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Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters

I've been hearing about Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody books for quite awhile now and for some reason just haven't found my way to reading any of them until now. I noticed these re-issues of the Vicky Bliss series and decided to pick up the first one and see.

Vicky is an art historian with a delightful sense of humor and a certain dry acceptance of her statuesque stature and tendency to intimidate those around her. When we first meet Vicky, she is teaching at a college in the Midwest and maintaining a sort of on-again off-again relationship with her colleague Tony Lawrence. Tony is a hapless, hopeless, skinny version of Vicky who, failing to get her to marry him, decides he'll settle for besting her professionally. Ha. The two soon find themselves racing each other to Germany in search of a medieval artifact presumed missing for centuries.  

Here's the thing. I liked Vicky and Tony right off the bat. I liked the whole premise for the story. It seemed a recipe for mad medieval excitement. But once they got to Germany, things seemed to slow down for me. I'm not sure why. Blankenhagen was cool. Schmidt was intriguing. But Tony began to pall quickly and, after one too many of his petty outbursts, I just wanted Vicky to solve the dang mystery and leave these jokers in the dust. Which I'm assuming she does in the future. In fact, I'm kind of getting the feeling that I'll enjoy the rest of the books in the series more than this one. And I hear tell of someone named Smythe. He is someone I would enjoy meeting, no? So for all of you Vicky fans and afficionados out there, tell me what to do. Was my reaction to this one just a fluke? Should I get the next one and give it a try and see? I'm in need of your advice. Cause I really wanted to like this series.

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Comments

  1. Definitely give the second book a go. I think the later books are better but the second one will give you more of an idea of whether to continue or not.

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  2. The second is soooo much better. John Smythe is definitely a character worth meeting! Read on. :)

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  3. IIRC, this is almost like a prequel to the series, and the latter ones are better.

    Also, while I like Vicky Bliss, I completely adore Amelia Peabody - so would recommend trying them as well!

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  4. Keep going, keep going! The first one is weak, especially if you haven't read the others. (My fave is #4, closely followed by #2).

    And I second li -- the Amelia Peabody books are super.

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  5. Anonymous9:01 AM

    hey, i've really been enjoying reading your dissection of all these fantastic books (btw, i completely agree and weep with you on the subject of breaking dawn....it was shamefull) and i wanted to make a suggestion, from one avid reader to another.
    a few of my favorite books are pretty obscure, such as The Riddle Master by Patricia A. McKillip.
    and then i have those timeless favorites like the Charlie Bone or Harry Potter series.
    but to be truthful, i don't know what i would do without the Dresden Files. it was made into a TV show for a short season on SciFi, and it was a good show but it hardly did Harry Dresden justice.
    just to get you interested, its about Harry Dresden, a professional wizard. and by professional, i mean that is exactly how he makes a living. he is the only wizard listed in the Chicago phone book. mostly he does little jobs, like cleansing houses of ghostly spirits and finding lost objects, but as a side income (which is steadily taking over his business) he works for Karrin Murphy, head of Chicago's special investigations unit. through most of the beginning books Murphy has no idea that harry is actually a wizard, because she's not magical and is expected to be kept in the dark.
    along the way, though, harry is helped out by his talking skull, Bob; his giant cat, Mister; and various magical creatures that pop up through the series, such as Mab the Queen of the Winter court of faeries (Sidhe), an assassin, Thomas from the white court of vampires (there are three courts in the USA, and the white court feeds of emotional energy such as blood. thomas himself feeds off lust ... mm, sexy succubus vampire) a knight of the cross (i.e. knight of god) and a fallen angel.
    this series is RICH with the folklore of every culture, and its so incredibly well written and devised it will stick with you forever. i think there are about 7 books in the series right now, starting with Storm Front and ending with Small Favor, but its The Dresden Files by Tim Butcher.
    i really hope you enjoy!

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  6. Thanks, guys. I will definitely pick up the next one. And I'll have to find the first Amelia Peabody as well.

    Thanks, Niobe! The Riddlemaster books are old favorites of mine as well. Definitely my favorite McKillips. I have heard of the Harry Dresden books and your description has definitely shot them up to the top of my list. I'll be sure to let you know when I read the first one. :)

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  7. I've seen a few reviews of this author recently, i'm leaning toward the Peabody ones.

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