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review 2020-04-04 17:55
Just who is the Vampire Rick, Anyway?
The Immortal Conquistador - Carrie Vaughn

I've been trying to get this out for over a week now (it was published last week), but I couldn't seem to be able to—I'm a little surprised I've had the energy to post anything since I started telecommuting (odd that not going anywhere tires me out more than going to work does). Finally, with apologies to the publisher for getting this post up late.

I've been a fan of the Kitty Norville series since the debut in 2005, and one of the supporting characters that fans seem most enamored of—and are given the least information about—is Kitty's vampire ally, Rick (the Master of Denver).


For those (like me) who need a little brushing up on some of what went on toward the end of the series, Rick leaves Denver for a while in order to explore a different way to take on Dux Bellorum (the series' Big Bad).


This book gives the reader some insight into what Rick was up to during this time. The book stitches together four short stories about Rick's origin (some previously published, some not) while Rick introduces himself to the Order of Saint Lazarus.


I'd already read the first story, "Conquistador de la Noche," in the collection <b>Kitty's Greatest Hits</b>—but it worked really well in this setting, too—this sets the stage for the rest of Rick's history and tells about him becoming a vampire. The next two stories show what happens when he first encounters the Vampire sub-culture and is first exposed to the rules (most) Vampires live by and how Rick skirts the edges of those rules and starts to make both a name for himself and build his different kind of power base.


The fourth story is my favorite detailing what happens when Rick meets a legendary Old West character. It was just a great story with an element of fun. It's also something the reader is told that Rick's never told anyone about before. It's precisely the kind of thing that Kitty would kill to hear, she's constantly asking vampires and other supernatural types for stories like this. That Rick would go out of his way to deprive her of this story (but we get to read it) was a little extra dash of fun.


I don't know that this gave me a much better picture of Rick—the novels had pretty much done that. We know his character, we may not understand his past and what he was—but we know who he <i>is</i>. But this book rounds out our understanding of the man and gives the reader a little hope for his future.


Once I cottoned on to what Vaughn was doing—stitching together short stories—I was a little skeptical of the format. But I came around pretty quickly and decided it worked really well. It's better than a simple short story collection, essentially giving us a bonus story. The stories (including the framing device) feel different from the Kitty series, but not so much that it doesn't feel like the same world.


A cool bonus of this—you can read it totally independent of the Kitty Norville series. It's not dependent <i>at all</i> on the events or people of the series (there are references to certain antagonists, but not in any way that makes familiarity with the series necessary for understanding).


I do have to wonder about the timing of this—the series ended almost five years ago, so I'm not sure I get why we're getting this material in this format now. But that's just me being curious, not complaining. Did I (or the series) need <b>The Immortal Conquistador</b>? No. But I'm very glad I got it.


<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received this eARC from Tachyon Publications via NetGalley in exchange for this post —thanks to both for the opportunity.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/04/03/the-immortal-conquistador-by-carrie-vaughn-just-who-is-the-vampire-rick-anyway
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text 2019-08-02 15:18
Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, or something else
Kitty and the Midnight Hour - Carrie Vaughn
Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
The Essential Dracula - Bram Stoker,Leonard Wolf,Christopher H. Bing

Well, its werewolves because I'm a dog person.  And there are flea collars.


Zombies - I don't get zombies one some levels.  I know there is a link between Zombies in American culture and slavery.  I get that zombies are undead, but I have so many questions.  To wit:


1. Wouldn't you smell them coming?

2. If a zombie is a decayed corpse wouldn't, well, bugs and stiff be there eating it?  So really, how long would a zombie be around considering the amount of pests? So couldn't you just get a whole bunch of those beetles that they use to eat the meat off of bones?

3. If a zombie is  a corpse, where does the food go?  How does the biology work, for instance?  Does a zombie poo?  Is there zombie poop?  Does zombie poop crawl?



So, yeah not zombies.


Vampires, well to me vampires are more the apex predator.  And while would you want someone who think your body smells good and tasty.  I mean, you're just a food source.  Additionally, I am so tired of vampire politics in urban fantasy, and vampires always knowing everything.  There are ones that I love - the Count St Germain for example, but he is more the traditional incubus based vampire.  And  I like those.  But these sensitive soul vampire, yeah no.  Tanya Huff created a vampire who wrote romance books, but he was not sensitive and kicked ass.  I like those vampires.


But werewolves - well, they are dogs.  Give them a full food bowl, take them for walkies, get them a flea collar.  Easy.

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review 2018-07-24 21:33
No clue how to review
Martians Abroad: A Novel - Carrie Vaughn

This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


I have no idea how to review this.


It's a reboot of a teenage favorite (Podkayne of Mars - Robert A. Heinlein) by a favorite author -- and I think that's colored both my expectations and my reading experience.


Overall, a well written book.  Most sources say is a standalone.  I doubt it.  The ending was finally pretty decent but clearly there's a series there. 


If a series, I may chance the next book because of potentially interesting plot/worldbuilding.  I never warmed up to any of the characters -- a big issue for me.  But, from the standpoint of good science fiction -- a lot of interest and very well done.


Some things I think were too much of a switch for me -- the mother being cold, uptight, unyielding, self-involved politician using the kids.  The now-a-twin-aged brother acting so adult and authoritarian.  Instead of curious explorer headed out with fave uncle to earth and stalling on Venus, the Martian kids sent straight to earth and into the special academy trope.


Most of the book was "special academy" with the formulaic mean girls, bullies, etc.  Way, way too much of the book.  Without it being a reboot, I'm not sure (despite decent writing) I would have been interested enough to finish.


Poddy ... er, now she's "Polly" ... came across as very TSTL and pretty much a juvenile delinquent always superciliously whining internally and verbally about how superior all things Martian were.  Unlike original where she was a very compassionate, caring, eager person.

*©2018.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  


Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average. Okay.
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking. (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews. Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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text 2018-07-12 02:30
Reading progress 65%.
Martians Abroad: A Novel - Carrie Vaughn

"Especially considering the gravity situation. I would have thought underground would be easier. Not as far to fall as from those tall buildings. But apparently they liked that sunshine thing. Wimps...


I still felt naked without my breathing mask. What if the air ran out? However much my brain knew it wouldn’t, my gut wasn’t so sure."

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text 2018-07-12 02:09
Reading progress 56%.
Martians Abroad: A Novel - Carrie Vaughn

Some mixed feelings about this one.  Well-written.  There are moments it's good SF -- where you get glimpses of future and extraplanetory pieces that do contribute well to the atmosphere.  The story isn't that interesting (other than the premise) at past the halfway mark.  I think it's because the plot has basically gone into teenagers and cliches in an academy for the special territory.  And I have yet to like any of the characters.

"I resisted an urge to find a fire extinguisher and put them all out—it would have been my first impulse at home. Open flame and artificial atmospheres didn’t go well together...


They were so casual about the air here."

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