Tag Archives: mystery

Review: Threads of Malice

Product Image: Threads of Malice

Threads of Malice
My rating: 4 out of 5.

I read Threads of Malice last week1 and wowsers! If you’ve read Ghosts in the Snow then you need to be warned before reading Threads that Ghosts is a much lighter book than Threads. The villian in Threads is far more evil than the one in Ghosts and this gives the book a much darker tone. Still with that being said, Threads is a great read.

This time around Mrs. Jones takes us out of the castle and up into The Reach. Young boys have been disappearing throughout the region for the past couple of years. When Dubric arrives in the area; he’s greeted by dozens of ghosts all at once. It’s quite the unexpected & draining experience for him. Additionally, we get to see Dien’s family and Lars learns what real family life is like.

I don’t really know what else about the story I could tell you without giving away either the mystery or the good non-mystery bits. This is a problem that I’m not the only one has. I say this because at ICON this past weekend, I attended a panel where Mrs. Jones read some passages from Threads; as well as a few pages from her third Dubric book2. One of the passages she read from Threads was included one of my favorite scenes in the book, though it turns out we visualized it somewhat differently. The scene takes place as Lars along with 2 of Dien’s daugthers are walking into town to buy some supplies3.

He hurried after them, their names hovering in his throat, but he halted after a few steps. Aly climbed onto the head of a massive stone rabbit, then slid down its back, laughing all the while. Jess leaned against it, her hand on its nose, regarding him with mirthful eyes.
“Lars, Hargrove, I’d like to introduce you to your geandfather’s rabbit.” She bowed with a flourish and grinned at him.

That’s just a fragment of the scene, but it’s the important part to me. When I first read this scene, my mind drew up a picture of a rabbit sitting up on its hindlegs wearing a waistcoat (like something you’d expect from Alice in Wonderland). The rabbit was made of a “mostly” white marble, with bits of grey scattered about here & there. The weather had caused a small crack to form near the top of the rabbit’s head, just above the left eye. Some moss had begun to grow in that crack, looking something like a scar and giving the rabbit a certain roguish appeal. From speaking to Mrs. Jones at ICON, I found out she had imagined the stone rabbit looking like a rabbit you’d see in nature. Ok, so maybe it’s not all that important but I found the scene very endearing.

I’m feeling a bit out of it; so I’m going to wrap this review up. The book was excellent but didn’t quite grip me like Ghosts had. On the other hand, the intense evil and darkness in this book was somewhat balanced out with Lars getting his first real taste of what family life is like. It’s a highly enjoyable read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any adult readers4. Mrs Jones, good job and I look forward to the next book!

1 Since then I’ve read through Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters and Witches Abroad. I just didn’t feel like writing up reviews for those books.
2 Currently, the third book is titled “Valley of the Soul”.
3 Taken from pages 144-145 of Threads of Malice.
4 Given the forms that the evil takes in this book; I would not recommend this for younger readers.

Why I Read?

A friend of mine recently asked if other people had similar reactions when reading a good book. Since this site has been heavier on the brainless fluff of late; I decided to answer the question here rather than in her comments.

When I’ve got a really good book in my paws, — mind you this is only for a REALLY GOOD book! — I’ll start reading and won’t notice the passage of time until either:
A. My bloodsugar has dropped from not eating in 8 hours.
B. It’s suddenly four in the morning and my eyes are tired so the words on the page start looking insanely small.

With a book that catches me like that, my head is totally in the book. People in real life can try talking to me, but they’ll get grunts for answers (at best). When my favorite character1 is happy, I’m happy. When they’re running through forests; I can hear leaves rustling and feel the branches drag across my face as I dash through the trees.

The last time I really felt this way about a book was when I first read the book that I’m currently reading, Ghosts in the Snow by Tamara Siler Jones. A friend of ours had gotten her hands on an early (review?) copy of the book and recommended it to my wife & I. Ariesna sat down and read the entire book while we were at the friend’s house that night. I think I managed to wait until we bought a copy of our own to read it, but once I did I started to get really angry.

I need to pause a moment here to explain about how I generally enjoy my entertainments. If the book/movie/whatever has even a reasonably decent story; then I’ll suspend my disbelief and just enjoy it without analyzing it. This is particularly true on my first experience with the book/movie/whatever.

And what exactly does that have to do with getting angry while reading Ghosts in the Snow? Ghosts is a mystery story with a fantasical setting and I was getting attached to one of the characters. This character happened to be a suspect in multiple murders and some of the clues in the book seemed to be pointing to him being the killer. The thought of this being true was making me too angry to continue reading. Eventually, I had to ask my wife if he was the killer because I was so upset about it that I wouldn’t be able to finish the book if he was. She told me he wasn’t but not who the killer was (at my request) and I was able to finish the book.

It’s for moments like those that I read.

1 This will usually be a supporting character. Why? Because the main characters tend to get all the glory while somebody else is doing more to accomplish the goal (e.g. Sam vs. Frodo).

Quiz Time

Catnip

You are CATNIP
What herb are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Purple Saber
You have a Purple Lightsaber.

Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic. Purple denotes high spirituality and religious aspiration. Purple also represents Peacefulness and Purification. It also has a sense of intuitive understanding and a feeling of intimacy with the world.
What Colored Lightsaber Would You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

Kudos to AWelkin for links to the quizzes. Though I have to say that any quiz that claims that a person has “high spirituality and religious aspiration” after answering “Because he/she is a badass” to “Why is that Character your Favorite?” has issues. That purple *shudders in disgust* is the color of my lightsaber is doubly proof that something is wrong with that quiz.

Review: Twilightners

This was a review that originally I was somewhat excited about writing. The novella was written by a friend of my and self-published through Lulu.com. After he received a few copies of the printed book; he put one of my desk with a note thanking me for my opinions on a rough draft some months back and asked me to give the final version a read. He’d also asked that I post my thoughts here on CoffeeBear.net.

Unfortunately, the arrival of the book happened at something of a bad time for me. I was busy with work getting things filed away and ready for me to take my 2 week trip to Japan. I’d started to read the book and was interested to see where it was going; as none of it looked familar to me. Alas in my hurry to pack, I forgot to stick the book in my bag. So for two weeks, I had to wait to finish the last half of the book. I was busy enough during those weeks to not particularly mind the delay but when I got back; I was busy for a while and didn’t immediately pick it back up. When I finally did; I remembered enough of the story that I could continue without starting over but my interest in the book had waned somewhat in the interval.1 After finishing it, I realized that wasn’t really a fair reading of the book and decided to set it aside for a time to let my memories of the book drain away to give it a fairer reading.

This review is based on that 2nd reading.

In 193 pages, Clifton appears to be trying to tell 3 seperate stories. That of Dr. Brian McKart, a scientist who believes a friend of his may dead and another is in danger while the mysterious Soo pushes him to solve a mystery. That of Sharon LaSalle, a woman who was attacked and was taken away under odd circumstances. And finally, that of Special Agent Grace Rainwater who was investigating Sharon’s disappearance. Dr. McKart’s story is the central one to this novella and it is interesting to see how Clifton twists and turns McKart’s view of reality until the man isn’t sure if he’s experiencing something truly beyond his understanding or whether he’s trapped in an ultimate virtual realty game. Clifton tries really hard to blur the line between reality and virtuality for Brian but upon multiple rereadings this seems to fall a bit flat. Maybe I am just not clicking with the metaphysicalness of the story but while Brian seems to be struggling to remain sane; I’m finding it difficult to believe he let himself get into the situation to begin with.

Sharon LaSalle’s story seems to be marginally more interesting as her disappearance from the normal world can be explained as either: being killed, being kidnapped & hooked to a VR simulator or as simply moving to an alternative plane of existance. Which really happened? You’ll need to read the book and judge for yourself; as I’m still puzzling it out. Sharon’s story doesn’t receive quite as many pages as Brian did and that’s a shame because these sections of the book seem more interesting to me.

Lastly there’s the story of Special Agent Grace Rainwater. Her story is the least fleshed out of all and boils down to a simple investigation of a complex matter but there’s several unanswered questions here (e.g. why does she work so hard at the case) that the novella would have really benefited from having answered.

Overall, I give this book 3.75 stars out of 5. Again given my background with the novella, my issues with the story might be just that. MY ISSUES. To know for sure, you’ll need to read it yourself. It’s an interesting premise but but the more I read it; the less I can sympathize with the main characters. For a first effort, I’d say it’s good work but I’d like to see more depth to the characters and something that would allow me to sympathize with them better.

This book is available from Lulu.com (more money goes to the author) and Amazon.com (CB.net gets a cut).

1 Sorry, Clif but them’s the breaks.

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