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review 2020-04-26 17:13
The Vines
The Vines - Christopher Rice

by Christopher Rice


I have to admit that I requested this book for review because the author is Anne Rice's son and I was curious. I've read and enjoyed several Anne Rice books and wondered if writing skill is hereditary. It's impossible for those of us familiar with her work to read his without making some comparisons.


My first impression on starting to read was that it didn't compare favorably. Part of the reason for this is that the story is written in present tense, which I dislike intensely. There is good reason why nearly all the best books of the past have been written in past tense. It just works better for storytelling.


It starts out like a bad Romance novel with a woman catching her husband having another woman perched on the bathroom sink, then leads to a horrific situation in the gazebo where a little spilled blood seems to awaken a window to the past and a monstrous force hidden in the soil of the plantation.


As Horror stories go, the plot was actually interesting. I didn't see how the bugs fit in until the very end, but there were some interesting ideas, even if some of them beggared believability. The best character was Nova, the daughter of a black caretaker who still treated his employers as if they were in the old south in the time of slavery. Until the last few chapters, she seemed to be an intelligent and sensible character.


The one problem with the story is that it lacked depth. This may be partly due to present tense writing, but things didn't flow as smoothly as they could have. I was actually surprised to read that Rice had already written four other books (and won awards, nothing to do with his literary family I'm sure) because this read much like a first novel. It was okay, but just okay.

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review 2020-04-16 12:27
A Density of Souls
A Density of Souls - Christopher Rice

by Christopher Rice


This story was originally released in 2000, but has been reissued for 2015.


The story is about a group of young friends in New Orleans and starts out with them riding their bicycles to one of the above ground graveyards that the city is known for and getting caught out in a nasty storm. There are some poignant insights on facing fear, as well as a sensual moment between two of the boys, which will be significant to the story later on.


The writing is very good and very descriptive of New Orleans. There are some dramatic moments, but it largely concerns issues of adolescence; losing virginity, discovering sexuality and a boy's experience of navigating through high school in a southern state, knowing he's gay.


It sometimes jumps at the beginning from one group of people to another too suddenly. Just as you're getting to know a character, you're dealing with someone else. There are issues of bullying in school and dealing with death so that much of it is really depressing.

Overall the book is primarily about relationships between people. While I couldn't identify with high school age people, having been out of school for more than ten years, the writing was very literate and showed a talent for description in particular.

Oddly, the author says in the afterword that he was dissatisfied with the prose, which I thought was its biggest strength.

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review 2020-04-02 13:48
Ramses the Damned
Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra - Anne Rice,Christopher Rice

by Anne & Christopher Rice


Curiosity got the better of me on this collaboration. Once upon a time I loved reading Anne Rice's early vampire books and I've enjoyed one book by Christopher Rice (Vines) despite being written in present tense (the ultimate sin).


So, I started reading and my first impression was that it had the tone of those early vampire books and that perhaps the collaboration with her son was what Anne needed to get back on track. I started having some doubts when it became overtly sexual and the emphasis on gay sex started to impede the story flow. I don't object to gay sex, but I generally don't want to read about a lot of sex in general. It also dragged in a few places.


It's the story of Bektaten (totally fictional) who developed a formula to attain eternal life. The formula comes to Ramses and then the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, making them both immortal. Each of them shared their immortality with a few favorites and conflicts ensue.


This isn't, as I had assumed, a new vampire novel. No blood drinking has taken place. The immortality elixer is a new thing, not explored in any previous books I've read by either author, though there are some Ramses books by Anne Rice that I haven't read so this might be a series I just wasn't aware of. The Egyptian theme seems to be a favorite of hers.


The important thing is that I was drawn into the story and began to get to know the characters and all their foibles. My sympathies were naturally with Cleopatra, as she's a favorite historical figure, though not the nicest person in this story. I had some problem with keeping secondary characters in context as they weren't as well-defined as they needed to be, but it all fell into place near the end when the significance of their roles comes to fruition.


I found it interesting how the story explored concepts of reincarnation and afterlife, encompassing a few different belief systems within the plot and the beliefs of the main characters. The end seemed to drag out a long time, but the loose ends were all tidied up while still leaving room for some of the characters to appear in a new story.

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review 2019-05-28 22:14
Review ~ Decent read
Bone Music - Christopher Rice

Book source ~ Kindle First


For the 1st seven years of her life Charlotte Rowe was raised by serial killers. When they slip up and are arrested, Charlotte (real name Trina Pierce) is reunited with her father. However, it’s only a happy reunion for him as he exploits her story for cold hard cash. As soon as she can, Charlotte leaves his ass and goes to live with her grandmother, finishes high school and tries to create a normal life for herself. Unfortunately, her unusual life is about to take another turn away from hard-won normal and the question that begs for an answer is: will she survive again?


The beginning of this book is different than most I read. I like the idea of taking someone who was raised by serial killers for several years and yet she didn’t know yet what they were and then having her rescued and returned to her father, only to be exploited by said father. Ugh! What a dick! She finally gets some normal life with her grandmother, but when her gran dies she changes her name and moves far away into the middle of nowhere to avoid the everlasting fame and the stalkers. And that’s when the story gets even more interesting.


Given an experimental drug without her knowledge freaks her right out. Not only does she have to deal with the effects, but once again she’s been betrayed. With no idea who is behind it, what is going on or what to do about it all, she calls the two people she trusts most in life. From there it’s trial and error and impossible decisions.


I was all in with story until the shadowy people showed up with boatloads of money and tech. It just seems so convenient and hokey. I also have a problem with the drug limitations. The timing of the doses is critical and seems like it is pretty worthless for what it was cooked up to do. I won’t say more because it could be considered spoilerish, but if you read the book I think you’ll get what I’m trying to point out. Maybe since the drug is in the early stages that’s something they will try to refine. Anyway, this is still a great read with lots of action and pretty cool “superpowers” to be had. I love Charlotte, so I’m inclined to continue with this series.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/05/bone-music.html
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review 2018-06-11 13:21
"Bone Music" by Christopher Rice - I can't cope with this
Bone Music - Christopher Rice

"Bone Music" is original, well-written, emotionally engaging and very very threatening. It is all the things I want in a thriller but I can't continue with it.

I was only 11% through this book when I set it aside, intending to get back to it when my mood lifted. That was three months ago and I haven't been able to bring myself back to it.

I suspect that this will end up being a popular series with a remarkable heroine. The obstacle for me is that I'm at a point in the story where a woman who has survived childhood abduction and abuse, commercial exploitation by her father and all the nastiness associated with public notoriety in this peck-me-to-death-on-Twitter threaten-me-on-Instagram age and who has gone on to build a safe space for herself, is about to have that space violated with the help of those who should be protecting her.

It's a series. She's the main character. So she must survive this also. At the 20% mark, there must be a twist that sets her on a new path.

The problem is that this mindset, this careful planning of violation and destruction, revolts me. It's too real. Too common. I don't want it in my head, especially when it's placed there by someone who writes as well as Christopher Rice.

I'm reluctantly adding this to my DNF pile. The good thing is that it's taught me that there are some plot devices that I need to avoid. I'll take a look at Christopher Rice's other books and see if there is something there that will allow me to enjoy his obvious talent.

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