Saturday, February 27, 2010

My first Did Not Finish (DNF) - A Non Review of "Into the Path of Gods" by K C Guler

I am a firm believer of not reviewing a book that I did not finish, because I don't think it's fair to the author, or anyone involved in the making of this book. So there will be no rating at the end of this non-review. Instead, I will just tell you why I couldn't bring myself to waste more time on this book (and believe me, I tried).

First off, disclaimer: I received a copy of this book, "Into the Path of Gods" by Kathleen Cunningham Guler in exchange for a review.

I have been trying for months, yes months, to finish this book. It started off so well, with an interesting beginning scene of everyone in a travelling party but one young girl was killed in some sort of raid. But after that, it just got worse. I even tried looking up a review of this book, to get me into the story. Looking up other reviews of books I plan to review are something I *never* do, because I don't want their opinions influencing mine. The only exception to this is when I buy a book because of a review, and then review it, but.. well that's just different, I say. The review I read of this book said it was fascinating, a good read, but even reading their opinion of the book, it did not make me want to continue this, because my brain just kept going "wrong wrong wrong wrong!" Sigh, so on to why I thought this book was so bad I did not finish it.

First - The characters. The main characters are whiny, and unreal. The main girl, Claerwen, seems like she should have some motivation to do things so outlandish, things that could most definitely get her killed. And in a way she does, because of that opening scene I mentioned, but she doesn't feel like she has it. It's like the author has written twentieth or twenty-first century characters in a fifth century AD setting. The other main character, Marcus, has too many strengths. He's described as fairly young, but yet already a master swordsmen, AND a master of disguise, AND able to orchestrate his own rebellion, AND... you get the point. It was like the author couldn't choose, and either wrote herself into a hole so she needed him to do everything, or she just wanted to make him more god-like.

Next - The setting. Okay, fifth century AD in Britain. Alright, I can handle that. Or I would have, if she hadn't mentioned plumbing. Now, maybe my knowledge of the 5th century is sorely lacking, but I'm fairly positive plumbing of any sort didn't come around in Britain until several hundred years after the time covered in this book. Even if I'm wrong, obviously this mention was enough to pull me, and therefore I'm sure others as well, out of the book.

And finally, the last thing I will cover here - Pacing. There just wasn't any. Maybe if some of the scenes that just seemed unnecessary were cut, it would be a bit better. Within a few pages, we move forward five years, but between there, we get a small scene of time inbetween, such as something that happened in year one. And it's not really necessary, nothing so major happens in this scene that we need to see. There's no sense of time it takes to travel. Actions and occurrences are just thrown at the reader with no regards to making it flow.

This book is apparently the first in a series. And it seems it's supposed to be some different take on the beginning of the King Arthur myth, though I got over a third of the way into the book without any mention of anything Arthur-related, except for the fact that it's in England.

Dear readers, you are all more than welcome to read this book, and come back here and tell me I'm wrong. But I honestly felt like I was wasting my life on this book, therefore I can't bring myself to finish it.

Happy reading!
~!~ Morning Glow ~!~

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review of "First Drop of Crimson" by Jeaniene Frost

Yay! Finally another review. I would say I've been busy, but really, I think I've just been lazy. Or in a reading slump. And it's not like I don't want to read, because I do, I just have so much to read, so many good books to dive into, that I can't pick which one to move onto next. But I think I have finally moved past this, or at least I've managed to read something and do a review. So here we are! Reviewing "First Drop of Crimson" by Jeaniene Frost.

Quick Disclaimer: I, the reviewer, bought this book myself. I was not given this book, nor any money, in exchange for a review. Though I wouldn't complain if it happened. Just saying.

From the back of the book:
" The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows - her best friend and half-vampire Cat Crawfield - an she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness - and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortals who lusts for a taste of her. He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human - even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the nightmare together... "

Alrighty! Sounds good, huh? It was. Jeaniene Frost is one of my favorite authors, and I'll admit to not even reading the back of the book until now. I knew she had a new book coming out, and I dived on it the second I saw it. I absolutely love the Cat and Bones books, even when I want to strangle Cat for being stubborn, I also want to hug Jeaniene Frost for keeping Cat in character. And I believe the same goes for Spade and Denise in this, their own book.

Denise appears several times in the Night Huntress series, those that feature Cat as the main character, so you already have some sense of what she's like. Same with Spade, since he appears several times to help Bones out when necessary. But it was good to finally see these characters in their own spotlight. Normally I would complain about the occasional mopey-ness of Denise, but considering her background, both what the reader knows from the Night Huntress books, as well as what we find out about her life since then in this book, she has every right to be. And I like that Jeaniene Frost keeps these horrors in mind when writing this book, because Denise won't be happy-go-lucky all the time, she's going to get depressed, or upset, or fear she's failed people.

A few weeks ago, Jeaniene Frost put some quotes from "First Drop of Crimson" up on her livejournal, and reading them, I honestly thought this book was going to be a little more... funny than it turned out to be. Which I thought would put it at odds with the supposedly dire straits that Denise, and therefore Spade, are in. But it turns out, this book is the perfect mix of the darkness and drama needed to make it a good story, and the lighthearted funny moments that make you sit back and smile, maybe even chuckle a little, because you need to break the tension. For example, I won't say who, but someone starts singing "Pirates of Penzance" because he or she is drunk. And it's definitely one of my favorite scenes from the book, even if it is a short bit.

The only thing I could find to complain about was that I would have loved another good fight scene. Don't get me wrong, there are enough in the book to make it nail-bitingly awesome, but I just love a good fight scene, I can't help myself. I love getting the chance to see the heroes and heroines in action. And part of me wanted to see Ian, Bones, and Spade bicker a bit more, just for the fun of it. I can't help myself, I think their friendship is just adorable.

All that said, I'm giving "First Drop of Crimson" by Jeaniene Frost a FIVE out of FIVE. I loved it, I'm so reading this again and again, and trust me, I've already recommended the Night Huntress series to everyone I know that would be interested, and quite a few that aren't. Good thing I have a huge pile (and by pile, I mean three shelves) of To Be Read books, otherwise I would go crazy waiting for the next book in the series.

Hope you all get a chance to check out "First Drop of Crimson," or any of the Night Huntress novels by Jeaniene Frost. And as always, Happy Reading!
~!~Morning Glow