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  1. #21
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    Well, my review got pushed back a week, due to the book editor taking a vacation for his wedding anniversary. But that's ok; it'll be in the paper this Sunday.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    It's great yours will be a published review, Marduk, can't wait! Will you still post here, or will you let me know which paper? Got my eyes on this title.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth

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  3. #23
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Wool - Hugh Howey
    "It turned out that some crooked things looked even worse when straightened."

    Due to extremely toxic factors on the Earth’s surface, survivors eek out an existence in a huge, underground bunker. With the Earth’s surface having been uninhabitable for hundreds, possibly thousands of years, the remaining men and women know of no other way of existence until chance, coincidence and a feisty mechanical engineer come together to challenge the status quo.

    The beating heart of this story questions the inevitability of war while not really denying it. There are protagonists and antagonists–not so much ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. Interestingly, the author deftly manages to get you to side with both for a while as information about the predicament is revealed and we get glimpses into opposing points of view, some logical and some emotional.

    It’s a sizeable read, originally released digitally as 5 one-off purchases, to complete the work Wool (1-5 comprising book 1 of the Silo Saga). Mr. Howey was a kind of early adopter to the digital marketplace and went on to make a well deserved killing off the set. Despite its size the work moves along at a brisk, interesting pace that won’t allow you to set it down for long.

    It’s a rich, fully realized, almost steampunk subterranean world, and at times the reader’s curiosity is aroused to the point where we can wonder about this world, how would we live in it, could we make the best of it as many of the characters have done? They have the advantage of never knowing anything different, considering the human capacity for adaptation.

    The author even gives us impressions at times of a simpler, almost idyllic lifestyle. Clearly defined social structures, a sense of purpose for every individual, and by comparison to the modern world, a very peaceful lifestyle (peaceful until the story is underway).

    Make no mistake, this book is about war. Not warfare, but war. Why do we fight? What does fighting do to us? What can we do in the face of war, and if any of us live through it, what happens after? And most important, is there any way to stop it?

    4 stars

    4 stars

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    Last edited by bugen; 08-05-2016 at 08:05 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth

    https://bugensbooks.com/

  4. #24
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Hornet and OthersAl Sarrantonio
    “Ain’t you gonna ask me why I shot her in the back?” I said . . .
    “Because her front was too far away!”


    Here we have another solid collection from Mr. Sarrantonio, and while containing a number of excellent tales it falls a little short of his previously reviewed collection, Toybox. However, since Toybox was so freakin’ good, this isn’t really an issue.

    The book opens with “The Ropy Thing”, also included in this anthology 999. It’s an excellent story involving a creature seemingly wiping out everyone except a young boy and girl. Another great, horrifying story, ‘In the Corn’, follows a few tales later, but the book seems to have difficulty finding traction in its first half beyond these two.

    The second half picks up considerably, culminating in the disquieting novella, Hornets, which perfectly taps into our innate fear of insects. Also found within this second half is the jewel of book, “White Lightening.”

    “White Lightening,” is about two young boys running amok on a moonshine-induced murder spree and somehow manages to instill the sense of glee the two youngsters are feeling as they go about their rampage. It’s strange to see the body count rise yet be tied to the laughing boys, experiencing their unapologetic violence as if we’re reveling in it as well, but the author somehow accomplishes exactly this. As they happily move from target to target, the story ends in a kind of showdown you’d expect and a twist you probably wouldn’t. And it once again explores a kind of inevitability of violence that has cropped up repeatedly in recent reviews. Chiliad and Wool both address this, though in longer form. “White Lightening” has boiled this theme down to its essence but is told in the rip-roaring style similar to Lansdale. There’s top-notch storytelling here, no doubt.

    Overall this is a very positive horror collection, containing its share of so-so stories, lots of good ones, a good number of excellent ones, and one glittering jewel.

    3 stars

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    Last edited by bugen; 08-05-2016 at 08:05 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth

    https://bugensbooks.com/

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugen View Post
    It's great yours will be a published review, Marduk, can't wait! Will you still post here, or will you let me know which paper? Got my eyes on this title.
    I'll post here, once it goes live tomorrow, along with a link. I've got the mock-up for the paper version. I like it. It'll be in the Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City).

    edit: Gotta head to work, so for now, just the link.

    http://newsok.com/book-review-half-a...rticle/4984894
    Last edited by marduk; 07-06-2014 at 12:44 PM.

  6. #26
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    Thought I would post another I read not too long ago.

    Dereliction - Ray Garton

    I have not read very much from Ray Garton yet, but this new book of his from Cemetery Dance is not like anything else I have read from him. This story did not have the gross out gory scenes I was prepared to read and enjoy. Instead, this story is a much more emotional, heartfelt and tragic story. It has some amusing and sweet moments in the early parts of the story before the horror sets in. Not horror in the way that many would think of, but a much more personal horror. What would you do if everyone started avoiding you? What if people who loved you suddenly stopped communicating with you? If everything in your life started to fall down like dominoes? What if all this happened and you had NO IDEA why any of it was happening and no one would explain their sudden changes to you? I loved this entire story, including the ending. There are some who hate how it ends, but to me it is the best way to end a story like this.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R1ETD1F...cm_cr_rdp_perm
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    RJ your review really makes me want to check this out. I love it when when authors combine horror with strong emotional elements, and I'll be looking this one up when I get a chance.

    Thanks for posting!
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
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    https://bugensbooks.com/

  8. #28
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Marduk thanks for the write-up on Half a King - killer! Can't wait to see how the book does, especially compared to his longer works.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth

    https://bugensbooks.com/

  9. #29
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    More Than MidnightBrian James Freeman
    “Screaming wouldn’t open doors, wouldn’t extinguish flames, and it certainly wouldn’t put the demon back in the basement.”
    (I had another, possibly even cooler quote here, but couldn’t use it because the three sentences literally end the story ‘The Final Lesson’)

    “Screaming wouldn’t open doors, wouldn’t extinguish flames, and it certainly wouldn’t put the demon back in the basement.”

    This is a concise collection of short stories, like Dreamlike States and Weak and Wounded, and packs a nice punch into a small package. More Than Midnight consists mainly of traditional horror, dealing with madness, psychosis and no small helping of the supernatural: young workers navigate a dilapidated and haunted basement, a vengeful husband gets his chance, the secret behind powerful lawyers, an escaped mental patient, and a funereal guardian protecting against the lingering spirits of the evil dead.

    Some may feel this collection is stronger than Dreamlike States, containing not a single ‘meh’ story. The weakest of these 5 tales still ranks as good, and two stories in particular were excellent. “The Final Lesson” and “Answering the Call” were both superb, but each of the 5 tales is readable and interesting.

    With a concise nature, this is solid, fear-inducing storytelling with a lack of fluff that sometimes populates collections.

    4 stars

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    Last edited by bugen; 08-05-2016 at 08:06 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth

    https://bugensbooks.com/

  10. #30
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Red CountryJoe Abercrombie
    “No man capable of greater evil than the one who thinks himself in the right.”

    A tough-as-nails woman, her pseudo-father and other unlikely companions gathered along the way track down a mercenary army across the brutal plains to retrieve her stolen brother and sister.

    This is a western containing the throwback violence that we used to see in the old Eastwood films, even more blood and guts, and steel instead of lead. Perhaps most surprising is Abercrombie’s ability to infuse a dark, but laugh-out-loud humor throughout a story chock-full of death. Present throughout the book are catch phrases echoing truth and showing up often enough to be notable. Seriously, this kind of highlighting is reserved for philosophy books and college. Quotable truths appearing so often in a cynical world of pain and death, blood and dirt, help to counterbalance the constant devastation with a kind of strained but effective levity.

    Red Country functions well as stand-alone and is extremely enjoyable by itself even without prior experience with the characters that are present in previous works. It’s a sizeable, decently complicated read, and is a highly recommended work filled with violence, compelling if unsympathetic characters and a biting understanding of the human condition. If this is your first Abercrombie, visiting the original First Law trilogy to see what you’ve been missing is in order.

    Camling held one hand high. ‘May the best man win!’ he shrieked.
    Over the sudden roar he heard Lamb say, ‘It’s the worst man wins these.’


    4 stars

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    Last edited by bugen; 08-05-2016 at 08:07 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
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    https://bugensbooks.com/

  11. #31
    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement mhatchett's Avatar
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    I really like Abercrombie. Good review! Have you read the Peter Brett Warded Man series?

  12. #32
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Thank you, and no, I haven't read The Warded Man but looked it up and it sounds good. I've also never read the Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind which I just came across and seems to be much loved, and looking forward to The First Law trilogy too. I've really dropped off on the fantasy genre in favor of horror but there are some very exciting things that I've missed!
    Last edited by bugen; 07-14-2014 at 07:01 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
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  13. #33
    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement mhatchett's Avatar
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    Ah, I'm just the opposite, I mostly read fantasy, very little horror. Loved Name of the Wind and have enjoyed the Scott lynch books.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Scott Lynch is another I don't believe I've ever read, though I've heard the name plenty. Besides LOTR I think the last real fantasy I've read is Terry Brooks (Shannara trilogy, and then stopped after the 4 Heritage books), unless you also count Forgotten Realms D&D stuff. I think it was the RA Salvatore Drizzt series not quite holding up like I wanted it to that scared me with fantasy. Abercrombie has restored my faith!
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
    -John Barth

    https://bugensbooks.com/

  15. #35
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    I haven't read fantasy books in a while either, dunno why I got away from it though. Was a big fan of Weiss and Hickman and the Dragonlance series in general. Should get back to checking them out again sometime.
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  16. #36
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    I really liked the Weiss/Hickman books as well - Chronicles and the War of the Twins trilogies were a lot of fun. I'd be interested to see how well they hold up.
    I remember the relationships between the brothers being complicated and sincere (and dark). Raistlin and Caramon were great characters.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
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  17. #37
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    Yeah, I agree, great character. I know Raistlin was Weiss' favorite character they had created, who was also my favorite. I liked Tasslehoff and the gully dwarves because they were amusing
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  18. #38
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    Everything I've read from Abercrombie thus far has been spectacular: the First Law trilogy, "Best Served Cold", and "Half A King". I'm currently reading "The Heroes", and then I'll finish off with "Red Country". He can do more with character development in a few pages than many authors can do in a whole novel (or series...).

    I've also been re-reading some of the early DragonLance books, and I enjoy them as much as I did all those years ago.

    I recently finished a review for Kevin Hearne's "Shattered", but I'm still waiting to see if it will see print. I don't like reviews that give too many spoilers, so my approach was to cover overall storyline without giving too much away. I had to read the book twice because, to be honest, I didn't like it that much. It's not the worst thing I've read, but I had a lot of criticisms that I had to set aside in order to write a "generally positive" review.

  19. #39
    Senior Member Hearing Voices bugen's Avatar
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    Demons - John Shirley
    "Funny how here, the men posses demons and not vice versa."

    Demons is the story of indestructible, supernatural creatures ravaging the planet as unstoppable killing machines but not in large enough numbers to destroy the population. With the demon invaders numbering only a few thousand, though some can be in more than one place at the same time, the world keeps turning while it’s slaughtered. A small group of magic users/psychics search out an esoteric weapon that may save Earth.

    Undercurrent takes place 9 years after the end of Demons where the world has moved on, and in a mixture of pointed damage control, self-preservation, and the fact that all physical evidence has disappeared, most people believe the previous carnage was caused by a combination of terrorism and mass hypnosis. A small, powerful group seeks to reopen the world to demon kind permanently and on a much bigger scale.

    The books work together well, but are much different in the substance of the tales. Demons deals with demons, the destruction they’re causing and what might be done to stop them, while Undercurrent deals mainly with humans attempting to resurrect them in a fairly complicated plot where you can’t really tell who’s who until near the end. Demons is mostly black and white, Undercurrent is mainly grey as the story unfolds as to who is responsible for what.

    Exhibiting extensive knowledge of the occult, Shirley doesn’t beat us over the head with it. In a fascinating way he almost assumes we already know. And as avid horror readers there’s a good chance we do. Plenty of writers tackle the arcane, and most of them have done their research and enjoy showing us some of the fruits of that learning. Shirley just lets the occult happen naturally within the story, and if the reader gets it, great!

    If treated as one novel, the first part, Demons, is a little more pulpy with more action and the demonic maneuverings we may be expecting, and can be standalone. The second, Undercurrents, is much more human focused and relies on having read the first. They are quite different, but both are highly enjoyable.

    Note: The Ballantine Books version of Demons contains the sequel, Undercurrents. Demons is the original novella and Undercurrents clocks in roughly twice as long. The CD limited version does not contain the sequel.

    Demons: 4 stars
    Undercurrent: 4- stars

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    Last edited by bugen; 08-05-2016 at 08:08 AM.
    “Reality is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
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  20. #40
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    Nice review. Hope to one day get the CD edition of Demons, but I do have the PB edition of the book that I still need to read
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