Monday, July 26, 2010

Book 13 - Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith

This book has been reviewed to death for The Cannonball Read, but I'm going to put my two cents in. A lot of reviews of this book have been by guys who admit that they had never read the original, or even seen a movie of it, so they had no idea what to compare it to. I think they missed the true genius of the concept. The language is lifted verbatim from the original P&P, except every now and then the Bennet sisters must fight the hoards of the Undead. I like how Smith uses a lot of the actual dialog from the book and riffs on it, especially the very well known first line. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

However, what makes the book great, also makes it drag on and on and on. I have read the original Pride & Prejudice many times, seen 3 different movies of it, and I've even seen the Bollywood musical remake, Bride & Prejudice. I know how the story will end, so there wasn't really any suspense. I'm sick and tired of all of these sequels to classical novels, but the straw that broke the camel's back was, Mr. Darcy, the Vampire. ARGH! After a while, this just becomes fan fiction. Poorly written fan fiction. The concept is cute enough, but I was just ready for it to be over.

Don't check out Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters either. What a waste of time!

Book 12 - Storm Front - Jim Butcher

OK, confession. I actually enjoyed The Dresden Files series on Sci-Fi. (It will always be Sci-Fi, never the increcibly fucktarded Sy-Fy). That was before I had ever read or even heard of the books. I still enjoy the series, but as a completely different animal. The Harry Dresden in Storm Front is a badass, take no nonsense, wizard. None of that Harry Butthole Pussy Potter shit here. He's a snarky smartass, and I think I'm in love.

Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire in Chicago. Most of his work comes from consulting with the Chicago Police Department, particularly Lieutenant Karrin Murphy of the Special Investigations Unit. They are the unit that investigates anything labeled "weird." Dresden is called in to investigate a couple whose bodies literally exploded from the inside out. What follows is a complex detective story that involves magical drugs, orgies, vampires, giant scorpions, and the mob.

This books reminds me of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. In the beginning, when they were good. It reads like film noir. It is a very quick read, and very entertaining. I can't wait to read more books in this series.

Book 11 - The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle

"There has never been a world in which I was not known."

How do you write a review of your favorite book since childhood? How do you review a book that is such a part of you that you don't ever remember not knowing it? How do you express in words how much a book has impacted your life? This is the book that I have turned to in the darkest times of my life, when I needed solace and comfort. I would call this my guilty pleasure, but I have no guilt over this book. I unabashedly adore it.

The Last Unicorn sounds like it would be the title of the girliest book of all time - something full of rainbows, fairy princesses and butterflies. Well, there are a couple of princesses, and there is a talking butterfly, but this isn't your typical fairy tale. This is a fairy tale in the vein of The Princess Bride or Stardust - a little bit fractured.

This is the story of the Unicorn who is quite content to live out her immortal life in her forest forever while contemplating how beautiful she is. One day she overhears two huntsmen saying that Unicorns are long gone, if they ever existed at all. The Unicorn decides to step out into the world and determine if she truly is the last, or if the others are in hiding. On her journey, she encounters an incompetent magician, a feisty spinster, an evil king, and the obligatory handsome prince.

While the story is fine for children to read, a lot of the themes are very adult. It is a bittersweet tale, and when I was little, the end would always make me cry. Of course it's hard to find a Peter Beagle novel that won't make you cry.

"As for you and your heart and the things you said and didn't say, she will remember them all when men are fairy tales in books written by rabbits."

Best line ever written.

In the last few years, Beagle published a sequel novella, Two Hearts. It is simply beautiful. If you enjoyed The Last Unicorn, you should definitely read Two Hearts. Also, if you ever get a chance to go to a Peter Beagle book reading, cancel all other plans and go. He is extremely nice.