Monday, February 28, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, a hybrid of the classic Pride and Prejudice (PP) and the zombies.  Zombies have found themselves involved in a resurgence as of late in pop culture and literature.  They have fittingly risen back from the netherworld from which they have been banished for the past couple of decades.

I was excited to read this book for a couple of reasons, one being the awesome cover art that drew my attention to the story. Another is the idea of the infusion of zombies into a classic story involving women and how these women are trained zombie killers. The last reason I was looking forward to reading this story, was unrelated to the actual story; I had gotten a Nook for Christmas and this was my first purchase.

I haven’t read the original Pride and Prejudice and probably never will, as it is a genre of books that doesn’t interest me. However, I believe that these are great books that hold lots of great memories for lots of people. So, I can only assume that PPZ at least loosely follows the original PP.  This being said, I would have to say that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is more Pride and Prejudice than it is Zombies.

The Zombies always being a danger and their random attacks of the people in the story was a great twist. So great in fact that because there wasn’t more zombie attacks in the story, overall I was dissapointed with the story. The zombies were more of a secondary storyline and I felt were underused as a source of angst in the story.

As far as the writing and structure of the story, I have no complaints even though it took me awhile to get used to Jane Austen’s style of writing. The zombies and the all the other parts of the story that were created by Seth Grahame-Smith were seamless and didn’t detract from the overall story arc.

The main source of angst in the story is the emotional angst that existed with the Bennet sisters and their relationships, or lack thereof, with the men in their lives. There is some physical conflict that is present when the zombies attack. These zombie attacks are a welcome diversion to the constant worrying about men and whether or not the Bennet girls will find a husband and marry.

Overall I enjoyed the book and liked the zombie addition to a classic story that I would’ve never read otherwise. Really my only complaint to the story is that there wasn’t enough zombie and zombie mayhem.

Profanity in the story is minimal and to be honest I don’t remember any standing out. I would give it a ONE just in case I overlooked any. Violence in the story would be a TWO, in that the Zombie fights are at times described in gruesome detail. Sexual content is a soft ONE, in that it is implied but not described in the story.

I give the characterization a strong ONE  in that I liked the characters in the story and some of their characteristics. Their constant pining for a husband throughout the story turned me off after awhile.  The plot I give a ONE, in that it was pretty one dimensional and not too interesting.  Overall I give the story a ONE, as a result of what I stated earlier:   Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is more Pride and Prejudice than it is Zombies. If you liked the original PP and have even a passing interest in the zombie craze, then you will most likely enjoy this story more than I did.  I would recommend this novel if you are looking for something different to read that’s entertaining and quick to read.


I give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies an angst rating of TWO, but wished it would’ve been a three with more zombie angst!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander is a craftily created and complex story that brings together many genres of fiction, but in essence is a story of time-traveling and adventure. The story starts out in Scotland in the year 1945, as husband and wife, Frank and Claire Randall spend a summer together in the Scottish Highlands. During this vacation, Claire discovers a stone circle that eventually ends up transporting her back in time 200 years to 1743 Scotland.

Check out the full review on

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 2010 Book Club Selection

And for this month’s book club selection – the book that has been chosen is The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry.

The following is a synopsis from -

When Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile in 1821, he took to the grave a powerful secret. As general and emperor, he had stolen immeasurable riches from palaces, national treasuries, and even the Knights of Malta and the Vatican. In his final days, his British captors hoped to learn where t…he loot lay hidden. But he told them nothing, and in his will he made no mention of the treasure. Or did he? Former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone isn’t looking for trouble when it comes knocking at his Copenhagen bookshop. Actually, it breaks and enters in the form of an American Secret Service agent with a pair of assassins on his heels. Malone has his doubts about the anxious young man, but narrowly surviving a ferocious firefight convinces him to follow his unexpected new ally. Their first stop is the secluded estate of Malone’s good friend, Henrik Thorvaldsen. The wily Danish tycoon has uncovered the insidious plans of the Paris Club, a cabal of multimillionaires bent on manipulating the global economy. Only by matching wits with a terrorist-for-hire, foiling a catastrophic attack, and plunging into a desperate hunt for Napoleon’s legendary lost treasure can Malone hope to avert international financial anarchy. But Thorvaldsen’s real objective is much more personal: to avenge the murder of his son by the larcenous aristocrat at the heart of the conspiracy. Thorvaldsen’s vendetta places Malone in an impossible quandary-one that forces him to choose between friend and country, past and present. Starting in Denmark, moving to England, and ending up in the storied streets and cathedrals of Paris, Malone plays a breathless game of duplicity and death, all to claim a prize of untold value. But at what cost?

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Monday, November 29, 2010

My latest purchase-LOST Encyclopedia

I needed this while the show was still in it's prime!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010


When I first saw this book in the bookstore, I bought it immediately. Indiana Jones, one of my favorite franchises, and Zombies together in the same story! Fortune and Glory kid, Fortune and Glory.

The story starts off with Indy and Mac (yes, THAT Mac from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) headed to Haiti to search for the Heart of Darkness, a big black pearl (the story’s McGuffin) so that Indy can take it back to his museum. Because we all know, “It belongs in a museum!”
Indy and Mac plan to gather a team and get ready to head off to search for the pearl. One of the team members serves as Indy’s love interest in the story. Maria Arnoux is a gorgeous, educated woman willing to be their guide once they arrive on the Island of the Dead, the island where the pearl is hidden.
The story also presents different points of view (POV) of three other characters. One character, Boukman, lives on the island and who is a master of black magic and who serves as the story’s villain. There are also two other characters who are heavily involved in the story that we get their POV’s during the story. One is a German officer, Gruber, in Hitler’s army, and the other, Yamada, is a Japanese officer. They are both educated and civilized men on a misson for their respective governments to acquire the pearl to use for military purposes, a la the Ark in Raiders.
The first half of the story is about Indy’s party traveling to the Island of the Dead and hiking through the jungle to find the spot where the pearl is hidden. The German officer and Japanese officer, although on the same side in the current World War, are trying to get the pearl for their own respective governments. They attempt to hide from each other and follow Indy at the same time to be able to seize the pearl at the most opportune time and escape with it.
During one of their first nights on the island, Indy and his party encounter the zombis (spelling from the story), and are freaked out by them. They learn why the island is called the Island of the Dead, as the walking dead inhabit the island. This added threat to Indy is always present throughout the duration of the story. I liked that it was always in the back of my mind as a reader, “Are the zombis going to attack them tonight”?
The first half of the book is of a slower pace and tends to establish the setting, the history and culture of the island, and develop the characters. Once they find the pearl, the story picks up dramatically and is a more action based story. It was at this point that the level of angst began to build and the feeling of dread was evident to me as a reader as the characters were being chased by the zombis. The angst increased as random people started showng up dead as a result of being attacked by a zombi or just disappearing altogether. It was at this point that I began to enjoy the story and it started to feel like an Indiana Jones story. The adventures that occurred throughout the second half of the book were fun to read. The climax of the adventure was a typical Indiana Jones ending, in that the supernatural was present. The ending was appropriate for the story and I felt that overall the story fit in well with the Indiana Jones universe.
I enjoyed reading the Army Of The Dead and I thought that it was well written and that Steve Perry did a great job at capturing the Indiana Jones “feel” of the story. It was great to actually read about Mac and Indy and get a better feel for their relationship that wasn’t confused by the whole “is he a traitor or is he a good guy” conundrum that we got in Crystal Skull. Mac’s character was further developed in this story and it became believable that these two were old friends. I believe that this in turn affects how a reader of this story would view Mac in Crystal Skull, and how his demise at the end of that movie would have more of an impact than it would without this story.
There were a lot of references in this story to the original trilogy of Indy movies and other Indy stories. Steve Perry was wise to bring these in and present them at the appropriate times to help bolster the story as a true Indiana Jones story. I didn’t feel like he used this as a crutch to hold the story up, but was able to present these references in a way that solidified this story in Indy lore.
There were a couple of things that I felt were distracting while reading the story. The first and most glaring, is the use of too many viewpoints. I am talking specifically of Boukman, Gruber and Yamada. While the viewpoints weren’t poorly done nor were the characters poorly developed. They were well written and the characters were developed very well, which is a credit to Steve Perry. He was able to establish in just a short period of time, tertiary characters that fit in well to the story. The problem I had with it is just that, that they were tertiary characters. They were at the level of a Toht from Raiders; or a Mola Rahm from Temple of Doom. They are characters that are important to the story and it is good to know their motivations, but their POV isn’t vital to the story. The story should be Indiana Jones’ story and seen mostly from his perspective. The occasional POV of a different character would be helpful to the story, however there were mutiple POV changes switching back and forth to one of these tertiary characters. This eventually became distracting and unneccesary in my opinion. I wanted more Indy!
A good example of POV use in the story was the use of Marie’s POV. It switched over to her every once in awhile, but never for too long. I thought that this was a great use of her as a character. I don’t know if this was the author’s decision or the editor’s decision to overuse these POV’s of characters that we will never see again, but I believe it was a poor decision. I don’t think there was even a Mac POV used throughout the story, which would have made sense as we could’ve gotten to know him even better through this story. As it was, Mac was kind of just along for the ride. There was good banter between Indy and Mac and their relationship was shown in a positive light, but at the same time I think there was an opportunity lost in being able to use Mac more in the story.
The use of zombis was a great choice and there is nothing more scary than being chased by something that can’t be killed, because it is already dead! Using zombis has become the new thing in stories lately, from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to the hit show The Walking Dead on AMC. Even Star Wars incorporated stormtrooper zombies into the Universe last year (the same time this book came out), which was awesome and will be reviewed here at shortly. ;) Out of all the stories that I have seen or read, this story makes the most sense to have zombies in them. First of all, the story takes place near Haiti where there are legends of voodoo, zombies, and other things like that tend to come from this region of the planet. Secondly, it’s Indiana Jones and crazy, supernatural things always happen to him while he is out adventuring – right?!
The characterization I would rate a ONE AND A HALF, in that while the characters were well developed, they weren’t the characters I was too interested in. I wanted more Indy and some better development of Mac. The plot I would rate a soft TWO because there weren’t any plot holes and it was well constructed, there weren’t any surprises. It was well written, but straight forward. The profanity I would rate a ONE AND A HALF, there’s more than just crude language, but nothing frequent or too crass. The violence would be a hard TWO, as there were zombis in the story, and the only way to kill them is to shot them in the head or cut their head off. If you didn’t kill them first, they would start chomping on you (which did happen a couple of times.) There was nothing over the top, but what you would expect from a zombie story. The sexual content is a ONE for implied sexual acts and a sensual scene.
Overall I would rate this book a TWO as it was a good read and I enjoyed reading about some further adventures of Indiana Jones.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Towers Of Midnight

Towers of Midnight is the thirteenth book in The Wheel Of Time series that began in 1990. This is the second volume that is co-authored by Brandon Sanderson after Robert Jordan’s death in 2007. The first co-authored book, The Gathering Storm (TGS), was well received by long time Wheel Of Time fans, and this new volume has been well received as well. Towers Of Midnight (TOM) debuted at number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

The book starts off with the usual lengthy Prologue that at times can be distracting to the reader. The Prologue always does a good job of setting up the tone of the book and catching the reader up to what is going on in Randland (It has never revealed to the readers what the name of the fictional nation is, so fans have taken to calling it Randland after the name of the main character Rand.). However, the Prologue is distracting in that while eager to get going in the story and read about the main characters, the reader is forced to read about random tertiary characters and what they are up to. This is a staple in the Wheel Of Time series, but to me has always been a distraction to me.

The series has had three main characters, Rand, Mat and Perrin, that it’s been focusing on, along with some strong secondary characters. The story starts off with an introductory chapter of the main character, Rand, which is appropriate after the last book, TGS, ends with a dramatic chapter involving Rand. To have the first chapter pick up where the last one left off on, was a great transition to the new book. The second chapter then introduces Perrin into the story. One of the criticisms of TGS was that Perrin’s storyline was not addressed much. Well this book makes up for it as the Perrin storyline was addressed in great detail and was the major point of view (POV) addressed in the book.

One of the complaints of TOM is that the different storylines don’t match up. This was an editing decision made by TOR (the publisher of The Wheel Of Time) as a result of a previous decision made by TOR for the previous volume. When Robert Jordan died in 2007, he was working on the final book (at the time), A Memory of Light. Afterwards, TOR brought Brandon Sanderson on board to finish up the final book. It was then later determined to split the final book into three books. Due to this decision the storylines had to be juggled between the two books. The decision was made to address all storylines, except Perrin’s, in TGS thus moving Perrin’s POV to TOM. So while all the other characters POV continue on in TOM, Perrin’s TOM POV is actually being addressed in the past. Perrin’s POV is eventually caught up to the rest of the characters POV. I go off on this tangent because until the reader realizes this it can be a little confusing.

Throughout the duration of the series, Perrin has been my least favorite of the three main characters. So when I heard that TOM was going to be heavy on the Perrin POV, I was a little wary of how I was going to receive the book. I must admit though, that due to Brandon Sanderson’s writing of Perrin, I’ve grown to enjoy reading about Perrin like I haven’t since the opening books in the series. Brandon has said that his favorite character has been Perrin, so I believe this had something to do with how well he has written Perrin.

Perrin’s POV not only includes Perrin, but his wife, Faile. When Faile was first introduced into the story there was some good banter between the two that carried on throughout the story. However, during the last few books, this angst has just festered and in my opinion has not gone anywhere. I felt that this problem lead to the whole Perrin storyline and character development stagnating and unbearable to read. In TOM this conflict is resolved nicely and it felt like the literary flood gates were opened and Perrin’s storyline was literarily released.

The pace of the novel moved along very nicely and had a great flow to it. There are a number of exciting battle scenes. The first is a Trolloc invasion from the Blight as they attack a Borderlands city. The battle involves Trollocs, Myrddraal, and Dragkhar all fighting at once against Borderlanders and Asha’man. This is a knock down, drag out battle that rages on for quite some time. The battle is well written and well executed from a literary standpoint. The battle serves as a great setup not only showing the immensity of the Shadowspawn hoard that is amassing in the Blight and preparing to attack the Borderlands, but also the battle also serves as a primer for the Last Battle. The Last Battle has always been an Armageddon event referred to since the first book. This Battle will take center stage in the next book, A Memory Of Light

In the middle act of the story there was a great multi-POV battle that amped up the story’s pacing even more as several Black Ajah sisters attacked the White Tower, while Seanchan assassins sprung their trap on the Amyrlin Seat, during which time Perrin had his long awaited personal showdown in the Dream World with Slayer that came to a head.

Then there was the showdown between Mat and the gholam. These two first met and dueled in Book Seven, A Crown Of Swords. Mat is finally able to meet the gholam and fight it on his own terms.

TOM contains one of the most anticipated events in the whole series. The infiltration of the Tower of Ghenji by Matrim Cauthon and company. The mysterious Tower first appeared in the opening book in the series, The Eye Of The World, and it was established in an earlier novel, that Moraine (a character who was thought to have died) has been alive and is being held in the Tower. Mat, Thom and Noal devise a plan to infiltrate the Tower and break out Moraine who is being held captive. The rescue event does not disappoint and once again Mat shines as he sticks his neck out for another character who is in dire need. This sequence also carried the pacing of the story and made it fun to read.

Some minor criticisms of the story aren’t really harsh criticisms but are something that should be addressed. The voice of the characters are different. This is to be expected as a different author is writing the story and is carrying the Wheel Of Time torch. Brandon Sanderson does not have the same writing style as Robert Jordan. Brandon has never said that he will try and imitate Robert Jordan as that would be almost impossible and would do a disservice to Robert Jordan and his Wheel Of Time legacy. Brandon has stated that he will try and capture the feeling of the story and write it the best way he can. For me, as a reader, the writing style and the voice of the characters is noticeably different. However, I do feel that although different, the story is better off especially at this late stage. Brandon has made the comparisons that he is an “architect” of stories, while Robert Jordan was a “gardener” of stories. Meaning that Brandon outlines and structures his stories and then writes them within those guidelines, while Robert Jordan would just write and write and let the story grow as he went along. This is why a Wheel Of Time trilogy has turned into a fourteen book series. I for one, appreciate that the story has been reined in and is headed towards a long time coming conclusion. I’ve enjoyed the ride, but it is time to wrap it up and deliver on the story’s climax.

*Hopefully you’ve made it this far into the review. I know it is long, but it is my inaugural review and the book is over 800 pages long! I tried to keep it major spoiler free, as it is a new release book. Let me know if it is still too vague or what you thought of this initial review so can keep getting better. :)



The level of angst in the story would be at a Three. There is plenty of external conflict in the story with the fighting and the battles going on throughout the story. The internal conflict is present, from Gawyn’s internal struggle with whether or not he wants to be Egwene or not; to Faile and Berelain’s confrontation over Perrin and who they believe would best serve Perrin in the future. There is a scene between Perrin and the Whitecloaks that produces an almost palpable level of angst just in the trial sequence alone. Even Aviendha, who only makes a brief appearance in the novel, goes through some inner conflict and suffers through some angst. Asha’man, The King of Malkier, Aes Sedai and more all go through some inner turmoil that has been prevalent throughout the series and continues in this book. I would say that even in the midst of all the battles that are fun to read, the inner conflict is just as entertaining and helps the story progress.


Profanity in the story is a soft One, in that the profanity is English in nature and is unique to the characters and land they live in. Meaning that you can as a reader you can discern that they are using profanity, based on the scene and the sentence structure; however it uses words you normally don’t think of as profanity. Violence in the story is a Two, in that there are battle scenes and fighting with soldiers and others getting killed. The violence is within the context of the story and is not overdramatized or glorified for no apparent reason. There is no sexual violence in the story. The sexual content is also a soft One, in that one of the characters is pregnant and there is reference to who the father was. There is no sexuality portrayed in the story, but alluded to that something has happened (which did in previous books).


I would rate the characterization in this novel as a Three, due to increased character development that has been lacking somewhat in previous books. Characters have already been established and have needed to progress, which happened in this book. There was an emotional bond that has been established throughout the past 12 books, and as described earlier with Perrin, I actually grew to like him once again. I would rate the plot as a Three as well. In this story, certain characters’ storylines, are moving forward and are coming together to combine with other characters’ storylines. Everything is starting to come together. I found the plot to be well developed and have great structure (which I give full credit to Brandon Sanderson). Overall I would give this novel a rating of Three. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested. The catch is that this is book thirteen of a fourteen book series. This book, along with TGS, has put the series back on track just in time for the last book of the series to deliver the final punch.

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Monthly Book Club Selection Random Angst

Here you will find the latest selection for the Book of the Month. We will be reading a monthly book starting Dec. 2010, and the staff of will be reviewing this book and the reviews will be posted here.  The current month is listed first, followed by previous selections.

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