The Victorian Hawk Dragon has currently reviewed the following:
Zombie Girl - Ravens Croak Cemetery Witch
Does she hunt through the Graveyard, on a Starless Night? Does she stalk through the Tombstones, of a Moonlit Realm? Does she crawl through the Remnants, of once Mighty Men? Does she scream through the Night, in Raven's Speak? Be-spell you she will, this Zombie Girl - thy Raven's Croak Cemetery Witch:
You'd feel her Presence, at the first shift of Dirt. You'd hear her Call, at the first Croak of Raven. You'd sense her Touch, at the first claw of Talon. You'd know her Power, at the first lock of Eyes. For she's a Zombie, and she's Dead! And yet ... You'd feel her Presence, in Witchcraft form. You'd hear her Call, in Witches Chant. You'd sense her Touch, in Witches Blood. You'd know her Power, in Cauldron's Brew. For she's a Witches Witch - a Necromancer, who knows not now, this Path of Dead! And yet ... You'd feel her Presence, at the first sight of Them. You'd hear her Call, at the first squawk of Them. You'd sense her Touch, at the first flock of Them. You'd know her Power, in guise of Herald. For she's a Raven's Girl, evermore nevermore, at the front of her - Raven's Might! In Darkness does she dwell. In Twilight does she live. In Dark Fantasy does she abide. In Darkest Night, does she Rise - but only when, Moon's just bright :) For only then, will her Ravens come ... They'll swarm the Night, from Ravens afar. They'll silhouette in Twilight, from Ravens close. They'll gift you from Dark Fantasy - a Daemon's Daemon, Strength of Nine. They'll haunt you in this Darkest Night, in Paths so Dead, and Paths so Rise! For only then, may you wonder - who is Master, who is Mistress? In Zombie form, it's hard to say ... Her Daemon skin, fights for dominance. Her Daemon claws, rend the ground. Her Daemon eyes, stare at you. Her Daemon mouth, speaks to you: Riddle, Riddle, Dark in Time. Who enters my domain? I am of Grave, I am of Night. I am of Tomb, I am of Eve. I am of Dead, I am of Life. Come to me - my Love :) No! No! But once she Lived ... A Princess: so fair she was - of Armies gone, and Kings of Old. A Princess: with long Black Hair - not all in Death, still some remains. A Princess: of Midnight's Mistress - with Curves of Lure, and Chest so Fine. I see ... Not all is Dead! For still, some remains ... No! No! I was a Witch. I walked in pages of the Spells. I walked in Magic of the Realm. I walked in verses of the Chant. I walked in Witchcraft of the King. I ... See that Night, I ... when Ravens came to me ... I remember now: a pact was made - with Raven's Raven. More of Power. More of Sorcerer. More of Dark. Croak! Croak! Princess no more ... I must obey! Who enters my domain? For I'm a Zombie of these Ravens, from afar, we wreak of Death. I do their bidding, as I Will. I'll sink my Teeth, right into Thee. I'll tear my Talons, through your Resolve. I'll show you Curve. I'll show you Cleave. I'll show you Smile. I'll show you Flirt. I'll teach you of the Darkest things. I'll bring new meaning, to the term - Deadly Embrace :) For I'm a Raven's Girl now, who walks in Paths of Necromancy, and knows well - Rise of Zombie. For I'm a Raven's Guard now - a Sentry of this Cemetery, I protect my Ravens. For I'm a Raven's Wing now - no light of touch, just Stone of Cross. For I'm a Raven's Croak now - no thought of own, just answer Riddle! Croak! Croak! No! No! I once was ... Barest Touch, Light of Day. I danced within, a Palace so Fine. Yes! Yes! I cast a Spell. One of Dark, for Raven Friends ... A Sorcerers Power, did my Spell - turn Day to Night, turn White to Black, turn Life to Death. For in my Cauldron's Brew, did I forget, just who I was! My mind was changed, through slight delay - in more decay, bad memory! My Daemon won ... Croak! Croak! Who be you that enters my domain? And that of my Ravens? And that of my Graveyard? And that of my Kingdom? And that of my Night? And that of my Empire? Scream!!! You may never leave ...Zombie now.
In the Doors of a Vampire, in the Blood Lust of the Moon. In the Riddles of a Serpent, in the Whispers of the Twilight. That's just where you'll find her, the First of her Kind, the Oldest of the Old, the Queen of the Vampires - a Midnight's Seductress, Adam's First Wife, a Princess of Darkness, Lilith:
For in Midnight's Verse, was it not written ... That only on the Darkest Nights - would you Dream of Lilith. I saw her once, with Fiery Red Hair, Temptress of Men, worry of Wife. I saw her twice, with guise of the Serpent, Charmer of Faithful, bane of the Husband. For this Vampire called Lilith, knows only too well - the Lure of the Lunar! For in Daybreak's Verse, was it not written ... That only on the Sunniest Days - would you Ponder of Lilith. I saw her once, down by the Pool, Fountain of Fun, worry of Half. I saw her twice, down by the River, Silver of Line, fret of the Other. For this Vampire called Lilith, knows only too well - the Warmth in a Hug! For in Sleepless Nights, was it not written ... That only on the Hottest Eves, under the Reddest Moon, of a Stormy Night, in the Velvet Sheets, of a Midnight's Realm - could a Vampire called Lilith, bring to bear, her Curves of Seduction, and her Charms of a Serpent. For this Queen of Vampires walks within, thy Paths of the Temptress ... A Vampire's Powers of subtle curves, that blend and twist, with Bite of Fang. A Heavenly Body that knows for well, the Spell that She Casts, in Want of Touch. A Vampire's Spells of perfect form, that twist and turn, with Rend of Nail. A Flawless Guise that knows for well, the Sins of this Night - Desires of Taste, Forbidden Fruit! For Lilith knows, only too well, the Charms of a Snake, and the Fork of a Choice ... Be thee Good as Gold, or Bad as Boy - she knows thy type, flutter Bad. Be thee White as Saint, or Red as Fire - she knows thy guise, Fiery Heart. Be thee Nice as Pie, or Sin of Cake - she knows thy taste, Chocolate Flake. Be thee Wait in Line, or Jump thy Queue - she knows thy way, Careful Sneak. Be thee Toe thy Line, or Do what Thou - she knows thy Time, Follow Me. Be thee Know thy Place, or Speak as I - she knows thy Path, it's My Way! For this Vampire Queen, forever took - thy Paths of Temptation, and the Sins of the Night :) For this Vampire Queen, walks hand-in-hand, with Pillow Talk, and Missing Time! And so it was ... A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith abide? Her answer came: a Fantasy City, at the Edge of Midnight :) With her stone-like Pillars, and her Sheets of Passion, she barres the way, to her Sin of Sins. A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith reside? Her answer came: in her Fantasy Domain, at the Red of the Moon :) With her Ruby Veins, and her Darkened Side, she guards the way, to her Heaven's Body. A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith lie? Her answer came: in her Fantasy Realm, at the Foot of the Bed :) With her Sensual Sheets, and her Silken Touch, she guides the way, to her Midnight's Kiss. A whisper came to me ... Where in Midnight's Realm does Lilith seduce? Her answer came: in your Mind's Eye, at the Start of a Dream :) With her Wish all the Way, and her Mistress Spells, she knows the way, to her Fruits of the Vampire! For Lilith is ... A Fantasy Being, where all Men wonder, for the Barest of Seconds - what if ... I listened to the Call of the Serpent? I agreed with the Logic of the Snake? I smiled with the Sanity of the Python? Well then ... I'd be a Vampire of the Night! Both bowing and betrothed to Lilith. I'd be a Vampire of the Night! Both protected and slaved to Lilith. For I would be a Vampire King, from Dark Fantasy Falls, with my Kingdom in the Night ... A Prince of Darkness would I be, with Power to shake - the Foundations of the Earth! But ... With a Whisper to Adam, from this Eve - Lilith has no need of Kings, but I do of Eve :)
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Part Two
No indeed, the Elves do not! But what of Men, can they throw back the Darkness of Sauron, all by themselves? For a Time, does this Classic Fantasy Tale, appear to suggest (at least to me), that Men very well can! Or perhaps instead, I to (like Boromir), was under the Spell of Darkness, and the Power of the One Ring, to Rule them All:
For the forth point, on why this is one of the best, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novels, that you can ever read - is it's range of Dark Fantasy Creatures ... At the Head is Sauron, a Dark Sorcerer, whose Magnificence of Old, is only hinted at (within this Tale). Even so, did I quite enjoy, the Chapter called The Council of Elrond, as it lays the seeds, for the Character of Sauron, in the Later Days of Middle-Earth. He wants the Ring, the One Ring that he made, the One Ring, that he placed much of his Sorcerers Powers in! For me, the One Ring, goes hand-in-hand, with Sauron's most prominent, Dark Fantasy Creatures - his nine Black Riders. Who are akin to Phantoms, with no physical form, other than Dark Visage in a Cloak. They wield Blades, that are both Cruel and Evil. I shuddered when Frodo was wounded (by such a Blade), at the thought of what he could become - a Wraith of some-kind! I feel that Frodo was right, when he chooses to avoid the Black Riders, even though doing so, meant entering the Old Forest (the lesser of two Evils). I found myself sitting, on the edge of my seat, when Frodo was racing for Rivendell (the Elven home of Elrond), with Black Riders chasing him! Added to this, are Sauron's Black Dragons (although here in this Tale, is it just the briefest of glimpses - with a bow shot from Legolas, downing the Dragon). And yet, are there also, other Dark Fantasy Creatures, at work within Middle-Earth - although I feel, that they have no direct knowledge, of the One Ring itself (and thus, do not directly, answer to Sauron). For example, I liked the Orcs and Goblins of Moria, together with the concept of the Balrog (a large Fire Breathing Western Dragon of a Daemon) - who to me, is one of the Oldest of the Old. An Elemental Dragon/Daemon, that lives in the Hottest Fires of the Earth. Yet do I find, that both the Balrog, and the One Ring, have a connection (at least in a saying): Delve Too Deep in Greed, and Pay the Price! The Black Riders delved too deep - what once was King, now Phantom of the Night (and Day!). The Dwarves delved too deep - what once was Moria, was lost to Dark (Durin's Bane - a Balrog!). And of the Wraiths? The Barrow-wights, sent a shiver down my spine! As there's something Unnatural, about former Kings, and Warriors of Old, that feel that they, still have a Hold, on the Living. Wake up Frodo! Fifth: is it's range of Fantasy Swords ... I've always liked the idea of Magical Swords, and the background build-up, to the Sword of Elendil, is no exception: a Sword that was shattered, upon an enemy of Old (Sauron), that is reforged, and renamed Anduril (Flame of the West), the Weapon of Kings (borne by Aragorn) - made me want one :) Added to this, is Gandalf's sword, Glamdring - which I for one, have long desired, to look upon! Yet, do I like the fact that Glamdring (borne by the mighty), is also matched by Frodo's short-sword Sting (borne by the lesser/Little People), as both gleam/glow blue, when in the presence of Orcs - which if you think about it, would be slightly scary, whilst deep in the Mines of Moria! Sixth: is it's range of Fantasy Castles ... For me, there's four that immediately spring to mind: i) Rivendell. The Fantasy Realm of the Elves, with it's Last Homely Gardens, and it's Waterfalls of Sea in Dream, and it's Ford of Guardian Horses (in Force of Water - commanded by Elrond). I liked the idea, of Powerful Elf Lords in Rivendell, that could resist the Darkness, at least for a Time :) ii) Minas Tirith. The City of Men, the City of Kings, that is foremost in the Defence, against Sauron's Armies. I to (like Frodo), found Hope growing in me, at the description of Minas Tirith (within this Tale) - especially at the mention, of it's Towering Battlements :) iii) Minas Morgul. Is perhaps the clearest indication to me, of the One Rings power to Corrupt, as what once was Good, fell into Ruin (owing to the neglectfulness of Men), and became a Fortress of Darkness! I did not like the thought, of both Fear and Dread, to be found there - in the plenty. iv) Lothlorien - not a Castle as such, more a Stronghold in the Trees of the Elves. I liked the idea, that the Elves of Lothlorien, climb upwards, and live in a Kingdom amongst the Treetops :) As to me, a City in the Trees, feels like a strong connection, to the Roots of the Earth, and Nature. Seventh: is the Hobbits themselves ... I found myself, constantly amazed in this Tale, that the Affairs of the Mighty (such as Wizards, Kings and Sorcerers), are at the Mercy, of the Little People: Frodo Baggins, and his trusty companion - Sam Gamgee :) For even with all of Sauron's Might, he can't find a Hobbit! But Gandalf can, yet bows to Frodo - for Frodo is the Ring Bearer :) As chosen by - the One Ring. And what of Merry and Pippin? I find these two Hobbits, to be of less importance (especially in the second half of the Tale), but Gandalf holds them in High Respect. I like this, because the Good Deeds of the Tiny, can unravel the Dark Deeds, of the Mighty :) Overall: An amazing, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel, that took me longer to read, than I had expected - as I reread several parts (especially the Mines of Moria). I also feel, that there's a deliberate shift, in the concept of the Main Fantasy Character (as you read this Tale). It's always Frodo, but at the beginning, I thought for a while, that it was Gandalf - until he met his match! I especially like the fact, that this Fantasy Tale, is a David verses Goliath, that's played out on a bigger scale - with Powerful Elements, on both sides :) Finally: The One Ring, is a Ring of Power, is a Quest of Power, between Good and Evil - whose Fate is most directly, in the Smallest Hands of the Land, the Underdog: Frodo Baggins :)
In the Darkest of the Nights. In the Whitest of the Moon. In the Thickets of the Woods. In the Guise of a Werewolf:
Within this Woodland Realm, lurks He - who Snarls this Night. Within this Misty Wood, lurks He - who Lures this Eve. Within this Moonlight Realm, lurks He - who Howls this Twilight. Within this Forest Glen, lurks He - who Walks this Path! But what Path would that be then? Well ... Thy Path of thy Werewolf - but of course :) For it is an Ancient Path, that's Steeped in Lore ... For only in the Darkest Nights, in the Darkest Woods - can you See Them. For only in the Brightest Moons, in the Brightest Haze - can you Hear Them. For only in the Blackest Clouds, in the Blackest Skies - can you Feel Them. For only in the Whitest Mists, in the Whitest Dews - can you Sense Them. For only in the ... Growl! On a Night like this, in a Forest like this - may you See Them ... Steeped in Lore, and Steeped in Fantasy. Steeped in Myth, and Steeped in Sight. Steeped in Shadow, and Steeped in Lunar. For I see a Werewolf - in his Bestial Form ... With Fur on Muscle, both Long and Flow. With Claws to Tear, both Sharp and Point. With Tail of Whip, both Twirl and Slender. With Piercing Eyes, both Green and Maleficent. With Skeletal Hands, both Strong and Vice. With Nose to Sniff, both Hunt and Stalk. As it is with these Werewolves, and their Hunting Ways ... Built for Battle, in their Heightened Frenzy. Built for Speed, in their Paws of Four. Built for Ravage, in their Strength of Ten. Built for Chase, in their Mark of Wolf. Built for Warring, in their Need for Fight. Built for Pack, in thy Brothers Will! For this Werewolf is ... Thy Master, of this Midnight's Path :) But can this Werewolf see me? Well ... With a Sniff of Scent - his Torso Twisted. With a Hint of Sweat - his Sharpened Claws. With a Sound of Rustle - his Barring Teeth. With a Snap of Twig - his Growling Voice. With a Tremble of Branch - his Glowing Eyes. With a Sense of Fear - he's Honed on You! As it is with these Werewolves, and their Sense of Self ... Some Tattered Jeans, around his Waist - no Human Eyes, just Greenish Glow. Some Whispers of Man, around his Chest - no Human Skin, just Wolf-like Fur. Some Stance of King, around his Form - no Human Cower, just Strength of Wolf. Growl!! Thy Werewolf and his Victim ... No Thought of Reason, just Dream of Hunger. No Look of Friend, just Guise of Prey. No Need of Logic, just Want of Eat. Growl!!! For this Werewolf, is Home in both - Dark Fantasy, and Heart of Woods. For this Werewolf, is Known by both - Creatures of Night, and Guardian of Forest. For this Werewolf, is Slave in both - Powers of Moon, and Lunar Hour. For this Werewolf, is Pride in both - Secret Woods, and Regal Guise. For this Werewolf, is Herald in both - Harbinger of Death, and Hunting Pack. For this Werewolf, is King in both - Midnight's Realm, and Darkest Nights. He'd Seen Me!
First and Foremost, this really is one of the most Peculiar (and best) Fantasy Films, that I have ever seen! It's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:
For the first third of the film, did I find the storyline both somewhat odd, and slow to get going - as I wondered to myself, exactly what is going on? For the second third of the film, did I find the storyline both somewhat spooky, and perhaps even scary - as I watched it in the dark, with the wind howling out! Yet was I blown away, by the final third of the film's storyline - through both a draw-dropping character twist (twice I fell for their Fairy Glamour), and some sitting on the edge of my seat, as I'd realised that this Fantasy Film, is in-fact mesmerising :) I simply could not believe, how everything just fell into place, and the film's main Fantasy Character (Jake), is suddenly revealed as a Peculiar himself - whose both powerful and commanding, with an important task to perform: he has to help protect/guard, the other Peculiar Children, when they are attacked by Monsters (from the Darker side of Fantasy). What of the Peculiar Children - the film's main Fantasy Characters? Well ... I liked the fact, that they all seemed to have, a particular Magical trait :) My favourite is Emma, whose Lighter than Air - with the ability to fly, and wield/command, the Element of Air. Next is there Enoch, whose Meaner than Most - with the ability to animate, and wield/command, the Puppets he Makes. Then is there Olive, whose Redder than Furnace - with the ability to heat, and wield/command, the Element of Fire. Next is there Bronwyn, whose Stronger than All - with the ability to move, and wield/command, the Element of Might. Then is there sssssshhhhhh, that would be Telling :) For I found the Peculiar Children, to be a Happy Family, that care for each other - and who are themselves, overseen by none-other, than Miss Peregrine herself! And what of Miss Peregrine? Well ... She's the strangest of all :) A shape shifting Peregrine, who has the ability to control Time - albeit a Loop, a Bubble in Time! I especially liked the fact, that her Fantasy Character, comes across as somewhat eccentric: everything's Ship Shape, Timed to the Second - with just a Twist of Spontaneity :) Yet when faced with the Creatures of Darker Fantasy (here called Hollowgasts), are Miss Peregrine's thoughts - just for the safety of her, Peculiar Children. What of this film's Fantasy Locations/Realms? Well ... The first fantasy location, is really the Children's Home itself. It exists out of time (being 1943), and is full of the Fun and Games of the Children (especially in it's Gardens). Emma helps a baby Squirrel - Football for Bee. Bronwyn pulls a mighty Carrot - Tailor for Tree. Yet in stark contrast, does the Children's Home, also appear to be derelict (when Jake first encounters it) - seeming to me, as though it's haunted by ghosts. The second such fantasy location (and my personal favourite), is the Sunken Liner/Ship, that is Emma's secret hiding/thinking place (where she goes for some quite time). I just loved the appearance of the Grand Stairway (leading to the Skeleton dining tables), and the Magical Realm that appears, when Emma commands the Element of Air :) It is also here, that I found my favourite Fantasy Scene (within this film) - as both Emma and the Peculiar Children, raise the Liner from the seabed :) I especially liked the parts, where Emma breaths Air (to expel water from the ship), and Olive wields Fire (to relight the ship's boilers). In turn, does this fantasy location of the Liner, connect with the third: Blackpool Pier. And it is at the Pier, that the final fight between the Peculiar Children, and the Darker Fantasy Creatures (the Hollowgasts), actually occurs: Enoch commands an army of Skeleton Warriors, to combat the Hollowgasts :) Added to this, is the brilliance of the plan by Jake, who solves the challenge of the Hollowgasts being invisible (to all but him), with a childhood solution: snowballs and candy! Even so, did I find the showdown between Jake and Mr Barron (the Darker Fantasy King/Hero), to be steeped in Fairy Glamour - aka who's who? Then did I find more Fairy Glamour, as I found it somewhat ironic, that the Time Loop (that they were fighting in), just-so-happens to be in/outside the Pier's Ghost Train (which for me, looped back to the concept of the derelict Children's Home). Overall: this is a Fantasy Film, whose storyline gets better as it goes through (I feel deliberately). It's also a Fantasy Film, that makes more sense - after you've watched it a couple of times (especially with regard to the Time Loops). I also feel that the storyline, merges several genres/areas of Fantasy ... For I found something of the Mermaid (the Sunken Liner), mixed with something of the Fairy (Air Fairy, Fire Fairy, Garden Fairy etc.), mixed with something of the Mythical (the Powers of a Troll - or in this case, Twins), mixed with something of the Ghostly (the various glimpses of the Peculiar Children, especially in black and white photos). And at the end of the Day? Miss Peregrine winds away :) Or is that flies away? Only Emma can tell you :)
Being the fourth Vampire novel, in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, do I find this Dark and Urban Fantasy Tale, to be a passionate mix of both Anita's Love Life, and thy Secret Realms - of thy Werewolves:
Being hip deep in both, it's as though Anita, is on the verge of drowning ... Her Passions Run Deep, and a Promise is a Promise - Deputy Numb Nuts :) And yes, there's a fair amount of humour, within this Fantasy Tale! For me though, is this intermixed, with an important underlying theme - that of Family ... There's the Werewolves and their Pack Order. There's the Vampires and their Hands Off. There's the Spook Squad and their Silver Bullets. And in the middle of all three, can you find - Anita!!! I liked the fact that Anita, refused to give up her friend - even if her boyfriend, was his Alpha. I liked the fact that Anita, shed a tear or two - even if her rival, was her Jealous. I liked the fact that Anita, stemmed the flow of blood - even if her colleague, was her Rag (aka joker). For it's Anita's Character, and her sense of self, that flows throughout this tale. For it's Anita's Enemies, and their stance of power, that stalks throughout this tale. For it's Anita's Weapons, and their sense of comfort, that beds throughout this tale. And in all of this? Is there Jean-Claude, who wants a date! Fairs Fair Anita, give me a chance to woo you - as you did to me :) Now, if there's one part that shocked me (the most) within this tale, then I would say - it's the hierarchy of the Werewolves. The tale here, gave me a sense, that they were all: out of control! Insane Pack Order, seemed to help with this ... There's two Master Werewolves, but neither has - over all control. One prefers Peace - the other: Head on a Block. One requests Anita - the other: Seeds of Lust. One's Richard. One's Marcus. One's Marcus. One's Richard. For it's Werewolf Central, that's Caged behind - Closed Doors, and Sound Proof Walls. Or is it? As in this tale, did I find that the Secrets of the Werewolves - flowed like a River :) And in that River, that goes by the name of Shape Shifter, did I find both Mythical Creatures, and their Fantasy/Lore ... For example: I've never heard of a Naga before, but here - is their an Immortal Being, with the Skin of a Snake. I've never heard of a Were-Swan before, but here - is their the lowest of the Shape Shifters, especially in Feathered White! And of the Werewolves themselves? I was most intrigued, because their Human Lives, seemed to be lived in the pursuit, of challenging their Human Shackles. There's two that I would say, challenged this more than others - and no, it's not the Alphas! The two Fantasy Characters that I'm thinking of (one Woman one Man), both made me laugh (especially the woman - over whose rules she follows!), and both surprised me (over just how low they could steep - in their pursuits of pleasure?). Fortunately, throughout all of this, did I find Anita's Character - to be a rock. Even if at times, it is only the cold hard steel, that she clamps down on - but where is her gun? Choices! Choices! As for the other Characters within this Fantasy tale, it's mostly Cops. I didn't like some of these, and neither does Anita. There's a whole part (near the beginning of the book), that just seems totally crazy - with certain Deputies, taking their orders, too literally ... It is also here that I feel, that the tale does a decent job, of portraying some of the lunacies, of interstate boundaries (between various police forces) - although as you will see, there's a twist here to! And as for Anita? It made me laugh, that she was concerned primarily, with an important question (or two): Can she date a Werewolf? Can she date a Monster? AKA: Is Richard really a Monster? And what of Jean-Claude? Choices! Choices! Fortunately for Anita, does she have a trusty friend to help her: a Penguin or two :) Overall: I enjoyed reading about the Werewolves within this tale, even if I feel, that some of their Urban Fantasy, shocked me a little (as it seemed a little Darker - than I've encountered before). I also found myself thinking, of the Wolf in Werewolf - more than the Man in Werewolf. Although the twist towards the end (involving a Witch and her Magic), brought new meaning to the term - Shape Shifter! For it's a Witch's Spell, that Anita Blake does cast. For it's an Animator's Gift, that Anita Blake, can look a Vampire in the Eye. For she's a Vampire Hunter, with a Werewolf called Richard, a Bounty Hunter called Death - and a Promise is a Promise! Deputy Numb Nuts :)
My third outing into the Fantasy Vampire Slaying Realms of Anita Blake, comes with both some draw-dropping moments, and some as-you-would-expect, white Roses from Jean-Claude:
One particular part of this Fantasy Tale, caused my draw to drop the most! It's pertaining to a particular question: how old can a Vampire be? Now, I must confess - I'd never really thought about this before ... And yet, Anita had me pondering this question (for quite some time). Whilst I won't name the Vampire here, I too, like Anita, was fooled by his Fairy Glamour! Another draw-dropping moment, was the realisation of just how - Rivers of Blood, Anita's Urban Fantasy Realm can be ... Part of this comes from the Circus of the Damned itself (a Fantasy Location) - where who can tell what's real, what's Dark Fantasy? Part of this comes from Anita's interactions, with the other Vampires within this Tale - which I feel, is mostly due, to the fact that Anita has more Master Vampires after her, than you can shake a stick at! Two of these (Master Vampires) want her Love (or maybe just her Body?). Two of these want her as a Human Servant (but she can only serve one Master). And Anita is, no one's Human Servant - as she carries more Knives, and Guns, plus Crosses, to drive that point home. I guess I was just struck (or is that staked?), by the brutality of some of the Vampires (within this tale) - which at the same time, also contrasts well, with the fact that at least one, likes to wear a Suit and Tie ... Mixed in with this, is the fact that Anita is still on retainer, to the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (aka the Spook Squad) - which for me, takes more of a back seat, in the second half of this novel. Despite this, there was still one draw-dropping moment: when I was in awe of an Animalistic Vampire, that had managed to tear through a five feet thick silver door, that was also adorned with crosses - as it raised a question ... How could any human stand against such power? Well ... Anita's not entirely human herself any more, which is probably just-as-well, as a Lamia (a Mythical Creature that can turn from a human into a snake), has set her eyes on her! In any case, I found myself laughing, at the character of Anita's friend - Edward. In one chapter, Edward considers torturing Anita, to get the name of the Master of the City from her - whilst in another chapter, is Edward at her side again, helping to bandage a wound on her back (after a Master Vampire thought he owned her). I was especially pleased, with the amount of Lore (related to Mythical Creatures), that I found within this Tale ... The first of these, was concerned with Vampires. As through this Tale, did I learn more about what it is to be a Vampire's Creature: as a Vampire has an Animal that it can call. In the case of Jean-Claude, it's Wolves (including Werewolves). In the case of another Master Vampire (the Oldest I have heard of), it's Snakes (including Lamia). Where as in the case of Anita's first Tale (Guilty Pleasures), it was Rats (including Were-Rats). Then did I learn more about Werewolf Lore - for I learned that the older a Werewolf is, the more able it is, to pass for human (when in human form), and the more likely it is (especially in my opinion), to recover from injuries, that would kill a human. For someone like Anita (a Necromancer), I enjoyed the twist that she could not tell, that Richard (her date/lover) was a Werewolf, and that she could not tell, how old the Oldest Vampire (in this tale) was, other than from a conventional source (aka a study book!). Added to this, is the fact that Anita now has an Apprentice (whether she wants one or not), who she sets about (with some persuasion), to teach her Animator skills to (aka - the ability to raise Zombies from the Grave). This in-turn, plays right into the Powers of the Vampires, where her Apprentice, soon realises just how powerful, these Master Vampires can be! In Conclusion: This Dark Fantasy Vampire Slayer Tale, is packed full of plots, and sub-plots throughout the entire novel. There's so much going on, that the book could just-as-easily have been called, Anita's in Hot Demand :) It is somewhat contradictory then, that I feel that the end of this book, was somewhat rushed ... I would have enjoyed a longer Final Fight, even if the cause of Anita's quick victory, was due to the fact that she shared Jean-Claude's/Alejandro's Vampire Strength (on account of being his/their Human Servant). In any case, Anita has one rule she still won't break - she doesn't date Dead things! And as for those white Roses? Well ... She gave them away :) And as for Richard? Well ... A Werewolf may be a Monster, but a Werewolf is still, very much alive! And after all, Anita is, and always will be - a Necromancer :)
This is my second outing into the Fantasy World of Anita Blake - Vampire Hunter. It's an outing that I found had me questioning the morals, that some Fantasy Characters have, and learning more about Anita's personality - within the Realms of Voodoo:
The tale starts where it finishes really - in Harold Gaynor's presence. Yet, between those pages, did I find a tale that both surprised, and exceeded my expectations. I think part of this allure, comes from the pondering of a question: who/what exactly is The Laughing Corpse? Which ironically, I tended to forget about within this tale, but was reminded of every-time, I glanced at the cover :) It was not until half way through this tale, that I knew what it was - and it was not until the end of the tale, that I gained the who, or at least a suspicion of the who, that I felt the term/title applied to! In doing so, did I like the fact that this tale, goes to great lengths, to explain Anita's role as an Animator (one who raises the Dead for a living). Whilst being a somewhat lonely occupation, is there an honoured/abided by rule - that when one Animator dies, that all the other Animators, attend their Funeral. This may not seem like much, but it does introduce the concept of a family hierarchy. And in that hierarchy, did I find all manner of twists ... First: is the fact that an Animator, who Anita learned her trade from, Crosses the Line. So far Across that Line, is her friend, that Anita finds that she doesn't really know, who they are any more! Second: is the fact that fellow Animators, do not have to be polite all the time, often seeming distant - but they can be snapped right back in (to focus), when it comes to family concerns. Anita helps one of The Greats (in the Realms of Animators plus Voodoo), only to discover - that his Brother, was Not So Great, after-all! Third: is the fact that not all Animators have to be Living, and that those who are Dead, have no concept of - Drawing the Line. And it is this theme, that I found, helped connect me to Anita's Character further: as she very definitely does Draw the Line, and there's one thing that she won't do, in this Midnight Realm of Animator (except in self defence). Yet here did I find some irony, for in the name of self defence, will Anita do whatever it takes - which lead to a somewhat eye raising finale to this tale (for me). It also lead to a realisation that Anita is more powerful than both I, and many others, have thought before ... This goes for both Jean-Claude (her so-called Master Vampire), and for her sworn Enemy (within this tale): Dominga Salvador, High Voodoo Priestess and Admirer! Well, I say Admirer, more the Godmother of Animator/Voodoo, who wants Anita to help her with a business venture ... It is here, that Anita Draws the Line again, and in doing so, does Anita have a Midnight disturbance, which is the stuff of Nightmares really! Especially for her Penguins ... Suffice to say, Anita is gunning for Dominga after this, but she still has a job to do: investigate the local murders, and find a killer Zombie. In doing this, does Anita explain more about her Powers of being an Animator ... It's more something she Feels, she can just talk to the Dead. It's more something She Is, she can just Raise an entire Graveyard. For Anita is, and always will be, a Necromancer! Who just-so-happens, to have her best friends wedding to attend, doesn't like the bridesmaids gowns, and why on earth - did she set her alarm for six in the morning? Overall: An Urban Fantasy tale, that binds Vampires, Werewolves and Animators together - within the Dark Fantasy Realms of Voodoo. Dominga Salvador is Voodoo Incarnate, who compels Anita to do something she doesn't want to do. And no, it's not to be a bridesmaid! It's Voodoo Magic, but it's not quite the same as a Master Vampire's, nor is it the same as a humble Animator's ... For Anita is a Necromancer, and her language is - ma petite :) A.K.A - I just love Anita Blake, but not that coffee!
In the Boughs of these Trees, in the Lights of this Forest - with the Twists of a Vine, and the Guise of an Angel:
I like the fact that this Angel, is entwined with both mystery, and the darker side of Fantasy. The mystery comes from this Angel's attire ... Her feathered wings make me think, of the caring nature, of a Guardian Angel. Yet, that draping cloth (at the middle/back of her wings), makes me think of both a Battle Angel (the cloth's symbol, which reminds me of a Medieval Battle Standard), and of an Angel, that has Lost her Wings (possibly having, removed them herself!). There's also further evidence, of the latter of these - as it's as though this Angel's Wings, are both chained and weighted down: how could she possibly fly, with those large banded/attached jewels, on the apex of each wing? The darker side of Fantasy, comes from this Angel's interaction, with the background ... As I feel that these Woods, are not a friendly place! This feeling comes from, the creeping fingers of the Trees branches (which are jagged around their edges) - whereby if I look too long, start to send a shiver down my spine! Which in-turn, is further refined, by the darkness of this Angel's face - both the Glyphs, and her Tears of Black. Yet here, does the darkness play right back into mystery - as it's hard to say, exactly why, this Angel is so sorrowful ... There's no immediate clues, and it was only with a careful eye, that I first noticed - those falling feathers (bottom-left, under her wings). Thus, did I start to think, of the concept of a Fallen Angel. But, whether this Fallen Angel is her, or a companion Angel (possibly her lover), I cannot say for sure. And it is in attempting to answer this question, that I feel that Steve - fuels the mystery of his artwork ... It's a mystery, whose rising heat, is also further fuelled - through Steve's choice of background: as it's a background, that I would not expect, a Guardian Angel, to be found within. But it is a background, that I would expect, an Angel of the Damned, to be found within. And yet here, do I find a twist - for this background's white, seems as though, it's a Guiding Light. Yet given the fact, that this Angel, is in-front of this light - does she not in-fact, bar your way? And in doing so, would that not meet, the definition - of a Guardian Angel? If that were so, then I feel that this Angel's Wings, have been shaped to be - as if they are a Shield. For they guard against the creeping fingers of the Woods: the outermost topmost curve of her wings, reflect the shape of the white light's halo (especially towards the canopy of the trees). Thus, do I feel that this Angel, wants some time away from the World - and in doing so, perhaps she chose a place, where she would be least likely, to be disturbed? But then again, do I find that this Angel, is also in the Realms of Fairy Glamour ... For perhaps this Secluded Cove, that she chose - is the inner Kingdoms, of a Broken Heart? Which would indeed, explain the presence of a Garden Swing - as her sorrow varies, with the ride each Day, from Day to Night! What of Steve's choice of artist techniques? Well ... I think it's most important, that we consider - his use of lighting. I speak of the light, that's on both the Angel's Dress, and the Angel's Wings/Feathers. Now, I feel that this light, does not come from the background: for the angle of the light, especially upon the Angel's Dress - makes me think of a Spotlight! And if that were so, does this Spotlight, play right back into, this Broken Heart theme - where this Angel's sorrow, far outweighs the common sense, of everything else! But here, do I find that Steve's decision, to include a large Silver Runic Glyph (top left) - helps point the way back ... For it's Sharp like a Sword. It knows what it Wants - to bring both Clarity, and Balance to the Scene. Whilst it's Central Pattern - reminds of me of that Battle Standard :) Which in turn, gives Seed to a new Idea: Grow up (her reaching right arm), and Move on (the Guiding Light). Overall: A Gothic Angel, whose Fairy Glamour, becomes entwined - with the Paths of the Heart. A Dark Angel, who Fell from somewhere High, but with a Riddle of Thought - Rises straight, for a New Chapter. For she's a Sad Angel, who Sits on the Swing of Romance - in the Hearts of the Wood.