Sunday, 21 August 2011

Reviews on Fangs for the Fantasy!

Succubus on Top, by Richelle Mead

After reading Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, I did not believe that she would ever write anything that I would read, let alone absolutely embrace. I read the first book in the series because a book club that I am involved in selected as the choice for the month and now I am absolutely HOOKED. Who knew that she was capable of creating such a wonderful world. This really makes me wonder what the hell went wrong with Vampire Academy. Okay, maybe it's not fair to compare the two because the Vampire Academy series is YA and her Georgina Kincaid series is definitely ADULT. (yes lots of sex but at least it doesn't pretend to be anything other than vanilla)

Having promised to corrupt humans using sex to save Seth's memory of his love for her, Kincaid must balance her commitment to the Archdemon Jerome and her desire to nurture her budding relationship with Seth. Throughout the book there is a lot of discussion as to whether or not it is possible to maintain a romantic relationship with a man and not actually engage in sex. This is an absolute necessity for Kincaid and Seth because every time she is sexually intimate her succubus drive takes over and she drains energy and life force from her partner. Honestly, I see quite a lot of gender essentialism in this because of the constant real men need lots and lots of sexay times to be happy. This approach also ignores that asexual people have romantic relationships all of the time.

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True Blood – SpellBound

I really looked forward to this week's episode but in the end, I found it quite disappointing. Jessica got quite a bit of screen time this week. The episode began with Jason bursting through the door to save Jessica from the sun. I suppose this makes them even, because now they have both saved each other.  Jason cradles her and takes her back downstairs. While she is sleeping she dreams of breaking up with Hoyt. The Hoyt of her dreams is pathetic and begs her to stay, but she bashes his head in, and then goes outside where Jason is waiting for her in a truck. When she finally does tell Hoyt, he tells her that she is not good enough for him and that he wants a woman that isn't an eternal virgin and can give him children. He then revokes her invitation when she tries to reason with him. Though what he said was absolutely cruel, he certainly has come a long way from the Hoyt who couldn't take a breath without his mother's approval.

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Love Bites by Lynsay Sands

For the purposes of disclosure, I must admit that had I known that Love Bites was a paranormal romance, I never would have agreed to read this book. I am normally not a fan of paranormal romance, and try to avoid the genre altogether. That said, I must admit that I kind of liked the book. Yes, it had the usual boy meets girl, girl runs away from boy, and boy and girl get together storyline. It was extremely predictable for a lot of the book, but I still found it entertaining and when it comes to reading anything, the ability to hold my attention is extremely important. Unlike many paranormal romance books, I didn't find myself stopping because doing laundry seemed more interesting than reading this book.

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Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson, Book 3 of the Zodiac Series

I am working my way through this series at a pretty rapid rate because it is enjoyable and each book leaves unanswered questions and problems that need a solution. Each book makes the world larger but still leaving the reader wanting more.

As much as I like this series I do have a few continuing issues. This is now the third book in the series and beyond a brief mention in book one, the world is still all White. This is absolutely unrealistic for a city like Las Vegas and speaks very much to the authors belief in White supremacy. If you cannot even imagine people of colour, in a world of your creation, it means that we are less than nothing in her mind. The same erasure of course exists for the GLBT community in this book, with the exception of the following line:

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Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

After reading the entire Vampire Academy series, I was not exactly excited to read anymore Richelle Mead. The only reason I gave this book a shot is because it is not Y.A. I know, I know another adult running down Y.A.  The truth is I don't mind Y.A. if the story is good my issue is with the angst. Having gone through my teenage years once already, I don't want to relieve them. Alright so I am off on yet another famous tangent.

Let's start with the usual. Once again we have a book set in a major city and there is no mention of any GLBT people. Georgina, the protagonist, works in a book store, but apparently no one in the GLBT community reads, or is interested in taking the dancing lessons that she teaches there. The only time same sex attraction occurred was Georgina had ingested a pure soul.  Unfortunately that was cast as even women are attracted to Georgina, as though two women being attacked to each other is a complete oddity.

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Teen Wolf episode 11

This week brought another episode of Teen Wolf and Renee and Sparky sat down to have a snarky chat about it. On the whole it was of the good – but there's waaay more teen angst – it felt like they were making up for the last episode. We're not happy about the treatment of the gay Maris, Danny who only ever appears on screen to be useful to Scott and Stiles – and every time he's played for some comic relief. This week went above and beyond by using him and making a joke while playing on the idea of a teacher yelling at a gay student for bringing a same-sex date to the school dance.

The villain(s) are still really scary and well done – and we want them all to be eaten. And, take not True Blood, actual CGI!

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Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas

Our hunt for new series to read is ongoing and often on our blogs, or the podcast we request new titles. We are especially looking for books that are progressive and have good representations of marginalized people. Because all of our blogs are social justice related we have a tendency to trust the recommendations. The following is the recommendation that we received for the Vampire Tapestry

“I also recommend The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas for vampire fiction fans. I read it years ago but it's a very interesting take on the Vampire mythos with just scary good, brilliant writting..”

We need to thank you. Up to this point we were forced to constantly refer to Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series as our example as the most fail possible.  It was awkward, because we were constantly referring to a book outside the genre and justifying it based in Harris’ urban fantasy series. But no more, now we have a book that is worse than Teagarden – a book within the genre that sets a new limit for awful. So, thank you.

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