Review: Ritual Crime Unit: Disturbed Earth by EE Richardson

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Publisher: Rebellion

Publishing Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9781781083154 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publisher Description: A suspected ritual murder and a string of puzzling artefact thefts initially seem unconnected, but signs point to something bigger: buried skulls possessed by evil spirits start turning up, and they may only be the beginning. Someone is planning something big, and the consequences if they succeed could be catastrophic.

Review: This had huge problems with scene development. Every scene was coupled to this inner dialogue that becomes this monolithic backstory that may or may not have anything to do with the present circumstances. DCI Pierce is constantly bitching about people being bitches and either internalizes it or talks about it, constantly. BUT, she doesn’t want anything to do with office politics and wishes they would leave her out of it <sigh>.

This writing style is very similar to writers that were born in England. Heavy on the dialogue and inner emotive struggles with other people. This process develops a product that you either love or hate due to the copious dialogue. The scenes either get mired in dialogue, back story or infinite details.  For example, one of Pierce’s underlings hires a necromancer to divine the buried skulls. So rather than stop the idiot because of her misgivings she allows it, meanwhile the inner dialogue of her ferretting mind is churning over how to handle Dawson. When the real event occurs (Necro dude demon possessed) it lacks the impact that it could of had. All the scenes are rendered in similar fashion and are left flat because of it.

Then we have the old shtick in the form of DCI Pierce, and I quote “A hard-nosed career officer in the male-dominated world of British policing“. Hard nosed? More like hard whiner. The heavy dialogue and internal back stories really killed the movement and subsequently killed the character development. The writing is superb, just angled in the wrong direction.

 

 

 

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Review: Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey

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Publisher: Scribe

Publishing Date: November 2014

ISBN: 9781940368931 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher Description: In 2153, cancer was cured. In 2189, AIDS. And in 2235, the last members of the human race traveled to a far distant planet called Pearl to begin the next chapter of humanity. Several hundred years after their arrival, the remainder of humanity lives in a utopian colony in which every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for human labor, struggle or thought. But when the machines that regulate the colony begin to malfunction, the colonists are faced with a test for the first time in their existence. With the lives of the colonists at stake, it is left to a young man named Samuel to repair these breakdowns and save the colony. 

Review: This was a well written novel with really good characterization as Samuel slowly becomes aware of things and processes greater than what exists within the colony. Inhabitants only exist to eat, sleep and play and when troubles in the form of breakdowns begins to plague the colony, Samuel slowly begins to find himself through processing the malfunctions and creating solutions.

The plot was a hard one to get on board with. How is it that a creative and galactic spanning race finally finds a new haven and over time thought processes dwindle to those of cattle as all basic needs are provided for? I guess that’s the big question. Will a utopian state shift creativeness and cunning to a formalized structure of passivity. I don’t think so. As long as the mind and all its manifestations of identity and ego prevail, there will always be the impetus to have more whether taking, creating, finding or going to…..things. All of which are developed from ideas and a sense of self (ego).

Can’t really say too much more as it may give the novel away. Get this. It is superb writing and despite my shjtpicking of the premise, it really is a solid 4 stars.

 

 

 

Review: Half The World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie

 

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Publisher: Random House

Publishing Date: February 2015

ISBN: 9780804178426 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher Description: New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie’s thrilling new series continues in the follow-up to Half a King, which George R. R. Martin hailed as “a fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go.”

Review: Thorn trains to be a warrior at a very young age with Brand, and accidentally kills another trainee during an unfair event. She is sentenced to die and unbeknownst to her, Brand intercedes on her behalf and the Kings minister grants her a reprieve if she takes an oath to serve the minister. She and Brand embark on quest with the minister and a rough crew to find allies that will help defend their kingdom against other realms that threaten their existence. 

One of the best epic world building novels I have read that hints of magic long lost, but doesn’t rely on it to expedite the story line. Thorn is a wonderfully built character who embodies stubbornness, warrior spirit and a hidden longing to be accepted and loved.  The journey (movement) builds the characters and matures Thorn and Brand, who begin to realize that repulsiveness is attractions twin. MEOW!! On the long journey Thorn trains with an old crone to become one the best fighters in the land and eventually……..well I can’t give it away can I?

Get this novel, its a great ride and will keep you up well past your bedtime.

 

 

 

Review: Pacific Fire by Greg Van Eekhout

 

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Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: January 2015

ISBN: 9780765328564 

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.2/5

Publisher Description: I’m Sam. I’m just this guy. Okay, yeah, I’m a golem created from the substance of his own magic by the late Hierarch of Southern California. With a lot of work, I might be able to wield magic myself. I kind of doubt it, though. Not like Daniel Blackland can. Daniel’s the reason the Hierarch’s gone and I’m still alive. He’s also the reason I’ve lived my entire life on the run. Ten years of never, ever going back to Los Angeles. Daniel’s determined to protect me. To teach me. 

Review:  Em and Sam are Golems that are on the run and on a mission: to save L.A. from the recreation of an ancient beast.

This was great read with good characters and a fast pace. Was kind of sad to come to an end as the world building was not only entertaining but engrossing as well. This was one of my rare forays into the world of urban fantasy of a parallel sort and am wondering why it took me so long. Maybe because there is not a lot of it out there.  Every scene embodies secondary characters that build the story line around the main characters. The only hiccup was that hideous cover. WTF is that anyway, the top of a hiking boot?

Anyway, really well crafted. Have fun with this one!

 

 

 

Review: First Activation by the Wearmouths

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Publisher: 47 North

Publishing Date: March 2015

ISBN: 9781477824849 

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 4.0/5

Publisher Description:

Brothers Harry and Jack leave Manchester for New York City for their annual weekend getaway. But upon arrival, they find a silent, deserted JFK, where the few ground crew they can spot have all been slaughtered. Harry and Jack are military veterans, but they’ve never encountered anything like this. As they witness the carnage and stumble across murderous madmen in a post-apocalyptic New York City, it becomes clear that escape is the only option.

Review: One of the best post-apoc novels I have read in awhile. Good pace, character development and creative plot.  The idea that millions if not billions of people around the world have been programed to first kill one person then themselves by an electronic array is brilliant.

Harry and Jack are minding their own business until their  plane touches down in New York and view a panorama of senseless slaughter. They set off to find help and soon discover that people are killing others, and once the job is done, stop at nothing to kill themselves. They eventually make their way to the country side and discover a plot to rid the world of excessive over population.

Harry and Jack make a great dysfunctional duo. Where Harry is level headed, Jack is hot-headed and given to fits of rage. I found this to be a good balance as the story developed. Lea is the good lookin’ lesbian that so many authors are inserting into their novels these days. Pretty standard character that fell a little flat. Jerry is funnier than shjt even though he is the enemy and a scumbag to boot.

There were some minor fall downs with regard to firearms use and logic. In one scene a killer shows up in response to loud music. Lea’s partner is killed (Chris) and Harry picks up the revolver and checks that it is empty and throws it back in the car. Another killer shows up (a girl) and retrieves Chris’s revolver and lies in wait. When another killer shows up she shoots the man in the shoulder, he kills her and after fiddling with the gun, kills himself. So we have one empty revolver able to fire rounds that “probably had a stoppage in the chamber”. Besides the mystery rounds how does a revolver get a stoppage in the chamber when each bullet has its own chamber? I can see a semi-auto getting a stovepipe or a hung round on the feed ramp, or even not seating properly due to an error in sizing the brass but not in a revolver.

I imagine there will be a “Second Activation” novel as the ending lacked resolution.