Dana McIntyre has always had an issue with vampires, even more than your average vampire hunter. They have history and she holds a grudge
So she does not take being bitten and turning into a vampire well. She fully intends to die before she turns. But not before taking all of Las Vegas’s hundreds of vampires down with her.
There is a possible cure- but is Dana willing to risk that? Can Vegas survive without Dana? And can it survive her vengeance?
I am now becoming ever more intimidated and by S.M. Reine’s world - because she has written about 300 series each of which have eleventy million books in it, all of which are connected and linked to a vast meta plot and world changing activity - and I AM SO BEHIND. So finding this new series my reactions were both lots of glee and a kind of gibbering terror. I will catch up with all her books! I will!
I was going to skip this until I caught up. But the cover. You know I’m not resisting that cover, right?
That said, despite the utter terrifying vastness that is S.M. Reine’s excellent world building and the truly massive amount of events that have passed, this book still works on its own even if you’re unfamiliar with the vastness. It does refer to major events in the larger world - events I’m only vaguely aware of - but this isn’t a vast world changing story. This is the story of Dana, Las Vegas and activities there. This history matters in terms of how the supernatural took over, how people were transformed by the Event and how much changed - but the details of it are not remotely necessary to tell Dana’s story. Ok, the gods thing? The gods thing lost me. I definitely need some severe elaboration on the whole deity thing.
That doesn’t mean the world isn’t amazing and broad and rich and weird. With the very conventional supernatural vampires and wereanimals, but throwing in some truly terrifying and alien fae with a very different take on anything I’ve seen before. And the cutest orc you ever did see
In fact let’s hit Dana and her wife Penny. First of all wife - yes, Dana is a lesbian, yes we have a lesbian protagonist, no she’s not “lesbian for Penny only” she is attracted to women and definitely loves Penny. Their relationship is not in any way fairy tale - there’s a lot of conflict and difficult there: but it’s down to Penny’s previous trauma as a victim of a serial killer, it’s Dana’s obsessive hatred of vampires, it’s her drinking too much - there’s a lot of complexities which make Dana not an easy woman to live with or love but they definitely do love.
Penny is also an orc - which means she’s huge and sweaty and has horns - and is still much gentler, more timid and generally more delicate than the touch talking, hard drinking rough and tumble - though much smaller - Dana. I like that because all too often depictions of same-sex relationships feel the need to throw gender roles in there - and here we have a relationship that turns these stereotypes on their head and has two big, not-conventionally attractive, yet still very powerful women leading it
We also have a trans woman who is an integral part of the city and the story and what i love is that her being trans is not oblique or subtle - we’re very very very clear including the party Penny and Dana had with her to celebrate milestones in transitioning - while also making it clear she’s a fully developed integral character beyond that. She does use being trans as a rhetorical tool a little too extremely to try and poke Dana into action in a way that doesn’t feel appropriate in both the coarse terms and draws unnecessary comparisons with the supernatural.
To me the most compelling character was Nissa, because she was so far away from anything I expected. And I’m frustrated that I can’t reveal anything about the empathic vampire without spoiling so much what makes her so surprising, unique and her story so utterly chilling. This is an excellent, completely unique take on this kind of character that I have never ever seen before and left me confused, slightly in awe and very very disturbed.
We also have Anthony Morales, a major figure in Dana’s organisation who is latino, the second in command of the vampires, and definitely the mover-and-shaker behind the scenes is Indian: both are important in this book and likely to be much more so in future books.
Moby-Dick is a huge part of my life and despite my deep love for all creatures living in our oceans – the whales, sharks, the little fish, the big fish, deepwater fish, basically all of them – I can still enjoy Melvilles fiction, because at least no animals were harmed in the making of this novel.
I can imagine, that many use this book as a sort of reading companion to Moby-Dick, but I didn’t. I don’t like using reading companions in general. This is probably the rebel inside of me speaking, but I don’t want others to impose their interpretations, understandings or visions on me, before I have made up my own mind about it. When I read, I often don’t understand some parts or I overlook connections or details, but so what? In the end, I want the freedom to create my own images and my own interpretations while reading and this book would have simply overwhelmed me and my own understanding of Moby-Dick with Kishs way of seeing each and every page.
I really like his approach to turn away from the anonymous and super clean digital art we are so much used to at this point and go back to the old way of creating with your hands, not worrying about getting them dirty in the process. The outcome may sometimes be a bit messy and not as clean-cut and perfect looking, but it’s the imperfections that make it special and that is exactly what makes his art stand out for me. The fact he mostly uses some found sheets of paper kind of reminds me of the Russian Avantgarde, where the medium, on which the art was created was seen as an essential part of the whole artwork. And since whaling is a hand-on business, this is the way to go if you want to illustrate Moby-Dick.
Talking about avantgardish art – I find it absolutely fascinating how Kish depicts the whalers and the whales alike as machines made out of steel – cold and impenetrable at the same time. I have never looked at Moby-Dick this way before.
When I read The Gunslinger, I was not impress. I was not really sure where this book was going until towards the end, turns out to be a quest book. Then, I have my doubts. But what I started from the first book, I had to move on to the second book and it took me a while to finished it. Yes, I took my time to read it and in the end, that long time... was worth it. I read slowly and absorb the words, the intentions and the purpose. In the end, it is once again a quest book with more questions but I am surprise how good The Drawing of the Three turn out to be.
From where it was left off, Roland of Gilead now has a goal. In order seek The Dark Tower, he has to recruit others from other worlds to join him on his quest - Eddie Dean, a drug junkie who loves his brother Henry more than anything else, Odetta Susannah Holmes, a girl that may seem nice but other wise, deadly and a third that I would not spoil it here. What caught my attention was what does drawing of the three means and its said inside pretty much clearly. Still, the entire book is all about how Roland, almost to his dying breath after been attacked by sea creatures like lobsters, with grit, goes through all hell to get these people from another Earth-like dimension (which is our own). For the first time, and even though Stephen King, in his style of writing long narrations of background history so that we get to know the characters involved for the readers, he managed to draw my attention in a way that is suspenseful and it is good. I truly enjoy my reading and that is why I took my time to finish it. Towards the end, even though there are more questions involve, I am looking forward to read The Wasteland soon. If you have read The Gunslinger and you have your doubts, trust me, The Drawing of the Three is worth continuing.
Arianna and Ben had the perfect life...childhood sweethearts, family-owned business, and most importantly each other.
Their perfect life was shattered when Ben was diagnosed with dementia at a young age. As the disease progressed, it became more and more difficult to cope with the illness to the point of Arianna's children worrying that they were going to lose her too.
The children booked their mother a trip back to her beloved France where she had spent a month or so during college. The trip was for two weeks at an art retreat to try to take her mind off of the stress of Ben and her loss of him even though he was still living.
Arianna met wonderful people at the art retreat, but would the trip and the time away help her to realize she is alone and must learn to cope with the loneliness?
DRAWING LESSONS has absolutely marvelous descriptions that put you right into the story and into France soaking in the landscape and drooling over all the delicious-sounding food.
The characters were ones that would be great to be with. They all had their quirks as well as their endearing qualities that made the group well-rounded and enjoyable as companions.
If you enjoy traveling, reading about France's beautiful landscapes and life of the French people, French artists especially Vincent Van Gogh, making new friends, and helping another person to feel welcome and overcome a problem, then DRAWING LESSONS will be an enjoyable read for you.
DRAWING LESSONS was a beautiful, heartfelt story about truly examining your life for the pleasures you have enjoyed and the pleasures you need to look for and experience. 4/5
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.