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.

Review: Inherit The Flame by Megan E. O’Keefe

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: April 2017

ISBN: 9780857664976

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.4/5

Publishers Description: After Detan retrieves the renowned engineer Nouli from the clutches of the empire, he returns his aunt’s city to find it under siege by Thratia’s army. With Nouli’s help, they turn back the tide – ­until imperial forces show up, prepared to hammer Thratia’s army against the anvil of the city’s walls. Worse yet, the imperial advance is aided by an elite force of deviant magic users.

Review: Detan is back, more confused than ever along with Ripka, Tibs and Honey. Once again their existence is threatened by Thratia and her weird torturous minions. 

I am not really going to expound on the various nuances of reviewing, such as; story line, character development etc. It’s got all that. We know the players and the general rundown of the plot. Brevity is what is needed in this third installment of the Scorched Earth Series.

I really think this author is trying to find her voice as evidenced in each novel. In Steal The Sky, there were moments of pure writing brilliance that I was left awed by the talent. In part two, Break The Chains, I sensed a gradual declination of not talent but of creative direction in developing a continuing story line. In Inherit The Flame, there was a panicked fall from elegant writing into verbosity and stilted dialogue combined with a dismal story line. There is much too-ing and fro-ing within the confines of this world without the benefit of real tangible movement. This lack of movement trended in parallel with the planning of a ho-hum coup d’etat.

Overall, the writing was not simple and elegant (like the first novel) but rather trended towards the patterned and mundane. “shivers running down spines” and other clichéd phrases littered the pages. Towards the end you begin to see the brilliance re-emerge, but sadly it is too late. A real disappointment for such an aspiring talent.

 

 

Review: Shadowspawn by Andrew J. Offutt

Publisher: Venture

Publishing Date: 1987

ISBN: 9780441760398

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publishers Description: Mignureal is the daughter of the first person to show Hanse kindness in his harsh upbringing. He was once a lonely and ostracized orphan who was denied food by all those around him save her mother.

Review: This was an oldy but a goody. A sort of whimsical tale about two people traveling from their homeland, across a desert and all the perilous conditions they fall into. There is really no discussion in the review section of Goodreads, mostly that this is a spinoff of Thieves World. 

Mignureal really sucked as a character. Just not believable with all her “Darling this” and “Darling that” and “Oh my, I must run into my man’s hunky arms and cry blubbery tears over his near death battle with ruffians…boo hoo, look at my boobs”. Fug. She wears ten layered skirts IN THE DESERT cause she is a gypsy seer, but that’s ok because she is the most beautiful VIRGIN woman on the planet. And why don’t they travel at night?

Hanse stole the show, as he should. He mentally converses about the idiocy of his traveling companion but is wise enough to keep those thoughts to himself lest he miss out on the booty, Mignue. He is mysterious and honorable while holding to a certain thieving standard.

The world building is pretty good and the story line, entertaining . Just don’t take it too seriously.

Review: Among The Fallen by N.S. Dolkart

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date:

ISBN: 9780857665713

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: In wake of the battle of Silent Hall, the city of Ardis is reeling, its leaders frightened and disorganized. The remaining oracle of the god Ravennis has resurfaced there and is spreading a new gospel – one in which Ravennis is the new Lord of the Underworld. Narky is swept up in the promotion of his religion, even while the prevailing church of Magor tries to put down its upstart rivals. 

Review: Narky, Bandu and the gang are back in a more “settled” version of Silent Hall. Our traveling companions have mostly split due to various causal events and personal choices. As they find their way through a world influenced by the Gods, they are once again thrust into a series of pivotal events. 

This was another great read in the series, although it lacked the punch of the first due to the loss of the social dynamic of a tightly knit group. I guess that is the evolution of growing up as everyone must part ways at some point. The chapters with Bandu, Phaedra and Hunter were always the most entertaining due to the quests and inherent confrontations. And why is Psander never adequately described if at all?

I really like this writer, despite having politically diametric views. He doesn’t bog down the story line with saturated dialogue or unnecessary phrasing. The movement is not only constant but appropriate to the character(s) being developed. His world is immersive and easy to visualize. I am constantly surprised how a new author can bring a creative world into the light of the written word and unfold a competent and entertaining novel. Really astounding, as it reads like an accomplished author that has been writing for many years. GET THIS!

Review: Hell’s Butcher by Chris Barili

Publisher: Stealth

Publishing Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780998616803

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.0/5

Publishers Description: Hell’s Marshal Frank Butcher and his ragtag posse are back, this time wreaking havoc on the civilized east coast. Sent to bring back John Wilkes Booth and his gang before they can kill the current US President, 

Review: A novella that never stops or slows down. This compressed format, while enjoyable, limits the ability to make an in-depth subjective and discerning review. What Hell’s Butcher IS, is a lot of fun in a short period of time.