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I have been obsessed with reading lists ever since I was a kid. All the Newberry winners on a bookmark? Yes, please. "100 Essential Novels?" Sign me up.
I'm much more critical of reading lists these days, now that I have read more widely and studied literature for so many years. But that's part of the fun. (Don't get me started on PBS's "Great American Read" thing. Seriously. What's going on there? Never mind. Another post.
I read Edward Hirsch's "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry" recently, in anticipation of seeing him read at the Northwoods Writers Conference in Bemidji, MN. It was last night - he was wonderful - witty, self-depricating, erudite. Wonderful.
I recommend the whole book unreservedly, but the first essay, "Message in a Bottle," I'm sure will stand as a classic statement about poetry in and of itself.
Now, to get to the point: The book closes with the 24-page "A Reading List and the Pleasure of the Catalog." Having read this book, and other Hirsch volumes, I know he's both a scholar and an artist. I was afraid, even at my age and stage of self-education, that I'd be out of the conversation.
I am so satisfied to say that yes, I found many books on Hirsch's list that I have read. Thank goodness. I'm "in the conversation," as we used to say in graduate school. Of course, there are hundreds of volumes on Hirsch's list I haven't read - so off to the library!
I’m not fond of the title of this one. It gives the book a generic feeling of YA or NA and does the book a disservice because it’s a gritty, violent and action-packed story that deserves a title such as Aswang: Demon Dogs! That’s catchier, don’t you think? Or maybe Devil Dogs Want to Eat Your Tasty Bits. Yeah, I like that one but maybe that’s why they don’t ask me. Anyway, I grabbed this because the blurb caught my attention and I’m glad I did because it was pretty darn good.
Ollie has never been able to feel physical pain. Because of this, she ended up abandoned by her mother and was tormented by those who should’ve protected her. She’s grown up tough and resilient and has been living on her own since becoming a young adult. One day she is attacked by a dog-like creature and wins the fight as two young men watch. They can’t believe their eyes. Average humans, AKA civvies, aren’t supposed to win fights against the “aswang”, they’re supposed to become their dinner. They kidnap her and bring her back to “Fear University” where only select families are training to fight a secret war against the aswang beasties. She’s soon entrenched in training for the war by a handsome but all business guy named Luke who is reputed to abstain from sexy times because he likes it too rough. She feels no pain. She is intrigued!
So all that’s going on and a whole lot of other stuff that I will not spoil. This book is definitely more urban fantasy than NA angst or romance and I liked that about it. There’s action, the pace is fast, there are many revelations and surprises, the characters are imperfect and their interactions are interesting. But it’s Ollie who makes the book sing for me. She’s carrying the weight of a painful past and she’s sarcastic, cynical and doesn’t take any crap from anyone but she’s also funny and reminded me a bit of Liv from IZombie.
“I didn’t like Luke or his stupid dick.”
She lies too :)
This was a very good urban fantasy but I recommend picking up the next book (and maybe the one after that) in the series if you’re like me and prefer to have all of your questions answered. This book leaves things a-dangling and may leave you pulling out your hair if you don’t have book two all lined up and ready to go. My library does NOT so arrrrgggh!
The narrator is most excellent. She sounds youthful and tough and exudes emotion exactly where needed.
I received a copy of this audio from Tantor Media. Thanks, Tantor!
This is the second book in a series, so you are going to want to read the first book in the series Fear University to understand this world and who/what the main characters are fighting/fighting for.
Winter in the Alaskan North has short days and long nights especially for 65 days of the year, which is perfect for the Aswang to hunt and kill and challenge. This is where Ollie and her friends have been stationed. They need to protect the humans from the Aswang, so each night they along with the other hunters will stalk, hunt and kill. But the fight for survival does not begin and end as one enters and leaves their base, murder is about to happen inside the walls as well, so there is no where that they are safe they always have to be on gaurd, but they only need to try and survive for 65 days, that's doable right?
I liked this one better than the first, I found that this one was darker, more twisted and at times fairly graphic when compared to the first book in the series. Additionally, I did not feel like this book had any down time in the story, as it is the Killing season, there are lots of hunts and killing that need to be achieved as well as trying to figure out what is going on inside the base walls. It was also interesting the family dynamics that are played up in this book that you do not really know who Ollie should trust and really is there more danger in the house rather than outside it.
The first book also lacked having more than one point of view, so it was really nice to have Sunny's POV in this book to give a change up from Ollie's very negative one (really she is doom and gloom most of the time). Sunny was also able to give a different perspective on what was happening and how Ollie is perceived by those around her even her friends. For lack of better words having Sunny tell part of the story was very refreshing in this book.
If you are a fan of books with sexual tension well, The Killing Season has is in spades between Ollie and Luke. You will keep wanting to have them interact more and more as the book goes on as eat time is more "heated" than the last. If you are wanting more of a love story/crush then you have Sunny and Hatter, so Collett does a good job of covering both these aspects but at the same time having those relationships secondary to the main premise of the book.
I think my least favourite part in this book is that I was able to figure out the big twist way before it was revealed (which is the same problem I had with the first book in this series) and I was just waiting for the characters to catch up to what I had already figured out. However, this series as a whole so far has an interesting premise which overall does make for an interesting read.
I am enjoying this series and it is nice that Collett has improved from the first book to the second, which makes me have high hopes for the third, which I am planning on picking up soon.