"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"
by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
read by Katherine Kellgren
produced by Brilliance Audio
Approx. 11 hours
Being a horror fan the title of this book just screamed, "read me," but at the same time I was not looking forward to revisiting one of those classic books that you were forced to read back in the school days whether high school or college. I am really glad I did. This book is beyond any horror entertainment, it contains some great tongue-in-cheek humor. Really though, the best part of the book is that Seth Grahame-Smith stayed true to the Jane Austen writing while throwing in zombies, ninjas and Xiaolin monks (remember David Carradine & "Kung Fu"?).
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." That's how this book begins and right off you can tell this is not Jane Austen's novel, but I will say that for the first couple of chapters I began to wonder. It seemed like all Seth did was throw in a few references to zombies and the strange plague, but once the ball in which Mr. Bingley is to be introduced to the Bennet sisters begins and the zombies break in to attack the living, the Bennet sisters and their father form the pentagram of death stance and begin their Xiaolin warrior tactics to lop of the heads of the zombies. From this point on the reader/listener is unleashed into what may be the first zombie/romance novel.
For those of you that have read the Jane Austen novel and appreciate the great literary work, don't worry you won't be let down. In fact I think those that have read and appreciate the original may enjoy this retelling even more, and may find yourself laughing at the fun that is this novel. For those of you ought for a zombie massacre adventure, be careful you are going to be getting some classic literature thrown at you.
Without going through the entire synopsis of this story, I think I'll just point out some of the main features that makes this something worth picking up.
It is true that Mrs. Bennet is out to get her daughters married off, but Mr. Bennet feels that the girls' training in the "deadly arts" is needed to protect their home from the "unmentionables" (zombies). Elizabeth Bennet comes to despise Mr. Darcy due to prejudices she has developed against him from her observations. When he proposes marriage to Elizabeth they draw their Katanas (swords) and begin a martial arts showdown that leaves Mr. Darcy slightly wounded.
Lady Catherine, while entertaining Elizabeth in her home, wants to show off her ninja bodyguards and allows Elizabeth, with her lowly Kung Fu training, to spar against 4 of her ninjas. Elizabeth proceeds to kill all four ninjas, and does so while blindfolded. Later when Lady Catherine says she will not allow Elizabeth to marry her brother Darcy, the two match fighting prowess to the death for the honor. Elizabeth wins but as her punishment leaves Lady Catherine alive so she can witness the marriage of the two.
Oh yeah and zombies are in this book also. All in all this book is just one great mashup that is fun to read.
Labels: comedy, dark humor, horror, humor, jane austen, kung fu, ninjas, pride and prejudice, pride and prejudice and zombies, seth grahame-smith, xiaolin monks, zombies
posted by Gil T. @ 8:22 PM
"Hardball" (V.I. Warshawski Novels) by Sara Paretsky Published 2009 by Putnam
"Hardball" (V.I. Warshawski Novels)
by Sara Paretsky
Published 2009 by Putnam
As a new fan of the Private Investigator/Thriller/whodunit genre, I wasn't sure what I was in for when picking up this book. "Hardball" is the 13th novel in the V.I. Warshawski novels and not having read any of the previous books, I have found a winner. V.I. Warshawski is a private investigator working in Chicago, her father was a police officer for the Chicago Police Department in the late 60s/ early 70s. That much is learned in this book and any other knowledge of Warshawski's past is not really needed so this book is not one that you have to have read the previous books to know what is going on. Which means you too can jump right in and enjoy this superbly written detective story.
Speaking of the story, this book covers a very interesting time in America's history and the author, Sara Peretsky, does a great job of mixing fact with the fiction to create a backdrop for a thriller whodunit that will knock your socks off, or at least keep you turning the page to find out what happens next.
Private Detective, V. I. Warshawski is hired to find a young black man, Lamont Gadsden, after he disappeared in 1967 during a snowstorm. Lamont's aunt is nearing death and wants to know where her nephew is before she dies. Warschawski reconnects with some of her father's old police colleagues; pays a prison visit to Johnny Merton, a notorious gang leader she once defended in her days as a public defender; and tracks down Steve Sawyer, who disappeared following a murder conviction. She then has to confront an sour time in Chicago's history, a peaceful march in 1966 by Martin Luther King that resulted in a white riot and the murder of a young black woman, Harmony Newsome. Digging into this ancient history stirs passions and fears of what secrets might be revealed.
While searching for Lamont, Warshawski's young cousin is fresh out of college and is helping with a senatorial candidates campaign. This man seeking election is part of a family from that same history of Warshawski's father and when the paths of finding Lamont, solving an age old murder and the ties with her father begin to cross with those of the family of the wanna be senator, her cousin may be in danger.
This book not only provides the thrills-a-minute excitement that a good detective novel should but also deals in a very proper manner with part of America's (not just Chicago's) dark past.
Labels: book review, books, crime, detective novel, hardball, sara paretsky, v.i. warshawski, whodunit
posted by Gil T. @ 10:42 PM
Audio Drama podcast based on "Autumn" By David Moody
Audio Drama podcast based on "Autumn"
By David Moody
produced by DarkerProjects.com
Approx 3 hour podcast.
Recently I listened to the audio book "Hater" by David Moody and I really enjoyed the story and the original concept behind this horror story. I decided to look into the author's other works and found some really cool stuff on this David Moody. He's published most of his books on the web and offered them for free and it looks like it has paid off. He now has movie companies interested in turning his books to movies. During this research I found the website DarkerProjects.com
. Darker Projects is a darker audio drama company who present original projects such as Tales from the Museum, The Byron Chronicles, and The Falcon Banner in addition to other popular Star Trek and Doctor Who interpretations. All you have to do to listen to these creative works is, download audio or subscribe to their podcasts. One of their projects is to take this book by David Moody and turn it into one of their audio dramas.
All in all the production was some very good listening. They sound effects and music were very well mixed with som pretty decent acting. My biggest complaint is that it lacked narration. Many times during production there would be a series of events happening and all you heard was sound effects and some small dialogue. I found myself wondering what was happening, the sound effects were enough to tease but not enough to tell the story. There were some moments with narration but not nearly enough to tell the story. Once the story got rolling along the dialogue between characters would keep the story going, but when moments of action I was left wonder what was happening. It would be like listening to a television cop show car chase with your eyes closed, you hear the sounds but don't know who is gaining on who. Aside from that the dialogue and acting were enough to keep me interested. Don't get me wrong, the sound effects were very well done for the most part, but without that extra narration I would get frustrated. There were some "Dukes of Hazzard" sound effect moments that made me giggle but nothing too bad. By "Dukes of Hazzard" sound effect moments I'm talking about the tires squealing on a dirt road effect. But I still enjoyed the story.
Okay as for the story the book and this audio drama are about zombies. Zombies can be a fun genre of horror. In this story a plague kills off about 99 pecent of the population. The stricken immediately choke to death and die. The survivors in this story are few and as humans do seek out other survivors. Keep in mind the dead are not zombies, yet, they are just dead bodies that died instantly and the land is covered by them where they fell. Soon many of the living come together in a community center and begin to "survive." After a day or so some of the dead bodies begin to get up and walk around. Nothing threatening, just walking. Some members of the group decide it would be safer in the country and leave the group. After a few more days the dead become full blown zombies and begin to attack.
I will definitely have to pick up this book and give it a good read after this thrilling introduction. "Autumn" by David Moody is book one of a 6 book series with a bit of an original take on the Zombie Genre. Also I'm going to be checking out some other productions by Darker Projects
By the way the movie based on this book is slated for release in 2010.
Labels: autumn, darker projects, david moody, podcast, zombies
posted by Gil T. @ 9:47 PM
"When You Are Engulfed in Flames" by David Sedaris
"When You Are Engulfed in Flames"
by David Sedaris
Narrated by David Sedaris
Produced by Hachette Audio
approx. 9 hours
First let me say, I just love David Sedaris. Okay that said, I may be a little biased but his stories are just so funny and so well written, they make for a perfect humorous audio book source, especially when read by the author. Some of these are even recordings from his lecture tours so you get the fun audience reaction on some of the stories.
Sedaris has a way with finding the humor in the normal everyday happenings, from lancing a boil to rude neighbors to quitting smoking. Every one of the stories in this book had a little bit of a humorous witty twist that made want to go back and listen to the story again to fully analyze how he came to his final point.
Most of the stories in this book seemed to center around his partner Hugh where in his previous books David's family were the source of the the humor. Many of the stories in this book had the laugh out loud moments but some had some very poignant moments and still some had a great combination of both. The written stories when heard really felt as if he were telling you the story just then, kind of a train of thought type process that moved the story and made it so you have to listen and that you know something good is coming up.
One of the stories talks about when he's going away to Princeton and how proud his parents are. Sedaris then throws the listener a curve ball when he tells his father he's majoring in "Patricide." David's mom gets jealous and asks "I'm not good enough for you?" He then replies that he'll look into a double major. After some time at Princeton he becomes a writer and his parents ask, "What are you trying to do, kill us?"
Another very funny story happens when he's on a plane heading for the U.S. for one of his lecture tours and he is shamed by his own clothing when a very well dressed couple sit next to him. But his shame is soon turned to laugh out loud fun when the elderly couple begin using the "f"-word and the "s"-word in very creative ways.
The latter part of the book is about his and Hugh's trip to Japan. The purpose of the trip, to stop smoking. The whole stranger in a strange land idea reaches hilarious heights as he tries new food, tries to learn the language, and all while quitting smoking.
Once again Sedaris delivers fun while pointing out the realism of life in "When You are Engulfed in Flames"
Labels: anecdotes, audio book, book review, books, david sedaris, humor, quitting smoking, smoking
posted by Gil T. @ 9:38 PM
"Batman: Inferno" by Alex Irvine
by Alex Irvine
Produced by Graphic Audio
Approx 7 hours.
Let me start this review off by saying, I think I may have just listened to the best Batman story ever. Not only was the story itself captivating and entertaining but the production has gone beyond my expectations from Graphic Audio audio books. This audio book is a simple Batman book with only two villains a new one named Enfer and the best Batman villain ever, The Joker.
When It comes to continuity, I'm not sure where in the comic book realm of Batman this book comes in but this book would make for a great sequel to the 2008 movie blockbuster, "The Dark Knight." This book takes place just as Bruce Wayne/Batman is building his Bat-Cave and has only been protecting Gotham City for a couple of years. The Joker has only recently been sent to Arkham Asylum, in this book Arkham is run by Dr. Jonathan Crane.
One thing I've noticed about DC comics is that the stories really don't rely on a running continuity, as long as the stories stick to the main theme of Batman. The Dark Knight run of Batman comics, books and movies do have a darker side and more sinister of villainy of crime for Batman to contend with and this audio book definitely has a Dark Knight feel to it. In fact the audio book contains the warning, "Due to subject matter, 'Batman: Inferno' contins realistically harsh language that may be offensive to some." So, you have been warned.
Before I get to the summary of this book I have to talk about the production of the audio book. I have reviewed several Graphic Audio productions before, and I am always impressed with the acting, sound effects and incidental music, so I was prepared for what Graphic Audio promises of "A Movie in Your Mind." This time around that was an extreme understatement. This production blew me away. The main premise of this book is fire and, let me tell you, the production conveyed that in a very explosive audio book. I was extremely impressed by the voice-work/acting of the actor that played The Joker in this production, Richard Rohan, who also does the narrating and the voice of Batman, he did a smash up job. And never once in the production can you tell or even have the hint that the same person narrating is either Batman or The Joker. The Joker has been portrayed by several great actors through television and the movies, Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. In the movies the Heath Ledger Joker gained infamy from being so dark. This Joker story is another dark story and Rohan, from this audio book borrows a bit from Heath Ledger, but at the same time you can hear some of Jack Nicholson's Joker and some of Cesar Romero, so Rohan makes the character his own, while still paying homage to the classics.
Let's talk about the story. Gotham City is burning and the police still don't know where to stand when it comes to the Caped Crusader, Batman. Batman doesn't worry too much about public opinion, his goal is to keep Gotham City safe. As for the burning, Batman is doing everything he can to find out who is starting all the fires and what he can do to stop this firebug. Batman discovers that the up and coming villian goes by the moniker of "Enfer" (the french word for hell.) Enfer draws his influence from a French poet and, is seeking to cleanse the fire stations in Gotham City by fire. Enfer also seeks to show The Joker that they could become allies, but the problem is that The Joker is locked up in Arkham Asylum. Enfer blows up the Asylum allowing all the super-powered villians to escape, including The Joker, and Gotham City police now have their hands full. To show his desire Enfer sets certain parts of Gotham City ablaze and when viewed from the sky the fires spell out "HA HA."
In the meantime The Joker is making his escape and trying to avoid the GCPD by escaping through the sewers and tunnels underground. A series of tunnels brings The Joker to a cave full of bats, the bats then lead him to what is a construction site that is obviously becoming the underground lair of Batman, the Bat-Cave. Instead of finding out who is behind the cowl thus destroying his raison d'etre, The Joker kidnaps Alfred, the trusty butler, and steals a costume and the Bat-Mobile, yes THE BAT-MOBILE. He then terrorizes Gotham City posing as Batman.
So with trying to stop an Arsonist, capturing escaped criminals, rescuing Alfred, Batman also has to fight for his reputation, in "Batman: Inferno." Treat yourself to a great audio book and pick up this one.
Labels: alex irvine, audio book, audiobook, batman, batman inferno, book review, books, comic books, dc, dc comics, graphic audio, the joker
posted by Gil T. @ 8:55 PM
Living Dead in Dallas Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #2 By Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas
Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #2
By Charlaine Harris
read by Johanna Parker
Published by Recorded Books
Approx 8.5 hours
Okay we have to wait for a few months before the return of the series "True Blood" on HBO and the return of Sookie Stackhouse, but during the interim I highly recommend picking up the books either regular or audio and enjoy the other storis in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries. I was told, due to my love of vampire and zombie stories, that I should check out the Sookie stories. I then read a collection of short stories that had a story by Charlaine Harris that took place in the Sookie world but was Sookie-less and found the writing very entertaining. By the way, the main reason I picked up the book was because it also featured a Harry Dresden story by my favorite author, Jim Butcher. So, liking the storytelling and the humor in the short story, I tried out Ms. Harris' novels. I read the first book just as season one of "True Blood" was at midpoint. After reading the book I had to check out the series and have been hooked on both ever since.
The Sookie Stackhouse series tells of a romantic world where vampires have "come out of the coffin," and are mainstreaming (trying to live alongside humans, rather than living ON humans). With the invention of a synthetic blood, now available in six-packs, the vampires can live without killing, but not all vampires are mainstreaming.
"Living Dead in Dallas" pretty much covers what was in season two of the "True Blood" TV series. I will tell you that the TV series took lots of poetic license and added things in here and there that kept to the main theme of this book but made for some more visually stimulating stories. For example, Maenad, a female follower of Dionysus(I'll explain more about the Maenad later) in the tv series pretty much took over Bon Temps, Sookie's hometown, while she was away in Dallas, giving a bigger role to Michelle Forbes, who played Admiral Cain on Battlestar Galactica. So that was okay.
Okay let's talk about this book. "Living Dead in Dallas" finds Sookie having to hold true to her word to help Eric and the vampires by using her "disability" or gift as the vampires call it, of being a telepath. Sookie can read thoughts and the vampires in Dallas have had one of their "nest mates" (vampires live in a nest within a city, you know) has gone missing. Also the cook at the bar where Sookie works, Lafayette Reynolds, is found dead and his body in the back seat of Detective Andy Belfleur's car. Lafayette was a gay black man that had a lot against him, but he was a friend of Sookies and she wants to find his murderer, but before that can happen sookie and her boyfriend vampire Bill are sent to Dallas to help find the missing vampire.
Before finding out her mission Bill and Sookie get into an argument and their car stops. Sookie threatens to walk either home or to Fangtasia, the bar owned by Eric. Bill goes to find a mechanic. While bill is gone sookie is confronted by a Maenad. Again Maenad's are ancient beings, their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus, into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear animals (and sometimes men and children) to pieces, devouring the raw flesh. So now that your Greek mythology is refreshed, this Maenad wants to send a message to Eric Northman, yes the same Vampire Eric Sookie is out to see. The message comes in the form of a brutal attack on Sookie in which she is severely scratched and poisoned. Eric gets Sookie treated by a mysterious dwarf doctor who heals Sookie, barely, and Sookie and Bill are sent to Dallas. No rest or mercy when it comes to vampires.
In Dallas, Sookie Discovers that the missing vampire was last seen in the company of an ancient teenage vampire right before he goes missing. The young vampire turns out to be Godric an vampire that is wanting to "meet the dawn", or rather die in the sun, suicide for a vampire, because Godric has a very evil past, he has feasted upon children during his long life. Godric has turned himself in to a newly formed religious cult, "Fellowship of the Sun," whose sole mission is to destroy all vampires. Godric plans to sacrifice himself and the other vampire as the followers watch. Sookie goes undercover into the church to rescue the vampires.
When Sookie returns to Bon Temps, she continues to find Lafayette's murderer and traces it back to a group of locals that have weekly orgies, and the Maenad makes her reappearance.
During this story Sookie learns of more shapeshifters that are organized in Dallas and maybe a couple of real werewolves.
Johanna Parker delivers this story in a perfect Sookie Stackhouse voice, I'm thinking Anna Paquin may have studied the audio books to prepare for her role. The books are told in first person from Sookie's point of view and not only have the adventure and thrills but some really southern fried humor. Check them out while waiting for season three of "True Blood."
Labels: charlaine harris, maenad, morganville vampires, murder, shapeshifters, sookie stackhouse, southern vampire series, true blood, vampire bill, vampires
posted by Gil T. @ 9:53 PM