Monday, May 18, 2009

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

This is a variation on the vampire story that comes at the genre with a few different ideas about the creatures, and they are definitely different. The "vampires" are called Ina, and are a species to themselves. These people were never human, they are born; they can't "turn" humans into one of them. The Ina also have a very different relationship with humans: they have a symbiotic bond. The Ina takes care of, loves, and needs the human for blood, and the humans need their Ina. Once the Ina and their human become fully bonded, its like the human is addicted to the Ina, and they actually will go through a sort of withdrawal if they haven't been bitten in a while.
This book deals with so much, just like most of Butler's books: religion, bigotry, sex, race, rules, and more. Fledgling concerns the life of a young Ina female called Shori, who is the result of the genetic experimentation of her mothers to create Ina that can walk in the daylight and stay awake during the day. It turns out that more melanin helps, so Shori's skin is dark. There are other's, other Ina families, that hate what they think of as the corruption of the Ina purity, and they take it into their own hands (actually the hands of humans that they use as daytime weapons) to destroy Shori and her family. They succeed in killing her family and all of their symbionts, but they fail to actually kill Shori, who is their main target. Ironically, Shori survives the attack because of the genetic manipulation that lets her stay awake and be out in the sunlight. But she was seriously injured in the attack, so much so that she lost all of her memories of her life before the attack. She meets and takes her first symbiont, Wright, and slowly, very slowly, remembers vague things about who and what she is, then tries to find and punish those who killed her entire family.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

This is the ninth book in her Southern Vampire Mystery series, and it was just as good as all her other ones!! Sookie Stackhouse begins the ninth book witnessing the Great Revelation of all the two natured people in the world. She's also dealing with Eric and their complicated bond, work, bills, her brother, who she's not talking to, among other things. Then to top that all off, her sister-in-law, Crystal, gets murdered, but not only murdered, she gets crucified!!
Sookie has her plate completely full in this installation of the series. She debates forgiving her brother, and helps him out with his situation despite not really wanting to talk to him. She gets "handled" by Eric, as she calls it; mostly that means that he makes a very big decision for her, one that she hadn't figured out on her own yet, and still wanted time to think about. Her Grandfather also makes several appearances and brings more unwanted trouble into Sookie's life, and of course all of this trouble is of the dnagerous variety, so she has to watch her back and look over her shoulder at all times. This is a very quick read, cause its so easy to get sucked in to her story. This one has a very scary ending, and seems to be a closer call than all of Harris' other Sookie stories. A lot more at stake for Sookie, and she still has lots of decisions to make. I can't wait for the next one!! (Too bad I'll have to wait another year, probably)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

It took me about a week and half to two weeks to finish this one, entirely due to the fact that I didn't stay home all the time and read, and I work, so the opportunity to just sit and read for hours was not there. Nevertheless, I LOVED it. Not surprising, cause it was partially written by Neil Gaiman, but it was an excellently done novel about angels, demons, good, evil, and the Antichrist.
I consider myself an agnostic, but I'm always interested when people write about religion and religious traditions, especially when certain writers do it. The jokes are so funny I started laughing out loud while I read them in my car sitting in traffic. Snarky religious humor gets me every time.
So, this novel is about Armageddon and the things that get messed up while trying to bring it to pass correctly. The Antichrist gets switched with another newborn, but goes to the wrong family, and he gets lost for those first 11 years of his life. Thats really the only thing that goes wrong, but thats a pretty big mistake, so it has big consequences.
I love the character Aziraphale and Crowley, and their friendship. Its very unique and hilarious, especially when they have to ask one another who did what to the human race, like parking tickets, and why it was a good/bad idea. And the footnotes; these are some of the best I've ever seen, and I've read quite a few books with footnotes. These are so perfect, like the added verses on a Bible passage that is really a conversation between God and Aziraphale on the subject of misplacing the Flaming Sword. Excellent. Read it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman

This is a really good childrens book written by Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean. I don't usually read kids books, but it was by Neil, so I bought it anyway.
I love the way he knows just how kids think. This little girl named Lucy is hearing things in the walls of her house. She and her little pig puppet are convinced its wolves. She tells everyone in her family and they all try to tell her that its mice, or rats, or that she is bats. But she knows the truth. Its Wolves!
Then the wolves come out of the walls and scare the family out of the home and to the bottom of the garden. They are soon tired of sleeping outside while the wolves have the run of the house, so they all go back in, and THEY creep into the walls of the house. The family then jumps out of the walls just like the wolves did, and they scare those wolves right out of the house, and the wolves were never seen again.
I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I LOVE Neil Gaiman!! I would definitely recommend this to everyone, even if you're not a kid, and even if you don't have any.