Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Conclusion to The Passage Trilogy (The City of Mirrors)

The City Mirrors is many books in one. At times, you'll forget you're reading a post apocalyptic survival horror in favor of a coming of age story heavily seeped in love, loss, and the harsh realization of consequence, only to be then thrust back into a violent world where normalcy revolves around keeping watch and the fortification of townships to keep the night terrors at bay. 

Despite it's size, The City of Mirrors reads fast. It's not a tome that feels like the flick of a page is never ending, if anything, I wanted more and more. More Amy, more tales of survival in New York and the hardships faced when confronted with the virals, more of the island settlements, and ultimately more from the Indo-Australian populace and how it came to be. That's not to say there wasn't enough story, because there was but rather a compliment to the engrossing tale Justin Cronin weaved throughout the three volumes. 

The City of Mirrors is a truly satisfying conclusion to The Passage Trilogy.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Would I re-read? Yes (to the whole trilogy)

Fiction Filed under: Horror, General Fiction, Epics, 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

SHADOWMAN by Garth Ennis and Ashley Wood

This darker version of Shadowman bares little resemblance the first (early 90's) and current (2012-) iterations of the character and title. The series was published following the Acclaim buyout of Valiant resulting in a shifting of substance; moving away from the super-hero nature of its predecessor to focus on mature and violent content. It worked for the first 4 chapters (issues) of Shadowman with story and art reminiscent of Frank Miller in full flight before loosing it's way a little with the Deadside chapters.

For the most, those Deadside chapters (1-3) are visually stunning; obscure and obscene styling that compliments the violent and hellish afterlife of the Deadside. Credit to Ashley Wood, his Deadside and characters are truly horrifying. Where this 'act ' drops the ball, so to speak, is with Paul Jenkins' storytelling. There is little to link Deadside with the early story (setting aside) which left the first act (Shadowman 1-4) reading a tad incomplete. While still enjoyable, Deadside (1-3) largely reads as three distinct standalone chapters highlighting the horrors of the Deadside and it's murderous inhabitants. I'd feel better about the Deadside act had chapter 4 been more than an unpublished script. I don't know what the people at Valiant, in reprinting these stories, didn't invest in an artist to ink the script for the purpose of this collection. 

The Garth Ennis and Ashley Wood Shadowman is a must read for Shadowman and horror comics/graphic novel readers. This collection is dark and violent with characters that leap off the page full of murderous intent. 

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Would I re-read? Yes

Fiction Filed under: Horror, Deadside, Shadowman, Graphic Novels

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: BLACK SAILS, DISCO INFERNO by Andrez Bergen

30282257BLACK SAILS, DISCO INFERNO is a criminally good novel that ripens the rotten forbidden fruit of romance amid the slippery red violence of the underworld in a classic retelling reminiscent of star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet.

Competing crime families Holt and Cornwall fire pot shots at one another with little remorse, populating morgues and spreading grief as easily as they fill disco's and line the pockets of their henchmen. In an unnamed city, this plight for power is omnipresent yet it's one young female character who stands omnipotent through it all; Trista - a flawed yet endearing protagonist who, despite her easy acquiescence to murder shows a softer side with a caring and needful nature  yearning to indulge in love and the more harmonious side of life. Yet the bullets fly, killing friends and dreams alike.

Author Andrez Bergen has crafted a distinct literary noir oozing all that is sullen and grey while knifing his fictional reality with slithers of color and hope. From the outset there is little chance of a happy ending yet it's one hell of a ride arriving to that forgone conclusion. 

I was provided a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Review: ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders

A weird and wonderfully crafted fantasy seeped in the lore of love and imbued with the destructive desires of the scientifically mad. 

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY is a confusion of genres. Evolving from young adult, to magical fantasy, to sci-fi, to post apocalyptic without settling on either one. It's an approach that could garner criticism as easily as praise. In this instance, it's praise. I like books that keep the narrative fresh and unpredictable, as was the case here. The surreal nature of the book called for this approach and I'm glad the author delivered.

The story revolves around a magical girl who blossoms into a fully fledged witch in adulthood and a young nerdy somewhat reclusive boy with a penchant for technology who turns into a tycoon of the industry. Their history binds them but circumstance and world shattering events are the glue that holds them together, despite being shaky at times. The characterisation is both distinct and apt. I felt like I was reading a tech-fi on one hand, and a magical fantasy on the other. Plaudits to the author for the cleverly crafting.

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY is a book readers of the surreal will definitely want to check out though the appeal will reach a broader audience, such is the weird and wonderful nature of the plot. 

Rating: 4/5 stars

Would I re-read? Yes

Fiction Filed under: Fantastical, end-of-the-world, magic, witches

I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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