Series: Gods & Monsters #1
This was interesting because it was different, but I didn't end up enjoying the investigation portion all that much. It started off fairly strong, with Rupert talking about his "day" job as a chef to ghouls but the investigation seemed to mostly consist of Rupert doing magic spells to talk to people while they tried to kill him.
Despite his ghost tattoos, Rupert's a pretty average (albeit destined for hell unless he cleans up his karma by essentially doing community service) guy and so it was weird that he was drawing all this attention by incredibly powerful supernatural beings. He was terribly outclassed and it just seemed a bit...much?
I may read the sequel but I won't be rushing out to do so. This was only a novella, so maybe there just wasn't enough room for a satisfactory exploration of the world.
I read this for the "Diverse Voices" square for the Halloween Bingo but it could also be used for "Murder Most Foul", "Supernatural", "Monsters" (dragons, ghouls, undead-baby monsters), "Genre: Horror" (pretty gruesome), "Terrifying Women", "Amateur Sleuth", and "Ghost" squares. I might have missed some.
Erf. I've started re-reading this series, because I remember how much I loved it when I was a teenager... but damn, I didn't remember this one was so bad. (Or is it because I sometimes used to like shite as a teenager, and that was part of it?)
The story in itself is not uninteresting, all the more since it's THE origins book in the Darkover series, but the relationships... especially the way women are viewed and treated... Wow. That was one special level of bad.
I can sort of accept a patriarchal society, women being treated as wombs, etc. in the more 'medieval-like' novels of the series, because 1) it fits a certain conception of 'dark ages obscurantism', as cliché as that may be, and 2) as far as I remember, in those books, it was often presented as something that isn't so good: while it does remain infuriating, it's part of the conflict underlying those narratives.
Here, though, in a group of engineers, colonists, space crew, scientists, where men and women have similar levels of skills, with gender equality laws on Earth? Nope. Doesn't sit with me. Especially not as soon as pregnancies enter the picture, and give yet another reason for males (and some women!) to be patronising, chalk every reaction to 'she's pregnant', veer towards gaslighting at times (because obviously, the guys in the story know better than Judy Lovat who's the father of her child), and go spouting crap about how not wanting children is some sort of mental illness. Camilla's arc was particularly painful, because, yes, she is being reduced to a walking womb, what's with the doctor even threatening to sedate her during her pregnancy (actually, it does happen once), like some kind of stupid, ignorant being who needs to be locked for her own good. Empowering much, right?
So basically, you get accidentally pregnant (not through any fault of hers—ghost wind was to blame, same for her partner), while you thought your contraceptive was doing its job, you don't want to have a child, but you're denied an abortion. OK. Not cool. In the context of colonists stranded on a hostile planet, that poses an interesting conundrum (= it's obvious that either they need to spawn as much as possible, or they'll die in one or two generations). However, was it really necessary to lay it in such rude and demeaning ways? The Battlestar Galactica reboot has a similar subplot, but the episode about it was at least treated with much more gravitas and moral ambiguity.
It is also important to note that, no, Camilla didn't sign up for this, so treating her as a spoiled kid throwing a tantrum was inappropriate. Putting it back into context: she's an engineer and programmer, she signed up to be part of the ship's crew during the trip, not to be a colonist meant to help populate a new planet. And even in the event of staying on that colony, it would've been in a society where she would've had a few years to make the decision.
I have no idea if anyone considers this book as a 'feminist' work, but if you do, please stop. This is not feminist, it's patriarchy at its worst: insidious.
[To be fair, I didn't remember this book as being the best in the series either, nor my favourite at all, so I'm still going to try rereading 2-3 others.]
The Jersey Devil, as you may have guessed, is a creature feature. It was fun and bloody, which are the top things I'm looking for in a book of this nature.
I thought it was a little too long, and a little far fetched, (but then again, most creature features are over the top.)
It was an entertaining and light read which was perfect for my mood.
You can get your copy here:The Jersey Devil
If anyone is looking for a cozy mystery for Halloween Bingo or just because and you want to support a fellow Booklikes member, check out Demon Spirit, Devil Sea. Its the second in Charlene D'Avanzo's Mara Tusconi clifi mystery series. I haven't read it myself, but as many of you know I do social media for Charlene and am always happy to recommend it.
Also if you read it, please review it on Amazon. Either of her books really. Pretty please. :D
It's available for Kindle here: http://amzn.to/2xYKkGI
If nothing else, it's a bingo square! Just saying!