Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Speaking of Sparking...

Okay, just a word of warning here...I am NOT good at waiting, and I am pretty upset that it's going to be another year before I find out what happens next to the Sky Chasers. So yep, I enjoyed Spark, the second in the series. Now let's get down to specifics.

Spark picks up shortly after Glow left off, with Waverly having led the captive girls back to their own ship, the Empyrean, after being held hostage on board the New Horizon by the nefarious Anne Mather and her crew. While most of the girls should be excited to be home, they are mostly angry at Waverly for leaving their parents behind, which happened only out of necessity. Now the Empyrean is being run by children, with Waverly's former boyfriend Kieran leading in his heavy handed way, and friend Seth being held in the brig on trumped up charges. When it becomes apparent that there is an intruder on board, panic ensues; Seth and Waverly face mortal danger as Kieran watches his hold on power begin to slip. And then the real action starts.

Spark didn't really come alive for me until almost a third of the way in, and then it had me in its grip until the end. In fact, after a few chapters, I was disappointed with both the writing and the situation; never have been a fan of exclamation points in descriptive sentences, and there were way too many early on (I know that's a minor irritation, but still, it lent to the overall feel of being written for a much younger audience than Glow had established). Fortunately, however, things began to pick up rapidly and suddenly I was finding myself thoroughly enjoying seeing a ship run by kids trying to balance power in a life-or-death situation. Things kept going from bad to worse and it doesn't end in a pretty little box.

One of the things I found most intriguing in Spark was the character development; when I think back over the story, it's very apparent that everyone has a dark side to grapple against. Waverly struggles with her personal disappointments and her anger over what happened on the New Horizon; Seth relives his abusive father's treatment and his own regrets over how he behaved while in charge; Kieran realizes he's playing against a master by engaging Anne Mather and he knows his grasp on power is tenuous at best. All do things they regret immediately; all have to live with the consequences. Suddenly it's not a child's game any more.

Spark works with its unique setting and it's slow build to a heated climax as well as its tragedy and its determination to succeed. Despite a shaky start, it picked up speed nicely and had me hooked with its vivid action (sans exclamation points) as the story went on. My own imagination has been sparked...I'm ready for the next step...Flame? Ignite? Firestorm? It doesn't matter. I just want it now.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

I'm going to assume that most anyone who is reading Black Dawn is a fan who has read most, if not all, of the preceding eleven books in the series, so I won't waste time in backstory and in trying to explain what the draug is and why their appearance is a very, very bad thing for Morganville residents (both alive and undead). Black Dawn picks up almost immediately after the prior book leaves off, with Claire and Co. trying to figure out any way possible to fight off Magnus and his thrall. Since the draug live as part of water, that means that the storms hitting Morganville are that much more deadly, and even the drinking/washing water isn't safe. With Amelie bitten and transforming into a draug herself, Oliver is stepping up to take over with possibly disastrous results. Will Claire and Myrnin be able to come up with a successful weapon before Amelie is turned and even more hell breaks loose?

Likes/loves: Lots and lots of action happens in Black Dawn, with Shane's life in the balance after being sent to the Water Plant in order to turn off that source, and Claire being used as bait since she is the one person who can "see" Magnus. There's tragic loss, the return of good characters (hello, Theo!), and battles for power at every turn. I love the way Caine uses time to help her characters discover their feelings, making them seem so much more human (even when they aren't), and the layers peeled back during the excitement just pulls one into the essence of the story. I'm so attached to these people now, I may never be able to let them go if indeed there are only three more books to the series left. I adore Shane and Claire together; they seem to bring out the best in each other, and Caine is developing their relationship in a realistically long term way. I am even a bit hopeful for Monica in the future, but I'm equally wary of Jason. This cannot turn out well. However, I foresee very good things coming from Miranda!

Problems? A few. While I don't mind the chapters written from other' viewpoints, I'd prefer Caine keep to our Four Friends. I gained absolutely nothing from reading Hannah's point of view, and only a minimal amount from both Oliver and Naomi. There's just so much going on that there's really no need to add in extra experiences, especially those belonging to people we're not overly attached to (Hannah and Naomi again). Also, I'm kinda tired of Claire being pissed off at Myrnin so much. She knows how he is and it's very obvious he cares for her, so it's time she just realized that and got over her anger from his actions. It's part of what makes Myrnin such a special character and I wouldn't want him to change one bit.

Overall, Black Dawn is a very solid entry in this always entertaining series, and I again recommend all the Morganville Vampire books for their creativity and character development. Things are always on edge in Morganville, yet the characters are always evolving in thoroughly realistic ways. I'd actually rate Black Dawn 4.5 stars. Get on board with this series won't regret it.


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Thumped picks up several months after Bumped left off--twins Harmony and Melody are once again separated but both are struggling with their life choices in a society where only teenaged girls can become pregnant. Harmony has returned to Goodside to attempt to fit in with "husband" Ram, even though she's now pregnant with twins after her one night stand with professional stud, Jondoe, and to say it's not going well is an understatement. Confused about what she wants in life, Harmony's still longing for the beautiful Jondoe, even though she's making a valiant attempt to be a faithful member of her religion. Meanwhile, Melody is "pregnant" as well...or is she? It's not really a spoiler to say that Melody, Zen, and Jondoe are playing out the biggest scam on the world to date to raise awareness of how young girls are being exploited into making babies before they are mentally ready to do so.

The action is fast and gripping with short chapters that make the book fly by. Told in the alternating viewpoints of Melody and Harmony, we see the twins rebel against a system that uses young girls' bodies as baby making factories. There are romances and deep family bonds as well as revealed secrets as the story unfolds; I especially like how the book ends because it seems like a realistic way to bring the story to a close. The absence of any adult with common sense takes away a level of believabiltiy, but overall this book is just as engaging and fun as the first. Definitely an enjoyable read!