Friday, April 28, 2017

(Fewer Than 13 Reasons) Why "13 Reasons Why" is Important

Although I finished watching Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” more than a couple weeks ago, now, it’s taken me a little while to corral my thoughts. (Granted, I’ve been busy, but attributing the length of time to only that would be disingenuous; this was one of those series which struck a chord or three.)

[I should mention here that "13" is based on a Young Adult fiction book by Jay Asher under the same name, "Thirteen Reasons Why", which I have not yet read... but may well look into, after this.]

Initially I bypassed “13”, on purpose—not because I knew what the subject matter was (which I did), but because of an (unfounded) assumption that it was probably just another in a string of annoying, modern-teenagers-acting-out pieces (which, at my age, I’m SO OVER).

I’m really glad I was wrong. And, I’m glad that curiosity (fate?) led me to push the “play” button on my remote one night, when searching for something to watch while I worked out.

For anyone who doesn’t know—and this is not a spoiler—“13” is about the suicide of a 17-year-old girl (“Hannah”)… all the events which inexorably led to her last and (very) final act, the parts that other people played (and, interestingly, how they were viewing the same events and circumstances), and—of course—the repercussions which followed.

One interesting choice the writer(s) made was Hannah’s use of audio cassette tapes (yeah, as in “the 1980s are calling, and want their mix tapes back”) to convey her thought processes to everyone she left behind, post mortem. (This actually didn’t ring true for me, since she wasn’t a Luddite; she used her cell phone—exactly as most of us do, and as the other kids in the story did [with great effect regarding several key plot points, no less]—all the time, throughout the series, which would’ve made recording digitally—both audio AND video—way more likely. Still, the tapes and boomboxes were a little blast from the past for Gen Xers [and earlier], so a nifty plot contrivance, at least.)

And sure, the teens were—in some ways—just as annoying as I expected… but much more importantly, they were just as I remembered… and that, to an adult (especially one who doesn’t have any children) is where this series really shines: in its ability to put you right back in the middle of your own high school career, feeling Every Little Thing—whether it be a joy or a slight—so very, very deeply.

It seems that things—people, in particular—haven’t really changed, despite the aforementioned Gen Xers' (and beyond) insistence that “kids these days”… know nothing, have no clue what “it” was like, etc. High-school girls are shown to still be catty, fickle, and often cruel to/about each other, and their male counterparts are depicted as over-sexed, cocky, and way too into their own statuses to be aware that anyone else even has feelings. (See? Just like when I was younger, and no doubt, when you were, as well.)

Well… at least the “popular” kids still regularly exhibit such traits. The less-popular—from the misfits to the brains to the “just-plain-different”—have their own things (although typically not quite as hurtful to others, by sheer dint of understanding what it feels like to be slighted, and trying a little harder not to do so). The point is, ALL of them are dealing with their own STUFF… and, just like the adults we run into every day—friends in real life, people we know on Facebook, or strangers in the news—not everyone deals with his/her stuff successfully.

What “13” really got right, to me, then, is that concept: every single person is affected by all sorts of things… but each individual’s reactions to the same/similar things may be vastly different… so different, in fact, that we may not have any inkling that someone else is going down the tubes, circling the drain, or ready to pull the plug. (Just how many sayings with negative connotations having to do with water are there, anyway??)

Did “13” successfully take me back? Hell, yes, it did. And were they comfortable, those memories? Some, sure… but there were plenty that were anything but pleasant, too. I even shed a few tears (though not, I suspect, where the writers expected me to).

As for the overarching “lessons”—in what my admittedly-jaded self longs to refer to as a “glorified, thirteen-episode-after-school special” (which again, is something Gen Xers will get)— what of them? Was anything solved, were there any brilliant pieces of new wisdom that came through? Well, no. Teenagers will, it’s no great stretch to assume, likely always be some combination of cruel and unthinking to each other (and don’t even go into how they are with adults; anyone who is no longer a teen remembers what a mess all of that was). And technology and social media—which have only increased the scope of how such damages can be done—are surely not going away, ever, so there’s that, too.

In the end, the best we can do, I think, is probably not all that different from what our parents and other adults tried to do, back whenever… Pay attention. Be aware. Ask questions. Have uncomfortable conversations. Set boundaries and enforce rules. Be compassionate. And hold onto a hell of a lot of hope, because when one person does slip through the cracks? It creates a hole we are all left trying to figure out how to fill… which is, when you think about it, really just as it should be.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Librarians Only WISH Their Jobs Could Be So Fascinating...

The Masked Library is the second in author Genevieve Cogman's "Invisible Library" series, and certainly has much to recommend it as a follow-up to the first in the series, The Invisible Library. We continue following the activities of Irene, a young (but not too-young) librarian, which... well, let's refresh a bit first, shall we?

In Cogman's well-constructed environment, there are actually multiple worlds (and alternate worlds) in existence, most of which have some level of magical powers present. (Think a sort-of-Steampunk-meets-magic place, as Irene's current base of operations is a Victorian London.) The fae and other magical folk, not-too surprisingly, can move between these worlds; regular humans can only do so with a little magical help. And then, there are the Librarians--normal-ish people who study, intern, and are eventually hired by great institutions known as Libraries--who can move between the worlds (along with being able to do a host of other useful things, when needed) by their use of a special Language (and generally, a proximity to books, if not an actual library). The Librarians' main purpose is to--ehem, acquire--rare books for the particular Library where each of them is employed... by whatever means necessary (and yes, you should draw your own conclusions from there).

In this outing, Irene isn't tasked with finding a book, but rather, takes off on her own when her apprentice--the (only-slightly-younger-than-herself) dragon, Kai--is abducted by a nefarious husband-&-wife fae duo and transported to another world (an alt-version of Victorian-era Venice, as it happens)... one in which his own powers (not to mention, that of his family) are very weak.

Cogman's descriptions--particularly as seen through her protagonist, Irene's, eyes--are sumptuous... but therein lies part of the problem, for me; the author tends to go on, a bit, leaving me to skim long passages while searching for the next thing (as in anything) to happen. Some of the scenes with multiple characters are much the same; after I, as the reader, had "gotten the point" in a scene, it would have behooved Cogman to pick up the pace, again, rather than belaboring said point(s). In other words, another pass of editing may well have tightened things up just enough to omit the definite lags I experienced. (Visuals can only carry one so far, before one wearies of a sight... no matter how breathtaking or fascinating that sight might be.)

Still--provided you're willing to put yourself through a bit of wading-&-skimming--I'm give this book a strong recommendation, on the basis that it's a competent continuation of an interesting, compelling series which sets itself apart from other Steampunk-ish/historical-urban-fantasy tales by sheer dint of originality.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

If You Could See Me Now, Daddy...

How much I have to thank you for, Daddy... today and always.

"Daddyback Ride" (circa a long time ago... :))

You passed along not only your passion for books to me, but also your love of movies and TV.

What would you have thought of all the iterations of James Bond since last you walked this mortal coil? Even the lesser ones would've left you grinning like a giddy kid, I'm sure. (Likewise with the Mission Impossible and Bourne franchises; it's hard to top spies, great action scenes, and thrilling car chases.)

You'd have loved "Hell on Wheels" as much as I do (even though it involves neither of your favorite western actors, John Wayne or Clint Eastwood).

That delicious mashup of space-opera, western, and action-adventure otherwise known as "Firefly"? The boxed set absolutely would have found its way into one of your birthday boxes... and you'd have been elated. 

The re-imagined "Battlestar Galactica"? Oh, yeah... you would've been all over that, without a doubt. (Of course, you also would've ADORED my very own Boomer, and he, you. :))

The Uncooperative Captain Boomer
And as for "Star Trek", well... let's just say you'd have been absolutely fascinated with the path it has taken over the years, and where it is--and more importantly, where I am--today. If only you could see me now, Daddy... you'd be smiling our trademark crooked grins from ear to ear. :)

So here's to you, Dad... and all those parts of you, whether great or small, that live on through me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mini-Reviews: A Roundup of Recent Reads, Part I

Okay, since this lack of blogging/reviewing stuff on my part has now reached proportions of epic ridiculousness--I mean, seriously... how long has it been?--I've decided to do something never done before (erm, by me), and commit to writing some itty-bitty little reviews of the things I've read since... well, since last I put fingers to keyboard here. Sound good? Righty-o, then... and away we go!

The Gods of Guilt (Michael Connelly)

Connelly's cool legal eagle, Mickey Haller (first seen in The Lincoln Lawyer, as the attorney who conducts a major part of his work from the backseat of a chauffeured Lincoln Continental), is back for another case, this one involving someone from his past--a former client he'd befriended along the way, who used to be a prostitute, before Mickey helped her find another life path... or so he thought. Turns out, the ex-pro was still active, and something he did may have just gotten her killed. It's when someone else dies--again, because of Mickey (at least, sort of)--that the story really gains its oomph, though, as we watch guilt eating away at a man struggling to cope with all the repercussions of his actions.   

Like previous entries in the series, Connelly excels in making the oh-so-imperfect Mickey a sympathetic and fascinating character, and gives his hero plenty of interesting foils to play off of, as well. Connelly consistently writes really good legal thrillers, and The Gods of Guilt is no exception. 

Carniepunk (multiple authors)  

Sometimes, you just have to read something because it doesn't necessarily interest you... and such was the case with Carniepunk, which I ended up reading solely because of the authors. (I have a deep and abiding dislike of all things "carnie", hence some major psyching up before buying the Kindle version and then, finally delving into it.) 

As is the case with pretty much all anthologies, the short stories therein were a mixed bag; some, I really enjoyed, others I could've taken or left, and a couple just didn't grab me at all. Overall, though, it's a fun mix of horror-with-some-supernatural-elements box of tricks, here, and with each tale being brief (and easy enough to skip entirely, if one really doesn't work for you), Carniepunk is a neat thing to have on hand when your reading time is severely limited, but you want something a little... different.

Rogues (multiple authors) 

Yep, you guessed it--Rogues is another collection of short stories, this time focussing on central characters who may all be considered "roguish" (think likably-naughty, irreverent, and typically irresistible) in behavior. With twenty-one stories to choose from, penned by a bevy of popular, well-regarded authors (many from the world of fantasy, but others, as well), it would be hard to miss with this one, right?

Sort of, yeah. While there were, again, a couple of pieces I just couldn't get into, and some that were basically "meh", enough captured my fancy that I can recommend this compilation. (The foreword by George R.R. Martin, alone, was worth the price of the whole kit-and-caboodle, for me--although surprisingly, I found his entry among the tales to be of the "meh" ilk. Go figure.)

You (Caroline Kepnes) 

One of the most surprising, utterly fascinating, and horrifying books I've read this year, You isn't quite like anything else I’ve ever come across... and to me, that's a very good thing. 

Kepnes' debut novel is a thriller for the modern age, centering on the dangers of what social media allows us to do, to control, and to know. It's also a classic tale of obsession, and the truly dark places a person obsessed can go. You is even--as improbable as it sounds--a love story (of the fractured fairy tales variety, but still)... and I couldn't help but root for Joe, the teller of the tale, in his pursuit of Beck, the woman of his dreams (or at least I rooted for him until it made me feel too squicky to do so... but honestly, you should be the judge of that). 

(As a sidenote, I should mention something really... interesting, about You: Kepnes has Joe relate the whole story as though he's telling it all to Beck--hence, the "you"--from beginning to end, in what is possibly one of the most original-slash-discomfiting choices an author has ever made.)

You gets my highest recommendation... provided you like to take walks on the dark side, because this one goes very, very dark... and I, for one, appreciated every minute of it.

The Martian (Andy Weir)

Wow, did I ever LOVE this book. Seriously.

A sci-fi tale wherein the antagonists are a planet and some really unfortunate circumstances, The Martian isn't about a little green (or any other color) alien, but about a man--a botanist doing a stint on a mission to Mars... who gets left behind, left for dead, even... on Mars. Alone.

You can't help but wonder what that would be like, of course. The stuff of nightmares, for sure. But Mark Watney refuses to give up, or to give in to the panic. Instead, he chooses to learn how to live, and how to make his time alone on the barren planet productive... even as he calculates (and recalculates) how long his food rations will last... and determines how much of a shortfall in that sustenance there will be, before another mission to Mars could possibly occur. 

Rather than populating his tale with monstrous aliens, Weir has fashioned the ultimate survival story with The Martian, pitting one man against seemingly-insurmountable odds in an immensely-compelling way. (The fact that Watney doesn't go stark-raving bonkers within the first week, as the magnitude of the situation he faces sets in, is a miracle, and would be reason enough to want desperately for him to succeed. The fact that he isn't a "real" astronaut--someone with a lifelong love of space, who pursued the stars as his life's passion--but is instead a sorta "regular" guy from a whole other field, just further endears him to me; this is a guy I can root for… and did, from the first to the last page of Weir’s book.)

There is nothing—not one single thing—I didn’t love about The Martian, so my recommendation is simply this: Read it.

So, there you go--a few things you may want to put on your list (because it's always good to have a list, right?). More capsule reviews to come...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Luck be a Lady (or two)... an Interview with author Deborah Coonts

Ahh, Las Vegas... a place unlike any other. The inescapable, mega-watt glitz of colorful lights blinking 24/7,  against a crazy, ever-present backdrop of electronic slot machine "music"... glamour, both ersatz and genuine, in the showy hotel facades with their exotic themes and lavish decor, and the exclusive designer shoppes tucked within their cavernous interiors... feather-and-glitter-clad cigarette girls and hostesses, rubbing elbows on the casino floors with cargo-shorts-and-flip-flops-wearing visitors and suit-wearing conventioneers... and all of it found every day of the year in a little desert oasis. Love it or hate it, it's something you've got to experience at least once.

Me, I love spending time there, for the sensory overload and feeling of escape. It isn't always feasible to go on a little road trip (or long plane ride, as the case may be) to indulge in all that is Vegas, though... which is why I enjoy Deborah Coonts' ongoing series set in Sin City, the "Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure" books. A little mystery, a little romance--and always a little over-the-top--her books are a fun, frothy bit of escapism (with a dash of behind-the-scenes reality thrown in).

I got the chance to interview Ms. Coonts earlier this month, before the release of her latest Lucky adventure--Lucky Catch--and we discussed her writing process, characters, and, of course, Vegas, itself.

GlamKittyWhat are the best/worst (or easiest/hardest) parts about writing Lucky?

Deborah CoontsThe beginning of the story is always the hardest for me. Where is the exact right place to begin? It’s not always as easy as it sounds. And finding that sweet spot (or not) can make a huge difference. Also, since I write each book as a stand-alone, I must introduce the setting, the characters, and, in a way, the whole story line as it affects the characters up to that point, in each story. I strive to introduce all of this in a unique and interesting way, which can be a challenge the more times I do it.

GKIf you could take one character from the Lucky series and spin her/him off into a new series of books, whom would it be?

DCOh, that’s easy. In fact, I had a spin-off in mind from almost the beginning. I would take Fredericka (Flash) Gordon, Lucky’s best friend and investigative reporter, as a spin-off character. Flash is as strong a personality as Lucky with her own unique voice and perspective. And she is not a corporate executive like Lucky so she can be a bit naughtier, a bit edgier, and get into darker, tighter spots. She’s into kinkier sex and bad boys, and sees the boundaries as a bit blurry on accession, which would be soooo much fun to write.  Although, I have to have a glass of wine (or two) when writing sex scenes as it is, so this could be problematic☺

GKIs there a character you now regret killing off? A story arc you wish you'd taken another way?

DCMy biggest regret so far, and I don’t have many, is that I didn’t quite envision Lucky as a series when I wrote the first book. In that story, I divulged a secret about Lucky’s parentage that I would’ve stretched out a bit. And I made the romance a bit too tidy. But, once the cat was out of the bag, I couldn’t stuff it back in, so no use worrying about it. And the romance? As romances are wont to do, has its rough patches going forward. Thankfully, I was smart enough not to killer the bad guy, a former lover of Lucky’s. He’s coming back…

GKIf Lucky's stories were being made into, say, a Netflix series, whom would you cast in the main roles, if it were up to you (and everyone said yes, money were no object, etc.)?

DCCameron Diaz as Lucky. Ashley Judd as Mona. Meryl Streep at Miss P. De Niro as the Big Boss. Hugh Hackman as Teddie (or anyone he want’s to play). That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Pretty much blew the casting budget, right☺ Hey, if you’re gonna dream, dream BIG!!!

GKIf you had to describe Vegas to someone who had never heard of it, how would you do so, in a couple (or few) sentences?

DCVegas: a city where anything is possible. A fantasy where the real world retreats, and dreams loom large. Where fun, no matter how you define it, is a priority. But like a mirage, it lasts only for a little while…. dissipating under the glare of the sun, the harsh light of reality, only to reappear after a bit to be enjoyed anew.

Lucky Catch will be released on August 26, and looks to be another fun romp. (Expect a review once I've had time to finish reading it, as always.) In the meantime, be sure to check out my other reviews and discussions of earlier Lucky escapades, here
And many thanks to Ms. Coonts for the chance to pick her brain a little! :) 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Year the Zombies Invaded the Con

A long time ago in an itty-bitty town far, far away… there lived a bookish little girl, who’d been saddled by her peers with a (to her way of thinking) less-than-ideal nickname. No cutesy monikers flattering personality, energy, or looks for her; instead, what she got stuck with alluded to her undeniable geekiness (as though the oversized glasses and ever-present stack of books didn’t already make things clear enough).

Times have changed a lot since then, though (and hoo-boy, thank the Quantum field for that). Now, it’s actually cool to let your geek flag fly… to show off your knowledge of anything and everything, to sport nerdy (though rarely huge, thank you, fashion gods) spectacles, mismatched patterns, and thrift shop finds, and to revel in pursuits requiring brainpower instead of brawn.

Oh, and, to convene in unbelievably-ginormous numbers at yearly mega-conventions—aka “cons”—to celebrate things now part of pop culture which used to be seen as geeky or weird, from comic books and anime to sci-fi, fantasy, and horror (and quirky mashups of all the above). 

In other words, the geeks have inherited the earth; we’ve won.

Until something which trumps geek-chic comes along and spoils everything, that is…as just so happens in Mira Grant’s San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
~ / ~ / ~ / ~ / ~

Among other things, summer is the peak of “con season” (as those in the know refer to the time of year when at least one con can be found somewhere pretty much every single week/weekend), and July 2014 boasted the grand poobah of them all: San Diego Comic Con, which drew an estimated 130,000 attendees from around the world. 

It was the first night of the con—“Preview Night”—when those with special passes could get into the seller halls the evening before anyone else could (all the better to score some incredible deals, especially of the limited-edition or one-of-a-kind variety). The vendors had been rushing about unloading and setting up their booths all day, but the time was finally nigh; the halls were officially open for business, and an excitable crowd was pouring through the various doors, after flashing their shiny new badges at the guards.

If only it had just been the regular motley assortment of fans more-or-less politely pushing their way into the halls… but this year, something new was coming to the party. Something deadly.

No one will ever know exactly how, or who, but someone brought the dreaded Kellis-Amberlee viral strain (the genetically-engineered cure for the common cold, which comes with a humongous, bonus side order of also-turns-you-into-a-zombie-once-it-has-amplified-in-your-body, if you’ve yet to read Mira Grant’s “Newsflesh” trilogy*—which, honestly, you should really do posthaste, after reading California Browncoats) into the convention center. Naturally, in the way of all crazy-bad things, the K-A virus is gonna do next what the K-A virus does best: go into amplification mode and turn everyone it comes into close contact (think bodily fluids, mucous membranes, etc.) with into human-flesh-craving monsters, contaminating the next person, and the next, and so on… (Um, no, really. Trust me on this; that’s how it happens.)

And once the doors are locked—trapping all those innocent con-goers inside with the already-infected—only one thing is guaranteed: that no one will get out alive.

~ / ~ / ~ / ~ / ~

I’ve been to a lot of cons, but this year marked my first time attending (gulp) the San Diego Comic Con. (I purposefully waited until after the con to read this book, for what should hopefully be pretty obvious reasons, and yeah, good call.)  

Mira Grant (urban fantasy author Seanan McGuire’s sci-fi-writing alter-ego, by the way)—a long-time attendee at SDCC—clearly knows what’s what at a con, and her depictions of the setting, the atmosphere, and the people there, are spot-on. Read her words, and you’ll get a good idea of what a con is like (not that ANY words can fully prepare someone for a monster con like San Diego, though you’ll come away with the gist, at the least).   

The real power of The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, though, lies in its structure—we know from the very first pages that no one survived the tragedy—but then we meet the people who were there, and get to know them as friends, as fellow con-attendees that we might’ve chatted with in one of those interminably-long lines…before watching them fall prey to their inevitable, horrific fates. There’s an ineffable sort of sadness at being able to put yourself so firmly into their sneakers (cosplay boots, sandals, loafers, etc.), only to watch their/your dreams and fun dashed so tragically.

The Last of the California Browncoats is an homage to the geeks, the book-nerds, the cosplayers, the gamers, the role-players, and the just-plain-different, everywhere… and I, for one, am glad it wasn’t some happy-sappy-crappy ode, but a smart, thoughtful, bloody, and scary-good one. :)
GlamKitty Catnip Mousie Rating: 4.5 of 5 Scared-Smart Mousies

*See my reviews of Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" trilogy here. (Note that they appear from most-recent to earliest, so scroll to the bottom and start there...)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Monsters in the Wilds of Ohio

Last year, when giving my two cents’ worth on Midnight Blue-Light Special (the second installment in Seanan McGuire’s urban fantasy “Incryptid” series, which you can catch up on/refresh your memory about, here), I mentioned a few things of which I have no knowledge whatsoever. (And no, nothing has changed on those fronts, in case you’re wondering… including my utter lack of skill with an onion.)

That brings me to another area in which I have no personal expertise: knowing what it’s like to be the eldest child (or the middle, youngest, or any other position in the familial pecking order, for that matter, being an only, myself). Sure, I can sort of imagine what it must be like, growing up with siblings—splitting the attention, resources, space, blame, responsibility, etc.—but I’ll never actually know.

Not so with Alex Price, star of the third “Incryptid” tale, Half-Off Ragnarok. The first-born child in a branch of the family hailing from a very long line of cryptozoologists (think of them as scientists-slash-monster-wranglers), Alex is the serious one, the level-headed, even-tempered guy who has an ordinary day job… and pursues the not-for-public-consumption side of his work (observing and cataloguing various species of cryptids, or mythological-only-to-you-and-I creatures) under cover of deepest, darkest night.

Compared to younger sister Verity—who holds down a job working at a sketchy nightclub and splits the remainder of her time engaged in the competitive world of ballroom dancing and leaping across New York City rooftops in the wee hours of the night in pursuit of wayward (think badass-killing-machines) monsters—and baby sister Antimony—who is proving to be more than the proverbial handful, even at her young age—Alex is like Clark Kent: a stolid, nerdy, just plain nice guy.

Of course, when one deals with monsters on a regular basis, it’s vital to always keep one thing firmly in mind: Expect the Unexpected (and then, For Crying Out Loud, Deal With It).

Looking at it from the outside, most people probably wouldn’t envy Alex Price’s life. By day, he manages the reptile house at a Columbus (Ohio) zoo, which means handling exhibits and overseeing a tiny staff responsible for taking care of the snakes and other cold-blooded whatnots, therein. The majority of his nights are eaten up tramping through the woods of central Ohio, taking notes on the habits and lives of fricken (feathered frogs, basically), whose numbers seem to be rising at an alarmingly-dramatic pace, then writing endless reports on his findings. And occasionally, he squeezes in time to hook up with sorta-girlfriend Shelby Tanner, a visiting Aussie on assignment at the Big Cats house (think lions and tigers and leopards, oh, my). It’s a mostly-predictable sort of life, just the way Alex likes it.

But, when he and Shelby stumble—literally—across the body of their (former) co-worker one day while walking through the zoo grounds, and Alex notices that the dead guy appears to have been petrified—something which only a very few cryptids (and no humans) can do—life suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting. Then, when another body, also petrified, is found—and an attempt is made on Alex’s life—it’s clear that life isn’t just more interesting; it’s dangerous.

With the help of his grandparents (whom he’s been living with, and who possess, shall we say, rather unique skill sets of their own), and his adopted cousin (a mind-reading “cuckoo” who was injured while saving Verity’s life, and subsequently got sent from bustling-with-too-much-humanity NYC to comparatively-safe-and-quiet Ohio to hopefully speed her recuperation)—as well as some unexpected aid from another corner, Alex understands that it’s up to him to shed his Clark Kent-ish persona and find his inner Superman… saving not only himself and those he cares about, but the secret that is the very existence of cryptids, from regular Joes like you and me (who, frankly, probably wouldn’t handle knowledge of snake-haired people, fire-breathing dragons who can speak, or creatures who can turn you into stone, very well at all).

Following a bit of a slow start (which both surprised and worried me a little, as I never feel that way when I pick up anything by McGuire), Half-Off Ragnarok takes off once the action finally gets going, and I actually wound up liking Alex Price just fine. Whereas Verity has flair, passion, and runs on high-octane energy at a break-neck speed, Alex is the solid, grounded (albeit monster-chasing) Midwesterner who prefers to live life at a different pace. While there isn’t as much excitement in that, it feels true to his character and serves his story well, as do the relationships with his grandparents and cousin, and with Shelby (who, coincidentally, graduates from casual date to full-fledged girlfriend in a neat way). 

Even with Alex’s relative stodginess and normal-ness, the “Incryptid” series remains a lighter-hearted spin on urban fantasy, as created by the almost-impossibly fertile imagination of Seanan McGuire (who also brings us the incomparable October Daye series). It’s a fun diversion and an easy read, and the upcoming fourth book already has a spot waiting for its arrival on my bookshelf.  :)

GlamKitty Catnip Mousie Rating:  Mousies Worthy of a Summer Afternoon