I decided to read the book after seeing the film last week. Both have the same premise but they are different in treatment and ending, in a way I prefer the Japanese version. It could easily have been presented in a graphic novel format (which exists) than the prose it was written in.
I have a little issue about time travel and the mechanism of it because, in all the novels I've read, it was never explained to my satisfaction. It can't be with a 230 pages book so I decided to suspend disbelief and concentrate on the character's struggle and interactions.
So this story is a take on the old Groundhog Day movie where you wake up and re-lives the same 24hrs over and over again. Keiji Kiriya does a rince and repeat of his first day as a soldier on the muddy battlefields of Japan and learns something each time he goes through the loop.
Mimic are alien invaders trying to exterminate mankind for a good 20 years. The army always needs fresh meat so Keiji goes on a little island near the coast of Japan on his first battle with the enemy. He is scared shitless and gets killed right as the battle starts...to wake-up in army base 30 hours before the strike. He quickly realizes that he's trapped in a time loop but no matter what he does...he still ends up on the battlefield and dies. Again and again.
One of the interesting part of the story is all the little things, how he decides to shave off time on his unending routine to train his body and brain. The only thing he can take forward is his memory so the body stays the same, he does not build muscle. There is an old samurai principle mentioned in the book: ‘Kiri-oboeru’ which roughly means strike down your enemy and learn. This completely disappear in the movie but it's the focal point of even the name of the book. How he learn to appreciate his comrades in arm and his commanding officer that he originally hated...even if everybody else experience his day for the first time and don't share the deeper connections he makes. How excellent food becomes awful after 100 repetition...
In all Keiji's struggle there is one constant: an American female soldier named Rita Vrataski. She has more Mimic confirmed kills than anyone on the world and is known as the Full Metal Bitch. Funnily enough, none of the main characters are even remotely close to the movie actors....well maybe the action figures described in the story are a very close match (yes, they made a movie about Rita in the story and action figures, it's a Japanese novel after all).
Another point in it's favor (and because I've read too many american novels lately) is that ending is bittersweet. If you like video games and first person shooter....you might appreciate the irony of this book.
It's my first book from Anne Bishop and I must say that I love the world she creates with this tale of human controlled/hunted by the Others (vampires and shifters).
The Others have custody and possession of the lands, allowing the human to settle and live while they consider them more like clever monkeys. It is refreshing to have a story where humans live in fear of the Others and are not in control. The Others would sooner eat them than trade with them. This creates an interesting dynamic governing the exchange between races.
The main human character, Meg Corvin, is a cassandra sangre or a blood prophet. Prophesies are generated when the skin is cut. Meg fled her Controller where she was kept imprisoned in the only place where the human law does not apply: Lakeside Courtyard, business district operated by the Others. She finally gets a job as a human liaison from Simon Wolfgard, a shifter.
One of the many charms of the story is the way Meg interact and relate to the Others. She was razed in a closed environment so when she escaped she had no frame of reference for the outside world. She didn't know how to cook, how to dress, how to drive. She could identify many objects but have no clue as to their use because she was only shown pictures...knowledge of the world just enough to identify things in a prophecy but not how to survive alone in the world.
Meg did not know how to behave with Others or humans and made her way as much as she could figure it out....and the Others were puzzled because she was not acting like a typical human as much as they could guess (they prefer to eat them, not converse with them) nor was she acting like an Other. It led to some pretty endearing moments.
Another aspect that I liked was that Simon and Meg did not instantly like each other, this love at first sight that is sometimes overused. They got to know each other slowly and by the end of the book you might say that there is the beginning of a romance.
The only downside to the story was that the 'villain' was quite vain and petty....but the inevitable end was satisfying.
Is it March 2014 yet?
The heroine Cassie has always played catch up a bit in this series but now that she was deprived of her two main supporters...she really grew, made proactive decisions as best she could and I was proud of her considering that she is not a fighting amazon and mounting a rescue mission like she did with her motley crew (on a side note, I still don't like Casanova but I feel sorry for him a bit).
It's also one of the series that can pull off a love triangle and still make it work. I'm team Pritkin all the way but with the Dorina series I learn to be fond of Mircea also.
- Cassie shifting in her sleep to see Pritkin again, is it not love?
- The ending! I was bawling my eyes out when I read that!
- Are we going to have the witches finally teach Cassie to do magic...it's about time!
Since it's the 8th book of the series, it's impossible for me to write a review without spoilers so, be advised.
The Dragonfire series has seen many couples formed of shape-shifting dragon warriors (the Pyr) charged with protecting the earth and humankind. If the dragon is very lucky he will find his destined mate during a firestorm. The dragons that go against this ideal turn to selfish and destructive goal and are called Slayers.
Here we have Brandon Merrick, professional surfer trying to divorce himself from his dragon nature. He is young and stupid to realize that his quest has less chances of success than winning the lottery or a leopard changing his spots. His destined mate is Liz Barrett, marine biologist fleeing from her past.
Brandon has convinced himself that his dragon half is evil since her mother threw him out and his father was never a permanent fixture in his life. He wants to become wholly human and befriend Chen, an evil and ancient Chinese Slayer, who has great plans for him in the form of a very dead Pyr.
Liz Barrett has a lot of issues as well since she is a Firedaughter in denial caused by a traumatic childhood incident. I did not particularly liked the witchcraft/wicca introduction in the series because it emphasized how little the Pyr, as a magical species, had forgotten over the centuries about magic. It kind of cheapen the world-building of the 7 previous books. So, Firedaughter have an affinity to fire given by the hawaiian Goddess Pele.
The premise looks interesting and the story was good but not great. Whenever there are two main characters in their late 20's in complete denial of their fundamental nature, the easy option is to regress ones actions to the level of a teenager. Brandon, with his surfer playboy persona could maybe be excuses but Liz with a university degree took the cake. The good thing is that Liz did not scream and run for the hills when she figured out what Brandon was, being herself not stickily human.
The saving grace was that the previous characters like Erik, Sloane, Quinn and their children played a large part in the story that balanced and helped the story move along.
I'll continue reading the series because I can rarely give one up but it has become a bit formulaic and could use some more darkfire.
Aryal is convinced that there is something sinister about Quentin, panther shifter, now a new sentinel for Dragos. Aryal, a harpie, has focused all her investigative skills and considerable hate on him while he tries to let go of the past and be forgiven for his sins.
Their hate for each other and constant fighting get them kicked out of New York and instructed to work out their differences because everyone has had enough of their destructive obsession.
Their hate/hate relationship slowly transforms to a courtship of negotiating bargains for sexual favors. It is especially funny to read those two strong dominants give an inch or two.
Archangel's legion was even better than the previous books of the series. While Raphael and Elena has always had a steamy relationship, Nalini Singh really outdid herself in the intimate scenes and managed to flesh out those character even more.
Another conflict is evident with the members of the Cadre and Raphael and Elena must plan for war while forgotten elements of Elena's past and her father's are brought to light. It helped Elena gain some closure with her daddy issues while providing interesting back story.
I especially liked that the 7 were not just window dressing but really participated to the story and I'm eternally hoping for Bluebell's book.
Since I really liked the author's Razorland series I decided to start the Dred Chronicles. I did not realize that it was a spin-off of the Sirantha Jax series, fortunately I have read the first two books so not all the references escaped me I hope.
The premise of a prison ship with no guards, no hope of escape leads to territory wars and scarcity of resources. The writing was well made in such a way that it was mostly believable that the female lead could keep a group of bloodthirsty criminal under her command. I would have liked to explore a little bit more the other factions in Perdition...especially the aliens.
The supporting characters, Dred's advisors, were a great addition from the enigmatic past of the spymaster, the crazy soothsayer...but the lead male character was a bit too perfect.
In a close environment like the prison the plot is pretty predictable but the court politics and the fights scenes made it worth reading.