Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book Review: Dead to the World, by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another good, rollicking Stackhouse mystery. This book in the series features Eric more than Bill, so if you're an Eric fan, you'll love it. (Count me in that category.)

As a writer who has witch and Wiccan characters in my own novels, I love the way Harris portrays witches and Wiccans in hers. There are good, there are bad, and in her world, witches and Wiccans are different. As someone with a bad memory and a long time between books, I love the way Harris gently fills in backstory. Though she's probably doing it for new readers, I've found it immensely helpful.

If you're just familiar with the True Blood TV series, you should read the books, too. One does not spoil the other. They combine to give a rich view of the happenings in Bon Temps.

Book Review: Dracula the Undead, by Dacre Stoker

Dracula the Un-Dead Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've been a Dracula fan since the early Hammer films. I've also read Bram Stoker's book, so it's not just that I'm in love with the film presentations.

I actually listened to the audio version, but I'm putting my review on a book version because my comments aren't on the audio. The audio (from Audible) is, as with all the Audible productions I've listened to so far, excellent. The voice talent is fantastic and the production is clear and professional. So, no problem there.

I had no problem with the story taking liberties with the plot lines (Mina actually was in love with Dracula). Some of the anachronisms of vampire lore jerked me out of the story for a second, but only a second. For example, modern vampire lore uses the adjective preternatural a lot, a term I don't remember hearing pre-Anne Rice. It might have been in Stoker's original and I just don't remember it, but when I hear that term, I think of post-Rice vampires. That sin can be forgiven, though; I myself use it in my novels, whose vampires are more Dark Shadows era than Rice era.

I had no problem with the tone of the book. It was deliciously old-fashioned, much like the original Stoker. That, I felt, was a strong point.

The plotting, though, had too many stretches. Dacre Stoker tied in Jack the Ripper and Elizabeth Bathory into the Dracula story, which could have worked, but I think there were just too many plot irons in the fire. When the time came to wrap them up at the end, it seemed a little rushed just because there was so much to wrap up.

Your experience reading it as opposed to listening to it might differ. When reading, one pauses and mulls things over more, I find. Yes, I can pause my iPod, but I find that I don't. I don't know why; certainly when reading a physical book, I will stop and look away from the page to savor a scene or to remember the foreshadowing of certain plots. For some reason, though, I don't do that when listening.

Still, I found it enjoyable, and worth a read for any Dracula afficianado.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Podcast Episode Posted

I just posted a short episode of Vampires, Witches, and Geeks on

This episode contains news and announcements.