BOOK & BLOG
July 28, 2009
Books of the Week:
Two urban fantasies this week. I read other books; one I didn’t finish, one was another Miss Read, and I think by now you all know I like the gentle and humorous books of Miss Read.
Though I may be reaching a surfeit of kick-ass females, Jaye Wells’s book is a lot of fun. Sabina Kane, assassin, is half-vampire, half-mage, a combination of races that leaves her in an awkward position. She’s never known her mage father or any of her relatives, and she’s been raised by her vampire grandmother to be a killer. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that her grandmother actually loathes Sabina, though that’s escaped Sabina, which is actually pretty understandable. Sabina kills a friend, meets a mage, and acquires a familiar accidentally, and that’s just in the first couple of chapters. This is a fast-paced and fun book, and there’ll be more to come.
Suzanne McLeod’s The Cold Kiss of Death is the second Spellcrackers.com book. I enjoyed the first one very much, and my UK publisher sent me the ARC of Cold Kiss. I liked it just as much, maybe more. Genny Taylor is a very good character. Her talent lies in cracking spells, undoing them, but the undoing is a violent process that occasionally causes disaster all the way around. Genny is also in a precarious courting situation. She’s fond of her boss Finn, a satyr, and she’s also attracted to the vampire Malik. Then there’s a Kelpie, Tavish. This is a book with a lot of emotional depth, as Genny discovers a lot of truths about her life and the people around her. There’s treachery, body-switching, and life and death encounters in this action-packed novel. A story well-told.
I’m surfacing from the experiences of Comic-Con briefly before I leave for Gainesville, Florida, for Anhinga. As most of you know, Comic-Con is huge about 100,000 people, I’ve heard but it’s anything but chaotic. The organizers have a tight grip on what’s happening, and a lot is happening. At any given moment, dozens if not hundreds of booths are open for business in the huge convention center in San Diego. These booths sell T shirts, comic books, and tie-in articles of all kinds (action figures, armor, costumes, etc.). There are also display booths set up by the networks and by movie studios to promote genre shows like Lost, Smallville, Dr. Who, and so on. You can get free stuff, and it goes quick.
This year, at least so I heard, Robert Pattinson made an appearance (a royal nuisance since all the streets had to be blocked off), Johnny Depp ducked in, the cast of the new teen vampire show signed posters, Kiefer Sutherland was there, and many, many more. I was too wrapped up in my own activities to see any of these wonderful things, though I did get to meet-and-greet Neil Gaiman, who was signing at the same time I was. Cameras flashed. There’s no way to get away with anything at Comic-Con, because there are cameras galore.
My signing went well. It was limited to 150 (or 125, depending on who you asked), and the crowd was controlled very carefully. The staff of Mysterious Galaxy worked their usual magic in keeping things moving smoothly, security was good, and the people I met were happy to be there.
The next day, I had to meet the cast of “True Blood” for a signing, and the rendezvous point was the Warner Brothers booth, which has two stories. I failed utterly to look as important as most of the people there, though I did eventually get fetched by security to get up to the booth. Where I had to wait for the cast, of course. I got to watch the cast of the new vamp show signing posters below, while I was wishing I’d brought a granola bar with me. Eventually, a lot of security guys blocked off a corridor through the crowds, and the cast arrived. Much screaming. Alexander, Stephen, Anna, Rutina, Michelle Forbes, Nelsan Ellis, Sam, Deborah Ann Woll, and Alan came up, and we had hugs all around.
The signing was a blur, because we all had lots of silver sharpies and an unending stream of posters to sign. To my pleasure, some people brought books for me to sign, and of course Anna signed a lot of photos. I couldn’t see what was happening around the corner; there were so many of us we wrapped around the booth. Then there was another long wait, then the panel, which was held in an immense space. I believe it held 5,000 people, and it was completely full. The lights were so bright that I couldn’t see any of the audience, which made the whole thing a little surreal. I’m sure you can see the panel on-line, and you’ll see how charming these people really are. I think everyone there had a good time.
Almost all of us went to the Entertainment Weekly/Syfy party later, after dinner, and that was a blast, too. I have GOT to learn to be cool when I meet people I’ve admired on the screen. Geekiest moment: thinking a guy in the elevator looked somewhat familiar, introduced myself, to find he was Kevin Sorbo.
No wonder he looked familiar.
Now I’m packing for a writer’s conference, which will be a much quieter kind of good time, and I’m looking forward to that, too. I can’t complain of boredom in this new phase of my life.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris