Archive for the ‘Jasper Kent’ Category
The rules for my “best of” post were simple: I had to have read and reviewed the book in 2011, and it couldn’t be a reread (otherwise this list would taken over by Lynch, Powers, Brust, and others).
In no particular order (saving me the impossible task of choosing my utmost favorites), here are my top reads of the last 12 months. I’m surprised so many of them are new-ish books, as that wasn’t really part of the plan. Enjoy the little teaser then click on the title for the full review.
Grey by Jon Armstrong (2007) frantic, insane, completely over the top, hilarious, refreshing, and at times completely sick. This is dystopia like you’ve never read before. This is body modification and mortification, life imitating art to the nth degree, and performance art like you’ve never imagined. This is fashion punk.
The Third Section by Jasper Kent (2011) The third in Kent’s Danilov Quintet, one of the most brilliantly frightening books I have ever read, and brimming with betrayals and violence, seductions and patience, this is the series you’ve been waiting for if you prefer your vampire fiction to be more Bram Stoker than sparkly.
The Third Section, by Jasper Kent
Published in Oct 2011
where I got it: received a review copy from the friendly folks at Pyr
Taking place 30 years after the events of Thirteen Years Later, The Third Section (the third book in Jasper Kent’s Danilov Quintet) follows the children of Aleksei Danilov. His son Dmitri is in Sevastapol, fighting off the French and the English. When Dmitri discovers two dead soldiers, whose wounds match those witnessed thirty years earlier, he knows the creatures he helped his father hunt have returned.
Meanwhile, Aleksei’s illegitimate daughter, Tamara, has secured a post with the Tsar’s secret police, The Third Section. With a cover as a madam running a brothel, her official mission is informing on loose lipped politicians. Her supervisor attempts to unnerve her by showing her his torture chambers, but she barely reacts. Tamara has nothing left to lose, what could he possibly show her that would frighten her? When one of the working girls is found dead, covered in blood and missing her throat, Tamara begins an investigation that can’t end well.
And then we have Yudin, one of the most thrilling villains I have ever met. In Twelve, Yudin, or Iuda, as he was known then, identified Aleksei as a worthy opponent. Now that the game has started, Yudin won’t back away until there is a winner. And when one is immortal, the game never has to end. He is vicious, scientifically curious, and sadistic, and the pleasure of finally getting his point of view was a pleasurable horror unto itself. I have no sympathy for Yudin, but his talent for deception and the long game makes him beyond fascinating to watch.
Thirteen Years Later, by Jasper Kent
published: Feb 2011, PYR
Where I got it: received review copy from the friendly folks at PYR
why I read it: Loved the first book, Twelve, reviewed here.
Apologies in advance for a crappily written review that doesn’t do the book justice. I’ve had some version of the flu since saturday, and my brain isn’t functioning at all. and that’s before the cold meds. the super short version: Thirteen Years Later has a slower pace than Twelve, but has better twists and turns. We get multiple points of view, which is nice. If you thought the “bad guys” from the first book were nasty, just wait till you meet Doctor Cain.
Here’s the longer version:
Aleksei tries to forget the past, but it’s impossible. He still remembers conversations he had with his dead friends, and every time he looks at his son Dmitri he can’t help but think of the boy’s namesake. Aleksei splits his time between his family in Petersburg, his mistress and illegitimate daughter in Moscow, and wherever his job takes him. Reporting directly to Tsar Alexandre, Aleksei has spent the last few years infiltrating revolutionary groups, in hopes of squashing rebellions before they even start, saving lives, and saving Russia. Many of these rebels are soldiers the same age group as Aleksei, who had chased the French all the way back to Paris thirteen years ago. They came home, wanting for Russia the freedoms and republic they saw in Paris.
Things are going fairly swimmingly, until Aleksei receives a message from a man he knows to be dead. Partly out of fear, and partly out of curiosity, he goes to the meeting, to meet a man who claims to be Maksim’s younger brother Kyesha. Maksim did have a brother, a brother who died in childhood. Who is this man, and what does he want from Aleksei? He certainly isn’t Maksim’s brother, but Aleksei does know him from somewhere. If only he could remember where. . . . Over many short meetings, with questions and answers given over a children’s gambling game, Aleksei earns a book bound in the skin of a voordalak, and discovers the secrets behind Kyesha’s horrific past. Read the rest of this entry »
A few days ago I got an e-mail from my favorite public library:
The material you’ve requested is ready for pick up: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu.
So I went and picked it up, grinning like a fool the whole time. Yesterday I read the first half of the book. It’s a fast-ish read, much stream of consciousness, social commentary, funny little digs at companies, good stuff. It’s also very, very depressing at times. To the point where half way through, I had to put it down. That’s gonna be an awkward book review to write. How do you say “this book was freaking depressing!” and make it sound like a compliment?
So I picked up Jasper Kent’s Thirteen Years Later instead. I always love me some suspense and scary bad guys. Got about 50 pages into it last night and early this morning. And as to be expected, it’s very good. No pun intended, but it sucks you right in.
Then, this morning I got one of the best e-mails I’ve ever gotten.
Better than Cory Doctorow’s response to my drunken fanletter, and almost better than Scott Lynch’s response to my drunken fanletter/love letter. BTW, awesome audio interview with Scott Lynch here. The man has a lovely voice, I wonder if he’s ever contemplated a career as a newscaster?
Back to this mornings awesome e-mail. It was from my favorite Public Library. It read:
The material you’ve requested is ready for pick up: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Read the rest of this entry »
Twelve, by Jasper Kent
Published in 2010
Where did I get it: Library, but plan to purchase a copy
I’ve been waiting a long time to read a book like this. A book that puts the horror back in supernatural myths. Although it’s somewhat spoiled on the back of the book, I won’t even tell you which supernatural myth I’m talking about, just know that it’s one you are supposed to be afraid of.
To risk sounding cliche, Jasper Kent’s writing is just damn good. Every sentence, every word moves the plot forward. There isn’t a slow moment in this book. Kent brings us to early 19th century Moscow, where the people are proud yet afraid of invasion. Talk of republic is in the air, along with the early snows of autumn.
Don’t know anything about Russia, 1812 or Napoleon? Don’t worry, the main character, Aleksei will walk you through everything you need to know. My historical education is so lacking as to be embarassing, and not once did I feel lost. Twelve takes place during a war, and Aleksei and his friends are soldiers, but this is not a war book.
As Napoleon’s Grande Armee marches towards Moscow, Dmitry offers to bring in some mercenaries to help with the effort. Aleksei, Dmitry, Maksim and their commanding officer Vadim aren’t on the front lines, per say, they are beyond the front lines. Their mission is to cross enemy lines and cause disruptions and problems for the invaders. In modern jargon I’m sure the French would call them terrorists.