Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Tall, Dark and Dead" by Tate Hallaway

Just finished reading "Tall, Dark & Dead" by Tate Hallaway. It is book one in the Garnet Lacey series. Months ago I had read book three, not knowing it was part of a series. Although I like Garnet and find her character refreshing, I found this book to be a bit of a drag, and I'm slightly resistant to read book 2 (but I know I will). I found this book to be a bit darker, more violent, more of an author trying to find her footing (like the book "One for the Money"), yet I can't help but to like the characters, the set-up, the dialogue.

Garnet is a practicing Witch who has the goddess Lilith living inside of her. She works at an occult bookstore in Madison, WI. She has a cat who is allergic to magic, her ex-boyfriend is a vampire who is now working as a hustler, her new boyfriend Sebastian is an older vampire who is also a witch, has a wife who is dead but not dead, a son who is half vampire/half human and owns a house with a very territorial poltergeist.

Oh, and the Vatican has priests and a bad-ass nun hot on their tail seeking after a formula Sebastian has created that allows vampires to be in the sun.

Oh, it all sounds so confusing, but it's not. Author Hallway just let's it all unfold as if it is every day stuff, which for her heroine Garnet it is.

For a book this cheesy and trying to be fun, it has a few moments that make you think and offers up some spiritual scholarship. Garnet has no problem with the fact that Sebastian is a vampire, but is uncomfortable knowing that he is richer then rich. (p 110) The book can be seen as anti-Catholic. There is reference to Exodus that reads "Thou shall not suffer a witch to live" which Garnet claims is actually supposed to read "Thou shall not support a witch in her livelihood" or "Don't give a fortune teller your dime." (p 58)

By page 181 Garnet and Sebastian are being hunted by the Vatican. Garnet has been hunted before, in fact the Vatican had killed her friends. Garnet acknowledges that in the past she packed up everything and fled, that she could "cut my losses and run at this point," but she decides not to this time. After what has happened with her and Sebastian and her friends who help them, she realizes there has been some deep bonding, and if she fled for her life she would also be leaving her life behind. She feels that now she has something greater to lose their her own life, thus moving from victim to victor/heroine.

Page 221 raises the question of magic and if Christians have their own brand of magic, they just don't call it that. Garnet refers to the images of vampire hunting that involves holy water, crosses and stakes made with the same wood as the Cross. Towards the book's end there is also a lot of Goddess talk and comparing the Catholic image of Mary with Goddesses.

Finally, the book ends with the message that love is healing, and that love can heal that which we don't even know is broken.

"Tall, Dark and Read" is not the best of the Garnet books, it drags and is longer then needed, but it is original, funny, sexy and does get one thinking about their own views of God, religion, spirituality, love and mysterious/magical aspects of life. Still way better then "Twilight"

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