61. Come Closer – Sara Gran
Extremely short at 168 pages, and not a young adult book, this was a bit of a surprise take on possession – from the inside.
The demon has apparently been fond of Amanda since she was a young child but didn’t try to take full possession then. She waited. Then, once Amanda was basically getting her shit together, she pounced.
One of the amusing parts of the book involves the failure of self-help for Amanda. She finds Demon Possession Past and Present, a book that has a checklist and levels of how possessed one may be. As she becomes more and more possessed, she isn’t allowed to read books that might have helped her, she even finds that she’s burned several of them in her fireplace. The doctor recommended by her husband tells her to eat more salt and turns out to be possessed too – somehow salt makes the demon stronger in this story as opposed to being a purifying element and something demons can’t cross. The psychiatrist recommended by the doctor before she knows the doctor is possessed is also concerned as to why she wouldn’t want to be more active in her own life, taking control, doing weird stupid stuff that’s detrimental to her health and relationships but also more active…he’s possessed too.
And for once in a possession story, there’s no fight. No holy water. No “The power of Christ compels you!” Just a girl and the demon that tells her she’ll never leave her.
Peregrine is the pig that will never leave me. She’s not even a demon; she’s just nice that way.
Filed under Books, Review
71. Living with the Dead – Kelley Armstrong
You know, I’m not sure that Hope and Karl can really carry a story. Hope’s a demon who has a hard time controlling her massive powers and Karl is a werewolf slash jewel thief (sometimes) that loves that demon. Karl didn’t really pop out much to me in the other werewolf stories, so his whole near-redemption situation wasn’t all that intriguing. I think maybe Armstrong knows that not all the characters really deserve their own book length work, but still wanted to use these two, and so she stuck them in with some other narrators in Living with the Dead. The result is a bit of a mess. The plot’s fine, a little involved considering that this is book nine in the Otherworld series and the reader is only familiar with a couple of the characters already – and vaguely familiar at that. Robyn, Hope’s friend that doesn’t know she’s a demon, who also has a dead husband who was – surprise! – a necromancer, starts finding lots of dead people around her. And not in a Sixth Sense way, in a “you must be the killer, you’re around” way. Oh, those supernatural crimes inspire the best police work. Well, this one kind of does once Robyn’s dead husband starts helping Finn, another new narrator.
Sometimes you read books in a series to have read the whole series…and if Armstrong’s writing wasn’t so easy to glide through, I might’ve skipped this one.
Ozma looks for a story with more dynamic narrators on the other side of the couch. The cooler werewolves are not back there, little Oz, I’m sorry.
35. The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy
Vengeance demon! Fun! This was a strangely stiff bit of punk fantasy. There were a lot of conversations that slowed the narrative, even though it’s extremely short. I was originally interested because of a description I found that mentioned the book was quite weird and set in my home state. Being in Iowa doesn’t have anything important to do with the story as far as I can tell now, having read the whole thing. Fine.
I did quite like the onset of the weirdness and the vengeance demon was quite cool. The characters were interesting, some of them fit stereotypes of people who want to tell you about how great communal lifestyles are…like the Manson Family… You know, like, everything should be free – this is both a stereotype and something I’ve mainly heard from rich people who have rejected being rich, except for the, like, money from their parents part. They don’t really want to “live like common people do.” Thankfully, there were also characters with a little more dimension, although a couple of them never appeared in the story while alive. And the story took place right at a point of conflict in the town that revolved around how irritating it is to actually work together and have leaders and how an entire community’s priorities rarely line up smoothly. Overall, I give it the bread with jelly on it scratch n’ sniff sticker- “Grape Stuff.” I might also be tempted to stick the individual roller skate one on the side so that the edge is hanging off – “Keep Rollin’,” as this is a series and I will certainly read book two. Does anyone really know what that skate was supposed to smell like?
Danger Crumples, seen hoarding the resources of Ozymandias. Guinea pigs are technically social animals, but they totally let the hierarchy get in the way. All the time. Herd politics. They get that weird sticker that’s an incredibly realistic pickle and just says “GOOD WORK” in the semi-blandest of fonts, which signals they’re shit at working together beyond begging for treats within ten minutes of having finished their previous treats.
46. Stolen – Kelley Armstrong
Adding witches, vampires, demons, a mad scientist, and a sadistic billionaire to her urban fantasy (but this one’s mainly set in an isolated compound) series may have seemed like a good idea at the time for Kelley Armstrong. Second book in the series, throw in everything. And in fact, the Otherworld books are usually fun to read regardless of how many types of supernatural characters have been thrown in – besides, Charlaine Harris did the same thing and it happened on Buffy and Monster Squad and there are so many, many more. If one supernatural thing is real, they all must be! Here’s a kitchen sink for your trouble! It does get tiresome having to learn everyone’s powers over and over – oh you’re not all demon, you’re just half demon and a jerk- okay. On something else, you’d be super tortured and whining about not being able to find love or something…
In the context of Stolen, which came directly after Bitten – a novel dealing entirely with werewolves – it’s quite the expansion on what I thought was going to be a series dealing with the issues of one main species. And in the setting it has – some jerk billionaire uses his resources to capture and hunt different supernatural species, it makes it work. Armstrong’s female characters are very strong and very capable and I appreciate that. Even the imprisoned witches and Elena the werewolf are resourceful and making the effort to make do with their circumstances while finding a way out. It’s far more realistic than panicking and waiting for male characters to help them out…and sometimes it seems like stories have to be set in a fully supernatural universe for that to be truly understood.
Ozma, planning her escape from the couch full of pumpkins.