The X-Files: Cold Cases

The X-Files: Cold CasesThe X-Files: Cold Cases by Joe Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

This is definitely the X-files you grew up with, in both the good and the bad.

The Good: All the people are exactly like I remember and are voiced by the actors who played them in the series. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and all the others do an excellent job voicing their parts. The same tensions exist and the same personalities, etc.

The book itself reads (or in this case sounds) exactly like the series. The writing is entertaining, and has the same feeling. It is like they just took up where they left off more than ten years ago. I do find this partially good and partially bad.

The Bad: The bad mostly falls into personal likes and dislikes. There is one single technical issue I disliked though, that would be the environmental sounds. It seemed very much on an audio stage and not sounding like it was filmed in an actual place. The echoes were off, there were seemingly missing ambience sounds.

This might just be a personal preference though, I haven’t heard a single audiobook who approaches it with multiple actors and using sounds instead of reading descriptions that has worked for me.

I stopped watching the X-files religiously as the seasons went on, especially the last season or two of Mulder and Scully (and I didn’t really watch it after they left). Not because there was anything technically bad about the acting or writing, but because I was tired of aliens.

The height of the show for me was when it was a “monster of the week” show with some plotlines that ran through the whole show. I didn’t even mind some of the alien/black virus/black eyes situation.

However, I stopped watching when it became all about a single government conspiracy with all knowing bad guys responsible for all the different things. I would have been ok if it was scattered conspiracy, but an all knowing invasion of aliens, followed with movies that only followed the same was frustrating.

This book does the exact same thing. There is one “episode” that deals with a monster of the week type situation (revisiting one of my favorite episodes) and it was great, the remaining episodes were very much one long alien conspiracy hunt. I won’t say anymore, I just want that out there to warn others if they don’t want to have to deal with it.

Overall though it was worth it, I got it on sale and I did mildly enjoy it. I will probably try any other book that comes out in the series, but I would rather it be done in a novelized/audible format and not that multi-actor/fake sounds setup.

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Succubus!

Succubus! (Hell High #1)Succubus! by Michael-Scott Earle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book as something quick to listen to between two larger audio books. I figured I would listen a few minutes at a time, but I just ended up listening to the whole thing. I think I picked it up for under $5 and it was worth the risk.

The story itself centers on a senior in high school and the things he sees in that high school. The story involves monsters, demons, devils and a hot succubus girl. I will admit, about 10 minutes into the story I was hooked and found myself enjoying it.

The ending is too abrupt (but it was at a stopping point). This is to be expected since it is only a 90 minute book. I just found out that there are two more books that are about 3 times the size of this book (over four hours each). I will end up picking those up.

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My Life as a White Trash Zombie

My Life as a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie, #1)My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you like books like the Sookie Stackhouse novels, this is the book for you.

The book is an entry into the world of A White Trash Zombie series and it is a success. You get to know about Angel, a young white trash woman who is obviously now a zombie. The story is about her coming to terms with her new life, learning what its like to be responsible and to take control. Her new powers as a zombie come with a price though, something she can’t walk away from.

That is probably my favorite part about the book though. It shows how she grows up, and learns that she is in control of her own destiny and that she is worth something.

A definite must read!

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The Taken

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)The Taken by Vicki Pettersson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not impressed with the story, the writing or the setting. It wasn’t the worst book I have consumed, but it isn’t even in the average. I will avoid spoilers.

1. The writing style: This by far was the worst part of the whole thing. The way Vicki Pettersson wrote the book was the single hardest thing to get used to. It is a “noir” story, meaning it falls back on the old gumshoe type of writing such as “the dame walked into the door and had looks that could kill”.

Now, that can be interesting to a point, but the entire book was written using very halting language, terms and frankly an incredibly sexist viewpoint. I hadn’t expected it to be like that at all. I specifically chose it because the author was a woman and at no point would I have imagined that someone who is on the other side of misogyny would write like that. Now, as a side note, I realize that I had a gender bias going in, thinking a woman wouldn’t do it, and I was proven wrong as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy supernatural noir/urban fantasy settings. Take Jim Butcher and the Dresden Files. That is a supernatural noire novel without relying on the trapings and clichés of the old novels. I just couldn’t get into the ham fisted writing style of the book itself, this probably influenced my other two issues.

2. The story: Sadly, the story isn’t imaginative at all, especially for a noire setting. The fact that Griff is a “centurion” doesn’t change it. The main female character is only a two dimensional attractive woman who is always the scrappy investigative reporter. The villians all are “evil” to be evil and there is no shades of grey.

Worst of all the book is over 400 pages and has too many plots that try and interweave. Maybe if the author had focused on a single plot it would have felt like a story, as it was none of the character changed over the book (if they did, it was a decline of detail and character drive and not any actual change). It wasn’t even a good romance story (and I love me some good romance).

3. The Setting: This is probably the area I have the least problem with. The story of a human elevated to a “centurion” to help lead people from violent death to the afterlife isn’t a bad setting. Las Vegas is never a bad place to be, and the “alien” of the Pure is something I haven’t seen before in this type of writing.

The part I don’t like is that it is purely a Christian angel/afterlife sort of thing. With other supernatural/urban fantasy noire like Dresden you get a taste of other cultures and other people. It isn’t centered as a white world. This is just a recent discovery of mine as I am white and male and before a few years ago I didn’t realize that everything was aimed at my demographic. It would be nice to see more cultural influences in this world. I probably would have like the setting more if the storyline and the writing style weren’t so difficult.

Overall I would recommend that you only take the time for this if you are stuck at an airport, or in a place where there aren’t other options. I don’t think Ms. Pettersson is a bad author herself, but this foray needed more editing, more focus and a lot more time to cook before it was released.

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Skin Game

Skin Game (The Dresden Files, #15)Skin Game by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Much like his other books this is enjoyable and goes by very quickly. I listened to it on audiobook so I got to hear James Marsters read it and that is half the fun. Don’t get me wrong, John Glover was good on the book he did, but when I think Harry Dresden, I think of “Spike” aka James Marsters voice.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I just want to reiterate I like it. You meet new characters, along with the old. Its nice to see that maybe… just maybe Harry might be coming back to some form or normality (well at least normality for him).

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