In Book Reviews on May 18, 2014 at 10:09 am
Nutshell blurb: 12 inmates used for experimental purposes escape from the underground Army testing facility they’re kept in. They wreak havoc on the earth and only one girl can save mankind.
I picked up this book not knowing anything about it. Even the cover blurb is a bit vague although strangely intriguing. It’s always a strange experience going into a story with no information. I had no preconceptions and no idea of where the story would take me.
That was kind of exciting, yet at the same time a little bit off-putting. There was no way I could predict what was going to happen (which is a good thing) yet sometimes I sat there thinking What is this story??
It was actually several stories in one and it reminded me of A Canticle for Leibowitz. (Except that I liked this story much more. Sorry, Walter M. Miller Jr.)
There were some really good characters and I’m happy to report that a few of those character were some kick-ass females.
That always makes me happy.
There’s also a really sweet note at the back of the book on how the author came up with the story. Apparently, it was inspired by his 8 year old daughter who told him that his literary books were too boring and that he should write something more interesting. They would spend part of everyday talking about the story and creating the characters. Frankly, she sounds a bit bossy. I like her.
Don’t worry, though. It doesn’t read like an 8 year old wrote it!
It’s definitely worth a read if you are interested in a different take on the vampire genre and are not intimidated by its nearly 1000 pages.
In Book Reviews on April 20, 2014 at 6:00 am
This is the second book in this series. Here are my thoughts on the first book, Strain. I’ll try to give you my opinion of this book without spoilers.
Nutshell blurb: A deadly virus was let loose in NYC and has spread throughout the world. The characters from the last book are now trying to stop it in this book.
Most of the books I’ve been reading lately are part of series. It’s strange how that happens sometimes. It isn’t intentional. What I’m finding is this strange thing where the first book is good, but barely. Then the second one comes along and it is sooooo much better. Such is the case with this book. As well as the book I’ll be talking about next week and the one the week after. You might start seeing a bit of a trend in these next few posts.
I would like to take a moment to let you know how much it annoys me. I’m very unforgiving when it comes to books. There are so many books out there and I’ll never get to all of the ones I want to read in my lifetime. So if something doesn’t grab my attention, I let it go and move on to the next one. I don’t feel the need to invest my time in something that doesn’t hold my interest just because I started it. Strain kind of held my attention. I was able to finish it but it didn’t inspire me and it took me quite a bit longer to read than it should have. I felt that the pacing was painfully slow and there seemed to be a constant build-up that resulted in not much happening. In fact, I wasn’t going to pick up the second book but ended up doing so since I saw it in the library.
As it turns out, the second book is where all of the action is and I really enjoyed this one.
It made me think, though, because I’m reading these other books that are part of series and the first books are a bit slow. Why does it have to be that way??? If I pick up a book about vampires or military clones (next week) or zombies (the week after next) I want it to be full of peril and to be fast paced. In places these first books seem to drag. I understand the need to set the scene and to make us understand the world that we’re visiting and how things work in it, but surely there is a way to do that while stuff is blowing up/being eaten or exsanguinated. It’s not that I have a short attention span but I’ve found in these books that the character development is pretty slow as well. We don’t get to know the people very well in the first one and I found that I cared very little about them to begin with. I need something to latch on to and to care about!
Cut to the second book. This is where it’s all at. The characters are much more developed and now I’m starting to care about them. There’s a really cool character that I like in The Fall called Vasiliy Fet who’s an exterminator. He really comes into his own now that he has to fight vampires. I also feel more sympathetic towards the main character. I’ll definitely pick up the next one.
It’s also making me think twice about my policy of not picking up the second book in a series if I find that the first one is a bit lacklustre. Perhaps I need to try to be a bit more forgiving.
In Book Reviews on January 22, 2014 at 6:00 am
Nutshell blurb: An ancient evil has been awakened and has made its way to New York City on a 777. Can it be stopped before the entire world is infected?
Sooooooo, vampire zombies. Yep. My hope for this book was that it would be a great shake-up of two widely written genres. It is an interesting take but it fell a bit short for me.
People get turned into vampire zombies (and just so we’re clear, this is my term for them) in the usual way one gets turned into either undead creature: by being bitten or having the blood sucked out of them. The USP in this instance is that the living are attacked by ‘blood worms’ that come from the infected person(s).
I will say that I enjoyed the story, for the most part. It was a bit of a slow burn, though. A lot of time was spent trying to build up tension which worked at first, but when I was halfway through the book I realised that I still didn’t really know what the heck was going on. I felt as though the pacing was off for this kind of story. It felt more like a murder mystery than an action-packed apocalyptic adventure. I’m sure that I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but I’m a woman of action. I want stuff to happen. I don’t need everything to be spelled out for me but I need to know that I’m on the road to discovery and that I’ll get there eventually.
The characters didn’t really do much for me, either. The only two that I remotely liked were the elderly holocaust survivor and the Hispanic gang banger. The holocaust survivor was particularly interesting because he had seen this evil in his youth when he was in a concentration camp. (I promise that the holocaust wasn’t caused by Nazi vampire zombies, though. So don’t worry; we’re never taken down that road.)
I know that this post seems to be marching steadily toward the negative, but I actually did like the book. It just didn’t live up to my expectations.
When I finished this book, I told my husband that I probably wouldn’t read the next one. But in true Buffy-style, I saw it in the library the other day and picked it up anyway. That’s just how I roll, people. We’ll see whether or not I feel inspired to do a post about it.