Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

13 Bullets

Bullets13 Bullets by David Wellington

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I suppose that a novel by an author who’s written three zombie novels, a vampire novel, and is currently working on a werewolf novel, shouldn’t surprise me with its violence.  But it does.  It starts out brutal, continues being brutal, and ends in brutality.  It’s pretty harsh, and was a bit surprising to me.  I don’t know why this surprised me like it did; Monster Island was pretty violent, too, but I don’t recall it being this graphic and intense.  And hell, I enjoy Charlie Huston, too, whose scenes make most of the ones in this book seem tame by comparison.  So who knows?  Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for that sort of scene when I read the book.

As far as vampire novels go, though, this one shies away from the “Romantic tortured soul” that has been so popular lately, and goes back to making them monsters.  It works, and is even a bit refreshing in places.  The central character is a female state trooper who becomes involved with tracking down the last few vampires in existence.  What makes this book more interesting than most vampire novels is that, in this world, the general public knows about the monsters.  It’s thought that they have been extinct since the 1980s, but once the police start bandying about the word “vampire,” there’s little disbelief from the other characters.  I can’t recall other novels being that forward with their portrayal of the creatures, so I enjoyed that aspect of the book.

Another aspect I liked was the pacing, and the plot.  Wellington has developed his style over the past few books, and the story is less choppy and uneven as Monster Island was.  That’s good to see, as well as how he tightened the plot in this novel.  There aren’t too many coincidences that make you question anyone’s place in the story, and aside from a tough state trooper occasionally acting like a typical female character in a horror movie (screaming and panicking under stress),the motivations make a lot of sense.  All in all, the novel holds together very well.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless they were hardcore horror/vampire buffs, due to the nature of the story.  It’s graphic and violent, almost just to be so, and it takes a tough disposition to stomach some of the scenes.  If this sounds like your thing, then you likely won’t be disappointed with 13 Bullets.

August 6, 2007 Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews | Leave a comment

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels

SequelsThursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde

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That the main character’s name is right there in the title tells you enough about Jasper Fforde’s most popular character: She can carry the franchise. That seems like a stupid thing to say (she is the franchise), but it’s indicative of how popular the series has become. I’m a little surprised that the books haven’t been optioned for film yet, but I suppose that’s coming….

I adore this series, and I was a little disheartened when I finished Something Rotten. It seemed to wrap the series up nicely, resolving all of the loose ends and giving the four-book series a satisfying ending. I wasn’t disheartened by the ending, just that I was going to miss the adventures of Thursday and SO 27. When Fforde began his Literary Crimes series, I figured Thursday was gone for good, so I was surprised to read at the end of The Fourth Bear that Thursday was returning (although I wondered just what, exactly, Fforde was going to do with her now).

So, First Among Sequels. Is it a worthy read, or just something to pad out the series some more? It’s hard to say. The plot is clever enough, with the self-referential bits and puns one would expect from Fforde by now, and if there’s anyone who can take a metaphor and make it flesh, he’s the man to do it. It’s entertaining, and silly, and just plain fun. So yes, the book is worth reading.

The book doesn’t quite have the shine and flavor that the previous series does, though. It’s hard to pin down the reasons I think so, but there were a number of coincidences and other moments that required a serious suspension of disbelief to feel like the book was a best effort on Fforde’s part. I know he can write brilliant, catchy novels, and to some degree, First Among Sequels is all that; on the other hand, it doesn’t quite match what he’s done with the previous books. But if you’re a fan (like me), then it probably won’t bother you too much.

So, I have mixed feelings, but all in all, even a mediocre Thursday Next book is better than a lot of the other fiction I read. If you haven’t yet had the chance to discover this character and series, find a copy of The Eyre Affair and have fun. I’ll just be in this corner over here, envying you the first experience with a brilliant story….

August 6, 2007 Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews | Leave a comment