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Posts Tagged ‘vampires’

jacobtracy_cvr

I across this book in my stacks and was immediately drawn to it. Did it whisper to me as so many other books seem to do, you might ask? Yes, and I don’t think I’ll ever need electro-shock therapy. I just might need to get out more. Possibly, date. Maybe.
Set in 1880 St. Louis, we are introduced to Jacob Tracy: a seminary school drop-out, and a veteran of the Civil War that has recovered from his war wounds and vicious morphine dependency. Ah yes, Mr. Tracy has the uncanny ability to see … and speak to ghosts. Along with his partner, a former slave named John “Boz” Bosley, they encounter the strange and enigmatic Sabine Fairweather who hires them for a job: to find a certain rosewood jewelry box that belongs to her. But in the Weird West there is no such thing as straight forward mission and some things are more than they seem. Soon Jacob and Boz are plunged in a world of ghosts, demons, werewolves and vampires as they do jobs for the enigmatic Fairweather. Aside from being their employer, Ms. Fairweather seems to have knowledge and abilities of a supernatural nature. It is what keeps Jacob drawn to Ms. Fairweather, since it seems that she might hold the clues to his true abilities. In every battle that Boz and Jacob encounter, there is one name that often surfaces: Josef Mereck.
Mereck runs a circus that employs people of various supernatural capabilities and even though, on the surface they are probably used to entertain, in the big scheme of things they are being used as supernatural weapons in the most terrifying ways.
Messinger in her debut novel has a good handle of the Weird West, from the lingo to the characters. It the Wild, Wild West in the most terrifying of ways and every page turned sucks you in as Tracy and Boz’s battles grow more intense and frightening towards the final meeting of Mereck.

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strain_cvrfall_cvreternalnight_cvr

Co-author: Chuck Hogan

Yes, it is a new year, so why not start it off with a bang. So there a triple review.
Guillermo Del Toro is known for his handiwork in films such as Hellboy I & II, Blade II and the ever-talked about Pan’s Labyrinth (which I must admit that I have not seen). So last summer when FX decided to premiere a series called the Strain and it was about vampires, I pretty much went into a bloody eye-rolling hysteria … that was until I found that it was being directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Even better, I found out that the series was based on trilogy: The Strain, The Fall and the Night Eternal. Now you’re probably wondering if the Evil Parrot has finally lost his bloody mind reviewing three books instead of one at time. In all honesty, these books are best enjoyed … serially. And they will be reviewed likewise … that’s how the Evil Parrot rolls. So enough with tbe bollocks and on with the review … shall we?

When a Boeing 777 lands on a JFK tarmac and just sits in complete radio silence for a long while, the airport officials suspect the worst. No, it’s not ebola … though compared to what was in store for the unwitting NYC population, ebola would have been a much prefered pathogen. Enter Drs. Ephraim Goodweather and Nora Martinez from the CDC to determine what was the cause. The discover a plane filled with “dead” passengers and few “survivors”. Also on the plane, and unknown to the passengers, is a very large box with delicate ancient carvings and strangely filled with dirt. So needless to say, the passengers are evacuated and the live ones are quarantined and the “dead” one carried to the city morgue. And then the fun begins. Add to the chaos is the super-rich, sinister Eldritch Palmer with ulterior motives, that …let’s just say … doesn’t have the best of interest for humankind. Sure enough, the FX adaptation may have added a few creative elements such as the foxy Euro-type female hacker that supposedly slows the Internet down (insert a big bloody eye roll here).
In first book, The Strain, we get to see the formation of a rag-tag group of what will become resistance fighters against the strigoi (that’s the word being used for vampires): Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, Dr. Nora Martinez, Prof. Abraham Setrakian (a man obsessed and with a past with dealing with the strigoi), Vasiliy Fet (a New York City rat exterminator, though more intelligent than he sounds) and Gustavo (a Mexican gangbanger). We are also introduced to the one known as the Master, who is the archnemesis and head vampire (or strigoi) that is viciously cunning as he is lethal. There is treachery, betrayal, the occasional hot sexual encounter (mostly between the docs) and the suspense practically clenches your sphincter.
In The Fall, our rag-tag goup is engaged in a constant game of cat and mouse as the strigoi population grows around them. It is during this period of time they learn two things: the Master can communicate telepathically with the roaming strigoi, hence he can track his enemies and secondly, there is the existence of a book called the Occido Lumen that holds the key to the Master’s origin and destruction. Of course there is race that is on to find the Occido Lumen. Now I’m sure you can probably guess what is going to happen. How it does it happen …well, well, well my dear readers you will have to find out on your. Yeah, I’m not going to be tosser and spoil all the fun for you now. To besides reading about it is the best part.
In The Eternal Night, the strigoi has populated the world and using various weapons they were able to create a disruption in the atmosphere where the Earth is covered by a polluted sky and sunlight is only available for a few hours (and that’s on a good day) daily. It has become a world where some humans have become collaborators in order to improve their own standing on the food chain (somehow this doesn’t shock me) and others simply become … sustenance. Aye, think of cows being milked … and you’ll get the idea on that last part. Now try to get a good night’s sleep with bollocks swimming in your mind. Though I suspect many of us have already watched the first season of The Strain, and like yours truly, just can’t wait for the second season to begin … and of course, decided to simply just read ahead. The books are just as intriguing and suspenseful as the televised adaptation, though I must admit that after having seeing the show I’ve carrying the faces of these actors attached the character through the entire trilogy. The Strain Trilogy hooks you in from the first chapter and keeps you breathless with anticipation to get to the other page to see what will happen next. It is the evolution of the vampire like you’ve never read about or seen (unless if you watched Blade II … which just happened to be directed by Del Toro) and makes the Cullens and the Voltari (or whatever) look like a bunch of flower-gathering-dancing-in-the-meadows nancies. There is violence (mostly quick, vicious and dirty), despicable human beings, surprising allies and climactic ending that will blow you way. In other words, just the book(s) you need to keep that adrenaline flowing. And for the most (as the immortal Martha Stewart would say) that is a good thing.

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princelestat_cvr

It is has been while since we heard from the Vampire Lestat, and for the longest while we had to contend with the offerings of those brave enough to grace the vampirescape. There was a group in Louisiana and someone called Sookie Stackhouse and it often involved a spectrum of mythical creatures along with myriad of nude bodies (some we could have done without but which forever scars our mind). And yes, the deliciously, dominating Kristin Bauer van Straten can sink her stilettos … er, fangs on my neck … anytime. Yes, that’s what I meant … fangs. And then somewhere there something about a Team Edward and a Team Jacob. Slowly reformatting my brainwaves on that bit of memory. And then last summer, Guillermo Del Toro came out with the Strain on FX (which BTW will be reviewed on this dear, humble blog … and yes, it is based on book). So when it was announced by Ms. Rice that a new addition to the Vampire Chronicles was about to grace the world with its presence, I was giddy with excitement. And all of sudden all the echoes of Team Edward and Team Jacob that ricocheted in my head seem to suddenly drift away … almost like it never bloody happened … and I could feel myself running on mountainsides covered with edel weiss as a cool Austrian wind whipped through my blonde plaited hair and I burst into a jubilant singing …er, whoops, I think I’ve got the Sound of Music randomly accessed in my head. Dreadfully sorry about that. (And I hope my nieces never read this). Onwards to the review, shall we?

Reading the first chapter of Prince Lestat felt like meeting a long lost friend. In this case, our lovable scoundrel of a vampire, Lestat. It was one of those it’s-been-awhile-what-have-you-been-up-to moments. And at one point there is the temptation to even invite him out for a pint or two, you know a bunch of old chaps catching up. Sure, there would be the invitation to a few pints … until I realize that whilst my thoughts of pints may be of the Guinness kind, Lestat’s might be of the red kind that flows inside me. So yes, no invitation to pints. And needless, to say, I have detoured a wee bit.
This new addition to the Vampire Chronicles introduces us to a rich, extended, genealogical tapestry of vampires, with all their equally mesmerizing stories to add. And yes there are several favourites (David Talbot, Armand, Louis and the twins Mekare and Maharet) and host of others, some with the usual intergenerational rivalries that show up since it is apparent that some folks can hold a grudge for a very LOOONG time. Seriously, if you don’t know who these characters are but you know the Cullens … we have to seriously talk, mate. Even more is the fascination, by Lestat, at the propagation of computer technology and Internet technologies such as social media that rivals vampire telepathic abilities. Yes, vampires carry iPhones and tweet, possibly do selfies (hopefully nothing like that bollocks involving a paper bag and nude attention whores … and yes, it seems that I did go there).Even more interesting, is that science has found its way into the vampire clans as a select group of scientific minded vampires set out to study and improve the lives of their fellow vampires. And yes, these efforts did the unthinkable: in producing an actual child with Lestat’s DNA. Yes, Lestat has a modern day son. Gasp, you say. How did this happen, you wonder? Tsk, tsk, tsk … I’d be a complete tosser to spell this out for you now, won’t I mates? But while this seems, thus far, as a nice gathering of vampires and such … there is a bit of drama and suspense afoot as many vampires are being massacred (think crispy critter) around the world and in the eye of this chaos emerges a sinister entity known as the Voice. As the whole entire vampire world face a dire future, alliances are formed, hearts are broken (mostly the readers’) and an ancient name rises from the ashes.
This is premium Rice in a sea of rich compelling stories that accompany the many vampire lives that we encounter intertwined with suspense that leads up to a warm endearing conclusion that only Rice can deliver … ever so eloquently. And yes, though we’ve been used to a very bratty, impulsive Lestat of old, Rice has shown a more wiser and restrained Lestat that truly makes him … yes, Prince Lestat. The Prince of Vampires. The Vampire Chronicles live on (I hope … pretty please, Ms. Rice). But I’m still not going to ask him out for pints.

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