Category Archives: Fantasy

It’s a Tom Robbin’s Kind of Day…!

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What if you lived in a land that executed its rulers at their first sign of old age. A wrinkle? Poison it is for you! A grey hair? Down falls the axe! Luckily, unless you’re a professional super model, this doesn’t really apply to you. What if you were a king who defied these laws and escaped–only to spend the rest of your magically LOOOOOONG life seeking immortality. And messing around with Pan. Yep, the goaty one. That’s Jitterbug Perfume for you.

“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.”

Or, in the case of Still Life with Woodpecker, you are a lovely redheaded princess in modern day America. You live in a moldering old house with your doddering sovereign parents and your batty old nursemaid. Then, during a vacation to Hawaii, you fall in love with a self-proclaimed outlaw. A snaggle-toothed ginger terrorist with dynamite strapped to him. Seriously.

My dear friends Merri and Peter introduced me to Tom Robbins, and out of all the books I’ve adopted from them, TR is by far my favorite author. His unusual and sometimes vulgar writing style is vastly entertaining and his metaphors are so strange yet so… right…that you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them yourself.

Jitterbug Perfume was a pretty dense read compared to Still Life with Woodpecker, and had a few more dry spots. However, that being said, they both earn 4 out of 5 Camel cigarettes and drops of horny goat elixir.

Baaaaaa….

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The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Ahhh, Kelley, you’ve done it again. Somehow you’ve managed to make the third book in a trilogy better than the first two while simultaneously intertwining two parallel story lines. Phew. I’m tired just saying that.

The Rising wraps up the Darkness Rising trilogy, which follows Maya, a mountain lion shapeshifter, and her band of genetically modified friends. They’re on the run from some of the most dangerous cabals in the supernatural underworld and have recently learned that the sleepy life they were accustomed to was all a lie. 11864728

Much to my delight, while on the run, they meet up with the teens from Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy and kinda wrap that whole situation up too. I enjoyed this series wholeheartedly–probably for its simplicity. Everything was as it seemed for the most part and for ONCE an ending didn’t piss me off. Things were as they should be. And this love triangle ended the right way.

Reading these books was like dipping my toes in a lukewarm pool. It was pleasant, relaxing, and I didn’t have to get soaked. Some books cause me so much anxiety that I almost stop reading them out of enjoyment and read them to relieve the nervousness they cause. Like I said, these are easy reading.

Keep up the good work, Kelley!

3 birth marks of 5

Also, I highly recommend reading The Darkest Powers bonus pack one and two. They each contain two or three stories out of the DP world and they are definitely worth your time. They fill in a lot of gaps and add a lot to the overall trilogy and are super cheap for the Kindle. (I actually think KA posts them for free on her website but takes them down as new ones are written…)

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And as another, probably useless, sidenote– I also happened to download her other short story Hunting Kat. As far as I know it’s a stand alone, and hopefully it stays that way. The new vampire/genetic vampire/bitten vampire on the run thing was way too contrived. KA has some awesome work out there and this comes no where close to representing her talent. Skip it.

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War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

I’m sitting here trying to think of how I felt while reading War for the Oaks and I’m really having a hard time remembering any sort of emotional response. I wasn’t thrilled, I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t really that captivated…. Eh… It was just another in a long line of books that I will probably never pick up again.

That being said, I TOTALLY give it mad props for being what it is—Bull published it in 1987 and really it was one of the first books of its kind. She helped establish one of my all time favorite genres, urban fantasy, and for that I will forever be grateful. Not to mention, she’s made a cameo in some of my favorite anthologies–the Bordertown series, the Firebird anthologies, and The Faery Reel. Love love love.

So honestly, I can’t talk too much smack about it. It was her first book and for the love of god, it was set in the 80’s! Eddi McCandry is part of a wannabe famous rock group, but when her lead singer boyfriend dumps her and the band splits up, she understandably feels a little low. Too bad she doesn’t have time to wallow in it, cause pretty soon all of the Fairy realm comes knocking at her door. Ok, well not knocking… barking. Let’s just say one very annoying shape-shifting phooka gets her smack-dab in the middle of a fairy war. warforoaks

But also gives her the potential to be a member of the greatest rock band of all time!

What to do?? *cue cheesy synthesizer music*

Honestly, when you picture urban fantasy mixed with the 80’s, does anything OTHER than David Bowie’s crotch come to mind? (The Labyrinth, duh). I couldn’t help but giggle when Bull described the character’s outfits and musical stylings. Looking back on the 80’s… they were a terrible time. Bull’s dialogue was a bit cheesy and her characters were pretty predictable, but the Phooka was her saving grace. (By the way, if you claim to have pictured anyone other than Prince to play him in your mind, you are lying).

I enjoyed it, and I thank her for helping to create urban fantasy–but this one I think it’s safe to pass on.

3 puffy sleeves of 5