Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Reads

I know it's late in the day, but I still want to get my list out there.  Today The Broke and The Bookish want to know, what are your top ten books to read around Halloween.  In no particular order:

1. Dracula, by Bram Stoker (*note:  currently reading)
2. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
4. Anything by Stephen King
5. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith & Jane Austen
6. Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice
7. The Sookie Stackhouse books, by Charlaine Harris
8. World War Z, by Max Brooks (*note:  planning on reading this soon)
9. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
10. How To Survive a Horror Movie, by Seth Grahame-Smith

I don't know how Seth got two books up there....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Paladin

The cover of The Paladin caught my attention. It is something I would have likely picked up off a bookstore display. The artwork is bright and edgy; it is full of personality. The synopsis is excellent, making the story sound exciting and different from other supernatural novels. Liking the cover and synopsis have often led me to purchase a book, but I didn't buy it, I received The Paladin from the author, Ken Newman.

I enjoyed The Paladin. It was a fun story full of action and adventure. The action scenes were well written and thought out; I appreciate an action scene that is actually written instead of glossed over. I liked that the story wasn’t predictable. Many of the characters had more than one side, as did many of the events, making for many fun plot twists.

I also appreciate, the strong female characters, good and bad guys. The strong females weren’t limited to those who were doing the physical work either. Maggie might have been the strong, fighting Paladin, but Sara was great too. She was ancient, but emotional strong and willful; she commanded respect. Even the bad girls were great and could be just as cold-hearted as the men.

One thing grated on me about the angel, Larry. This isn’t really a spoiler, it’s more of a comment on the character. I really did not like that he kept calling Maggie “baby girl”. I understand that he was supposed to be more of a “regular” person type angel, but he said it all the time. It seemed to lack respect in a book with many strong females. With Maggie’s personality, I felt that she would have said something to him about it before too long. It might just be a personal preference.

Something I really didn’t like had nothing to do with the story. It is about the person(s) in charge of the actual production of the book. There were too many typographical errors. They break the flow of the story. I don’t want to have to stop to try and figure out what the author actually wants to say. No one asks you if you’re “OKOK”, right? Typos bother me.

Good character development is important to me and I got some of that in The Paladin, but this novel was mostly plot. There were no good descriptions of how characters were feeling – it lacked emotional depth. The language of the book was telling you this, then this, then this happened. We were told how the characters were feeling or reacting to circumstances, versus being shown or being able to feel it with them. I know that's not necessarily what someone is looking for in this type of story, but it’s something I noticed.

Overall I enjoyed The Paladin. If you like funky urban fantasy and plot driven stories, then this is one to check out. I’ll be keeping my eye out for more work from Ken Newman. It seems like the Paladin, Maggie Smith, could have a long road ahead of her.