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Fifth and final in the "Young Bond" series by Charlie Higson, this book has a teenage James Bond learn to ski, save the King, discover some of the grey areas of espionage, defeat some Nazis, and have his first taste of a broken heart.
From the Tyrolean alps to Eton and back again, this gripping book kept me turning the pages, and filled in a little more of Bond's early life. The setting is firmly in the 1930s, and the attention to detail remains excellent: skiing equipment, Eton rituals, royalty and references to the rise of Hitler.
Of the four books I've read in this series, this one is perhaps the most serious, the one that starts taking a likeable young boy down the path towards the ruthless man of Fleming's novels. That said, it's still suitable for the "young teen" target audience: with only moderate violence and only the mildest hint of sexual feelings. It should be enjoyed by Bond fans of all ages.
Another installment in the Anita Blake series: some very nasty very powerful vampires come to town and put Anita, Jean-Claude, Richard and the rest in mortal danger. Anita gets yet more Mysteriously Powerful and there's some more shapeshifter politics. I found it gripping while I was reading it, but have no strong wish to read it again.
It suffers from the two main flaws of this series: Anita continues to be implausibly and increasingly powerful and irresistible; and the sex-and-relationships chapters take up so much of the book that very little other plot takes place. The early books were thinner but had a lot more (non-sexual) action packed into them.
I want to like that the series shows working polyamorous relationships, but I'm a bit dubious about most of it being on Anita's terms and no-one else's. Some of her lovers seem to be little more than a name placeholder for all the character development they get. In addition, I don't think it's a spoiler to say I really wish the author would either kill Richard off or allow him to grow up a little. The nearest I came to giving up on the book were the chapters with him in.
On the good side, Edward appears again in this one. I've always liked Edward, probably because Anita isn't having relationship angst with him.
Book 15 in the Anita Blake series. In what even the characters agree is a cheesy plot, Anita agrees to pretend to be the girlfriend of her friend Jason so he can go back to his hometown and try to rebuild bridges with his abusive father who is dying of cancer.
Arriving in the home town, they hit a media circus as the governor's son is getting married the same weekend, the governor is a potential presidential candidate, and the governor's son looks uncannily like Jason. The media merrily go down the wrong track at first, but being convinced of Jason's and Anita's real identities doesn't make things better as they manufacture controversy about them and their relationship with Jean-Claude.
So far so cheesy, but something else is going on and Anita can't help picking up on it: extra security around the wedding, odd reactions from the security guards she can't help baiting, and a very drunk bride-to-be. And then in the middle of the "bachelorette party", the Mother of All Darkness intervenes spectacularly.
I enjoyed this book more than the previous: there's still a lot of sex-and-relationship angsting, but there's also some gripping non-sexual action, actual character development and creepily convincing depictions of what its like having one's memory and perceptions messed about with. And hurray and hurrah, Anita suddenly discovers how to feed on something other than sex, and Richard gets to stop being the annoying whiny bundle of angry angst that has put me off some of the more recent books.
Anita's never-ending power-uprating continues, this time getting her (and Jean-Claude) entangled with the insular were-tiger community. This book only gets a chance to skate over the new problems: to be continued in number 16?