Archive for June, 2016

Hope and Red

June 30, 2016 - 12:00 am No Comments

Title: Hope and Red
Author: Jon Skovron
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 552
Released: 28 June 2016
Reviewer: Andy Angel

hope and red

In the Southern Isles a young child sees her entire village massacred and sets a course for vengeance.

In New Laven a young boy is orphaned and adopted by Sadie into the criminal underworld.

The girl goes by the name of her village, Bleak Hope, as she cannot remember her real name. She is placed with a group of Vinchen monks, a warrior order and although women are not allowed to be part of the order, the leader trains her in secret.

The boy is Rixidenteron, known as Red, due to his strange coloured eyes. He too is trained, but it is a training of a different sort, that will see him rise through the ranks of the criminal underworld.

In the early stages of the book the two main characters have their storylines kept separate in alternating chapters, allowing the reader to see the both develop. Both have very different upbringings and are miles apart when it comes to morals and ethics – Hope is very much focused on avenging her family and village, Red is more of a wide boy type (very much an ‘Artful Dodger’ type) – but when they actually meet up the two fit together really well.

The ‘villains’ here are the Biomancers, a male only group who use a kind of science/magic to do really nasty things to the human body in the name of research for ‘the defence of the Empire’. Some of these scenes are extremely graphic and horrific in nature but not unnecessarily so.

One thing that really stood out for me was the use of language. The crooks, criminals etc. of New Laven speak a kind of street slang and a good bit of it is fairly coarse (so may put some people off, which is a shame) but the thing is, the way of talking actually flows really well and is easy to pick up, so, kudos to the author for that. Also, there is a glossary in the back to help you along, done in the style of a study document.

The setting feels very ‘Dickensian’ at times although, with the introduction of an inventor type character later on there is also the feel of a world on the edge of technological advancement.

The ending of the book is very much wide open for more adventures and this pleases me greatly as I really cannot wait to get back into the world Jon Skovron has created.

As a debut adult novel this is a book with a lot of promise and one I would highly recommend (and trust me, I will be rattling on about this for a long, long time).

9/10 (it would have been more but I’m expecting even better from book 2)

A Family War: The Oligarchy – Book 1

June 29, 2016 - 12:00 am No Comments

A Family War: The Oligarchy by Stewart Hotston
Publisher: Alternative Realities on 11th May 2016
Page Count: 355
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

family war

Helena is from a group of people called the Oligarchs who look like humans but are genetically modified to make them better, stronger than regular humans. This book begins as Helena and another group: the Indexiv are in discussions about the pending world war. Helena’s role was as a diplomat, as the talks break up she knows that there was no hope to stop the pending war.  On the way back to her ship she gets orders to find a boy who can save the planet. Not knowing who to trust, she relies on her AIs, nanomachines and the human need to survive.

This book is full of action and even has a few surprises thrown in. All I will say is that Helena has some unexpected help. This story has been written with great imagination and the pace of the book is just right. Helena is a very strong female character and I felt that she got stronger as the story continued.

This is a really good start to the trilogy and I am curious where the author will take us in book 2.

This is a must read for sci-fi and technology lovers.

Run to Ground

June 27, 2016 - 12:00 am No Comments

Run to Ground by Jasper Bark
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing on 8th June 2016
Page Count: 88
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

run to ground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run to Ground is two short stories for the price of one. Run to Ground, the title story, is about Jim Mcleod who takes a job as a graveyard caretaker to shirk his responsibilities in the real world. This story is just the events of one night, involving the most amazing death scenes I have ever read and whilst reading this book I kept wondering where Jasper Bark got his ideas from.  After a number of murders, Jim fears for his life as something is chasing him and he knows that he must make it to the church.  An unusual fetish, ancient folklore and a need for revenge, kept me gripped to the end

The second story How the Dark Bleeds is the story about Stephanie a troubled women, who just wants to cut herself. This story goes into the history of how Stephanie has ended up feeling like this and just like Run to the Ground it is tied in with ancient folklore, this time Anglo-Saxon and the Heolfor.  Heolfor meaning blood spilled in anger.

What I enjoyed about reading this book is that I did not know what to expect. Being a quick read you can read it in one sitting.  Both stories left me wanting to read more about Jim Mcleod and Stephanie and I would love to know what happened next.

Dwelling (Subdue Book 1)

June 3, 2016 - 9:35 am No Comments

Dwelling (Subdue Book 1) by Thomas S Flowers
Published: Limitless Publishing LLC on 8th December 2015
Page Count: 307
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies

Dwelling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A group of children in the 90s set up a gang called the Suicide Squad. Now adults, this book tells the story of the difficulties that they each suffered in the Iraq war and a house in Jotham, Texas.
Johnathon got injured whilst on tour, when a RPG got fired into his vehicle killing Ricky his best friend and causing him to lose his leg. Jake is now a vicar struggling with his faith due to what he saw in Iraq, Bobby served in the infantry, but cannot talk about what he did is now homeless and a werewolf and Maggie is Ricky’s widow. She is struggling with the loss of her husband and after being threatened with eviction decides to pack up and move to Jotham to an abandoned house that they all visited one summer when they were children.
All three men are drinking to stop them thinking about the war, but strange things are happening to them, causing them to question what is going on. Bobby is getting help from a Wiccan to try and get him to come to terms to what he is and Johnathon and Jake start seeing their fallen comrades.
Whilst reading the military sections of the book, the author made me understand more what the soldiers had to face on a daily basis, the fears and anxiety they suffered whilst doing their duty in Iraq and then having to adapt to a civilian life whilst suffering physical and mental scars.
The house in Jotham offers the horror element to the story and whilst the history of the house is slowly revealed, you still do not know what the horror is. These scenes when read made my skin crawl and I was totally involved in this story. It will make your imagination go wild whilst you try and work out what the monster is in the basement and why he wants the Suicide Squad.
You will have more questions once you have finished this book, like how did Bobby become a werewolf, what has happened to the previous owners of the house and what did the Suicide Squad get up to in the house in the 90s. Remember this is only book one and I am hoping that book 2 and 3 will answer these. I will definitely read them.
This is the first book that I have read by this author and I enjoyed how I got totally lost in this story.

The Final Cut

June 1, 2016 - 9:36 am No Comments

The Final Cut by Jasper Bark
Published Crystal Lake Publishing on 27 May 2016
Page Count:206
Reviewer: Yvonne Davies
Rating: *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book has action from page one. Jimmy and Sam owe a loan shark quite a lot of money. To persuade them to pay they are forced to watch a snuff film. Ending up with the footage, they decide to make a horror films using clips of the actual film.
At the auditions they meet Melissa, who bearing an uncanny resemblance to the torture victim gets hired to play the lead role. Playing on Jimmy’s grief she seeks him out to help her. From that moment Jimmy is drawn into the dark scenes of London and ending up in the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia.
The way this book is written you feel that you are with Jimmy throughout his whole journey especially when he is watching the snuff film, the scenes are described in detail and there are some moments that I did cringe. The history of the ancient civilisation in Urak and a man called Isimud is used to explain the reason for Melissa and snuff film.
This is a must read for any horror fan and as it is action-packed, it makes it a quick read. This is the first book I have read that was written by Jasper Bark but it will not be the last.