Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophesy? do you believe so much in the prophesy you will do anything to stop it? Will you set up your own candidate for murder but look like it is suicide to take over? will you make a suicide look like murder to stop a war? These are all questions asked in this deeply engrossing novel. The novel features the first pansexual character that I’ve read it is a very friendly LGTBQ story. There are four revolving narrative each with its own agenda and unique backstory. A really great climax, I wanted more story closure at the but it is clear that Black Sun is the first book in Between Earth and Sky trilogy so it ends on a cliffhanger. I have known about Rebecca Roanhorse for a while, I have seen great reviews for Trial of Lightning, and bought it on a kindle deal, after Black sun that book will be jumping up my TBR. I thanks to Netgalley and Gallery books for an advanced reader copy. Black Sun was published on October 13 2020.
Plot: Serapio is blinded and carved when he is a teenager during the Black Sun, in twenty years when the next Black Sun comes he will be a God. Serapio has started gaining the ability to see and talk with crows, and he can also release a deadly shadow. Xiala, is jailed former captain, and also a Teek, whose song can calm the waters and people around her. She gets the deal of a lifetime, a ship, bailed out of jail, and a mission taking the mysterious Serapio to Tove to become Crow God. We meet the Sun Priest Nara a good leader that has an assassination attempt foiled, but she won’t retaliate, to most people displeasure, that want war and the priest to rule by war. It is prophesied that for Serapio to become Crow God he must kill the Sun Priest. Okoa has recently lost his mother, he is lead to believe at the hands of the Sun Priest, after meeting her he is convinced she was not responsible, but he is inadvertently involved with the assassination plot on Nara. There’s a lot and this is just the start of this twisty novel.
What I Liked: The backstories on everyone are really well done and reveal so much. This novel has 3 scenes of action that are super intense. The character’s are great it took me a little while to get on Nara’s side but I liked the others pretty instantly. The powers of Serapio and Xiala are really cool and keep evolving. The world building was done really well, it reminded me a lot of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, where it starts small and expands so naturally, also it reminds me of Scythe of how politics and religion work together. The visuals the words paint were easy to picture. The ship mutiny scene was so great, and everything leading up to it. I think pansexuals will be happy with Xiala’s portrayal. Serapio is like a blind Bran from Game of Thrones that actually does cool things with his power.
What I Disliked: I do wish that the ending had the closure of the story and not leave it so open ended. The Xe and Xir was really confusing to figure out. sometime it was capitalized sometimes not (I did receive an uncorrected proof, so hopefully this is made a bit clearer in the final version).
Recommendations: Black Sun is a very good piece of writing that I can’t wait to read the next book. The world building is new and fresh. If you liked Scythe like I liked that story I think they are very similar in the way the stories are told, but very different stories. This is a good little fantasy that is fun with a great story, that has a lot more to tell. I rated Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse 5 out of 5 stars.
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is book 14 in the Original Goosebumps series. What is scary in this book is the setting of a Florida swamp called Fever Swamp. The swamp seems way more dangerous than the werewolf that slowly starts killing animals. This book helps if you’ve read other goosebumps books and are looking for the twist to enjoy it because I thought my first guess was just too easy, but that was it. The story thrives on misdirection and it doesn’t work. It is also a story that once you know the twist the story makes no sense, it reveals in the end that the Werewolf knows they are a werewolf and still has thoughts, which will make no sense when the thing or person is revealed to be a werewolf. My pet peeve in twist-telling stories is that they make sense no matter how far they go and it does not.
The Plot: Grady and Emily are siblings that have just moved to Florida and remote place called Fever Swamp. Their are parents scientist looking a swamp deers in in Florida’s Fever Swamp. The siblings explore and soon find out that the swamp can be dangerous, as they get lost, find a bog that will suck you in, and a hermit that chases them. The siblings get a fever and start possibly hallucinating as they here scratches and howling from outside. The fever only last though the night then they feel better by morning. In the morning Grady is attacked by big dog that knocks him down and keeps licking him, the dog is a stray that he wants to keep and calls him wolf, because of his size, he thinks this describes the scratching and the howls. He meets and makes a new friend in Will who wants to explore the swamp together, when they explore the find a heron torn in half. Grady learns of the werewolf and a missing neighbor. At night Wolf freaks out at the howling and tries to break out of the house waking every one up, Wolf gets put out and the family finds animals ripped in half in the morning. Is Wolf the werewolf? Or the crazy hermit? or someone else, he were wolf seems to be targeting Grady’s house.
What I Liked: Wolf the dog, is a little bit rough, but I like what Stine does with him at the end. I loved that the hermit over hears them thinking he’s a werewolf then pranks the kids as he runs after them screaming, “I’m a werewolf!” The Swamp as a character is one of the best things, the elements are against the kids. The snake bite scene was a twist on Lassie and I liked it. The final scene was good were we get to acknowledge that the werewolf still has conscience when a werewolf.
What I Disliked: Once you know who or what the werewolf is, the actions don’t make any sense at all. There is no character motivation of the werewolf. The only motivation is by writer Stine to have you not figure out what is the werewolf.
Recommendation: This is not the worst Goosebumps but it is in the bottom five. If you’re like me on a quest to read them all then you can’t skip any, but this one is a skip for any other reason. Even if you like werewolf fiction the werewolf only shows up in the final pages. I rated The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 14 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , The Werewolf of Fever Swamp and Monster Blood.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is a the sequel to the excellent Gideon the Ninth. Harrow the Ninth is book 2 the The Locked Tomb trilogy. Harrow was the necromancer and Gideon was her cavalier (swordswoman). The best part of Gideon was the love hate relationship between Gideon and Harrowhawk that have to work together or they could die. Harrowhawk takes the leads in this one, which was good, but her character is no Gideon, and I missed her raunchy smart snappy dialogue. Harrowhawk learns some cool tricks with necromancy that are the highlights of this book. This book is is one of the most confusing that I have read in a while. The main story is really good, but it’s really difficult to know where you are, the bounce around space and time. There’s a reason for the confusion but it did not have to take almost 65% of the book. I will give Tamsyn Muir credit, she made some bold choices in this book, that challenge and frustrate the reader for a decent payoff at the 65% mark. This book reminded me of the Twilight book New Moon where the most interesting character Edward (sorry team Edward) is gone for over half the book. This book was a challenge for me, I really enjoyed about 75% of the story, rest I was really confused.
The Plot: Harrowhawk passed the deadly challenges in the last book making some ultimate sacrifices. She has reach Lectorhood and has joined the emperor, being one of his necromatic ninjas. Harrowhark is now able to raise and animate the dead with ease and turn her own bones into a variety of weapons. Harrowhawk is now a student and has to learn a lot of hard lessons fast because someone is trying to kill her. She has to pass into the River of Souls who want to keep her and detach her soul from her body, she is also training to fight and kill the resurrecting Beast who wants to kill the emperor. This book is filled with so many twist and turns, that have deadly consequences.
What I Liked: The difficult choices Muir made, is greatly appreciated, I’ve read two authors where there second novel felt like a cookie cutter version of the first, and this book is definitely not like that. The twists keep coming and changing everything you know. Harrowhawk’s necromancer skills turning her bones to spears and turning her bone marrow into a weapon. The orgy that comes out of nowhere. Ianthe and Harrowhawk’s relationship. The huge spoiler reveal at the 75% I almost cried I was so happy. More backstory on Harrowhawk’s family and the locked tomb. Ortus’ character was a standout for me.
What I Disliked: The novel was confusing enough with figuring out where people are in space and time, could have really gone without having multiple characters with the same name, that was just cruel. The big twist was too long, it could have been teased a little more. I had a hard time with sometimes I would no people’s names and actions but get no description. The settings needed bette descriptions as well, I could not visualize the spaceship for my life.
Recommendations: This is a good sequel that expands the story and world building. This is a book where you must read the first book to read this one, you are just thrown into the story, and expected to remember character from the last book and there importance in that story. If Harrowhawk was your favorite character in Gideon the Ninth then you will love this book. The book is LGTBQ friendly with having multiple lesbian, and bisexual characters. I rated Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 3 out of 5 stars. I was really split on this one 3.5 would be the accurate for this book.
October 2020 TBR list: last month was so successful I read all 7 books ; I decided to do it again and add another 7 and knock out some horror books I haven’t gotten too. This month will be spooktackular.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is the sequel to Gideon the Ninth a book I read last month. Lesbian necromancer got me intrigued, but the great story and world building had me really excited for the next book. Gideon’s love hate relationship with Harrow made the last book work so well, so with Harrow taking the center stage, things could get interesting. I’m more than half way done with this book I went in a direction I wouldn’t have predicted. I’ll let you know if it was a good or bad decision soon.
If It Bleeds by Stephen King it is rare when I read a Stephen King book in the year it was published. This book is a 4 book novella much like his popular book Different Seasons. A story in this book acts as a stand-alone sequel to the Outsider, a recent Stephen King novel I quite enjoyed. Stephen almost always delivers the chills
William Gibson’s Alien 3 by William Gibson is a graphic novel by Dark Horse Comics that illustrates Gibson’s original screenplay for Alien 3. This story continued off Aliens the movie with all the last surivors of the film making it, where in the original movie only Ellen Ripley survived the journey and lands on a prison planet. I really want to check out the audible where stars Lance Hendrickson and Michael Biehn do the voice of their original characters.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Manicalco is the first book of a new series, that has the Tag lines of Two Sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will release hell itself… And an intoxicating romance. I like how Maniscalco write murder and the macabre. I just finished her first four book series Stalking Jack the Ripper, so I was happy to get approved by Netgalleyf or the advance readers copy that is published 10-27-20.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a book that is getting a lot of buzz and the start of a new science fiction series. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but it is inspired by pre-Columbian Americas with prophecies, politics and dark magic. This is another advance reader copy from Netgalley that is released on October 13th 2020.
Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 14 on my quest to read and review all the Goosebumps books. This is a Book I don’t know too much about, I bet it has that original twist that only Stine could dream up.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson is set in the 8o’s Canada with the tag line of Stranger Things meets Stand by Me, I’m instantly in and have to experience it. It’s getting good reviews and looks like a lot of fun.
Hello fellow readers. September was a good month for reading. I read 8 books in September. I read 1 graphic novel, 6 books in a series, 2 advanced readers copies (thanks to Netgalley). I was able to complete two series this month The Stalking Jack the Ripper series with contained four books and DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us that contained 11 graphic novels. My goal this year was to finish up some series this year, I have wrapped up 5 series so far. I made a TBR for this month and read every book on it giving me more confidence for the month of October.
Five Stars Reviews:
Goosebumps: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order. s pretty scary for a Goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy!
Four Star Reviews:
The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is released to the public on September 8th 2020 Thanks Netgalley for the early read. The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out. The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in an action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. Currently reading the sequel Harrow the Ninth
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July. Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it. My Dark Vanessa is a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up; despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment.
The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy. I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one. The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect. Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis. He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished This book was ARC thanks to netgalley and came out on 9-15-20.
InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way. Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides. This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series. This volume takes us right up to when the Injustice: Gods Among Us Video game starts. Knowing that there was an Injustice 2 on the horizon, there was no way this series could end cleanly, the superman hate fest does not end with a hug and a hand shake but with a solution to even the score.
Three Star Reviews:
Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series is a gothic young adult novel about romance and capturing the serial killers known as the White City Devil in the late 1800’s. This is the fourth book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The series starts with Stalking Jack the Ripper 1, Hunting Prince Dracula 2, Escaping from Houdini 3, Becoming the Dark Prince 3.5 and Capturing the Devil. This book like other books in the series uses true events and famous people of the time to fit the narrative. In Capturing the Devil she use Chicago’s World’s Fair as a backdrop and features Nikola Tesla and H.H.Holmes. The novel also displays old photos of places, objects, and people to help you imagination. The story is heavy on the relationship of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell taking up the first half of the book. I really like their relationship and how it has evolved over the 4 books, but I wanted at least a couple more scenes of forensic science which drew me to the series at the start.
Goosebumps: Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order. The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. This is my latest review.
Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine is pretty scary for a goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. This book is number 13 in the original goosebumps series. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy, and only one that R.L. Stine could come up with. I remembered this episode from the TV show and I usually say the TV show was better, but this story is pretty good, and it let my mind go to some scary places. I liked this book better than the TV episode.
The Plot: Jerry or Jerome is 12 and just moved to a new home just before winter. The home is a big two floor with a giant attic. Jerome explores and finds a piano that looks pretty new despite being found in the dusty attic. His dad wants to bring it down to the family room, where Jerome can take lessons. Before the piano can be moved Jerome hears a sad melody from up in the attic. The piano is moved downstairs to the family room. Jerome still heres the same sad melody coming from the piano, he investigates but finds nothing. Jerome starts is own lessons form a Mr. Shreek who despite the name is nice but something is not quite right with him. He has nightmares about Mr. Shreek and wakes up to the piano playing, when he goes down this time he finds a ghost playing, and gives a warning or a threat he can’t tell. “don’t play anymore!”
What I Liked: This is a very plot driven story, there is one scene where Jerry goes to a shrink because he keeps seeing the ghost, that could’ve been cut but everything else really flows. The horror is more of the mind, but works really well. A sad melody that keeps getting played in darkness, get me out of that house. I also found the hallways of the school that all look the same pretty terrifying. The climax is totally bonkers and outrageous but it fits well with the theme of the story. I didn’t mind the jump scares they all sort of fit.
What I Disliked: The floor cleaner monster was kind of a stretch. I did feel like the end would have been better if it was sort of a cult then what it turned out to be.
Recommendations: If you want a good scary Goosebumps book than this is the one for you. If you also want to scare your kid about asking for piano lessons then this is the book for you. For some reason this is the only Goosebumps book not on Amazon kindle for some reason, so tracking it down will be a little hard but so worth it. I rated Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine 5 out of 5. Here’s my full ranking of the 13 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , and Monster Blood.
Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco is a gothic young adult novel about romance and capturing the serial killers known as the White City Devil in the late 1800’s. This is the fourth book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The series starts with Stalking Jack the Ripper 1, Hunting Prince Dracula 2, Escaping from Houdini 3, Becoming the Dark Prince 3.5 and Capturing the Devil. This book like other books in the series uses true events and famous people of the time to fit the narrative. In Capturing the Devil she use Chicago’s World’s Fair as a backdrop and features Nikola Tesla and H.H.Holmes. The novel also displays old photos of places, objects, and people to help you imagination. The story is heavy on the relationship of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell taking up the first half of the book. I really like their relationship and how it has evolved over the 4 books, but I wanted at least a couple more scenes of forensic science which drew me to the series at the start. There’s drama and tension (most of it sexual) in the relationship which I did enjoy, maybe I’m greedy but I wanted the relationship with a lot of blood and murder in between. The writing, descriptions, and dialogue were really good and maybe the best of the series. The ending is 60 pages of full of bloody tension and conflict saving everything up until the end. This book made me want to reread The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson that tells the nonfiction story of the World’s Fair and how the White City Devil came to be.
The Plot: Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell have made it to America, but they might have brought from England, a terror that rivals Jack the Ripper, When a corpse is found on the ship that brought them. Audrey and Thomas investigate a body they think could be linked, but what’s on their mind even more is each other. Thomas sent a telegram to Audrey’s dad asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Audrey receives an anonymous note that either ties to the murder or the wedding, or maybe both. Will Audrey and Thomas get the happy ending they so deserve? Or will the Devil ruin everything?
What I Liked: The writing has never been better, I was often blown away by the descriptions that belonged in a gothic poem. The love of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell was very rewarding after seeing there little flirts here and there through the series. The wedding vows were especially beautiful I might have to borrow some of those words one day. The ending was super exciting, I liked the dilemma and the choice of action taken. Liza, the cousin, remains my favorite side character and truly missed her when her character was not in the scene. The day before the wedding scene was such an important moment that was written so well. Cresswell’s obsession with cake had me laughing. The book cover, actually the whole series book covers are one of the best. The work and detail on the time period and history and how it fit in with the story.
What I Disliked: The first half of the books dreadful pace, can they finally investigate another murder, in between the love story. I appreciated the attempt to connect the White City Devil and Jack the Ripper, but the White City Devil was so good at covering up his crimes, it almost makes the story boring with series lack of investigations. The end was exciting but the build up was slow.
Recommendations: I really recommend reading this series in order, I think this book would bore a new reader thrust into the relationship of Audrey and Thomas. I’f you have read all the books then this book is a good end to the series where we see characters return from all books and look at something major that happened in the first book in a fresh new way that adds to the mystery of Jack the Ripper. I rated Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s how I rank the whole series from best to worst Hunting Prince Dracula, Becoming the Dark Prince, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Capturing the Devil, and Escaping from Houdini. I would rate the whole Stalking Jack the Ripper series 4 out of 5.
The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey is an aptly titled books as that is what Koli and his group face, as they try to make it to London. The Trials of Koli is book the second book in the Rampart trilogy. The first book, The Book of Koli, was brimming with heart and the second one is too. Koli is trying to figure out a world he was sheltered and lied against by the village of Mythren Rood. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished. This book filled in one gap that the first book did not, they’re locked in this village because trees can now kill, but the first book doesn’t show us, then comes the introduction to the choker trees and their seeds. Choker trees are trees that shed and drop seeds every couple of years, if the seeds touch body in flesh they will immediately take root in a person’s body. I think the people at Netgalley and Orbit books for giving me ARC for The Trials of Koli that is published on 9-15-20. The Book of Koli made it into my top ten of best books last year.
The plot of The Book of Koli – the world we know has long been dead nature is what most are afraid of as a type of tree can walk and kill. Most stay protected in their little village, Mythren Rood and are forbidden from leaving the protection. Koli is a woodsmith in a family of woodsmiths that works at the lumber mill. When he is older he plans to take a test to be a rampart. A rampart is special class of citizen that rules the others, they use tech of yester-years to protect the village. To become a rampart you have make the old tech work on first touch. The tech is a flame thrower, a laser, bolt gun, and some other devices. Koli and his best friend Haijon dream of being ramparts, Haijon’s mother, aunt, grandfather, and cousin are all ramparts. Koli is tested with four other young adults with Haijon being the only one who can make the tech work, becomes a rampart, and gets Spinner the girl he wanted to wed. Koli is devastated, thrown into wood work, this all changes when Ursula a visiting healer, who is charge of pregnancy and other abrasions, uses and knows tech she scavenges is saved by Koli holding back a rampart from accidentally hurting Ursula. She tells him how tech really works through access codes and fingerprint analysis and that the ramparts are rigged. Koli knowing this is determined to be a rampart, breaks in to the hold and steals a piece of tech that is not exactly a weapon, that he gets to work. Under the rampart rules he is a rampart, but if the ramparts are rigged what will they do when they find out what Koli has done? They vanish him one of the Rampart that wanted more power grabs the tech that Koli stole and demands he make it work or will kill him. Koli figures he’s dead anyway and uses the tech to over power the rampart killing him and Koli is reunited with the tech. The noise draws in a group of shunned that capture him and want him join their cult. Koli finds that Ursula has been kidnapped as well. they escape and end up taking a prisoner in Cup and decide to go to London.
The Plot of The Trials of Koli this books take right off where the last one ended, with Ursula, Koli, and a still bound Cup heading for London and a beacon that is still up and running. They don’t make it very far until they run into Half-Ax who scour for new tech and claim this land as theirs, as they escape Koli cuts Cup’s bonds which lets her flee and Koli get caught. with Ursula and Cup escaping Cup and Ursula hate each other so he has no chance in them working together to save him.
Spinner is a girl that Koli once mated with and is the main reason he wanted to be a Rampart to begin with so they can wed and not his former best friend Haijon. We see through Spinner’s eyes as Koli displays the tech he got to work at her wedding, to all the rumors surrounding him. We get to see the fall out after the Rampart that Koli killed and their tech destroyed, effects Haijon since the tech was going to go to him and Spinner. Spinner finds out the deadly secret that Ramparts aren’t called upon to use the tech, but chosen by the Ramparts already. A plaque has effected the village of Mythren Rood they’re looking to Rampart Remember who uses a tablet for information, he is suffering from dementia, and with the help from Spinner uses the technology in secret, as more people die. Rampart Remember decides to give her the tech as he has an old non-working one to fool the other Ramparts. She solves it but as she does she is busted with the stolen tech, will she suffer the same fate as Koli?
What I Liked: The heart of these book sticks out more and more, we all want to see the world as Koli. The book dealing with Cup who is transgendered during the Apocalypse, and what that is like. The villages acceptance of Cup and how they explain it is beautiful. The rescue attempt at the Half Ax and the plotting leading up to that. Spinner and her story development was exciting to see. The sea bear fight was a highlight. I liked seeing the traditional healer’s jealousy at Ursula and her tech healing and the trial she makes for Ursula. The big show down with Half Ax was great. I liked the dual storytelling at first I was on the fence, then I started enjoying Spinner’s story more than Koli’s.
What I Disliked: The pacing was not always great, the middle stalls for a bit with the Koli storyline. I wanted to see more of Koli and his thoughts, I felt Cup kind of took over at the back half of the book.
Recommendations: This is turning out to be a pretty good trilogy with the unlikeliest of heroes and weapons. Spinner storyline was a breath of fresh air. The story ends with a pretty good cliffhanger that can change everything. I rated The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey 4 out of 5 stars.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is bloody and dark. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death, horror, and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. This is a novel I found really frustrating at the beginning, because we are thrown into this book, with no backstory, no since of how worlds and magic are set up, but then we get the backstory and I was blown away by how clearly all the strife between the two main characters of Gideon and Harrow was explained and made sense for all the hatred. The one thing in my TBR that really got me to check out this book was the lesbian necromancy. The book delivers very solidly on the necromancy, but the lesbianism is really lacking thee’s looks, there’s hand holding, and maybe barely a thought, and that’s it. So is there a lesbian necromancer? yes there’s more questioning and slight longing, and representation does matter but be warned you could be disappointed.
The Plot: Gideon is on her 87th escape from the ninth world, she has secrets that will not stop her from getting out. She faces challenges from some, but she is determined. Gideon is almost at the ship that will take her off world when she is met by the world’s ruler Harrowhawk or just Harrow. She makes her a deal she can leave or she can and hear a proposal. Harrow sweetens the deal if she lays a blade on her she will give her coin and send her on the way, but if she loses then she has to hear the proposal. Gideon agrees and Harrow unleashes hundreds of skeletons from the ground, Gideon gets close and manages to take a glove off to reveal a dirty hand. Gideon can’t believe she lost when it is revealed that Harrow spent all night burying one to set up this trap. Harrow and Gideon hate each other to the core, but a proposal has them working together, with Gideon getting her wish to go off world as Harrow’s caviler and Harrow get’s a her world to get recognized and a chance to save the dying world by becoming the emperor’s hand. Gideon agrees and leaves with Harrow her first order is don’t talk to a soul, Gideon saves a girl from the seventh house only to have her caviler put a sword to her throat. This is a lesson to Gideon that she is playing a dangerous game. A tournament is set up amongst caviler’s and necromancers. Gideon does okay but soon learns she is out of her element. Harrow goes missing as a pair of bodies from one house show up and a set of hidden keys. It is quickly realized that the hidden keys are the goal and the secrets they unlock. Gideon and Harrow who are mortal enemies must work together to win and for their lives.
What I Liked: Necromancy in the form of Dark magic is really well thought out, and I liked that each house had a different speciality. The big reveal on why Gideon and Harrow hate each other was so well thought out, it worked for the plot and it made sense emotionally how those actions can lead to hate. The forty page climax is intense, I will complain that is was sometime hard to follow, but what I could picture was excellent. The scene where skeletons are created using the necromancer’s own bones was really cool and terrifying. The Gideon and Harrow relationship was special, and the highlight of the book about trusting someone you hate. My favorite side character was Sextus his morality and trust were great to see in such a warrior. Gideon’s one liners, didn’t always land but the couple times they did I laughed. I loved the Sex Pal line the best. Such a haunting cover that demands the reader to check it out.
What I Disliked: The first part of the book takes a little bit to get going because you are so in the dark to how their world and magic work. I did have a little trouble always picturing the action. The guy waited a little too long to show their full power. Keeping up with all the characters was really hard, the main ones are easy but some of the houses blend together.
Recommendations: Read this truly original dark book. Gideon the Ninth is book one in a proposed trilogy called The Locked Tomb Series. I think this is one of those good hybrid of Science Fiction and Fantasy with a little bit of Horror. This book say the F-word a fair amont, but I would recommend this to a mature young adult. I rated Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 4 out of 5 stars. Gideon the Ninth was pretty close to a five star for me, I already put a hold on Harrow the Ninth, and am looking forward to where this series goes.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato is the last issues of Injustice but wait there’s an Injustice 2. This volume takes us right up to when the Injustice: Gods Among Us Video game starts. Knowing that there was an Injustice 2 on the horizon, there was no way this series could end cleanly, the superman hate fest does not end with a hug and a hand shake but with a solution to even the score. This book is action packed with some of the best writing that Brian Buccellato has done thus far. He keeps exploring that Batman does not kill, even driven to the edge, he resist, and this Graphic Novel puts him there, where he considered it. The Batman and Damian dynamic explodes as Damian is all for killing, but Batman teaches him a lesson as he hold Clarks throat in his hands. The Flash and Green Lantern start casting doubts. Batman tries to expose Superman with video evidence that would turn the public and some of his teammates against him. Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 collects issues of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five 13-20.
The Series Plot leading up to Year Five Volume 3: The Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois and his unborn child, when her heart stops a nuclear bomb destroys Metropolis. Superman distraught kills The Joker and declares martial law on the whole world, vowing that no one should die needlessly. Lex Luthor develops a pill that will make ordinary people super to start an army of supermen that Superman controls. Batman steals the super humans pills and gives them to every hero and a few villains to make them equal. Superman’s action have drawn attention to the Green Lantern Corps who’s power is all about will power. Martian Man hunter died as he was fighting Wonder Woman from the inside when Superman used his heat vision, and sent Wonder Woman into a coma. Sinestro is manipulates Superman telling his own story and the way the Green Lantern Corps will attack, he makes an alliance that brings Sinestro and his minions as added protection, both Hal Jordan and Superman put on the yellow rings of fear to win against the Green Lantern Corps. Batman list the help all of his friends with magical abilities in a plan to put Superman asleep forever. The plan worked but Wonder Woman’s mother makes a deal with Athena to wake Superman and Wonder Woman. The sleep was supposed to give Superman clarity but he wakes up madder than ever because of what he missed out on. Batman makes a deal with Ares as well that has the old Gods and Amazon’s joining his side. The Amazon’s are missing Wonder Woman’s mother who is taken prisoner by Hera and made to sit this fight out, as per her deal. Batman ends up tricking Wonder Woman to fight Superman to the death a a champion of the Amazon’s. Sinestro interferes when it looks like Superman could lose. Zeus Sees this as deal breaker and declares all out war on the New Gods. Superman kills Hercules in the conflict which makes Zeus angry and kills Shazam and Harley who spoke out. Superman retreats as the remaining Justice League are beat. Zeus declares himself God of the world, wanting to get rid of every other form of religion. Ares makes a deal with Superman to bring a jealous Poseidon to fight his brother Zeus. This brings Aquaman into the battle, as Poseidon wants to wipe out Wonder Woman’s home with a giant tidal wave. Batman knowing this has got out of control and he got played by a vengeful Ares, seeks a help and offers enough hints to Superman to figure out who Ares is doing his bidding for, Darkseid. Plastic Man risk all to save his son from being a prisoner of Superman, he saves his son and rescues every other rogue in the process. All the men Superman deemed bad guys are released out into the world, some vow to be good, some want to be bad, and some want revenge. Superman works on two things recapturing all of the criminals and taking down Batman. Superman has deal for a set of villains take down the Bat, and get your freedom. Superman finds out about a resistance that uses the image of the Joker to fight back. Superman sees read and uses heat vision murdering every one of them. Bane the man who has broken the Batman before, Killer Frost and Killer Croc. They know they can’t reach the bat so the grab the Cat. Catwoman is tortured to reveal where Batman is, she’s saved eventually but quits seeing no end to this fight. Lex’s Superman clone is found, but there’s something not right about him almost bizarre. Bizarro is born and the Trickster is manipulating him. Bizarro accidentally kills the Trickster in a hilarious way, Bizarro starts to remember being made in a lab by Lex and ask lex to fix his friend. Lex convinces Bizarro to gains access to the Fortress of Solitude for real answers on who he is. A Lex controlled Doomsday waits there, the plan is to have Doomsday kill Bizarro so Superman doesn’t find out he is working to stop him. Superman wants answers from the clone and shows up to the fortress of Solitude where Lex turns Doomsday and Bizarro who he controls against Superman. Batman is running out of allies and confidence he turns to his surrogate father/butler Alfred who assures him that he is on the right side of this difficult path. After Alfred gets done talking to Bruce, he turns around expecting Damian, but gets instead Victor Zsasz with a long knife in the Bat Cave saying, “the devil sent me.” Zasaz murders Alfred, Bruce gets there. He beats him to a bloody pulp but can not kill him. Damian arrives telling Batman to get out of the way so I can kill him.
The Plot of Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 3 – Batman fights his son, protecting Zasaz from death. They both give everything they have got until Superman arrives. Batman says he sent him Damian that’s the true enemy. Damian his mind still on Zasaz tries to kill him once again with Batman stopping him and Superman knocking him through a wall. Batman takes the last super powered pill he has left and Superman and Batman fight. Batman gets the upper hand gets his arm around Superman’s neck, and ask Damian is this what you want, you want me to kill him or give him a chance to change. Damian tries to kill Batman to save Superman but Batman sees it coming and blocks it dropping Superman. The Flash comes and sees the damage he takes Zasaz to prison and Batman away. Superman gets angry and threatens The Flash and his disloyalty. he took Batman to grieve for Alfred and said we owed it to Alfred not to fight. The Flash’s loyalty is questioned again when Iris is threatened with death for going against the regime. The Flash kills Killer Shark in an attempt to save Iris, and she’s not happy at what he’s become. Batman and The Flash meet to discuss ending this, and using the speed force to change time. The Flash won’t do it saying we deserve this. Hawkman blames Superman for Hawkgirl betraying him and follow him, he fights Superman with a Kryptonite club that he forged he strikes Superman deep, making Superman get a Kryptonite sickness. Batman finds a recording of Superman murdering the Joker cult that he blamed on Bizarro, but the recording clearly shows Superman. Batman has to take Cyborg down to expose the world of Superman’s crimes and turn them against him. Will he succeed?
What I Liked: The Batman versus Superman fight is epic and something I truly wanted to see, it has something the series has been promising and we got it full, plus Batman had to deal with Damian trying to kill Zasaz as well. The Flash scenes were written really well, he hasn’t gotten a good storyline since Injustice Year One. The ending I was very satisfied, I did know it wouldn’t end, so saying that I think it ended with hope and a bit of chaos. They were able to do two things show how to eventually stop the Injustice League and create a new threat.
What I Disliked: much of the criminals have re-escaped storyline is pushed to the side. I was 50/50 on the Hawkman storyline, I really didn’t like how it almost came out of nowhere with not much storyline leading into it.
Recommendation: I recommend you check out this series, it has been an interesting ride seeing some characters acting out of character. This book has one heck of a Batman versus Superman fight that cannot be missed. There’s some really good character study going on. I rated Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato 4 out of 5 stars. The story picks back up in Injustice 2, what I’m really excited about is it is bringing the original writer of Injustice, Tom Taylor back. I will continue but take a small break from this series as well.