Book Review: Wrath of the Gods by Glyn Iliffe

 

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Canelo

ISBN: 9781788630283

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Having completed his first trials, Heracles learns that the shocking murder of his children was part of an evil plot, his mind brought to madness by some strange poison. To regain his honour, he must uncover the secret behind this terrible betrayal.

Review: This was an enjoyable read that takes the mythos of Heracles and turns him into an interesting character. Like the ancient Greek and Roman Gods, Heracles was also worshiped as a God, yet in this instance his qualities are all too human with a deep abiding sense of honor.

Where the novel veers from the original myth is minor. Hera drove Heracles mad, not mushrooms.  In this novel his wife Megara is still alive, yet in the mythos he kills her, a daughter and a son (not three sons).

What was really good about this novel was the author’s ability to bring each of Heracles labor’s to life. There is a journey to complete the labor which creates movement and develops the characters and usually a confrontation or some form of resistance from those on which the labors derive. This is the authors creativeness at work where the intricacies of the mythos are developed and a more verdant story line is created.

It will be interesting to see whether Heracles side quests will be in the next installments. Cacus, Prometheus and Alcestis would be interesting in their own right as would finalizing the notion that Heracles sailed with Jason and the Argonauts to find the Golden Fleece.

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Book Review: The Hierophant’s Daughter by MF Sullivan

 

Publishing Date: May 2019

Publisher: Painted Blind

ISBN: 9780996539579

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.6/5

Publisher’s Description: By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind’s inter-generational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

Spoiler Alert!

Review: Just when you think things are moving along nicely, these staged and unbelievable instances occur. You are left in the void, scratching your head at the fuked up non-sequitur’s that litter the story line. Well technically they are not “non-sequitur’s” but still follow an illogical pathway. Take for instance the hospital scene in Japan where one of Dominia’s enemies has somehow infiltrated into a hospital as a surgeon setting up an elaborate scenario that entails fooling other Doctors, killing everyone in the hospital, changing anesthesia compounds to render Dominia inert while expounding upon his (their) evilly designs (MUAHAHAHA!!!) .

IF, you can swallow all that nonsense and the others that precede and follow this scene, then you got more guts than a male praying mantis. Plot devices can work but usually are utilized as a vehicle that hides a lack of creative scene development.

The other problem this novel has is saying the word….Vampire. Nowhere is it ever mentioned like a booger hanging out of your nose. The Martyrs are of the un-dead, live almost forever, need human blood to survive and will die if in the sun too long. Check, check, check and check….Vampire. Did the author not want to relegate her masterpiece to the common genre via naming conventions? In my world a spade is a spade, so why not call it another fucking vampire novel. Oh, but just not any vampire novel…..it is a Gay vampire novel. So why no sparkles?

This could have been a brilliant novel. A burgeoning writing talent with some great twists on an old idea. Sadly there were too many plot devices coupled with stuttering scene progression that placed the novel squarely in “douche wagon” mode. Additionally there is A LOT of backstory to wade through. No really, A LOT OF BACKSTORY to wade through. I am not kidding.

I wanted to DNF this novel but was curious about whether the main character would evolve or continue to spiral down into the gay vampire mourning/romance thing.

(Pssst, it’s the latter).

Book Review: Barnabus Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds by C. Noonan

 

Publishing Date: July 2018

Publisher: C. Noonan

ISBN:9781722407285

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Everyone’s favorite bumbling detective, Barnabas Tew, is back! He’s as confused as ever but is ready to save the world once more…this time from Ragnarok. It seems that someone has set in motion a string of events that will trigger the ending of the world as we know it, unless Barnabas can discover the culprit and foil the plan before it’s too late. Can he make his way through the Nine Worlds of Viking mythology and outwit the dastardly mastermind behind the plan, or is Ragnarok inevitable?

Review: I think this novel tried too hard to be fantastical, glib and humorous. Barnabas as a character is not believable as he is at once discerning, prideful and stupid. The story line is fairly straight forward in construction as it follows the trail of convenience through an illogical Norse world.  The nine intertwined worlds have their own unique set of characters and perspectives that lends the novel a fairy tale aspect.

So why did I like this? The movement coupled with the descriptive world building puts you right there next to dumb ass. This visual transportation into another world(s) is a great vehicle for immersing yourself.  The supporting characters were built fairly well and were interesting in brief.

The meh’s were too abundant to ignore. Heavy back and forth dialogue that was like an immense wall of shjt to slog through. Coupled with the failed characterization of Barnabas and the contrived English writing style (heavy dialogue and using “whilst” instead of “while”), and the rush to end this novel becomes imminent.

Book Review: In Between the Stars by A.A. Ripley

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: Matador

ISBN:9781789012057

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.2/5

Publisher’s Description: What is alien and what is normal? To Inan, she’s just a girl on her homeworld, yet she dreams of travelling to the stars and experiencing all the adventures they promise. Dream is all she can do, as her people’s customs forbid girls to face dangers – especially among the stars. Instead of adventures, they are expected to serve their families as leaders and never take personal risks. But that is about to change as Inan’s life takes a sudden turn.

Review: Do you think that aliens have the same thought processes and emotional trains of thought that humans do? I think that most authors tend to write from the perspective that we are all children of this one universe and that we have evolved much the same intellectually as well as emotionally. At least for brevity’s sake and the ease in writing not too complicated novels. I get that there is a design to connect to a large audience with the story line being the main focus at the expense of the “alieness” of the characters. As an example, take Inan who is basically a young human woman that has been morphed into a lizard like alien being while retaining her humanistic emotional qualities and thought processes.

Did it work? Yeeeeah, kinda. There is plenty of good movement, well done tech without in-depth explanations and great world building. Kind of reminded me of Brian Daley’s work “Hobart Floyt-Alacrity Fitzhugh Adventures”, only with 2 aliens. Inan and the other aliens just never come off as “alien” enough and gift us with patterned responses to all the stimuli.

This is an expected series of which I will probably pursue.

Book Review: Titus Fogg by Aaron Piper

Publishing Date: October 2018

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN:9781717911223

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Titus Fogg hates magic, and with good reason. Born into a murderous family of cruel and powerful casters in modern Massachusetts, magic has contributed to every bad thing that has happened to him since birth. After finally managing to banish the most likely evil (but definitely dirty-minded) entity called Shade from his body to the sidelines as his shadow, Titus has the chance to have a normal, magic free, high school life.

Review: Definitely a YA fantasy novel with all the teen angst and burgeoning crushes you could hope for.  Thankfully the author used a bit of restraint in those arenas and focused mainly on the greater mystery.

The world of Arkham is an expansive and creative place as are the various evil beasties that inhabit….it. Titus’ evil shadow is really quite funny but may be a little too over-the-top for some readers. All said, I had a good time reading this despite the Teen narcissism.

Book Review: Civil War: Rogue Dungeon #2 by J.A. Hunter and E. Hudson

 

Publishing Date:  November 2018

Publisher: Shadow Alley Press

ASIN:  B07K56G2T9

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Publisher’s Description: Roark von Graf—former noble and hedge-mage, current mid-level mob in a MMORPG—has his sights set on taking down the tyrannical Dungeon Lord. But the reigning Troll despot is nearly as devious as Roark, and his followers are much higher level.
With forever-death on the line, civil war breaks out in the Citadel, pitting Roark’s new regime against Azibek’s horde of loyalists. To survive, Roark will have to outfox the Dungeon Lord, forge new, dirtier weapons and shady alliances, and above all, Evolve …

Review: It is tough to do a follow up in a series where the first one was really good. You gotta have your shjt mapped out in order to keep the story line interesting and the characters developing at a good pace. Did this dynamic writing duo succeed in delivering a grande follow up? Read on!

Someone at work asked me why my eyes are so red and I said “Really?”. That is what I say to people I don’t want to engage with but in the back of my mind, I am thinking “Fuk, stayed up till 3 am reading again.”. So yeah, you could say that I love this series so much that I am sacrificing health via sleep for enjoyment.

Roark is taking over and changing the game as everyone knows it, so stay tuned for the next in the series while catching up on your sleep.

Book Review: Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy by Joshua S. Levy

 

Publishing Date: March 2019

Publisher: Lerner

ISBN:9781541528109

Genre: SciFi/YA

Rating: 3.0/5

Publisher’s Description: PSS 118 is just your typical school—except that it’s a rickety old spaceship orbiting Jupiter. When the school is mysteriously attacked, thirteen-year-old Jack receives a cryptic message from his father (the school’s recently-fired-for-tinkering-with-the-ship science teacher). Amidst the chaos, Jack discovers that his dad has built humanity’s first light-speed engine—and given Jack control of it. To save the ship, Jack catapults it hundreds of light-years away and right into the clutches of the first aliens humans have ever seen. School hasn’t just gotten out: it’s gone clear across the galaxy. And now it’s up to Jack and his friends to get everyone home.

Review: A fun read with the usual teen angst/heroes surrounded by a Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy kind of vibe. You will not get any resolution with this novel as it is poised for a series.