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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes
Reaper (End of Days #1) - Mina Carter I saw this novella when it still brand-new and had a reduced price on the Samhain Publishing website. I read the description, got excited when I saw that it was a post-apocalyptic story starring a woman who'd been turned into a Reaper, read the excerpt, and decided I had to buy it. Unfortunately, although there were aspects of it that I liked, this novella didn't quite work for me.The world is an interesting one, wide open for whatever sequels Ms. Carter might want to write. This is one of those "everything and the kitchen sink" worlds that includes every imaginable supernatural being, which I know really turns some readers off, but I thought Carter handled things fairly well. Several beings were mentioned in passing, but the only ones that made extended appearances were Andy (the Reaper), a small group of ghouls (they were only around for a few pages, though), and some werewolves.I thought the werewolves and ghouls were so so (information about them was limited to "here's how they'll try to kill you, and here's how they can be killed"), but Andy's Reaper abilities were as interesting as I had hoped they would be. I also loved all the details about the ways Sanctuary's residents protected themselves. Those people were very prepared and very deadly.Unfortunately, one big failing of this novella was that so much was left unexplained, and several world-details were a bit confusing. The Reaper stuff, for instance, didn't always make sense. Andy indicated that she couldn't reap souls until the beings with the souls were dead or about to die. I couldn't understand why this was even a minor problem, since, as far as I could tell, Andy could decide to try to kill someone, thereby making them about to die, and thereby making their souls reap-able.I had assumed that Andy's kick-butt fighting abilities were simply paranormal instincts, something she gained along with her Reaper abilities. However, on page 62 (according to my Nook) Andy mentions "a healthy dose of martial arts training" - when did she get this training, and who gave it to her? What was her life like, prior to gaining her Reaper abilities? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I barely knew anything about Andy, or about Mason. I at least finished the story knowing a few small details about Mason's life prior to the bombs being dropped, but Andy's life might as well have begun when she became a Reaper.Not only did I feel like I barely knew the main characters, character behavior was also sometimes inconsistent. Tough, disciplined Mason knew that Andy wasn't quite human and that there was therefore a chance she could be dangerous to both him and Sanctuary...and yet he had sex with her, and even fell asleep with her afterward, before finding out what she was. I thought that seemed very out of character and difficult to believe. Also, Andy and Mason's romance moved extremely fast - I think they knew each other a grand total of maybe two days before they decided they were in love. The "we're the same" factor was probably supposed to make this easier to swallow, but it didn't quite work for me.My suspension of disbelief was still badly stretched by the time the novella's ending came around, and so I was less forgiving of the ending than I might otherwise have been. I'm not a huge fan of stories that end with pregnancy or babies, although I'll put up with those kinds of endings in most romance subgenres. Reaper's pregnancy ending didn't work for me at all. All I could think was, "Okay, so does Andy still have her instinctual need to reap souls, and how's she supposed to do that while 6 months pregnant?" And, after almost 80 pages of Andy being kick-butt, this line was almost painful to read:"Six months pregnant, Andy was starting to waddle but she still insisted on pulling her weight." (p. 77)She's gone from being the scariest, deadliest person around to almost waddling.I really did like the setup, and all that action was nice after reading lots of more sedate works, but the limited number of pages didn't give Carter a lot of room to clarify things. Plus, writing-wise, a few more commas here and there probably would have helped, and there were way too many "Jul-" names. Thankfully, Julian (some guy who died early in the novella - see page 25), Julie/Julia (probably the same person, a resident of Sanctuary), and Julietta (an ex-girlfriend of Mason's) were all minor characters, or the problem would have been much worse.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)