Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a nail-biting horror story full of suspense. The horror isn’t in the monster but what the sight of the monster will do to the human. Malerman to his credit never describes the monster, and leaves it totally to the imagination of the reader. The monster’s sight will make the watcher full of rage and for most be driven to commit suicide, by any means necessary. We spend most of this story in the dark, literally, as the only way the creature is effective is through sight, so character’s cover their site through blind folds. The only way they use their eye sight is it every window is covered and know exactly who is in the house. This novel makes a simple task of going to the well to get water a suspense filled ride where every bump or trip hazard could mean doom. This novel was adapted to a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock, which enhanced the tensions, strengthened some of the relationships, and add a diverse cast of characters. The novel was did a better job of making the small moments suspense filled, while the movie enhanced the bigger moments, and let some relationships blossom more than get cut short like in the novel. I recommend experiencing both, I would have rather read the book first, but the book was so hot at the time, I couldn’t wait. This is my second Josh Malerman novel I read the underrated and excellent novella A House at the Bottom of the Lake.

The Plot: We meet Malorie with two kids both four years old, that all are blindfolded as they make there way to the river, for a nice easy blindfolded river ride to a destination unknown; but a promise of safety. We flashback to when Malorie has just discovered she is pregnant. She currently lives with her sister and got pregnant off a one night stand. Her sister and her watch the news as Alaska as been struck with a rash of people going crazy and commit suicide. They go to a drugstore to get a pregnancy test and see people starting to panic. They stockpile food and cover all the windows in the house, it goes great for three months when a piece of the covering falls and results in the sisters death. Malorie three months pregnant and getting desperate saw an add for shelter not too long ago before everything stopped, just a couple blocks away. She risks safety and security to chance it all to live in shelter with a group of strangers. This decision will change her life is it for the good or the bad?

What I Liked: The descriptions are what make this book suspense filled. We discover what things are as we get a POV of what all the prods. We get details on sound, texture, and of smells that put the reader right in that scenario. The character of Malorie from a meek character to a strong some what cruel mother is a great character transition. All the character’s and how they interact over so much strain adds to the tension. I liked the system they create to survive. The row boat and the wolves scene is pure tension, and one of the best scenes. I loved the ending, I felt is was pretty perfect. The climax is one of the best that I have read, everything happened at once, kind of making it two climaxes at once.

What I Disliked: The bad guy doesn’t get what he deserves, but now there is a sequel, so maybe they return. There’s the aftermath of the climax, that I was still bummed we didn’t get a recreation of what exactly happened as Malorie puts it together with feeling, we did get a brief one, but if we could have been told in a more detailed way of what exactly went down it would have been awesome.

Recommendations: Read this book! Read this book before you see the movie, the movie only adds it takes nothing away. If you want horror that will keep you on the edge then this boo is for you. Where A Quiet Place is horror for sound Bird Box is horror for sight. I rated Bird Box by Josh Malerman 5 out of 5 stars. I can not wait to read the sequel Malorie that was released only a month ago.

Book Review :Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez

Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez This is a smaller story filled with a really long action piece and the rest is filled with long conversations. There are three keys discovered in this one, the giant key which makes you turn into a giant, the crown of shadows key, which has a key go into a crown which lets you control shadows, and the fix it key which can fix broken items in a cupboard, but can not fix the dead. The art has a lot of full page panels with lots of little details that are better than the story. The first two novels pieced a lot of the past together, this novel did not reflect on the past hardly at all.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows Dodge only cares about two keys which he does not possess the Well key and the Black/Omega key, and creates a nightmare of shadows to torture Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The mom finally discovers the fix it key and figures out what it can do, which leads to disastrous results. When Sam died while going through the ghost door that he’s still a ghost, but the manipulation that dodge once had over him is gone, and he vows revenge. When the ghost form of Dodge talked and fought Sam, it revealed there is a key inside him. Kinsey is starting to fall out of Luke/Dodge/Zach’s influence, as she makes new friends who are a bit of outsiders that show her a link to her father.

What I Liked: That Sam has a backbone and stands up to dodge almost beating him and taking over his body as a ghost. The Art really shines in this novel over the others. The fix it key and the breakdown of the mom was powerful. The character of Scot Cavendish is one of my favorites, a great punk character. The heart break of the juggling scene. I liked and appreciated all the mom scenes even if they were so hard to read as she constantly makes bad choice after choice. The shadow key action was great leading to the Giant key showdown.

What I Disliked: There was no going back in the past and the writing suffered a little from it. The scenes were good but I felt the weakest story out of all the books in the series. The only thing that saves it is that the scenes matter but you don’t know that until the Volume 5.

Recommendations: This book is the weakest entry for me, in terms of story. The visuals are mind blowing in detail. This story is full of interesting conversation and some great action. I rated Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez 4 out of 5 stars. I originally rated this 3 stars but upon rereading it I rated it four stars, I felt it added little substance to the plot but it added a lot, now that I know the full story.

Book Review: Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez

Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez is a graphic novel that will open minds literally. This is my second time through the series, now that I know the ending, it fun piecing it together knowing all the character’s pasts and knowing all the keys and where they are hidden. This series is super involved, I love Joe Hill and have read almost everything that he has written, the only thing that I have not are the off shoots of the Locke and Key series. This time I’m reading the books with my girlfriend, as I want to watch the new Netflix series called Locke and Key. Head Games is bloody, with a sense of dark humor, while dealing with complex issues like homosexuality, alcoholism, regret, and grief.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

What I Liked: The mind key, it is such a cool idea. Where it makes a key hole that opens up to your brain, allowing the user to pull out manifestation of a complex emotion. I the manifestation, its self can cause trouble it can fight back and go into another hosts head. I loved Tyler using the head key to try to impress a girl and it totally backfiring. The clever way that Foreigner’s song “Head Game” was worked in. What happened to the Ellie’s Mom. Duncan’s boyfriend and his no intimidation for being who he is. Rufus the character you feel the most sorry for living in the house with Zach, and the grandmother from hell.

What I Disliked: The flow was a little disjointed, we get a random flashback from a teacher who’s interracial wife drowns, and then he gets murdered later with rarely a mention of the wife who died earlier.

Recommendations: Locke and Key is one heck of a series from the mind of Joe Hill who blends horror and tragedy so seamlessly. The art is beautiful, and telling, sometimes Hill will not use words and let the art give you the emotions you should feel. I didn’t love this Head Games as much as the first one, which is hard to top in my opinion, but it is still a great Chapter to an amazing series. I rated Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Full Throttle by Joe Hill

Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go. A couple of the the short stories are odes to his favorite authors like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Lawerence Block, David Mitchell, and Stephen King. Out of the stories in this collection I was familiar with two, I read You are Released in Flight or Fright, which is a short story anthology about chilling tales involving flight, and I watched the Netflix original movie of the adaptation for In the Tall Grass which he wrote with Stephen King. Joe Hill has been one of my favorite others for quite some time I have read all his novels, short story collections, and all but two of his graphic novels. So I’m a bit of a super fan of his after finishing Full Throttle I already want another story of his roaming into by head. My favorites of Full Throttle are Faun, You Are Released, By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain, Late Returns, and All I Care About is You. I broke each short story down individually to give each a rating and tell a little bit of what it is about.

The Plots and Ratings:

Five Star Stories:

Late Returns is about a bookmobile operator’s job delivering and picking library books from the alive and sometimes the dead. This story is really pull you heart strings type story. As the dead in most cases are able to checkout one last book. A a reader who wouldn’t love this story. I love the thought of giving new writer’s to people that died long ago. Hill remarks that his greatest fear is not finishing a book before he dies.

Faun is a story that was so good I didn’t want it to end, I think this story could easily be expanded into a novel. Faun is about a group of hunters that want to hunt more than just animals. One hunter knows about a place where you can hunt your wildest dreams. Think if a gateway to Narnia opened up, instead of go on an adventure it was used as a hunting ground. I this story was a great mix of Narnia meets Cabin in the Woods. This was my favorite story, the ending felt a bit rushed, but there’s so much potential to expand.

All I Care About is You is a story set in the future, on a mediocre birthday of Iris who has just turned 16. She ends up paying for a robot’s companionship for one hour, who’s mission statement is I will only care about you. This story is manages to balance sweet and sinister. The story has a weird beginning that took a little while to get into, but the story wraps up with a great unexpected ending.

By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain a story where there little kids find a dead dinosaur, like Nessie of Loch Ness, on the beach of the lake. They are kids so no one believes them until it is too late. This story was fun, really good dialogue, capturing the kids voices. This story was the most heartfelt of the bunch, it drew its inspiration from Richard Matheson’s Silver Water and Ray Bradbury’s The Foghorn

You Are Released is story about what happens in the passenger plane when nuclear war starts. A great story that jumps back and forth between passengers and the cabin, each dealing with their fates the way they know how. The best is we see through the eyes of a young girl that doesn’t know the world is changing and the adults our acting so strangely.

In the Tall Grass with Stephen King is the scariest story of the bunch it plays well with the fear of the unknown. Becky and Cal are siblings that are driving across Kanas, to reach the west coast where Becky can give away the unplanned baby away. There trip is halted when they here cries from help from the tall grass, once they enter they. They can’t seem to find their way out. The images presented are brutal and my leave some sick. The short story is the first 25 minutes of the Netflix film. There is no Travis in the short story, only a mention. I enjoyed both, there was parts I liked in both film and short story I liked. Both end pretty tragically.

Dark Carousel is a tale of four friends haunted by the creatures of an old carousel. I do like that this story is connected to Charlie Manx from NOS4A2 that Christmasland donated a cat for the carousel. The story and characters are great without the horror element, but when the moment comes the story gets scary and brutal.

Four Star Stories:

Mums is about Jack a sort of prisoner at his father’s separatist commune, his mother attempts to free but she is set up to look like a bad mother. Jack doesn’t realize learning to build fertilizer bombs is uncommon. The story goes all over the place and makes you the reader question what you’re reading is real or is Jack crazy.

Throttle by Joe Hill and Stephen King is about a biker gang terrorized by a semi, it’s Duel for the next generation. It had a weird opening telling about what is happening now and in the past at roughly the same time. The story gets good when it is biker v. Semi. I did love the family dynamic to the plot. Throttle ad the funniest lines of two characters describing stench.

Wolverton Station is a story about an American businessman on a train in London that just happens to be occupied by werewolves. The story makes some Little Red Riding Hood comparisons, with the businessman’s nickname being the woodcutter. The descriptions of the carnage are gorishly detailed. There’s a big of class warfare that didn’t fit so well.

Twittering from the Circus of the Dead is a story in tweet format, where we get the perspective of a teenage girl as she goes with her younger brother and parents on a road trip through America. They do a stop over at the Circus of the Dead. The show is fear based with zombies interacting with performers and patrons, the family doesn’t know it but they’re going to be part of the show. This story has a great ending with a bit of a twist.

Three Star Story:

The Devil on the Staircase is a story child growing up and working on the stairs of Sulle Scale. He lives on top and there is 820 steps to get to bottom. One side entrance with a red door that is always locked, is said to be stairs to hell. The type setting having the words cascade in columns looking like stairs works, but the story is a bit lagging.

Two Star Story:

Thumbprints this story has been me least favorite so far. A story about a female PFC Officer who held prison and torture duty, has that past creep up on her as she is a civilian working as a bar tender years later. Did not really care for the main character. I could see where Hill was going with this one we are all prisoners of our own design, but it just didn’t work for me.

Recommendations: I love Joe Hill I recommend his work when ever I get the chance. So far I have not been letdown by him. Full Throttle I whole heartedly recommend for fans of the horror genre. The stories are varied and carefully chosen. For people interested in the process of writing Hill breaks down how he came up with each story and who influenced him. This collection had seven stories which were 5 stars, four that where 4 stars, one that was 3 stars, and one that was 2 stars. The 5’s have it. I rated Full Throttle 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill Art By Gabriel Rodriguez

Third Time Reading Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, and my rating of 5 stars still stands. This book is incredible! I’m reading the series and this book in particular because of the new Locke & Key series Starts on February 7 2020 on Netflix. Having been a fan of this book series the screen adaptation has been long process 10 years ago Fox passed on the pilot, then Universal was trying to make it into a movie trilogy, and lastly Hulu had it and passed on the pilot where it came to Netflix where it is written by Carlton Cuse of Lost and Bate’s Motel . So after that long wait I’m super excited for this series, but let me tell you about the book I love. This graphic novel combines gothic horror with suspense and added fantastical elements. The book deals with loss in a mature and profound way. The keys in this book, open more than just doors, there’s key’s that can literally open your mind, change your gender, turn you into a ghost, and let you go anywhere where the is a door. Joe Hill is an auto buy author for me, whether it is novels, short stories, or graphic novels he delivers.

The Plot: The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

What I Liked: The book looks at grief and loss in a very real way, how a wrong last word can destroy you. The book looks at victimhood and how it ties to depression. Lastly it looks at alcoholism, not shying away fro the truth. I love the art, I think this book does the best I’ve seen at showing familiar traits among family members. Bode the youngest is my favorite character, he has an over active imagination, and is precocious. The funniest moment is when Bode writes a report for school using artwork revealing the truth but every finds it disturbing. The keys are a really cool, and well thought out, the ghost key is my favorite.

What I Disliked: I would have waned to know more about how the echo work exactly, I can’t remember if that ever gets explained in further books. That’s all I can think of, which is rare, I just really love this book.

Recommendations: If you love horror with a good suspenseful story with lots of secrets, then this book is for you. The opening book is so good the series as a whole I have rated 4. 5 stars, with this book being a stand out. Having read the series, I can say it it is totally worth reading the series as you learn more secrets new ones come about. I might do a follow up when I watch the series next week. Locke & Key Vol.1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill I rated 5 out of 5 stars.

The trailer to the new Netflix series Locke and Key starting February 7th

Book Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers by John Marrs is a good Science Fiction book, that feels all too real and ask some pretty big questions. I love a good Science Fiction novel that look at the future and asks should we as a society be questioning this; and that is what John Marrs delivers with The Passengers, as he looks to the future and the dangers of self automated cars driven by A.I., it also looks at the growing power of social media and it’s influence in the future. This book reminded me of the Roger Corman film Death Race 2000 meets Stephen King’s The Long Walk all wrapped in an episode of Black Mirror. This could totally be an episode of Black Mirror for it’s take on society and social media alone. If you have read John Marrs book The One ( The One is being adapted into a 10 episode Netflix mini-series) it matches DNA so find your soul mate, you’ll get an added bonus, with that technology being is a small plot point in The Passengers which works really well on where technology is in the fictional near future. I really liked this book, but I was letdown by the ending, which veered off in a direction that didn’t seem to go with the beginning of the novel, it changed my sure to be 5 star review into a 4 star. I would like to thank Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for giving me the advanced copy for the American release in exchange for honest opinion. The Passengers by John Marrs has already released in the UK and is getting released on August 27 2019 in America.

The Plot: In the near future in Britain all cars have been fully automated making regular cars illegal. The cars now come with a seat that can swivel and media can be played on the windows, the car is operated by voice commands. The car death toll has gone down but they still happen, and have a jury decide who’s at fault for the deaths, Libby is a guest on that panel. Libby is a mental health doctor, that doesn’t trust the cars fully after watching a terrible accident a few years ago wipe out a family. Libby is the only civilian juror, the other jurors are medical professionals, government agent and clergy. So far since starting the panel no death has been the cars fault, the car are anti-hack proof, or so they thought. Today 8 people from different walks of life have had their vehicles taken over by a person on a automated voice calling himself the Hacker. The 8 passengers are all told they will die in 2 and a half hours as they reach their destination. The jury will decide who lives or who dies, Libby’s world is turned upside down when she knows one of the passengers, and the hacker knows about her as well. It’s a taut thriller ride that will put you in the passengers seat for the ride.

What I Liked: This novel does an excellent job with backstory picking and choosing when to reveal more about the characters at the right time. The twist and turns are through out this novel, keeping you the reader on your toes and not knowing who to trust. The humor comes in burst like the hashtag on Libby’s bad shoes as she’s deciding on someone’s fate, and others. Me being a Communication Major I loved the take of social media in the near future. I enjoyed the characters and their ups and downs. The technology of the cars was well thought out, and great twist involving that technology later. The hacker was a great puppet master type villain, until the ending , but until that point great character work. I do like that Brexit is now a thing marked in history as a milestone, that still affects Britain in the future.

What I Disliked: The ending is the only problem I had with this book, it’s not horrible, but it just didn’t fit at all, this novel is a smart tight thriller until the ending that is out of character and has a calculated character make a dumb mistakes and it took too long to get to the ending, once the rising action stops.

Recommendations: Despite me not enjoying the ending this is a worthwhile, often thought provoking novel, that looks at issues that could arise in our near future. I do recommend you check this one out. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Black Mirror then you must check it out. If you like Science Fiction that challenges future technology, your sure to enjoy this one. I rated The Passengers by John Marrs 4 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up – May 2019 Book Reviews

May was a good review month, I read some good horror, one historical Fiction and some good mysteries.    I read six books this month. One Five star novel ad the rest were all four stars.  I read two advanced copies thanks to netgalley.  I broke my record with 42 views in one day this month.  I received a great deal of feedback in the comments which is really encouraging and helps make me a better bookblogger.

Five Star Reviews:

TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh  –  The tag line begs you to read it. The Serial killer isn’t on trial, he’s part of the jury.  The book is smart and a well paced thriller, that has a lot of fun with the scenario. This book comes out on August 2nd.

Four Star Reviews:

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher – A good filler for your anticipation before Stranger Things Season 3 comes out in July.  This book is a prequel about a much more chipper James Hopper when he had a child and a wife and lived in New York in 1977.  This novel still has that Stranger Things vibe of a supernatural world waiting. This was released on May 28th.

Sour Candy By Kealan Patrick Burke – a really good novella with lots and twist and turns packed into a 76 page story that is vey creepy. It would make a hell of a good Twilight Zone episode.

Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House by R. L. Stine  – This throwback read reminded me when I grew up being a 90’s kid.  The story was pretty good,  with a good little twist at the end.  I was a little shocked at just how much gore I read, but as a kid I would’ve loved it.

Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce – A quaint little story that takes place in Britain during the Blitzkrieg during World War II.  It manages to balance both heart breaking and heart warming.

Case Histories by Hate Atkinson – A great mystery, that is all about the characters and the tragedy of having unanswered questions about a crime. This is the first Jackson Brodie novel

Book Review: Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town By Adam Christopher

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher is the second novel that takes place in the Stranger Things universe. I did not read the first one which was about Eleven’s mother, but I wanted too and was very interested, but wasn’t able to, so when this novel came available on netgalley i had to request it. I was super excited to receive it early for any honest review. I’m a big fan of the show and eagerly awaiting the third season of Stranger Things July 4th on Netflix. So approaching this book review as a fan. Do you have to read this to get a deeper lore for the series? No. This novel is a total fan fiction and deeper character study of Detective Harper. Is there any hint to what happens in Season 3? No, this novel does happen between season 2 and 3, so we do get quick update to what characters have been doing since the Mind Flayer, but mainly this is a book about the characters of Eleven and Detective James Hopper. I want to think netgalley and Del Rey Publishing for sending me an early copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot: Eleven and Hopper are alone together on dreary day, all El’s friends have gone out of town so she’s stuck alone with Hopper. Hopper makes a reference to the Vietnam War which makes Eleven ask questions, that he refuses to answer or talk about. Eleven ask about New York, which he starts telling her about then, she brings a box down with files, that has New York on it, and he proceeds to tell the story of New York in the Summer of 1977. There’s a big serial killer making the news called the Son of Sam, and Hopper and his new partner Delgado, one of the first female detectives, are busy trying to solve the Card Killer a new serial killer, they’re trying to keep out of the press. Detective Hopper finds a connection to gangs that could lead to solving it when he’s taken off the case and the FBI takes over. Hopper and his partner are upset. Then a clue walks in, a gang member that knows things and wants to save his sister from the gang, Hopper and Delgado the only people who know about the gang connection decide to follow the connection, and it leads to cover up, murder, Hopper framed as a cop killer and a whole lot more.

What I Liked: Seeing Hopper as a true family man with his wife and kid, not the broken man we meet in the first season. There still is a stranger things vibe to the story, but not copying on the show. The Eleven and Hopper relationship is a fun one and often unintentionally funny. The villain was really good and terrifying in his conviction and goals for New York. Delgado was a good character. I liked the way the story was told flipping back to Hopper telling the story to Eleven.

What I Disliked: Eleven had no teenage angst she had in Season 2 so it felt like Eleven from Season 1 where everything is still new, and doesn’t mind being caged up. We didn’t get the closure I wanted on how Hopper came back to Hawkins. There’s an action scene that goes on too long, and a got lost in where the characters were in the action.

Recommendation: if you’re even a casual fan of the show, there’s a lot to get out of it, so I do recommend it. If you’ve never seen the show the Eleven and Hopper relationship is going to be a little weird and you will probably be lost with all the show references, but you can totally understand Hopper’s story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis

Jessica Jones: Alias Volume 1 collects issues 1-9, this graphic novel tells two stories the first is issues one through five which would get this novel an easy five stars, because it’s written so well, but the second story is not as good and would rate three stars. Fuck is the first word in this book and really sets you up for an adult comic, we see the infamous scene that was in the Jessica Jones tv show on Netflix where she has super hero sex with Luke Cage. There’s is comically two scenes of toilet seat crime solving, which I’m a fan of, and would probably solve most of my cases there if I was in law enforcement. Marvel hero’s in this book are Captain America Steve Rogers, Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, Daredevil Matt Murdock, and Power man Luke Cage. This novel is mature in content, it was published in 2001 and was published under MAX that an offshoot of marvel for extremes, this was Marvel’s way of competing with DC comics popular Vertigo comics.

The Plot: Jessica Jones used to be a Super hero, with a cape and everything and was called Jewel, Now she’s a seedy private eye, investigating mainly cheating spouses. This all changes when a woman who is clearly wealthy walks in and wants Jessica to find her missing sister. Jessica finds the sister and her boyfriend one late night, but she see’s something else the girls boyfriend gets a call and has to leave, but he doesn’t go out the front door, he goes to the roof and changes in to Captain America. (this is not like the movies where Captain America does not where a mask and his identity is known to the world) Jessica smells a trap, she tires to call the number given by the sister and it is disconnected, she goes to the address that was given and it’s a baby clothing store. She goes back to alleged sisters apartment and see’s that it is surrounded by cop cars, and a body on a gurney due to strangulation. After burning a lot of bridges no one will help her. She goes back to work and the police are waiting on her with cuffs saying they received an anonymous phone call speaking of Jessica’s involvement. Will she be implicated in a murder she did not commit? will any of here old superhero friends save her? Will she find the person behind it before it’s to late?

What I Liked: The dialogue is really sharp and fast, it really captures the way people talk. There’s a scene with Jessica and Captain Marvel gossiping of super hero’s sex lives that’s amazing and very catty. The detective work s really good it’s explained really well. The police interrogation scene was done really well the panels perfectly show the nervous rapid paced flow. The superheroes are used just enough, the names dropped but don’t appear are really great and you will get rewarded for knowing them, especially in the catty sex lives scene. There’s really good twist in story lines. The art work keeping the noir shadowy feel works incredibly well setting up the seedy atmosphere.

What I Disliked: The second story about finding a semi famous sidekick that might be related to Jessica. There’s a really good twist involving a psychologist that I really loved and did not see coming, but that was all I loved in this tale. I did not like how Steve Rogers was drawn, everyone else was fine but it was just bad and Captain America deserves better than that.

Recommendations: If you like Marvel’s Jessica Jones Tv show then you’ll love this and see where they got the ideas for this and that scene, since there is three of Marvel’s Defenders in this volume. If you want to read about a strong female protagonist. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading the 3 other volumes out.