felt more affection for the villain than I did for the heroes strangely enough, and I was not much amused by Locke throughout the story. I cared more about random side characters than the main plot which felt strange to me. I wanted to hear more about what Jean was building in Vel Virazzo- quite possibly I wanted a book about that, and Locke could go fall into a shark's mouth. 

Honestly I wish I had had a warning and I could have skipped to the last hundred pages or so and just read that, as it seemed like that was where all the action and interesting reveals were at anyway. And yet, it wasn't quite annoying enough to make me give up on the series. I still giggled at some of the one liners, and even if the characters I liked weren't the main stars, I did like them. Still not convinced the series wouldn't be more fun as The Adventures of Jean Tannen, kind of like how Harry Potter (books 5-7) might be more awesome as Seamus Finnegan or Neville Longbottom or something. 

The one thing I can say is that at least Locke finally shut up about Sabetha. I was so sick of hearing about her in Lies, and the fact that she's set to appear in the next book underwhelms me. I may very well wind up loving her to bits but I doubt it. 

Apparently book three may be never coming out, much like GRRM's Dance with Dragons, so it's one more fantasy series I'll probably never see the end of. But if I learned anything from HP7 it's that I'm ok with never having the ending if the alternative is Deathly Hallows.  

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September 2012

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