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12/04/2004 Entry: "Edith's Not-So-Recent Reads -- Shinn, Caine, Dunkle, etc."

To Weave Web of Magic

TO WEAVE A WEB OF MAGIC anthology

Note that I'm not a fan of novellas since, for me, they're generally too short. That should explain most of my reaction to these stories.

Sharon Shinn's story was the strongest. It's about a young Manadavvi heiress yearning for a bad-boy angel. I didn't understand why these two people should fall in love given their very limited meetings and interactions. Pleasant story but not unforgettable. This story takes place some years after ARCHANGEL, so the high points for me were the glimpses of Gabriel, Rachel, and their wonderful, young, responsible son.

Patricia McKillip's story of the artist who learns to see the person behind the woman he uses as a model was interesting but not particulary involving. Usually her writing draws me in no matter how strange her story, but this time didn't do much for me. I just wanted to thwack the hero in the head and say OPEN YOUR EYES.

Lynn Kurland's story about a young boy who begs his parents for his favorite story of derring-do started charmingly. The father relates the tale of a high-born young girl who flees from an arranged marriage and searches for a mage to help her decode her dead mother's book. She arrives at a run-down castle where the peasant who inhabits the place turns out to be (surprise) the hero. He's handsome, she's beautiful, it's predictable, blah blah blah.

I didn't read the Delacroix story because I figured it would be as predictable as the Kurland.--Edith

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UNDEAD AND UNWED by MaryJanice Davidson (not a romance -- yet?)

I read this one and thought it was barely OK. It's about a woman who dies but becomes one of the undead. Mostly it's about the heroine understanding her new status (she has some cool powers) and her fight with the head of the undead. It appears to have the beginnings of a romance in it.

My biggest problem was with the heroine's attitude: she has too much of it. This went beyond feisty, IMO, to a bit stupid. She doesn't know the limits of her new powers yet is mouthy towards people who could harm her. In spite of the fact that the nasty people could hurt her friends and family, she doesn't rein herself in.

And what's with the new chicklit trend that heroines have to be really into shoes? I am *so* sick of Manolo Blahniks mentioned in all the chicklit stories. What a pathetic lame overworn female stereotype. FWIW, I am a person who has two pairs of tennis shoes (white & black), two paris of sandals (white & black), and two pairs of dress shoes (guess the colors!).

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HEAT STROKE by Rachel Caine

Heat Stroke
I loved the first Rachel Caine book, ILL WIND, and think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I hadn't just read MaryJanice Davidson's UNDEAD AND UNWED. Unfortunately this one also had a heroine with attitude who is into SHOES. I started out thinking "Geeze, not again!" but was quickly drawn into the story. There were two huge weak points, however, and they both came at the end of the book. The first comes when the heroine refuses to take advantage of the opportunity to kill a person who is the personification of evil. This pissed me off. If she’s going to be written as strong and feisty, then it would be really nice if she had some balls instead of being a pathetic soft-hearted weenie. The other weak point was the confusing and unsatisfying explanation of the "blue sparkle" phenomenon. So all in all, I'd give this a mild recommendation. Fun, but flawed.--Edith

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Close Kin
CLOSE KIN by Clare B. Dunkle

I finished CLOSE KIN Friday and liked it but didn't think it was as good as THE HOLLOW KINGDOM. Charm did make one appearance. I like him (it?) so much that I noticed.--Edith

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--TO WEAVE A WEB OF MAGIC at Amazon
--HEAT STROKE at Amazon
--CLOSE KIN at Amazon
--UNDEAD AND UNWED at Amazon


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