Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicagoland Vampires - Chloe Neill

I am saddened by these books.

They started out really well as seen in Renee’s review of the first book. When the characters and the stories were introduced to us in the first book I was intrigued, interested and eager to read more. As we said, they’re cheesy, they’re fun, they’re cheesy, they’re interesting and they’re cheesy? Did I mention they’re cheesy? Because it’s really good cheese. The world is huge, it’s diverse and it has vast potential – in short, it has so many of the things guaranteed to keep me hooked on a book, despite being as diverse as a neo-nazi rally (which, frankly, is nothing new, sadly).

Unfortunately the series has derailed. It was racing along the tracks nicely, it was fun, interesting and compelling then CRUNCH derail. So you haul it back on the tracks, get immersed again and CRUNCH you’re jerked out of it again. It’s happening so often now that it’s really ruining my enjoyment of these books. As the series progresses I’m getting less and less interested as the characters annoy me more and more

And, for me, it is the characters that are the main problem. In particular, the maturity level that was a problem in the first book just keeps on being a problem. Merit, a 28 year old woman, frequently makes me think of a 17 year old (it’s like reverse Vampire Diaries – there everyone is 17 but acts 30). She refers to the guys around her as “boys” regardless of their age, she plays passive aggressive games and is inclined to be sulky and a trifle childish.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season One

Okay, because of the project that I am currently engaged in, I have been forced to watch all seven seasons of Buffy.  Since I know that there are plenty of urban fantasy fans reading this blog, I thought that I would share my impressions of each season with you.

While I was into vampires when Buffy originally aired, it was something that I never got around to watching.  Now that I have seen the first season, I am convinced that I didn’t miss a thing.  The original Star Trek had better special effects than Buffy. For all the punches and kicks that Buffy threw, it didn’t look look like she actually connected with a single one. Filming the fight scenes in bad lighting certainly did not fool me.  The title of the first season should have been shoestring budget.

What I find interesting about the series is that Buffy truly is the archetype for unlikeable female protagonist, who is filled to the brim with spunky agency. I get that she is the chosen one — the slayer— but really, is caution really such a bad thing?  Gotta vampire to kill, why not bring your date along? Then there is Angel. Mmmm Angel, the archetype for the musty vampire.  He denies who is, drinks blood from bags and so he is one of the rare good ones.  I know that Anne Rice started this trend in 1976 when she wrote the character of Louis de Pointe du Lac, In Interview With the Vampire,  but I am convinced that had Whedon just left the mustiness alone, it might have died the slow painful death that it deserved.  For me, the musty vampire, (see Louis, True Blood’s Bill etc) just needs to be gone for good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Chigaco Land Vampires: Some Girls Bite

Over the last week, our beloved Sparky subjected me to the Connor Grey series, by Mark Del Franco.  After reading the first book, Unshapely Things, I determined that series read like Law and Order meets X-Files.  He was so enthused by the series, I assumed that there must be something I was missing, instead of trusting the adage that Sparky is always wrong.  Yes, wrong, wrong, wrong. Even after his most grievous recommendation of Mark del Franco, I decided to give him another chance.  This week he selected The Chicago Land Vampires series by Chloe Neil.

Spoilers Ahead 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast - Episode 16

This week we talk Season 1 Buffy the Vampire slayer, Mark del Franco's Connor Grey, Anya Basts' Elemental Witches, Marjorie Liu's Dirk & Steele and Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries