Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Ganymede- Cherie Priest

      I don't know if it's fair or not to say that Priest's Clockwork Century series follows a formula (I have not read Clementine yet.), but if it is a formula, it's an awesome one. Serious pioneer mentality characters+ZOMG ZOMBIES!!ONE!1+Badass Steampunk contraption=Your money's worth and then some. While being a quicker, sparser story than Boneshaker or Dreadnought, this is not to say that the story was lacking in any way. Indeed, the story has zero percent body fat. Everything is there for a reason.

      The story revolves around Josephine, the madam of a turn of the century brothel (bow chikka bow bow) in Texas-occupied New Orleans. She has a prototype submarine that the Federal goverment is interested in as a possible weapon in a very protracted Civil War. The problem is getting it out from under the noses of the occupying Texian forces. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that Ganymede has pretty much drowned everyone who ever set foot in it. Josephine sends a telegraph to Adain Cly, Pacific Northwestern air pirate extraordinaire, requesting his aid in piloting Ganymede out of New Orleans into the hands of the Feds. It all gets fun after that.

        Priest doesn't rely on her zombies much in this story directly. The ramifications of the zombies being there in the first place actually plays a stronger role plot-wise than anything else. The zombie plague and the Sap that creates them is slowly taking a more prominent seat in the ongoing Clockwork Century universe, and I'm personally fascinated to see how this particular subplot fleshes itself out.

        Did I mention hardcore YARRRR!!!!-type pirates and Marie Laveau? Yeah, you want to read this. Five out of five cracked-out monkeys.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let the batshittery begin!

So, I decided I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year.

Don't know what NaNoWriMo is? Read here.

I'll wait for you to stop laughing.

The laughter is totally warranted, I won't begrudge you that. I contemplated it briefly, then decided that my schedule was absolutely too bugfuck to even begin to consider it as a rational course of action. There was absolutely no way that that I could do 50k words in 30 days. No effing way.

Then, like a bolt of serendipity from the blue, I'm doing it. You know what changed in my schedule?

Absolutely nothing.

Those rat bastards at Literature and Latte are not only offering free use of Scrivener during NaNoWriMo, but 50% off the price of purchase of Scrivener if you clear the 50k word count. Slap me with the glove and throw it on the ground, why don't you?!? I've monkeyed around with Scrivener, and I like it. I really like it. I reallyreallyreallyreally like it. Offering me half off something I want by having me do something utterly insane is waving a red rag to a bull, as far as I'm concerned. They say you should be doing this for the fun first and foremost. Am I going for fun? In a short view sense, yes. I'm not going to rely on this to be constantly fun because I'm going to have backup plans for when it's not fun but oh so bloody challenging that there is no chance I'm going to abandon it. That's what I'm going to be running on; Fun is nice, but bizarre ideas in the face of barriers win the day.

What am I writing, you may ask? Think the Scarlet Pimpernel meets the Terminator.

I know, right? The damn thing practically writes itself.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: Black and Orange-Benjamin Kane Ethridge

     I found this one in one of my Goodreads groups, just in time for Halloween. Black and Orange is Ethridge's first novel, and a very original one at that.

     Black and Orange's basic plot is that every Halloween, the world's destruction as we know it and the staving off of the world's destruction are in the hands of two groups of incredibly damaged people. The ones wearing the white hats in the story are the Nomads, people with links to another dimension. Every Halloween,  The Church of Morning (The black hat wearers) over in that other dimension tries to get things going with the Church of Midnight (More black hat wearers!) on this side to open the dimensional gates by destroying the Heart of the Harvest in one specially chosen individual in order to further weaken the dimensional fields and bring the two worlds together.

This time around, the removal of the Heart of the Harvest has an element that will hit the "EW!EWEWEWEWEW!!!" bone in your body.

Ethridge's character development is excellent. At no point does he take the easy way out with any of his characters, and the story shines even more for it. Barring one character in the book, all the characters are amazingly human, warts and all. This isn't meant to garner sympathy for some, or even any, of them. Hell, I found pretty much everyone in the book unlikable for one reason or another, but dammit if they weren't real.

Ethridge also needs to be commended for creating an underlying mythology for his story that is never fully explained, but only so far as to maintain an atmosphere of mystery and not just to leave a plot point dangling. For a first novel, this is overall an incredibly commendable work. Rating: Four out of five cracked-out monkeys.

Review: Hellbent- Cherie Priest

         Hellbent in the second book in the Cheshire Red series, Cherie Priest's Urban Fantasy series centered around Raylene Pendle, cat burglar and vampire. No sparkling. No hand stapled to forehead melodramatic despair. Sure, there's some neurosis, but overall Raylene is a woman who's playing to her strengths, and having a relatively fun time doing it. 

         The book picks up not long after the first book in the series, Bloodshot. The main plot of the Hellbent is a fairly seamless continuation of one of the major plots from the first book. Raylene has a side job in the story involving the stealing of supernatural dick bones and...

         Yes, you heard me. Supernatural dick bones. I'm not speaking metaphorically or anything. Supernatural dick bones. I'm not going to give any explanation at all, you just need to read it.

          Anyway, the side job provides a subplot that really doesn't intersect the main story much, but it does provide for an interesting new character in Raylene's universe. Without giving too much away, I'm not too sure of the credibility of how Raylene deals with this new character. It just seemed a bit too out of left field and plays a bit fast and easy with her quirky tendency to "pick up strays". All the same, I'm hoping to see how this thread develops, should there be more in the series.

          In terms of the main story, it's fantastic. Priest delivers a tight, action-packed ride that gives some more insight into the freaky vampire world that Raylene exists in. (It also gives you an understanding as to why she tries to avoid vampires whenever possible. Jesus, whatta bunch of whackjobs.) A major plot carryover from the first book is resolved in a very,very creative way, once again providing some great grist for the mill of future books in the series, which I definitely hope that there are. Rating: Three out of four cracked-out monkeys.