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Search tags: THE-TRICKSTERS
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review 2017-05-01 11:49
The Odditorium: The Tricksters, Eccentrics, Deviants and Inventors Whose Obsessions Changed the World
The Odditorium: The Tricksters, Eccentrics, Deviants and Inventors Whose Obsessions Changed the World - Jo Keeling,David Bramwell

This one should have been a 5 star, but I knocked 1/2 star off for some shocking editing blunders and another 1/2 star for occasionally crossing the line from humorous commentary into editorialising.  And really cheap, newsprint type paper stock. 

 

Otherwise it is an excellent read; most of the people profiled were unknown to me, so there was a lot of new information.  Those I'd heard of before were shown here from a different perspective, giving me a more rounded view of them.

 

The book is divided by types:  Tricksters and Subversives, Creative Mavericks, Wild at Heart, etc. with 8-10 people profiled under each.  The emphasis is on profile; these are not comprehensive by any stretch, but each chapter ends with suggestions for further exploration of each person via books, excursions, movies, etc..  I can't think of any of them that I didn't find fascinating in their own way and quite a few of them got the "read out loud" treatment.

 

If you like off-the-beaten-path knowledge and see this one out in the wild, check it out - it's worth a read.

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review 2016-04-28 21:14
Dress-up Fun!
Ten Little Tricksters - Penelope Anne Cole,Kevin Collier

I've yet to meet the child who doesn't love to play "dress up." Luckily, little ones get one special day a year in which to take that game to its ultimate--namely, Halloween. But the fun needn't start and end on October 31st--not when Penelope Anne Cole has caught on to the spirit (no pun intended) of fun enjoyed on that holiday . . .

 

Read more here.

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review 2015-05-09 22:19
The Collectors and Stone Cold
The Collectors - David Baldacci
Stone Cold - David Baldacci

David Baldacci is not really my kind of writer, but Annabelle, the heroine of The Collectors, is absolutely the kind of person I identify with. So, having read the blurb I bought the book, and having opened the book I couldn't put it down.

 

Jerry Bagger is the brutal owner of a casino in Atlantic City who was once the victim of a scam by Paddy Conroy. Jerry's kneejerk reaction to any aggravation was KILL (he was in Atlantic City because he had been thrown out of Vegas for littering the place with dead bodies – he, of course, always had an alibi and a team of lawyers) but Paddy had disappeared. So Jerry killed Paddy's wife. Who was Annabelle's mother.

 

Now, years later, the child has grown up and is intent on revenge. She is a better con artist than her father ever was. He took Jerry for ten thousand dollars. The beautiful Annabelle plans to take him for millions.

 

Meanwhile, in Washington, Jonathan DeHaven, a division head at the Library of Congress, dies in mysterious circumstances, and the members of Oliver Stone's Camel Club, a strangely assorted group of men in their fifties (there is an earlier book I have not read, The Camel Club), decide to investigate. One of them is also a librarian and had been DeHaven's assistant at the Library of Congress. But they very soon come up against some very powerful forces: a government conspiracy, in fact.

 

The two storylines merge when it transpires that the dead head librarian was Annabelle's ex-husband.

 

Unputdownable.

 

But it stops in the middle! You have to buy the sequel, Stone Cold, to read the rest of the story!

 

In Stone Cold, a mad Jerry Bagger ($40 million dollars down – and he had fallen for her!) is hunting Annabelle, and a certain Harry Finn is hunting – and killing one by one – all those involved in the murder of his father, an American spy who married a famous Russian spy, Harry's mother, now an old woman with only one thing on her mind: revenge. Which is certainly the theme of these two books.

 

Again the two storylines merge. And again I was up all night reading.

 

Incidentally, I've been rethinking my aversion to novels which end in a cliff-hanger – that is to say which don't end at all, which simply come to a stop half way through. It occurred to me the other day quite out of the blue that this is not something new and reprehensible, part of the "horror" of ebooks and mass self-publishing, but rather the traditional way of bringing out novels. After all, in the 19th century the three volume novel - the triple-decker - was the standard form of publishing for fiction; and not only in the 19th century: look at LOTR. So there you go. Who says I'm intransigent?  

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photo 2015-05-07 15:30
Doppelgangers

The girl on the front of this vintage young adult book from 1988 ‘The Tricksters’ by Margaret Mahy is the double of Cara Delevingne!

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review 2013-12-28 23:26
Coyote's Creed by Vaughn R. Demont
Coyote's Creed (Broken Mirrors, #1) - Vaughn R. Demont

I bought this book ages ago and only just now got around to reading it. I had some trouble with it, at first. Although I usually like snarky first-person POV in urban fantasy, Spencer was almost too “gray area” for me, and his relationship with Rourke was too much, too soon. I sometimes had trouble following what was going on, because snark tended to win out over clear descriptions, and I wish some things had been explained sooner (I never did catch what the deal was with Shiko and Spencer's coat). By the end, though, I was enjoying myself and happy that my weakness for Samhain's “new releases” sales meant I already owned the next two books.

Almost every single character in this book is a trickster, and almost no one can be trusted. This includes Spencer. He's 18 years old and the only person in the world he really loves is his mother. His father walked out on the family a while back, and his mom's mental state is fragile. Spencer keeps things going as best as possible with money earned from short cons. He's particularly good with cards.

His life becomes much more dangerous when “Uncle” Rourke visits and tells him that his father has died and has requested that he give the eulogy. Spencer learns that his father was not human. He was a Coyote, Spencer is half-Coyote, Rourke is King of the Phouka, and Spencer has a bunch of family members he never knew about who trick him into having to steal back his father's ashes from the Kitsune, the Foxes.

It's a big mess. There's a feud between the Kitsune and the Coyotes, and the Phouka are supposed to be neutral. Spencer's in the thick of things right away, and he has no idea what's going on. One of my problems with the book was that, while Spencer pulled off a bunch of amazing tricks, in many cases it was more dumb luck than actual cleverness and skill. For example, he “tricked” Rourke multiple times without even trying to do so – he often didn't realize what he'd accomplished until someone told him later on. Does it count as a con if the con artist wasn't aware of what he was doing?

I had a hard time liking Spencer. He was a bit too obsessed with TV tropes and zombies (I thought the zombie thing was a joke, at first, but I think Spencer might have been completely serious about all of it). He couldn't seem to go near people without lying to them or conning them – sometimes it was as if his body acted on its own, cheating people out of their money without any input necessary from his brain. And he was unbelievably horny. I'm hoping that future books tone down this side of him, because he tended to be more interesting when he wasn't focused on sex to the exclusion of nearly everything else. Yeah, sure, so part of the reason for that was that he was a Coyote, but it's like the ardeur in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books: it's really just an excuse for the author to include lots of sex scenes.

Spencer and Rourke's relationship did not appeal to me for a good chunk of the book. When Rourke was first introduced, it was as Uncle Rourke. Spencer was quick to tell readers that he wasn't a blood relation, just a friend of his father's who'd been teaching him card tricks for years. This detail should have been my first clue that they were going to hop into bed with each other, but, to be honest, I didn't catch any kind of sexual vibe between them. Rourke was a charmer where Spencer's tutor was concerned, but that was it. And then Spencer and Rourke got a taste of satyr's wine, and it wasn't long before they were all over each other. Meanwhile, my brain was still stuck on “Uncle Rourke” and “he's been around since I was born.” Those details plus graphic sex scenes did not mix well. And that was before other details were revealed that added new icky dimensions to their relationship.

Spencer and Rourke's relationship didn't even make all that much sense to me. I mean, okay, sex. But then Rourke started talking about love. Rourke, the King of the Phouka, who's been around for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. Spencer's an 18-year-old mortal half-Coyote who's sometimes a bit of an idiot. I couldn't see why someone like Rourke would be so stupid as to claim to love him after a few rounds of good sex. By comparison, Spencer was surprisingly level-headed. He knew that what he felt for Rourke was lust, maybe affection, but not love. And, because he was a Coyote and therefore lied as easily as breathing, he lied to Rourke about his feelings. On the one hand, I hated him for doing that. On the other hand, Rourke, a supposed trickster, was stupidly leaving himself wide open.

Although I never completely got over the icky elements of their relationship, I did eventually grow more comfortable with them being together, once it was revealed that Rourke wasn't quite as stupid as he seemed. I look forward to seeing how things go in the next books.

I also hope that future books flesh out the overall world more. Coyote's Creed focused mostly on Coyotes, specifically Spencer's messed up, back-stabbing family. Beyond what little Rourke says about himself and his own abilities, not much information is given about the Phouka. Since they were participants in the Feud, the information on the Kitsune was a little better (whereas Coyotes are short con experts, Kitsune prefer long cons). Even if he didn't realize exactly what he'd accomplished until he'd done it, Spencer's trick on Kazuhiro was fun, and I hope Shiko becomes a recurring character.

The ending was probably my favorite part of the whole book. It was beautiful and bittersweet, and it fit perfectly. While the bulk of the book was on the good side of “okay,” the ending was wonderful. Here's hoping the next couple books are at least as good.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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