That is the name of a book, not something I’ve decided to do to the site (much to someone’s chagrin I’m sure). At any rate, I have now secured a job (yay!) so I will be reading over lunch and likely going through more books than I have recently since I can now afford to buy new ones (yay!).

So, on to Indexing. This book was written by Seanan McGuire as a serial for Amazon’s Kindle service. You pay your money and every couple of weeks, you get a new chapter until you finish the book, which I have just done. I did this as a trial and while it has a certain amount of appeal (new chapters are automatically downloaded and attached to the end of the current chapter, even if you aren’t finished with it), it can also be frustrating when the writer doing it is as good as Seanan McGuire.

And now the plot! This was really imaginative! There is an entity called the ATI Management Bureau (ATI = Aarn-Thomas Index or something to the like. It’s been a long time since I read the beginning of the book). The job of the ATI bureau is to keep the incursion of fairy tales into the ‘real world’ at a minimum. We’re not talking about something like the movie Enchanted where a Disney princess from an animated realm pops into Central Park (or wherever, I didn’t see that movie).

No, we’re talking about fairy tales latching on to a person and forcing them to live out the story of a Snow White, a Sleeping Beauty, a Little Mermaid etc. And the thing about fairy tales is that, if you read the original versions of a lot of them, they aren’t very nice. Often times when a story takes over someone’s life, it kills that person or someone close to them. Or otherwise ruins their lives.

The lead character is a lady by the name of Henrietta “Henry” Marchen. Henry is a Snow White in waiting: hair as black as coal, skin as white as snow, lips as red as roses. At any time, with the right trigger (generally taking a bite of an apple), she could go full on Snow White. She works with a man named Jeff who is a fully activated tale (in his story he is a cobbler). When he activated, he blew his entire savings on shoes. Now he’s an archivist for the ATI, the source of knowledge for his team.

Also on Henry’s team is a punk “young” woman named Sloane. Sloane is an “averted” (though I can’t remember if we ever find out how she was “averted”) Wicked Stepsister. This means she is a bitch and tends to think about doing serious bodily harm to Henry (because Snow White, a good character). Because she was averted from going full on Wicked Stepsister (generally this equals murderous), she has the ability to sense when a tale is near and is really very good at breaking whichever cursed story is trying to come into being.

Finally, there is Andy. Andy is a plain old normal human. He has no story that he resembles and is therefore generally immune from the effects some stories might have on the near activated or fully activated team members. And he’s a married gay man. Which really has nothing to do with the plot but I do love it when a writer shows they’re not afraid to ‘go there’, so to speak. 🙂

At any rate, it is their job to stop or contain fairy tale encroachment on the real world because it tends to wreak havoc. For instance, Sleeping Beauties that have a strong enough back story to them can put even regular people to sleep. And none of them will wake up until the Beauty wakes up which could either mean they’ll all sleep for 100 years or they need the kiss of a Prince.  Goldilocks’ tend to attract bears. Real ones. Guess who often ends up mauled?

Henry’s team purposefully activates a tale in order to end another one, a female Pied Piper (usually Pipers are men but this girl had all the tags and so Bob’s your uncle). They get in a lot of trouble over this but they take the girl under their collective wings. She is, understandably, not happy about what they did and later on she turns into something of a bad guy (late SPOILERS).

After that, cases start piling up at an alarming rate. So the team has to figure out what is going on before its too late.  Will Henry go full on Snow White? Will Sloane become a Wicked Stepsister? And who is behind all of this? I challenge you to read the book and find out. And since it is officially complete now, you should be able to get this in one go now but I don’t know for certain.

I really loved this book and always wished that each chunk I got was longer than it was because I’d zoom through it. However, I did have a couple of issue. One, there was very little explanation of how the ATI came about. Who first noticed these incursions? How did he/she/they convince others of it? How did they figure out how to stop things? And two, McGuire kept using code (like 709 is Snow White…I think) but there’s no glossary at the front or back of the book that we could reference. It would have been nice to have a little summation of a couple of these tales because its been a while since I’ve read any of them and some of them are obscure. For instance, growing up the version of Snow White that I heard never mentioned a sister named Rose Red. In the book Snow White and Snow White with a Rose Red are two differently indexed tales, even though they are a similar story. So it can get a little confusing if you’re doing this chunk by chunk.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that I would love, love, love to read a sequel. I’d like to see the characters explored a bit more. So very much worth the read. I love unique takes on beloved old fairy tales. Rating: A.

The Better to See You

This is the follow-up to the previously reviewed RedThe Better to See You by Kate SeRine features a fairy godmother by the name of Lavender Seelie. Or I should say The fairy godmother. She is Cinderella’s fairy godmother and she, along with Aladdin’s (called Al Addin in these books) djinn, was responsible for opening up the rift between Make Believe and the Here And Now. Lavender is an alcoholic.  She’s spent the years following the rift opening drinking away her guilt and being a virtual slave to James (the prince) and Cinderella Charming.

Lavender’s magic has been, for want of a better term, on the fritz since the rift opened. She drinks to dampen her magic, or at least her ability to do magic. Until Red Little came along in the first book and helped her get clean.  So when James Charming came along and threatened her (reason for the threat is unclear), Lavender defend herself and burnt down James and Cinderella’s mansion. And shrunk James’ (a serial cheater) penis. Red Little wisely suggests that Lavender get out of Dodge (or in this case, Chicago) and sends her to a place in the Pacific Northwest called the Refuge.

The Refuge takes in Tales who have not been able to blend in to the Here And Now.  Its a safe place for Tales and the occasional Ordinary where they can be themselves. If they have magic, they can use it openly. If they’re a werewolf or such, they can be so openly.

So Lavender hits the road after getting a little financial help from mom and dad (purveyors of medicinal fairy dust). She runs into trouble when her GPS gets her lost and then she gets attacked from a hellhound. She’s rescued by none other than the Big Bad Wolf himself, Seth Wolf. He takes her home, despite his supreme dislike and distrust of all magic wielders, and nurses her back to health.

One thing leads to another and there is a gratuitous amount of Lavender/Seth sexy times. She finds a job and a growing mystery of disappearing tales and Ordinary murders. Someone’s after Seth and also after Lavender. Who is it? What is their end game?  Read the book to find out!

This was a very good follow up to Red and I highly recommend the both of them. They’re quite imaginative. I’ve already pre-ordered the third book (due out August 1), Along Came a Spider. Rating: A

500 Kingdoms-The Fairy Godmother

And I’m back! Its been a while, I know but  its been busy, busy so far this year! Both good and bad I guess. 🙂 At any rate, I just plowed through Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms novels recently. Normally I don’t go for the sort of pure fantasy novels. I prefer urban fantasy with guns and cars and pop culture jokes. Shallow of me perhaps but there you are. But I could not put these books down! These six books are new retellings of classic fairy tales that we all grew up with such as the Snow Queen and Sleeping Beauty.

Each book can be read on its own, which his nice, but they all tie together as well. The 500 Kingdoms are affected by a force called the Tradition. The Tradition is basically what happens when a story gets told and retold so often that it starts affecting the lives of people. Little girls with a nasty stepmother and two nasty stepsisters will find herself in a Cinderella type situation. Unfortunately, the Tradition isn’t perfect and doesn’t really care what the people themselves want. Sometimes the potential Cinderella will be a young lady who lives in a kingdom with an infant prince. She can’t have a happily ever after like that so what happens then? Why the Fairy godmothers of course! Godmothers are just very powerfully magic human women (though there are some real fairies in these tales) who are Tradition scholars and can manipulate it into a happy ending. They can transform a Cinderella into a Sleeping Beauty if that’s what it takes to get a happy ending.

The first book is The Fairy Godmother and it starts out with a sort of traditional Cinderella tale. The main character Elena Klovis has the nasty, wasteful stepmother (think Baroness de Ghent in Ever After) and the two nasty stepsisters and the deceased father. And, as hinted above, the prince in her kingdom is an infant. But Elena is far from helpless. She’s smart and determined to escape her currently life and make a better one for herself. She gets her chance when the stepmother decides to run from her creditors with her two daughters and try to marry them to quality in another kingdom.

Once the stepmother leaves and the creditors ransack the house, Elena goes to the town square to try and set herself up as a housekeeper. Everyone in town knows that Elena can clean, cook and mend and yet at the end of the day not one of them offers her a job. Just as you start feeling sorry for Elena, the ubiquitous ‘mysterious woman’ comes along and snatches her up. Of course, this woman is the Fairy Godmother for Elena’s kingdom. Since Elena was in a failed Cinderella story, the Tradition forced so much magic into her trying to make her fit a set path that Elena has the opportunity to become a Godmother and not just a mere servant. So the woman takes Elena to train

There is quite a bit of cliche in these books but I suppose one can only do so much to refresh well known fairy tales. Most of us could probably recent at least the gist of these stories in our sleep by the time we reach adulthood. Lackey keeps it from being a really yawner by throwing in a bunch of monkey wrenches at once to the newly minted Godmother Elena.  At this point you’re wondering if Elena will keep her cool and fix things or break down like so many typical female characters in a variety of stories and media. Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out!

I think this is definitely aimed more towards women than men. Not that there isn’t good fighting and puzzles but really, it’s fairy tales. I’m pretty sure my husband would find these stories dreadfully dull. 🙂  All in all, I’d rate this book a B+ and I really think that they get better from here, since this book really had to lay out the whole world Lackey created.