Friday, September 17, 2010

My Zombie Valentine: Part 1

My mother bought me this book on one of her trips to Target as a joke. She reads lots of romance novels and I mock her mercilessly because of their practically X-rated covers and the fact that she’s ashamed to read them in public. She thought it was weird and funny that romance stories about zombies where written at all. Anyway, I finally mustered up the will to read this book and I have to say that it wasn’t all bad. Here’s a breakdown of the four short stories and their ratings.

**Bring Out Your Dead by Katie MacAlister**

This story introduces Ysabelle, the counselor for revenants (AKA zombies), part time tutor, and full time owner of two souls, as she runs into a man by chance on her way to her tutoring job and passionately kisses him. Shortly after, she’s attacked by a demon and his minion imps. The random stranger that she kissed saves her and she heads off to her job. Her charge is a very strange boy named Damian who is boarding up and fortifying the upstairs windows in fear of a Dark One (AKA vampire) that will be trying to kill them. The Dark One shows up and it’s the random kissing stranger. His name is Sebastian and he seeks revenge against Damian’s father who sold him out to a powerful demon named Asmodeus. To complicate things, he has decided that Ysabelle is his Beloved that will grant him a soul and be his for eternity. Can Ysabelle avoid Asmodeus while evading Sebastian’s strong overtures?

This is my least favorite of the stories. In just the first chapter, there are so many things introduced and explained rather than shown that it made the story convoluted and confusing. This story would have been better suited as a full length novel. The plot is complex (as seen in the summary) and there is an entirely new world to explain. The premise is interesting, but the follow through isn’t there. I don’t like that the story is about 5/6 typical vampire romance versus the other tiny 1/6 that’s about zombies. This story feels like the odd story out as a result. There are also many typos and spelling errors that really bothered me. In addition, each chapter jumps ahead in time after the end of the last chapter, leading the characters to fill in the blanks by talking about it. I would really rather just see what happened and I prefer not to rely on the characters describing it to me every single chapter.

I found the characters generally unlikeable. Sebastian in particular is insufferable with his forceful attempted seduction of Ysabelle before they know each other at all. Another extremely annoying character is Sally, Ysabelle’s spirit guide. She consistently speaks in the most infuriating mixture of very bad French and English. I don’t know if it is supposed to be funny, but it really made the story hard for me to finish. It seems as if the author didn’t know enough French grammar to make a properly speaking character and this awful character’s mode of speech was the fall back. There is literally no reason why this character needs to be there. The only part I really like is the end with its small surprising twist.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

**Gentlemen Prefer Voodoo by Angie Fox**

Amie Baptiste has no man in her life, but she has a fulfilling life with a successful business. She wants to find love, but also doesn’t want to turn into her mother, who had a great many lovers, all who left her broken and sad. Being a voodoo practitioner, she decides to use a spell to find her soulmate. The spell works in that it brought her an incredibly handsome man named Dante, but she didn’t expect that he would be dead. Amie immediately tries to rid herself of him, but he’s no ordinary zombie. He now has three days to woo her or he will return to his grave forever.

This story is really cute. The basic story line is similar to the first story in that two people meet and immediately fall in love, but the woman is in denial and the man has to make her see their love. Angie Fox made the characters much more endearing, thus making the basic plot seem less male chauvinist dominated. Dante is a total sweetheart. He is willing to do anything for Amie, even if it means his permanent death. I like how his tragic past is revealed, giving his character layers as the story progresses. My favorite character of the story is Isoke, a Kagamoto dragon with a three foot wingspan. This mini dragon is the greatest comic relief. It’s just the right amount in the right places.

This story succeeds in that the plot is fairly simple with few characters that can be developed easily, without confusion and unnecessary complexities.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

More to come tomorrow!

**This post is for Velvet's September Zombies.**


M.A.D. said...

I've got this one, too - but haven't finished reading it yet.

That's pretty cool that your mom bought this for you, think you could ever get her to read it? lol

Sullivan McPig said...

Bring Out Your Dead by Katie MacAlister is my reason for not buying this book as it was printed before in the anthology 'Just one sip' which I already own. And I think the story isn't a very good standalone. You really need to have read the second and third book in the Dark Ones series to understand Sebastian.