Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner

I just finished reading the PDF galley* of Tim Waggoner’s Nekropolis, from Angry Robot Books. I was hooked from the very first sentence: "I was sitting in Skully’s, nursing a beer that I couldn’t taste, and which I’d have to throw up later, and trying real hard to look like I was minding my own business, when the lyke walked in." I don’t know who this character is, but I already like him.

Matthew Richter isn’t your average character. He’s a completely reliable narrator, but he’s dead. He’s a zombie, to be exact, although he’s not your average zombie. No, Matt can not only move and think at the same time, but he’s also got a will of his own, making him appealing and unusual. And, he’s in an unusual setting: Nekropolis. Actually, Nekropolis is a character all by itself, a funhouse gone mad, complete with all sort of scarily-funny (and just plain scary) inhabitants.

The backbone of the story is a mystery that Matt is hired to solve by Devona, a half-vampire whose father happens to be Lord Galm, a Darklord of Nekropolis. She’s the caretaker of her father’s vast stores of magical things, and a most powerful magical item, the Dawnstone, has gone missing. Although Matt is reluctant to take on the job at first, he could do with the payment she’s offering, considering he needs more preservative spells to keep himself together (literally – to keep his body from falling apart). Working together, they not only encounter dangerous people, but dangerous places along the way. And no, I’m not telling how it ends. Read the book.

This quest/mystery is well done throughout the book and I wasn’t sure who had stolen the Dawnstone until the end of the story, which is a good thing (don’t you hate predictable endings?). But what I really enjoyed was the pure creativity and fun here. Nekropolis at times reminded me of places created by other authors (like China Mieville’s New Crobuzon), but the things it contains are in a league all their own. Right on page 8, Matt’s in a bar with a jukebox – which has three heads bolted to the top of the machine, who all sing. Then, there’s the Mind’s Eye Theatre. And the organic computers (kinda yucky, but also kinda cool). Even the cars are beautifully crafted by the author into beings unto themselves. I kept coming across things in this story that I felt were funny, and intensely creative, and incredibly enjoyable – and it seemed to me that Waggoner must have had a lot of fun writing this.

Something else I really enjoyed in this book was the character development of Matt Richter. I liked this guy right away, but as the story went on, I really felt like I got to know him. And, he would say things every so often that I felt revealed not only something about him, but also were things that I think would resonate with a lot of readers. He’s in a place where there are a lot of un-human things, but he’s the only one of his kind. He understands that other people recoil from him, especially when he’s not looking (or smelling) his best. On page 58, he even says “I knew what it was like to feel less than everyone around you.” Anyone can feel this way, no matter where they are. Matt’s a great character, and someone I think many readers can relate to.

This book was a hell of a lot of fun to read – I can’t wait to order a copy for the library so I can start pushing it to other people. And I’m treating myself to a copy, too. Extra props to the author for adding in not only a kick-ass library, but a cool librarian, as well.

*this was a galley, so any page numbers cited might be different once the final copy is published.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Under the Dome by Stephen King

I have to say, when I first picked up my hold on this from the library, I was amazed at how big it was. Not that size matters, but if I had one in each hand, I could do reps to build up my arm muscles. But, I figured I'd give it a try --- and once I started it, I had a really hard time putting it down. Reading this book in bed was a challenge, due to the sheer number of pages and the heft of the book, but that didn't stop me; I stayed up way too late a few nights just because I had to keep reading, to find out what happened next.
I never did make it through Dreamcatcher, so I didn't have high hopes for Under the Dome. However, it was a really good read. It reminded me of what I liked about King's other books, The Stand and Insomnia -- the idea that there is an average town, or what looks like an average town, with people who appear to be okay (although several have nasty, nasty secrets bubbling away underneath), and then something really horrific happens. In this story, all it takes is a dome, but it is a very effective element, and King does a wonderful job developing the story and the characters.

Definitely not a light read, but I would recommend this to readers who don't mind a hefty read. I thought it would take me much longer to get the book, but I wound up just gulping it down!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Savage Beastie Buns.....

When I'm not reading, I'm fending off two of the four wee beasties that I live with. When they are like this, they can only be placated with an offering of "bunny crack" ---- I mean, treats.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday Swap

I found out about this cool swap when I was checking out another blog.....

Never done anything like this, but it sounds like fun!!

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Brought another good read home from the library ---- and here's the blurb from the book jacket:

"Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this--she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can re-experience--and sometimes even change--moments from her life."

I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but it sounded cool..... and it turned out to be a good read. I really liked how the author would have Madison move back and forth in time, and how the objects would transport her to a specific event. Madison is written consistently true to her character, and I felt the story moved smoothly. I also liked how I wasn't sure what was really happening all the time - so I kept on reading to find out.

The author has put together an interesting idea and a sympathetic character to create a story that I think will stick in readers' heads long after they finish this book. I'm looking forward to passing this one along to some of my friends.

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison