>> Thursday, January 15, 2009
TITLE: Demon Bound
AUTHOR: Meljean Brook
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I've come to expect that from Brook, and she didn't dissappoint with this story about creepy Alice and sweetie puppy-dog young (for a Guardian) Jake. The plot is straightforward (for the author *g*): right before she was turned, Alice made a bargain with a demon that she's since come to regret. It's unthinkable that she might fulfill it, but if she doesn't, the eternal torture she'll undergo will be just as unthinkable. Nothing to do but desperately search for a loophole that might allow her to escape it completely, a search in which Jake is determined to help her. And as they do, Jake begins to think that creepy Alice isn't so creepy after all (even with the spiders and all that).
What can I say that I haven't said before in my previous reviews of this author's work? The characters are fantastic... complex, real, fascinating and very individual. Brook really delves into what makes them tick, and succeeds in making them come alive. And not just the protagonists, everyone around them (including characters from previous books) is just as well characterised. Also, the worldbuilding is top-notch and feels like it's going somewhere, somewhere I can't wait to explore. How long until Alejandro and Irena´s story?
MY GRADE: An A-.
TITLE: The Laughter of Dead Kings
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Peters
This is a new book in Peters' Vicky Bliss series, after an interval of almost 15 years. As much as I love the original 5 books in the series, I wasn't really anticipating this one. To me, Night Train to Memphis had provided a perfectly good close to the series, and I would much rather had got a new stand-alone Barbara Michaels (or a stand-alone Peters, or a new entry in the Jacqueline Kirby series... now *that* one could use some closure!).
Fortunately, not having had my hopes too high, my dissapointment wasn't that huge. Still, it was a bit sad to read this competent-but-not-special romp. A bit like meeting up with old friends you thought were amazing years back and realising that they're not that interesting. The plot was serviceable, but a bit meh, the characters were nice, but lacked the zing they used to have, and the offbeat-but-oh-so-romantic feel of John and Vicky's relationship was gone completely. Eh, well, I did quite enjoy it.
BTW, something that I thought was really interesting was that Peters made no attempt to set the book right after the last one (which would have been in the mid-90s), even though the action is supposed to take place soon after NTTM. Nope, this is set in the present, complete with blogs (and yay! she clearly understands the difference between a blog and a website!). Weird, but it worked.
MY GRADE: A B, and I'm being quite kind.