Archive for February, 2015

Shield of Winter

February 24, 2015 - 4:04 pm No Comments

Psy-Changeling Book 13
Author: Nalini Singh
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Silence has fallen. Throughout this series so far, Psy have been trapped in ‘Silence’ a net hive mind created to control emotion and eradicate it, but with the passionate changelings from SnowDancer and Dark River, many of the Psy such as Sacha Duncan, Judd, Sienna and Walker Lauren have escaped the net, hidden with the changelings and found their emotions, free will and love.
After the raging war in the last few books, including terror attacks from the ‘Pure Psy’ contingency, ex Councillor Kaleb Krycheck has pulled the Silence away, because of a disease/infection running rife through it. He is intent on saving the Psy, and using the Arrows (deadly assassins) he has just taken control of, plus Empaths (E-Psys), he will do everything he can to save his race.
Vasic is embroiled in Silence. For him, there can be no emotion. He is dangerously suicidal, so Arrow leader Aden sends him off on light duties to recruit E-Psy Ivy Jane. Ivy escaped the Net and is no longer Silent, she was reconditioned at the age of sixteen, dragging her back in line, brutalising and torturing her, which is why she is do afraid of the stone cold telekinetic Arrow who comes to offer her an employment proposal; to stabilise the Net. Ivy is sorely tempted, because finding out she is Designation E and not broken gives her a chance to learn control and discover more about herself.
In a compound in DarkRiver/SnowDancer territory Vasic and Ivy begin to form a bond, that soon blossoms into something more.
Romance is at the heart of this entire series, but as the series has developed, so has the plotting, the relationships between wolves, leopards, Psy, the Forgotten and Humans and more specifically, the politics. There are clever individuals and machinations going on here, and it makes for interesting reading. As for the romance element, it is always deeply satisfying for a romance reader; carefully handled, sizzling chemistry between those involved, the right amount of erotic details which never borders on tasteless, and often witty dialogue. This is one of my favourite dark fantasy/romance series and the development of civil war in this future world adds extra dimension, Singh not shying away from the brutal cost and devastation of war. Great stuff.

Cuckoo Song

February 17, 2015 - 8:57 pm No Comments

Frances Hardinge
8th May 2014
Macmillan Children’s Books
416pp

Eleven year old Triss (Theresa) is on holiday with her family when she wakes up in bed in the midst of a fever, having apparently had an accident at the Grimmer. But Triss is used to being ill. Whenever she makes new friends or tries to embark on new adventures, her mother pulls her back inside locking her in her room until she becomes better. However, something is truly wrong with Triss this time. She wakes up every day with a ravenous hunger, and no amount of food will satisfy her. She finally takes to eating her own dolls and jewellery to try and assuage the deep hunger possessing her, but hardly anything seems to work. And her sister is scared of her; she claims there is something wrong with Triss and she is not real. The family are also grieving the disappearance of brother Sebastian lost in the war. But if he is truly lost, why is the family still receiving letters from him, hidden in a draw at night.
In an incredibly dark period piece, post WWI set in England, Hardinge explores the essence of identity and fear, sibling rivalry and familial relationships as Triss and her sister have to learn to work together to find out what is wrong with Triss and what has happened to Sebastian. Much like Wyndham, there is a sense of the cosy catastrophe here, blended with sparkling fantasy, as the children go on a journey of exploration that will change them forever. At times spooky (you will never look at dolls in the same way) and poignant, this novel shows that children’s literature can be challenging and dark. The characters are well drawn, and the tendency to try and lock Triss away from reality, excitement or harm is similar to literary classics such as The Yellow Wallpaper.
Cuckoo Song is a magnificent book that will stay with the reader for a very long time.

A few minutes with Ash Hartwell

February 16, 2015 - 6:52 pm No Comments

Born in Maine in the US, Ash grew up in England. After leaving school he worked for a bank, and then went into retail management until going to the University of Hertfordshire where, in his 30s, he trained as a nurse before working in a large ITU just outside London.
Following a back injury, Ash took up writing part-time and has had over thirty short stories published by Undead Press, Static Movement, and 13 O-Clock press. His first solo anthology Zombies, Vamps, And Fiends was published last month and Mark Woods in his blog review said,
“I can honestly say it is a great collection in the tradition of many of the late, great Alfred Hitchcock collections I remember reading as a kid.
In his first book, Ash introduces us to a variety of scary, thrilling and often accurately chilling possible futures where the forces of darkness continue to plague us despite mankind’s modern advances.
Though the book is a bit of a mixed bag at times, I really liked it and thought many of the stories work really well. With touches of Laymon, King, and even the likes of M.R.James and Algernon Blackwood at times, Hartwell still manages to exert his own writing style to great and often spine-chilling effect.”
Ash Hartwell can be found on Facebook at this link.
His anthology can be purchased via Amazon for Kindle and as a paperback here.

The Battery

February 6, 2015 - 2:59 pm No Comments

I watched this film in awe. My mate Alice bought it for me for my birthday because Id never seen it, I’m a big zombie fan, and she’d heard good things about it, plus it’s done the rounds at film festivals. It’s a little of a one man band. Some dude named Jeremy is writer, director, producer and actor, but you know what? There’s something compelling about this film; pretty impressive with a main cast of two.
You see, two dudes are travelling middle America, playing baseball, visiting dead girlfriends and beating the crap out of zombies. Seems like they’re having a good time. But underneath the veneer is the truth of pain, loss, incredible fear and friendship. The scenery is great, the dialogue is simple but more importantly, the soundtrack kicks ass, especially when weirdly beardy dude performs one of the strangely emotional songs that reminds me of the Dawn of the Dead remake (Zack Snyder). This is strangely gripping stuff. Despite the childish pranks played and the regular zombie deaths. This is a film to watch. I don’t want to give too much away other than saying; watch it.