Monday, February 27, 2012

Underworld: Blood Enemy

Underworld: Blood Enemy by Greg Cox

I promise this is the last Underworld book. Really. This is not a novelization and it was not available for my Kindle so I had to wait for a used book dealer to pull it from their shelf and ship it to me after I purchased it on Amazon. That's why I read all the others a while ago and just read this one.

After writing the novelization for the first movie, Underworld, Cox apparently decided to write his own prequel. This means that what Cox envisioned doesn't necessarily jive with what was later revealed in Rise of the Lycans. It was interesting to see what possibilities he came up with and then know what the original writers, the screen writers, had come up with as well.

Blood Enemy gives a little more back story of a couple of characters in Underworld that weren't ever developed all that much. It was nice to have that and interesting to see a slightly different alternative to the Lucian and Sonja love story.

If you are into the movies and the books, this book is worth reading as well.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Unbeknownst to me, this is book one in what is now a seven book series. I really liked this book and I am definitely going to try to read more and see how the series goes.

This is a historical novel that involves time travel. It starts in 1945 and travels to 1743. Set in Scotland, the time travel takes us back to the time of Bonnie Prince Charles and his supporters, the Jacobites, working toward the ill-fated Rising.

The heroine, Claire BeauChamp Randall is married in 1945 and then, shortly after traveling back to 1743, finds herself married again as Mistress James Fraser. Not sure if she's a bigamist since her first husband hasn't been born yet, Claire struggles to survive in this new and wild world in which she's landed.

This is a romance with some great history rolled into the mix. I love the Scottish dialect used in the book. I find the history very interesting. This is a time that I know little of and so I find myself very interested in not just the politics of the era but also the manner in which people lived and how they ate. Claire was an army nurse during World War II so she ends up as a physician / healer in 1743. This gives us a good idea of how healing went about during that era.

I highly recommend this book. Time will tell with regards to the books to follow.

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

The Chronicles included six books. They follow Vladimir Tod from eighth grade until twelfth grade plus a side book giving us the back story of another character, Joss MacMillan.

Vladimir Tod is half vampire. His father was a vampire and his mother was human. They both died in a strange and isolated house fire that consumed them and the bed they were sleeping in and nothing else. Vladimir now lives with his "aunt" who was really his mother's best friend. Only his aunt and his best friend, Henry MacMillan, know that he is a vampire. Other than being a vampire, he's pretty much your average kid. The story is basically what his life is like. Each book covers one year.

Joss MacMillan is a vampire hunter. In the course of a job in which he is sent to hunt a vampire in the small town where his aunt, uncle and cousins live, he makes friends with a shy boy his same age named Vladimir. The extra book in the series gives us the back story of how Joss became a vampire hunter and why.

This was a fun series for tweens and teens. It is a good portrayal of what life is like for teen boys trying to figure out teen girls as well as dealing with bullies and all the other social groups that affect their lives. It was fun and entertaining and had a good amount of vampire lore.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Underworld, Underworld - Rise of the Lycans, Underworld - Evolution by Greg Cox

Since there is a new Underworld movie out, I decided to catch myself up to speed by reading the novelizations of the first three movies.

A novelization is where a writer is given the script and told to write it in novel form and it should be X number of pages long. This usually allows the writer to do a little extra character development but not much more action from what you would see in the screen version.

I loved these movies when I saw them. I am a sucker for a good romance (especially the secrect forbidden kind) and if vampires and werewolves are involved, count me in. The fact that the main character, a vampire named Selene, is completely badass just makes it that much better. Apparently the big Selene/Michael romance is non existent in the latest film so I might just wait for the dvd rather than trying to see it in the theater.

Anyway... I realize these were based on the screenplay (already written) but I'm wondering if Greg Cox noticed the 200 year flaw in the story line (to say the least) and tried to get the writers to somehow fix it and they wouldn't/couldn't or if he just figured that the readers/viewers wouldn't notice because Kate Beckinsale was wearing skin tight black vinyl on the screen and such inconsistencies wouldn't matter. I noticed the 200 year flaw when I saw the second movie, Rise of the Lycans, and it bugged me but I figured there would be some sort of "fix" in the novelization. Nope.

So here's how it goes. This is a spoiler, by the way, if you care.

First vampire, Marcus, is the twin brother to first werewolf, William. William is out of control making new werewolves all over the place and Marcus can't stop him or control him. Marcus makes a vampire out of a ruthless military leader, Viktor. They also turn all of Viktor's soldiers into vampires just so they can hunt down and kill all the werewolves and some how trap William. Unknown amounts of time pass. Finally, they trap William and Viktor imprisons him for all eternity and doesn't tell Marcus where said prison is.

William, Viktor and Amelia, the elders, begin taking turns being the ruling vampire. 100 years of rule and then 200 years of sleep.

Viktor commissions dungeons to be dug beneath his castle with a special oubliette where William will be imprisoned. A special key is made to open both the main door and the small cave where William is to be held. The key has two parts. The larger part, Viktor has implanted into his own body on his rib cage (ewwww) and the smaller part he puts on a chain and gives it to his daughter as a "priceless gift" for her to wear always.

Jump ahead 200 years and his daughter is dead and her lycan lover steals the necklace as a memento of their love. Shortly after this, Viktor "rescues" Selene from whatever killed her family and turns her into a vampire.

Jump ahead 600 years and you are now in the time of Underworld and Underworld-Evolution when Selene meets Michael.

Here's the inconsistency. Selene's dad is the one commissioned to dig the dungeon and make the keys for the oubliette. So, if we know that 600 years ago it was Viktor's turn to rule (because he turned Selene), then it would be Amelia, Marcus, Viktor, Amelia, Marcus, Viktor but in Underworld Amelia is at the end of her reign and is about to awaken Markus so this timeline is off. There's another timeline inconsistency in Rise of the Lycans since we are supposed to assume that Sonya and Lucian had 200 years of knowing each other and Lucian was about 8 or 10 when Sonya was born. Allegedly, Viktor branded Lucian with his brand and then both Markus and Amelia followed suit branding their own lycans with their initials (that would be 300+ years since Viktor is ruling when Sonya dies and Lucian escapes). Also, Viktor tells Selene that the elders have been leapfrogging through time for 1400 years. If this started after William was captured (all three elders were present for the capture) that gives us a gap of 600 years from William's initial capture until the alleged digging of the dungeons and imprisonment with the secret keys. Also, if the key was worn by Sonya for 200 years, how was Selene 6 years old when the key was made by her father and 20 years old when she was turned into a vampire shortly after the death of Sonya.
I've been trying to just enjoy the stories as I did when I first saw the movies but these are some pretty big holes that can't be filled easily. Especially the 14 mortal years of Selene's life that took 200 years in the vampire world.

I still like the basic forbidden love stories (Romeo and Juliet as vampire and lycan) but the timeline is super distracting. Aaaaargh!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Since this is an election year, this was an appropriate read. Tedious but appropriate.

Most of us know at least the basics of the story. Caesar is stabbed to death by his colleagues. Most cruelly by Brutus, a man he trusted and thought of as a friend. Beyond that, I didn't remember why it happened or what happened afterwards.

Basically it boils down to ego and jealousy. One man was jealous of the glory and accolades that were given to Caesar. He, Cassius, had grown up with Caesar. He knew that Caesar was an epileptic and had witnesses a few seizures over the years. He decided that because of this 'weakness', Caesar was not fit to rule Rome. He knew, though, that popular opinion was against him. He needed a puppet for his plan to work.

Cassius began to work on Brutus and convince him that Caesar was ambitious to a fault but also had a weakness that would prevent him from being able to rule. Brutus was a weak willed man who seemed to go along with whatever was set before him. He buckled under the convincing sway of Cassius and agreed to join his band of conspirators. The play doesn't tell us who started it all but we're led to believe that it was Cassius. He had his other conspirators lined up before he got Brutus to join.

The conspirators were cowardly enough that they lured Caesar to the Senate that day under the guise of his receiving the crown. Caesar went against the wishes of his wife in order to receive the honor of ruling Rome. Instead, he was stabbed to death.

Cassius and friends hoped to sway the public in their view and thought if they could get the support of Marc Antony that nothing more would happen. Instead, Antony paid them lip service and conspired with Octavius against them that had killed Caesar.

Antony was able to get enough of the populous on his side, that many of the Senate were killed, most of them not part of the scheme at all. Antony and Octavius joined their military forces to battle the forces of Brutus and Cassius.

In the end, the conspirators lie dead. Most by their own hand, haunted by the ghost of Caesar and the evils of their own plotting.

Politics hasn't changed much for the better. Although, now we get awful advertisements (true and otherwise) on the television rather than actual assassinations. The whole petty ego driven spirit of it all seems about the same.