Review: Beautiful Corpse (Jubal Van Zandt #2) by E. Hudson

Publisher: Shadow Alley

Publishing Date: June 2017

ASIN: B072M1HVRG

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: A deadly plague is ravaging the world’s population and threatening to kill the only person Jubal Van Zandt cares about—himself. If he doesn’t find a cure soon, he’s dead. 

Review: I really loved the Bloodslinger. It encompassed a poetic blend of witty repartee’, great action and sexual tension all residing within a diverse world.  In Beautiful Corpse the one liners are so constant, that it detracts from the storyline and character development. The sexuality is forced and overt, rendering the characters as one dimensional. The elegance in the first novel gave way to this idea that if you liked the first , then hitting you over the head with Jubal in the second, will be even better.

Narcissistic sociopaths are usually rendered with a darker side, sans the witticisms, and usually embark on any venture with a high level of manipulation. They rarely admit their weaknesses and are not so glib as to share those machinations in casual conversations. So subtlety is eschewed in favor of entertainment. I get that, but not while sacrificing depth of character. The quest falls flat in terms of movement and the ending is truncated and obtuse. A short read that still had a some funny moments. 

Review: The Fifth Ward: First Watch by Dale Lucas

Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: July 2017

ISBN: 9780316469074

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.0/5

Publishers Description: Humans, orcs, mages, elves, and dwarves all jostle for success and survival in the cramped quarters of Yenara, while understaffed Watch Wardens struggle to keep its citizens in line.
Enter Rem: new to Yenara and hungover in the city dungeons with no money for bail. When offered a position with the Watch to compensate for his crimes, Rem jumps at the chance.  His new partner is less eager. Torval, a dwarf who’s handy with a maul and known for hitting first and asking questions later, is highly unimpressed with the untrained and weaponless Rem.

Review: I could have read this story for eternity, the characters and world building are that good.This fantasy detective novel is set in a world of dwarves, humans, orcs and elves all interacting in strange and compelling ways. Every scene is brought to life with blazing imagery that is tied to constant movement. The characterization is superb and continues to surprise as events unfold. 

Rem and Torval are a great duo whom have opposed personalities that strangely compliment each other. As they wend their way through the night watch in the Fifth Ward, seemingly disparate murderous events transpire that prompts an investigation into the death of Torval’s old partner and several missing and/or dead young women. 

This novel has it all. It is at once deathly serious and riddled with funny moments. The denizens of Yenara are equally as compelling as the story line and add the meat to the world building bones. “So why you no give 5 stars!!!”. At about the 80% mark, everything goes downhill. Rem goes from an interesting noob who is fallibly funny and human to Mr. Hero-Guy/sword expert whom can do no wrong and saves everybody. Wha da fug? Really? It all begins with this patterned and clichéd fight scene where Rem showcases his skills and the dwarf is conveniently shunted to the side. This slide into patterned oblivion continues on through to the end, so you feel cheated that the novel discontinued it’s interesting twists and unexpected turns. The rendering between  Rem and his love interest will just about sicken you with it’s cloyingly sweet smugness. Still a solid read for 2/3.

Review: Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko

Publisher: ECW

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9781770413573

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Rating: 3.4/5

Publishers Description: Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly.

Review: This was a pretty good YA fantasy novel of which I am usually averse to reading. The writing style captured my attention in a big way. It flows (when allowed to) in comfortable fashion where everything evolves in a synchronous dance.  

*Rant On*  It is too bad that the first AND second run ARC were so miserably fuked up with sentences and paragraphs gone missing on every page. I asked the publisher to send a better corrected copy and they said “tough shjt”. Nah, they were nice about telling me to fukoff.  There is so much missing from the story line as to render some areas nonsensical.  Perhaps the author might be better served with a competent publisher as these ARC’s often define subsequent sales due to early reviews.  *Rant Off* .

Roan never devolves into a mewling, whiney little, love-struck dipshjt and that is a very good thing as the characterization wins the day for this novel. The cast is as diverse as it is interesting and never fails to deliver the desired emotional intent. While the story line seems fairly simple and straightforward it is mired in complexity rendered in elegant fashion. Almost as if what you’re reading is wholly acceptable in the normal course of daily life. Animal denizens that have hidden forms and intent, frozen demons under the river and Roan’s slow discovery of an inner power are just a few examples of what awaits. 

While I was sold a bill of goods by the publisher trying to get some resolution on a corrected copy, I made do with what was given and believe me, it was really hard to piece this novel together. You can only move on with a truncated story line when entire paragraphs are missing (or so I surmised). A solid 4 stars, completed…..I think.

Review: The Management Style of the Supreme Beings by Tom Holt

Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: June 2017

ISBN: 9780316270823

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.9/5

Publishers Description: When the Supreme Being and his son decide that being supreme isn’t for them any more, it’s inevitable that things get a bit of a shake-up. It soon becomes apparent that our new owners, the Venturi brothers, have a very different perspective on all sorts of things. Take Good and Evil, for example. For them, it’s an outdated concept that never worked particularly well in the first place.

Review: Wow. One of the best reads I have had in a long time. Funny, acerbic, poignant and relevant to life, it is at once Hitchhiker-esque in approach and Still Life in regard. There is so much going on that any attempt to define any one thing that was best about it is impossible. The characters have a great depth of character and develop wonderfully with the movement. All the disparate pieces of the story line slowly converge into one for a raucous ending that perhaps lends substance to the as yet defined humanistic desire for a familial archetype.

The writing is crazy good and coupled with the social commentary, makes for a novel you can’t put down. GET THIS!

Review: The Ninth Circle by C. A. Harland

Publisher: C. A. Harland 

Publishing Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9781545126370

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Publishers Description: Tala Morgenstern lives for the hunt, embracing her heritage as a demon hunter. When her younger sister, Hartley, disappears while on the trail of her long-lost father, Tala must seek the help of her other sister Aiva, who has turned her back on the underworld of magic and hunting. Suspecting demonic involvement, Tala and Aiva race to find Hartley before she can be claimed by hell. 

Review: I put this down after a few chapters with a considered review in mind, well a non-review that featured a DNF. Three hot, witch-like sisters that are part of the “Nighthunters” killing demons upon the Earth and getting hit on by anyone with a pulse. So after yawning my way through a few chapters and finishing some other projects, I had nothing to read so decided to finish a patterned novel with a kewl cover.  

The characters never lived up to my initial bias. Which is a good thing. Tala is hot and uses her boobs (her words) to gain an advantage and has a one-nighter with a stranger because she can. Aiva is a prude but doesn’t go all “adjective” around men with their ripply abs and chocolate brown eyes. She just doesn’t have time for it. When not collectively killing demons and looking for their lost sister they are planning and researching their next move. The movement is constant and blends well with the story line and character development. The plot takes interesting and unexpected turns and the writing is superb. A solid 4 star read.

Review: The Wayward Astronomer by Geoffrey Thomas

 

Publisher: Corvus

Publishing Date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780997823509

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.5/5

Publishers Description: Hal Adhil and Miri Rodgers are best friends. They spend their days working at a small observatory in the Starfall Mountains beyond the metropolis of Anduruna. Miri is the only person Hal trusts to understand a dangerous secret: Hal can see all wavelengths of light. Hal uses his superpower only when they are free from prying eyes that could report them to the authorities. The lives of Hal and Miri quickly change one night, however, when a meteor crashes into the nearby mountains.

Review: Oh my fuk, this was stupid. Each chapter has some fairly good illustrations that lend form to bare visualizations.

So, Hal is a velociraptor and Miri is a hot fox girl with a long swishy tail. Other beings are cats and raccoons or big birds, although I think that has been done. Somehow they are able to procreate across specie lines in fantasmo world. Hal has a boner (cloaca?) for Miri and both are just too good to be true while his twin brother and his consort are evil to the core as evidenced by the constant adjectives. “Smirks, sinister eyes and self-satisfied smiles”, riddle every paragraph to drive home the fact that, yes!, he or she is patently evil. 

This universe makes no sense and being a “Dreamwalker” means absolutely nothing as it is never adequately explained. The ending hints at a sequel with Troopers this-ing and that-ing but leaves you wondering if it is just a bad ending to an interminable read. Another novel that is better suited to the YA genre of fiction.

Review: The Download by R. E. Carr

Publisher: Kindle

Publishing Date: May 2017

ISBN:

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: It’s not every day that your roommate accidentally teleports you across time and space, but Jennifer MacDonald is not having an ordinary day.  A chance encounter with a custom built computer and an ancient pyramid sends Jennifer to a faraway land with six warring civilizations and an ancient prophecy that has a visitor from the stars at its heart.  All she has to do is unseal one, measly, missing god. 

Review: I just could not get into the story line of this novel. Additionally the characters fell flat as they were relegated to this Larping style of discourse. I said that if I ever read about another character named “Kai” I was going to do something quite manic and drastic. So here we have a camouflaged “Kai” spelled Kei. Only now he is Lord fuking Kei.  This may be a better fit for the YA crowd and should be categorized as such.