Monday, August 11, 2008

Hmm, doesn't this look like fun

Granted, I'm starting three days behind everyone else, but this Olympic mini-challengeby Annie looks like a lot of fun.

First seen on Marg's site, the challenge is as follows:

So you want to support your country this Olympics but the extent of your sporting expertise is running from bookstore to bookstore searching for the latest Philippa Gregory novel? Well then do I have a challenge for you!

For the entire period of the Olympic Games (08 August 08 till 24 August 08) I'll be hosting a unique mini-challenge. It's country against country in the battle to prove your reading patriatism. The ultimate prize will be awarded to the individual who earns the most gold medals - a US $20 Gift Voucher. The runner up will receive a $5 Gift Voucher. Both 1st and 2nd place will also receive a special 'winner' badge to place on their blog.
How it Works...

1) You are to read as many books possible written by authors from your own country during the period the Olympics are on. The genre and length of the books will be up to you.
2) Each time you finish a book, post your name, country, blog address, book title and author as a comment on the bottom of this post. That will earn yourself and your country a silver medal. If you do all the above plus post a link to your review of the book you earn yourself and your country a gold medal.
3) A running country medal tally will be kept down the right hand side of this blog as well as the individual currently topping the leader board.
4) To win the Amazon Gift Voucher, you must be a gold medal winner (ie you must have submitted a review).
5) I don't mind if you've read the books before or were half-way through when the challenge started either.

Granted, I'm a bit behind the curve, but seeing as how I'm UNEMPLOYED and therefore have OODLES OF TIME on my hands, well, if I can't manage a book a day, I will have to hang my head in shame.

And luckily, I just finished a book today, Devil's Due by Rachel Caine, author of the Weather Warden series.  Romance/supernatural/fiction, and it's 290 pages long.

Now, Devil's Due is a sequel to Devil's Bargain, a book I haven't read. The public library here in Brooklyn doesn't have a copy and I didn't really have the urge to buy it. Luckily in this case, since Devil's Due isn't a book I plan to read again.

From the author's website:

Everything you do matters.

Lucia Garza opened a detective agency with Jazz Callender, and discovered a whole new, eerie world of precognition, coincidence, and chaos. There's a chance that Lucia and Jazz can escape their fate, but it's risky. They need people they can trust ... but can Lucia trust Jazz's old partner, Ben McCarthy? Or is he working for the other side?

Worse ... is their side really the right one?

Now, while I might be missing some things--due to not reading the first book--what happens is this: Lucia and her partner Jazz get these little red envelopes with a note inside that they absolutely, without fail, have to follow. Or else. Or else people die. Or else people don't die. Or else they die. You see the dilemma they're in? They started their detective agency with the help of a secret benefactor; all the cash they need in exchange for doing whatever the little red envelopes say to do. Only things start going sideways when Lucia realizes that Ben McCarthy's, Jazz's old partner and a man who's just had his triple homicide conviction overturned (due to some oh-so-timely evidence showing up), isn't as innocent as he seems. Meanwhile, Jazz's lover is still working for the Cross Society (that's the society that's funded the agency) and Lucia is really starting to think that no one is safe to trust, not even Jazz.

Without giving away the entire plot, the main thing is that the Cross Society and the Eidolon Corporation were founded by a psychic who can see all the probable futures that each one of us has...and every probable future that comes about after we make a decision. And so on. It's enough to drive a sane person nuts. And so the Corporation, and then the society, were founded to try and control the future. Starting out with the best of intentions--to save lives, etc.,--things quickly start going the other way, which is when Lucia and Jazz get drawn into the mix. The Cross Society has "seen" that they're important, so they get them involved. As it turns out, Lucia is a bit more special then most; it's imperative that she be kept alive, although no one is willing to tell her why.

There were a lot of plot holes in this story, and I don't think it's because I hadn't read the previous book. Lucia's past is hinted at a lot, but we're never actually told what she used to do for a living. Nor or we told why she did those things or why she got out, although that is hinted. There is also a scene in the last third of the book that makes my stomach crawl and I'm so angry that Lucia is, at the end, all fine and dandy with it. However, Lucia does have all the makings of being an awesome character. She's rich, with a dubious background, well-dressed at all times, and knows a great deal about hurting people by hand or with a weapon. I mean, it's hard to dislike the woman who takes out the valet because she sees something shiny in his hand.

And the ending of the book is left completely open for a follow up, but there aren't any more central characters to write about. And that irks me, because I'd love to see more of Gregory, with or without Lucia. Yeah, she and Ben are OK together (you did see that coming, right?), but I think she and Gregory would be a whole lot more fun, especially since he also has a rather dubious background. Of course, he's evil and mean and hurt Lucia at one point (and I'm not in favor of that!), but still, way more chemistry between them.


Marg said...

I've read everything except the very latest Weather Warden book, but don't remember hearing anything about this book before.

I've just checked my library and they have Devil's Bargain but not this one.

hayden said...

Hmm. I stopped reading the Weather Warden series when her daughter was "born." I know she's written another book, which I think might be the last in the Weather Warden series, and she's starting a new series that's an offshoot of the Weather Warden one.

I didn't know about the Red Letter Series, which is what these two books are a part of, until I surfed around on her site for a bit. Devil's Due wasn't a horrible read, but there were a lot of empty spots I wanted filled in and one plot point that I'm still angry about.