The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith

The honor of being my first read of 2012 went to The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith. It is the first book in their Vampire Empire series.

I chose this book because I wanted to get the bad werewolf taste left by The Last Werewolf out of my mouth and what better way to do that than by reading a book about vampires? Vampires are so much more fun than werewolves, right guys? Right!

Anyway!

I loved this book. Some of the characters are pretty one-dimensional and I could see where a lot of the plot was going very early in the book, but wow do I love this setting. Steampunk! Vampires! What’s not to love?

The Griffiths have taken a novel (ha!) approach to vampires in this series. In their world vampires are a separate species and new vampires are not created by draining the blood from humans. The book takes place after the Great Killing – during which the vampires rose up and and went to war against the humans. In this world vampires aren’t hurt by the sun so they’re able to run around in daylight just fine. What does affect them is heat. Heat makes them sluggish and much easier to kill. So what’s happened by the time of the book is that the surviving humans have taken up in the warmer climes and the vampires have taken over the cold ones.

The book begins with Princess Adele of Equatoria’s zeppelin getting attacked by vampires and making a crash landing. Adele survives, gets momentarily rescued, then captured by the vampire clan controlling Britain. The book deals with her capture, rescue attempts by various parties and for the most part just setting up the world for future books.

As I stated above, characters in this book are pretty cookie-cutter, but the setting of this book more than made up for that for me. Indeed it’s the first book in awhile where I had to immediately start the second book after finishing the first. I’m also happy to report that so far, with the exception of the annoying Senator Clark, all of the characters seem far more fleshed out in the second book.

This was an incredibly fun read and should definitely go on your to-read lists.

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The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

I am so glad the holidays are over so I can relax and get back to my hobbies. Like this blog.

Anyway…

Does anyone else do New Year’s resolutions? I decided one of my resolutions was that life is too short to read books I’m not enjoying. Sadly, I finished The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan on the 31st.

Why sadly? Because I really, really did not like this book. While I’ll be the first to admit that I come in to werewolf stories with a bias against them from the start I don’t think my intense dislike for this book springs solely from of that.

If this book had not been written in the first person I think I would have enjoyed it more, because the world Duncan has created was extremely interesting. Especially WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena) and the 50 Families. Alas, it was written from the point of view of Jake Marlowe. I realize he’s lost a lot of his humanity over the centuries, but I need something about him to enjoy if I’m going to read a whole book from his point of view. Instead I get to hear about his wolf-boner and love for anal sex every few pages. Blah.

Seriously, the only reason I even finished this book was because I was hoping he’d get caught and killed in a slow and painful way.

This week on TINEB!

It took me a little longer to finish The Name of the Wind than I had expected thanks to silly real life stuff, so I’m a bit behind on books I would have liked to finish by the end of the year. Which, all things considered, is certainly not a bad problem to have.

Anyway, next up on my plate is The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Werewolves aren’t normally my cup of tea unless they’re co-starring in a movie with strippers, but this book hooked me after reading only the first page. Let’s hope the rest of the book holds up as well.

And since all the cool kids are doing one I’ll also have my Best of 2011 list up sometime this week.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I’d like to start this review of The Name of the Wind by saying I really, really enjoyed this book. Why am I making sure I’m pointing this out right away, you ask? Because I’d like to follow that up by saying good grief do I not like the main character very much at all.

Kvothe annoys me. Kvothe annoys me a lot. From being repeatedly told how smart he is, to the constant reminders that women want him but he’s too naive to realize it, et cetera, et cetera. Seriously. Is there anything the guy isn’t the best at? Argh. The dude drives me nuts. Yet – as I said – I really, really liked this book.

The setting of the book is great, I absolutely love the magic system that Rothfuss has created (sympathetic magic for the win!) and I found each and every other character in this book interesting and well-drawn and I want to know more about all of them. Which also means I suppose I kind of do like Kvothe. As the book is – for the most part – told from Kvothe’s point of view I have to give the character credit for telling a damn good story.

All in all Rothfuss has written one of the more original fantasy stories of the last few years and I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series.