QuikReviews – Random Readlist

Zoe Martinique 1 – Wraith – Phaedra Weldon
– The previous version of this post had cover pics, but then my internet crashed and I’m not bothering to get it back. It was just as generic as the story inside it, so you’re not missing anything. It was purple, or something.
– An interesting premise and decent setup is derailed by One Wrong Choice of the author: her heroine is supposedly twenty-eight, instead of, say, fifteen to seventeen. Because Holy Hannah is Zoe one dumb chick.–and she’s treated as such by the collection of stereotypes the author calls her family.
– If your made-up mythology is too complicated, people (I) am going to get bored and skip it, especially when it’s being explained for the umpteenth time by stereotype characters (goth chick computer whiz paranormal research gadget genius! sassy gay sidekick! The, uh, other gay sidekick! Cool Mom with unexplained powers who makes a mean mashed potatoes and approves of her daughter’s romance. Fortunately, not with the UnSexy Tentacled Humanoid Abomination Extradimensional Hitman).
– A lot of the beats were totally predictable–Heroine is Marked by Mysterious Stranger From Another Dimension, Heroine Gains the Powers of the Stranger, Heroine Has Hots for Mysterious Stranger, etc–and these flat-out did not fit. Sexy Mysterious Stranger? Has tentacles FOR HIS TEETH. Sexy Mysterious Stranger? Steals Zoe’s health, voice, and wants to steal bits of her soul. Sexy Mysterious Stranger? Is some kind of humanoid abomination and Zoe’s connection to him starts to turn her into one, too. Oh yeah, and it’s a physical (gag) connection, too. These? Are all beats the story could have done without and it would have been all the better for it.
– Zoe is One Dumb Chick and the plot is mostly her bumbling around, doing something stupid, and fainting afterwards.
– Flat and stereotypical characters.
– Heroine fainting after doing things.

Call Him Demon / The Green Man – Henry Kuttner
Call Him Demon is a serviceably creepy story about a girl named Jane finding that she has Another Uncle. He moved in three weeks ago. He gets hungry and he requires meat. Moral of the story: six year olds are naturally psychopaths and as such should not be blamed for feeding Grandma to a demon.

The Green Man – Teaching kids about racial superiority via podcast (mindcast) is wrong.

After Dark – Manly Wade Wellman (Silver John)
Man during the day. But after dark, the Shonokin.
It’s a novel but would have been better as a novella.

Roadmarks – Roger Zelazny
It’s a Zelazny book–so even when confusing and avant-garde, it’s highly entertaining and impeccably well-written. Which is fortunate, because it is confusing and very avant-garde (“That’s a dirty ten-letter word.”) If Zelazny’s editor had any guts, he’d have forced him to rewrite it until it reached coherency.
It’s about: Red Dorakeen, who travels the Road that stretches through time–trying to make a particular future happen. When first seen, he’s attempting to run guns to the Greeks at Thermopylae, so…but the Black Decade has been declared against him–ten assassins are allowed ten free shots at him. Who did this and why? A former business associate who really, really wants Red dead. But…why? Therein lies the rub.
It’s also about Red’s son, Randy, who is guided by Leaves of Grass, a sentient computer who used to travel with Red, and by Leila–a woman who once was old together with Red.
You see, Red and Leila are of the blood that built the Road, and they age backwards…
Oh, and the Marquis de Sade teaches writing workshops in C Twenty-eight. When he gets fed up with this and tenders his resignation via T-rex….read it for that scene alone, it’s highly-entertaining and impeccably well-written.