Monthly Archives: July 2012

Equal Rites

This is a review of “Equal Rites” by Terry Pratchett. Officially it is novel number 3 in The Discworld Series.

It’s hard to know where to begin when reading Terry Pratchett. If you’ve never delved into The Discworld, then there are a number of different ways to go about it. Of course you can read them chronologically, but some recommend starting elsewhere. You see, The Discworld Series consists of many books with many different main characters and they do overlap some of the time. There are widely agreed upon character arcs that chronologically follow specific characters.

This chart is quite helpful, but it doesn’t contain some of the more recently published novels.

When I first began reading Terry Pratchett’s novels, I just picked up any Discworld novel I could find and read it, not worrying about chronology etc. But now there are some books I have missed out on, and others I have read out of their chronological context…I’d like to read them in some kind of order, so this time I have started with the Witches Story Arc.

“Equal Rites” is the first Discworld novel in the Witches Story Arc.

A newborn baby is gifted with a wizard’s staff and an aptitude for magic from a dying wizard. Esk was meant to be the eighth son of an eighth son. (This is important in wizarding tradition). But Esk is a girl.

Everyone knows that girls can’t be wizards…

Except that’s what Esk wants to be (needs to be) more than anything.

Granny Weatherwax, local witch, tries to teach Esk the finer points of being a witch, but is forced to admit that Esk probably needs to be taught differently….

I love Terry Pratchett’s work. He is witty, clever, funny and deep. There are sentences of his in this book that I just adore and have to read them again just for kicks. He’s brilliant.

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Metro Winds

This is a review of “Metro Winds” by Isobelle Carmody. It is an anthology of short stories.

I will give a mini review for each short story.

Metro Winds
A girl travels to her aunt’s house, to stay there while her parents are getting a divorce. Her aunt lives in a big city vastly different to her isolated oceanside childhood home. You’d think she’d be anxious or scared. She’s not.

She’s a strange girl. Always has been. Her mother is nervous of her. Her aunt doesn’t quite know what to make of her. She’s not like other people.

The city is very different to what she is used to. Her aunt delights in showing her around. She shows her The Metro. When they descend into the train tunnel, a gust of air buffets the girl and she swears she can smell the ocean…

But the city is nowhere near the ocean.

A vivid story full of rich imagery and surreal happenings. I quite liked it.

The Dove Game
Daniel is an Australian jackaroo. He has to travel to Paris to fulfill a promise he made to a foreign man. He is reluctant to go so far for a stranger, but finds he feels he must, as “it is the right thing to do”.

What he finds in Paris is nothing at all like he expected, and is far more bizarre than he would ever have imagined.

The Girl Who Could See The Wind
When Willow was 8 years old her father died. Her mother’s grief was boundless. After the death of her father, her mother becomes more and more preoccupied and obsessed with Willow’s safety.

When Willow is 10 she moves with her mother to a faraway country- it seems as if they have moved to the very end of the Earth.

Their new home is in a very strange place but Willow’s mother seems happier apart from a few instances of disquiet.

Eventually she remarries and Willow is gifted with a sibling- a sibling who is different just like her, but more so.

I enjoyed this short story. It reminded me very much of “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys in the beginning. While the ending felt a little disconnected from the beginning to me, I still really liked it regardless.

The Stranger
Case is a scriptwriter waiting at the airport. So far his life has not really been defined by any specific moment. He has existed in a space of neither great sorrow or great happiness. He has mostly been a watcher and an observer.

He sees a woman while waiting at the airport. She is like no-one when he has seen before. He feels he needs to see her again. While boarding the plane, he glimpses her in line for his flight- destination Santorini, where he hopes to finish his script.

He may finish more than that.

A tale from Isobelle Carmody I never thought I would get to see 🙂

The Wolf Prince
This is a short story about a mortal woman in Faerie, and her experience as a Princess Bride, a wife, a mother and a friend.

All I will say is that it really has to be read to be fully appreciated. I loved it and it is my favourite story in this book.

The Man Who Lost His Shadow
This short story follows a man, who-as the title suggests-has lost his shadow.

I found it quite interesting, especially at the beginning, because as a child, I distinctly remember being fascinated by that part in “Peter Pan” when he is chasing his shadow that is no longer attached to him. I would imagine my own shadow slipping free of me and going about it’s own business.

As a matter of fact, my childhood imaginary friend was actually the darkness. Not a person but the dark itself. Creepy huh?

I really enjoyed “Metro Winds”, another wonderful book to add to my Isobelle Carmody collection.

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Green Monkey Dreams

This is a review of the anthology “Green Monkey Dreams” by Isobelle Carmody. It is a collection of short stories. I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of this book for a long time, so I was so glad to find an ebook copy on Kobo!

I will give a mini review for each short story.

PART I: The High Path
The Glory Days
Set in a dystopian world, life is very different to what we know today.

Rian lives in the city of Freedom. She is asked to be an agent, to infiltrate another city: Glory. It is rumoured that they have been stockpiling old weapons, and weapons are illegal in this new world.

It is up to Rian to find out what’s been going on. Many adult agents have gone to Glory. None have returned. It is hoped that as a child, Rian will succeed where they did not.

Dark, with themes of religion, Armageddon and love, this is a powerful short story.

Roaches
A young boy is alone in a crumbling city. His only friend has perished. Taken and eaten by the jibbering Carnies, stupid and carnivorous humans driven mad by the Red Dust.

Will the boy ever find another like him to call friend? Or is he destined to be alone forever.

Touching and sad.

The Beast
Again, the world is a different place. A bleak place. The world has fallen into disarray. Factions warred against factions until there was almost nothing left.

There is a man. An old man waiting to die so he can escape “The Beast”- an affliction that has plagued his family for years and years.

A frightening and somewhat depressing short story.

The Lemming Factor
An interesting retelling of the much adapted tale “The Pied Piper”.

PART II: The Way of The Beast
The Monster Game
A story of the depression. A tale of hunger and fantasy.

Stories can help you escape from real life. They can protect you from the ugliness in the world. But what happens when a story is shattered?

Very moving and a bit sad.

Corfu
Matthew likes to ride to the bay, to stare out at the water and forget about his troubles. He feels he doesn’t belong. Not at home with his mother and brother. But on the bay he is at peace.

Here at the bay he finds new friends. Will his belonging come at an expensive price?

The Witch Seed
A girl travels back to her old neighbourhood to find answers (and a friend). She travels back in time through memories and fills us in on a story about her, her mother, her demanding grandmother, and a sad story of the occupants of next door.

Seek No More
Noah is a strange boy. He’s lived in Glastenbury, an orphanage for as long as he can remember.

He likes hanging out in the cemetery. He’s been picked on and bullied. Dare he hope for a happy ending?

The Phoenix
Ragnar has a friend called William. He calls her Princess and has sworn himself to her. Ragnar doesn’t believe William (he’s believed to be touched in the head) but sometimes his tale is so wondrous, it can be hard not to get caught up.

A new friend comes along. Worried that William will be made fun of, Ragnar is wary and stand-offish, but this newcomer is kind.

I liked this one 🙂

PART III: The Worldroad
Long Live The Giant
Forever is an old lady. She tells us a story so unlikely and strange that it would be easy to believe it was a lie.

But her story may make you think.

This one reminds me a little of the movie Prometheus.

The Pumpkin Eater
What does it mean to be a princess? Is it watered silk, glass slippers, princes, castles and kisses? What happens after the “happily ever after”?

A story about a princess who waits for her prince.

The Red Shoes
Amerie lives with her father. Her mother left them a long time ago. Her father thinks that Amerie doesn’t remember her. But she does.

She remembers a thin woman with feathers entwined in her dark tumbling hair.

But why did her mother leave? And why won’t Amerie’s father talk about her?

I liked this one 🙂

The Keystone
Do you believe in magic?

Gerhardt is in Las Vegas with his brother’s translator. An attractive, intriguing woman. Bizarre things begin happening after they spot a strange pair of foreigners. But their explanation of events is too weird for words.

Green Monkey Dreams
Jilia has a collection of dreams about- you guessed it- green monkeys.

A weird short story that propels you along.

All in all I enjoyed this eclectic collection of short stories. I adore Isobelle Carmody’s other works, and knew I would like her shorter works. I am glad I now own this book!

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Sweet and Deadly

This is a review of “Sweet and Deadly” by Charlaine Harris.

This was Charlaine Harris’ first published novel.

Catherine Linton is alone in the world. Six months ago her parents were killed in a horrific car accident. And she has just found a dead body. Worse, it belongs to someone she used to know. Someone who was close to her father.

Catherine has not forgotten the suspicious nature of the accident that claimed her parents, and cannot shake the inkling that maybe the deaths are related…

Working in a newspaper office, she is in an ideal position to hear town gossip, secrets and scandal.

I liked this novel. It did start off a bit too slow and …. Bleak? (I think that is the word I am after). I didn’t much like Catherine to begin with. But I soon found myself intrigued, and wanting to get to the end.

I have heard it said that Charlaine Harris did not want to name this novel ” Sweet and Deadly”, I must say I agree. It doesn’t suit.

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A Very Vampire Christmas

This is a review of the short story “A Very Vampire Christmas” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the December 2010 edition of Glamour Magazine.

“A Very Vampire Christmas” is the fifth Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after the Dahlia short story “Death By Dahlia“.

Dahlia and her best friend Taffy are out doing some Christmas shopping. Dahlia doesn’t usually take part in this kind of thing, but she’s decided to give it a go this year.

They are happily (in Taffy’s case, Dahlia is more bewildered than anything) shopping, when they notice lots of children lining up for their Santa photos. But there is something wrong with Santa’s helpers…

They are elves. Not your cute-sy elves either. Real elves. Flesh consuming elves.

A funny Christmas story 🙂

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Death By Dahlia

This is a review of the short story “Death By Dahlia” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the anthology “Down These Strange Streets”.

“Death By Dahlia” is the fourth Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after the Dahlia short story “Dahlia Underground“.

Dahlia is attending a party held to celebrate the ascension of the new vampire sheriff for her area, Joaquin. The party is in full swing, when a scream from the kitchen shatters the mood.

Joaquin assigns Dahlia and fellow vampire Katamori the task of finding out what is amiss. The two vampires head to the kitchen to see what has happened. They find the dead body of a human. A female half-demon had found him and screamed in fright (Sookie Stackhouse fans will recognise Diantha).

As Katamori and Dahlia try to piece together what has happened, they establish a timeframe for the murder, and begin to eliminate people from their suspect list.

An entertaining little read, and probably my favourite Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

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Dahlia Underground

This is a review of the short story “Dahlia Underground” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the anthology “Crimes By Moonlight”.

“Dahlia Underground” is the third Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after Dahlia’s brief appearance in the Sookie Stackhouse novel “All Together Dead“.

Dahlia wakes from her day-sleep to find herself trapped under piles and piles of rubble. She is very injured (a few broken limbs) and completely
alone. She is rescued by a human fire fighter.

Once she is back at the nest, she and her fellow vampires decide that the humans responsible (members of the Fellowship of the Sun) need to be found.

While doing some recon, Dahlia and Taffy discover that the Fellowship are doing more than just hiding. They are plotting to kill the human firefighters that helped find survivors of the Rhodes bombing.

It’s up to Dahlia to find the missing Fellowship members before they take the lives of the firefighters.

A great little read.

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Bacon

This is a review of the short story “Bacon” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the anthology “Strange Brew”.

“Bacon” is the second Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after the short story “Tacky“.

Dahlia Lynley-Chivers is a widow. A very unhappy widow. She wants revenge for the death of her husband, werewolf Todd Swinton of the Swiftfoot pack.

She seeks the help of a powerful witch, Kathy Aenidis (a direct descendant of The Circe) to take revenge on those she believes responsible for his death.

Her beloved Todd was challenged and unfairly killed (by way of skulduggery) by a member of the rival Rhodes pack, The Ripper Pack.

Dahlia’s plan for revenge is much more convoluted than it appears at first look…

An entertaining read. Great for a mini escape from reality.

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Tacky

This is a review of the short story “Tacky” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the anthology “My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding”.

The protagonist of this story is Dahlia Lynley-Chivers, a vampire who lives in the “Sookieverse” but has very little contact at all with Sookie herself. She appears in a number of short stories and makes a small appearance in the Sookie Stackhouse novel “All Together Dead“.

“Tacky” is the first Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

Dahlia has been chosen to be the maid of honour at her best friend Taffy’s wedding. Having been a vampire for so many long years, Dahlia is unfamiliar with how a modern wedding is carried out.

Taffy who is also a vampire, has done something considered most strange, and is marrying a werewolf. Dahlia doesn’t understand her behaviour, but is willing to stand by her oldest friend and support her in the marriage.

The other bridesmaids, (all vampires of course) aren’t nearly so supportive. Weres! How gross. Eew.

And it’s not just the vamp bridesmaids who have their reservations. Who knows what could happen if the vampire hating humans get wind of this vampire/”human” wedding?

An entertaining read from one of my favourite authors.

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Deadlocked

This is a review of “Deadlocked” by Charlaine Harris. It is the twelfth novel in The Sookie Stackhouse Series. It follows on from “Dead Reckoning“.

If you are a fan of the HBO show Trueblood, then you ought to know that the show has not yet reached this point in the series.

I was very excited to read this book, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I thought it best that I re-read and review the other Sookie novels to reacquaint myself with the Sookieverse after reading A Song of Ice and Fire and being so immersed in The Realm. It was so hard to not read this book first!

I am also very excited because I recently purchased tickets to go and see/meet Charlaine Harris in Brisbane on her Australian Deadlocked Tour. Squee!

After the events in “Dead Reckoning“-namely the successful assassination of Victor and a revelation concerning a possible marriage between Eric and the Vampire Queen of Oklahoma (organized by Eric’s now definitely dead maker Appius Livius Ocella)- Sookie and Eric have a lot to talk about. But they haven’t been doing much of that.

And her fae family members seem to have their own problems. Claude’s strip club is fit to burst, full of displaced fae who did not make it to the portals before Sookie’s great grandfather closed them. They’re getting antsy and homesick and that’s not a great combination.

King Felipe decides to grace Shreveport with his presence, presumably to solve the mystery of his missing regent Victor. Eric throws a party in his honour, but the party does not end well.

A young girl (an uninvited party attendee and blood donor) is murdered, her body dumped in Eric’s yard. The police are called and before they know it, all of the party guests are being questioned.

Number one suspect is Eric Northman himself. After all it was his house, his party and his fangs stuck in her neck earlier that evening.

But something is suspicious. The dead girl’s blood was spiked, and Sookie received a strange call before the party which resulted in her lateness.

Meanwhile, Tara is about to pop with her twins, Sam has given her more responsibilities at the bar, and Sookie doesn’t know what to make of the strange cluviel dor her grandmother left behind for her.

I really liked this book! I didn’t put it down, and didn’t want to. The first chapter was really quite hilarious. I Lol’d a couple of times (you could say I chortled). I really don’t want The Sookie Stackhouse Series to end.

But they do say: all good things…

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