Mercy #13. Straight forward, fairly simple plot, nice lack of annoying drama. Took me three days to get past the first 10%, but then I was hooked and could not put it down anymore. So although it was plain and simple and without big surprises, I give it 5 stars for sheer entertainment value.
Mercy and Adam are center stage, with a fair amount of Zee, Tad, Jesse, Warren, a bit of Sherwood, Tilly and various vampires. And the Walking Stick! Not telling you who the bad guys are…
There is a merciful lack of Christy and no marital drama. Which I had expected after the last book, but wasn‘t sad to miss. It‘s nice to see people with a functioning relationship, including the pack—mostly…
I wonder how many more books it will take Briggs to wrap up the overarching narrative with Bonarata. That guy really needs to be permanently dead.
Another reread. In my memory from 30 years ago my favourite book book of the series. Although in reality that turned out to be an amalgamation of this and the previous book. And I am being charitable when calling them favourites and giving them 4 stars each, due to nostalgia. Both were much too slow and scattered for present day me.
Part I was a good reminder of all the characters from previous books. Felt very much like a collection of short stories though. Took me forever to get through this part.
Part II, over 200 pages into my paperback edition, finally dug into the main plot and picked up a little speed and coherence.
Parts III and IV were a mix of my favourite parts of the book, the Story of the Twins, and my least liked parts of Lestat with Akasha. I didn‘t buy Akasha‘s motivation and she left me cold as a character. The finale was really short for this doorstopper and anticlimatic.
I really enjoyed Part V and could have read another 100 pages of that. We got emotional and mischievous Lestat back from the previous book.
Sorry for this non-review. I sort of meandered through this book slowly, without taking any notes. There were quite a few parts I liked—pretty much everything without the titular character in it. Which makes the book a bit pointless, really… I just consider it a short story anthology of Anne Rice‘s vampires and everything is good.
I will continue with the series, purely because I have the next three paperbacks sitting on my bookshelf already.
PS: The movie is really bad. It also tells only a small part of the book and pretty much completely leaves out any attempt at explaining Akasha‘s motivation.
The next book in my re-read of the Vampire Chronicles. I‘m in chapter 3, on page 75 of 573 pages. I‘ve been out a lot with friends this week again, so things are progressing slowly.
I did also rewatch the movie of the same name this week and can honestly say that it is really bad. It wasn‘t quite this. bad in my memory. Bad acting, bad directing, bad accents and I didn‘t feel the presumed romance at all. I am enjoying the book so far though. Let‘s see how much I remember of this one.
On the plus side I got a letter from my brother today and it had a really nice magnetic bookmark in it. Thank you, brother!
I am trying to buy a little less from Amazon and instead buy more local and/or second hand. So while I still bought this paperback online, I did buy it second hand from a German company. Local-ish, no new trees had to die, but still bad for my CO2 footprint. You win some, you loose some. The book was published in 1988, my edition is from 1990. It‘s in pretty good shape for being 32 years old. The edges are a bit scuffed, but the spine is not cracked. It is clean and has this nice “old book“ smell. The print is smallish, but ok.
So, Friday, last workday of the week, yay! No plans for tonight, so I might actually get some decent reading in. Saturday is Free Comic Day here, so I will take a trip to the big bookstore in next town over and see if there is anything there that tempts me. Or maybe I should pick something that I wouldn‘t normally choose…
Another re-read and old favourite from my teen/tween days. I read the first three books of the series about 30 years ago and loved them. Alas, this is another book were I remembered almost nothing of the plot but the broadest strokes. A monster of a book with very dense print on 599 pages, packing many parts with distinct plotlines and various stories of other vampires besides Lestat, provided backstory and a pretty comprehensive explanations of the world he lives in.
The pacing was too slow for me, but the story pulled me along. We touch down in ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, visit the Celts and meet druids, finally get a good, long look at pre-revolutionary France and Paris, travel around Europe and eventually make our way into the new world. Interview with the Vampire (my review) Armand and Louis make an appearance and we meet new characters that will have a major impact in the next book of the series.
Existential questions are discussed at length. Faith, god, good and evil, relationships, love, rituals… I have to confess that I skimmed past a few of those paragraphs. Online somewhere I read a description of Rice‘s writing style as both verbose and overly philosophical. I tend to agree. Sometimes the writing was a bit convoluted as well. There were some longer passages that I reread several times and I was still unsure afterwards what she wanted to tell me. Her livelong on-and-off affair with organized religion and the catholic church will have been a major influence here.
There was a much stronger gay vibe than I remember. It was pretty clear for me this time around that Lestat and Nicholas were in a relationship, although it is never explicitly spelled out.
Parts I did not like: the fixation on the superiority of blue-eyed blond people. Lack of meaningful female characters besides Gabrielle. General disdain of women as weak or, if strong, as unpredictable (deranged and dangerous?)—why do female writers perpetuate that image? Lack of diversity.
Re-reading old favourites is always a daunting undertaking. What if you hate that once beloved book? Luckily I liked my re-read of Interview with the Vampire. I discovered so many things I had missed as a late teen/early tween. Vampire Lestat is a much broader and complicated story with an even slower pace. It turns Louis into a very unreliable narrator, as this is quite a different Lestat to the first book. Or is Lestat pulling our leg? And Armand is a lot less likable, which makes it hard for me to relate to Lestat‘s love for him. Anyhow, I liked the book despite the above mentioned parts.
Ham Helsing comes from a long line of unsuccessful vampire hunters, killing themselves with crazy inventions. Apparently stupid runs in the family. Ham seems to be the odd one out…. Maybe? Anyway…
Written for young readers (8-12 years), this charmed me right away and made me laugh. It‘s all about not being bogged down by assumptions, being a good and sometimes selfless person, working as a team… There is humour, sarcasm, adventure, scary spiders, an evil chicken and other funny characters. It‘s a very simple story, but it is very well done.
Here is my February 2022. My page count is a bit lower this month, due to some distracting family issues. I couldn‘t concentrate on new stories and reverted to comfort re-reading quite a lot of older fanfiction early in the month, which I don‘t really track.
– Empire of Wild ★★★★☆, ebook, TBR, slow burning horror, indigenous folklore about a Rogarou. – Iterum ★★★★☆, Stargate Atlantis fanfic, McShep, re-read / comfort reading — and a ton of other Spirk and McShep fanfiction! – Bots of The Lost Ark in Clarkesworld Magazine #177, June 2021 ★★★★☆, online novelette, bots run amok, aliens threaten, ship and humans need to be saved, little bot to the rescue. – Interview with the Vampire ★★★★☆, ebook, re-read after 30 years or so. Slow start, but re-discovered so many details that I had forgotten. Ultimately rewarding. – Shadecraft #1 ★★★★★, eComic, online for free at Image Comics, YA, Zadie is being chased by shadows… good artwork. – Fire and Ice: The Volcanoes of the Solar System ★★★★☆, audio, non-fiction, entertaining tour through our solar system and a fascinating look at volcanoes. – Saga #56 ★★★★★, eComic – Wikihistory ★★★★☆, short story, online, amusing piss-take on time travel and Wikipedia. – The Legacy by R.A. Salvatore ★★★¾☆ ebook, TBR / StoryGraphReading Randomizer February #1, dark elves and dwarves battling it out in a lot of deep tunnels. – An Easy Job ★★★★☆, short story, online, prequel to Sinew and Steel and What They Told
The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six (ongoing): – SCAR TISSUE by Tobias S. Buckell – human MC fosters a robot. Is the mind just bolted into its carriage or the sum of a whole? And what does it mean to be raised and to learn from experience? Sweet story, I got pretty emotional. ★★★★★ – EYES OF THE FOREST by Ray Nayler – scouts in an alien and dangerous forest, very cool concepts. ★★★★½ – SINEW AND STEEL AND WHAT THEY TOLD by Carrie Vaughn – Graff faked his medical records and something really awkward is going to come out. ★★★★¾
StoryGraph Reading Randomizer / backlog: – The Solitaire Mystery, paper, TBR / February StoryGraph #2, have to see when I can fit this in…
Specfic Movies & TV watched: – For All Mankind, S1, Eps. 1-5 ★★★★☆
It’s been a long time since I read this, as a teenager and in German. Mid 80s or so and several times in the years after… Loved it, loved it, loved it. Got me started on my path of life-long love of vampire stories. Shortly after I read Bram Stoker‘s Dracula and a bunch of other classic vampire books and loved those as well.
I think the German translation dragged a bit. Although about 30% into my current re-read it was not exactly speedy either. A lot of exposition, very little direct speech—not my favourite. Luckily the book eventuality got more involving and lively.
As a teenager I considered this the best of the Vampire Chronicles and the one with the best story-line. The sequels got more and more commercial. I read four of them and then stopped, while I still liked them. In retrospect I probably remember the most of The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned. Boy, that was a horrible movie! If I should re-read the other books as well, I would probably prefer the „more commercial“ ones by now. We will see. I read another of Anne Rice‘s books recently, The Passion of Cleopatra and thought it was pretty meh.
Anyway, Interview with The Vampire. Probably THE book that sailed a massive fantasy subgenre and lead to two movies, one of them sporting a horribly miscast Tom Cruise and a beautifully moody Brad Pitt.
A young reporter and a vampire sit in a bare room with a tape recorder. The vampire tells the story of his 200 years of life, err, un-death, from his early days on a plantation near New Orleans to Europe and all the way back to the Garden District of New Orleans in the mid-1970s, when the book was written.
A lot of things happen that I didn‘t remember at all. Everything that hasn‘t appeared in the movie seems to have fallen away. Lestat is also a lot more hateful than I remember. And Claudia and Armand a lot more seductive.
The story moved pretty slowly and with a lot of exposition at first. Is it possible that later books were more dynamic? I was not impressed and skimmed some more boring passages early on. By the time the narrative moved to New Orleans and then on to Eastern Europe, I had become comfortable with the slightly old-fashioned feel of the language and the narrative had picked up some momentum. The high point of the book for me is Paris and the Theatre of the Vampires.
Bottomline this has a lot more to offer than the movie. It is mostly slow paced and rich in detail. Very contemplative, pretty sad, with some shocking moments.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — Mark Watney in space! And he sciences the sh*t out of his situation… so, yes, very much reminiscent of The Martian. And then some. I loved it and could barely put it down. So much fun!
The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1) by Alastair Reynolds — On the surface this comes along as a police procedural in a SF setting. Dreyfus is a cop with a strong moral code of right and wrong, committed to justice. My first association was Miller from The Expanse, with a bit of Blade Runner and minus any projectile weapons. Space opera, ultimately, with the many and very varied habitats of the Glitter Band, artificial intelligences, body modifications, uplifted mammals, many political systems, states of being and an elaborate polling system — fascinating!
David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — Gods have rained down on Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. We enter the story some time later, into the dystopian society that has developed here in the aftermath. David Mogo, our 1st person narrator, is a demi-god working as an illegal godhunter. An old wizard with dubious morals sends David Mogo off to catch two high gods, Taiwo and Kehinde. David is in need of money to fix his roof, so off he goes, despite his misgivings about this wizard. Obviously things don’t go as expected.
Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4) by C.J. Sansom — Historically pretty sound, as far as I can tell. Very homogenous. Full of suspense towards the end, could not put it down anymore. The murders are gruesome and reminiscent of a famous 90s movie. With the context of Henry VIII, his dissolution of the monasteries and the religious upheaval of that time it works well.
The Whale Library by Zidrou, Judith Vanistendael — Pretty watercolours, a mature story about a whale who contains a large library, a postman delivering sea mail, his wife and a smattering of sailors, pirates, fish, sea turtles, octopi and more…
Besides this one I also read some very good more traditional graphic novels. But that probably needs another entry…
The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs is one of the very few Urban Fantasy series that I still follow. I used to read almost nothing but UF for the best part of a decade, until the genre was so oversaturated with new, mediocre stuff that I lost the taste for it.
In June 2022 another installment of the series will be published, Soul Taken (Mercy Thompson, #13). Counting the spin-off series, that brings us to book 19 in this universe, ignoring a bunch of short stories, comics, etc. Book #12 of the main series dealt with some marriage problems between our titular hero and her mate, that hopefully will get resolved in the new book.
I liked that book, but this is another series where I am starting to wonder if it‘s perhaps time to wrap things up for good. Definitely still getting the new one in June though! Pre-ordered!
We are galloping towards the end of the year, potentially more lockdowns, increased social distancing, renewed distance education, a new Covid mutation, snow storms, and so on… but for now here is just another wrap-up for my November reading.
– Rovers ★★★★★ – audiobook, Of Men and Mice meets From Dusk till Dawn. Excellent. Highlight of my month! Potentially one of the best books I have read this year. – Elder Race ★★★★½ – ebook, novella, another Tchaikovsky, Sword-and-Sorcery with a touch of SF and Horror. – Fated ★★★★☆ – ebook, re-read, wizards, London, Harry Dresden meets Peter Grant and the Iron Druid. Buddy reading #2 in January. – Relic ★★¾☆☆ – ebook, Alan Dean Foster, the last human in search of Earth. Meh. – The Resurrectionists ★★½☆☆ – ebook, Netgalley, novella, TBR pile, graphic body horror, not for me.
Comics: – The Whale Library ★★★★★ eComic, Netgalley. Pretty story about a whale who contains a library. – Dragonflight ★☆☆☆☆ paper, TBR pile, bad adaptation of Anne McCaffrey‘s first book of the Dragonriders of Pern. – Cyber Force (2012) #1 ★☆☆☆☆ eComic, DNF after 8 of 24 pages, no idea what is going on.
Started, carry over into December: – The Quantum Magician, ebook + audio, ~60%. Around 3.5 to 4 stars right now. Ocean‘s 11 in space, post-humanism. – Life on Earth, audio, TBR pile, ~30%. David Attenborough talks about evolution.
Movies & TV watched:
Nature Documentaries – David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet ★★★★★+ Beautiful images, important story, fabulous Sir David! – Our Planet — Behind the Scenes ★★★★★ The walruses, OMG!, and the calving ice shelf, wow! – Our Planet — One Planet / Frozen Worlds / Jungles / Coastal Seas / From Deserts to Graslands ★★★★★ – Night on Earth: Shot in the Dark ★★★☆☆
Specfic Series – Foundation, S1, Ep. 1 ★★★★☆ – Infiltration (Invasion), S1, Ep. 1-8 ★★★¾☆ – Wheel of Time, S1, Ep. 1-4 ★★★☆☆