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Grave Importance

por Vivian Shaw

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Dr. Greta Helsing (3)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1647131,134 (4.17)4
"A charmingly witty fantasy adventure in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, who must solve a dangerous medical mystery at a secret French spa for mummies. Oasis Natrun: a private, exclusive, highly secret luxury health spa for mummies, high in the hills above Marseille, equipped with the very latest in therapeutic innovations both magical and medical. To Dr. Greta Helsing, London's de facto mummy specialist, it sounds like paradise. But when Greta is invited to spend four months there as the interim clinical director, it isn't long before she finds herself faced with a medical mystery that will take all her diagnostic skill to solve. A peculiar complaint is spreading among her mummy patients, one she's never seen before. With help from her friends and colleagues -- including Dr. Faust (yes, that Dr. Faust), remedial psychopomps, a sleepy scribe-god, witches, demons, a British Museum curator, and the inimitable vampyre Sir Francis Varney -- Greta must put a stop to this mysterious illness before anybody else crumbles to irreparable dust... ...and before the fabric of reality itself can undergo any more structural damage."--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 7 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
There was a lot going on here, Greta has a temporary job of a lifetime working in an exclusive spa for Mummies with all the medical toys her heart could desire; Varney and her have moved to smidge more than friends and she is trying to work out how to make all the parts of her life work together. When she discovers that the mummies are suffering from a mysterious illness and so is her friend Cranswell she will literally move heaven and earth to find the solutions.
It's an interesting story and you can really see how she is a medic through and through although her patients aren't the usual sort. I'm going to look for more by this author and this series could be a good re-read at some stage.

While she does use characters from various classical horror stories you wouldn't really need to know the stories, she has a light touch with all that. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 14, 2021 |
The third and final (?) book in Vivian Shaw’s series focused on Greta Helsing, the physician specialized in supernatural creatures, raises the stakes to unimaginable levels, following the progressive crescendo acquired in the previous two volumes and seeing all the characters we have come to know and love engaged in a scenario of catastrophic proportions.

After the chilling adventures in Paris, Greta & Co. are enjoying some quiet time, and Dr. Helsing herself is helping Varney with the renovation of his ancestral house as the two of them - human and vampyre - keep growing closer. Their developing intimacy must however be placed on a back burner as a colleague asks Greta to take over for a while in his spa for mummies on the outskirts of Marseille, since he needs to take a leave of absence. Despite sadness at her impending separation from Varney for several weeks, Greta is excited at the prospect of learning more about therapies for mummies, particularly because Oasis Natrun is filled with state-of-the-art equipment that will enable her to practice the high-level kind of medicine that she always dreamed of.

Her enthusiasm is sadly short-lived: the mummies at the spa keep falling prey to a kind of debilitating seizures that in some cases also prove damaging to their fragile physical integrity. As Greta battles with the strange ailment, her vampire friend and mentor Ruthven is touring Europe with his new lover Grisaille: a puzzling encounter with a weird individual proves quite harmful to Ruthven’s health and requires his hospitalization in the best clinic in Hell (yes, *that* Hell, with a cameo from Dr. Faust himself), and there are two angels in disguise roaming the world as they prepare the ground for an invasion from an alternate version of Heaven. Mayhem and ruin ensue as we discover how the very fabric of reality is in jeopardy and nothing short of Armageddon looms ever close on the horizon…

In the previous two books, while enjoying the choral style of the narrative, I often felt that Greta was somewhat underused: here she finally comes to the fore, showing in no uncertain way the fierce love for her profession and the unstinting dedication to her patients that have shaped her over time. The puzzle presented by the mummies’ weird fits consumes her both as a physician and as a person who cares for others, and I liked how her growing relationship with Varney has not changed her attitude but rather has become another side of her commitment to others, and a source of strength in difficult moments rather than a distraction.

Grave Importance might be best described as several books in one: there is the thread about Oasis Natrun and its endangered mummies; Ruthven’s alarming ailment and the way it impacts the newly-forged bond with Grisaille, which leads to another part of the story where the latter launches into a dangerous heist together with Cranswell (a welcome return!); then there is the mysterious Madam Van Dorne and her obsession with Egyptian artifacts; and last but not least the nebulous mission of the two angels, Amitiel and Zophiel (A to Z - it took me a while to connect the dots…) and its ominous consequences. It might sound like too much, but it’s really not, since these apparently unconnected pieces of the puzzle slowly form the complete picture, and the constant change of POV helps in keeping the pace brisk and in making the page-turning a compelling necessity.

What Vivian Shaw does very well, both here and in the previous two books, is mix more serious themes with humor in a very successful blend, and the whimsical bits always come at the right moment to defuse a particularly tense situation - a prime example of this is the scene where the enigmatic Madam Van Dorne sees her first walking and talking mummy and faints, and the mummy in question is more than happy to carry her away in its arms imitating the famous Boris Karloff movie sequence. Equally entertaining are the chapters where Grisaille and Cranswell play - more or less successfully - the role of art thieves from New York’s Metropolitan Museum, or our first and comprehensive look at Hell, which is run like a well-oiled city, complete with its own resorts, bars and a top-notch hospital, Erebus General. Should I also mention that you get the news there from ENN (Erebus News Network) and that the country code for phone calls is 666? :-D

This levity is a welcome distraction from the sinister events that lead inexorably to what looks like the end of the world, but it does not steer the author away from sharper and deeper characterization and a close observation of the family that Greta and her friends have built through their adventures and the affection that ties them together. Once again I am amazed at how all the supernatural creatures depicted in these novels feel so human and relatable, both the ones we have come to know and those we encounter here for the first time. These weird creatures - be they vampires, werewolves or demons, just to name a few - are not edulcorated, they stay true to their legendary and sometimes sinister nature, but at the same time they show a side of… normalcy, for want of a better word, that puts their more outlandish traits in sharper relief.

The only part of the story that did not exactly agree with me is the one concerning the two angels from a different dimension who are working to usher in the end of our world, deemed an abomination by their plane of existence: I found this part a little confusing and not sufficiently explained, but it was really a small “hiccup” in an otherwise very engaging read, and my hope is that Vivian Shaw will choose to return to Greta & Co. in the near future because I believe there are some more stories to tell about her and her oh-so-very-unusual circle of friends. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Oct 30, 2020 |
Grave Importance
(Dr. Greta Helsing #3)
by Vivian Shaw
I really wanted to like this book! I liked the idea so much! I might have liked it more if I had read it instead of listening to it because the narration was horrible! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Oct 23, 2020 |
I’m finding it a little difficult to articulate my thoughts on this book. Did it deliver all the goodness I liked from the past books? Yes. Did it up the stakes and bring the series to a satisfying conclusion? Yes. Could it have been a little more in tune with itself? Perhaps. Am I sad I’m only getting the three books? Definitely.

Fans of the series will get a lot of what they’re used to: Greta Helsing being competently awesome, people being competent in general, subversions of Victorian horror tropes, domestic and otherwise adorable vampires, wibbly-wobbly interdimensional stuff, friendly demons, not so friendly other entities, gently silly plots and plot points. There’s also stuff that continues from previous books re: character relationships and growth, some nice cameos from previous books, and things dangled in those books that actually show up in this one.*

I also really liked the thought that went into the medical science here—how do you treat mummies for 2000+ years of weathering and decay?—and I liked the subplot with the villains, which gave me some serious Good Omens vibes. I did not like the Egyptologist as a person, but she’s not meant to be likeable and there’s some nice commentary in her about rich white people. The climax is appropriately big and dramatic, and I enjoyed that Shaw doubling-down on the series’ mythology for it. (She also doubles-down on the implications of interdimensional tearing, which I also approve of.)

But … for a series as cozy and hopeful and pleasant as this one, the Terrible Things in the climax didn’t quite fit for me. There wasn’t enough set-up maybe? Enough lead-up for how much Shaw was going to commit? And as cool as the mummies were, they’re not as central to the mystery as one would suspect, which was also disappointing. In all, I felt like the series maybe wrapped a little quickly, and I’m not just saying that because Shaw’s world is so much fun to spend time in.

‘Twas a good book, though. Entertaining. Glad I read it. Nice to see all the characters again. Just … wasn’t up to the standards I have for the series. Ah well.

*I want to go to Hell. Hell sounds great.

To bear in mind: a reasonable amount of gore during the climax; a reasonable amount of time spent in hospitals; yes, those two things do overlap

6.5/10 ( )
1 vote NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
Enjoyable listen ( )
  maryroberta | Apr 13, 2020 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Vivian Shawautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Hampton, SuzannahNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pompilio, Lisa MarieDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Staehle, WillArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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"A charmingly witty fantasy adventure in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, who must solve a dangerous medical mystery at a secret French spa for mummies. Oasis Natrun: a private, exclusive, highly secret luxury health spa for mummies, high in the hills above Marseille, equipped with the very latest in therapeutic innovations both magical and medical. To Dr. Greta Helsing, London's de facto mummy specialist, it sounds like paradise. But when Greta is invited to spend four months there as the interim clinical director, it isn't long before she finds herself faced with a medical mystery that will take all her diagnostic skill to solve. A peculiar complaint is spreading among her mummy patients, one she's never seen before. With help from her friends and colleagues -- including Dr. Faust (yes, that Dr. Faust), remedial psychopomps, a sleepy scribe-god, witches, demons, a British Museum curator, and the inimitable vampyre Sir Francis Varney -- Greta must put a stop to this mysterious illness before anybody else crumbles to irreparable dust... ...and before the fabric of reality itself can undergo any more structural damage."--

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