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review 2016-10-11 17:50
Review Heart-Beast by Tanith Lee
Heart-Beast - Tanith Lee

 

So, I actually started reading this, I think, three years ago, for my October TBR, and went into a really bad reading slump, so put it down. But the book left an incredible impression on me, and I've been looking for an excuse to pick it up again.

 

Tantih Lee justifies the existence of purple prose. She wallows in Gothic Victorian excess, and turns it into a lush sort of poetry. The book itself feels as if it could be put right beside Frankenstein and Dracula, the tone perfectly in step, the atmosphere rich if slightly more forthright than it was in the nineteenth century. It's a perfect companion to Shelley and Stoker, weaving werewolf lore seamlessly into the time period, bountiful with knowledge and appreciation with Gothic literature.

 

If I were to simplify, I'd call it Wuthering Heights with a werewolf, which is shockingly accurate. Subtext abounds, about marriage and sex, about traditional gender roles in the Victorian world. And the last hundred pages in particular descend into an almost feverish hypnagogic state.

 

And that was why it lost a star, too, because through all of this lushness of prose, through scenes of sex and viscera, the novel itself is kind of cold, and the characters most definitely are, to the point that it's difficult to guess what any one of them is really thinking, or why they do what they do. It's a fantastic novel to appreciate for its artistry, but, despite the passion it's meant to exhibit, an unemotional one. Beautiful and cold, just like the Worth household at the very end.

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text 2016-09-27 22:00
Started reading this
Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful - Delia Sherman,Andre Norton,Neil Gaiman,Leah Bobet,Nancy Holder,Tanith Lee,Cory Skerry,Silvia Moreno-Garcia,T.A. Pratt,Linda Robertson,Paula Guran,Elizabeth Bear,Margo Lanagan,Ellen Klages,Cynthia Ward,Kelly Link,Richard Parks,Leslie What,Theodora Goss,Mer

Loved the first story, enjoying the second. 

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review 2016-08-03 22:18
Red Unicorn (Unicorn, #3) by Tanith Lee
Red Unicorn - Tanith Lee

And with Red Unicorn concludes this trilogy. To sum up my feelings on this trilogy, I liked it. It was pretty good. I do recommend this series. However, I did have some problems with this last book. That problem being the plot.

 

The entire plot of this book is centered around Tanaquil being depressed because she couldn't be with a man... that upsets me because it's sending the messaged that if you can't be with a man then you have no meaning in life. That you might as well curl up into a little ball and cry yourself to sleep. And seeing how strong and intelligent Tanaquil was in the first book reduced to a whiny, selfish, "Why doesn't anyone love me?" character in this book really left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not saying she shouldn't have someone. I am okay with her finding a boyfriend and them being in love. The problem I have was with how crippled she became once she couldn't have Honj, who was her sister's lover in the first place! (All this is not spoilers seeing as how this all happened in book two.) So not only is she belittling herself for some guy, she is also stealing her sister's lover from her. And Honj is not even that great of a person anyway! He is a harsh, cold, little jerk! He got his kicks by making Tanaquil feel like dirt by saying demeaning comments about who she is and what she does as a sorceress. I just don't see the appeal to him as a character, let along a potential lover. What in the hell does Tanaquil see in him?

 

It just really upsets me when I see a strong and capable person throw away all her morals for some asshole who doesn't even care about her. Not in the way a person should care for another anyway.

 

All that being said, the magic and concepts to this book is quite fascinating. I love the different worlds and unicorns. How they are all distinct and well-thought out. I am in love with this world and its magic. 

 

Not so much the plot and the characters... except the peeve. I really love the peeve. X3

 

Anyway, that's enough ranting for now. If you like the idea of traveling to distant worlds with their own rules and the unicorns taking different forms, then I think you might like this trilogy. If, however, the way the "romance" sounds doesn't appeal to you, then you should probably just read the first book since that one focuses more on the magic. 

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review 2016-08-03 04:45
Gold Unicorn (Unicorn, #2) by Tanith Lee
Gold Unicorn - Tanith Lee,Mark Zug

After having read Black Unicorn, and how much I enjoyed it, I had to get my hands on the next installment in the trilogy. Gold Unicorn carries a much darker tone than its predecessor, however, that does not mean it was less enjoyable.

 

I love how dark the world and the characters became. I enjoyed seeing the behemoth that was the Gold Unicorn. In fact, this book introduced a new concept that a unicorn could be! But that's all I will say about that. I went in not knowing that concept and I feel like it's best if everyone else did, too. It was something I have never read before about unicorns and it was a refreshing idea to read about.

 

My one complaint about this book was how taken Tanaquil was with Honj. I did not see the appeal to Honj. To me, he was rather patronizing and someone who enjoyed belittling others. But, for some reason, Tanaquil, a smart and capable woman with her own strengths, was infatuated with him... and it made no sense to me. I would have enjoyed the story just fine if that aspect was not added in. But oh well.

 

It was still a fascinating story to read about and the "other worlds" are just as incredible to explore. If you like magic, adventure, and unicorns that are powerful creatures that can strike fear into those who gaze upon it, then I highly recommend you pick up this series! 

 

I only have one more left to read! I'm excited to see how all of this will conclude.

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review 2016-08-02 22:07
Wolf Star (Claidi Journals #2)
Wolf Star: The Claidi Journals II - Tanith Lee

After saving the day at the end of WOLF TOWER, it looked like Claidi was all set for a happily ever after. However, her peaceful life is shattered when she’s kidnapped and held hostage in a clockwork castle. It’s up to Claidi to rescue herself and escape—assuming, of course, that the handsome prince of the castle doesn’t annoy her to death first.

 

WOLF STAR is the best written book in the Claidi Journals series. The story is more complex than “follow the hot guy” this time around, and Claidi spends most of the book in one location. As such, there’s more devotion to her character arc and world-building instead of describing constant scenery changes. Claidi’s forced to develop actual social skills this time, as her problem solving methods in WOLF TOWER amounted to “be snarky” and “sulk somewhere else”. The irony between her situation with Prince Venn and her treatment of spoiled nobility in WOLF TOWER is particularly delicious, with the added bonus of him being one of the most complex characters in the entire series and certainly the best love interest.

On the other hand, WOLF STAR just doesn’t have the charm of the original. Claidi’s wit comes from her naïve reactions towards new things, but this time around she’s limited to the various moving rooms in the castle. The novelty wears off fast, leaving little to distract from the fact that Claidi is kind of a brat.

 

Furthermore, the flaws of the second half of the series stem directly from the plot twists from WOLF STAR. It marks the shift from a vaguely dystopian landscape into an overtly steampunk/futuristic scifi setting, which isn’t bad in of itself, but technological rewards begin replacing emotional payoffs in consequence. It’s also responsible for introducing Ustareth, the worst character of the CLAIDI JOURNALS. Explaining why would be a major spoiler, but rest assured that she is reasonable for the stupidest elements of the entire series. All of them.

 

At the end of the day, it's a not terrible book. Tanith Lee was an excellent writer and she shines here. Sadly, sequels only get worse from here on out.

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