Sunday, September 30, 2018

Hard Hearted Hannah

Ok, so I recently won 5 volumes of Raven Hart's Savannah Vampire series, and I just finished the first volume, The Vampire's Seduction. Really debating on how to review this, since it was more Jackie Collins than Bram Stoker or Anne Rice.

We meet William, who was turned centuries ago by Reedrek, who proceeded to kill William's family in front of him. William has been in Savannah almost since the founding, having run away from his Sire and the old world vampires. Now, in Georgia, he ships younglings from Europe to the New World in the great hopes of creating Western Clans that can resist the European Dark Sires. In the mean time, he has a child of his own, Jack, who he turned during Sherman's march to the sea. Jack these days runs an all night car repair shop, drives fast, and has a crush on Connie, the Police woman who was adopted into Savannah Society after being found on the steps of a Mayan temple.

William spends most night at a local bordello, feeding and being tormented by the Madam. He also has two immortal dogs, both of whom become human at night. He also has a Mambo on staff, descended from Maman Laylee, a Hougan of some repute.

This is all well and good until one of William's ships comes in empty, remains of dead Alger on board. Using some rituals left behind by Laylee, William figures out Reedrek destroyed Alger and is loose in Savannah. Which leads us to Olivia, Alger's child, who mainly exists to explain the fun of female vampires. Who can actually drain their male counterparts during intercourse, along with something about this being nature's way of evening the score for losing reproductive capability once turned.

Anyway, Reedrek plays hard, manipulating every party involved to get what he wants, while William contemplates ending his take out his Sire. (Evidently one cannot kill one's own creator without joining them in the afterlife.

And so it goes, as we see the creation of two new vampires through the novel, although one does fail.

I enjoyed it, as I normally do with vampire novels, since I enjoy seeing how various people play with the myths. I did feel that it was starting to cross into a Supernatural free for all, what with some shifters, ghosts, and all the voodoun coming in to play, but mostly, it stayed focused. My only minor gripe is one I have fairly often with Urban Fantasy, in that none of the characters are people I particularly identify with. Which is fine, I'm sure I'm not the target audience of the series. And I can enjoy it as it is, just wishing alger would have been more developed to give me someone to cheer for in the closing.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Salt and moonlight

I'm happy Seanan McGuire hasn't retired October Daye yet, and Night and Silence is more evidence that the series still has legs 12 volumes in.

We pick up not long after the events of the last volume, with Tybalt and Jazz (October's fiance and her fetch's girlfriend, respectively), unable to process being kidnapped and locked into their animal forms at the hands of October's mother. Her Liege, Sylvester, is still unhappy about his brother Simon. And, as we open this volume, October's estranged daughter has been kidnapped again.

We find out about Gillian's kidnapping when October's ex husband and his new wife Miranda show up on her doorstep not long past dawn. What we have is a blood filled car, vandalism of both Gillian's car and her residence, and a really intrusive roommate. Oh, and all of Gillian's stuff at Berkeley has sachets of anti-fae herbs, making everyone in the party sick.

Along the path of tracking down Gillian, we meet a Baobhan Sith who had been trapped as a booby trap, and find a place that shouldn't exist that features a house on chicken legs.

Oh yes, and we get more on how the Roane became Selkies and Maeve's Last Ride.

All in all, othe rthan the villains being from out of left field, it's an excellent addition to a fabulous series.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Prophecy of the Phoenix

And at last, the Tribe novels wind down with Black Spiral Dancers by Eric Griffin and Wendigo by Bill Bridges, the last double Werewolf feature in the series.

For The Spirals, we focus on Arkady, the long disgraced Silver Fang long rumored to have become a traitor to the Gaians.  We spend much of the first part retracing his steps on the Silver Spiral as he tries to confront the Wyrm in the heart of its realm. This has a few odd consequences, such as his decent into Malfeas and eventually redeeming the White Howler's totem.

By far the biggest part of this is Arkady's eventual redemption by Falcon, and the gift or a duplicate Silver Crown. In the end, Arkady rallies the ghosts of long dead Silver Fangs at the lair of Jo'Cllath'Mattric and leads them into battle.

Then comes Wendigo, as John North Wind's Son meets his daddy before the North American moot to figure out what to do about the Lore Banes.

Essentially, King Alberecht leads the Silver River Pack and a large number of North American werewolves into the Umbra to the lair of the memory eating dragon. While several folks die, none of the major names do, and we're left with the lore at the heart of the dragon, one that states that the Apocalypse is nigh, and the Gaians will die in short amounts of time.

The Tribe Novels thankfully have been much less disjointed than the Clan Novels, but they've still had their issues here and there. on the bright side, props for the downer ending.

The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch

So, I'm running behind, because last week was a kilter. I technically finished Clan Novel: Anthology edited by Stewart Wieck over a week ago.

Anyway, this closes out the now 14 volume Clan Novel Saga, mostly checking in on characters after the Camarilla takeover of New York city, with a brief moment or two to talk about the fall of hour Goratrix in the Sabbat, as well as a brief reminder that [Tzimisce] is now fitfully dozing under Manhattan, instead of being fully asleep. Also shows that while Anatole might have undergone Final Death, it hasn't slowed him down much.

Most is it is about what you'd expect, with a few of the stories following an artist beloved by both Toreador and Tremere clans, who's final masterpiece is carved into the back of a Nosferatu. Said Nosferatu meets his end in the last story, encouraged by Anatole to fly through the gates of hell and feed the thing under the city in hopes of putting off its awakening. 

Some of it, like Fatima's entry, show how the characters have grown since their novel. (In this case, The path of Allah takes precedence over the path of Ur Shugli, who speaks for Haqim.) Or showing Ramona whine more about not being able to save her Sire and the Buffalo Gangrel.

While it really doesn't do much beyond tie up a few loose ends, it's a fitting conclusion to the occasional disjointed saga.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Signs and Portents

Robert Jackson Bennett's new trilogy starter, Foundryside, again shows his love of world buildingand giving readers delicate morsels of that world, whetting the appetite for more answers. In this particular case, though, the major protagonists are just as in the dark as the reader.

Given the characters all refer to the world as Earth, we'll assume we're in a much altered timeline. The action, however, centers on the city of Tevanne, and the four major corporations that run the city and its colonies. Our main character, Sancia, live between the Corporate campos in the foundryside, where laws don't particularly matter. Indeed, Sancia makes her money thieving,  and we meet her as she's trying to break into a warehouse on the docks to steal something from a safe.

Her rather improvised methodology for the break in introduces us to the concept of Sigils and the Scriveners who write them. Essentially, with the right signs, one can rewrite reality around objects. Things like making a arrow be convinced it's much more dense than it really is, and has been falling for several more feet than it actually has. (They get deeper into the physics later in the book, but for the sake of ease, we'll define the system here as symbols convince objects to be something they aren't.)

Eventually, and with a small bit of unexpected issues, Sancia gets the box and makes her way back to her safe house. Curiosity gets the best of her, which is when we meet Clef, the talking key that can open just about anything. Having a talking key can be a bit challenging, however, Clef does manage to drag Sancia out of her shell a bit, showing us her upbringing on one of the colonial islands and the forbidden act that frees her. (Briefly put, in a normally fatal proceedure, they insert a scrivened plate in Sancia's head that mostly lets her hear scrivenings.)

Investigating her break in, is Gregor Dandolo, son of the Founder of House Dandolo. Gregor is a former soldier, hero of the Enlightenment Wars, and called revenant for surviving a siege that killed off all of his men. Gregor has a thirst for justice, regardless of whom is guilty. Almost getting killed while trying to arrest Sancia gets him more wrapped into this adventure, that eventually leads to Orso and Berenice, the Master Scriviner of House Dandolo and his assistant. Who eventually all wind up with the Scrappers, folks who are scriviners not affiliated with a Corporate House for whatever reason.

There's a lot going on here.

We hear legends of the Hierophants, giants from prehistory who used the sigils (those which God used to create the world) to recreate the world in their image, and how the wars of the Hierophants left deserts and destroyed parts of the world. We hear of a God in a box used by one of the Hierophants. We even get inklings about certain Founders who are trying to regain the powers of the Hierophants through their artifacts.

By the end, we have an inkling of two sides of the forthcoming conflict promised in subsequent volumes.

It's very interesting, and thankfully, there really isn't any long Jurassic Park style passage were we get told the principles of the concepts involved. I mean, yes we get a few explanations here and there, but there's not a 10 page treatise on how all of this works. Much like his last series, most of the themes involved here deal with the nature of the freedom of man, and thinking of one's self as an item rather than as a human. I look forward to the next book, and hope it's more of a direct continuation than the Divine Cities trilogy gave us.