Aug 25, 2006

Beyond the Pale

Beyond the Pale by Savannah Russe

The Darkwing Chronicles Book 1

Signet Eclipse, 2005

Raw notes - but no spoilers!

This is great beach reading. The kind of story to take in one gulp and don’t do any deep thinking about the plot. Just enjoy it.

the following comes from my memory of what happened in the book. I have notes - somewhere - which I can’t find. I’m still hoping and hopeful that they will show up. I used a letter size writing pad and kept very careful notes at least up to page 100.

Daphne Urban is a centuries old Vampire who must change her profile every 20 years or so because as a vampire she never ages. She was around 18 when she was changed. She lives in NYC. Her mother, Mar-Mar, also has an apartment in the Big Apple. Mar-Mar loved the hippie era and dresses like a hippie. So do her off the wall peacenick friends. Daphne loves her mom but sometimes gets a bit irritated when she becomes a bit smothering, and nosey, and tries to get her hooked up with someone in the family -meaning the family of vampires.

One evening - vamps only go out in the evening - Daph is captured and brought to the office of a man called J. He works for a super secret U. S. government intelligence agency and has had Daphne and 2 other vamps - Benny Polycarp (female) - a well endowed southern belle charmer and Cormac O’Reilly (guy) - a gay actor and dancer.

Before - when Daphne was abducted her “recruiter” showed how much he knew about her personally - like how she had been living a very shallow, uninvolved with others life and that her mother had long been involved in international diplomacy.

Before meeting Bonaventure she goes to the neighborhood at cases his building. There she is followed and when she actually meets her stalker they find an intense attraction, and they consummate that attraction passionately. His name is Darius. He also is after Bonaventure. Darius works for a different intelligence agency. He knows who J is (and vice versa) For whatever reason they don’t trust each other. Darius will not or cannot tell her much about why he wants Bonaventure, but they decide to work together, although she has reservations about it.

Then she discovers that Darius knows about vampires and will kill any that he knows. Of course he doesn’t know that Daphne is one. This does not deter Daphne’s strong attraction to him.

Russe is a good writer and makes her characters believable. She really must work on her plot lines so that things don’t get so confusing that they seem ridiculous.
I have a few quibbles but basically enjoyed the book.

Aug 24, 2006

Review of The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld

Westerfeld, Scott. The Last Days. Razorbill, 2006 (Sept. 9)

Aimed at the YA crowd but can be enjoyed by everyone.

Strange things are happening in New York City. Stranger than usual, that is. In fact it is down right scary in a paranormal kind of way. Black liquid spurts out of fire hydrants; rats, more numerous than ever, are roving the streets; and people suddenly go crazy, like the woman who throws all of her belongings out her sixth floor apartment window all the while screaming about who knows what. One about-to-be-discarded object catches the attention of two teen onlookers. The crazy lady waves a mid-seventies Fender Stratocaster with gold pickups and whammy bar. Pearl and Moz, strangers until this moment, work together to catch this valuable guitar before it crashes to the pavement. A quick glance above and both glimpse human figures moving swiftly towards the crazy woman's window. Neither comments aloud on this phenomenon. Instead they excitedly talk about their passion for music and the possibility of forming a band.

Pearl is a super smart multi-talented gal who thinks Moz is really cute. She and Moz and his friend Zahler meet for practice sessions, and quickly realize they need a drummer and a singer to make their band complete. Street wise Alana Ray agrees to play percussion. She has the ability to see music with color and movement and is especially sensitive to these visions when Pearl brings in her friend Minerva to sing. A few months earlier Minerva suffered a mysterious breakdown. She now stays most of the time in her room, fights to contain the beast she feels inside her, and writes pages full of weird symbols that only she understands. At the first rehearsal, when all five gather to play, Minerva singing blends with the music and evokes wonder and fear.

As the story progresses the musical talent of these teens and the vampire powers of Minerva become paramount in fighting monsters that live far below ground and only surface every seven hundred years. The Last Days is a sequel to Peeps (pub, year) where the story of the vampires aka Peeps begins. Westerfeld's powers of description brings characters to life and immerse the reader into the world his vivid imagination has created.

Sequel to Peeps. Razorbill, 2005