Haitus Is Over!

Having to take a few months off to deal with my very own parapsuedo-like life, I've returned to try and play catch-up.

Since I quit blogging in the summer, I've read almost 30 books that I have to write about.  And more are on the way from Amazon.

Something excellent happened that kicked me in the ass to get back to work here.  A professor at California State University asked me to come make a presentation to her graduate theory seminar on "vampire stuff."  I ended up lecturing on female sexuality in teen paranormal romances.  The title of my presentation was "Teen Paranormal Fiction: The Written Word as Chastity Belt."  It was radical!

Anyway, I realize that I need to get back to work documenting here.  In fact, I may have to re-read several novels to even be able to.  Backtracking doesn't appeal to me, but it may be necessary for my academic plans.

So, off I go to read, and I hope to return soon with some new posts.


Vampire Academy (Whole Series)

I picked these up right after I finished Wicked Lovely, again on the recommendation of the illustrious Cyna from You're Killing Me.  Getting back into the vampy groove wasn't too hard, and I was ready for a change from the fairy tale.  The first positive:  in this novel, vampires don't live in a kingdom called Vampire.  (Still holding onto that pet peeve from WL.)

I'm once again gonna treat this series as one storyline, starting with a few notes on the individual novels.  Buckle up for a massive post.

Vampire Academy
I got into this story right away.  Who couldn't?  A little downplayed lesbo-erotica hooks me every time.  I liked Rose in all her slutty, smart-mouthed, crab-shell-protecto glory, and I felt at home in her world--because it's a real world, full of catty teen bitches, snobby cliques, sneaky nighttime escapades, sexual tension, and teen angst.  The secondary characters worked for me, too, especially Dreamboat Dimitri.

A great sequel, filled with character development, action, mischief, and suffering.  Mead takes her characters seriously, and this novel has them facing some serious strife in their best form (which is sometimes their worst form, if you know what I mean).  The introduction of Audacious Adrien is perfection.  He's a great foil for both Dreamboat Dimitri and Mundane Mason in the love hexagon Mead's setting up to unfold.  There's a delightful massacre the brutality of which is offset by the bonds of friendship.  (Why am I not employed to write this drivel for insets?)  Rose's mother adds a depth to Rose's character--whether either of them wants to admit it or not.

Shadow Kiss
The ugly politics begin.  Death continues.  Rose falls--but not as hard as Dimitri.  Adrian helps to put her back together.  Christian gets even radder, and Lissa...is Lissa.  Even though my mother didn't like this one for some valid reasons, I loved the plot twists.  I even had an "Oh, shit!" moment.  By this novel, I was fully invested in almost every character, and I was willing to accept new ones who spring up to add evil and comfort.  I'd consider this a bridge to the next novel, but it's got enough of its own unique intrigue to qualify as more than that.

Blood Promise
Rose gets on my nerves a little here, but I loved that she goes to Russia.  I also loved that she becomes a blood whore to devilish Dimitri, now a naughty, dirty immortal bastard.  The introduction of Sydney as Rose's balance is cool, and the sinister mafia-pirate-like Abe added even more suspense.  I'll comment below on the Rose-Lissa mind-meld, but suffice it to say it's a narrative trick that works--most of the time.  Avery and Lissa's adventures are fun, and Adrian's dreamwalking works okay.  The only problem is that there's not really any sexiness in this one.

Spirit Bound
Very cool opening--sinister letters are always a catapult to reading on.  Very lame Dimitri plot.  Very cliffhangy ending.  All the stuff in between is fluffy.  This one was definitely my least favorite because everything seems too easy, and Rose is a whiner.  What happened to the badass?  Adrian starts to get a little pathetic, too, like some wilting mint weed.  (Huh?)  The Rose-Dimitri tension is way too drawn out, putting this novel in the Lazy Editor category.

Last Sacrifice
By this novel, the plot's convoluted.  There's a lot of driving around, a lot of mind-melding, a lot of almosts, and too many easy solutions.  I still liked the characters--minus Rose and Dimitri--but I'd had enough of the running around.  I felt like some sort of swami as I read this one because everything's so predictable.  Bummer ending!

Onward with the nitpicking...

  • Writing.  Again, here's a novelist who has a command of language.  Her writing voice is natural and consistent, and she knows how to round out a character.  
  • Tension.  Sexual tension's always delicious, but there's much more here.  It's not as determined as The Mortal Instruments in its social consciousness, but there's definitely tension between class and race.  Sometimes the tension feels forced, and sometimes there are questionable minor conflicts, but overall, it's a page-turning series.
  • Dimitri.  Super sexy, aloof, and romantic.  And then when he's evil, he's E.V.I.L.  He's balanced as a character, never too asshole-ish or gooey.  But then Mead misses her opportunity (see below) to make Dimitri legendary.  The only weird thing is his height. 6'7"--and I know that because Rose marvels at it a few times.  It's just awkward to imagine him hugging Rose.  It seems like some sort of acrobatic bendy spine would have to take place.
  • Family issues.  There's a great balance between the orphans-by-design and the upturned-chin royals.  Both have their conflicts and bonds.  Rose's mother is awesome, followed only in awesomeness by Abe, her long-lost dad.  (That's gold hoop-wearing, beard-sporting, snazzy pimp-ish Abe, who would have to be played by Isaac Hayes's great grandson--if he had one.)  After witnessing the dynamics between the three, it's obvious where Rose's character flaws and strengths come from.  Lissa's loneliness and alienation should've been played up more to capture the true sisterly love bond between Rose and her, but it's okay.  Dimitri's Russian family rules, and the backwoods squatter family is rad.  Too bad there's not more of them.
  • Sex.  Real sex.  
  • Adrian.  He's a great bad boy.  He exudes sexiness, smokes cloves, drinks constantly, purposefully messes his hair up, basks in his delightful egocentrism, and gets appropriately intense.  He rebels against his royal lineage, but plays them when he wants something.  He's like a John Hughes character gene-spliced with a toned down Russell Brand.  I love the dirty trust fund jerks, and Adrian's one of them--minus a little of the jerk.  Hot.
  • Ambitious plot.  This story moves all over the place.  We're in Russia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio; prep schools, college campuses, hillbilly vampire camps, seedy hotels, dank prisons, opulent churches, coffee shops.  Components from different genres--romance, mystery, crime fiction--work together (pretty well).  All the characters have roles that add to the movement of the plot--and sometimes movement away from the predictable.
  • Rose as a blood whore.  I love that she becomes the very thing that disgusts her. And I love that it's Dimitri who forces her to go there.  Too bad she didn't continue struggling with it throughout the rest of the series.  She gets a little nip here and there, but how rad would it've been if she'd been blood whore to the queen, or blood whore to Mia?  Hahaha!
  • Christian.  He's like half of my high school guy friends--outcast, mysterious, rebellious, yet sensitive.  He's curious and intellectual, yet he loves the coldest fish in the universe: Lissa. 
  • Title.  Vampire Academy?  Hyperlame.  The subsequent novels' titles are nice (though I don't always get their relevance), but under each is "A Vampire Academy Novel."  Also, as barely any of the story takes place at a vampire academy, it's kinda weird.
  • Rose's development.  She starts out so strong, and ends up so weak.  It's like one of those dates you go on with someone who initially makes your intestines flutter, but who ends up making you want to slap yourself across the face with a giant flyswatter.  She lets her obsession with Dimitri erode her initial awesomeness to the point that I'm not that fulfilled by her lucky happiness at the end of the series.  Her involvement with Adrian sucks.  She totally leads him on--sounds high school to put it that way, but it's true.  She strings him along while she tries to convince herself to settle for him.  What a bitch!  
  • Lissa.  She's totally flat, totally boring, and totally coddled.  In the latter half of the series, it feels like her main function is to let us know what's going on at home while Rose traipses around the globe looking for evil Dimitri or eluding the vampy cops.  She doesn't deserve her fate, and I can't imagine the VA universe with her at the helm.
  • Jill.  What's the point of this girl?  She's more a plot device than a character.  I don't get what significance she's supposed to add to Lissa's life at the end--and I don't think the rest of the characters do, either.
  • Rose's treatment of Adrian.  Again, what a bitch!  Adrian doesn't give her half the hell she deserves.  He should've thrown up a fire hydrant of blood right at her face, a la Lucy in Bram Stoker's Dracula (you know, the one where Keanu Reeves perfected the British accent).  I just hope we get to see more of him in the spin-off series that's coming out soon.
  • No resurgence of Dimitri's family or of the hillbillies.  They are so refreshing after a zillion pages of royal muck and prep school drabness.  Why aren't they at the big hullabaloo in the final novel?
  • Dimitri.  It would've been SO much better to have evil Dimitri romping through more than one novel.  That's one of the best parts of the whole thing.  Why remove that so quickly?  It's the ultimate conflict!  The "fix" is way too easy and way too quick.  He should've been allowed to develop completely as a baddy.  He could've eaten the queen in front of everyone and still been sexy as hell.  Mead could've made him the best sympathetic reluctant villain ever.  Oh, well.
  • Mind-melding.  Enough's enough.  I got tired of always slipping in and out of Lissa's mind.  It's like Mead regretted her decision to put it all in Rose's p.o.v. and needed a way to fill in the plot points of junk going on back at Vamp Central.  There are other fancy fiction tricks to accomplish the same stuff.  It's not really that big of a deal, but every time Rose has some down time, it's like "Wonder what that Lissa's up to?"  ZING!  "Oh, that!"
  • Hollywood ending.  Ugh.  I understand the intended readership's love of a neatly resolved, romantic ending, but...ugh.
I know it seems like a lot of complaining, but when a series is good, I get disappointed easily.  I like Mead's writing style enough that I'm reading her adult Succubus Blues series (which is awesome so far), but I just didn't like the way the series wound down.  I hope that the spin-offs--starring Sydney, I hear--are rejuvenating, but even if  not, I'm sure they'll be better than most of the shyte that's polluting the genre.

And, btw, what exactly IS the last sacrifice?

Thank you, and good night.

Ink Exchange/Fragile Eternity/Radiant Shadows/Darkest Mercy

I decided to slam the other four Wicked Lovely novels together and treat them as one continuous story--which they are, of course--because it's been too long to discern which faery antics belong to which.  I'll make a quick comment on each before I launch into my bullets, but I may get some details mixed up along the way.  Blame my laziness and the giant coffee sitting next to me.

Ink Exchange
Taking a break from the regulars worked well for me.  By the end of WL, I'd had enough of the love triangle of Keenan-Aislynn-Seth, and since Niall was (at the time) my favorite character, I delighted in the new subplot.  Also, I like tattoos.  The Niall-Leslie-Irial triangle in IE develops darkly.  By the end of the story, we learn why Niall rules so much, and it's not because he's some sort of angelic hero.  Irial is deliciously manipulative, and the subplot wraps up neatly, but not Hollywood neatly.

Fragile Eternity
Apparently, the war is coming.  (Remember, there's a difference between "war" and "War.")  At first, I was looking forward to returning to the Keenen-Aislynn-Seth triangle, but suddenly in this novel, it's some sort of love trapezoid.  Maybe even love amoeba.  I was invested in the characters and engrossed in the Marr world, but I got bored with the drawn-out tension.  I get it:  there's a war coming, there's massive heartache on the horizon, war is coming, everyone has to make difficult decisions, and war is coming. Also, War (a.k.a. Banana) is coming, and she's gonna bring some war with her.  By the end (which isn't really an end), I felt like FE is a placeholder novel.  I liked the evil side of Niall, but Donia started to annoy me--although it's cool when she stabs Aislynn.  Half the time, I wanted to stab her, too.

Radiant Shadows
Devlin.  Ani.  LOVE THEM.  This is my favorite of the series.  Devlin's the most interesting character of all, and I love what Marr did with him.  Ani's his perfect mate.  It's Happily Ever After stuff.  This novel also had the most extreme plot points of all.  New and shattered courts.  Evil Banana plotting to destroy the universe.  Sorcha's stupidity threatening everything.  Love lost, love percolating, love destroying souls.  It renewed my excitement for the series, and it threw me.  It's a perfect ramp up to the final novel.  Bravo!

Darkest Mercy
The breath that I'd held so sweetly after RS came out as a Ppppfffftttttpppplll, not a fulfilled sigh.  Lame!  Not that I hated this novel or anything, but it sure wasn't satisfying as a conclusion to such a rich series.  I hate to say it, but it feels like a rush job, like Marr was done and wanted to move on.

Speaking of moving on...

The bullets here are comments on all four novels, and in some cases, the entire WL story.  Most of my comments from the first novel review still work, but some have changed. 

  • Writing.  Can anyone else in the genre write like this woman?  Not that I've experienced so far.  She is, as I mentioned before, a true writer, an artist, wordsmith, whatever you wanna call it.  Moody, descriptive, clear, engaging, beautifully dark.  I imagine that's what the gothicals feel every time they're doing the Heavy Bowling Ball dance to some Peter Murphy-inspired music.  
  • Balance.  Each character has his or her own importance to the story.  Even many of the secondary characters are developed and mean something to the momentum of the plot. 
  • Loss.  Too many of these parapseudos don't have enough loss.  In Twilight, Bella says something about having experienced so much loss--huh?  Besides her self-worth, I don't know what she's talking about.  Here, though, we have loss of identity, loss of love, loss of life, loss of hope, loss of virginity (woo!), loss of control.  All Southern California readers will identify with all of these losses, as we experience them daily.
  • Mythos.  Marr gets it, and she delivers.  Her courts, her creatures, her social strata, her sense of fairy tale convention--all of it works to create a complete mythos, independent of all other wannabes in the genre.
  • Aislynn burning Seth's sides because she flamed him while riding him.  Hahahahaha!
  • Keenan's sacrifice.  
Disclaimer:  I say "disappointments" because I'd feel weird calling this section something snarky.  This series deserves better than that!  Mostly. 
  • Aislynn.  By FE, Aislynn's waffling starts to get annoying.  DM doesn't do much to assuage it.  She has a sudden burst of all-powerfullness at the end, but by that time, other characters are outshining her, which is lame--she is, after all, supposed to be the center of the plot...right? 
  • Notable absences from the final showdown.  Where the hell's Devlin?  Sorcha?  Why aren't they there to defend their new courts?  Why isn't Sorcha there to battle her freak sister?
  • Sorcha/Seth.  This is just weird.  I don't like to spoil stuff, but how Seth's calling Sorcha "Mother" is a twist I couldn't get into.  
  • Dissipation of feminist themes.  By the end, they're stilted and fit into the humdrum of the rest of the blahblah of the genre I've read so far.  I suppose you could make an argument for the female characters' equality among the courts' leaderships, but they all ache for men and let those aches get in the way of better judgment.  (All except Banana, that is.)
  • Not enough teen sex.  I'm sorry, but I want some loin-twitches when I read these things.  The swelling heart doesn't do it for me...especially since cunnilingus rocked it in WL
  • Talking car/steed.  What's the point of Ani's steed?  Seriously.  Is it some sort of big bro who watches out for her?  What a weird addition to the cast--and maybe even a missed opportunity for evil-doing.
  • Non-contracted faery-talk.  At what point did Aislynn and Seth take speech lessons from a Victorian robot?  I have a hard time imagining a pierced freaky boy saying, "Mother, I do not wish to disappoint you, but I must return."  Is this the same person who went all oral on Aislynn and lived in an abandoned train?  And why does Aislynn have to get all formal when she gains confidence?  These are still teenagers--immortal teenagers, yes, but still.  
  • Niall + Irial = Nairial.  Not into it.  It's a cop out.  By "it," I mean the Body Snatcher bullshit that conveniently transpires when lovely Irial "dies."  I'd rather lose one of my favorite characters than have some sort of bizarro Lazarus thing.
  • Banana's defeat.  Even though the balances shift with the new courts, I still think it's lame that Sorcha didn't battle Banana.  Why the build up then?  Does Devlin really balance Sorcha that well?  Who exactly is Banana's balance?  Aislynn?  Also, it was too easy to beat Banana.  I wanted something much more sinister.  In fact, I would've liked it if Banana were impossible to destroy.
  • Hollywood ending.  Nothing else to say about that.
I reserve the right to add more to this later.  I'm still thinking about WL as I read other series, so it's definitely worth a lot of talk.  Though I was disappointed with the ending of the series, I think it's one that I'll revisit someday.  I'd like to experience the characters again, especially since I know their destinations.

Side note:  I also read Marr's new adult novel, Graveminder.  It gave me a renewed appreciation for WL and its depth.  I hope Marr's not the kind of novelist who hits it with the first few and then belts out a bunch of crapola for the rest of her career.  She's freaky as a person, and I'd like more of that to come through in her future work.

I'm Team Shadow Court, by the way.  Step off.


Wicked Lovely

I asked Cyna of You're Killing Me to suggest some books.  I wanted something well-written, sexy, and page-turny--something, in short, that didn't make me want to take a cheese grater to my brain.  She delivered when she told me about Wicked Lovely, the story of fairy/faerie/faerie love, lust, war. 

I burned through them all so quickly that I'm massively behind in singing their praises.  After much deliberation, I've decided that each novel in the series should get its own post because each is different enough in plot and character that I have to separate them for my own sanity.  If I didn't, I'd be like a six-year-old:  "And then...and then...and then...and then..."

DISCLAIMER:  I may get a few details mixed up between the novels as I go.  That's what happens when you read five books and then sit down to write about them two weeks later.  Oh, well.

  • Controlled writing.  Ms. Marr is a writer.  There's a distinction to be made:  Mellisa Marr = Writer; P. C. Cast/Daughter Cast = hacks.  As I read WL, I smelled stuff, heard stuff, felt stuff--and each sensory detail I devoured actually meant something.  Before writing WL, she had taught community college for 12 years (my sister in pain!), so she knows how to weave a metaphor, knows what story is, is conscious of pace, and knows how to use a goddamn comma.  When I sit down to read a novel, I don't want to feel like I'm reading a giant e.e. cummings poem.  
  • Characters.  While the novel stays true to the parapseudo formula, each character is unique enough that I don't feel like I'm reading Jane Eyre for the 35th time.  Everyone has a great juxtaposition of characteristics.  Aislinn = reckless/cautious.  Seth = independent/protective.  Keenan = conniving/sentimental.  Nial = tortured/vengeful.  Irial = sadomasochistic/romantic.  You get the idea.  Donia = lost/transformative.  There's really a reason to both hate and love each person/fairy.
  • Conflict.  Aislinn couldn't be more teenagerly perfect.  She's got boy problems, friend problems, family problems, sexuality issues.  The only thing missing is insecurity over her belly fat or a dying dog.  Keenan's in quite a bind, and readers will find that they want him to win, even at the cost of everyone else losing.  Seth is being set up for the loss of a lifetime (or so he thinks), and he's gotta deal with massive disappointment on the tail of fighting for his penetration rights.  The conflicts deepen and resolve seamlessly; great forethought on the author's part makes this possible, as without proper plotting, it could be a nightmare.
  • Cunnilingus.  That's right.  Oral sex.  Teen girls do that, ya know.  And they like it!  Bravo, Ms. Marr.
  • Tainted fairy tale.  Whereas Holly Black's Valiant doesn't actually play too much with the fairy tale conventions, WL is a near-perfect modernization of the traditional form.  You could hold it next to many of the old Germanic and Scandinavian tales, and it would fit right in.  There are royal beasts, fantastic realms, natural magical forces, light/dark powers, humans manipulated by hidden creatures, and all the other good stuff that we dream about and fear when we're kids.  WL could easily be the story a dad tells his kids in parts as he tucks them in at night or a campfire story that has everyone running off to cower and/or have sex in their tents.
  • Feminist themes.  The feminine powers balance the masculine powers at almost all levels.  I'm not talking about Aislinn's need to be loved making her a weak character vs. sex-charged men feminism.  I mean the feminine and masculine on equal fields of power, control, respect, desire, conflict.  Love it.
  • Point-of-view slips.  Overall, the omniscience is controlled remarkably well considering how many heads we flit between.  Sometimes, though, perceptive shifts threw me off.  For example, if we're in ABC's thoughts, we flip to DEF's eyes for just a second to comment on ABC's posture.  And then back to ABC again for the rest of the time.  It can be distracting and a cause a re-read, which I hate doing.
  • Thoughts intertwined with prose.  This is Ms. Marr's signature (as I'm fining out while reading Graveminder, her new novel).  I don't like to harp on a writer's style--especially a massively great author--but the way thoughts mingle with regular stuff is weird.  The character will be noticing something, and then an italicized line will appear--a thought.  Example:  "The duck saw the piece of bread floating. It had been so long since Ducky had gobbled up a piece of food. My stomach aches for nourishment.  Ducky charged up his webbed feet and dashed across the pond."
  • The fairy kingdom's name.  Faery.  Huh?  Fairies are from Faery?  That's like saying people are from Person.  It annoyed me almost as much as "poopy" from The House of Night series.
  • Research.  Obviously the author knows her stuff.  But I want to know it, too.  What's a rowan? What's a Scrimshaw Sister?  There's other stuff, too, but since I never really knew what it was, I don't remember now what it was called.  I love an author who researches, but as a reader, I don't want to take time to look it up myself.  Context lets you figure it out to a certain extent, but I'd like some history (especially since in later installments lineage and culture seem to matter so much).
  • Freaky character names.  Bananach?  I eventually just called her Banana as I read.  Yeah, and is her name Banana or War?  Depends on which sentence you're reading, I guess.  Aislinn?  Is that AYslinn or EYEslinn?  And how is her nickname Ash?  Why not just always call her Ash?  And then among all that are Seth and Leslie, which makes the name thing even more of an issue.


On a Roll

I've recently busted through seven books--working on my eighth.  I imagine I'll get through about 10 before I'm able to post again.  By then, though, finals will be over, and I'll be able to slam all 10 out while I bask in my freedom from paper grading and tearful student begging.

On deck:  All the Wicked Lovely novels, Need, all the Vampire Academy novels.

Back to my self-pitying hell...



The cover of this novel lies.  When I first unpacked it, I hmphed and took it right over to my mother's.  I'm tired of reading novels with girls' half-faces on them.  It's depressing--because if half a face is that remarkably gorgeous, then the rest of the face on a perfect neck on a pair of milky shoulders on a flawless body alienates me from the teen world even more.

Still, it's what's between the covers that counts, right?  This time, yes.

This is a story about some woofs and their follies.  (I'm trying to diversify my parapseudo consumption to include all forms of freaky beings, but so far, it's woofs, vamps, faeries, and unclassified immortals.  I guess that's the sexy stuff the kids go for.)  Woof clans and their wacky mating rituals makes for an interesting backdrop to yet another story of a girl tortured by her longing for two boys.

  • Believable teenagers. And they go through believable teenage problems.  Yes, they're woofs and whatnot, but they have to deal with hormones, popularity, relationships, bucking tradition.  None of the junk that I compare to Dawson's Creek, where the kids are smarter than any 15-year-old ever bred (except, I guess, Doogie Hauser).
  • Conflict.  There's nothing like a story of a character with tooth-grindingly difficult choices to make.  The protag, Calla, has to choose between her heritage, her loins, her heart, and her freedom.  I like that.  I also like that the story has guaranteed that whichever choice she makes will piss someone off in a big way.  
  • Characters.  I actually care for once.  I don't know why.  It's not like these characters are any different from the other parapseudo kids.  There's a dynamic that moves their relationships along, though, and each relationship's dynamic is unique.  Calla is a rebel, shirking everyone's expectations.  Ren is a real surprise, different from the usual jerk who tempts the brainless girl toward her demise.  Shay is a great distraction for both of them.  The best part?  They're all hornier than hell, and they're not afraid to go for it in the girls' bathroom!
  • Socially relevant.  There's racial, class, gender, sexuality, and institutional implications throughout, catapulting the story leagues above many of the other parapseudos I've so gladly buzzed through.  The richie riches control the workers.  The workers think they're doing their part for a tradition the richies have convinced them is symbiotic.  There are closeted gays taken advantage of by other closeted gays.  Alpha women bowing to alpha men.  Outsiders being initiated by the powerful.  It's fun!
  • Evil undercurrent.  Even when things seem to be going the right way, there's a darkness that lingers in the shadows.  No, really.  There are shadows that are evil.  Wraiths, actually.  You know.  Evil shadows.  Anyway, they're pretty scary--but could be a lot scarier.  I want to see the wraiths in action.  Don't close the door!  I want to see why they're legendary.  There are also scary succubi and incubi that emerge from the walls--sort of.  And some of the leaders are just Satan.
  • Woof stuff.  When the characters are in their woof forms, they crave hot, bloody meat, so they take down deer and rip into them.  Hahahaha!  It's radical.
  • Giant spider.
  • Forced sequel purchase.  It pretty much ends at the climax.  Readius interruptus.
  • Calla's mother.  She's too fluffy to have raised such a strong young woman.  She's all about lace and tradition.  And she's scared of all the richie riches.
  • No important deaths.  There's a lot of possibility, but no one worthwhile dies.  Not that I wanted Shay or Ren to bite it--but how about a beta woof or an important relationship?
  • Too many secondary characters.  They blend together until the very end--and even then, I don't really know who's who or who likes what or who is the higher ranking woof.
  • Setting.  I want more, as usual.  When I teach creative writing, I encourage students to pay keen attention to setting, as it's often more important than secondary characters in indicating key changes in plot, characterization, and conflict.  Okay.  Enough of that.  I just want to see, hear, smell, and touch every damn place--even a library!  Actually, especially the library in this case because some serious emotional and physical damage takes place there.
I like this woof story a lot.  In fact, I think I like it more than Linger, which is pretty lame, considering Shiver is one of my favorite parapseudos out of the trove.  The sexy is quiveringly sexy.  And sexy.  Goosebumps.  Wait...is my saying so constituted as child porn?  I hope not.  If so, please contact Cyna.



Ms. Noel has accomplished a grand feat in her Immortals series.  She has surpassed The House of Night and the Twilight saga as the lamest in the Mariana Trench of lameness.  God, that sounds mean.  I don't mean it to be.  Some parapseudo authors would love to be among the ranks of such bestsellers.

In the tradition of my Blue Moon: Review in Haiku!, I had planned on writing a sonnet about the unfurling love story of Ever and Damen.  I got about 8 lines in before I realized that it was demanding 10,000 times more thinking power than reading the novel did, and since I'm not getting paid for my creative writing expertise, I quit.

For future reference, "masturbate" is a great match for "consummate" when you're dealing with iambic pentameter about teens who can't knock boots.

Just a quick plot update:  Ever and Damen can't exchange any DNA or Damen will burn up, so no kissing and other hanky-panky; Roman lurks around and moves in on Haven, Ever's gothical blue-banged friend; Jude--dreadlocked, tanned, toned, and only slightly imperfect (apparently, he didn't visit the orthodontist)--emerges on the scene as yet another young man who wants to diddle Ever.

THE MERIT (Yes, only one this time)
  • Humor.  Though it's unintentional, the author threw some pretty funny stuff on the page.  For example, since Ever and Damen can no longer swap spit, Ever gets lost in Damen's telepathic embraces and melts into his telepathic kisses.  Hahahahahahaha!  See?  That's the funny stuff for sure.
  • Dudes.  Instead of bringing another guy into the already annoying mix, why not just work on wrapping things up with the ones we've grown to despise?  What's the point of further complicating a love triangle by constructing some sort of love trapezoid?
  • More of the same.  They pine.  They grumble about pining.  They look for a way to be together.  They question their loyalties.  The end.
  • Manifesting.  Cheap trick.  They can just use the immortal power (why are they like Superman?) to conjure up anything they want.  Ever manifests a Lamborghini when she needs to drive fast.  They manifest plasma screens and images of people--images so real that they can dance a minuet with them.  But then there's this one scene that pissed me off.  So Ever manifests herself a parking place in downtown Laguna Beach--a place notorious for no parking and quarter-hungry meters.  Wouldn't she have to extend the sidewalk for that?  How does one just add a parking space when there's no road left to occupy?  Even worse, when she gets out of her car, she has to feed the meter.  Huh?  Why would she manifest a meter?  And then why didn't she manifest one that was always full?  And then why didn't she manifest the quarters to push in?  
  • The Twilight trick.  It's almost as bad as "It was all a dream."  I'll call it the Psychic Condom.  Damen manifests a mind film that allows them to touch and kiss and cry on each other without fear of flaming Damen to hell (a.k.a. Shadowland)--just like Bella's massively important special vampish power turns out to be a giant psychic jelly shield.  Therefore, Ever and Damen are free to get it on whenever they want.  Very, very lame.
  • Writing.  I really almost can't take it.  It hurts me in the way that freshman composition research papers hurt me--deep in my soul, where no spectacular psychic condom can save me.  I can't really blame Ms. Noel for this, though.  Her editor must be shit.  I can see that what she's trying to do with the adverbial phrases.  I really can.  But it's annoying when 1/3 of the whole damn story is written in distracting sentence fragments.  And then there's the flipside:  the hideous comma splice.  It has no place in a story that sells on a bookshelf with the brag-line of "The New York Times Bestselling Author."  
  • No one ever goes to the damn Shadowland.  In fact, all we see of it was a quick Spock-like mind-meld, blink-of-an-eye glimpse.  And it's basically just a dark, lonely hole that one falls into (somewhat like reading the novel...).
I really could go on, but I don't want to.  Shadowland is a bummer, and the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get.  This novel may be the one that breaks my rule of finishing all series that I begin.  I don't care about what happens to Ever, Damen is no longer sexy, Roman is a caricature, and Jude is boring.  Without at least one sympathetic character, a story has nothing.  And no matter how many new characters an author pops into a plot, that doesn't change.