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Review a Book

Comics, books, zine's, art, you name it. Anything that is in print and you can rant on, rant in here.
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Carpathian Dark Princess
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Review a Book

Postby Carpathian Dark Princess » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:19 am

I thought that since this is usually the season that people get to reading a lot more (summer reading list and all) and to bring more discussion to the book forum, we could use a thread where we review a book that we recently finished. For some guidelines:

- List the title of the book
- Author
- # of Pages
- Comprehension level (easy, intermediate, hard?)
- General summary of book
- Good things
- Bad things
- Overall
- Star rating (out of five)

Use the spoiler tag when needed, since it's hard to escape some spoilers if you're trying to write a good review.

With that, let's begin!

- Tempest Rising
- Nicole Peeler
- 344 Pages (excluding acknowledgments and extras)
- Easy Reading

This story centers on Jane True, a twenty-six year old resident of the small New England town of Rockabill, Maine. She is pretty much the village pariah, after a very traumatic past with her mother mysteriously vanishing - just as mysteriously as she appeared - at the age of six and her best friend and boyfriend tragically dying when she was eighteen. That, and she has the odd tendency to take late night swims in freezing water, and she even seems to have some control over it, which doesn't seem to bother her. After one such swim, Jane finds the grizzly discovery of a murdered body in the local whirlpool. Come to find out that the murder victim wasn't an ordinary human, and through a series of brief events, come to find out that Jane isn't an ordinary human either: only half. After a freak meeting with a kelpie, a gnome, and a barghest, Jane discovers that she is half selkie, explaining why she has such an attraction to the ocean, and more importantly, why her mother mysterious left her and her father. She also learns that the murder of the man had preternatural motives, and that's where the story takes off.

The first few chapters are pretty engaging: we learn a bit about Jane, her conflicts with some of the townfolk, and her friends, father, and estranged mother. I also liked the humor: it was risque sense of humor [spoiler]especially given one of her friend's background as a former porn actress, in which Jane usually recieves naughty gifts from which she puts in her "dirty drawer", so we were initially given the sense that she wasn't another hypersexual female fantasy character[/spoiler]; overall, I enjoyed it. I also liked both natural and supernatural creatures that we were introduced to and I really wanted to read more about them.

However, I learned upon experience that all you need to do to ruin a book with a lot of potential is to introduce a vampire-esque Gary-Stu character to the mix.

Which is precisely what Peeler did.

About five chapters in, we are introduced to Ryu, an attractive, seemingly loaded character who happens to be a baobhan sidth, or a vampire fairie according to Irish mythology. The first problem is that if you are familiar with the atrocities of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Ryu seems to follow a similar formula: he happens to be a creature that is similar to a vampire, but not quite a vampire, but he's still called a vampire throughout, possibly because it's just more popular to do so; that and he's loaded for no reason. These two qualities are able to captivate Jane. The good thing is that Peeler didn't describe his great looks throughout the book (she actually didn't do this for most of the characters, which was actually a problem of its own).

The second problem was actually described on a mini review on the book cover. As quoted by one Rachel Cain, "A fascinating, fast-paced, sexy storm of a book." It's just that: by about chapter six, the story was just too fast paced. Ryu initially came as an investigator to the murder, which I thought, "okay fine. That's cool." We see that Jane, despite some of Ryu's witty manly humor, is attracted to him, which was also fine with me so long as it went along smoothly. But by chapter eight or so, a book classified as a fantasy/horror was fast turning into a paranormal romance, a genre that I've been trying to steer clear of for awhile. [spoiler]And by chapter nine, my fears were answered by a sex scene that I just didn't want there. The fast-pace of the novel was what destroyed any kind of genuine relationship between Jane and Ryu. They had hot, steamy sex after only knowing each other for about two days. We could cut Jane some slack by saying that she's half selkie: they're practically seducers of men. But what didn't cut it for me was that Jane has been grieving over the death of her one true love, Jason, for the past eight years, before and after her fling with Ryu. After first contact, they have a physical relationship about every other chapter or so, and I think that really brought the plot down, since, there is no real plot in a romantic love novel. For a young woman with so much emotional turmoil, I had no idea where she stood in this fling between she and Ryu, since she never really described any strong feeling toward Ryu, and he didn't either.[/spoiler] The third thing wrong was that after Ryu made his entry, everything else vanished. What I mean by that is, much like Twilight, we gain little detail about Jane's friends, dad, local nemeses (in, which, there was only one real confrontation), or the other supernatural folks of the area after Ryu came in. We don't have much mention of Jane's selkie heritage afterward, which was a real downer, and even though the "travels" of Jane and Ryu were to be focused on the circumstances of the murder turned murders in the supernatural realm, it kind of didn't at the same time [spoiler]since Jane's psyche turned into the hypersexual female fantasy character, and unfortunately H.F.F.C.'s usually don't develop much, which was the sad fate of Jane as well as Ryu[/spoiler]. It's sad to say that food and clothing have more description and development than the people.

Overall, I had high expectations for this book, because I really like reading about faeries and folkloric beings that don't usually make an appearance around Halloween (vampires, werewolves: the usual). I thought this book would be a good substitute for people who like urban fantasy books like Wicked Lovely (which I admittedly adore); that, and the cover looked cool. This book wasn't what I expected, but not in the good way. I didn't want to give this book as low of a rating, but I feel it is just:

2 stars out of 5
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"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." - Leo Tolstoy

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Midieval Fantasy
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Re: Review a Book

Postby Midieval Fantasy » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:22 pm

Great Thread, Idea!!!

Here is one I finished a while back. I chose it because I figured it would be a fun book to review so here it goes:

List the title of the book:

Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture


Raven Digitalis: who is, according to Wiki, a friend of Anna Verney -

Wikipedia WroteColonseems to be acquainted with the pagan and occult author Raven Digitalis, who is one of the "managers" of the official Sopor Aeternus MySpace profile.

# of Pages:

Without index : 290

Comprehension level:

I found it to be pretty easy myself.

General Summery:

From what I could see of it, or how I understood it, it shows how you can combine your pagan religion with the goth subculture

Good things:

It gives a lot of great tips and back ground on make up, different 'types' of goth, and how to apply magic and religion to everyday life. It is even referenced (Reference # 4 in Wikipedia for the Goth Subculture page.

Bad things:

It is very easy for people to take this book and confuse it. as in someone who knows NOTHING about the goth subculture who read this book might well believe that Goth is a pagan religion, when in reality it is simply telling you how to merge the two.


I think it was good for a reference book, but should not be the only book you read about it and should not be the beginning or stopping place for any research that you might do. I also feel that you do not need a book to tell you how to think and what to do, but if you are curious about the subject and do not plan on using his book as law, then it was, overall, worth the read.

Star Rating:

* * * *
_ _ _ _ _
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Once you find out the truth, there's no going back.
You can't ever go back to being the way you were, blissful and unconcerned.''
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Re: Review a Book

Postby Arquinsiel » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:14 pm

carpathian_dark_princess WroteColonAbout five chapters in, we are introduced to Ryu, an attractive, seemingly loaded character who happens to be a baobhan sidth, or a vampire fairie according to Irish mythology.
I was wondering what the hissing noise was after I read this.

Then I realised.

It was me.

Hissing with rage.

I hate it when people take a non-Japanese concept, totally basterdise it and make it unrecognisable. God-dammit. God-dammit.
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Minnie d'Arc
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Re: Review a Book

Postby Minnie d'Arc » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:57 pm

Gothic Chic, by Gavin Baddeley, 288pp.

Comprehension level: Pretty easy, really.

Summary: A history of all things gothic/goth, from inception (eg, the Visigoths and Ostrogoths) to the present day.

Good things: This book is very well written, and contains a lot of wonderful illustrations backing up the subject matter. Also, it's a nice, comprehensive introduction to the whole culture which, for modern-day goths, will hopefully serve to show that there is far more heritage to our culture than "Bela Lugosi's Dead".

Bad things: I would seriously, seriously have liked this book to contain more academic weight; to really get to grips with its subject matter. As it happens, it's rather linear, and more like a junior grade history lesson with the interesting bits left out.

Overall: If you want some of the gaps filling in between the late 18th century and the late 20th, I recommend it. If you know something about the history of gothic culture already, you'll probably be disappointed. But, it's well written and looks nice.

Rating: **
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Re: Review a Book

Postby Letalis Senium » Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:09 pm

"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. Download it free from

Comprehension level: Teen.

Summary: Its the near future in a heavily surveilled SF. A 9/11 scale terrorist attack allows Homeland Security to create a mini police state. Fighting back is teenager hacker Marcus Yallow...

Good points: It will scare the pants off you with regard to government surveillance paranoia and where it might end up. A short book and easy to read, not one of those authors who's words run off the page like cold dough.

Bad points: Bit contrived at times, some teen sex thrown in for some unknown reason.

The technology is based on real science, remember that when you read it.

Rated: 3/5
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Jereth Magas, Gothsylvania Minister of Unnatural Resources.
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Carpathian Dark Princess
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Re: Review a Book

Postby Carpathian Dark Princess » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:53 pm

I'll try to cut this review short like how you guys did. :)

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Lisa See
253 Pages (excluding extras)
Intermediate Level

This books is really an autobiography (though fictional), of a Chinese woman by the name of Lily who is at the end of her years after living for nearly a century in the 1800s. Simply put, this book is about love; not romantic love, at least, not only romantic love. Throughout the book, Lily recalls the love between a mother and her daughter, a sister and brother, a woman and her cousin(s), uncle(s), and aunt(s), a daughter and her father, a wife and her husband, a mother and her children, a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law, and so on. But most importantly, a woman and her laotong, "old-sames": a relationship between two women that is stronger than the marriage between a man and woman that lasts a lifetime, with the help of the womans' secret language of nu-shu.

This book is wonderfully written and very captivating, heartwarming, but also very heartbreaking. It not only gives us a window into love of all sorts - in what may be a different culture to the reader - but it also reminds us of the many hardships that many women have and continue to go through - in Chinese society and elsewhere.

[spoiler]Frankly, the only bad thing about this book is the subtle sense of misoandrony that may creep forth once you read what the women in this novel have to go through, as I did. :evil: Be forwarned: you'll need tissue. :cry:[/spoiler]

Otherwise I give this book:
0 x
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." - Leo Tolstoy

"The first rule of Goth Club is : You do not talk about Goth Club." - Milky

Remember, Arthur and Lancelot: bros before hoes!

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