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review 2017-02-22 00:00
The Familiar, Volume 4: Hades
The Familiar, Volume 4: Hades - Mark Z. Danielewski Yes, it's still really good. It's getting better, even, but there's still some indulgent content and formatting that kept me from fully immersing myself in the novel. Danielewski is keeping his mammoth story tightly reined in, and we're getting more and more references back to previous installments complete with volume and page numbers.

Hades finds Xanther back at school with a viral clip hanging over her head. She's still unable to find a satisfying name for the little one and a solution to the pain she feels when they're apart. Despite this, and more normal terrors, Xanther is finding strength in herself and her friends to face these problems. Astair and Anwar make a crucial decision and Xanther's sisters begin to be effected by the powers at work with Xanther.

Shnork finally gives us something to go on, while Jingjing and Tian Li arrive in LA and put all of our characters in the same hemisphere. Unexpected developments occur with Luther and Ozgur, Cas and Bobby's flight takes on broader implications as they encounter unexpected allies, and Isandoro....can't simplify it much. His perspective seems to give way entirely to the Mayor and Teyo.

We swing from cliffhanger to cliffhanger, character's continue to unwittingly cross paths and yet somehow were' all set up for a big conclusion next volume when the first season comes to an end.

The Familiar, Volume 3: Honeysuckle & Pain

The Familiar, Volume 5: Redwood
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review 2017-01-08 22:58
By Familiar Means (A Witch's Cat Mystery, #2)
By Familiar Means - Delia James

Not bad, not great.  Nothing new, but pleasantly written with genuinely nice characters.  Annabelle's grandmother is in town and she gets involved in the 'mystery' of course.  She sometimes skirts the bleeding edge of what's fast becoming a 'grandma' trope in cozies: an 80 year old with the body of a 60 year old and the maturity of a 20 year old.  There's a love triangle brewing too - not once has it been articulated, but you just know it's there, lurking.


Annabelle takes on a mural commission and while touring the new premises, finds a secret tunnel with a dead body.  Because it's not really a secret tunnel unless there's a dead body.


The mystery plotting was...ok.  I'm not sure anymore if whodunits are just being poorly plotted and written, or if the new trend is to make it obvious who the bad guys are, but keep the reader guessing as to which bad guy actually did the deed.  If this were real life the culprits would have been labelled inept before page 50.  Even in print, the false leads were weak beyond belief and the arrest made no sense.


But even so, this wasn't an unenjoyable read.  It was light and relaxing; I just won't go crazy for the next one.

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review 2016-10-23 00:00
The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the Forest
The Familiar, Volume 2: Into the Forest - Mark Z. Danielewski With cautious optimism I bought Into the Forest. A lot of pins had been set up in the previous volume with nine view point narratives, hints dropped, and literary mechanics, the narcons, literally introduced to readers. I couldn't be sure what was going on on every page, but it was compelling reading.

I felt like I had to give the story more room before I could begin to assess it, and now we're 800+ more pages into the story. I still have to reserve most judgement deeper than a star-rating and that The Familiar got better. Xanther's beginning to become aware of something changing do her little friend, the kitten, he's hungry for something but she doesn't want to accept know what it desires. The other characters begin to be aware of each other in unexpected ways, sounds or images they can't place. I don't love most of Danielewski's font or formatting choices (Ozgur's everything right on top of the list), but the story keeps coming out ahead of its concept, proving there's more to it than a gimmick. The characters are rounding out and the language of the different viewpoints is easier to fall into rather than keeping the reader out. The best set-piece comes right at the end, so I won't spoil it, but it was impressive.

Don't ask me what this is all about, but consider me hooked.

The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May

The Familiar, Volume 3: Honeysuckle & Pain
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text 2016-08-20 17:44
Free on Amazon
My Familiar Stranger (Order of the Black Swan, #1) - Victoria Danann


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text 2016-07-28 14:48
Reading progress update: I've read 244 out of 279 pages.
Familiar Spirit - Lisa Tuttle

aww, didn't quite finish this before work. meanwhile, everything got very sexual there, for a while; "sexual Horror"--okay, sure, whatever. I guess so. and tune in later, to see if this can get above 3.5 stars in rating. will it, won't it? who knows. is the suspense killing you...pardon me, is the sexual suspense killing you? tune in again, to find out how it all shakes out...

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