Category Archives: Urban Fantasy

Review for Hang Wire

hang wire

Title: Hang Wire

Author: Christopher Adam

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror (Stand alone)

Source: Galley received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewer: Kristen R.

Summary:

Ted is a Bay area blogger. He doesn’t feel quite right after a strange event at his birthday party involving an exploding fortune cookie. Around town there have been horrific murders by the Hang Wire Killer and Ted’s own sleepwalking tendencies seem to coincide with the occurrences of the crimes.

At the same time a new carnival has come to town and it boasts an eclectic set of performances, including Celtic dancers and an amazing high wire act. With the carnival comes Victorian carnival rides and there is something about these rides that is not quite right as violent and bloody events surround them and their operator, Joel.

There are forces at work around San Francisco, both good and bad, as immortals search for the ancient power stirring beneath the city that has the potential to destroy the world and the unsuspecting mortals that are caught up in the middle.

My review:

This is a quirky tale that was a bit confusing at first, but once I got into the story it was intriguing. The reader starts out just as confused as Ted. After the fortune cookie incident he is exhausted despite all of his efforts to rest and recover. After a full night’s sleep he is still sore and he starts waking up in places that he does not remember going. The phrase from his exploding fortune cookie shows up all around him “You are the master of every situation.” On his laptop, other places that he goes, over and over again…

At the same time the reader is taken to scenes from the past and the present and is not allowed to view one character for long. Mixed into the modern day scenes are glimpses of the past. It is not at first clear how these relate to the story, but as the reader is introduced to more characters in the present the connection develops that links them to those in the past.

This back and forth method of storytelling is a refreshing way to show the evil forces that the characters are up against. Instead of simply telling about how evil the carnival rides and their operator are and where the evil comes from, the reader discovers it through the flashbacks to earlier times. The story of the rides and the one who is searching for their pieces builds up as the flashbacks continue and the true nature of the situation comes to light. As the events lead closer to the present day and we learn about the immortals in the current day, the reader learns just what peril the people of San Francisco, and the world, face in this tale.

It soon becomes clear that some of the characters may, in fact, be the same people, even if they do not realize it quite yet. The downside to all of this jumping around is that we do not get to learn as much about the characters as one might like. This does make it a bit difficult to care about the main characters as much as one might desire but in the end it creates a compelling story.

 My rating:

4 out of 5 bookmarks.  Your enjoyment of this book depends on the type of storytelling you like. Be prepared for something different and just go with the flow, even if you are a little lost at first. Take your time with this book. Read carefully. The different parts of the story come together and it makes it all the more creepy and exciting.

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by | April 10, 2014 · 12:36 am

Review: Mercy Thompson: Moon Called, Volume 1

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Title: Mercy Thompson: Moon Called, Volume 1 (Mercedes Thompson Graphic Novels #1: part 1 of 2)

Author: Written by Patricia Briggs & David Lawrence, Artwork & collection cover by Amelia Woo

Genre: Urban Fantasy Graphic Novel (Rated T+, suggested for teens and up)

ISBN: 9781606902035

Reviewer: Kristen Rinaldo

Summary:

Mercy Thompson likes to spend her days working on cars at her shop in the Tri-City area of Washington.  Mercy is a walker and can shapeshift into a coyote. When Mac, a 16-year old werewolf on the run, appears asking for a job, Mercy pities him and decides to help. Strange men attempt to kidnap Mac and she is forced to take actions that involves Adam, the local pack’s Alpha.  Soon after, Adam is attacked and his daughter is kidnapped leading Mercy to become involved in werewolf business.

Favorite quote:

“In this house we eat out cookie dough like civilized women- with a spoon.”

Review:

I am not a frequent reader of graphic novels but I like Patricia Briggs so I decided to give this one a try.  While this is not as good as the book from which it is adapted, it is entertaining, gets the main story across and the artwork is generally appealing.

Artwork:

I realize that it is not likely that an artist’s interpretation of a character will match what he or she looks like in my head.  That being said, I thought that some of the male characters, particularly Adam, were strange looking and not nearly as attractive as they were described in the novels.   This will not be the vision of Adam that is in my head when I read about him in the future.

The drawings of the wolves and coyote were awkward. I imagine that the coyote should be slimmer and smaller than the wolves but it was hard to see the difference between the two species and they almost looked like the same type of animal. In some scenes the manner in which the animals were positioned and interacted with their surroundings was unnatural.  There was one scene where Mercy, as a coyote, was jumping over a fence and the position of her legs looked more like she was flying in a standing position rather than leaping.

On a positive note, the characters’ faces are expressive, adding to their personalities and enhancing the story. Nudity is tastefully done.  It is present in the sense that when a person shape-shifts their clothes do not shift with them, but it is not graphic or distracting.

While I am a novice graphic novel reader I was able to follow the setup of the panels once I realized how they were meant to be read.  The panels do not always follow a straight left to right reading pattern, which is not a problem once you realize the flow. The fact that it took some getting used to is not the fault of the graphic novel , as it was due to my personal inexperience.

Story:

The story is easy to follow and the basic plot elements come through clearly. The interplay between text and visual meshed well and enhanced one another.

In this adaptation the reader gets a glimpse of Mercy’s personality. There is a sense that she has an independent streak and a snarky sense of humor.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the other characters. However, this is only the beginning of the story and this is an introduction to the people in Mercy’s world.  Mercy, being the main character, is rightfully the most fully developed.

There is a “Bonus Chapter” at the end of the book that tells Mac’s story of the night of the dance when everything changed for him.  The story is very short, not terribly deep and the artwork is not good at all. It is nice to have a little more information about how Mac came to be in his predicament, but the artwork was a big turnoff.

Rating:

3 out 5 bookmarks.  The story was clear and hit the main plot points and the visual element interplayed well with the text, but the artwork was at times awkward and most of the characters felt flat.

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Filed under Adult, Graphic Novel, Kristen's Review, Review, Urban Fantasy