Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How a Terrific Series *Should* End

Daylighters, the final book in the Morganville Vampires series, still keeps the action fresh and constant, and I think that's what I'm going to miss most of all about these books. Even though I believed that things would work out whenever I first picked this book up, it was still a long, twisted ride along the way, just as it's been through the previous fourteen books.

Daylighters opens with our vampire friends in grave danger from an organization that has arrived in town to "cure" the vamps. The tables are turned; no longer in control, Amelie and friends are herded up and held in an abandoned mall while they await a procedure that will rob them of their vampire status. Yes, this includes Michael, and no, Eve and Company are NOT HAPPY. While Claire and Shane work to help Eve, they discover that their beloved Glass House is in danger as well; meanwhile, Claire is accused of murder and taken away in handcuffs. Oh, and remember that strange dog bite Shane got in the last book? Yeah, well, it's the mark of the beast so to speak; at the bidding of Fallon (the head of the Daylighters, the group taking over Morganville), Shane goes hellhound and begins attacking vampires. It's a mess, made even worse with Police Chief Hannah Moses on the Daylighters' side, lots of lost clothing, and the fact that the "cure" has a less than 25% success rate.

I have grown to love all the characters in this series, with the possible exception of Eve. She's just never grown on me; it's as though she's never made it past the emo girlfriend in high school stage, always charging head first into situations without thinking things through, putting herself and others in harm's way. But even Oliver has grown on me; he at least never varied from his same general demeanor and he knows who he is inside. And Claire? Even Oliver remarks on her not being the mouse she was on the day they met. Truly coming into her own, this girl now knows how to survive, with or without her beloved Shane. I absolutely can buy into their relationship because it's mutual and built on a firm foundation, something I feel is lacking in Eve and Michael's. But it's Myrnin, as per usual, who steals the show. More manic than ever, more calculating and emotional, he rescues Claire and treats her as an equal. His slowly revealed feelings for Jesse bring more depth to him, and yet, when Claire is racing back to the lab, he reminds her to check on his pet spider, Bob. Myrnin is magical, and I suspect most of us adore him the most.

Daylighters begins strong and never lets up, even when I couldn't possibly see a way for our heroes to win. All of the major players in the past are back, including the vampires of the town of Blacke. Though at times some of the plot resolutions stretched my imagination to its skeptical limits, I was still enthralled, racing toward an end I really didn't want to see. The final chapter is a bit of a fluff ending, but it's nice and happy and I can live with it. This is a series that goes out on a high note, and I couldn't be a bigger supporter. Highly recommended!


Friday, November 15, 2013

Sweet, Light Tale

Loving Liberty by Belinda Boring is the story of Liberty (the character's actual name), a girl who has been bullied by basically everyone her entire life. Her parents tell her who to see, what to do, and how to do it; her older sister is cruel and threatening; the man her parents have chosen as a future mate is sick and sadistic. And what does Liberty do about all this? What she's always done: nothing. She seethes on the inside but her fear of failure and disappointment doesn't allow her to fight back in any form, even when she's facing a lifetime at the hands of the disgusting Andrew. Until, that is, she meets Oliver, who is everything she could have ever hoped for. Little by little, Liberty begins to gain a sense of herself and her own desires, even if she must sneak around to achieve them.

This is a sweet little story with a powerful message about standing up to the bullies in your life, even if you happen to be related to them. Liberty is at times quite frustrating; I wanted her to stand up for herself much earlier in the story, but naturally that would not have advanced the plot well. For this rather independent, headstrong reader, it was hard for me to believe anyone would react as Liberty does when her family dictates her every move, but I do believe there are people out there who suffer as silent victims beneath the auspices of those who should love them. Oliver was almost too perfect at times; I wanted to see him have at least one flaw so that he would seem more human.

The best part about Loving Liberty comes toward the end, of course; Boring has given us an exciting, action-packed climax that pays off in the best way possible. My problem is that I now want to know more; I am left hanging to see what Liberty accomplishes next. There's no explicit sex at all; in fact, this is a rather chaste story that focuses more on character development than on passionate love. This is definitely an engaging story in the New Adult category that I truly enjoyed.


From:  My virtual stack; Purchased by reviewer

Friday, November 08, 2013


Allegiant brings the Divergent trilogy to a close, and it's full of promise: Tris and Tobias are headed into the outside, toward a new life that they know nothing about. There had been so much action before, culminating in Tris's almost execution; I was glued to the pages while reading the first two books, and was so looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly thrilling ending to a great series.

Don't get me wrong; there are parts to Allegiant that are good, and even clever. I liked the back story given for Tris's mother; it made sense and gave new layers to what happened. There's some action, and it's generally well-written. The character development is solid, if irritating; there's way too much over-thinking and not enough just going with the flow of emotion. However, Allegiant is overly padded with loooooong segments of talking about what might be going on, what is going on, what will be going on, and almost all of it has to do with genetic damage. I have to admit that my eyes began to glaze on the topic after a while because really...who cares? I never did understand who started damaging the genes to begin with, and how the "repair" was taking place. All of it seemed so secondary to the characters and yet it was the main focus of the story. Meanwhile, things are going down back in Chicago that must be rectified immediately and yet it seems as though there's ambivalence about it. 

My biggest issue with Allegiant, after the overly long segments wherein little seems to happen other than Tris and Tobias fighting and talk of genetic damage, is the dual points of view. I understand why we needed them, but I swear a chapter would change, and with it the point of view, and I would not notice. I'd actually read a few pages into the next chapter before I'd think, "Oh, this is Tris talking now".  It's not good when your characters are so inter-changeable, and not in a good way. The voices were the same, and neither offered much in the way of excitement.

I know a lot of people are upset over the BIG twist, and rightfully so; I do feel let down by how Roth chose to end her story. It just seemed pointless, even if it was in character for the most part. I think I could have lived with it had I felt it was a necessary sacrifice to the overall story but it just felt wrong on so many levels. Instead of being left with a feeling of completion or understanding, I'm just left empty. Sadly, this ending has soured me for the series and definitely made me unexcited about the upcoming motion picture. I'm just left feeling...damaged.