First off, I've been getting this buzz that the site cannot be commented upon. It looks pretty easy. There is this box that says comment that lets you type, but then it gets tricky. A polite few words ask you to "comment as:" and a scroll bar gives you a little list with Google and AIM and Live Journal and the like on it. Because we all know nobody is anybody unless that nobody has profiles on line. I tried to make that sentence weirder, but I couldn't think of a way. Basically, you have to sign up with one of those web communicating system. Since I am hanging on blogger, and since it is direly easy, I suggest "Google." I believe if you hit "Google" on that bar it should lead you forward to get your very own id with just a few questions. If not, google google, I mean "gmail." The steps are painless. Basically pick out a unique name and a password. Once you have those two items, you may sign into google, and onto my comments. Click, bling, and post.
Okay, meat of the post:
Tempest Rising, Nicole Peeler.
Summary: Jane True, 26, lives with her slightly feeble father and takes care of him, despite the fact she is a pariah in the small main town in which she lives. Her mother was a pariah, so her daughter is a pariah. Also because her boyfriend drowned trying to save her from the deadly whirlpool, the Sow, she swims next to every day. But he didn't know that.
So when another body shows up in the Sow while Jane is cavorting beside it, she feels a bit put upon, plus guilty, scared and like puking as she fishes him out. After that, she figures her weird quotient for her life.
Little knows Jane, that is only the beginning. The next day Jane heads home from her job at Read 'Em and Weep--the local bookstore run by fabulously butch, Tracy, and lipsticky-porn star, Grizelda, lesbians and some of her only friends and supports in town--when she is chased to meet a gnome and a demented sea pony/seaweed pubes almost human Kelpie. Short and the long of it, Jane True has splashed into a conspiracy beyond her belief where a world of supernaturals exists within and without the world of humans. Jane is dragged headlong into it, most of which she doesn't mind since a) she's part of it, since her mother was a selkie, and b) the dragging is done by a really, really hot investigator/baobhan sith, more commonly known as vampire. But he feeds mostly off emotion and only a little blood.
I started off with Jane True a while ago before the girl was the shit. I read her quietly as I did not review then. Heading into Jane True's small town world in Rockabill, Maine, and her book store life made me warm and fuzzy inside, as a pleasant two years of my life were spent shelving books. Tracy and Grizelda were at once my favorite part of the book as they were well drawn characters and brought the life out of a bit annoyingly cowed Jane. At the same time, I felt a bit guilty as I did not see why they had to be the butch and lipstick lesbian cliché. True, Peeler took it to the hilarious max as Tracy carried herself like she played rugby and Grizzy dressed like she was David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days. Couldn't one of them have just been an average woman, not screaming one form of lesbian or the other? So that irked me a bit, but they were also fun, dynamic characters, so I gave them a pass.
I found the first three quarters of the book rollicking good fun. I really enjoy Peeler's sense of humor. I like that our heroine isn't a supermodel, thought I was annoyed this busty, curvy girl turned out to be a petite six--for all us REAL big boned grrls out there. One of the only things I liked about Ryu is that he liked her despite Peeler often points out she is imperfect. Jane does a great job of fainting, reviving, taking on faith, and slowly owning the supernatural world. The progression of her emotions feels quite real and valid. And she does it all with a saracastic vibe I adore.
Peeler does the type of world building I think a lot of people don't much notice. She creates a small main town, used to be fishing, now tourism of the Sow. Her people reflect this vibe. The attempt to draw attention by the businesses by naming everything after pigs is laughably, painfully realistic.
I love mythology. I love putting mythology in books. I love reading about mythology put into books. So I am bound to have some strong opinions, right? Ahem. Ryu, the vampire, as I have said, calls himself baobhan sith, and claims to mostly feed off emotions. I'll give it to her. The feeding off emotions, with a little blood, is an interesting concept that allows her to have the seductive vamp act without the fear of death or becoming a vamp, since he is alive and supernatural, not undead human. But I'm a bit of a stickler on my vampires. I can't help it. I was raised a vampire purist. Many a night up past all reasonable hours I watched all manor of vampire flicks with my dad. See, as a kid, I had horrible, screaming nightmares of vamps. So I took control when I got older.
I'm still beating myself, kneeling down and screaming "Why??" did I make up two good vampires in Weaver's Web. No matter I followed other vampire dictates to death and it made an interesting story and twist on an old one.
Enough with the divergence into me-land. The fact is baobhan sith means "fairy woman." She doesn't come out in the day. She doesn't touch iron (being fairy). She wears a green dress to cover what were either hooves or very sharp nails with which she sliced and then drank to death unwary travelers.
This man has not one of her traits.
He is barely a vampire.
Obviously part of what makes using mythology cool is seeing the ways in which you can use it, but slightly change and revitalize it. But, Come on! She made up a whole new creature, which is fine, but don't tell us vampire freaks or mythology lovers that you are doing anything else!
Plus, I love sex as much--actually apparently more--than the next girl. So I am split here. I love Peeler for down and dirty sex with only a few embarrassing euphemisms. Her heat actually gets me hot. Plus, give the girl props for not being afraid to swear. Gut I get really bored of Ryu exuding sex. Giving him a funny laugh and a love of Manga does not hide the fact you are creating someone, other than some emotional unavailable traits, the perfect guy. It's annoying. We know that in the long term of the series we are all rooting for the dog, anyway (that makes sense later, don't worry).
I'm hip to the book, despite my mythology whining, until they get out of my beloved Rockabill and go to a very fantasy-fantasy court setting. I'm not giving away the (plot) climax, but it is lame. Even given the fact she can't light off her big finale fireworks since this is obviously a series. I hope this isn't saying too much, but as much as Jane was new and couldn't do the heavy lifting, I hated that after all the feminist sounding Jane (and Peeler), Jane is saved. I just wish Jane could have saved Jane.
Well. That concludes this catch up on fantasy. I made an attempt to read the second book but I got turned off by the repeated perfect, turned on, and down and dirty Ryu references. Ask anyone who knows me. That's saying a lot.
Who knows? Maybe I'll give it another go and let you know how we like each other this time through.