Sunday, August 31, 2008

Can't get enough vampire lit!

Ahhhhhhhh! I LOVE sinking my teeth into vampire books! Hahahahahahahahaha! Seriously though, I am hooked- or is it addicted? One of my favorite vampire series is Vampire Knight- which is actually manga. The author is Matsuri Hino, who also wrote MeruPuri. That's another great series, btw. So, we are now drooling over the 4th installment. I find that with most graphic novels, I tend to forget details of the plot. It's kinda hard to follow, honestly. It would be great if they had plot outlines you could read up on- especially when it's like 6 months in between publications. Did I digress?
I guess I'm not going to bother with filling you in on the details of vol. 1-3. If I can. So in vol. 4, it starts out with murmurs over the new Night Academy student. I'll skip names where I can. I think you only need to know Yuki, Zero and Kaname. This new girl is apparently a pureblood vampire (like Kaname) using someone else's body. I guess that might be to disguise herself. Although it certainly doesn't take long for anyone to figure out her true identity. She is the vampire who bit-killed-saved?- Zero. It's important to remember that he was/is a member of a really hardcore vampire hunting family. Well, if you had forgotten, he remembers the event for you in a series of flashbacks. So she really screwed his life up.
Before I go on, let me inform you that the whole novel is taking place around the ball where both Night and Day students get to mingle and dance. Just a little sidelight, but it makes for an interesting setting. Yuki offers her blood to Zero at one point, and I think it is during this moment of weakness that he reveals the new student's true identity to her. She runs off in search of the new villian, but I'm not the least bit sure what she was planning to do. She is told at this point that she can save Zero from becoming a Level E (uncontrollably evil?) vampire in one of two ways. She can kill Kaname (because it is only around Yuki that he lets his guard down- mysteriously) or by offering her blood to the new pureblood.
The night of the dance she makes her decision easily in light of her admiration- or is it love?- for Kaname. So she runs off again to find the transfer student/vampire. Just before the she is bitten, Zero shows up to save her, but Yuki heroically tries to martyr herself. It's all so dramatic. Ooh, but then, right at the end, someone new shows up to complicate things even more. Are you ready for this? It's Zero's long lost twin brother!!!!!!!! I think Zero actually got a sword through his arm somewhere in all the confusion of who is on whose side, who is protecting who and all that whatnot. Do you see why I want a plot outline? But it's all good. Very easy to fall in love with the characters of this story, especially with the cute side stories the author includes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Breaking Dawn is here!

Like you didn't know that! But I couldn't think of a catchy title. I finally finished it. Took my time actually cause I wanted it to last. Other people are all, "I know I have to finish it in one day or someone will spoil the ending for me!" Pooh I say. Don't watch those shows or read the paper or talk to those people and you'll be fine. No one ruined it for me! It was great. I enjoyed every minute. How much should I reveal........ Well, it's hard to discuss without revealing certain crucial plot elements, so I guess I'd better warn you- I will be talking about things you might rather not know in advance if you're planning to read it. OK? All responsibility is now on your shoulders. You can't come back and get mad at me cause I ruined it for you cause I'm warning you right now!!! Stop reading if you don't want to know!!! This blog is intended only for those who finished it! (Or plan to never read it, which would be a darn shame if you ask me.)
I admit I wondered what this initally unplanned novel had up its sleeve. I pretty much thought that Eclipse had wrapped everything up well enough. Except for Jacob being unhappy. I went in wondering what Stephenie Meyer had concocted that could take a whopping 756 pages to tell. I kind of expected the whole turning Bella into a vampire to be the big climax. Well, it kinda wasn't huh? I mean she jumped right on in with the wedding plans. Is it just me that takes a year and a half to plan a wedding? jeez! Ok, I guess since Alice is a vampire and doesn't sleep she could do it in half the time, but still... Well, I guess I just wanted more detail. That's the girly girl in me. It seemed so abrupt. Maybe the editor made her cut some of that out so it wouldn't be 900 pages long.
Anyway, let's move on to the honeymoon, cause Stephie sure did! Much more interesting. Cool setting. I had trouble actually picturing the house. And Bella in lingerie, but that's not something I was really trying to do! Well, my first thoughts were that here in this fourth book Meyer was sure making up for all the chasteness of the first three. Am I right or what? Concerins as a middle school librarian, let me tell you! All I can really say is that it wasn't graphic thankfully, but it was definitely prolific (later on anyway). Here my discussion of sex in the novel ends. Except for the fact that Meyer had a funny twist to it. ok nuff said.
So the really fascniating part of the whole book was Bella getting pregnant. Wow I did not anticipate that at all! You're probably thinking duh but I'm not much of an anticipator (anticipationist?) at all. So I just loved this twist and was all abuzz with the possibilities. Needless to say my husband was unsympathetic and uninterested in hearing the details of such a hybrid child. Would it be the angel no one could resist or a demon child bent on destruction and death? These and other questions entertained me. I could see the Cullen family divided- Bella and Rose fleeing to protect a monster only a mother could love and who knows what Jacob and Edward would be doing to put a stop to it.
And then we get to the part where she's almost dead due to the birth and it's time for Edward to turn her so she won't die. DISAPPOINTING. I really wanted her transformation to be more traditional- not Edward injecting his venom into her with a needle and all sterile and everything. I wanted him to bite her, for Pete's sake! Anyone out there agree with me? I'd been waiting for this for three books! Imagining Edward creating a honeymoon like atmosphere and letting himself go for once. It should have been more romantic and even bordering on sadistic, as only vampire myths can. Well, this is all my humble opinion. Of course, Meyer's choices are good and honorable. It's the sign of a good writer that she goes against what we want- at times- and puts in a wonderfully brave twist. She knew people like me were out there and would be disappionted but she did it anyway. Gotta admire her. Few writers have fans as devoted as hers. She probably hired security to protect herself. But I digress.
Moving on to Renesmee. No way would I ever have even remotely let the thought enter my mind that Jacob would fall in love with Bella's daughter. Whoa. Now that was something. Holy cow. One of my colleagues meditated on if Meyer might perhaps be planning a fifth novel about their relationship. Wouldn't that be a story? Ok, she came out as the angel and not the monster, so we didn't have to stress over the family breaking apart or-God forbid- the need to destroy her. A period of happiness ensues for Bella, which is always fun to read about becaue you want your heroine happy, don't you? And I gotta say it did cross my mind how well she had it made- didn't have to work, had all those family members around to help out, didn't need sleep, had her own little getaway cottage, awesome cars, fabulous husband and her best friend Jacob with her, and Renesmee was a child prodigy. In too many ways because she was you know, half immortal and all. Yeah, Nessie seemed like a good kid to have. Wished my own life had been so easy after birth, shah right!
Did you keep wondering, like me, okay, what are the other 200 pages for? Aren't we going to end here where everyone is happy? Why why why ruin it now??? Oh but she did. Oh no, the Volturi again. Putting their noses (or fangs?) into other vampires' business as always. Alice's foresight puts everyone on edge because the only possible reason for the Volturi to be coming- having been invited to the wedding and thus concluding Bella has been turned into a vampire- is to kill Renesmee. A little Eclipse flashback for me here. You too? But I think I anticpated the end because who could deny Renesmee's obvious unlikeliness to harm others considering her special gift? Who would not be convinced when seeing through her eyes? Meyer tried to make us fear the Volturi would not be reasoned with- attack first and ask questions later. I knew though we'd have another happy ending. Hm. NOw what? Nothing else I could read would be as good. Movie's not out til December. I read Host. When is Midnight Sun coming out? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coming soon

My thoughts on Breaking Dawn- stay tuned!

Bluebonnet Special

Today I will explore 2 of this year's nominations for the Bluebonnet award: House of Atherton and Gabriel's Horses. Having read a wonderful fantasy by author Patrick Carman, I had high hopes for House of Atherton. I was, however, quite disappointed with it by the end. Which was basically mostly due to the end. Like right in the middle of an admittedly lengthy climax, it was just be continued! Didn't we all learn from Harry Potter that fantasy fans do not shy away from long novels? Argh. Just a cheap publicity ploy if you ask me. Have I said nothing about the plot? My bad. It's really a great idea. The Planet of Atherton, created by a mad scientist, orbits the Earth without knowledge of its existence-for the most part. Our young male protagonist discovers the secret dooming life on planet the planet and undertakes an dangerous journey to see what can be done. Interesting premise. I'm just mad that I would have to read the next book to see what happens. One cool feature that I did not even bother exploring in my rebellious rage was the accompanying cd which implies unlocking the secrets of the planet.

Another purported series on the list is Gabriel's Horses. Set in Kentucky during the Civil War, this novel is vastly different. It is truly difficult to make comparisons. Both novels do feature a male pre-teen hero, but Gabriel is a slave. He is lucky though to have a free father who works for a wealthy Brit who values his skills with the thoroughbred horses he races. When his father joins the Union army, Gabriel must take his father's place in some areas while submitting to a cruel new horse trainer. He proves what he is made of when a Rebel band comes to thieve their horses and Gabriel saves them with his quick thinking. Unlike House of Atherron, this novel does tie up nicely. I think it has a chance at winning.