Tuesday, March 22, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Grave Surprise (Harper Connelly #2) by Charlaine Harris

Grave Surprise is the second book in the Harper Connelly series written by Charlaine Harris. It was published on September 26th, 2006 by Berkley Hardcover its ISBN for lookup is 0425212033. I purchased this book.


I have been making my way through the Charlaine Harris’ back catalogue after True Blood finished up. I started with Aurora Teagarden and really loved the series so this was the logical next step.


This book started slow, I mean really slow something that is a symptom of being first in the series and often suffered by books that have huge stories to build like your epic fantasies and Sci-Fi. However this book is set in the Southern States in a world pretty similar to our own so I wondered why it dragged in the beginning.

Keep going though and you are rewarded with an interesting story about a couple of damaged people who have formed an incredibly strong bond. The supernatural element (or is it) is just an incredibly unique premise for a murder mystery series. Harper herself is very clear that she is not a psychic or clairvoyant.

She is also a member of a very unique group – people who have survived a lightning strike. You learn a lot about the phenomenon in the series like for instance that there is pretty much no walking away from a direct lightning strike and that survivors generally are hit after the initial strike. The rest of the things I will leave you to learn as you read or you could do hit Google.

Once the mystery got going the book became markedly easier to read. You can see the Charlaine Harris style in this book just like I enjoyed in Aurora Teagarden and Sookie Stackhouse. I best describe it talking about all the little things that a lot of books miss out and a lot of social interaction. The style makes you feel like you’re really involved in things rather than just watching on from a distance it makes a lot of difference.

This isn’t a lot like Sookie Stackhouse which is an adult mystery paranormal mystery it is probably closer to the Aurora Teagarden series though it is definitely a little darker in tone. I think as I work my way through the series I will see more similarities that line up with the themes in Harris’ work, small Southern communities with lots of secrets.

If you like murder mysteries check this out the twist of the Harper’s unique abilities makes things even more interesting. If you’re a fan of the way Charlaine Harris writes then I think you’ll be engrossed by this book too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Calamity By Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners #3)

Calamity is a 2016 Young Adult novel by Brandon Sanderson. It is the third and final book of the Reckoners Trilogy. Calamity was published by Gollancz on 18 February 2016 you can look it up by its ISBN - 057510466X. The previous books were Steelheart (Reckoners #1 and Firefight (Reckoners #2).

SPOILER CHECK: THIS IS A DEEP DIVE REVIEW OF CALAMITY AND AS SUCH WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. OK so if you have not read the first two books STOP and go read them first or this will ruin many of the things that make the story great.


Well obviously because it is the third part of a story I would really like to know the end. The Reckoners trilogy so far has been one of the most novel (puns) takes on the superhero genre in books. The only series on a par would be Wearing The Cape series by Marion Harmon which if you like this series you'll probably enjoy that too though it is a different look at a world full of superheroes.


The beginning of Calamity is almost the exact opposite of the start of Firefight back then the team wasn’t exactly celebrating but it was building something. Calamity sees the team in despair once part of a national if not global Reckoner network and now literally the only people left standing.

The overarching message pounded into us from the first two books is that Epic = Evil a message reinforced by both the Prof and Megan that is what the Reckoners believe even if we as the readers know more because we see more.

Seeing David as the head of the team is actually an interesting plot twist as he is clearly the risk taker. He now has to sit back and run things and take care of his team I think his status as operations might be part of the reason that he spends a lot of the novel putting so much pressure on Megan to keep testing her powers despite the strain it puts on her sanity. I could talk about why this is BS when he is ignoring his Epic nature but there is another section for that.

Megan is awesome as always completely kickass and so strong within herself she is a full rounded character in many ways that David is not when you throw in her crazy, crazy powers she becomes even more interesting.

The other characters really were not much more than window dressing this time in my opinion which is a shame because usually Sanderson likes to have an ensemble cast in his stories with real personalities, quirks and history.


I went into this wanting to know a few basic things and I felt like I was teased with these things every two or three chapters. It took so long for things to get where they were meant to go it got boring in places, boring is not a word I would ever associate with the writing of Brandon Sanderson.

David lying to the team about his Epic status. I get part of it being down to all that has happened but he didn't even tell Megan the woman he loves. I can't buy his “it doesn't mean anything” in the early book he knew full well what it meant for him being pretty much the foremost expert on Epics around.

David riding Megan about using her powers more added with the lying is something that really I find annoying and actively made me angry while reading through the book.
It is never really explained why Megan is less violent than most other Epics which we see while she is with the Reckoners, then when she goes to work for Regalia and also when she rather briefly talks about when she first became an Epic. Plus Conflux was selfish not particularly evil.

On the book itself I just felt like I wanted to try my hand at editing because parts of this book felt like filler, or my precisely a filler arc for those of you who like me watch anime. There was a lot of repeating the same old thing time after time, like “if only I could control X power, or master that technique”. David’s nightmares, him going back to Megan or speculating endlessly how she could Deus Ex Machina her way to save the whole damn world. It just felt like the characters were placed in stasis with no real room to grow for nearly the entire book which is so different to the first two.


I don’t want to sound like I am pounding on the book because I am not but there are things I am disappointed by probably down to the fact that I am comparing it to the previous two and other books by Sanderson that I have read.