Vamp Stuff

Book Review of Who Moved My Cheese?

cheeseNeed to look at change – whether it be in the workplace, in relationships or elsewhere – Who Moved My Cheese is THE book.  It’s a quick read – a parable really about mice (and little men) in a maze who discover the cheese they eat daily has disappeared.  One group of characters embraces change and goes looking for “new cheese”, whilst others find it harder, and take a much longer road to accepting that the old cheese is gone forever.  Sounds crazy – but like me, you’ll be making cheese references for weeks afterwards.

The foreword and discussion pages afterwards help continue to provide context to the parable and ensure it make sense to the reader.  A great way to get across difficult information in a way that doesn’t place blame – it just goes through natural stages of responding to change and asks you if you could have responded differently.

I read this mainly for the workplace implications, but there are ones for my personal life too.  I like “sniff the cheese regularly to make sure it’s not getting old!”.


Blood Promise (Vampire Academy)

This is anotherBP in the Vampire Academy series that I am reading part-time. After Dimitri became Strigoi at the end of the last book (sorry for the spoiler!), Rose goes out on her own to hunt him in Russia. There, she meets and befriends his family and considers staying there with them. However, eventually he comes to her and holds her captive until she willingly decides to become a Strigoi by his side.

Meanwhile, back at the academy Lissa is left defenceless when befriended by a party girl with a secret. Eventually, Rose must ask her friends in Russia to help her reach across the oceans to save Lissa once again. She returns to her friend’s side, leaving things unresolved with Dimitri.

No hints yet as to whether or not my prediction that Dimitri will somehow be “healed”, but each book is a step closer to finding out. Two to go.

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy 3)

skI’m still reading this young adult fiction series on and off, following the romance between shadow kissed Rose and her mentor Dimitri. In this instalment, the shocking development my friends told me of occurred – just as Rose and Dimitri act on their feelings and plan how to be together, Dimitri is attached and turned by Strigoi. This makes him the kind of soul-less vampire of the more nightmarish vampire tales.

Rose, who has finally begun to question the adage that the Moroi should come before her own feelings, leaves her best friend Lissa and her training as a guardian to hunt down and kill Dimitri. This in itself is an interesting lot development, one which I am looking forward to following.

So now I am waiting patiently for the next instalment, even though I have a pile of books on my bedside table including one I have been asked to review (very exciting). So perhaps this will have to wait until the school holidays.

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)

thCAVAZK3MEvery so often – and unapologetically – I just want to read something light. Something to rest my tired brain. After the indecipherable Foe, this was just the ticket. I still maintain that these teenage vampire fictions are more closely related to bodice rippers than anything penned by Anne Rice for example, but they can be harmless fun.

So some friends challenged me to read this after a girl’s night out led us into the Vampire Academy film (this novel following on directly from this). I may have claimed that I could predict the outcome of the whole series from a few small details… so I am hereby proving myself either incredibly right, or incredibly wrong.

What struck my first was the appalling writing – it took me three of four pages to get past this.  But eventually I did, and got lost in the story of best friends Lissa and Rose, and especially Rose’s forbidden passion for her seriously hot mentor, Dimitri. Definitely page-turning stuff.

These kinds of novels follow a formula – and if this is a formula you enjoy, then this is certainly a great Sunday afternoon read, when you just want the world to fall away (possibly just leaving you, this book and a bag of gummi bears).


The Twelve

imagesThis is the follow up, and second book of Justin Cronin’s trilogy which began with The Passage.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one, although I thought aspects of it were interesting.  I downloaded the follow up on audio and once I got to the 22+ hours of it, I quickly found myself spellbound..

The Twelve fully fleshes out the post-apocalyptic world that was sketched in The Passage.  It goes back 93 years to the beginning of the virus, and follows the story of a group of survivors, two of whom are ancestors of Alicia Donadio, who figures prominently in this book and the last.  The reader has a much clearer idea of the downfall of humanity and how the pockets of humanity survived the virals.

Skipping back to the future, some of those characters are still alive, the ones who have exploited the restorative nature of how the virus has manifested itself in Lawrence Gray, an orderly at the facility that housed  Zero and the Twelve.  These humans, called red-eyes, have then gone on the enslave the pockets of humanity left in Iowa, employing human collaborators.  It is a grim view of the future, and the only hope is a radical terrorist group.

The characters from the previous novel all appear again, after a space of five years.  Amy remains in the body of a fourteen-year-old girl, although she is transformed as the novel progresses.  Peter has become a veteran of the Expedition, as has Alicia, transformed into a killing machine by the virus and a transfusion of Amy’s blood.  Sarah, who was a part of the attack on Roswell that was the culmination of the last novel, is barely surviving in Iowa, and eventually becomes part of the insurgency there.

After the death of Babcock at the end of the last novel, the Expeditionary have been searching for the Twelve to no avail, as each of their deaths appears to end the lives of any virals they created.  But with no luck, they want to call off the search, much to Peter’s disgust.

Although the characters all head off in different directions, they find their way back to each other, and in fact to the remains of the Twelve.  But Zero has a plan, not only to move the Twelve to a safe location, but to replenish the loss of Babcock.

This is a real nail-biter, and the human story is much more involved.  You will engage more with the characters and a much more clearly realised world.  I am now hanging on the edge of my seat for the final installment.

The Radleys

I’ve read some good reviews of this, and had some personal recommendations,  but this is a little too “I was a teenage vampire” mixed with a dose of “Home and Away” (not a compliment) for me.

The Radleys are a family of vampires who are abstainers – vampires who have chosen to give up the consumption of blood.  There are two problems with this – firstly, it makes life so dull it is barely worth living.  Secondly – the teenage children have no idea.  So when it all goes astray and their daughter Clara gives in to bloodlust during a particularly traumatic teenage experience the weakened Radley parents call in Uncle Will – a bad boy of long standing who cannot conceive of the choices they have made.  He also harbours a secret love for the wife Helen, based upon an affair they had many years ago.

All that saves this novel is the fact that it argues that a life spent in complete denial is not worth living.  The Radleys eventually find a way to be vampires – thus solving a lot of teenage angst in the meantime – and also keep from becoming murderers.  One for vamp fans only – not a huge amount of new material.

Let The Right One In

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have written!  My reading is pretty slow going these days.  But I did finish this rather interesting novel a little while ago and just have not posted my thoughts.

Let The Right One In – another Swedish novel being taken up around the world – charts the friendship between Oscar, a bullied schoolboy with few likeable qualities and Eli, a vampire.  Each lives as an outsider in a world beyond their control: Eli, a vampire who must kill to live and needs an older companion to move through life and Oscar who cannot build and maintain friendships with those around him.

Oscar is fascinated by Eli, who in turn becomes protective of Oscar.  And even when Eli is revealed to be the murderer who has been terrorising Oscar’s town, Oscar cannot bring himself to leave her.  Nor can Eli leave Oscar to the fate he has ahead of him.

Lindqvist has brilliantly depicted the relationship between the two characters, who can neither entirely be together nor totally be apart. Theirs is a love you will not soon forget.  Nor will you forget the powerful images presented through the narrative.