Monday, July 26, 2010

THIRST NO. 2 -- Book Review

I will review the second book of the Thirst Series by Christopher Pike. (refer HERE  for my review of the first book) Here is the main idea of the second book

Thirst no. 2 immediately follows the events of the first book where Sita has been reverted to being a human. But the question is, what will happen next? Will she be able to live among the mortals that once were different from her?

Now that she is in her new reformed condition, Sita was able to conceive a baby—a dream that she has desired for a long period of time since she left her daughter five thousand years ago. But it seems that her baby isn’t near normal, the baby is also thirsty for blood and she grows faster than any human being. Sita is now faced with the dilemma of being a mother to an inhuman being.


The second installment of the Thirst series features Sita in her more emotional state. As the book depicted her becoming more human, both literally and figuratively, she grew more familiar to the readers. Emotions of the past creep up like nightmares and she confronts them, goes back through them. With humanity and history within her, she faces the ghosts of her pasts in order to solve the riddles of the future.

The readers are taken to a realm beneath the vampire story. There are new, unknown forces that are introduced in the second book. New enemies and situations that will spur out new questions to the readers’ minds and Sita’s as well. It ceased to be just another vampire story, but a story of life and decisions—depiction of human nature within the flesh and blood of a vampire. Concept of life, death, and reincarnation revolves around the second installment.

As the first one has based its story on solid, thoroughly explained vampire origins, the second one has done otherwise. Thirst no. 2 presents creatures that is both a new experience to the readers and to Sita as well. Though they give a new dimension to the main story, Pike was not able to totally explicate on these new concepts as he had done so in the first. The only redeeming chance for this is that the third installment of the series would give the explanation that the readers are looking for.

The Sita telling the story here is still the Sita that has been seen at Thirst no. 1, the aggressive vampire chick whose battle skills are at par to no human standards. Blood spill is also inevitable in the story telling of this book.  Though she grows in more heroic proportions, as she got involved into a dilemma that does not only involve herself, but the whole mankind as well. She takes up the responsibility for the people close to her, as well for the humanity in the face of the planet.

Yet still evident in the second book are the problems that made the first book a little ineffective. The biggest one of them is her addiction to her faith that made the books sound really preachy rather than enlightening. But the involvement of reincarnation in the second book made little amends to this dilemma as they became personified lessons which in turn instilled the lessons of faith in much more action than words.

Thirst no. 2 presents more complex dimensions to Sita’s life as she battles it out with new creatures that she is yet to be familiarized. Her awareness of the consequences to her every decision and knowing what’s worth fighting for is commendable in this second book.


In a concise review:

Thirst no. 2 is crazier and more action-packed than the first book but still holds the same problems that made the first a little ineffective.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

THIRST NO. 1 -- Book Review

First and foremost, I despise vampire stories even before trying them out. It’s because all of them just came popping out after the success of Twilight! And I just hate that book because I think it’s nothing but a love story (sorry for the fans), but I guess it’s wrong to judge them all that way.

Now I will review the vampire book, Thirst no. 1 by Christopher Pike. Here is its premise:

Alisa Perne is a five-thousand year old vampire, the last one of them as she believes. But now her long-lived life is threatened as she discovers she is being investigated by Detective Michael Riley. After speaking to him, Alisa (or Sita, her real name) figures out that the one who wants her investigated knows a great deal about her, and this intrigued her as well as alarmed her. She killed Mr. Riley without even choking the truth out of him which left Alisa with only one lead, Mr. Riley’s computer. This computer can only be accessed with the use of a password that led her to meet with Mr. Riley’s son, Ray. But her encounter with Ray stirs something inside Alisa, something like love.

Her meeting with Ray starts her adventure within  as she ventured with him and the other people around him. Who is the one wanting her investigated? Can the love of a five-thousand-year-old vampire be returned? What destiny will befall this feisty female vampire?

Thirst no. 1 is a compilation of the first three books of Christopher Pike's series, The Last Vampire. This includes The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice.


Thirst isn't necessarily a love story, which I actually like. It is a vampire story—Sita’s story (I want to use the name Sita more because she uses it more often in the book than Alisa). But the love angle in her story is definitely crucial for the development of the story because with it, the readers will easily know this feisty woman’s pains, feelings, and thoughts.

The book is told in the first person point of view. At the start of the book, I cannot even see a five-thousand year old maturity in Sita, it sounded like Sita is nothing but an egoistic self-adoring b*tch but it’s good that at the second and third parts of Thirst 1, she began to display the wisdom of a vampire that has lived in thousands of years. But at times, it seems irritating that she still makes reckless decisions throughout the book, which is out of character because she should’ve learned more in her long time of living.

Sita is a vampire with religion. She has been alive by the time Krishna (the avatar of Vishnu, a Hindu God) and decided to devote her life through his teachings. This is a good idea provided that it will give a depth in such a vampire story as well as lessons for the readers. But for me, the downside of this is at times, the book starts to get preachy that every once and then, well most of the time, she discusses Krishna’s teachings. It gets to my nerves at times.

Action-wise, the book is full of fight scenes, mostly at the second and third parts of the book. It can be described as mildly macabre with lots of blood spilt in the story. Sita is an expert with guns and weapons which magnificently portrayed her as a femme fatale that is thirsty for blood (Hot!).

The story progress was just fine. The start wasn’t really remarkable, it was just okay. But as the book progresses it gets better. Though there wasn’t really much of a climax in the book, it still holds big ideas that may appeal to readers.

The good thing about Thirst is that it stays to the thought that vampires are bloodthirsty creatures but emphasizes that they too can have a good nature and can be admirable at times. Sita’s story is a tale of life, of love, of faith, and of death. Follow her story with Thirst no. 2 which includes the next three books of Pike’s The Last Vampire series.

In a concise review:

Thirst no. 1’s story is anticlimactic at times but is redeemed by the big ideas inculcated in it (though they are not really executed very well).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

After being intrigued with the sudden hype on this crime novel, I decided to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (first of the Millennium series) by Stieg Larsson.

The plot centers on three points. Mikael Blomkvist is in a tight spot after being involved in a libel case due to what he had published making his journalist career come to a sudden downfall; Lisbeth Salander, one of the top investigators of a security company and seen by the society as a social outcast, had came to investigate on Mikael as part of her work; and the mystery of the disappearing member of the Vanger family of 1966, which will intertwine both Blomkvist’s and Salander’s futures.

Blomkvist decides to uncover the truth about the Vanger mystery in order to redeem himself from his journalistic misery. He seemed disheartened with the idea at first but as he goes deeper into the mystery, dark secrets start to unveil themselves to him.

A journalist, a social outcast, and a mystery waiting to be solved—what will happen if they all meet at the same path?

This book is certainly much more than a crime or mystery novel. There are many dimensions in the book that speak for themselves and as they meet each other, they do give great impressions to the reader.

The book for me was told in a serene tone that could have been mistaken as the book being slow even if it was dubbed as a mystery novel or a crime fiction. If it were other books with that tone, I could have easily closed the book and looked for other, but I was not discouraged in continuing it. It is indeed initially told in a not-so-startling way yet as it was beautifully and intelligently written, it wasn’t really hard to be able to absorb the story.

Characterization-wise, Larsson was able to pull it off magnificently, especially the main characters. My favorite character would be Salander, which Larsson portrayed as a hard-headed girl that is seen by others as a nutcase. Throughout the whole book, there is indeed developing attributes in her character (as well as the others) which is actually a very good thing. Larsson did not stereotype his own characters, thus, taking them out of their shells and introducing them to the readers.

As the book was originally written in Swedish, the question of translation will most likely be brought up. I think the book’s language was fairly justified, though I’m not really the authority to say that because I haven’t read (and won’t understand) the original text. But the language used is sufficient to supply the right mood for the book. The vocabulary also gave way for the journalistic and business backgrounds that are found in the story.

The crime/mystery part of the book isn’t something that really awed me. I did not find that part as really gripping. With that said, I still believe that this book is certainly worth reading. The funny part for me is that what I was looking forward throughout the book is not the outcome of the mystery within the Vanger family but the journalistic adventure that Blomkvist is going through. (Though this may be a little bit biased since I am currently studying a Journalism course in college. :P ) And I also saw Salander’s life as really amusing.

Salander’s dilemma, Blomkvist’s quandary, and the mystery waiting to be solved 40 years ago. Each of these present ideas that can easily appeal to the readers even if presented individually. Having them in the same book is pretty wicked awesome. There is really something for everyone who decides to grab this book.

Sensitive issues such as abuse, murder, and crime illustrate themselves in the story once in a while, sometimes even taking the center point of the story. Occasional sexual content is also present in the book but they are actually needed in the story. Larsson showcased these in a manner that they give the proper impact on the readers.


Favorite quote:
"…If there's one thing I've learned, it's never engage in a fight you're sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it. Bide your time and strike back when you're in a position of strength--even if you no longer need to strike back”


In a concise review:
The intelligent plot and complex characters seen inside the book made The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo transcend the definition of a mystery/crime novel.