"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened
and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you
and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse,
and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."
Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Wereling: Resurrection

Resurrection #3
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The Wereling:  Resurrection
Stephen Cole
2004

The Summary
Now, closer than ever to discovering a cure, Kate and Tom are racing to find Jicaque - and stop Takapa once and for all.

But Takapa has big plans up his sleeve, and he'll stop at nothing to accomplish them and bring the werewolf community into a position of power.

The Good
As always, Stephen Cole provides an intriguing story, a fast action-packed plot, and a handful of lovable characters; however, he's also offered a little more insight into the werewolf myth.

He's making connections to Peter Stubbe - basically, the father of all werewolves - and throwing in a bit of magic, as well.  It's an intriguing leap in logic and plot formation his made within this final novel.

Intrigued?

The Bad
In his previous novels, Takapa - i.e. "the bad guy" - appeared to focus solely on science.  In fact, science and the misuse of technological advances permeated much of the novel.  Cole appeared to draw on the abuses and corruption of science that Mary Shelley examined in her delightful gothic horror Frankenstein.

Strictly speaking, there were no blatant instances of "magic" - in fact, even the werewolf transformation could be calmly explained away or dissected by science -  yet Cole makes a very large leap in his final novel to include magic.

Magic appears to have become a legitimate issue, as well as a source of power Takapa can tap into.  It's a curious, if not jarring, juxtaposition against the backdrop of previous novels.  Granted, it's a little more in line with what's known about the werewolf myth, but I thought Cole intended to deviated from the traditional.

While this certainly won't spoil the final installment of The Wereling, it can certainly change how you perceive the following chapters.

The Ugly
Bloodshed, plain and simple.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Wereling: Prey

Prey (Wereling Series #2)
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The Wereling:  Prey
Stephen Cole
2004

The Summary
As the sequel to Wounded, Prey continues chronicling the shared story of Tom and Kate as they search for a cure.  Now, in search of a mystic named Jicaque, they have arrived in New York and become embroiled in a new mystery.

Teenagers have begun disappearing off the streets, and the werewolf community is in upheaval.

Turns out that Takapa is back - and his plans are more nefarious than ever.

The Good
Prey has many of the same elements of its predecessor:  an enjoyable story, a host of great characters, and a fast-pace.  Stephen Cole has taken the best of his previous novel and simply transplanted it into his sequel.

Cole, however, does create some new characters for his novel.  Besides the band of adorable little street urchins Tom and Kate inadvertently join, they meet a quirky doctor who claims she can cure the werewolf disease - and her claims add an interesting twist to Tom's and Kate's already complicated lives.

The Bad
By incorporating many of the same elements, this novel leaves you with a sinking sensation of familiarity - and it makes you think, time and again, "I've been here before."  I wouldn't say this is a deal breaker, but I find it predictable.

And, sadly, Blood doesn't play such a crucial role in Cole's novel this time around.

He and his accent will be missed.

The Ugly
This is not a gentle book.  Violence and cruelty will leave their mark on the most innocent and endearing characters of this novel.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Wereling: Wounded

Wounded #1
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The Wereling:  Wounded
Stephen Cole
2003

The Summary
Bitten by a werewolf and forced to accept his monstrous change by the maniacal Marcie Foley, Tom Anderson has become embroiled in a nightmare from which he can't escape.

Now, he is a silver blood - a werewolf, who can retain some of his humanity - and the most sought after person in the werewolf community.

And Kate, Marcie's misfit daughter, is his only hope of finding a cure.

The Good
Stephen Cole creates a unique adventure of daring and danger by combing the mythology of werewolves with the science fiction of Frankenstein-esque science.

It's strange, slightly twisted, but simultaneously thrilling.  With non-stop action paired with mystery and danger, it creates a compelling story that will keep you riveted to the pages.  You'll be dying to see what happens - and I can't say Cole disappoints.

Additionally, the author creates intriguing and witty characters.  Besides Kate and Tom, there's Adam Blood, a curious Englishman turned real estate salesman - who indulges an unusual occupation on the side.  I think what makes Blood so endearing, however, is the accent.

(British accents make everything better.)

The Bad
It's book number one, so chances are good that the story is a long way from reaching any sort of happy ending - or, even, just an ending.

The Ugly
Violence.

Where werewolves are involved, bloodshed invariably follows behind.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dracula

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Dracula
Bram Stoker
1897

The Summary
Bram Stoker's Dracula collects the journals and personal testimonies of Jonathan and Mina Harker, Dr. John Seward, Lucy Westenra, Arthur Holmwood, Quincey Morris, and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, in which they confront the world's most terrifying creature:

A vampire.

The Good
Stoker will keep you riveted with his story.  Besides creating one of the literature's most fascinating - and terrifying - villains, he has taken the time and care to recreate the details of life within the pages of his novel.

And, considering the number of correspondences between characters and the specific connections necessary to complete the story, it's an amazingly well-written work.

It's beautifully detailed with marked differences between the individual characters involved.  Each character has their own personality, their own history, their own reactions to a situation - and they become honest, endearing folks.

More importantly, it's absolutely fascinating.  I mean, who can resist the allure one of literature's most prolific vampires?

(And, no, Edward Cullen does not count.)

The Bad
On the flip-side, all the detail makes reading Stoker's novel a bit tricky.  Once you make connections, it's easy to find those tenuous links between characters and locations and mysterious events; however, those can prove to be slightly elusive.

Moreover, chapters can occasionally take a while to "build-up" to a point.  You will battle with bouts of the humdrum and dull, but the story picks up considerably when certain realizations come together.  But, until then, it may seem a little lackluster and disjointed.

The only advice I can offer is persevere.

The Ugly
Guts, gore, mayhem, madness, death, and destruction.  Dracula has it all for the horror enthusiast.  Would you expect anything less from one of the most terrifying creatures written into existence?

Of course, for those of you with a more timid constitution, pace yourself.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Replacement

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The Replacement
Brenna Yovanoff
2010

The Summary
Gentry is a small, picturesque town filled with average people living average lives and working average jobs.  But beneath this alluring, small-town fa├žade lies something deep and dark - called Mayhem by its unnatural denizens - that has plagued the citizens of Gentry for centuries.

And, now, Mackie Doyle must face down this centuries old darkness or die trying.

The Good
Brenna Yovanoff has executed an exellent novel and crafted an intriguing story full of myth, fantasy, and adventure.  It's excellently executed and marvelously detailed, as well as intriguing.

Granted, the idea of something dark lurking beneath the layers of suburbia has been pounded into the ground.  It's been done time and again, I realize; however, Yovanoff managed to lend a special twist to her tale by creating a terrifying tale of murder, myth, and deceit centuries long.

And I can't help liking the characters created in this novel.  There's Emma, the kind and caring sister; Roswell, the friend willing to go through hell and back for his friends; Mackie, the poor misfit treading between two lives; and Tate, the indomitable gal willing and able to fight even the most frightening menace.

They're unusual, but endearing.

The Bad
I found some difficulty in discerning the myths that engulf this tiny town of Gentry.  It has such a dark, brutal history and a confusing mythos that it takes some time to sift through all the information, so it's a bit challenging to understand how this world works.

More importantly, I should mention The Replacement may be suitable for a more mature audience.  It isn't what you would call a "mild" book.  You will find some foul language, some violence, and some sexual content - but I wouldn't say anything worse than a PG-13 rating.

The Ugly
The world of Mayhem beneath Gentry is a dark and foreboding place.  The creatures which lurk there, the Lady who steals children from their cribs, the Cutter with his knives and sharp devices all have an ugly side - and it's the one the tend to show the most.