Monday, February 24, 2014

City of Dark Magic


       Okay, so the rundown is as follows: Magnus Flyte has written a very dense, very enjoyable book that goes absolutely nowhere. That's not hyperbole, that's not a bad joke, the book goes three hundred pages in one direction, then remembers it's supposed to have a plot and writes a one hundred page sequel to the three hundred page mess that came before it. 

                       The book follows the exploits of musicologist* Sarah Weston as she is drawn into murder, intrugue, and romance in the city of Prague, navigating these dark currents with the aid of an immortal dwarf and the last prince of the Lobkowicz family line. 

                         The good is a very dense, very colorful narrative with a unique cast of characters.

                           The bad is that none of that is actually given anything to do, the supporting characters are a lot more interesting than Sarah and Prince Max. The result is a messy book that is only a joy to read when you don't know you're being fooled, and like pulling teeth when you do.       

                            In the end, I'd say missing this one would be the best thing you could possibly do, but check out the sequel, or wait until Flyte writes an entire book about Suzi Oshiro. Those might be less of a waste of time.   

More, as always, below.

Monday, February 17, 2014



                           Okay, so the rundown is as follows: Nocturnal is a book with a lot of cool ideas. It follows Inspector Bryan Clauser and his partner Pookie Chang as they chase down cults, conspiracies, and serial-killing monsters in the streets of San Francisco. The last two hundred pages are a powerhouse of a ride, and a lot of the twists are well-built and not telegraphed. Scott Sigler knows what he's doing, and when it shines through, it shines. The characters' chemistry and some humor from the hunter of the supernatural not knowing exactly what he's doing also lend itself to some good scenes.

                                The problem is that there are three hundred pages before that, a lot of which tends to feel kind of like bloat and slows the momentum down a little, when Sigler's at his best with the throttle wide open and the plots breathless. The other major problem is that the main character is very hard to connect to, and that the plot feels kind of more built from conveniences than logical conclusions, and there are a lot of leaps. 

                                  But in the end, despite its flaws, I highly recommend looking into Scott Sigler's books, and if you happen to find it on the library shelf, go ahead and give Nocturnal a try. You may find you like it more than I do. I just wouldn't recommend buying it. 

More, as always, below.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hell's Horizon


            Okay, so the rundown is as follows. Hell's Horizon is a damn good detective story. It's a creepy mystery novel full of the surreal horror and unnerving violence that marked its predecessor. The dialogue and atmosphere are top-notch, and even if you can guess some of the plot twists before they hit, the way they're presented makes them feel newer and fresher. 

                     Unfortunately, if you're squeamish, this is not the book for you. When the violence comes, it comes in loving detail and some truly grisly scenes. 

                          But in the end, I highly recommend this one. Both as part of the City Trilogy and as a book on its own. Please do check it out. 

More as always below.

Monday, February 3, 2014


      Okay, so the rundown is as follows: S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst is a very good book. set/art thing. It's similar in device to House of Leaves or Griffin and Sabine, though much more accessible and a little more straightforward and less mind-screwy than either of those. The story unfolds through a book called Ship of Theseus by the enigmatic author V.M. Straka, the footnotes and translation of his work by the equally enigmatic F.X. Caldera, and the margin notes of Jen and Eric, two people at the fictitious university known as PSU who communicate by passing the book back and forth after Jen finds Eric's copy in the university library's archives. 

                The good bit is that this is an engaging book with a lot of layers and some things open to interpretation. The small level of interactivity definitely helps with immersion, and the story that unfolds through the various texts are interesting enough to keep one engaged.

                   However, I cannot recommend the book due to the papers and notes and pictures stuffed between its pages (which make it hard to borrow, get out of a library, find used, or even read some passages whilst sitting in the wrong position), and the fact that the pages get incredibly busy in places, which does not allow the individual elements of the story to breathe. Also, the text of the fictional book, Ship of Theseus, kind of drags in places and is overshadowed by the real story. If you really think you'll like it, then chances are you may. If you're on the fence, I'd give this one a pass. You'll miss a good story, but since it's pretty much buy or nothing, it's only for those who are absolutely sure. 

More, as always, below.