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.
If Ever there was a Theme Park ride, that was turned into a Comedy Ghost Film, then that role belongs Solely, to Disney's - the Haunted Mansion:
As I have rode the Haunted Mansion ride (in Magic Kingdom) many times, I felt that this Fantasy Film, had a steep milestone to live up to (or is that a steep Gravestone to live up to?) ... For starters, it is hard to have a Haunted Mansion, just by itself. You need a storyline, and this film's storyline, of a love triangle (with a twist), really fits the Raven's bill! The film starts properly (for me), at the Iron Gates of the Haunted Mansion - which are of course, padlocked. Yet with some Ghostly magic, do the Mansion's Gate's then open ... And it is here, that I raised an eyebrow - as would I have been brave enough to enter? Probably not! Fortunately, such concerns are not faced, by the adventurer's of this film: the Evers Family :) And through those Iron Gates? Well ... First and foremost, I love this film's Fantasy Location - the Haunted Mansion itself :) There's Haunted Hallways, and Ghostly Stairs - with Spooky Curtains, and Guardian Knights. There's Spectral Ballrooms, and Darkened Bedrooms - with Glowing Candles, and Spying Portraits. There's Mothballed Libraries, and Marbled Studies - with Secret Passages, and Gothic Fireplaces. For this Haunted Mansion's, all Shroud in Dark - with Shimmering Cobwebs, and Scurrying Spiders, to Sleepless Tombs, and Spectral Carriages! For this Haunted Mansion's, all Cast in Light - with Flickering Candles, and Fiery Chandeliers, to Maleficent Green, and Whispered Balls! And of this Mansion, do I feel - no finer home, for Ghostly Haunts :) And it is here that I found, the next part of this Ghostly Tale, that I quite like ... As the Mansion itself, plays right into the variety of Ghosts, that are found within it's Haunted Halls :) There's Apparitions (both Touch and Wraith). There's Ghostly Balls (both Soul and Guide). There's Musical Instruments (both Sound and Chase). There's Replay Memories (both Masquerade Ball - and Locked in Time). There's Hitch Hiking Ghosts (both Speak and Hide). There's Suits of Armour (both Haunt and Axe). There's Spectral Horses (both Cart and Gallop). For in this Haunted Mansion - there's always My Way, You Know! Yet in all of this, did I find - three particular Ghosts, that are my favourites. First: is Ramsley (the Butler). For his Fantasy Character (being both straight faced and straight backed), helps guide the film, and is fundamental to it's storyline. Added to this, is the fact that Ramsley, made me jump three times: i) when he appears from the Knight's Corridor (in flashes of lightening) - would you hold your ground? ii) when he appears right behind Mr Evers (making him jump). iii) when he appears right behind Mrs Evers (making her jump). In all three, does Ramsley appear - to be Lending a Hand ... Second: is Madame Leota (the Gypsy Tarot Reader). Who for me, provides much of the comedy - whilst also guiding the Fate of both Mr and Mrs Evers (in a more helpful way). Madame Leota, is also responsible for some of the best footage, that's found within this film (in both terms of plot, and special effects). And of this best footage, do I have a favourite scene ... It's where Mr Evers first meets Madame Leota - and is soon being flown around the room: with Dancing Trumpets, Drums, Harps and Tarot Cards! Which eventually leads to, Mr Evers being chased down a corridor, by a whole ensemble - of Musical Instruments :) Third: is the Ghost Ball (which appears to Mr Ever's son and daughter). I liked the fact, that the Ghost Ball, is really a Will-o'-the-wisps - that has an honourable Quest, for the two children to undertake (even if it would have scared me, in reality!). I also enjoyed the humour, that surrounds the Ghost Ball - where the sister would follow it (being Brave), whilst her brother would not (shaking like a leaf). Even so ... There was one part of this film, that I found a little scary (especially the first time I watched it). It's where Mr Evers, undertakes the main Quest of the film (once he arrives at the Mansion), and goes down into the Mansion's Crypt. I was surprised by the Walking Dead (that he encounters down there), and felt that it would take a very brave person indeed, to Willingly Dive, Under the Water! Mind you, I now suspect that Ramsley, was solely responsible/behind this (in a bid to prevent Mr Evers, from completing his Quest). Although, if you don't like Spiders - then you'll probably be squinting, right after the Walking Dead scene, as well :) Overall: I feel that this is a lively Ghost Film, which brings the Haunted Mansion to Life - in a way that captures the fun side - of the original Haunted Mansion ride :) Yet at the same time, do I feel that the film, also contains an important message, about the need to maintain - a work life balance :) It took Mr Evers (as played by Eddie Murphy), several interactions with Ghosts - to fully realise/remember this ... Added to this, is the fact that several sub-plots of the film, are about Facing Your Fears, together with: You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail, You Try, You Fail - But You Only Truly Fail, When You Stop Trying! And you get a Fantasy Film, that has much more on the Inside of the Mansion, than on the Outside :) Finally ... I just loved the comedy scene in the Library/Study - as we all want a large Painting of Ourselves, hanging above the Mantelpiece - don't we? And if you should decide to join us ...
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 :)
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!
This is by far the best Sword and Sorcery fantasy novel that I have ever read:
I was hooked from the first page! Prince Rupert has been sent upon a Quest: to slay a Dragon and rescue a Princess. But being Prince Rupert, the Quest does not go according to plan - and it is instead, just the start of his Adventures! I especially like the fact that the novel is packed full of Quests - both main Quests (such as the Quest to find the High Warlock) and sub Quests (such as the Quest to find out what has happened in Coppertown). Prince Rupert is not your typical Prince - he is a Second Son (in line to the Throne), and was regarded as a good-for-nothing (by most of Castle Society). I like the fact that Prince Rupert has numerous challenges to overcome, and in doing so, proves them all wrong! Even so, it's his Quest for the Dragon that changes his Character the most, as he has to pass through the Darkwood - which hones his fighting skills (by improving them the hard way), and earns him new friends (with which he returns to Forest Castle). My favourite main Quest has to be the Quest to find the High Warlock - as I like the fact that Prince Rupert takes command of an entire Troop of Guards, together with the Kings Champion, and leads them into the Darkwood. It is hear that the Champion starts to gain some respect for the Prince Rupert (instead of just seeing him as a threat to the Throne). I laughed when they first met the High Warlock - as he is somewhat anti-social, has some-what lost touch with the world (not having been outside his Dark Tower for years), and puts a Dead Rat in every barrel of Wine that he brews! He is also the most powerful Sorcerer that the Forest Land has ever known - and is perhaps, the only hope of throwing back the advance of the Darkwood (a Magical place that's full of Demons and the Night). Both the High Warlock, and the Dragon, provide much of the comedy (for me) - especially when it comes to what the Dragon wants to eat (mountains of food first, then will talk). My favourite minor Quest has to be when the Princess Julia (a friend of Prince Rupert's) goes on an expedition (within Forest Castle) to find the Old Armoury (which happens to be in the missing South Wing). How can a Castle Wing go missing you ask? Well, Forest Castle is somewhat unique: with Ancient Spells and Wards cast within it's walls - it's larger on the inside (than it is on the outside), and as such, most of the Castle rooms/halls change places everyday! I was excited when the Princess Julia (eventually) stands before the Doors to the Old Armoury - especially when you learn/remember that it's also where the most Powerful Swords ever made by Man are kept (the three Infernal Devices) - the three Broadswords, Rockbreaker, Flarebright and Wolfsbane. The storyline manages to merge Battlefield Drama with Castle Politics and Intrigue. There's a Plot to Overthrow the King, and appoint a new one (although not who you would expect). There's also several Traitors (one who I had expected all along), and another (who I didn't see until the very end). My favourite Warrior has to be the Kings Champion. The Tale goes to great lengths to build him into a Hero out of Legend (which indeed he is): towering above the heads of mortal men, covered from head-to-toe in the Armour of a Knight, swinging his Axe effortlessly (against a never ending Tide of Foes), placing the Might of Steel above all others - defiantly against the use of Magic (although there's a twist towards the end!). I also approve of the use of Magic within this Tale - with it's first use being when the Dragon casts a Spell, so that Prince Rupert may make the Rainbow Run: a light appears before him (like a Will-o'-the-wisp) that leads him to his Destiny (or at least - part of it). I also liked the idea of the High Warlocks Teleportation Spell - although as we learn, he is not the only Sorcerer that's capable of such magic. I also enjoyed reading the parts where the High Warlock flies high above the heads of his Foes - casting Bale-fire, denying entrance to the Foes of Forest Castle. Another favourite Fantasy Character (of mine) is Breeze - Prince Rupert's Unicorn. He is also Prince Rupert's friend - who grumbles when he is fed grass (wanting barley only), who fights by his side (saying that the Prince won't last long without him) and who jokes from time to time (especially the part where Prince Rupert says: Were just going back into the Darkwood a little way - and Breeze replies: So I'll suppose we'll only be killed a little bit. Forget it!). Overall: this is an amazing Tale - which has kept me turning the pages, until many the early hours. I'm still amazed at how much the author (Simon R. Green) has managed to pack into just over four hundred and forty pages - whilst not seeming to rush the Tale (at all). If you like Adventure and Fantasy, mixed with Swords and Bale-fire, mixed with a Dragon and a Unicorn, mixed with Demons and a Demon Prince - then this is a Fantasy Book/Novel that you should definitely consider reading! It's also a book that I've reread several times over the past few years - five or six times now, as I enjoyed reading it so very much!