Friday, June 2, 2017

Review::Demonyka by Mark Huntley-James

DemonykaDemonyka by Mark Huntley-James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Demonyka by Mark Huntley-James is not my usual fare. Well, that might not be fair to say. I remember long ago rubbing my nose into the ink of Creepy or Eerie magazines. It took a while for me to warm up to Buffy the Vampire slayer though; and this might fall somewhere between those.

We have no vampire slayer just Paul Moore, a simple demon broke and master of dark arts who is just trying to run a business with a staff of strange yet interesting people. When a witch who runs around in other peoples skin, sheds a skin in his shop(like a snake) after attempting to steal a few demonic objects and sets off a series of other events that force Paul and others like him to begin to take notice, things start to get hot in their small town.

What starts out as almost a personal vendetta against those dabbling in the dark arts quickly devolves into a Earth shattering plot. An ancient Babylonian Triad is about to open up a whole new dimension.

This is a well written though sometimes adult novel about the occult and a bit of twist with the main character Paul Moore often painting demons as something a bit better than some of the most evil humans. He's no saint himself and often goes out of his way to try not to do what's right, however the forces of evil seem to be bent on trying to make him a hero; or maybe that was a scapegoat.

Sometimes a bit far out there in the realm of suspension of disbelief; perhaps the weary reader might lock that up in some dimensional time vault until finished. It's still well crafted and entertaining and should peek the interest in those who like the paranormal and dark magic of strange pocket dimensions.

It almost had me wondering what might be further in store for Paul and his sleepy little town.

J.L. Dobias

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Review::We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse, #1)We Are Many (Bobiverse, #2)By Dennis E. Tayler

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse, #1)We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For We Are Many (Bobiverse, #2)For We Are Many by Dennis E. Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) & We are Many (Bobiverse, #1 & 2)By Dennis E. Taylor Book two adds so many Bobs and yet no two are alike and if there were any qualms about these books it might be that Bob seems so good we really haven't seen an evil iteration yet. Hmm perhaps....

The initial premise of the book is an intriguing look at something that people are doing today and possible ramifications in our future tomorrow. The whimsical look at a whim to live longer through cryogenic freezing. What happens when the world takes enough left turns that maybe you don't want to wake up to what's out there, not to mention that there may now be moral and ethical considerations that will prevent the original plan from being carried out.

What if the future deems you to be a non-person and possibly a source of technology--possibly old technology that might be tossed out or upgraded and put to use slaved to whatever task they deem necessary. That's not even mentioning the on/off switch.

Bob wakes up to a world of future advancements in things that could only be imagined and maybe a few that hadn't quite been imagined, to find that mankind has taken a few steps backward while heading into the future; and though there are interesting and bright horizons out there, he has to escape from humanities clutches to realize that.

I've purchased and read both books (the paperback editions). Going out on a limb with that purchase based on reading the book-one sample.

I was not disappointed.

Certainly they are many; however I might argue that they are not Bob.

I wasn't sure about that aspect, but having each Bob become something different and yet having throughout the story referential elements that were similar was quite entertaining and probably difficult to write.

However Dennis has great success there because it could have gotten confusing for a number of reason and yet it didn't and it may be despite of, and possibly because of the multiple number of short chapters and how well they are crafted.

I fully expected to get lost at some point and of course I couldn't read it all in one night. (One night--two books--that's my better half who might be able to do that.) So the small chapters were great, you could stop anywhere. However they were just short enough and each chapter's beginning and ending are crafted to make you turn the next page so it becomes--just a moment, next chapter, and I'll get ready for bed.

Yes there were some fantastical elements in both books, but the science and the various issues and what ifs were all pretty well crafted and didn't ever threaten to overwhelm the story itself which was basically how the character coped and evolved throughout the story.

Two thumbs up from all of us; we are many we are reader.

For anyone expecting something silly; you won't be disappointed, but you will get a huge bonus when you get hooked on this one.

J.L. Dobias

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Review::Blood War (The Healers of Meligna, Book 5) By K.J. Colt

Blood War (The Healers of Meligna, #5)Blood War by K.J. Colt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blood War (The Healers of Meligna, Book 5) By K.J. Colt is the fifth of the series. A lot of series reach a point where they start stretching almost as though belaboring a point and threatening to be a never-ending story until readers start dropping out from sheer exhaustion. I have it from the highest authority that number six should put end to this series.

Now I just have to figure out if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

From the start we've watch Adenine grow from a seemingly tortured and abused child to something far greater than anyone might ask. And in her journey she certainly hasn't sought this out, well not in the manner that others before her have. We've watched her grow from someone pushed through life by a fate larger than her to someone who has decided to take life by scruff of its neck and give it a good shake before she examines and molds it into something far more acceptable.

And now she's reached the point where she's forced to do what she is most reluctant to do, wage war, because the consequences are beyond control.

This book opens with a scene that for some reason brought to mind Elizabeth Bear's All the Windwracked Stars. Maybe it's the notion of snow and the carnage of war with a contrast of white and blood and similar images. Though All the Windwracked Stars started mostly at the end of a battle, this book is still in the midst of battle; however the images are striking and vivid in both books.

For Adenine this is a tough battle and it is defining a length of dilemma that her own moral values have restricted and confined her. It's the crux of the story. As bodies fall she watches her own people putting arrows into friend and foe alike. This is all about the healing blood and how it has to be delivered to keep those who would otherwise perish from having to die. Her toughest goal though is to keep everyone alive, both friend and foe and in war that could be a fatal agenda and it certainly does not endear her to her own generals.

Just as she has done in previous books K.J. Colt examines some tough moral ground both in positive and negative directions and her main character is standing in the midst of those; challenging our ability to sympathize with her all of the time. It's not just the war--the conflict--but also it's her personal life and decisions, as she marches forward into battle carrying the children of one of her two lovers who are forced together at her side to fight this battle with her.

So with this fantastic beginning it would be a wonder if I mentioned that the story almost drags a bit at the beginning. I think that this is true of the first book in the series also. It's not an entirely bad thing and the first chapters make up for any slowdown in the next few; however there is a stage to set for this story and it takes a bit of time and as usual K.J. Colt manages to goad the reader with a bit of frustration with how Adenine is going about things.

Sometimes Adenine seems like her own worst enemy.

Things work out, but along the way Adenine has a number of lessons to learn and the most critical is one that we keep being remind of throughout and that is that you can't save everyone. However I've a feeling that Adenine is of the mind that she will die trying.

These stories can be read separately and give the reader a satisfyingly complete novel from front to back and usually enough background to keep the reader sane. However I would still advise anyone new to them to read them all.

Adenine is a wonderfully flawed and perfectly human character that constantly has to exceed her limits despite herself and it's difficult not to love her despite all the frustration she manages to put the reader through.

This is a must read for epic fantasy lovers and lovers of well built fantastic worlds.

J.L. Dobias

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