Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 11, 12 and 13 - 2010

Book 11: Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton – 333 pages

Description from Amazon:
Hamilton hits the ground running in her latest Meredith Gentry novel, this one set in Los Angeles, where a pregnant Meredith has been safely united with her fellow exiles from the faerie courts. The faerie princess/private eye's happiness is short-lived, however, when she catches wind of a serial killer who gets his kicks crafting hideous tableaux of butchered demi-fey. While Meredith hunts for the killer, her stable of guards struggle to protect her from herself. Just as full of steamy sex and wild magic as the previous seven volumes, this episode finds Meredith's powers, as well as her collection of gorgeous guards, expanding, with crowd-pleasing results. The friction among Meredith's men makes for good drama, and Hamilton doesn't shy away from difficult real-world issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual abuse. Though newcomers will be lost, and mystery fans may feel the sex scenes crowd out the plot, veterans of the series will no doubt enjoy their return to Hamilton's meticulously constructed world.

I think I’ve started to get bored of these books at just the right time. The last one was so good because it wrapped up so many of the over-arching story’s plot threads, and for some reason the review on the Bookdepository website (where I get most of my books) explains a completely different plot that sounded really interesting (something involving politicians fighting for Merry’s allegiance and all such interesting political stuff). Unfortunately, the fake plot would have taken the series down a much more interesting path than the one Hamilton chose did. I think I could have swallowed the whole story, despite how poorly it was executed, until I got to the bit near the end where the whole crime mystery aspect was totally wrapped up by one person coming forward who just happened to know everything! Lamest plot device ever! If Hamilton intends to give this story any sort of credibility, than she really needs to develop a new and decent plot arc asap!
On an interesting sidenote, there is a little comment on Amazon.com from Hamilton about her approach to writing both Merry Gentry and Anita Blake at the same time. Personally, I found her comments about how the character determines the direction of the story and that is why certain things happen the way they do in her books a total cop-out. I have just finished writing my first book, the first in a 13-part series and from my experience, I determine what the character does, not the character. Yes, the way the character develops personality-wise impacts on how certain events can be approached, but if the character is ‘telling’ you how the story should go, than you might want to speak to a doctor about that!

11 / 50 books. 22% done!

3473 / 15000 pages. 23% done!

Book 12: Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner – 305 pages

Description from Amazon:
Helen of Sparta is a feisty, beautiful young princess who is doted upon by her family, even though her determination to be independent and hunt and fight like her brothers creates various awkward, even dangerous situations for everyone. Using the mythical character of Helen of Troy as inspiration, Friesner focuses on Helen's youth, before she became "the face that launched a thousand ships." In an epilogue, Friesner discusses the historical facts and classical texts that she drew from to imagine Helen's childhood. The resulting novel is a fascinating portrait of a spoiled child who uses her wily ways and privileges to learn how to use a sword, track and kill game, ride a horse, and bargain for a slave's freedom. Along the way, Friesner skillfully exposes larger issues of women's rights, human bondage, and individual destiny. It's a rollicking good story all the way to the abrupt conclusion, which will leave readers crying out for a sequel.

Any young adult novels aimed at females that don’t have vampires are good by me. Add Helen of Troy, possibly my favourite mythological figure, and I’m a happy lady. Whilst this book is more aimed at the 9-14 year old demographic (I tried to give it to my 13 year old sister, but she wasn’t interested – I blame Mary-Kate and Ashley!), I did thoroughly enjoy it. Yes, the writing style is not exactly challenging, and the story is quite simple, but I really appreciated the fact that this interpretation of Helen presented her as a strong, determined, independent young woman. I also appreciated that Helen didn’t necessarily perceive herself as beautiful, nor try and use her beauty to get what she wanted. The end’s a bit abrupt but seeing as there is a sequel which I plan on picking up from Bookdepository next pay, I didn’t exactly see it as a fault. A solid little piece, perfect for daughters and nieces looking for something that isn’t Twilight, etc.

12 / 50 books. 24% done!

3778 / 15000 pages. 25% done!

Book 13: Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy – 212 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Today's young women seem to be outdoing the male chauvinist pigs of yesteryear, applauding the 'pornification' of other women, and themselves. This is a world where simulating sex for baying crowds of men on shows like Girls Gone Wild and going to lapdancing clubs - as patrons - is seen as a short cut to cool. Ariel Levy says the joke's on the women if they think this is progress. She tears apart the myth of this new brand of 'empowered woman' and refuses a culture-wide obligation for women to act and look like porn stars. This terrifically witty and wickedly intelligent book makes the case that the rise of raunch does not represent how far women have come - it proves only how far women have left to go.

A compelling read. Though I do not agree with all of Levy’s comments, it definitely got me thinking. This book is very America-centric (I’m Australian), so I think that in some respects matters aren’t as bad here in Australia (not that they aren’t heading that way) yet as they are in America. The stuff about Girls Gone Wild truly horrified me especially in the instance that women where harassed by men to strip or flash so the men could get free stuff – yeah, that’s so what feminism was about! Personally, at least in my experience, I don’t think the issue is as bad or widespread as Levy makes out, but having seen the behaviour of my 10 to 15 year old female cousins, I think I’ll continue to try and get the message across.

13 / 50 books. 26% done!

3990 / 15000 pages. 27% done!

Currently reading:
- From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology
edited by Lawrence Cahoone – 600 pages
- Next
by Michael Crichton – 540 pages
- The Constant Princess
by Philippa Gregory – 486 pages
- Elphame’s Choice
by P.C. Cast – 426 pages

And coming up:
- Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown – 620 pages
- The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls – 341 pages
- Aphrodite’s Blessings: Love Stories from the Greek Myths
by Clemence McLaren – 202 pages

I am now 557 pages through the Modernism anthology. Yay!
Tags: academic, fairy tales, fantasy, feminist, myth and legend, non-fiction, nyt bestseller, police drama, political thriller, urban fantasy, young adult

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