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Book Blog

September 24, 2017

A Bad Season for Necromancy (Review)

ach of the stories of the Four Summoner’s Tales gets better than the proceeding one, just wilder and more edgy. First we had the story about the frontier Canadian town where children lost to a sickness could be brought back to life, but at an awful cost. Then we had the one about the Texas rancher, part of a community raided by the cartel, who could get his daughter back but only if she was used as part of a literal army of the dead, thrown against the cartel’s headquarters just over in Mexico. And now, it’s this one. Strange, […]
September 17, 2017

Pipers (Review)

nother one from the collection Four Summoner’s Tales, the second of the set. You’ll remember my review of the first one of this group, Suffer the Children, and how I thought that was going to be pretty much the sorts of stories we were going to go through in this necromancy collection (people of the past raising their dead out of Salem graveyards or the like). Well, Pipers blew that assumption out of the water. So in this novella, Zeke is a practical rancher down in a Texas border town. He lost his wife years back and so his world […]
September 10, 2017

Moonfleet (Review)

often root for old books. I want them to be good, even better than novels of the current day, just to throw something in the face of people who assume that people of the past were simplistic clods who suffered because they didn’t have access to the likes of Clive Cussler. And now I’m delighted that I found an old book of 1898 vintage, Moonfleet, that tops everything. No, it’s not a book about spaceships. Moonfleet is a story of youth along the southern coast of England, of 1757, of smugglers slipping in past the watch, of barrels unloaded on […]
September 3, 2017

Suffer the Children (Review)

his is the first review from the Four Summoner’s Tales collective, which is an audio book we brought with us on our long vacation drive. In a nutshell, it’s four novellas that follow a loose format – the tales have to involve a stranger who can raise the dead. We’ve got three of the four down and are looking forward to taking on the last one for the drive back. Since these are novellas (i.e. spacious tales with far more legroom than mere short stories) I’ll review each in turn. And in an advanced rating, I’m going to tell you […]
August 27, 2017

This Census-Taker (Review)

ong-time readers of my reviews know that my favorite living author is China Meville (it’s a love-hate relationship – this guy writes like I should write). I’ve got pretty much every book of his on my shelves. A lot of them are crazy-weird but leave me haunted and thoughtful. And This Census-Taker, it’s the craziest (and deepest) of the bunch. So this boy lives in an almost dreamlike house high on a windy hill overlooking a town, sometime in a sort of steam-punk post-greatness era. And the tale begins with him dashing down to the city in the valley below, […]
August 20, 2017

The Girl on the Train (Review)

et’s get this right out in the open. This is a protagonist you aren’t going to like at all. Rachel is a pathetic drunk. Her drinking and violent tendencies cost her a marriage. Now abiding in an apartment from an over-enabling friend, she rides in to London every day, not to work but to pretend to work. Because she drank at a work lunch, lost control and got the sack. One of Rachel’s little “games” is when the train stops every day at the same signal, she looks at the back of one of the suburban houses (apparently a few […]
August 13, 2017

Razor Girl (Review)

arl Hiaasen – what can you say? If you haven’t read any of his South Florida Crime Novels, you’ve got a treat. While his writing can be a bit formulaic (good guys are gruff and honest, bad guys are unremitting shit-weasels (one of my favorite phrases of his) who tend fated to end his tales in horribly fitting ways). It’s not high art, that’s for sure, but it’s fun. So, the title character, the Razor Girl, is a young woman with a suspicious name (Merry Mansfield) who makes a living of sorts by crashing into cars. She’s got rear-ending to […]
July 30, 2017

Louis XIV-A Royal Life (Review)

only knew Louis (the 14th) through two forms of entertainment. There was the version provided through Dumas, that of the selfish and ungrateful ruler, who punishes the loyal Fouquet at the wormtonguing of Colbert and is nearly swapped out by Aramis’ kingmaking (Man in the Iron Mask). And then there is the Versailles series, where he is in control and fitting his rule to his circumstances, but with all the secret societies and plots about the place, it feels almost too fantastical. In this, I decided to find out just who Lou was, so I checked Louis XIV, A Royal […]
July 23, 2017

I call Bullshit (Review)

n these days of “Fake news” and presidents and parties who don’t care if what they spout is a lie or not, it’s fun to read a book that, as the title says, works at “Debunking the most commonly repeated myths”. For example: Do you think Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone? Mammals arrived after the dinosaurs became extinct? Humans only use 10 percent of their brains? The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space? Author Jamie Frater piles through many, many myths, things we only know through hearsay (i.e. Facebook). I’d wished I’d read […]
July 9, 2017

Avatar – The Last Airbender (Review)

eah, yeah, so it’s a cartoon, and one that I had no interest in watching until a friend coaxed me into it. I’d seen some things about it in the early 2000’s when it first came out. Little bald kid with an arrow tattooed on his forehead. I didn’t give it a second thought. Anyway, it’s classic storytelling. In this fantasy world, there are four “bender” classes: earth, wind, fire and air, each forming their own nations. However, there is always an “Avatar”, one who can bend all four, the peacekeeping force. In this case, it’s Aang, a goofy little […]