Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Rest Falls Away (thoughts)

Before I get to the review, just wanted to let everyone know that Dewey has posted guidelines for the 24-hour-read-a-thon she's sponsoring! It'll take place October 20th (a Saturday), and there are a myriad of ways to participate. I definitely want to be a reader, although I'm not really looking forward to waking up at 7 am on a Saturday (mountain time). Everyone go check it out, and mention my name, because then I get to one of Dewey's Most Awesome People Ever (MAPE). :p

On to the review!

Notice the fast turn-around time on this review, the first of Colleen Gleason's vampire series, entitled The Rest Falls Away. ;) For those of you not participating in the R.I.P. II challenge, or who have managed to overlook all of the other reviews, the series is based on the author's curiousity about what life for Buffy (from TV) would have been like if she lived in the Victorian era. I am quite torn about this book, actually. Perhaps all of the glowing reviews I read beforehand built up my expectations a little too much.

Here's the thing. I found it a very enjoyable fluff read. It had a lot of humour, like
Victoria considered the stake for a brief, delicious moment, then regretfully rested it on the table. She had four new polished ash stakes, each to be painted a different color so that they could complement her various gowns. Verbena had suggested ivory, pink, pale green, and blue, and was advocating further decoration using flowers, feathers, and beads. (84)
Oh yes, because we all know how our vampire-killing weapons must coordinate with our outfits. ;) There are several comedic devices used throughout the book; one of the most fun was the chapter titles. I also thoroughly enjoyed the tea parties of the three matrons of society, particularly a certain one's progressively larger crusifixes! The characters were all fun to get to know; not what I'd call particularly deep, or *ahem* realistic, but fun. My favourite is Verbena, the ever-resourceful maid. She kind of reminds me of a nineteenth-century MacGyver, whose talents also include hairdressing. And I'm not gonna lie, there are some passages in the book that explain why it's kept under the 'Romance' section; two of the characters at least seem to qualify this series for the upcoming Swoonworthy Challenge. Take this introduction of a Marquess
Lady Gwendolyn had not exaggerated. Well-turned did not begin to describe the man who stood before her, raising her gloved hand to his lips. He stood as tall as any man in the room, his rich brown hair gleaming with strands of gold as he tipped his head to press a kiss to the back her hand. "If you have not yet greeted everyone, may I dare hope there might be a dance left on your card?" His voice matched his looks-clean, calm, smooth-but his eyes carried a different cadence. Something that made her feel very warm.
Yummy!

But then, Gleason goes and pulls the rug out from under me. It's like you're happily enjoying cotton candy, eating it too quickly because you just can't help yourself, and and suddenly you take a bite and the cotton candy tastes like dill pickle. I am Very Unhappy about the turn one of the characters took. All of you who've read the book know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't feel as if Awful Things should happen in a fluff book; isn't there some unspoken rule about that?

My more serious hesitation as to this book is the writing style. I was frustrated by the author telling me things, instead of showing me them. For example,
"Just what did you think you were doing, Victoria?" he snapped, stalking toward her.
So just in case I didn't pick up from the abruptness of the actual dialogue that this guy snapped, I'm told it. And just in case I didn't figure out that snapping means the guy's probably mad, I'm also told he's stalking. This is an especially easy trap for Gleason to fall into because she uses a rotating third-person point of view.

Despite these writing flaws, the book is a very enjoyable high-adventure romp, and for a first book, the heavy handedness is perhaps understandable. In summary: read this book if you're good with a heavy-adventure, somewhat-sexy piece of funny-for-all-the-right-reasons, plot driven fluff piece. Don't read this book if you only read Serious Literature, or expect extraordinary writing or deep character development.

8 comments:

Dewey said...

I love funny books, but I'm just not interested in vampires. I know that's crazy, like not liking pirates or something, but I don't know. I didn't even watch the Quantum Leap where Sam leaped into a vampire, and I've watched every other episode.

You don't have to get up at 7! You could just sleep in and start later. Unless you really want to try the whole 24 hours. :)We can keep each other company, since we're in the same time zone.

Imani said...

I was disappointed with the book for different reasons. Most reviews gave me the impression that Gleason was bringing something new to the very, very well-trodden area of vampire romance but she offered, for me at any rate, nothing of the sort. The regency setting was nice, I suppose, but I found the info dumping very amateur and a bit nonsensical in terms of the novel's plot, an example being the huge info dump of basic information any decent vampire huntress should have been aware during the weeks of training, before the night of initiation.

tanabata said...

I get frustrated with telling instead of showing too although at least I know going into it not to take it too seriously. Thanks for the review.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Well, I'm done for. I've tentatively signed up for the read-a-thon as a reader. So doomed. :)

MyUtopia said...

Great review. Thanks for the heads up about Dewey's post, I will have to go and check that out.

* Check out my big announcement on my blog

jenclair said...

I wasn't as taken with this one as many were --so I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one. Didn't hate it, didn't love it.

Eva said...

Dewey, I'm not really interested in vampires either, although I enjoyed Dracula and The Historian. See, I do really want to try all 24 hours, which is why I'd have to get up at 7! At least I'm not the only one. :) (I didn't even know mountain time existed until we moved here last summer)

Imani, I completely agree! I went to Gleason's website, and there was a quote saying the series is mix of Buffy and Pride and Prejudice. Now, I've never watched Buffy, but when someone's compared to Jane Austen, I expect a lot more. I just focused on my biggest criticism, because I was afraid to list all of them. lol

Tanabata, yep-I just wish the author would trust the reader. You know?

Heather, lol-I'm doomed as well. :) At least we'll have company!

Myutopia, glad you liked it, and I hope to see you in Dewey's read-a-thon. Congrats again on the big news!

Jenclair, I'm glad to see the non-Gleason loving readers come out of the woodwork. :) Here I thought I was all alone!

raidergirl3 said...

I just finished it, and you reviewed it great. It was great fluff, and for the nonvampire reader, I needed all the info about vampires. It's the first book I've read in a while I couldn't put down because I wanted to see how it ended.
So many people rave about the Stephanie Plum series as great fluff, but I prefer this vampire fluff.