I’m Going To Need Bigger Yoga Pants. And Probably a Cheeseburger.

Because this is my blog, and I get to do what I want, we need to talk about binge-watching. This has become a completely legit phenomenon in today’s society thanks to Netflix, Hulu, OnDemand, and even tv series on dvd. (If you’re old-school. Which sometimes I am. I need my Downton Abbey at my fingertips at ALL times.) Even our local cable provider is in on the deal now, hosting the brilliant “Watchathon Week” where they make seasons of hit shows available to marathon to my little introverty heart’s desire.

I can’t help but be both a little sad and relieved that this wasn’t really a “thing” while I was in college*.

On one hand, there’s no way that I would have been able to successfully juggle my 20+ credit semesters, practicing and performing ensembles if I knew that I had a couple of seasons of Dawson’s Creek waiting for me back at the dorm. (WHAT. It was the early 2000s.)

On the other hand, the idea of a lost weekend with my college friends watching smutty tv, not changing out of our pjs and imbibing some TOTALLY legal adult beverages with nothing else to worry about but maybe venturing to the caf for food is completely AMAZING. Kids these days, they’re totally not grateful for these opportunities. Back in my day, the most “social media” we got was posting angsty song lyrics as our AIM away message.

Oh yeah. I went there**.

Anyway, out of the blue I received a tweet on Friday from none other than XFINITY!

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What?! They noticed my obsession with the completely pants-meltingly  face-meltingly amazing “Outlander”?! I was intrigued, so I dm’ed them back.

And look what arrived for me in the mail!

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A complete Watchathon survival kit, including amazing Outlander Swag! Please imagine me jumping up and down for five minutes nonstop. Then texting Army Boy to show him, and resuming jumping up and down for ANOTHER five minutes.

Now, my only problem is deciding just what show to focus on.

Some of my favorites currently?

Outlander– OBVIOUSLY. I don’t even need to tell you how the story of a nurse from the 1940s who gets swept back in time through a stone circle and “rescued” by a clan of highlanders is my favorite thing right now. Ever. If you have feelings or want to have feelings, you should probably watch it. It’s on Starz, but the whole first half of the first season is available On Demand right now for Xfinity/Comcast customers. You can ALSO buy it on dvd wherever fine Scottish Men dvds are sold.

ER– Somehow Army Boy never got into this series! We’re buying a season at a time and marathoning it. Before tv doctors were Mc-Anything, this show set the bar high on medical drama. Noah Wyle! Young George Clooney! Alex Kingston! Anthony- do I really have to continue? Because I could. My college ritual involved putting on pjs and running across campus to watch every new episode with my bff Jeff.

The Only Way Is Essex– I’ve tried SO hard to get my friends as addicted to this UK phenomenon as I am! This show is available on Hulu, and is basically Britain’s answer to the Jersey Shore. Ridiculously attractive early-20-somethings hook up, fall out, and always look fabulous. I really want to hang out with them. Really really. There are 13 seasons available, so tuck in and enjoy!

Nashville– I KNOW. I have no idea why I’m so behind the curve on this one, but I’ve been watching it on Hulu and it’s just so juicy! Season one was a little slow, but season two picked back up with more music, more scandal, and loads of juicy relationships. Sometimes I find my eyes leaking from a particularly poignant performance. It’s so embarrassing.

The Originals– I never got into “The Vampire Diaries,” because I read the books back during Twilight Fever and was not impressed. The characters were flat, the setting boring, the vampireyness not too sexy… Needless to say I didn’t really give it a try. However, this spin-off series set in New Orleans with the “original” vampire family features witches and werewolves, and enough bitchy one-liners to keep me laughing. I’m watching this one on Netflix.

What else should I be watching on Netflix/Hulu/etc? Have you ever had a lost weekend due to marathoning tv? Pull up a chair, we’re all friends here.

This post was not really sponsored by Outlander OR XFINITY, I just got super excited. It happens. Now excuse me while I go put on even faker pants and resume sitting on my butt. For… science?

*- I just got invited to my TEN year reunion. From College. How did we get to this point?! Someone hold me.

**- since you asked, YES favorites did include Ani DiFranco, Jimmy Eat World and Dar Williams. Shut UP.

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TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Here There Be Dragons” Edition

Seraphina~ Rachel Hartman

Book Description (From Amazon): Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Soundtrack: “Ave Maris Stella”~ Otto Olsson

So much of the book revolves around Seraphina’s relationship with music, and this gorgeous choral piece came to mind immediately.

After reading about this book in a recent issue of “Shelf Awareness,” I was beyond excited to snag a copy from the library.

In a country where there is an uneasy truce between humans and dragons, Seraphina has spent her entire life attempting to hide her true identity.  Turning her considerable musical talents to a position as the assistant to the court composer, she is unable to evade notice for long.

When a member of the royal family is killed, and the murder appears to have been commited by a dragon, Seraphina finds herself dragged into the investigation and forging unlikely relationships along the way.

It is not exaggeration to say that I LOVED this book. Seraphina’s character is so richly imagined that she practically leaps off the page. The reader sharply feels her turmoil at reconciling her public and private lives. She’s a very typical young woman, wanting to feel beautiful and valued but believing herself unworthy of those things. Seeing her explore her unique talents and realize that what makes her different also makes her remarkable is fantastic.

While Seraphina herself is reason enough to read this book, I can’t do it a disservice by neglecting to mention the supporting characters.  Each of them is challenged in some way by their role in society- Prince Lucian is contracted to marry his cousin regardless of his personal wishes, Orma finds himself fighting his very nature when it comes to loving his niece, and Seraphina’s father is an expert in the law despite having broken it himself long ago.  The mythology is developed to a wonderful degree.  Ms Hartman developed a unique class of dragons, with their own quirks, emotional characteristics and habits. She’s given the human residents of her world their own caste rules, prejudices and religious system.

In the case of this book I would even be tempted to break my own rule regarding YA series. Though the ending resolved the plot well, I wouldn’t have been opposed to spending a lot more time with Seraphina and following her as she and Kiggs move forward and prepare for a potential war between the humans and the dragons. I didn’t do a great deal of searching, but if I were to read that Rachel Hartman was planning a sequel, it wouldn’t cause any gnashing of teeth on my part.  There’s music, there’s romance, and plenty of intrigue to keep you turning pages until the end.

Five out of Five Ivory Flutes.

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Stay Away From The Punch!” Edition

“Clockwork Prince”~ Cassandra Clare

Book Description (From Amazon): In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Soundtrack: “Be Here Now”~ Ray Lamontagne

 The shimmering strings in this one and the lovely message make me think of Tessa and Jem. (Those crazy kids!)

Best Enjoyed With: A cup of fizzy lemonade. Preferably not spiked with Warlock powders.

It was such a treat to return to Cassandra Clare’s version of Regency London, I have no idea why I didn’t do it sooner.  This book picks up immediately after the events of Clockwork Angel, and I have to admit that I actually enjoyed this book more than the first book in the series. (Considering my feelings about YA series in general, that’s high praise.)  The plot took off like a runaway carriage, keeping the reader breathlessly following the events after Mortmain’s attack on the London Institute at the end of book one.

It’s imperative that the Shadowhunters discover more about the infamous Magister in order to attempt to discover his motives and his eventual plan of attack.  Meanwhile, other Shadowhunters are questioning Charlotte’s competency of running the Institute.  The consul gives them two weeks to discover the Magister’s plans, or Charlotte will be removed as director of the Institute, and the unsavory Benedict Lightwood will take over.

Meanwhile, Tessa is caught in a whirl of uncertainty. Not only is she not entirely sure where her powers come from, she’s fallen in love with two young men who she just happens to live with. Cassandra Clare kicks the romantic tension up a notch in this installment, and does a fabulous job of it. While the love triangle could a bit overused in the young adult genre right now, Will and Jem (short for James, if you haven’t started this series yet) are both so totally dreamy that it’s understanding why Tessa is torn. Unlike Jace and Simon in the Mortal Instruments books, there really isn’t a “best choice” between the two of them, and I found myself just as confused as Tessa. With two equally vivid heroes to fall in love with, we’re reminded exactly why the love triangle is such an effective plot device.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a legitimate book boyfriend, and I might have to fight Angela for Jem.

Aside from gushing over the main characters, this book was a feast for the imagination. The characters leave London and travel by train to Yorkshire, where the stark beauty is described perfectly. There are plenty of grand manor houses and beautiful clothes, and what regency novel is complete without a masked ball? I think that writing within the Victorian conventions of propriety added some great dimension to the story. The love scenes were steamier because of it, and the exploration of character relationships on all levels were very authentic.

Another aspect of Cassandra Clare’s writing that I seemed to have forgotten was the humor she manages to sneak into various scenes. While her characters in the Infernal Devices series are bound by the constraints of society, there’s a degree of truth to the fact that they’re still teenagers, with all of the inherent snark that comes with that job description.  Revisiting some of the characters that cross between the two series is a delight as well.

I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Clockwork Princess, and not just for the drop-dead gorgeous cover art.

Four and a half automatons.

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Book of the Summer” Edition

“Shadow of Night”~ Deborah Harkness

Book Description (From Amazon) :

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Soundtrack:  “I Won’t Give Up”~ Jason Mraz

When we saw Deborah Harkness  at her author signing, she made a remarkable point. The first book in the All Souls Trilogy was about the ease with which Diana Bishop and Matthew fell in love, arguably the easiest part in most relationships. The second book is about their life together, and learning to stay in love, which is where the true magic lies.

Best Enjoyed With: Something rustic and primitive. A giant turkey leg and a stein of beer, perhaps.

A completely unexpected side effect of being in training is that – get this- the trainer actually ENCOURAGES us to read during the many breaks that we get during the day. With a training class of over 30 people, there are constantly questions and technical difficulties, so I’m suddenly finding myself getting a ridiculous amount of progress made on the books that I’ve chosen to bring. For example, I pounded out roughly 200 pages of Shadow of Night over the course of the day yesterday. Apparently my fears of losing my reading time were totally unfounded. (Thank Gawd!)

Also, there are FOUR girls in the group currently reading the Fifty Shades series. I can’t help but find it adorable.

I feel no reservation in proclaiming this the book of the summer- the anticipation for it was just huge after the ending of “A Discovery of Witches,” and if the turnout for Deborah Harkness’s book tour is any indication, women are craving something a little more sophisticated than Ana Steele to enjoy on their summer vacations. Sophisticated does not mean “less fun,” just “far better written” and “actual steamy sex.”

“Shadow” begins immediately after “A Discovery of Witches” ends, with the result of Diana and Matthew’s timewalk to the past. I loved how Deb Harkness set this up, with an enoromous wink and a *HINT HINT* toward their eventual destination, that had me finishing the book with a huge grin. Rather than feeling like a cliffhanger, it simply built enormous anticipation for the next volume in the trilogy, while still feeling oddly satisfying as a stand-alone novel.

I’m going to try to discuss this one as spoiler-free as possible, because while there are many out there that have finished it already, there are lots of you who are still eagerly awaiting getting your hands on a copy. Unfortunately, most of the book could be considered a spoiler for the ending of ADOW, so if you haven’t read that one please stop now. Otherwise don’t get pissy with me if I ruin your fun.

With the help the Bishop house and various and sundry creatures, Diana and Matthew have decided to timewalk to the past to guarantee their safety from the Congregation and to help Diana explore more of her magical powers. They’re also going to attempt to locate Ashmole 782 intact, before its secrets are disguised by whomever tore out some of the alchemical illustrations and before its donation to the Bodleian library.

One thing that Diana does not anticipate fully is the implications of being married to a vampire who has been around for hundreds of years. She has experienced present-day Matthew, but not Matthew in the context of the 16th century. From the moment they arrive in Elizabethan England, she is rubbing elbows with the members of the School of Night, including Christopher Marlowe (a demon) and Walter Raleigh. She’s also forced to contend with the many differences between modern society and the “normal” of the past. She immediately stands out with her height and her American accent, and it quickly becomes clear how much work she’s going to have to do just to blend in.

The other thing that they didn’t exactly take into account was that they were planning to arrive in a time where witch hunts were just beginning to heat up (pun intended) across the European continent.  It is not a safe time to be a witch, much less a witch with Diana’s unique capabilities.

The plot takes off right away, as Matthew is summoned to Sept-Tours by his father Phillipe. From that point on, the action slowed very little as we follow Matthew and Diana on their quest to track down Ashmole 782 and increase Diana’s knowledge of her talent. It’s evident that Deb Harkness is in her element writing about the time period that she studies, and took great pleasure in bringing her scenes to life. Once again the text was full of wonderful sensory allusions of smell and taste, coloring the reader’s impression even further. From the streets of Prague to Matthew’s lodge at Woodstock, the settings are rich and varied, and the cast of new characters introduced is fascinating. Her delight in populating the pages with historical figures shines through in each interaction. The depth and complexity of the plot is greatly satisfying, as the world that was introduced in the first book and the interesting caste system of the three supernatural races is embellished upon.  In this case, creating a mixture of historical fact and reference with the fictional world is very successful.

The reader learns a great deal more about Matthew’s role in the past and his motivations, for better or for worse. Much like Diana, we’re forced to see Matthew in a new light, deal with his imperfections and decide whether he’ll continue being the epitome of the perfect man. For the most part, he does not disappoint.

Once again, I’m left impatiently awaiting the next and final installment of the trilogy.

Four and a half Venison Pasties.

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Blogging Killed the News Media”* Edition

Plot Summary (from Amazon) : The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

NOW, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them

Soundtrack: “Song 2”~ Blur

This seems like the perfect track to ramp over a hoard of zombies on a motorbike to. ‘Nuff Said.

Best Enjoyed With: An Ice-cold Coke

WOW. Just WOW.

After reading the end of this book, I had to come in and share the whole thing with Army Boy, because I was having trouble wrapping my head around it. It was that powerful. Mira Grant proves that you can achieve a true horror novel with subtlety, and having some of the worst scenes happening “off-screen.”

Shaun and Georgia Mason are given the chance of a lifetime when they’re picked to be the media coverage inside the Presidential Campaign of Senator Peter Ryman. There are a few differences to our current political climate, however.

One: The country is overrun with Zombies. Scientists simultaneously developed a cure for the common cold, and one for Cancer. When introduced, those beasties mutated to bring about the apocalypse in the form of Kellis-Amberlee, a virus that causes the dead to reanimate.

Two: Due to number one, everything is done completely differently in the United States. Blogging has exploded as a viable form of news, because it’s frequently the quickest to pick up a potential story and run with it. No filters or network affiliations, just the truth. In a harrowing time, that’s exactly what people want most.

Sean and Georgia are two thirds of a blogging team (the third being their friend Buffy, fictional writer and tech-guru extraordinaire) who are chosen to present the inside scoop on Senator Ryman’s campaign. Little do they know, they’re entering dangerous territory even by daredevil Shaun’s standards.

I don’t feel like it’s too much of a stretch to compare this book to one of my post-apocalyptic favorites, “The Passage” by Justin Cronin. Mira Grant’s world is realized just as fully, and I found myself wondering what the characters were up to each time I had to put the book down. And oh the characters- Georgia is steely and super-saavy, even when diving into the shark-tank of politics. She’s my new favorite to join my zombie apocalypse Justice League of Awesome and Not Dying. (I so did not just make that up off the top of my head.)(Yes I did.)  Shaun wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of Jack-Ass, and the other staff of After The End Times are brought to life just as vividly.

Through the course of the political campaign, you get a real feel for the changes that have taken place across the country. There are nods of humor (Georgia and Buffy [real name Georgette] are both named after George Romero, considered one of mankind’s heroes for preparing them for the apocalypse via his cinematic work. Apparently “George” was the new “Katie” after the dead started rising), some truly harrowing scenes with the infected and some intriguing descriptions of the various necessary technical advances. Grant also doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to picking off her characters, something that when done well can be incredibly effective.

If you’re looking to start a new post-apocalyptic series, and in the mood for some zombie mayhem, this would definitely be the choice for you.

Four and a half super savvy bloggers.

*-And seriously, after the coverage of the Olympics, can you blame it?

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Characters are Expendable!” Edition

“A Storm of Swords”~ George R. R. Martin

As I’ve said before, I’m not going to review this series- they’ve been around for a while, and have been reviewed and awarded by far more literary types than myself. That doesn’t mean I’ll miss the opportunity to write a good reaction post to the story, however. Also I feel the need to justify where my literary brain has been for most of the month of June and why I failed miserably at my “British Monarchy Month.” The damn Catholic guilt, it gets me everytime.

You know what I REALIZED?! That this is my blog? And I can make the summer “British Monarchy Summer” if I want to?! So, in honor of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee  The Summer Olympics, we will keep reading all of the books about those crazy Brits.

The third book in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series picks up as the events of the second book conclude, some of the scenes happening simultaneously. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, since manymanymany people are following the superb HBO series, and this book is reportedly going to be broken up into Seasons 3 and 4. I had the pleasure of doing a semi-read-along with one of my coworkers, and to be able to discuss the plot twists of this installment was probably vital to my sanity.

The fantasy element of this series is growing steadily with each successive novel, but it still falls within the realm of “accessible” fantasy. There aren’t any names that are ridiculously hard to pronounce, nor is the reader subjected to long conversations in made-up languages. Yes, there are A LOT of characters, some of whom share duplicate or similar-sounding names (Such as Robert Arryn, Robb Stark, and Robert Baratheon). Most of these are presented in context and fairly easy to differentiate between. (The damn Freys on the other hand… Walder, Walda, Fair Walda, Fat Walda, Black Walder, Walton, John Boy, Mary Ellen…)

Many of the characters have been traversing the land of Westeros, either on battle campaigns or searching for family members. Arya Stark is having the worst time of the bunch, being passed off between various groups who wish to ransom her. This is the first book where we see Martin having fun with the reader, playing around with his characters’ journeys in such a way that you want to scream at the book in frustration. Examples of this include Arya and Gendry arriving at an inn that Jaime and Brienne left just days before, and Bran Stark and Jon Snow being within the other’s line of sight and not managing to connect. The plot is a veritable tapestry, the story threads woven together so intricately that it’s almost impossible to explain why a scene is so vital without explaining multiple scenes before it.

Speaking of characters, Mr Martin was on my Shit List multiple times throughout the story for crafting such a delightful cast, allowing me to get attached to them and then systematically KILLING THEM ALL. There were times that I seriously questioned who the next two books were about, because the cast has shrunk that drastically.

The other aspect of the book that I absolutely cannot praise enough is the complexity of each and every character that inhabits the story. There are very few absolutes among the cast- not many are inherently good or positively evil. As we spend time in the heads of the point of view characters, we get a much better understanding of their motivation, making who we decide to “root” for throughout the story that much more complicated. I personally hated seeing the cause of the Lannisters succeed in any way, but still couldn’t help myself from wanting to support Tyrion and Jaime. I’m still firmly of the belief that Tyrion Lannister is one of the best-written characters in literature right now, and hearing Peter Dinklage’s dry delivery in my head each time he speaks a line only serves to enhance the experience.

That said, there were some plot lines that were slightly draggy (Sam and Bran, I’m looking at you), and some characters that I enjoyed reading less than others. The intrigue is constant, and just when you believe you’ve figured out exactly what happened two books ago, Martin throws another twist in there to put you off balance. This is a true epic in every sense of the word, and I can’t wait to revisit Westeros and its inhabitants in the next book.

TxtingMrDarcy Reads: “Fear is the Cure” Edition

Dark Eden~ Patrick Carman

Book Summary (From Amazon):
When Will Besting approaches Fort Eden for the first time, he knows something isn’t right. With more terrifying secrets at every turn, he discovers a hidden fear deep inside himself, a dark mystery a thousand years in the making, and the unexpected girl of his dreams. But can he save everyone from the dangers of Fort Eden before it’s too late?
Soundtrack: “Pour Some Sugar on Me”~ Tom Cruise

This seems that it would be a logical addition to the mp3 player tucked into Will’s backpack, which featured other classic hits. Plus, Tom Cruise, who would be right at home in the freaky atmosphere of Camp Eden. Because, yanno. Scientology.

Will Besting has been sent to a remote wooded retreat with a group of six other teenagers. All of them have crippling phobias that their therapist has deemed untreatable, and all are willing to take one last chance on a cure. From the moment they’re dropped off in the middle of nowhere, Will’s “spidey sense” kicks in, leading him to abandon the group and run off into the woods.

The story is entirely told from Will’s point of view, as he hangs back and plays observer to the events that transpire at Fort Eden. He manages to sneak into one of the outbuildings, which affords him a unique view of the “cure” process that the other teens are experiencing. What he sees makes him seriously doubt whether they were brought to the isolated fort for their own good, or for some darker purpose.

Oh Dark Eden… you showed such promise. I’d heard good things about you, really. It’s very possible that ANY book that had to follow in the wake of Divergent and Insurgent would prove to be a let-down, but I really had trouble forcing myself to care about any of the characters and the eventual outcome. I almost ended up giving the book a DNF, but figured that it was short enough that I should power through to the conclusion.

In some ways I’m glad that I did that, because there were some unexpected twists that I definitely didn’t see coming. The exploration of the teenage characters, who were basically textbook teen personalities and could easily have been anyone, and their fears was pretty interesting from a psychological point of view. Seeing the correlation between their crippling fears and what had actually CAUSED them as fascinating, and the cure process is truly what kept me turning the pages to the end.

Will’s point of view is extremely clinical and bland, and I had an extremely difficult time getting attached to him as the narrator. His observation of the whole process is dry, and mostly self centered, except for totally random bits of romantic attachment for one of the other characters. I was able to call out one of the novel’s big twists about halfway through, which definitely dialed back some of the emotional impact on that reveal.

I think that Patrick Carman waits a bit too long to spring the “big reveal” on the reader, perhaps leading to the apathy that I felt for the plot itself. Everything is explained in a series of appendices, which are beautifully thought out and contain some stunning symbolism and wonderful literary references. The “good doctor” Rainsford is deliciously twisted, and I would have loved to get a taste of it earlier in the story.

But THEN?! Just as I was willing to finish the story feeling satisfied, guess what Carman had to go do to me?

That’s right, gang. It’s the FIRST OF A SERIES.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. This book falls squarely in the camp that should NOT be continued in future installments, because we are basically told all that we need to know in the epilogue.

Pet peeve city, up in here.

Two out of Five Cliff Bars.