Book review: Zia's Path by David W. Small and Debra L. Martin



Amazon blurb:[1. Review copy provided by authors]

In this novelette featuring crippled teenager, Abraham “Ham” Jones, and his tomboy partner, Zia Slate, the stakes are even higher. They have agreed to accept the memory weapons from their new guardian, Henry Lloyd, but with the power of the weapons comes the responsibility to follow “the right path.” It’s suppose to be simple: help one person at a time, but nothing in this harsh world is ever simple. It’s a dog-eat-dog world where food is scarce and gangs rule the street.
When Ham decides to go into the worst gang-ridden area of the city to save a little girl, Zia doesn’t think it’s a good idea. It’s too dangerous, but eventually she agrees and the two set off in search of the girl. When Zia goes off to scout ahead, Ham’s worst nightmare comes true. Zia is snatched by slavers. Can Ham find out where she has been taken and mount a defense to save her in two days before she is sold as a sex slave?

This was a pretty fun book. Zia’s Path is the third book in the Dark Future series, and while I’ve not read the first two books, I didn’t have much of a problem figuring out what was going on. (I may have to get the other two though, just to complete the story arc.)
The book is short, only about 50 pages or so. The length isn’t much of a detriment (though I’m sure reading the first two would’ve helped), and the story actually moves at a pretty fast clip.
Continue reading “Book review: Zia's Path by David W. Small and Debra L. Martin”

Book Review: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

[1.Provided for review by Open Road]
Considered one of the great dystopian novels-alongside Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange and Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World-Ira Levin’s frightening glimpse into the future continues to fascinate readers even forty years after publication.
The story is set in a seemingly perfect global society. Uniformity is the defining feature; there is only one language and all ethnic groups have been eugenically merged into one race called “The Family.” The world is ruled by a central computer called UniComp that has been programmed to keep every single human on the surface of the earth in check. People are continually drugged by means of regular injections so that they will remain satisfied and cooperative. They are told where to live, when to eat, whom to marry, when to reproduce. Even the basic facts of nature are subject to the UniComp’s will-men do not grow facial hair, women do not develop breasts, and it only rains at night.
With a vision as frightening as any in the history of the science fiction genre, This Perfect Day is one of Ira Levin’s most haunting novels.
Grade: DNF
The trouble with classics and parents of a genre is that they often use tropes that are very common to the modern reader, or tropes that are outright nauseating due to values dissonance. Even if these things were acceptable and new when the book was written, a modern audience may struggle.
I struggled with this book. It’s not that I’m a girl with no love for the classics and no ability to look beyond the demands or the era in which a book was written- I’m probably one of the few people who reads classic literature for fun.
I just… really stuggled with this one.
Continue reading “Book Review: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin”

Book Review: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

[1.Provided for review by Open Road]
Considered one of the great dystopian novels-alongside Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange and Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World-Ira Levin’s frightening glimpse into the future continues to fascinate readers even forty years after publication.
The story is set in a seemingly perfect global society. Uniformity is the defining feature; there is only one language and all ethnic groups have been eugenically merged into one race called “The Family.” The world is ruled by a central computer called UniComp that has been programmed to keep every single human on the surface of the earth in check. People are continually drugged by means of regular injections so that they will remain satisfied and cooperative. They are told where to live, when to eat, whom to marry, when to reproduce. Even the basic facts of nature are subject to the UniComp’s will-men do not grow facial hair, women do not develop breasts, and it only rains at night.
With a vision as frightening as any in the history of the science fiction genre, This Perfect Day is one of Ira Levin’s most haunting novels.
Grade: DNF
The trouble with classics and parents of a genre is that they often use tropes that are very common to the modern reader, or tropes that are outright nauseating due to values dissonance. Even if these things were acceptable and new when the book was written, a modern audience may struggle.
I struggled with this book. It’s not that I’m a girl with no love for the classics and no ability to look beyond the demands or the era in which a book was written- I’m probably one of the few people who reads classic literature for fun.
I just… really stuggled with this one.
Continue reading “Book Review: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin”

Comic Review: 30 Days of Night #1

30 Days of Night #1 (of 3)

Part 1 of 3. The story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only the small town’s husband-and-wife Sheriff team stand between the survivors and certain destruction

At first I didn’t like the look of 30 days of Night. It was dark and smudgey like it had been drawn in a hurry and someone was trying to hide something. Then, like a Monet, I found the ambiguity beautiful. It was a part of the story, the setting, and the feeling imparted by not knowing exactly what that thing might be. Continue reading “Comic Review: 30 Days of Night #1”

Fiction Review: Wormwood, by D.H. Nevins

[1. Wormwood was provided for review by Black Wraith Books]
In the post-apocalyptic paranormal thriller, Wormwood by D. H. Nevins, the Earth has been decimated by a legion of half-angels. But while most of these creatures are bent on sending all humans to their final resting place, one, Tiamat, is tormented by the tasks he is called upon to do. When he rescues a woman named Kali, both their lives change forever. Kept alive by the grace of Tiamat, Kali defies him by trying to save as many of the human survivors as she can. The attraction between them is irresistible, but can Kali trust one of the half-angels who has sworn to destroy her world and everyone in it? And can Tiamat justify helping one of the very people he is meant to kill? The more he tries to keep Kali safe, the more his own life is in danger. As Kali struggles to find a way to survive in the Earth’s vast, devastated landscape, she finds herself plagued by the half-angels hell bent on her destruction. Forced to trust Tiamat, the one being who could prove to be her greatest enemy, she walks a thin line between life and death.
 
Grade: B-
Wormwood is a curious book. I enjoyed it a great deal, but a few unignorable flaws stopped it from being an A grade for me.
Continue reading “Fiction Review: Wormwood, by D.H. Nevins”

Book review: The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post



Publisher’s blurb:[1. Review copy provided by Curiosity Quills Press]

Kelly Driscoll tracks down monsters for a living, but the job isn’t what it used to be.
Vampire hunters are the new big thing, but Kelly doesn’t swing that way. When a reclusive client hires her to locate a rival angel, Kelly’s search takes her to a downtown highrise that has become home to hundreds of fallen angels and dimension-hopping monsters.
As the fallen angels take over the condo board, argue over who’s handling pizza delivery, and begin planning for a little shindig otherwise known as the apocalypse, Kelly must team up with an unlikely group of allies to find her target and keep the fallen angels at bay. In the process, she befriends a reluctant Angel of Destruction, gets tips from a persistent ferret, uncovers the mysteries behind Pothole City’s hottest snack food empire, and tries to prevent the end of the world.
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse is a light-hearted urban fantasy novel, combining angels, monsters and other supernatural elements with realistic characters and a comedic tone.

I…am not quite sure what to say about this one. I had a really hard time writing this review, because I want to say why it didn’t work for me, but I don’t want to give away huge chunks of the plot. Especially since the WTFery goes into overdrive in the last half of this thing, and from my experience most people don’t like it when I give away huge chunks of the end of a book.
But. I will try my best to explain why this left me in an ambivalent state of dazed confusion without giving away the ending. I will TRY. But be warned: this review may end up with a boatload of spoilers in it anyway. So if you’re planning to read this book and don’t want to know what happens, then read this review AFTER you’ve read the book. If you don’t care either way, then by all means, read on.
Continue reading “Book review: The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post”

Book review: How to Make a Golem and Terrify People by Alette J. Willis



Book blurb from publisher’s website:[1. Review copy provided by Floris Books via NetGalley.]

“You think you’re a fairy godmother or something?” I asked.
“Or something,” Michael agreed.
Edda is tired of her nickname, ‘Mouse’, and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her twelfth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school. There’s something peculiar — and very annoying — about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can’t bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they?
Winner of the Kelpies Prize 2011.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I buy children’s books (middle grade and young adult) and use the excuse that I’m buying them for my kids. Seriously, my daughters are two and three and a half–they’re not exactly going to be cuddling with the Percy Jackson series anytime soon. But you bet your soggy winter boots in Alberta that I bought the entire set. I read them all, too. (Yes, I also have all seven Harry Potter books. Yes, I read them all. Yes, I’ve seen the movies. Well, except for the last one, the Blu-Ray of which is sitting on my desk somewhere.)
But in my defense, I’m just pre-screening these books for my kids. You know, for when they’re old enough to sit still for longer than thirty seconds and can actually read (not just recognize the alphabet and their names). Assuming they like fantasy. Because, um, yeah, that’s all I buy. (Ahem.)
When I was going through NetGalley the other day, the title “How to Make a Golem and Terrify People” jumped out and started waving its arms at me. Do you really think I can ignore a jumping golem? No, I cannot. So I requested the book.
And I loved it. I would’ve read it aloud to my kids if the giant, wailing mud-monster wouldn’t have scared the sleep out them. (Literally.) Unfortunately for me, the book is published in the UK and the print version is hard to find here (I read an e-ARC). Otherwise I would’ve bought a copy and saved it for the kidlets. (The only time I buy print versions of novels now is when they’re for my kids. If they’re for me, I get the e-book version.)
Continue reading “Book review: How to Make a Golem and Terrify People by Alette J. Willis”

Post-apocalyptic Reading — Impressions: THE JACKAL DREAMING by J.A. Caselberg

Book blurb, from publisher’s website:[1. Review copy provided by Musa Publishing]

A dark god is awakening and a young temple scribe holds the balance of the world in her hands.
Deep beneath the temple, young Tarith makes a discovery, one that will take her on a journey of learning and danger.  The Dreaming God is waking, and it is only Tarith who holds the balance of power within her hands.  Or is it?
Tarith’s journey will take her across vast lands and numerous encounters to try to restore the balance of power that keeps the world safe.”

I need to make a confession. I have not willingly gone out and bought an epic fantasy in a…well, in a long time. I’m currently editing a traditional fantasy (*ahem*releasesinApril*ahem*); you know, the kind with good wizards and bad wizards and lots of magic thrown around. I’m also editing two urban fantasies (ones that, thankfully, do not have any vampires in them whatsoever).
I haven’t read an epic fantasy in a long time. Probably because I’m a bit burned out on the repetitive UFs and I got tired of the whole genre.
But then! The lovely people over at Musa Publishing sent us this book for review. And suddenly I remembered why I like fantasy.
Seriously, this book was that good.
Continue reading “Post-apocalyptic Reading — Impressions: THE JACKAL DREAMING by J.A. Caselberg”

Post Apocalyptic reading: Impressions – When Josie Comes Home, by AE Stanton

The New West 1: When Josie Comes Home by AE Stanton. [1. Review copy provided by Musa Publishing]
The future’s a lot like the past — the West’s still hard on women and horses.

The future’s a wonderful place to be if you were considered worthy — until a huge solar flare slagged the world computers. Now, over two hundred years later, the unworthies are all that’s left of humanity, and they’ve reverted back to the old, old ways.
Josie escapes from the forced sexual slavery of Horsetown, vowing to return with help to save her sisters. Ten years later, she’s not home — but her youngest sister, Sadie, insists Josie will return, with her Hero along to help save the day.
The Gambler’s in Horsetown for reasons all his own. Who is he? What’s he really here for? And what will happen if he’s in town When Josie Comes Home?
 
I was half way through this one before I even realised it. It’s another post-apocalyptic book where the vast majority of women are sex slaves, but the issue is treated with much more sensitivity and understanding than it is in The Last Mailman, which was my main complaint with that book.
And it’s also a damn good book.
Continue reading “Post Apocalyptic reading: Impressions – When Josie Comes Home, by AE Stanton”

The end of the world: There's a magazine for that

Last week I was putzing around Target shopping for clothes for my kids. I took a detour through the books and magazines because this is what I do every shopping trip. I don’t normally find anything–local stores never carry the magazines I want to read (Discover, Astronomy, that sort of thing) and I’m a digital reader (I love my Kindle) so I don’t get many paperbacks.
But THIS time, I struck gold. And because I’m always thinking about the apocalypse in some form or another (usually because I’m looking for possible topics to write about), my brain somehow found this one magazine, even though it was sitting in the back of the stacks.
It’s called 2012 End of the World.
I kid you not.
I’m still trying to find ways to show you guys pictures without getting a copyright violation suit slapped on me and ICoS, so you’ll have to wait a bit for screenshots. I was thinking of doing an end-times collage (using images from this and other magazines)…would that be a copyright violation? It would be a piece of art (and I use the term “art” loosely).
Anyway. I’m going to give you an overview of the magazine. And, you know, review it. Because I read this shit so you don’t have to.
WARNING: HERE BE SNARKERY. AND LENGTH.
Continue reading “The end of the world: There's a magazine for that”