Beyond the Blue Moon

After catching up on Sandman Slim, I felt in the mood to revisit some Simon R. Green. Specifically, I felt like re-reading Beyond the Blue Moon, the final book in the Forest Kingdom arc. These books have been out quite a long time, but even so, I suppose I should just warn for spoilers if you haven’t read them yet.

Beyond the Blue Moon starts out in Haven with Guard Captains Hawk and Fisher who, along with all other Guardsmen, have been called in to quell a burgeoning riot on the docks. The human workers aren’t happy with the zombie scab labor. They really don’t want to hurt these people who are just trying to provide for their families the only way the can. Of course, it all goes to hell in a hand basket quite quickly.

Hawk and Fisher make it through the riot-cum-zombie massacre thought skill and sheer bloody mindedness but they pay a heavy emotional price for it. They didn’t kill anyone they knew but they didn’t want to kill anyone in this case. Most of the now dead were only trying to make a living. They’re feeling a bit depressed about their circumstances and wondering how to change it when they get an unwanted visitor.

Allen Chance is the official Questor for the Forest Kingdom and he has come to find Prince Rupert and Princess Julia, legends of the Dark Night, to figure out how who killed King Harald. Needless to say, they are less than pleased by this but they hear out the young man who is quite earnest. And he has a bloody great dog who talks. In the end, they decide that this is just the impetus they need to get the hell out of Haven. But they don’t go quietly. They raid the Guards stores and take out every criminal they could never lay hands on because they were too well connected through bribes and politics.

When they get back they find that the murder of Harald isn’t the only thing they have to deal with. There are all sorts of political factions vying for control of the court, most of whom want to Queen out of the way in one form or another. Plus something called the Inverted Cathedral has popped up-or in this case, down, hence the inverted. Hawk and Fisher have to figure out what the Inverted Cathedral is for, how to stop the Blue Moon from coming back and, if they have time, find a killer. Just another day in the life of Hawk and Fisher.

It is an excellent novel, an excellent series. A+. Read it!

Anita Blake

I read the first 5-6 Anita Blake novels a while ago and I had to stop and change tracks. Not that I don’t like the books, since I’ve read up to Cerulean Sins now, but I just needed something different. So I did something I try hard not to do and I left Blue Moon in the middle of the book. I think I was just tired of Anita’s quirky sort of self righteousness. She kills monsters, she sleeps with monsters and yet…she hates them.

She’s got several men on the hook and but she can’t decide which one to stick with. I find that a bit selfish, especially when she started out going “no sex EVER” (a now broken rule) and “not human=monsters” (also a now broken rule). She’s got a bazillion rules for a guy who either wants to sleep with her or date her. And some how it is always the man’s fault when he trips up over one of the rules. Which I find unfair. How is a man supposed to know not to do something when you don’t tell him not to?

On the other hand, it is nice to see a competent woman in the main character role. She knows her strengths and her weaknesses. She knows how to kill the bad guys (she is the Executioner after all) and is more than willing to do so. And yet we’ve seen her hurt and squeamish. She isn’t super human. She isn’t vapid. And I like that. It always seems that when the main character is a woman, she’s absolutely clueless as to what she is and/or what’s going on.

So Blue Moon is basically Anita coming to the rescue of her then boyfriend (one of two at the moment) Richard when he gets framed for rape in Tennessee. She has to get him out, face down the local pack and local vamps and figure out why he was framed in the first place. Not bad as a book, good enough for me to read the next book, Obsidian Butterfly.

I really liked Obsidian Butterfly. It features the character Edward (a.k.a.-Death, Ted Forrester). He’s a sociopath bounty hunter who kills exclusively monsters or interesting prey. He has made appearances before and he was Anita’s teacher. I like Edward because I like a lot of the bad guy characters in books and because he’s entertaining in his way. He is what he is and he really doesn’t care what you think of him. But he has a monster program where his alter ego, Ted Forrester, lives in New Mexico. Anita is a monster expert and possibly a friend. I find this one the best I’ve read so far simply because Edward was a main focus.

So all in all, I’d rate Blue Moon about a B- but Obsidian Butterfly an A.

New Books

Okay, it’s been a massively long time since I’ve last updated my blog here.  Work, work, work and a nasty respiratory infection will do that to you. So instead of just one book, I’ll review a few books/series.

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire. This is the next installment of the October Daye series.  I was waiting so long for this one, or so it felt. I really love this series. Toby Daye is a fairly complex character and her relationships are equally complex.  This book is about Toby trying to figure out who or what is killing off her friends and trying to frame her for it. Not only that, but she has recently been promoted to Countess of the knowe Goldengreen. This knowe previously belonged to Countess Evelyn Winterrose, who died in the first book and brought Toby back into the Fae fold. It was a wonderful mystery, and a bit sad too. I can’t wait to read the next book! Rating: A.

Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is book 5 or 6 of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. I can’t remember because I stopped in the middle and I haven’t gone back yet. It isn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it, because it is starting out to be another wonderful book. Truth was I just needed a break from Anita Blake. Anita’s werewolf ex Richard is being set up as a murderer in Tennessee and Anita is determined to help, against Jean-Claude’s wishes. So far, it’s a solid B book.

A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang. This was an interesting premise. Heroine Abby is living in a town where the supernatural is a part of every day life. Supernatural creatures can only come and go in this town through Touchstones, sort of like magical anchors. Abby is a Touchstone for a Faerie named Moira. Trouble is, Abby is spectacularly ignorant and gets in way over her head when patron Moira disappears. There are incubi, angels (called Celestials), Faeries, pixies, miniature unicorns and more.  Like I said, interesting premise. The writing could be a bit better. I’m mildly interested in seeing what happens next in the series, but I’m not going to be running out to get the next book. More likely I’ll wait until I’m desperate for something new to read. Rating: C-.

Demon Bound by Caitlin Kittredge. This is the next installment of the Black London series. I like this series because its very gritty. It’s kind of reminiscent of the old pulp novel.  Both main characters, Jack and Pete, are hard living, drinking, smoking, cussing people. The novel starts out with Jack having been dragged to Hell (end of the last novel) and Pete trying to pick up the pieces. Trouble is, being Jack’s girl is closing more doors than it opens. I really want to see what happens in the next novel. Rating: A to A+.

That’s all for now. More in the next post. If anyone has suggestions, I’m looking for new books to read.

Hawk and Fisher

It’s been a while since I posted a review but it was somewhat unavoidable. I followed up a visit with by the parental units with a nice week long or so cold.  At any rate, I’m back and typing with some Simon R. Green.

Simon R. Green is one of my all time favorite authors. I really love his snarkiness and his creativity.  The very first books I ever read were his Hawk and Fisher novels.  After that I was hooked.  At that point and time, the six novels had been turned into two omnibus books.

The Hawk and Fisher novels are not set in modern times, but neither are they exactly historical.  I suppose if I had to say it was set in a particular time period, I would call it medieval times.  This is a place where magic is an every day thing and non-human creatures are around.

The books are all set in a town called Haven, a misnomer if there ever was one.  Haven is a town almost like the Nightside, where you can buy or sell anything up to and including your soul.  They even have their own Street of the Gods.

Hawk and Fischer are Watch commanders (policemen) in Haven.  They patrol the worst area of the city (of course) and generally get the worst cases to go along with it.  They’re the only members of the Watch who can’t be bought or bullied and that generally pisses off most people in Haven, even their commanders.  Or especially their commanders.

These books are now only available in two omnibus editions I believe: Swords of Haven and Guards of Haven.  The individual stories are:

  • Hawk&Fischer (No Haven for the Guilty)
  • Winner Take All
  • The God Killer
  • Wolf in the Fold
  • Guard Against Dishonor
  • The Bones of Haven (Two Kings in Haven)

They are a great blend of a police procedural and a fantasy novel.  Green brings in his usual dry English wit along with his amazing imagination into each story.  You don’t have to read them in order to enjoy them.  There is a sort of follow up story that wraps up Blue Moon Rising and the Hawk&Fischer stories called Beyond the Blue Moon.  It starts up in Haven and ends in the Forest Kingdom arc.

These were the stories that got me hooked on Simon R. Green. I highly recommend them. A+