Tag Archives: #Death

Price, Kalayna: Alex Craft series

GRAVE WITCH (2010) – Maggie Award of Excellence 2011 – Paranormal

Cover for Polish Grave Witch by LeafOfSteel

The one constant in Alex Craft’s life is Death. Ever since she was 5, she has been able to interact with him. Her mess of a family is another certainty in Alex’ life. Her ability to raise shades and do magic is shameful in a family where the father campaigns against just that.

Thankfully, Alex has more than Death as a friend. She has her dog PC, her landlord Caleb, Holly, Tamara and John, her detective friend. When John asks her to investigate a high stakes murder, Alex finds trouble.

Grave Witch is an old-fashioned mystery with ghosts, fae and magic thrown in. As is so common in a lot of urban fantasy there is romantic tension. In Grave Witch we find that in homicide detective Falin Andrews. For some reason he has decided that Alex is a quack and resents having to work with her.

Having been introduced to two men who are hotties (Death and Falin), we know right away that there is going to be a love triangle. It’s just the way these books go. Once you’ve accepted that, then you’ve got an action-packed, soul-sucking urban fantasy that is a pretty good read.

GRAVE DANCE 2011

Soul collector by Hiimlucifer

We continue our journey in the city of Nekros. Alex Craft is still estranged from her family and is first and foremost a grave witch. But her power developed a great deal in the previous book, and she is now discovering more about her fae side.

Because of the fame incurred in Grave Witch, Tongues of the Dead is doing well. This time Alex is called in to investigate the unusual discovery of left feet.

Her investigations make it necessary for Alex to take a trip into the land of faery. She is guided by Falin, but does not know if he can be trusted. As his allegiance has been given to the Winter Queen, it would be a safe bet to assume that she cannot. Death is still a large part of her life. We still have a love-triangle. I find them silly, but it seems they are the THING in these types of urban fantasy novels.

In spite of the love triangle Alex is helped greatly by all of her friends: Death, Falin, Roy, Caleb, Holly, Tamara, and PC. She will need all the help she can get in dealing with the dangers thrown her way.

I liked the development of Alex Craft. She gained more depth and the people around here weren’t quite as two-dimensional. It’s still not quite there, but Kalayna is certainly heading the right way in her Alex Craft series.

Winter Queen by Andreea Cernestean

GRAVE MEMORY (2012)

Kalayna Price has really nailed the writing in Grave Memory.  The previous installments were pretty average, but Grave Memory has taken Price up a notch in my regard. I like that in a writer. It’s not really the story that makes the difference, but rather the way Kalayna ties her words together into beautiful music. Just remember that this is an urban fantasy and is supposed to be a light read.

Falin is still in the clutches of the Winter Queen and that makes him less than reliable. Alex is kind of naive about him in Grave Memory, but then we tend to be like that when we care about a person. She and Death take their relationship to the next level and it seems as if they might possibly become exclusive. But as all good series do, preparation for the next book comes towards the end. Twisty twist, but not wholly unexpected.

This time the pressure is on Alex to choose whether she will be an independent fae or attached to one of the courts. She still knows very little about the fae world, although Rianna and Caleb are trying to educate her. Along with the usual fae pressure, Alex gets into to trouble with the police because she goes on and on about apparent suicides. She will not accept that verdict and begins investigating the whole thing. That lands her into trouble with Death’s colleagues. Some of that trouble is deserved, because Alex messes up on this/these cases.

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p style=”text-align:left;” align=”center”>I’ll buy the next installment of the Alex Craft series when it comes along. My fascination with the series has grown. I like the world Price has created in Nekros and its fae version. If her writing improves as it has to date, then I’m in for a treat.

Pratchett, Terry: Death

Death as illustrated by Paul Kidby

The Grim Reaper in the form of a skeletal body in a black robe, with a scythe and speaking in CAPITAL LETTERS appears for the first time in The Colour of Magic. His job is to collect human souls. Death is the servant of Azrael, the “Death of Universes”. Opposing him are the Auditors, who want nothing more than the end of all life (it’s soooo messy).

At home Death has a servant, Albert and a daughter, Ysabelle. Kittens and swans are his favorite animals and his horse Binky is with him on each collection.

Because of his fascination with humans, Death sometimes leaves his post to seek understanding. This tends to cause problems because humans don’t like to see what they do not understand and the universe likes the souls of dead people collected. The only ones who can see Death for who he is are witches, wizards, cats and children.

In The Art of Discworld Terry tells us that he has received a number of letters from terminally ill fans in which they hope that Death will resemble the Discworld incarnation (he also says that those particular letters usually cause him to spend some time staring at the wall).

Mort (1987)

“Mort” by Amianna

While Death appears in the previous books, Mort is the first book in which he becomes a main character.

Mort’s family specialized in distilling wine from reannual grapes. (“Reannual are plants that grow backwards in time. You sow the seed this year and they grow last year.”) These growers tended to be big, serious men, much given to introspection and close examination of the calendar. Mort (the youngest son) on the other hand, was tall, red-haired and freckled, with the sort of body that seems to be only marginally under its owner’s control; apparently built out of knees.

Hopeless as he is, Mort’s father decides to take his son to the hiring fair at Sheepridge. At this hiring fair men looking for work would stand in ragged lines in the centre of the square waiting for a tradesman to hire them as apprentices. Noone seems to want Mort, but just before the clock has struck its final strike at midnight, a prospective tradesman enters the square. It is Death and Mort can see him as he really looks. Mort is hired as an apprentice and Death and Mort ride off on Binky.

And so, Mort is off on the adventure of his life learning all sorts of useful things – like how many shades of black there are and how to walk through walls. Obviously death is a theme of all of the books in the Death series. Terry treats this subject with warmth and a light heart. Death comes to us all, after all. Poor old Death is going through a mid-life crisis, and Pratchett’s gentle mocking of the phenomenon is heartwarming.


Adaptions

  • 1994: The graphic novel, Mort: The Big Comic is illustrated by Graham Higgins.
  • 2004: BBC4 broadcast Mort in 4 parts. Adapted for radio by Robin Brooks. It is re-sent regularly.
  • 2007: German musical adaptation of Mort.
  • 2008: English musical adaptation of Mort by Jenifer Toksvig.
  • 2011: English stage adapation of Mort by Stephen Briggs

Reaper Man (1991)

“Death of Rats” by Alex Thomas

The terrible Auditors of Reality have been at it again. To them the fact that Death seems to be developing a personality is the sin beyond sins. So, they decide to retire Death and Death is resigned to that decision. What happens when there is no longer a collector of spirits?

Back at the Unseen University Windle Poons – the oldest wizard – is waiting for his collection by Death. He knows to the minute when this is supposed to happen. But does it? Windle Poons certainly dies, but no one shows up for his spirit, so he decides to go back into his body. This tendency seems to be spreading to other people.

Bill Door’s harvesting machine

Now that Death has his own hourglass with sand running down, he has decided to make the most of the life left to him. High up in the Ramtops a figure on a horseback turns up. He knocks at the door of Miss Flitworth asking for help. The stranger goes by name Bill Door. The main qualification needed is the ability to use a scythe, and one might say that Bill is excellent at the job.

Back at Ankh-Morpork Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler has discovered something that he thinks will make his fortune (again). This time he has found some strange globes. When they are shaken a cloud of little white snowflakes swirl up in the liquid inside and settle on a tiny model of a famous Ankh-Morpork landmark.

And finally, magic is behaving strangely at the UU. It seems all of the Life drifting accross the Discworld is acting like water building up behind a dam when the sluice gates are shut. Needing a place to go, it manifests itself in all sorts of phenomena. The wizards decide they have to meddle with all of the strangeness.

Terry addresses fate, life, death, consumerism and relationships in Reaper Man. I’ve seen reviews that praise Reaper Man to the sky and others that despair of Pratchett’s writing this books. For my own part, I rather liked the book. It juggles the serious and the silly quite well in the jump between Flitworth and the wizards.


Adaptations

  • 1996: 8-minute animated television adaptation produced by Cosgrove Hall Animation Studios of Reaper Man.
  • 2012: Australian stage adaptation of Reaper Man by Pamela Munt

Soul Music (1994)

Soul Music moments by Justyna

Mort and Ysabell married and had a baby – a little girl they named Sarah. At age six, Sarah, makes her teachers at Quirm College for Young Ladies extremely nervous. Strangeness tends to happen around the girl and she says the most bizarre things. But Susan didn’t really worry about what other people thought about her. And that continues through the years at school.

Sometimes the gods listen to the words people say. Imp Y Celyn (Buddy) said to his dad: “You don’t know anything! You’re just a stupid old man. But I’m giving my life to music! One day soon everyone will say I was the greatest musician in the world.” In retrospect, perhaps not the wisest words, but they do make for a good story. When he chances upon a pawn shop guitar and becomes possessed by it, rock and roll enters the Discworld. This means some serious hip-rolling and swooning fans. Imp’s band “Music With Rocks In” acquires a manager in Cut-Me-Own-Throat-Dibbler. He tries to do what any good manager would, cash in on the band while keeping them in the dark.

Death has decided to go on another of his walkabouts. Unfortunately, for Susan Sto Helit (Death’s granddaughter) that means leaving boarding school to carry on the family business. Having Death for a grandfather does not make for an easy life and Susan struggles to stay on top of the job. Chaos and mayhem ensue.

Part of the theme of this book is music groups and their managers in all their glory. The generation gap is also something that is experienced at the Unseen University. Ridicully’s thoughts on the younger wizards’ fascination with the new fad is typical. Idealism vs. rationality is a struggle Susan has to face. To let or not to let people die.


Adaptation

1996: An animated mini-series adaptation of Soul Music was produced by Cosgrove Hall Films for Channel 4.

Hogfather (1996)

  • 1997: British Fantasy Award nominee
  • 2007: Winner of BAFTA TV Award for Best Visual Effects and Interactivity
  • 2007: Nominated for BAFTA Tv Award for Best Photography & Lighting
  • 2007: Winner of BPG Multichannel Award
  • 2007: Nominated for RTS Award for Best Drama Serial
  • 2007: Nominated for VES Award

The bad guys by Stato Bizley

“”Something” began when the Guild of Assassins enrolled Mister Teatime, who saw things differently from other people, and one of the ways that he saw things differently from other people was in seeing other people as things (later, Lord Downey of the Guild said, “We took pity on him because he’d lost both parents at an early age. I think that, on reflection, we should have wondered a bit more about that”).”

At the Unseen University the wizards are standing before a nailed shut door, wondering if they should open it – despite the sign that read “Do not, under any circumstances, open this door”. But curiosity is one of the prevailing “talents” of wizards. Ridicully is one of the more curious ones. The door is opened, and what do they find? Bloody Stupid Johnson has been at it again. A wise person would have closed the door again at this moment, but alas. There are not many wise wizards in Ankh-Morpork.

Susan Sto-Helit is enjoying a quit evening at the home she is governessing at. As usual she has put the fear of something into her employer while the children adore her. All of a sudden images formed in her mind. “A red ball … The sharp smell of snow … And then they were gone, and instead there were …

“Teeth?” said Susan, aloud. “Teeth,” again”?”

“Susan and the … Hogfather?” by Rebecca M.

She knows right then that trouble is afoot, and its name is most likely DEATH. As you can see from the picture, DEATH does make a lovely Hogfather – travelling to all the children calling HO, HO, HO in his own unique style.

Absurdity, chaos and laughter are only some words to describe Hogfather. When the assassin Teatime is sent to kill the Hogfather, you just know you have to buckle up for a crazy ride. Christmas and all of its stranger sides (consumerism and altruism) are all examined. This is the ultimate Christmas story, one that might make you want to believe in Santa Claus again.


Adaptation:

2006: Hogfather adapted by Vadim Jean as a two part TV-serial for SKY

French cover by Marc Simonetti

Thief of Time (2001)

Nanny Ogg is called to a birthing – a very unusual one. Some years later Jeremy Clockson was enjoying dismantling and putting a clock back together again. He’d grown up as a child-prodigy at the Guild of Clockmakers since he was a few days old. Then Lady Myria LeJean with her two troll body-guards steps into his shop. Something about her bothers Jeremy. She wants him to build the most accurate clock in the world.

Miss Susan is a very strict and popular teacher with her pupils. Her main concern is to get her pupils to see things for what they are. But her popularity stems mainly for the class-trips she takes her students on – quite unusual ones that should not be possible. Her view on parents was that there ought to be an exam before they were allowed children. When the Death of Rats comes by to tell her that Death needs her help dealing with the Auditors, she sets off to do her duty.

The Order of Wen or the History Monks have a duty to see that tomorrow happens. One of the novices, Ludd, is causing problems. As a baby, he’d been raised by the Guild of Thieves. Then the monk Soto had stumbled upon Ludd and send him to the temple. There all sorts of unusual things happened our young Ludd. To solve the Master of Novices’ problems, Ludd is placed with another troublemaker – the sweeper Lu Tze. Both Ludd and Lu Tze are surprised by the other.

Going along for a ride with Pratchett is bound to be an insane experience and Thief of Time is no exception to the rule. His way of dealing with events of the day – and usually themes that are relevant no matter when or where one lives (like education, family, duty, propaganda, differences and prejudice) is admirable. It’s the warmth in his work that makes Pratchett so worthwhile to me.

For this blog, I’ve used Wikipedia, L-Space, and the above books as my sources.

Frobenius, Nikolaj: Så høyt var du elsket (2011)

Herlighet, noe så vakkert. Det er nesten ikke til å fatte at noen kan skrive så gripende om et emne som så og si er forbudt. Veien til døden og det som skjer med den døende og de som er rundt den er ikke spesielt vakker i seg selv. Men ordene som Nikolaj bruker for å beskrive fenomenet og måten han knytter dem sammen er jommen meg vakre. Jeg ble helt fanget av denne historien om Emil og hans far Viktor, Viktor som går fra å være frisk og spenstig mann på over 80 år for så å rammes av flere slag og til slutt ligger ved dødens dør. Prossessen mellom disse to menneskene er vel verdt en bok.

Det er spesielt et par stedet jeg må nevne. Jeg ble slått av det Emil tenkte på side 76 i boka om at “han aldri hadde gledet seg nok over de behagelige og flyktige rutinene et familieliv er fylt opp av”. Slik er det vel. Vi skal alltid framover og glemmer å glede oss over her og nå, i de små stundene. I alle fall har jeg det slik.

Neste sted i boka som jeg vil nevne er innlegget som Emil sender til avisen kalt: Gjør opprør, oldinger (s 156-159). Dette er såpass bra at det burde få plass i det politiske miljøet. For det er ingen tvil om at eldre har blitt restene man gjemmer bakerst i kjøleskapet. De skal jo bare kastes ut, så det er ikke så veldig viktig med dem.

Grant, Mira: Newsflesh trilogy

Writing under the pseudonym Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire published the political thriller/zombie trilogy Newsflesh including the books “Feed”, “Deadline” and “Blackout”. I am anything but a zombie fan, but Grant has written a thriller that goes far beyond zombies. We become embroiled in politics and corruption, discussions on freedom of the press and get a look at dysfunctional societies and families. Excellent author that she is, Grant brings her characters alive and gives them depth and color. And the action. My goodness is there ever action in this trilogy. And death. Prepare yourself for a heavy toll on people who made me care about them. Did I say I liked these books??????? Keep on writing under either name and the world will be a better place.

The concept of the Newsflesh trilogy is based on the unforeseen consequences of biological research. By 2014 cancer and the common cold had been defeated. Unfortunately, the side-effect was that when you died you became a zombie and started feeding. Oops. The world was changed forever.  The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

by dust-bite

FEED (2010)

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection.  When Senator Peter Ryman of Wisconsin decides to take a team of bloggers along on his run for the White House, Georgia and Shaun Mason are quick to submit their application.  They, along with their friend Georgette “Buffy” M. are selected, and they view this as the chance to launch their careers to a whole new level…that is, if they can survive the campaign trail. Feed follows the Masons and their crew into a world filled with the living dead—and the much more dangerous living.

Shaun Mason by Rowan

DEADLINE (2011)

In Deadline, the members of the After the End Times staff are reeling…none more than Shaun Mason, who can’t figure out what he’s supposed to be doing with his life now that he’s found himself unexpectedly in charge.  The arrival of Dr. Kelly Connolly from the CDC provides a new direction, and a possible new route into the conspiracy that caused so much damage just a year before. However, it turns out that Dr. Connolly’s arrival heralds more death and despair for the crew.

From All Forsaken

BLACKOUT (2012)

The world is getting more and more bizarre by the moment for Shaun and now Georgia. Both of them have had their worlds turned topsy-turvy and struggle to maintain their sanity and belief in humanity. Nothing is as they thought it would be and they are both bruised and battered. But there is hope. Not a great one, but nevertheless. The cost of a free press is clearly portrayed in the courage and sacrifice of the characters of this novel. Sometimes no price is too high to pay to share the truth with the general public.

Benson, Amber: Calliope Reaper-Jones

The series about Calliope Reaper-Jones is urban fantasy. For chick-lit, they’re not half-bad. Calliope is a bit too much of an air-head for my taste, but she has her heart in the right place (at least I hope so). Benson writes well and probably enchants her target group.

The books about Death’s daughter are humorous and lighthearted mysteries with plenty of action and sleuthing.

In Death’s Daughter (2009) we meet a Calliope Reaper-Jones who is trying to suppress the knowledge of her heritage. But when her father is kidnapped, she once again has to return to the family mansion and try to figure out what is going on. To do that, Calliope is going to have to fulfill a quest, one where the competitor is the Devil’s apprentice.

Cat’s Claw (2010) continues where Death’s Daughter left off. She is discovering that trying to keep the family business running is a handful. When she has to pay her debt to Cerberus, Calliope finds herself with her hands full.

Serpent’s Storm (2011) has us back in New York where Calliope is once again trying to fit in with the rest of the world. But it doesn’t matter that Calliope is trying to stay away. Someone still wants to kill her and Calliope is going to have to do her best to stay ahead of the game.

Andrews, Ilona: Kate Daniels

Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

“Magic Bites” starts off the series about Kate Daniels, yet another urban fantasy series. As an urban fantasy this series is above average. It follows Kate Daniels, a mercenary with interesting and mysterious abilities, who is exposed to the shapeshifting and vampire societies through various mysteries that she and they have to solve.

We get to see how her relationship to the King shape-shifter, Curran, develops. We also get to follow along on her discovery of her magical abilities and get a look-see into her mysterious ancestry.

Thus far, the books in this series are:

Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays.

I guess the series would be comparable to Patricia Briggs: Mercy Thompson, Devon Monk: Allie Beckstrom and Jim Butcher: Dresden Files. These are all good examples of quality writing that does not take itself too seriously. It’s ambition is to entertain, and entertain it does.

Meaney, John: Dark Blood (2009)

Dark Blood

The Tristopolis series about Lieutenant Donal is an incredibly warm and tense mystery. In Bone Song, we see Laura (Donal’s boss and lover) ends up deader and Donal with her heart. “Dark Blood” sets out to discover the whereabouts of the magicians responsible and we follow Donal’s journey towards that end.

We get to see descriptions of loyalty, friendship, love, grief, betrayal and a whole lot of magic throughout the novel. John Meaney is a top-class author who manages to portray a world of complexity and three-dimensionality.

Some of the descriptions inside are quite vivid and that makes me recommend this for teen-aged and upwards. Death-sentences in Tristopolis just aren’t carried out as nicely as the ones on this earth.

This is definitely a read-again novel.

Marsden, John: Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow I) (1993)

tomorrow_when_the_war_began_poster

The Tomorrow series consists of seven books that should be read in order. The first book of the series is Tomorrow, When the War Began.

In the series we meet a group of young people who have gone camping to celebrate their last summer together. They are:

  • Ellie Linton: Our narrator. Ellie was born and raised on a cattle and sheep farm not far from the edge of the country town of Wirrawee.
  • Corrie Mackenzie: Ellie’s best friend.
  • Homer Yannos: Ellie’s neighbour and close friend.
  • Fiona Maxwell: Fi is more brains than brawn.
  • Lee Takkam: Lee is also more brains than brawn.
  • Robyn Mathers: The pacifist of the group.
  • Kevin Holmes: Corrie’s boyfriend.
  • Chris Lang: An introverted, but well liked boy.

All eight of them are regular teenagers getting ready to enter the world of adults. They are all filled with constructive and less constructive qualities and I can see why so many would identify with them. At the beginning of Tomorrow, When the War Began the gang feel so young to an old person like myself, but that does not last. They certainly retain their youthful optimism but gain some of our adult cynicism. I think another thing that might appeal to readers is John Marsden’s willingness to address difficult topics. One of these is death. Unfortunately death is one of the consequences of resistance in war and so it will be for this gang. And, finally, There is plenty of romance and action, both kept well within the young adult literature boundaries. The writing certainly kept me going and Marsden raised some interesting questions along the way.

In Tomorrow, When the War Began a group of friends (in their last year before college) go camping together. They’re all exited and have a wonderful week together. On their way back they find their homes empty of people and their animals suffering from neglect. It turns out all of their families have been collected at the showground by a foreign power trying to take Australia over. The teens have to decide whether to fight or surrender.


  • ISBN: 9781742612683
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2012-12-01
  • Subject: Children’s: General Fiction
  • Imprint: Pan Australia
  • Pages: 304 page/s

  • Winner, Australian Multicultural Children’s Book Award 1994
  • Winner, Fanfare Horn Book Best Book 1996
  • Winner, Children’s Yearly Best-Ever Reads (CYBER) Best Book for Older Readers 2000, 2001, 2002
  • Winner, KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) 1995
  • Winner, YABBA (Young Australian Best Book Award) 1995
  • Winner, WAYRBA (West Australian Young Readers’ Books Award) 1995
  • Winner, BILBY Awards (Books I Love Best Yearly) 1998
  • Winner, New South Wales Talking Book Award
  • Nominated, South Carolina Book Award 1998

2010: Film-adaptation released based on Tomorrow, When the War Began. Australian adventure movie written and directed by Stuart Beattie.