Princess Alethea's Magical Elixir
Title: Rogue Angel: Destiny (audiobook)
Author: Alex Archer
The idea of Harlequin's Rogue Angel series always appealed to me. I loved the
cover art immediately; what's not to love about an athletic brunette with a sword? I
liked the synopsis -- based on back cover copy it sounded like a fun blend of
Indiana Jones and Alias. The concept was apparently right up my alley, as I had
several friends present me with Annja Creed books, posters, and graphic novels
because they saw it and thought of me. I kept the books, even recommended them
to other people, but reading them always ended up coming second to something
I'm no stranger to this circumstance. I'm sure it's happened to you too, if you're
even a fraction as much of a book hoarder as I am. It either takes a startling
discovery during Spring Cleaning (Marjorie Hillis), an impending trip to the beach
with nothing else on hand (Sherrilyn Kenyon), or a friend walking into my office
and shaking it in my face until I give in (George R. R. Martin). I have some
decidedly determined friends . . . and thanks to one of them, you now have this
lovely book review.
The tagline for GraphicAudio is "A movie for your mind." It would sound silly if it
wasn't so incredibly true. Listening to Rogue Angel was like putting in a DVD and
then walking into the other room. The voice actors act. When Annja climbs a wall
in a cave you hear the exertion in her voice, the echo off the stalactites, the
waterfall in the distance, and the stones giving way beneath her feet. When the
characters are in a car, you can hear the engine running. When someone gets
stabbed, you flinch and consider calling 911.
I did my time on student films in college -- I appreciate the thought and effort it
takes to act all that out, foley in all the effects, layer on the soundtrack, and make it
all appear seamless. I actually went back and listened to that cave scene a couple of
times, stunned by the complexity. Would it not have just been easier to fly the
actors to Mammoth Cave and film the scene live?
Impressive technical performances aside, in hindsight I'm really glad I didn't read
the books. My patience for the purple prose permeating romance and pulp novels
peters as I progress, much to my chagrin. But since there's no "putting down" an
audiobook (or throwing it across the room), it's easy to laugh at the disgustingly
lurid descriptions and short-cut writing and just have fun.
Annja Creed is a beautiful genius archaeologist with a voice like a phone sex
operator. She travels all over the world and alternately funds her trips with grants
and her work on the TV show "Chasing History's Monsters." She's proficient in as
many types of martial arts as she is languages -- both living and dead. She tosses
up her hypotheses on Internet messageboards for quacks to chime in on, and she
never goes to a bookstore without a stun baton. Oh yeah, and Annja is the
reincarnation of Joan of Arc, can summon a magic sword out of thin air using the
power of her mind, and has an 800-year-old mentor.
I swear, the more forfetched, the more the series grows on you. The multi-talented
Nannette Savard narrates (and directs) the series in the same voice with which one
might report death tolls on the six o-clock news. Juxtaposed with the dynamic
background, I couldn't imagine it presented any other way. The accents are real
(not "British-foreign" like so many Hollywood films), the cast is diverse, and it
sounds like it was as much fun to make as it is to listen to.
If you've got a road trip coming up. Start with Rogue Angel: Destiny, the first in
the series. (If it's a family road trip, I'd rate this series PG-8, for some extreme
violence and scary situations.) I warn you, though, it's like buying only one season
of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just know you're going to be hooked.
Title: Bad Moon Rising
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Part of me thought it might be a little strange for me to review a Sherrilyn Kenyon
book. Another part of me thought it would be cool because it would be strange.
The latter part won.
Bad Moon Rising is the eighteenth in Sherrilyn Kenyon's bestselling Dark-Hunter
series, depending on how you're counting. I was asked to write the Dark-Hunter
Companion somewhere around book twelve. After all these years and all this time,
my favorite is still book six, Night Play. I'd loved how Night Embrace and Kiss of
the Night (#3 & #5) complimented themselves as parallel novels (and showcased
Sherri's talents), but there was just something about Vane that made him stand out.
Perhaps it was because Night Play was the first novel in the series with a Were-Hunter for a hero.
I originally fell in love with Sherri's work after reading a short story called
"Dragonswan" and Night Pleasures (#2), which I picked up before that
aforementioned trip to the beach. The world-building involved in Sherri's
shapeshifter mythos has always appealed to me. Their origins and motivations
were something new, and yet took from stories that were centuries old. Love had
cursed them into what they were, as a species, and love was very much a part of
who they, as individuals, became. Love was the crux of the plot, and love glued the
Fang Kattalakis, the hero of Bad Moon Rising, is Vane's brother. Fans of the series
have followed this wolf-Were's plight in the background of several novels for
years. True to her word, Sherri finally delivered a book about Fang the only way
she could: she went back to the beginning.
Bad Moon Rising starts off as a parallel novel to Night Play. As the story
progresses the reader moves through the entire series of Dark-Hunter books, from a
different point of view . . . a point of view of a character who definitively answers
yes, there was more going on in the background than you thought. As love is the
glue for the Were-Hunter mythos, so Bad Moon Rising is a glue for the Dark-Hunter series. In theory it could be read alone if you'd never picked up another
Dark-Hunter novel before, but there are so many layers of chewy goodness inside
if you have read the books -- why would you willingly miss out on all the inside
Bad Moon Rising revisits the world of the Were-Hunters then and now, solves
some issues that never fully came to light, and discovers a whole new demon realm
I wish I had a videogame of on my computer. Can you say "Hellchasers," boys and
girls? That's right! Forget vampires and werewolves and zombies; my new love is
a snarky demon hunter with huge black wings.
Therin lies Sherrilyn Kenyon's true talent: delivering what the reader wants while
introducing something new and shiny and whetting the appetite even more. It's no
secret that Sherri adores this seemingly infinite universe, and that blissful
obsession is contagious.
Title: Ophelia Joins the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook
Author: Sarah Schmelling
I'm cheating a little by writing this review when I haven't technically finished it
yet, but that's okay, because this isn't the type of tome one necessarily hunkers
down with and reads from cover to cover.
The book it just what the title says: if literary characters were signed up to
Facebook, what kind of trouble would they get themselves into? The title itself is
taken from the Hamlet Newsfeed, shortly after "Polonius thinks this curtain looks
like a good thing to hide behind." and "Polonius is no longer online." Odysseus
posts pictures from his Greek Isles Cruise 1170BC!, and you have a request to
join the event The Canterbury Tales.
The book, and its author, are brilliant. Flip to any page and laugh yourself silly.
According to the acknowledgments, Schmelling first published her Hamlet piece
on McSweeny's Internet Tendencies, and Lily J. Kosner at Dutton encouraged her
to expand the idea. If you're at all into social networking and have read a few
classics, you'll get the joke. The more you've read, the more you'll laugh. It's the
present for every English Major with an iPhone on your holiday shopping list.
Only . . . be sure to pick up one for yourself too. You deserve it.
Yes, because you're going to look anyway, there is a Facebook Group called
"Maidens Who Don't Float." And yes, I've joined it. Because why not? If you're
not having fun, you're not living.
Alethea Kontis Eat, drink, be merry, and buy this book.
Read more by Alethea Kontis
Oedipus removed "geneaology" from his Interests.
Ishmael says call me.