Books

Review – Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company

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Review – Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company

You don’t need to have seen a Star Wars movie, or played the Battlefront game, to read Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company. It’s a story that could be set in any universe. Alexander Freed has done such a good job of setting the scene and introducing the characters, you could be completely ignorant of all things Star Wars and still get caught up in the story.

Of course, the book is a lot more fun when you recognize someone you know.

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Review: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye

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Review: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye

Only seventeen more days until Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally released! To celebrate, all of the book reviews in December will be Star Wars themed. There’s over thirty years of novels to choose from after all, so there shouldn’t be any trouble finding material. And it seems only fitting to start by going all the way back to the beginning.

The book for this week’s review…is not the very first Star Wars book. That honor is actually held by the SW: A New Hope novelization (ghost written by Alan Dean Foster), which came out six months before the movie did, so technically the Star Wars books are older than the film franchise…I’m digressing too much, aren’t I? Moving on.

Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (also written by Alan Dean Foster) came out a year after A New Hope, and was the first officially-licensed book continuing the adventures of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

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Review: Nightwise

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Review: Nightwise

It was supposed to be one last favor for an old friend: track down the man who tortured and murdered Branko Bojich’s wife (along with many, many other people) and exact revenge so that a dying man could have some measure of peace in his last few days. Dusan Slorzack seems to have dropped off the face of the earth, but the search for him is being done by none other than legendary Laytham Ballard, world-famous wizard. Shouldn’t be too much trouble.

At least that’s what he thinks until a possible connection to Slorzack turns up dead. And then another. And another. Fires and strangulations and at least one car bomb, seven bodies in all, sending a very clear message: Back off.  Now Ballard has to go on the run while trying to find a Serbian war criminal with possible ties to the Devil himself, all without getting killed by demons, disappeared by dirty cops, or losing any more pieces of his soul than he’s already traded away.

R.S. Belcher’s first two books were set in the Old West in a little town that’s gotten surprisingly used to supernatural events. His latest novel, Nightwise, is a modern day urban fantasy where supernatural events are everywhere, with magicians, gods, and monsters in a life-or-death struggle – or just trying to make a living – all taking place just below the surface of what the rest of us believe is “reality”.

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Review: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

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Review: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Anyone who regularly reads my book reviews will know I love short story collections. Anthologies by many different authors are great; collections by one of my favorite authors are even better. And there are two authors who could make me run a marathon if they told me they had a new collection waiting for me at the end. One of them is Neil Gaiman, the other is Stephen King.

Released two days after Halloween (dammit, Stephen, you had one job), The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a sampler of the weird and the dark and, strangely enough, the mundane. King paints a picture of himself in the introduction as a street vendor laying out his handcrafted wares after midnight, and finishes with the warning, “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

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Review: Welcome To Night Vale – A Novel

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Review: Welcome To Night Vale – A Novel

Maybe she hadn’t seen anything. Maybe she had come into existence seconds ago and made up every moment until this moment to explain how she came to be sitting in this booth in this diner.

As long-time fans of the podcast will tell you, Night Vale is a little desert town where the scenario described above isn’t just plausible, it’s probably one of the only explanations that will make any sense at all.

For people who aren’t fans of the podcast, who have never wondered about the weirdness of time, questioned the existence of angels, or imagined a town where feral used-car salesmen bay at the moon, don’t worry, you don’t need to have listened to a single episode to appreciate how gloriously weird and incomprehensible this novel can be.

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Review: The Scarlet Gospels

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Review: The Scarlet Gospels

“All is death, woman. All is pain. Love breeds loss. Isolation breeds resentment. No matter which way we turn, we are beaten. Our only true inheritance is death. And our only legacy, dust.” – Hell Priest (Pinhead)

There are a few things about the horror genre that I really can’t stand. Chopped-up bodies and rivers of blood don’t bother me quite so much as having to watch characters reacting to their own chopping up and blood-letting (The Walking Dead, I’m looking at you here.) So it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to enjoy most of Clive Barker’s books. But I do enjoy them.  A lot. The Hellbound Heart, The Books of Blood, that Hellraiser comic book anthology, I just keep coming back again and again to the most gruesome of Barker’s writing, with all the scenes of torture and dismemberment and towering evil figures from Hell doing unspeakable things.  Which is a pretty good description for a lot of what happens in Barker’s latest book.

Barker first started talking about his plans for The Scarlet Gospels back in 1998, and seventeen years later we have the epic, final story of the Hell Priest – also called Pinhead, but not to his face – and the last case of detective Harry D’Amour, and it’s just as splashy and horrifying as I thought it would be. The story ended up being a very simplified adventure tale, and the characters don’t really accomplish much other than wander haplessly into danger and avoid getting killed by sheer accident. But that’s okay; Barker’s works are less important to me for their substance than they are for their style. Read On

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Review: The Silent Girls

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Review: The Silent Girls

He’d always wondered why people in rural areas, when interviewed after appalling violence, said, “This isn’t supposed to happen here.” As if violence had forgotten to keep itself within some prescribed geographic boundary.

It’s a pretty appropriate opening chapter for a book I’m reviewing in the middle of October: a hapless housewife, a ghoulish trick-or-treater, and a knife. From there the book is less horror and more a simple murder mystery, although simple is the wrong word to describe the story.

An abandoned’89 Monte Carlo and no trace of the beautiful teenage owner starts former police officer Frank Rath on a hunt that leads to the case of several more missing girls in the surrounding states. The search becomes even more urgent when the decomposed body of one of the teenagers is found with disturbing signs that she may have been…carved.

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Review: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

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Review: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

Do you duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace: if you refuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends.

I posted a review of a classic horror novel from the 1800’s last October, and I wanted to continue the theme this year. The next book was obvious; if you need something to follow up Bram Stoker’s Dracula, what else can you possibly choose except Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?

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Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven – Review and Interview with Brandon Easton

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Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven – Review and Interview with Brandon Easton

Whether you grew up watching professional wrestling or The Princess Bride, you need to read this graphic novel. Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven is the story of man who was, literally, bigger than life.

It’s the biography of someone who was over six feet tall by his twelfth birthday, who was drawn to the wrestling ring both as a place where he belonged, and where his size would be an asset, instead of an embarrassment.

Click the jump for a review of the book, preview pages, and an interview with writer Brandon Easton.

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Review: “The Elder Ice” and “Broken Meats”

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Review: “The Elder Ice” and “Broken Meats”

Then they saw the trickles of blood running from under his hat. They crowded round and persuaded Waters to stand still while one of the men took off his hat, stiff with blood, to inspect the injury.

The back of Waters’ head came off with it.

Now that October has officially begun, it’s time for another month of horror-themed book reviews. And what better way to start than with two new novellas by David Hambling, author of Shadows from Norwood (first book I ever reviewed for Pixelated Geek!) and many other suitably Lovecraft-themed stories.

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