Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Strange Candy

Audio book.

Title/Author: Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Source: Library

Favorite character: The merman.

Favorite quote: “Moonlight shivered through the curtains.” -The Edge of the Sea.

I was very reluctant to try an audio book. What if it didn’t give me that same sense of wonder and entertainment? What if I couldn’t pay attention? What if it just ruined the reading experience for me? But then I realized that the oral tradition was the very first form of storytelling and I decided to give it a try.

I stopped reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series after they got to be too over the top in my opinion. But I chose this one because I thought short stories would be easier for me to pay attention to and Laurell was an author I was familiar with.

I was very pleased with my audio book experience. Sure, there were times when my mind wandered and I had to re-wind a little and there were times when I wondered if I would have enjoyed it more, or less for that matter, if I was actually reading the book. But it was nice being “read to” and being able to multitask (driving to work, running errands while listening to a book) was a bonus.

What I liked: The stories were enjoyable. Nothing too deep but I took into consideration that these were early works that were re-released. A lot of the details were beautiful; descriptions of moonlight and mist, the sea at night, dripping blood that couldn't be removed.  I liked the horror and scary stories more than the fantasy ones although I loved the blood drinking sword, “Leech.”

I liked “Selling Houses” which took place in Anita Blake’s world about a real estate agent trying to sell a house where a supernatural murder took place. I also thought “A Lust of Cupids” which was about a woman trying to outrun cupids trying to shoot her so she would finally fall in love, was cute and clever. My favorite one though was “The Edge of the Sea” about a trident (merman) who was seducing and killing women. The details and emotion in it were haunting and memorable.

The narrator spoke well and used different voices so I knew which character she was portraying.  Although I liked her voice better for some stories than others.

Each story also had a short introduction about when Hamilton wrote it and why and who turned it down. They were kind of funny in a way because at times it felt like she was now thumbing her nose at those who rejected her work but on the other hand, all writer’s receive rejections, and it seemed like a bit of sour grapes.

What I didn’t like: There was some telling and repetitiveness in descriptions. All the blondes in every story had “pale yellow hair” and everyone who had blue eyes had “pale eyes like a summer sky” or an “autumn sky”.  Many of the stories were pretty basic and simple, which is fine, but just not in a caliber that made them stand out.  The characters were not terribly engaging, although I did like the people in the stories I mentioned above.

*SPOILER ALERT: Also, the last story “The Girl who was Infatuated with Death”, started out really interesting. It was an Anita Blake piece and had to do with moral dilemmas vs. the law.  A girl with cancer wanted to become a vampire so she wouldn't die (permanently), but her mother didn't agree. The girl was under 18 and therefore wasn't old enough to make her own choice.  Any vampire who turned her before her legal age, would be breaking the law and put to death (permanently).  I could see this story turn into a full length novel and explore difficult issues spanning politics, religion, law and personal freedom.  But unfortunately, the real meat of the story was cut short and ended with Anita having sex with Jean-Claude. With chocolate sauce nonetheless. END SPOILER ALERT*

I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars.
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