Books

Review: Visitor

Posted by: |

Review: Visitor

I put off reading this book for a while because I thought the series hit a low point: overcomplicated, too much back story, and moving at a snail’s pace. I was worried that this book was going to be even more of a slog than the last one.

Man, I wish I could say I’d been worried for nothing.

Click the jump for a look at C.J. Cherryh’s Visitor, the last book in the Foreigner series I plan on reviewing.

Read On

Review: Swift to Chase – A Collection of Stories

Posted by: |

Review: Swift to Chase – A Collection of Stories

My kind is swift to chase, swift to battle. My imperfect memory is long with longing for the fight.

Yes, okay, I know. I’ve already done a collection of short horror stories this month. In my defense, Laird Barron’s collection Swift to Chase came out just this month, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was going to have to be part of the spooky books I reviewed in October.

Last week’s book had one story by Laird Barron, arguably the most off-the-wall one in the collection. Take that and magnify it by a hundred and you’ll come close to the insanity of a dozen of his stories in a row. Set in Alaska (or influenced by Alaska. Or has characters retreating to Alaska, or running away from whatever happened there), all of them are connected (somehow) and filled with some of the most disturbing images and gruesome ways to die. I’ve read through most of the book twice by now and I’m still not sure I understand what was going on. Or if I’m even supposed to understand. Strap in, folks, this is going to be a weird ride.
Read On

Review: Children of Lovecraft

Posted by: |

Review: Children of Lovecraft

Say what you will about H.P. Lovecraft – his elaborate Victorian prose, his cringeworthy racial biases – the man created a sandbox that horror writers love to play in. I’ve reviewed one story by Lovecraft in this column; compare that to, what, three separate posts about Lovecraft-inspired stories? Maybe four? There’s something irresistible about a modern take on the Cthulhu mythos, with just the right creepiness mixed in with the horror. I’m always willing to give a new Lovecraft compilation a try, even when I haven’t read anything by most of the authors included.

I needed something to keep me occupied for a long train ride, and I thought Children of Lovecraft would at least be interesting. And then I had to pace myself to keep myself from reading it too fast. Ellen Datlow’s latest compilation has fourteen stories by authors writing at the top of their game, and I feel like I could have eaten up the entire book in one sitting.

Read On

DC Rebirth Oct 5th – Phantom Ring, Cybernetic show down, Monster Nightwing and more

Posted by: |

DC Rebirth Oct 5th – Phantom Ring, Cybernetic show down, Monster Nightwing and more

DC Rebirth continues to delight as issue 8 makes its grand debut in the art of action. Seems like all of our characters are battling it out: Cyborg fighting Killgore, the Justice League fighting fear itself, all while Gotham is being overrun by monsters. Even our earthbound Green Lanterns have to protect the Phantom Ring from the Dominators.

Read On

Review: The War of the Worlds

Posted by: |

Review: The War of the Worlds
For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there alone, the last man left alive.

It’s October, and that means a whole month of scary-book reviews! First up is H.G. Wells’s 1897 classic The War of the Worlds, and…what? Okay, I know it’s technically a science fiction book. In some ways it’s the science fiction book, one of the earliest alien invasion novels, spawning dozens of adaptations in several different media, even inspiring inventions that would eventually take mankind to the moon.

It’s also a horrifying story in places, with tentacled-aliens raining down death and destruction in several unsettlingly imaginative ways. And let’s not forget that one of the adaptations – a radio play that aired in 1938 – convinced people that a real invasion was underway, causing widespread panic in the streets. I think that puts this comfortably in the “scary” category, don’t you?

Read On

Review: The King’s Traitor

Posted by: |

Review: The King’s Traitor

                   The game is ending.

Jeff Wheeler brings the Kingfountain trilogy to a close with The King’s Traitor, an epic story drawing partly from English history but mostly from Arthurian legend.

Owen Kiskaddon has served his regent faithfully these last few years. Well, except for the fact that he’s been hiding the identity of the young boy Drew, the son of King Severn’s deposed nephew and true king of Ceredigion. It’s been a struggle for Owen, who – despite losing all contact with his family and having to stand by while the love of his life is married to another man – still believes that loyalty to a cruel king is better than treason. But he’s watched Severn turn into exactly the kind of horrible person that everyone always believed he was, and Owen is putting plans in place in order for the true heir to claim the Hollow Crown. Until that heir is old enough to rule, Owen will have to grit his teeth and continue to go along with Severn’s schemes.

Severn’s latest plan to make sure no other kingdom (or anyone, really) has more power than he does is to start a war with one of his allies. Still playing the loyal duke, Owen travels to nearby Brythonica to give Severn the pretext to invade by making an insulting demand that’s sure to be refused: the marriage of Owen with the reclusive Duchess of Brythonica.

The Duchess’s response to Owen’s proposal is the very last thing he expected. Now things are going to get really complicated.

Read On

Review: The Raven and the Reindeer

Posted by: |

Review: The Raven and the Reindeer

I read The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher (known as Ursula Vernon to her friends, and ursulav to those of us who follow her on deviantart) back in February and I loved it to pieces, but I didn’t write the review right away. Fast forward six months and I thought if I want to do a good review, I ought to read it again.

No kidding, it’s even better the second time around. And the first time it was amazing.

Read On

Review: Doctor Strange – Strange Origin

Posted by: |

Review: Doctor Strange – Strange Origin

Are you ready for the Doctor Strange movie in November? Are you? ‘CAUSE I SURE AM. 

While we wait, I decided to check out the Doctor Strange: Strange Origin graphic novel that Marvel released this month. Although when you get right down to it, 99% of this is a re-release since it’s a repackaging of Greg Pak and Emma Rios’s Doctor Strange: Season One graphic novel, with the first issue of the latest ongoing Doctor Strange comic tacked on to the end. 

The 2012 Season One storyline follows most of the usual highlights about Doctor Strange’s origin, but adds a new dimension to his relationship with the character of Wong. Traditionally portrayed as Strange’s loyal servant, Wong appears in this story as a rival student of the Ancient One, and he’s not happy about Stephen Strange being admitted as a student as well. He also doesn’t trust Strange when the two of them are roped into a quest for three powerful relics that could give their owner the power of the mystical Vishanti.

Read On

Review: Foundling

Posted by: |

Review: Foundling

I’ll admit it, I do judge books by their covers sometimes. I flipped through a paperback copy of Foundling because the color scheme appealed to me, and the cover artwork is drawn in a style I really like. I checked for the artist’s name and found out that D. M. Cornish is the author and the artist for the cover and all of the interior illustrations.

The book jacket description of an orphan boy – named Rossamünd, and no he’s not happy about that – leaving his home of Madame Opera’s Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls so he can start his career as a Lamplighter sounded like an entertaining boy’s adventure. Then I found what looked like a sizable glossary in the back, with descriptions of monsters and monster-fighters (some of whom have been…altered to make them into better monster-fighters), and before I knew it I’d read the first twenty pages of the book.

Okay, Mr. Cornish, I’m officially intrigued.

Read On

Review: Tenth of December

Posted by: |

Review: Tenth of December

I picked this one up because of a challenge. Or maybe it was more of a dare. My youngest sister (*waves* Hi Hannah!) read this collection first, and while she was impressed that the author had the range to write such wildly different stories – many of them in completely different genres – she also found it grim, depressing, and with a truly bleak view of humanity, and by God she wanted someone else to read it so she could have someone to talk to about it.

There are ten stories in George Saunders’s collection Tenth of December, and I tore through all ten of them in about two days. Maybe closer to a day and a half. Readers beware, these are all very dark (with an occasional moment of dark humor), but the author’s writing style flows so easily that it makes for perfect summer reading. But maybe not bedtime reading, since you might have trouble sleeping afterward.

Read On