Book Review: Philosopher’s War by Tom Miller

Publishing Date: July 2019

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781476778181

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.4/5

Publisher’s Description: Thanks to a stunning flying performance and a harrowing shootout in the streets of Boston, Robert Canderelli Weekes’s lifelong dream has come true: he’s the first male allowed to join the US Sigilry Corps’s Rescue and Evacuation service, an elite, all-woman team of flying medics.

Review: This novel follows in the footsteps of ” Philosopher’s Flight” continuing with the life of Robert as he embarks to Europe for the war effort.

What distinguishes this series is not only the story line that has that steampunk vibe coupled with an alternate Earth history, but the writing. The prose just captures you from page to page and creates interesting events and characters in the process. Robert continues to grow in character which is a testament to the writers ability to utilize movement to provide depth.

War is hell. And in this story the gruesome aspects are not shied away from. The gore did not detract from the story line but rather highlighted the direness of the situation while elevating the poignant aspects.

Where the novel falls down is the main plot and scene extension. The “Mutiny” is not really grounded in anything substantive and drives the novel to completion without adequate content. Some of the scenes were fairly long and lacked the alacrity that made the prior novel so good. Some of the supporting characters were not built with enough depth to place them firmly in your imagination thereby rendering them more an irritant than a valuable source of entertainment.

I still had a fairly good time reading this but gave a lower rating as it did not continue to build upon the first novel in exemplary fashion.

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Book Review: Amanda Cadabra and the Cellar of Secrets by Holly Bell

 

Publishing Date: December 2018

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

ISBN: 9781912732234

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.3/5

Publisher’s Description: Amanda Cadabra, covert witch with irascible feline familar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing. An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra. Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?

Review: The nicest thing I can say about this experience was that it sucked the oxygen out of the plane while I was reading it. Thankfully the masky thingies sprang from their perches before we cycled through anoxia and ultimate demise.

I have been over the same ground, numerous times, where the English style of writing just bores the shjt out of me. Effusive and over-the-top characters coupled with the addled minutia of scene descriptors. The constant and continuous dialogue about shjt that has no bearing on anything will drive you to kick a cat, especially a familiar cat that does nothing other than create pompous instances. This self-aggrandizing and smug approach to writing makes for a reading experience that matches skin abrasions and defenestration.

Really, make me want to like Amanda. Build her within a compelling story line that builds her character with MOVEMENT, not babbling, and definitively not focused on a stupid cat.

Book Review: Soul Remains by Sam hooker

 

Publishing Date: April 2019

Publisher: Black Spot

ISBN: 9781732935723

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 1.2/5

Publisher’s Description: It’s Dark in the Old Country. Where do goblins come from? Why do they only turn up in the Old Country, and why do they like swearing so much? In the second book of Terribly Serious Darkness, Sloot Peril—a “hero” who’s staunchly averse to heroics—goes searching for answers. Much to his chagrin, he finds them. Everything changed after the Fall of Salzstadt, but try telling that to the people of the city, whose capacity for denial is unmatched. They have yet to acknowledge that Vlad the Invader cut a bloody swath through their city, that the dead are walking the streets, or that the Domnitor—long may he reign—has fled to wherever despots go on very long vacations while goblin infestations take care of themselves. The worst of villains holds all of the power, unspeakable dark forces are on the rise, and everyone wants to kidnap the Domnitor—long may he reign—for their own nefarious ends. If all of that weren’t bad enough, Sloot’s got the fate of his own soul to worry about. Can his girlfriend help him save the Old Country from annihilation? Is Myrtle really his girlfriend? If all goes well for Sloot—which it never does—he might just sort it all out before the Dark swallows them all up.

Review: Wow this was tedious. Just read the full description and your head will bounce off the table sans narcoleptic fit.

This is a tale woven from the British literary spirit; copious dialogue, endless scene descriptions and an overly contorted story line peppered with outlandish characters. Wading through this was like sticking your hand in a badger hole to find your dropped wallet.

Book Review: The Amulets of Sihr by Abu Bilaal Yakub

 

Publishing Date: July 2018

Publisher: Books Go Social

ISBN: 9781999387020

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.8/5

Publisher’s Description: As the world plunges into darkness, how will mankind survive the purge? Mukhtar is a young blacksmith, facing everyday struggles to support himself and his widowed mother. Life is brutal and harsh, even harsher while governing body of the empire looks only after its own, and the rest of the people are left to fend for themselves.

Review: Really not much to say here. As with all good novels, the author covers all the bases. Story line, character development, world building and movement all interleave to create a fantastic synergism. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end here and I await the next like a patient grass viper.

Book Review: Services Rendered by Kevin Anderson

 

Publishing Date: November 2018

Publisher: Wordfire

ISBN:9781614759423

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.6/5

Publisher’s Description: Back from the dead, and back on the case! Dan Chambeaux was a human private investigator in the Unnatural Quarter, where all the monsters have gathered in hopes of finding normal lives.

Review: This is a collection of (monster) detective noir short stories starring the unflappable zombie detective, Dan Chabeaux.

A real tongue and cheeky story line which will make you laugh all the same. I liked most of the stories even with some logic fails here and there. Pick it up, you may have a better time than you wished.

Book Review: Glome’s Valley by Peggy Chambers

Publishing Date: November 2011

Publisher: Backlit PR

ISBN:9781717076243

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publisher’s Description: When Ethan and his dad to go Heavener, Oklahoma to read an ancient runestone, he is sure he’s going to be bored all summer. But Ethan quickly makes new friends, at least one of them a ghost. What began as a trip to Dullville suddenly becomes a fantastic adventure. There are other creatures living in the valleys near the runestone – energetic fairies, beautiful wood nymphs, and smelly old trolls. Ethan stumbles into the midst of an ancient war, and the only person who can save him is his archaeologist dad and the phone app that summons Thor.

Review: This was written for kiddies, which may explain the lack of reviews. Still, an effort was made to write this novel, so an equal effort will be made in this review. Kinda weird this has only one review in about 7 years since being published. Marketing fail? Publishing hiccups? Bad novel? Well read on to find out!

This was an entertaining read, although the character development was a bit truncated due to the compressed story line. Kids 12 and under will have a good time with this.

 

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.