Thursday, September 17, 2009

Heart of the Hunter or "A Lesbian Fear Street?! ... No... Not At All..."

Ahhh the Sagas. Can I just say that I am so glad that this is the last Saga I ever have to read? As someone who enjoys historical fiction, these are seriously killing me. FOR REAL. I’ve developed some sort of sniffle while reading this. I choose to think of it as an OMG-how-many-effing-sagas-did-R.L.-write cough. All in all, this book was kinda insane/great but I am DONE.

This one varies slightly from the formula because it’s told from the perspective of a boy, although his name IS Jamie. (Sidenote: For the first chapter I thought Jamie was a girl. And then I read about Jamie’s crush on Laura. And for the BRIEFIEST of moments, I thought R.L. had written a lesbian Fear Street. Then I came to my senses, since Fear Streets don’t even effing DRINK, they certainly don’t experiment with their sexuality. But how great would that have been!?) Heart of the Hunter though, is also about werewolves! Kinda! And Indians! (for our Canadian readers, let me just make it clear that Indian is apparently NOT an offensive word. Still. Aboriginals!) And pioneering! So really, I shouldn’t be complaining. At least it isn’t about Vampires (cough*L.K.*cough)

The cover depicts our hero’s second love interest, Whispering Wind. Which is funny, since she’s in like 6 chapters in the middle and then gets horrifically murdered. Maybe Fear Streets with icky boys on the cover don’t sell? P.S. I love her dress. And hair. I think I might have a crush on Whispering Wind…

The book starts with Jamie FIER and his parents on the road (in a caravan of covered wagons! I don’t know why that excites me…) to Kentucky in 1792. His mother desperately didn’t want to leave their home in … Eastern what-was-to-become-the-U.S. but Jamie’s father, John, made them, since they were starving. Jamie’s mother keeps saying they’re gonna die in Kentucky since the Fier’s are cursed! (So where does it matter that you live then?) On the road, Jamie voices-over his extreme lust for the beautiful Laura GOODE and how much he’s annoyed by her younger sister Amanda. Lucien Goode, their father, hates the Fier’s because they’re good at rationing, and therefore still have food and everyone else doesn’t. What’s the reasonable plan then? Well, Lucien wants to kill John and his family for the food, so John whips out his gun to protect his stuff… and predictably shoots his wife. Whoopsie!

So John and Jamie continue on the trail, sans mother/wife, while John slowly goes crazy. Eventually, their wagon breaks but no one will help them fix it or let them ride with them. The Fier men are abandoned. To add to their bad luck, John wanders into the woods that night and gets MURDERED by a wolf! (So… worse for John, still bad for Jamie). Not even eaten though, just cold-blooded murdered. Wolf ripped his throat out and left the delicious man-meat.

After Jamie discovers his poor, crazy father’s remnants, he’s promptly captured by some Native Americans. I give R.L. some props because the tribe, the Shawnee, actually did live in the area that is now Kentucky! I was almost expecting him to create a fictional tribe called the “Shawfear Streetnee”. Which would have been awesome. The warriors take him to see an elderly woman named “Whithering Woman”. Who hurriedly drinks his blood and proclaims him to be the “chosen one.” Wayyyy to give Aboriginals a bad name there, R.L. By “chosen one”, this means he’ll be the one that will find the buffalo herd, and save the tribe from starvation.

Except… he’s not really good at that. The next few chapters are about how Jamie gains acceptance into the tribe by competing in something called the Warrior’s Gauntlet. Where he needs to run through a group of them and avoid their tomahawks. Easy! He obviously passes and over the next few months becomes a member of their tribe. He also falls in love with Whispering Wind. But since she is all in love with the chief of their tribe (who wouldn’t be?) he doesn’t really stand a chance. Until the crazy old Whithering Woman offers him a solution.

She tells him that she has a way to make Whispering Wind fall madly in love with him. The price? HIS SOUL. He oddly agrees rather quickly… The solution also involves drinking blood (he wonders whose blood it is, but then decides it doesn’t matter. It ALWAYS matters whose blood it is!) and again, there are very few reservations. In a few moments he begins to transform…into a wolf! Whithering Woman tells him that now, as a wolf, he’ll be able to find the buffalo herd, and impressed Whispering Wind (seriously, that was the plan all along? Impress her with buffalo?) She also adds in the warning that he’ll only be a wolf on the full moon nights, but if his true love ever sees him in this form… he’ll be a wolf forever! Way to come through with the fine print after the deal is done there, Whispering Woman. Jerrrk.

Anyways, Jamie finds the buffalo, and thank GOD Whitering Woman’s plan worked, so Whispering Wind falls in love with him. They get married immediately (as you do) and live blissfully… until the next full moon. Where Whispering Wind follows him outside, sees his transformation, and goes to tell the tribe! Jamie is in such an animalistic rage (get it?) that he rips out her throat. Not soo funny. He doesn’t, however, stay a wolf. Whithering Woman laughs at him, saying that Whispering Wind wasn’t his true love, because there was magic involved (OBVS)!

Jamie pitches a fit and leaves the tribe. Over the next while, he lives off the land and slowly becomes more wolf-like after every full moon. Eventually he stumbles upon a familiar smell: Lucien Goode! He decides to take revenge for his parents, and for the shitty life he leads now (although I think its kinda his fault since he traded in his SOUL and all).

For a few months, he tortures Lucien by killing his animals and making sure his family starts to slowly starve. After Lucien posts a notice saying he’ll pay $500 in GOLD to anyone who can stop the wolf that’s been hunting on his property. Jamie goes to the Goode’s house, where Amanda remembers him (and still Luuuurves him) and Lucien and Laura don’t want him around. Jamie says he’ll kill the wolf for Lucien… but he wants one of his daughters for marriage instead of the gold.

So here’s Jamies plan. Make Amanda think he wants to marry her, because she has some school-girl crush on him. Kill some other wolf, tell Lucien it’s the wolf that stalking him, and then when he offers one of his daughters, Jamie will choose LAURA. Since Laura hates him, she will be miserable, and so will Amanda because she will be heartbroken. Then he’ll kill Lucien, and take all his money. And maybe kill Laura and Amanda, he really goes back and forth on that idea.

Jamie pretty much pulls this plan off! Kills wolf, marries Laura, and on their wedding night, kills Lucien. All good right? Except… when he investigates the house after murdering Lucien, he notices that Laura is DEAD too! She died after being poisoned by Amanda! Man, Amanda does not like lose hey? Amanda finds him, and confesses that she’ll always love him, even after what he did to her. Even though she killed her father. And she killed Laura. NUTTERS.

Jamie starts to panic since it’s the full moon (of COURSE it is) and he’s about to change into the wolf! If his TRUE love Amanda sees him, he’ll be a wolf forever! He charges out of the house… and into a cage. Apparently, Amanda knew all along that he was a werewolf since Whithering Woman used to be their housekeeper when she was little (random). Jamie changes into a wolf in front of Amanda, and knows that he is trapped like that forever. Amanda says that it may not be the way she imagined it, but at least they get to spend the rest of their lives together! Do you think she knows that wolves only live around 20 years?

And END OF SAGAS! Woot woot! Now that these are done, I’m really excited to start on the seniors and some of the other rando Fear Streets we’ve collected. Heart of the Hunters was pretty fun to read, to be honest, and who doesn’t love a good pioneering book? I give this book 35 wolf-murders out of 49. Not bad!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Taste of Night, or “Undead Bar Stars”

I seem to be continuing on my vampire theme for the next little bit. The Taste of Night is the sequel to Dangerous Girls. Click here to catch up on what those naughty quasi-vampire twins have been up to lately. I just have to say that this book is NOT written chronologically, but builds suspense by giving away the ending first. Ooh, R. L., way to use the big guns in this one. Maybe it’s because it’s not a Fear Street, and he wanted to be a bit fancier with this.


Destiny is all sad that her sis, Livvy, chose to become a vampire, instead of being a good little girl like her. She is also sad that Livvy stole her boy of choice and made him a vampire too – how very rude of her. Her dad (Dr. Weller) has been working into the night to find a cure for vampirism, because he is (rather randomly, I think), the “Restorer”. However, he really wears two hats in the community, because he is also the chief vampire killer in town. Lately, Dr. Weller has been feeling that his two roles conflict with each other, and has decided to concentrate on only one of them – killing. The vampires in town have been getting out of control, and the good townspeople have decided to ambush them in their apartment building, the morning of the full moon. (Sidenote: everyone knows the vampires live in this one building? Why don’t they just go burn it down? C’mon guys, think!)

The morning after the full moon, the vampire hunters go into the building to stake all the sleeping vampires, instead of doing something sensible like torching it. Dr. Weller finds his other daughter, Livvy, asleep. He’s all sad about the sacrifices he has to make, but is determined to kill her to. He goes to kiss her goodbye, but she wakes up and throttles him.

One Month Earlier

Vampire Livvy is hanging with her vamp besties, Suzie and Monica, in their apartment. They are going out clubbing that night, and getting ready, like all girls do before they go out clubbing, only without the use of mirrors. It is the night of Livvy’s graduation, and she’s kind of spun about it, but she won’t admit it.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Destiny is being a mopey suck at graduation about staying in town to go to community college instead of going to Dartmouth. She feels she can’t leave her father and brother in the state that they are in. She goes home with her boyfriend, Ari. When they get to her place, they find all her walls are painted with images of black demons. Apparently, her little brother, Mikey, really lost it when Livvy became a vampire, and is convinced alternately that he is a demon, or is catatonically terrified of everything. Delightful little guy. D is convinced she needs to find Liv, to bring her home to provide some closure for her family.

Ari and her go out to a nightclub that night. Ari used to be a big fantasy nerd, but apparently finding out he was right about all that stuff snapped him out of it. Now he’s cool, and uses a fake ID to get beers. Destiny tries to have fun, but is still a huge Debbie downer. She’s so dull Ari gets drunk and leaves her to go have fun elsewhere – namely all over some cute redhead. D is now both mopey and pissed, and leaves the club.

Meanwhile, in same nightclub, Livvy realizes that Suzie has her vampire claws in Ari, and thinks it’s kind of funny. She is all over some hot college guy named Patrick. The vamp girls’ mantra is: The hotter the guy, the richer the blood. So, they are like total undead bar stars. Livvy decides that Patrick is too hot to die, and that Ross, her former lover she turned into a vampire, is history. She goes outside to wait for Patrick, and bumps directly into her twin.

D pleads with Liv to come home, while Liv tries to get her to fuck off. Eventually, she just goes to bite D, which gets through to her as she flees her undead twin. Patrick comes out then, and Livvy puts on her sexy face. They go to the woods and Liv goes for the bite – only to discover that Patrick is a vampire too. That must be a majorly embarrassing mistake for a vampire. Patrick tells Livvy he likes her, and he’s going to shake things up in town now. Liv is interested.

Destiny starts her new sad-girl job as a waitress, at a diner on the college campus. She gets even more depressing there. I really prefer her bad-girl twin. Seriously, D needs to lighten up. She goes to apologize to Ari after work, for being depressing I guess. She gets a pretty big shock, though, since Ari was found dead the night before, his body drained of blood. Destiny wonders whether it was her sister.

Two Weeks Later

There’s a new short order cook and the diner, Harrison, and he is HOT. He’s a sophomore at the college, and they immediately start seeing each other. Not everything is looking up, though, since Dr. Weller tells Destiny he’s going to kill all the vamps in town, including Livvy. D must do something, so she heads to the vampire apartment (that everyone knows about) and tries to warn Livvy. Instead, she runs into Ross. Ross is pretty depressing too. He hates being a vampire, and wishes he could see his family again, because he’s homesick. Awww. Destiny and Ross reminisce about the good old days – then she warns him that he and Livvy have to leave the apartment.

Livvy watches D leave, and is suspicious of what she was doing there. Actually, she thinks her twin is having an affair with her vampire boyfriend, until she goes to their room and finds his stake-riddled corpse (or, whatever it is that vampires have when they die). She’s pretty mad at D, and ready to go riddle her with stakes, until she runs into Patrick. They make out a bit, which is appropriate in the circumstances, I think. They plot revenge. Livvy spies on D, as a mouse in the diner. She gets lusty feelings for Harrison, and decides to turn him into a vampire to get back at her sister.

At a party at Harrison’s, Destiny is having an awesome time, thinking college won’t be so bad. Until Harrison is gone for awhile, coming back with the beer she had asked for, but hadn’t actually asked for. Dun dun DUN! Realizing Liv is at the party, she goes to talk to her, only to see a bat flying away. Livvy returns to her apartment, to find Patrick waiting for her. He tells her she will never be truly immortal until she can get rid of her human feelings. She must get over her love for her sister, and he has the perfect plan – he’ll turn Destiny into a vampire. So that he can have the hot twins to himself! I’m surprised that Livvy goes along with this plan, but he encourages her to go after Harrison, so she’s okay with sharing.

The next morning at the diner, Destiny meets a cute but intense TA from the college – named Patrick. He asks her out for Friday, and makes D feel all floaty and weird until she agrees that going out on Friday would be excellent. That same Friday night, Livvy goes out with Harrison, pretending she’s Destiny. She’s having more fun than Destiny, who has to break her date with Patrick because her brother’s babysitter cancelled. Patrick forces her to agree to go out on Sunday – the night of the full moon, the only night someone can become a vampire.

Saturday morning, Harrison comes skipping into work, raving about their awesome date last night. Destiny sees the pinpricks on his neck, and knows he saw her sister instead. It must sting a little that her sister got her boyfriend so worked up. I mean, she’s already stolen one guy from her, right? But there must be something to it – I suspect Livvy is way more fun to be around.

Saturday night, Livvy finds her friend Monica staked in her apartment. Patrick and Suzie are struggling, fighting to the death. Livvy watches in horror as he stakes her, for being weak like the rest of them. Liv immediately realizes that Patrick killed Ross all along. The plan to turn Destiny and Harrison is to test how bad she really is. If Livvy doesn’t go through with it, she’ll likely be the next to wake up with a stake in her heart.

The night of the full moon, Destiny stands Harrison up at the movies – he goes to her house to see what’s up. Meanwhile, Destiny is out with Patrick, dancing at the club. They decide to go on a romantic moonlit walk through the park. Patrick eagerly bites her, then reels back – it’s actually Livvy! She tries to stake him, but they struggle and he’s stronger than her. She transforms into a bat, then transforms back lightning quick to get the jump on him and stakes him.

On to Dr. Weller, killing vampires in the apartment. He sees Livvy, and goes to kiss her one last time, but she wakes up and grabs him. It’s actually Destiny – she took her twin’s place in order to save her life. Although, wouldn’t it have been better if neither of them had been in the apartment, so neither would have been in danger? No matter – the girls saved each other’s lives that night, because love is more powerful than death and vampirism.

The next night, Livvy comes as a blackbird to see Destiny. Mikey comes in to see her – Liv lies and tells him there’s no such thing as vampires, she just ran away from home. Destiny wants her to stay, but Livvy has had a taste of night, and can never go back. She flies away. Destiny and Harrison are reunited, with much explaining as to what happened. They live happily ever after, or at the very least hopefully a little less depressing.

Okay, I appreciate what R. L. did here, teasing us early with Livvy attacking Dr. Weller. I wouldn’t call it masterful, per say, but I like where he was going with it. Destiny is like the worst character ever, and would probably be much better off if she just loosened up a bit. Taste of Night did not live up to Dangerous Girls at all, I thought. I was kind of bored, and wanted the girls to get over themselves and do something interesting. Well, that’s a sequel for you – never as good as the real thing. I give this 23 richly-blooded hot guys out of 38.