You are viewing sarahtales

Previous Entry | Next Entry

nick
Recently, I realised that I am a vampire addict. But that was a deeply shameful moment, and as such requires its own blog post.

Right now, I wanted to blog about two books about Supernatural Creatures I am not addicted to, but keep sort of gently swaying away from and then back to. To wit: zombies and werewolves. I want to love them. I always want to find my ideal zombie or werewolf book.

And I have found many excellent ones! Carrie Ryan's dystopic zombie series starting with The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Annette Curtis Klause's Best Werewolf Novel Ever Blood and Chocolate. Daniel Waters's Passing Strange, which surprised me by changing narrators and telling the third book in his zombie series from the point of view of a zombie femme fatale. I've never been totally sold on his heroine and hero Phoebe and Adam, but I loved Karen past the telling of it, and I loved the fact it had girls liking girls, which I'd love to see more of in YA. (I keep asking for zombie boyfriends, but I am completely willing to accept zombie girlfriends. Uh. Generally. In books. Don't call me, zombies.)

Feed by Mira Grant

These are not the zombie boyfriends or girlfriends you're looking for. What this is, is the ideal zombie book for nerds.

I say this as a high compliment, because behold, I am a nerd. And reading this intricately thought out world was just a delight. The zombie virus was created via the unfortunate overlap of a cure for cancer and a cure for the common cold! Animals above a certain mass can be infected!

And also, I mean every word I say: it's a fabulous zombie book. I loved all the little details and back story that only a book could provide, and this book celebrates the written word more than almost any other book I've ever read. I'd love to see a movie of Feed, but it could never be as excellent as the book.

In Feed, bloggers helped save the world. More and more people get their news from blogs (I do). In the world of Feed, when traditional news networks were still talking about hoaxes and going by a policy of not creating panic, the blogs posted the facts about zombies and the rules of how to survive. In this new world, which posits a civilisation being rebuilt around the zombies, our hero and heroine, Georgia and Shaun Mason, are the first blogging team ever invited to follow the campaign trail of a presidential candidate. And then it begins to look like someone's creating planned zombie epidemics. (I love it when mystery/thrillers are added to sci-fi/fantasy. Two great tastes that taste great together.)

GEORGIA: I have zombiefied eyes so must wear sunglasses, a dry wit and a relentless commitment to the truth. Also, I am named after George Romero... the saviour of mankind.
SHAUN: It is never stated whether I am named for Shaun of the Dead, but I sure hope so! I am a wild, crazy, risk-taking blogger who - good gracious, a zombie just grabbed my cardigan-
GEORGIA: Shaun do not poke the zombies how many times must I tell you? You are on a warning.
GEORGIA AND SHAUN: Also for Sarah's benefit, we are a messed-up brother and sister pair who nevertheless love each other very much.
GEORGIA AND SHAUN: Also this zombie tale has something all zombie narratives should have: black humour. I mean on one level, our parents' biological son was killed by a zombie golden retriever - hilarious. But on the other - he was six, and our parents' hearts are dead, and they clearly do not love their adopted children.
GEORGIA AND SHAUN: Also this zombie book pulls no punches. No seriously. You will cry. On an airplane. You'll try to do it sneakily... but the guy sitting beside you will clearly know. And he'll be pretty uncomfortable.

A lot of people told me to read Seanan McGuire (Mira Grant is a pen name for her zombie books, she also writes the Rosemary and Rue urban fantasy series under her own name.) I can only say that they were right.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

If Feed is in a tiebreak with Carrie Ryan for best zombie book of the decade, Raised by Wolves has best werewolf book of the decade sewn up.

It is unquestionably my favourite werewolf book since Annette Curtis Klause's Blood and Chocolate. (And if you haven't read that, read it! And under no circumstances whatsoever see the movie don't do it just don't do it I am warning you, sometimes I still hear the deviant European werewolves screaming...)

BRYN: Oh adopted leader of the werewolf pack daddy, who is that handsome new werewolf boy you are keeping in a cage?
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: Bryn, he's dangerous.
BRYN: But I am mysteriously drawn to him. Am I forbidden to see him?
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: Obviously.
BRYN: Oooh, the lure of the forbidden.
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: Obviously you must stay away from him until you can take down an unhinged werewolf with your bare hands and a variety of weapons.
BRYN: So I'm not going to sit here and pine about forbidden love?
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: That would cut in on your exercise regime.
BRYN: Oh God my bones.
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: Think of this as werewolf boot camp.
BRYN: But I'm not even a werewoooooooo-
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: Pack on your heels! THINK FAST!
BRYN: ooooooh my god I'm going to dieeeeee but maybe it is aweeeeesooooooooooome...
ADOPTED LEADER OF THE WEREWOLF PACK DADDY: Now you can see your caged boy toy.
CHASE: Hello. My name is Chase. I have just met you, and I LOVE you!
BRYN: Seems reasonable to me. I'm really awesome. I've been to werewolf boot camp. Do you want to come meet my best friend, a blonde bombshell werewolf with a gun, and defeat evil?
CHASE: Yes. I would also like to make out.

So, most fantasy books do the regular thing of the Outsider Narrator who stumbles onto the fantasy world and who things need to be explained to. Most famous examples of same: 'Harry, you're a wizard' and 'I've been seventeen for a very long time.' This is because that's the easiest way to do things - that way you get a narrator the reader empathises with, and the writer can explain their fantasy world via the other characters to the narrator.

There is also the Insider Narrator, in which a fantasy book has a character who knows everything about the secret fantasy world, is kind of terrible at the outside normal world, and in which the worldbuilding has to be done with lunatic care. I kind of love this, but it is tricky! One example: uh, my first book, written by Sarah 'Bites Off More Than She Can Chew' Rees Brennan. A more talented example: White Cat by Holly Black.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes does a GENIUS thing in Raised by Wolves, with a narrator who is both inside and outsider. Bryn isn't a werewolf, but she was raised by werewolves, so she knows how the secret fantasy world works, but from a position of being slightly outside it. The hero Chase, a brand new werewolf, is a lot more clueless than Bryn.

My very favourite scene is when human Bryn runs with the pack: she's exhilarated, scared, one of them and yet not one of them. You're able to empathise with her perfectly, and in that moment, the werewolves seem so real.

In short, Feed and Raised by Wolves both had monsters in the family, a brilliant take on monsters I don't always cotton to, and beautiful writing. Score for the zombies and the werewolves.

Comments

( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
azurelunatic
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
I love Seanan so. Perhaps one day you two will meet!
tiferet
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
Seanan is AWESOME. I know her. She is everything people say. And then some. Except for the bad stuff her trolls say. That's not true.
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jul. 1st, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tiferet - Jul. 2nd, 2010 04:07 am (UTC) - Expand
seemichelleread.blogspot.com
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
Why is it when I read your entries I always end up with like 6 more books on my TBR pile??

WHY?!?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
FEED
Boy, do I agree with you on FEED. I kept reading little bits to people, and enjoying it and having a wonderful adventure...... and then Mira/Seanan kicked me in the teeth with that ending. WOWW!!!! I didn't even pretend not to cry, but since I wasn't sitting next to a stranger on a plane, I got away with it.

Pam Adams
azurelunatic
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Re: FEED
It is a two-handkerchief book.
pandarus
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Bless you for these recs! I've not read 'Feed', but my friend Sunil is a friend of Seanan's, and I'd read his review a while ago; when we had a couple of months of EXCITING CIVIL UNREST here in Bangkok recently, I kept thinking back to his description of that whole bloggers-replacing-traditional-news-sources thing and just nodding like crazy, because we were DEFINITELY relying on Twitter & the various blogs way the hell more than either international or national coverage to know where snipers were/where grenades were/what was on fire etc.

And, dear God, yes - 'Blood and Chocolate'. I actually stumbled across the movie first, and was all O_o , but gathered that the book was quite different, and THEN went and tracked down the book. Definitely one of those Dark Is Rising -> The Seeker moments of TOTAL pointlessness in movie making; honestly, if you're not happy with the things that make the book unique and effective, and want to slap in crappy generic rubbish instead...don't use the damned book!
sarahtales
Jul. 1st, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
Evil twin in a snowglobe!

Sorry. Sorry. I just get these traumatic Dark Is Rising flashbacks sometimes...
(no subject) - rogue53 - Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lots42 - Jul. 2nd, 2010 10:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spectralbovine - Aug. 24th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
rockinlibrarian
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
I laugh because I am opposite-- it's the vampires I am not addicted to. Then, I guess I'm not addicted to zombies and werewolves either, it's just I have a bizarre aversion to vampires and there are exactly two vampires in all of fiction I am fond of. Whereas zombies and werewolves I'm much more open to. I like the way you describe these books and might pick them up if I see them!
lots42
Jul. 2nd, 2010 10:36 am (UTC)
Zombies and werewolves can totally get you -anywhere-.

Vampires can't.
meganbmoore
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
There are no words for how much I love that the overprotective alpha males in the Barnes book think the best way to be over protective of the teeny delicate female is to train her to be able to take down a squad of Navy S.E.A.L.S. with a toothpick. Or the supernatural equivalent.
sarahtales
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Yes! I've never met a subverted trope I didn't like, and that one was amazing. I love Bryn and her adopted father a lot. ;)
robinellen
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
I've not read FEED (but now I'll look for it), but I also LOVED Jenn's book! Easily my favorite werewolf story ever :D
imogazzi
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Both of these sound awesome! :D
bookshop
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)

I AM LITERALLY going to buy every book mentioned in this post today ahaha, you are a terrible, terrible influence and my bank account hates you :(

i had no idea that Seanan McGuire was Mira Grant! THAT IS SO HOT.
taraljc
Jul. 2nd, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
i had no idea that Seanan McGuire was Mira Grant! THAT IS SO HOT.

When Seanan calls me tonight, I am so telling her you said that. Because it made me LOL (in a good way).
(no subject) - bookshop - Jul. 2nd, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) - Expand
erica_ac
Jul. 1st, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
I just discovered your blog last month, and I have to say that I love your book reviews so very, very much, and I'm grateful to you for sharing them. They make me laugh out loud while also going to the heart of what makes the books you write about worth reading.
sarahtales
Jul. 2nd, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
Oh, well. *beams and blushes* Thank you very much! I love talking about books I love, and am delighted my rambly ways work for you. ;)
wendyzski
Jul. 2nd, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
I was trying to be polite about it but I was squeeing about FEED to everyone in line at your Anderson's signing in Naperville. Not to the exclusion of you and Holly of course, but being as actual grown-ups were a little thin on the ground there we were looking to talk grown-up books.

I think I personally sold at least half a dozen copies of FEED at Marcon where Seanan/Mira was Filk GOH. This also led to my being overheard in the autograph line saying "Yeah, and then I had to leave right in the middle of The Black Death and I was really sad". And then having to pat the nice choking lady in line on the back and explain that I was referring to Seanan's song of that title.

You two totally need to meet up and fight crime hang out.
sarahtales
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
I shall only hope there is someone squeeing about me in a line for one of Seanan's signings one day. ;) (But not to the exclusion of Seanan/Mira, of course!)
aimeesworld
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
The Vampire Diaries has just started showing in New Zealand and I have discovered that I really am addicted to vampire stories. My flatmate can bear witness to the fact that every time Damon came on screen, I began clapping my hands and squealing. Deeply embarrassing.

Also, both those books sound excellent. When I have paid off my library fines I will be reserving them.
sarahtales
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
I love the Vampire Diaries soooo much. Oh Damon Elena Anna Stefan Caroline! How I love you all.
jordinothepizza
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
I like the idea of zombies, but only on a sliding scale. Gender is a sliding scale of masculine, feminine, and lots else jumbled in there. Such is how I feel with zombies/vampires. I am sure there's a sliding degree scale of them.

Also, though it's not a book, the Swedish movie "Let the Right One In" is an absolutely brilliant vampiric work that I recently discovered. It's being labeled a must see for anyone who likes vampires.

You have won me over for Raised by Wolves. Going to check amazon for it now!
sarahtales
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:41 am (UTC)
I love that movie. I like the book too, but in this rare case I do believe the movie is better.

Also - huzzah and I am sure you will enjoy Raised by Wolves!
(no subject) - elsajeni - Jul. 2nd, 2010 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
wanderingdreamr
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
Darn, my library has some of those but not the really good ones (and the first time I've ever come across a book in mending status oddly enough). So, bookmarked for when I get back to college and I have TWO other library systems at my disposal.
rogue53
Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
And... did you know that there is fanfiction for Blood and Chocolate? And it's very well written (Gundam Wing universe) 'My Writings On The Wall' by Karen and she's done "Blood and Chocolate" and is now on "Blood in Siberia". I have enjoyed them very much and now must go and read the real book just to see where they all differ.
vr_trakowski
Jul. 2nd, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
Have you read Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss? Not quite as fantastic a vampire story as Blood and Chocolate is a werewolf story, but still quite worth the read.

Also, the audiobook version of Blood and Chocolate is just as fabulous as the book. And I'm very picky about my audiobooks.
hapaxnym
Jul. 2nd, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Klause also wrote the Best YA Vampire Romance Novel Ever In Which Nobody Sparkles, which is THE SILVER KISS.

And also must plug the upcoming (in September) collection of short stories edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS, which is exactly as advertised and has contributions by all the YA authors who are awesome except for Sarah Rees Brennan (sad).
sarahtales
Jul. 2nd, 2010 11:23 am (UTC)
I regularly make the most tragic eyes imaginable at Holly and Justine for leaving me out. Where is the love? But yes, Zombies Vs Unicorns is pure awesome. *sniffles*
draconisaqueous
Jul. 2nd, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
While being sadly lacking in both werewolves and zombies, Jane Linskold's "Through Wolves Eyes" does the same outsider-insider narrator thing with her heroine who is also pretty awesome methinks. And she's somewhat in love with a wolf. Have you tried that?
bibliokat
Jul. 2nd, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
I am very much on the side of werewolves in all fantasy creature debates, so I'm very glad to hear of an awesome book!

Zombies I'm more cautious with (because I am gifted with brains, so natural enemy and all that), but bloggers saving the world! LOVE IT!

Thank you! Now I know what I need to use my giftcard for:)
lots42
Jul. 2nd, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
One of the 'Army Of Darkness'/'Marvel Zombies' comic book issues had a nice twist on werewolves. It is worth finding, even if the story is not as good as it could be.
(no subject) - bibliokat - Jul. 3rd, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
sarahnargle
Jul. 2nd, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
It occurs to me that a Zombie!golden retriever would shed SO MUCH, which is awesome, hilarious, and also very gross. I'd opt for a Zombie!poodle.
lots42
Jul. 2nd, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
The zombie dogs in Resident Evil just lost all their skin.
(no subject) - sarahnargle - Jul. 2nd, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
bic_hok
Jul. 2nd, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
But what about Lestat?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 2nd, 2010 09:35 am (UTC)
Yippeee! More werewolf books for my Amazon shopping basket. I feel that the world cannot have enough of these. Thank you kindly for the reviews, they do make me smile.
Also, while we're on the subject, have you tried Bareback, by Kit Whitfield? It's a most awesome werewolf book, that is all about the subverted tropes, where it's the non-werewolves that are the outsiders in society. And it's kind of heartbreaking...
lots42
Jul. 2nd, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
I tried reading 'The Forest Of Hands And Teeth'. But the first few chapters, well, it seemed like all the anti-zombie warriors just had completely lost their shit. I returned it to the library.

And I loved the blogging parts in 'World War Z'. My favorite part was how I had literally been at one of the parts featured in the story [1]. That just made me happy.

[1] The highway in Louisiana.
lots42
Jul. 2nd, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
Being more positive: There's a small comic book company called 'Booom!' (no, really) that puts out a ton of short-story zombie fun. A lot more random stuff that is really awesome. Everything from undercover cops shooting things to Cthullu going ape-poopy.
anakerie_danan
Jul. 2nd, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
Zombietastic!
Thank you so much for reviewing Feed! I am not generally a fan of the zombie, so I was surprised and delighted by this book, and gushed about it on my bookjournal accordingly. I have always loved your reviews (they are so dangerously entertaining that I often find myself rushing to the library immediately after) and it was awesome to see Feed getting some well-deserved love here.

So now I have to rush out and get my hands on 'Raised by Wolves,' somehow...sigh. ;)

[http://ravenousbookshelf.blogspot.com/]
celtic_elk
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Zombietastic!
Interlibrary Loan. Lend it, live it, love it. =)
celtic_elk
Jul. 2nd, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC)
Another non-zombie fan here who was totally enthralled by Feed. I have some small issues with Seanan's initial infection scenario, but that's really background to the story, not the story itself - the story itself does a wonderful job of realistically envisioning a post-zombie world, and how social conventions in particular might be different in that world. Can't wait for the sequels! (I also like her urban-fantasy novels, but I've read enough of that genre that they don't stand out for me the way Feed does.)
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 60 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

unmade
sarahtales
Sarah Rees Brennan
Sarah's Lexicon

Latest Month

October 2014
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

sarahreesbrennan@gmail.com

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow