Bestselling YA author Andrea Cremer has agreed to do an adult erotic trilogy for Dutton. The author, who is best known for her popular Nightshade series (which Penguin’s Philomel imprint publishes), sold world rights to three books that will be set within the Nightshade world. ... The first book in the series—Dutton said it’s about “the lives, passions, and betrayals of lovers whose very desires invite their dooms”—is scheduled for October 2013.
This issue picks up not long after the first one ended: the body of the murdered man—one of the Young—is now being prepped for autopsy. Everyone is still at a loss about the hows of the death—the as-yet unidentified man hadn't been impaled, incinerated, or decapitated—let alone the whos or whys.
While we see the beginning of CI Suttle's investigation—including the identification of the victim, some research into the strange burn marks on his neck, and a conversation with his valet—as well as a bit more about Suttle's household, including Louisa's reaction to being newly-Young, this issue is really more about providing some background about the world.
Artwork? I'm still not blown away, though I just noticed that all of the Young appear to have amber-colored eyes. The faces, especially, still aren't doing much for me, though I noticed something cool: while the faces of the Young all share a bland similarity (beyond eye color, I mean), the faces of the humans are more varied, and some of them have features so exaggerated that they almost resemble caricatures.
Storyline? As this issue provided more backstory, it got a little infodumpy as it caught new readers up to speed and then introduced more history, but not in such a way that it was egregiously offensive.
I especially like this aspect of the world: the Young (vampires) and the Bright (human) are divided not only along mortal lines, but along class lines. The Young are the upper crust, and the bright are the working class. Which means that the ruling class is very concerned with keeping the details of this murder quiet—if it gets out, as Suttle's superior says, "We won't seem so bloody superhuman and immortal after all, will we?"
Keep going? While this issue didn't do a ton for me, I'm going to keep reading because I do love the premise. I hope very much that ultimately, I'll love it for the story and the characters as well. But my hopes for the series are a little less high than they were.
I think we may all be little children about the people we love. It is easy to say ‘I can’t believe she’s gone’, and the phrase is a cliché because it has been true so often, of so many much-loved people. I find myself thinking that if maybe I don’t read that last book, the one I can’t read till the next one comes out, maybe, somehow, she won’t be gone, because she’ll have to write that next book for me, for all of us.
Bursting into tears minutes before leaving for work = AWESOME.
Go. Read the whole thing.
(And, in case you didn't know, we're in the middle of an ongoing DWJ Celebration.)
Chief Inspector George Suttle is abruptly disturbed from yet another night of not sleeping by an intruder in his house.
One of the Restless has gained entry, and while the majority of his household survives, sadly, his housekeeper does not. Even worse—well, depending on your perspective—one of the maids, the adorable Louisa, has been bitten.
But the Chief Inspector, as one of the Young—Sunlight is not a problem, provided one uses zinc paste and wears a hat. And the latter is only good breeding, after all.—is able to arrange for her to take the cure.
Such is life in the Deadwardian age.
Now, CI George Suttle, the last of London's homicide detectives, has a new case: one of the Young has been murdered. Meaning that someone has managed to murder that which was not alive...
Artwork?: Eh. It's clear and totally serviceable, but not faintworthy.
Storyline?: Well, it's the first in a miniseries, so even though not a whole lot happens, it introduces the world and the characters and the basic plot. AND HOO BOY I LOVE THE WORLD, what with the zombies and the vampires and the Edwardian era. And I'm always a sucker for a murder mystery.
Read the next one?: OH MY GOD YES. Now, granted, this is ridiculously Up My Alley, but still. FUN FUN FUN.
Str-S-d: "I hate you, Lucy. I really hate you. You are my #1 pick. I wish you were dead."
IaMnEmEsIs: "Perhaps your wish will come true."
The day after Str-S-d and IaMnEmSiS posted that exchange online, Lucy Cunningham, the most popular—though very definitely not the nicest—girl in Soundview, disappears.
And then another popular student disappears.
Madison Archer, friend to the popular—but nice to the downtrodden masses—has started receiving anonymous notes from someone who claims to know what's going on. Also, for the last year, she's been receiving messages from a cyberstalker, PBleeker, for the past year. And now, she finds herself strangely attracted to trenchcoat-wearing Tyler, the new guy who may very well be mixed up in the whole thing...
MODERN LOIS DUNCAN. YAAAAAY!!!
Multiple voices: Blogger Str-S-d, Madison, a bit of third-person, but BEST OF ALL, Killer Cam!
Some genuinely creepy moments, as well as some decent suspense.
Has pretty much all of the flaws of a Lois Duncan, including occasionally stilted dialogue, lots of telling rather than showing, cliches ("Lucy cursed herself for being so blind." "It's as if she just vanished into thin air."), and infodumps ("The terrorist angle is especially worrisome because it accomplishes two goals. They can get money for their activities and strike fear into the hearts of people everywhere.").
Recommended to: Fans of thrillers that require no work on the part of the reader.
Born into a family of thieves, 15-year-old Katarina Bishop has gone rogue: sort of. She no longer steals for profit. Instead, she steals to right wrongs, mostly by way of repossessing artwork that the Nazis stole during WWII and returning it to the rightful owner. (Or the rightful owner's descendants.)
She's been taking bigger and bigger chances, doing jobs alone, refusing help—even from the mysterious (and very attractive) rich-boy-turned-thief W.W. Hale—and her friends are getting understandably worried.
When she's approached by the old woman whose family was cheated out of the fame and fortune that should have come from their discovery of Cleopatra's tomb, she makes a risky decision: To steal the world-famous Cleopatra emerald.
Problem #1: It's cursed. Since it was discovered, every job that's ever been planned around it has gone wrong.
Problem #2: It's forbidden. Off-limits. Her Uncle Eddie red-flagged it years ago, and if he finds out what she's up to... well, it's an unforgivable offense, and being cursed by the last of the pharaohs is NOTHING to being on Uncle Eddie's bad list.
Like Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals is a fun, funny, cotton-candy-bathtub-book of a read. However! It's unusual, but this is a case in which I enjoyed the sequel much more than the original.
Uncommon Criminals is a stronger book than Heist Society, period. While Heist Society relied on TELLing and infodumps to Set the Stage, Uncommon Criminals didn't. True, that was partly because the storyline had already been set in place in Book One, but it was mostly because the comparable section in this book—the part at the beginning where Carter reminds old readers What Is What and gets new readers up to speed—was handled much more gracefully. So that was really nice to see, and much more enjoyable to read. Recommended to the usual suspects: fans of the Gallagher Girls and chick-lit-ish mysteries.
Heist Society is going to be a movie, and I think it'll translate really well to screen—though after reading this one, I think it might be even more fun as a CW series. Now that Kat is doing the Robin Hood thing, it's basically Leverage with teenagers.
And we all know how much fun Leverage is.
(OH MY GOD! They could have a network crossover and have the Heist Society crew team up with the Leverage crew! If, you know, Heist Society was a show. No, this isn't just because I'd like more opportunities to see Eliot beat people up. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. LA LA LA LA LA.)
Let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first, shall we?
I hate the cover on this book. The core of my being burns with a horrified, righteous fury that such a delightful book is trapped behind what appears to be a lazypants Photoshop job.
I've been hoping for months that the cover will be different on the actual book, but now we're two weeks away from the publication date and this is the cover featured at Amazon and on the publisher's website... so it looks like what we're seeing is what we'll get.
Basically, it's a good thing for The Name of the Star that I—along will her eight bajillion other fans—will pick up anything with Maureen Johnson's name on it. Because—and maybe this is just me?—if I'd only had the cover art to go on, I very probably would have assumed that it was yet another self-pubbed paranormal romance and wandered right on by. (Without picking it up, I mean.)
Anyway. On to the book itself, which is much more happy-making.
Due to her parents' European teaching sabbatical, Aurora "Rory" Deveaux leaves Bénouville, Louisiana to spend her senior year at a boarding school in London. Unlike Anna Oliphant, though, Rory's been planning for this trip for years. She knows the difference between England and Britain and the United Kingdom, has researched English expressions and the school system, and has even resigned herself to that whole Mandatory Sport Thing.
What she isn't prepared for—and how could she be?—is arriving at Wexford the day after a series of Jack the Ripper copycat killings begins. Wexford is located in the East End, smack-dab in the middle of Ripper territory, and thus, at the epicenter of the wave of grotesquely-tacky-but-sadly-predictable Rippermania that surrounds the murders.
She's even less prepared to be the only person who's seen the prime suspect: A man who no one else appears to be able to see...
Hooray! New MJ series. If you're already a fan, you've probably already pre-ordered it. To which I say: GOOD SHOW AND SMART THINKING. You'll be pleased.
There isn't much else I can add—I'm always more tongue-tied about books that I enjoy than about books that that I don't—other than that The Name of the Star features everything you'd expect in a Maureen Johnson book: strong, snappy dialogue; a relatable heroine; romance; pure entertainment-with-a-capital-E. (The romance, though, takes a backseat to other storylines.)
Rory is a likable, believable, witty main character; there are quirky side characters (some of them completely off screen); the Ripper situation is an extraordinary one, but people react realistically to it (I always love that); and regular life continues even as the craziness ensues (meaning that, yes, there are boarding school hijinks and verbal slap-fights along with the ghostie bits).
Maureen Johnson does a great job of conveying the horror of the original (and the new) murders, while ALSO being understanding about peoples' fascination with them. The atmosphere around Rippermania is both bloodthirsty and fearful, which should be an oxymoron, but isn't: It's a combination that we've seen again and again, both portrayed in story (the Scream movies, for example) and played out in real life (the freaking nightly news). I'd like to say that her imagining of the Rippermania media blitz and commercialism bonanza was a brilliant satire on our desensitization to violence and so on, but... it actually felt too close to truthful to be entirely funny. Which, actually, might make it even more impressive, satire-wise.
All of that, and there's also a poignant tribute to the homefront ghosts of WWII, in the form of "...the British army's last active soldier from the Second World War, still in her uniform, still defending the East End." Which was a gorgeous thought that made me tear up when I read it the first time; the second time, when I transcribed it; and now, again, while giving this post one last read-through before hitting 'publish'.