My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I think my rating might even be generous. This is just getting awful and so boring. the only reason I'm even bothering is after sticking with something for almost 70 issues and you know it's ending you want to see it through. Otherwise, I wouldn't waste the few minutes it took me to get through this. There wasn't even any real plot development unless you count the awful thing the head of the Quincies did to his own people.
And seriously after that, if any of the Quincies are still following him they are either idiots or zealots. This was literally one long fit between the dude on the cover (whose name I forgot because this was so dull) and the head of the Quincies (I've yet to remember his name because he's so singularly uninteresting that I've been labeling him 70s porn star for his looks). It's your typical Kubo fight. Everyone telling everyone their secret moves as they do them and draining any tension out of the scene.
Here's the problem. The head of the Quincies is so powerful now that his omnipotent and that is SO boring. Kubo's left himself nowhere to take the story. There should be no way the Quincies lose because he somehow defeated this super powerful reaper who then tells Ichigo and his friends it's all down to them to stop the Quincies.
Um so the best of the best, the ones training Ichigo to be stronger loses but someone with less power and less training is going to win? As much as I want to see Ichigo again, this storyline is just inane. I'm pretty sure this series is going to go out in a fizzle with much regret on the part of the fans.
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Where the Dead Lie by C.S. Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Usually by the twelfth book a series starts getting a bit stale but not so with Sebastian’s series, yet at least. However, it’s beginning to toe the line that made me stop reading Anne Perry’s Pitt series: the bad guys are getting closer and closer to crown and parliament and being protected by the powers that be. It might be reality but it also usually turns me off a series (maybe because it IS reality).
In this story there are some echoes of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist or maybe I only think so because we have a man in power abusing and murdering children (and I’m watching it currently on TNT). In this they are not male prostitutes. In fact children of both genders are being kidnapped by someone, or a pair of someones, sexual sadists who are literally using the Marquis de Sade’s writings as a play book. The children here are the poorest of the poor, thieves for the most part and most of them orphaned.
Sebastian cannot abide someone hurting children, making time with his own son more precious. Hero, who is still in the background a bit since Simon was born six months ago, adds into the mystery by turning her pen to writing about these children and England’s abominable practice of transporting mothers to Australia and not sending their children with them, saying they can ‘fend for themselves’ even at the tender age of five or six. Naturally if these kids live, they end up thieves and prostitutes. Rather than see they’re creating the problem, the upper class is happy to hang child thieves as husband and wife both find out.
On top of this we have Sebastian’s fights with his own father (who isn’t his biological one) and with his sister whose daughter is about to marry up the chain to one of the men Sebastian suspects of being one of the gentlemen murderers. Sebastian’s father in law Jarvis, the power behind the throne, has already warned him off. In the meantime, one of Hero’s youngish widowed relatives has come home to stay with Hero’s frail mother and Hero can’t figure out why she’s so suspicious of her beautiful cousin (I, on the other hand, had no such problems and predicted the outcome of this plotline. It was pretty transparent and surprisingly heavy handed).
While I liked most of it, I did think the ending was a bit predictable especially with Tom, Sebastian’s ‘tiger’ (his driver and young odds and ends boy) being the same age as the victims and with the above mentioned line with the gentlemen being protected. I’m hoping some of the loose threads here get wrapped up next book (Hero’s storyline, Sebastian’s niece’s). At least it looks like Sebastian has finally come to understand his mother’s husband really has been a father to him even if they don’t share blood. And if I ever see Kate in these books again it’ll be too soon. Let her go.
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