Only Human (Serial Story) Part 2

Part 1

Walking down the Greek row of Monster University was both disgusting and fascinating. It was a welcome party that looked completely normal, until you noticed that half the students were drinking blood instead of beer. There were vendors selling everything from crickets for the Medusa to frozen animal hearts for the werewolf population.

As the only human on campus, Rachel should have felt hunted, but she was the one hunting. Her sister would have loved it here, she was always trying to find and understand cryptoids. Rachel sighed at the thought of her sister, she’d been killed when they were twelve; ripped to shreds by something.

Allison had run up to their room saying she’d made a new friend. Rachel assumed it was another imaginary creature and told her to grow up. It was the last thing she’d told her sister. She’d been studying everything she could about monsters and now she was going to find them and make them pay.

“Why so glum, sexy?” Ronnie asked, his crooked smile and appraising gaze made her tingle and blush.

“Your sister says I’m not allowed to flirt with you,” Rachel said coyly as she walked away from him.

His footsteps behind her told her he was following. “Somehow that makes you even sexier.”

“You just want me to make your sister angry?” She smiled at him.

What was she doing? Sure he was handsome, but he was a bloodsucking monster that could rip her apart with one hand.

“Naw that’s just icing on an already tasty cake.”

Spinning around, she tried to mimic the girls she’d seen in high school by jutting one hip out and bending the opposite knee. She put both hands on her hips and gave him a scathing look. “Really? Comparing me to food, and not even something interesting, am I just fluffy tasty calories to you?”

For the first time she saw a crack in his tough jock veneer and he said, “Sa-sa-s- sorry. I wasn’t trying to say that I wanted to e-e-eat you.” She was both ashamed and surprised by his stutter.

Walking towards him, she kissed him on the cheek. She kept her body right next to his, letting him feel her heat. Going on her tip-toes, she whispered in his ear, “Its ok. I just don’t like being compared to food.” She blew lightly on his ear and felt him shiver. “I do like the idea of being covered in icing, though.”

Walking away, she risked a look behind her and saw that he hadn’t moved and his mouth was gaping. She winked at him and saw a smile cross his face.

Through the frantic beating of her heart, she wondered what she was doing, flirting with a vampire. She wasn’t some self-deprecating bland love interest. She turned the corner between two houses and rested her back on the wall of one of the fraternities. She could tell it was a fraternity from its smell, a combination of musk, garbage, and disrepair.

“Good to know that men are pigs no matter what race they are,” she whispered.

“We’re not all that bad,” whispered back a deep voice beside her and she jumped back pulling out a knife.

From the shadows between the two houses she could make out the shape of a man. He lifted his right arm into the air and said, “Whoa, slayer. I’m not looking for trouble.” He stepped out of the shadows and she could see that he had only one arm. He looked human in every way possible except for the fact that he had six fingers.

“Who and what are you?” she asked.

As she looked at him he disappeared and reappeared behind her. “Aren’t you both jumpy and rude. My name’s Dowan and I’m Mannegishi, if you must know.”

Turning quickly she had her knife on his throat before he finished.

“Mannegishi are Tricksters and I thought you were supposed to be tiny?”

“You’re getting us confused with Memegwesi. Common mistake for your people,” he said smiling. He seemed to be enjoying it. His strong chin and high cheekbones made him seem supernaturally handsome.

“My people?” she asked, worried he knew that she was human.

“White kids. You all think you know everything. Just because the Greek myths go at it with anything that moves doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t exist.”

Taking her knife away from his throat, she sighed with relief. “You just scared the crap out of me and then expect me to remember every possible monster?”

Smiling again he waved his hand and said, “Fine. I’m sorry for startling you but it was fun. And don’t think I haven’t noticed that you haven’t told me who you are.”

“Dowan you bastard I’m going to kill you,” said a tall one eyed man who was flanked by three others.

“Ah Al. How have you been?” Dowan asked taking a step back.

“You think you can swindle me and get away with it?” The Cyclops and his friends were easily nine feet tall and muscled like professional wrestlers.

“Yup!” Dowan said and disappeared.

“I guess we’ll just have to teach his friend a lesson than. Aren’t you a pretty little thing,” The Cyclops glowered at her and it made her heart beat quicker, but not in the same way as Ronnie.

She had been walking backwards and found that she was now in the road and there was a crowd around them. There was no way this was going to be a private fight. “I haven’t been called little since I eleven and got a growth spurt,” she replied. It wasn’t witty but it was the best she could do, she didn’t do well with an audience.

For good measure she added, “Leave now and I won’t have to kill you.”

The Cyclops called Al picked up a smart car and tossed it at her.

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Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire – Book Review

If you’ve been following my book reviews. You know that I have a soft spot for Urban Fantasy. I also have a soft spot for interesting female characters. Discount Armageddon delivers both and does it well.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Characters

I liked

At the center of the story is Verity Price, a tough ballroom dancer who’s been trained from birth on how to kill things and study them. Unfortunately she isn’t the most interesting character.

The supporting cast from religious mice to a shapeshifer cousin truly makes the book. There is a wide and varied group of people. I loved both the interactions and dialogue between the characters.

I didn’t like

Again, unfortunately Verity Price isn’t the most interesting of characters, falling into the girly tough girl stereotype. She loves to dance and seems to have a love hate relationship with her life. She wants to dance but also wants to follow in the family business.

To ignore her own inner struggle she tries to continuously meet the world with sex appeal and one-liners. She played dumb, when she obviously wasn’t, too many times.

For characters, I give it 3 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The author isn’t afraid to go on small tangents to explain the world. I really enjoyed the history and Price family life. It’s a great world with all kinds of interesting people and events.

Despite what people often think, writing first person is more difficult than third and if done wrong makes the story sound like “than guy” at a party that wants to tell you all about his d&d character or cat.

Ms. McGuire makes the story flow quickly, smoothly and keeps all the action tight.

I didn’t like

The language bugged me a little. I understand first person characters using slang and odd turns of phrase but sometimes it felt discordant. The writing had a strange juxtaposition of British and American slang.

I give it 3 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The flow of the story was wonderful. Never leaving us in the same place long enough to get bored. The story shape is extremely simple but works wonderfully. Never leaving me annoyed with what was happening.

I didn’t like

This is the first in a series and with that there are a lot of details added that don’t directly impact the story. Relatives that weren’t essential, and plot points that won’t be important until later books.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy reading about her grandfather stuck in hell and her grandmothers quest to find him but I would have liked to learn more about the characters that were important to the story.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

Despite her clichés and often bad one-liners I like Verity Price. She perfectly personifies that struggle and lost feeling that I had in my twenties.

It also has a few steamy scenes that made me blush.

I didn’t like

I often would have like more in depth descriptions or interactions. It would have slown down the story pace but it would have given the book more substance. However I realize that this is an action book and not an epic.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

If you like fast paced action and fun characters thrown into ridiculous situations I recommend you pick this up.

Final score is 75%