Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Point BPoint B by Drew Magary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Drew Magary does it again. There hasn't been a novel of his that I've read that I haven't fallen over dead after having finished reading.

No, no, this isn't the Post-Mortal, and I didn't over-exert myself on a Hike. Indeed, the idea of traveling at all has become absurdly easy... just like reading this novel.

Cell-phones in ten years now allow us to teleport. Like Jaunting, ya? But these are tied to nasty cell phone plans with nastier reams of unread legal-sleaze. But who cares, right, so long as we can take a trip to Spain, Brazil, Newfoundland (just kidding), and back to school in New Jersey during your lunch break.

This SOUNDS like a pretty good YA, no? And it is. But it has some really dark points that are quite as dark as Post-Mortal (and with as huge a range of ramifications, evil, and annihilation) and *almost* as weird as the Hike. But let's just swap the weird with an epic tale of revenge and you'll have a better idea about what this novel is about.

It just goes to show, dehumanization and power and racism is STILL going to be a massively huge problem when anyone can go wherever they want. After all, if there are no restrictions, and just about anyone can hop into your room as you sleep, it may not be a *NICE* future. Take along your war, your hate, and your insanity, and suddenly no place is safe.

So how do we get to Point B? Dial it up! It's very worth the Jaunt, and lordy.... that last 1/3 of the novel was absolutely un-putdownable. Brilliant. I lost sleep over it.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)The Shadow Saint by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second book in the Black Iron Legacy was, IMHO, a better book. More interesting.

I'm sure some mileage will vary, but I was a lot more fascinated by the reconstruction following the war, the politics, the spy-stuff, and the total aftermath of all the god-stuff suffusing the world than I was for the previous book's build-up and explosion.

Overall, I think the entire novel was very entertaining.

What would I compare it to? The Powder Mage trilogy. There are a ton of similarities. I'm sure most fans of Epic Fantasy who LOVE the big magic throughout the worldbuilding will be tickled as hell by this.

Just be forewarned, this Epic Fantasy stems from a grimdark root, has everything from guns to god bombs, and let's not forget the city itself. It has personality. And anger issues. Fun stuff!

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Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Gutter Prayer has a wonderfully balanced mix of worldbuilding, grimdark sensibilities, striking characters, and a huge blowout of an ending. Between an interesting race of Ghouls who get power from eating the dead, to men who are slowly, horribly turning into stone, or from an extremely fascinating history filled with old gods (and an extremely interesting setup and rule-orientation for them), overall, I thought this novel was a pretty decent epic-fantasy setup. There are many other details, of course, but I really latched on to these.

But the novel isn't merely a cool collection of interesting ideas. The characters are solid and interesting. The worldbuilding in particular tickled all my fancies. But above all, it is the balance between all these aspects, including pacing, reversals, and steady ramp-up to a huge ending, that made me take notice. I really appreciate how the author came from the gaming industry. It serves him in good stead.

So far, I'm quite pleased with the turnout here. I'm really curious to see how it takes the reveals in new directions, or if it does, in the next.

Those damn old gods... :)

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Friday, September 18, 2020

HorrorstörHorrorstör by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My initial impression of this novel and my post-reading impression are perfectly aligned. :)

A cool idea of setting a soul-less Ikea with a massive haunting and a crazy satire about the modern-day service industry is EXACTLY what I got.

In other words, I enjoyed my B-Movie experience. I chortled, groaned, and felt like I was One with the Corporate Narrative which is One with the batshit crazy Experimental Prison Culture.

I really enjoyed it for what it is. :)

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Malorie (Bird Box, #2)Malorie by Josh Malerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a world so eerily similar to our own, fast-forwarded 17 years after our facemasks became a permanent fixture to our eyes rather than our breathing orifices, Malorie from the original Bird Box has teenagers of her own, raised in fear and a constant litany of "no, no, no" begins a new tale of discovery.

Or rather, rediscovery. Her parents might just be alive. Is this a blind-call to adventure?

This is undeniably a good tale of suspense. I don't think it is QUITE as suspenseful as the first, but living in terror for almost two decades can put a damper on your fight-or-flight response. Or does it? I think I most liked the creepy idea that the enemy might possibly have left. Who would know? :)

This is definitely our modern world right now. We can't see the evil, but we fully expect it to be right on the edge of our consciousness...

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The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm already a fan of Grady Hendrix after We Sold Our Souls so picking up this one and a few more to come is not a brain-teaser. In fact, it's about as wholesome to me as a suburban book club taking on True Crime tales.

Well, wholesome isn't really the proper term, maybe, but just the fact of such late '80s, early '90s housewife rebellion is enough to carry the tale even WITHOUT vampires.

But with vampires? Well. It's been said before, but it bears saying again: NEVER MESS WITH MOM.

A personal aside: I grew up in suburbia during this time, so it was like a blast from the past. Including all the weird obsessions, the stifling conformity, the drugging up of our youth, wives, and the men who banded together to stamp any kind of dissension out of the family. And their eventual loss of control, of course. And who picks up the pieces.

Hmm. And yes, another thing: I'm a housewife now. I GET IT. The lack of control, the lack of respect, how we must juggle everything, and yet never get a single moment of peace.

And then there are those FREAKING BLOODSUCKERS. Gaaah!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Burning God (The Poppy War, #3)The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It feels like a long time coming for the third book in the Poppy War trilogy, but that's only because I've been eagerly awaiting it.

Now that it has finally come my way, I'm all BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD excited for it, and it absolutely delivers. The war between the technological and sociologically advanced enemy and the more numerous but poverty-stricken allies is a clear reference to our modern world.

Who do we root for?

Ah, well, that's the real question, is it not? The first book is like a backwater student advancing her own career in a modern institution, while the second one is the full eruption of one's morals versus one's training, and the third is an all-out war that demands the utter sacrifice of... everything... and the real question is... are we good for it?

I'm not answering that question.

The fact is, there's a lot of great nuance in this novel. Great plot, great war strategy, and great moral conflict.

The emotions? It's solid here. The conflict? Epic. Gods versus technology, you know. And when they get to the point where all seems lost, well, it's that time when the novel gets really great. :)

Am I a fan of the full trilogy? Absolutely. Is it full to the brim with burning volcano flames of rage and vengeance? You bet. Does it come with tons of reversals and ginormous fantastic reversal-reversals?

Read it. :) It's awesome. :)

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