Reviews by Alan

Review

The Immortal Throne

Posted: December 22, 2016 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Stella Gemmell, Dark Fantasy
The Immortal Throne

Stella Gemmell returns with the paraquel-sequel(?) to THE CITY with THE IMMORTAL THRONE. (I had to Google “paraquel” to find out that the term I wanted was paraquel.)

I quite loved THE CITY, even though it’s darker than my normal fare, and I admit I waxed poetic about it. Well, I’m here to wax poetic a second time. THE IMMORTAL THRONE is a worthy successor/precursor(?) to THE CITY even if the timeline of the plot is a little weird.
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Review

Bluescreen

Posted: June 10, 2016 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Dan Wells, Cyberpunk, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
Bluescreen

I don’t review enough of the books I read, and I don’t read enough books in certain genres or categories to really review them. On the Best of 2015 EBR list, I marked BLUESCREEN by Dan Wells as one I was looking forward to. I don’t really read YA as a category (I am neither young, nor an adult, so my wife says), and so I admit some bias, but I like cyberpunk and dystopia, and here we are.
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Review

The Boy Who Wept Blood

Posted: April 15, 2016 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Den Patrick, Fantasy
The Boy Who Wept Blood

The THE BOY WHO WEPT BLOOD is the second book in Den Patrick’s Erebus trilogy. I had a lot of praise for the first one, even going so far as to tell Steve the boss, “It’s a better Locke Lamora.” Sounds like a tall order, huh?

Here’s the honest truth: the second book is not as good as THE BOY WITH THE PORCELAIN BLADE (EBR review). Much like Scott Lynch, Patrick fails to deliver a truly satisfactory second book.  But not all is lost.
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Review

The Boy with the Porcelain Blade

Posted: February 5, 2016 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Den Patrick, Dark Fantasy
The Boy with the Porcelain Blade

I had THE BOY WITH THE PORCELAIN BLADE (Amazon) in my Amazon.com cart forever. Several months. So of course, I had it ordered and bought it from a local Barnes and Noble. I’m a pretty fast reader, and THE BOY is not a very long book at all. I knocked it out in about an hour and a half, including rereading a few chapters.
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Review

The Bands of Mourning

Posted: January 1, 2016 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy
The Bands of Mourning

It feels like just yesterday I was writing my review for SHADOWS OF SELF (EBR Review).  In fact, it’s only been 4 months. That’s basically yesterday.

I wasn’t too kind on that installation of the book, but having now read BANDS OF MOURNING, I see now why SHADOWS suffered in my review. It’s because BANDS was the book I really wanted to read.
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Review

The Sleeping King

Posted: December 3, 2015 by Alan in Books We Hate Meta: Bill Flippin, Cindy Dees, Fantasy
The Sleeping King

I can’t recall a time that I encountered a fantasy novel I didn’t enjoy on some level. Congratulations, THE SLEEPING KING (Amazon), you got that award.

How can I best describe this book? I know! A poem!

“Oh Sleeping King,
How thy premise intrigued me,
but upon inspection of the thing,
this heart screamed to flee.
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Review

Shadows of Self

Posted: October 2, 2015 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy
Shadows of Self

That Brandon Sanderson guy keeps pumping out books. Like, a lot of books. MISTBORN (Amazon) was, in a large sense, the book series that put Sanderson on the map, and it remains some of his best work. Sanderson is an author known for his epic fantasy, and since finishing the Wheel of Time series, increasingly known for large books like THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES (EBR Review). However, the Mistborn books remain smaller (clocking in around 300 to 500 pages), and this book is no exception.

SHADOWS OF SELF (Amazon) continues the story set forth in ALLOY OF LAW, following Wax, Wayne, Marasi, and Steris as they continue hunting down criminals and the darker conspiracy hinted at at the end of ALLOY OF LAW (EBR review). Unlike the first book, the second book is filled with flashbacks to Wax’s origins as a lawman out in the Roughs, and we get to see some of the supporting characters and backstory that formed the character he is.
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Review

The Architect of Aeons

Posted: July 10, 2015 by Alan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: John C. Wright, Space Opera
The Architect of Aeons

It’s been a while since I sat down here and wrote a review, so you can expect a small deluge from me in the near future. I’m a huge fan of space opera in all genres and forms. I don’t know a lot about John C. Wright, but receiving THE ARCHITECT OF AEONS excited me, and made me want to read this. I’ve never read any Wright, so I was ready to experience a new to me author.
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Review

Trial of Intentions

Posted: May 27, 2015 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Peter Orullian, Epic Fantasy
Trial of Intentions

In THE UNREMEMERED: Author’s Definitive Edition (EBR Review), Peter Orullian delivered a classical fantasy novel that hearkened to the stories of Tolkien, Brooks, and more. Heroic adventures, dramatic conflicts, and nuanced storytelling continue to be the hallmarks of Orullian’s writing. And he delivers all the joys of fantasy you could want.

But, Orullian has found an untapped reservoir of talent in TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Amazon). Where THE UNREMEMBERED shines, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS transcends. Where THE UNREMEMBERED lagged or suffered, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS has displayed deftness that is far beyond its status as the second book in a series. Orullian is not just an author, but an artist. One of the rare writers, like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Lewis, and others, whose use of words, imagery, and literary techniques lifts him above his compatriots and peers into a category inhabited by the truly great.
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Review

Residue

Posted: April 28, 2015 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Steve Diamond, Horror, Young Adult
Residue

RESIDUE (Amazon) is the debut novel from EBR’s very own head honcho, Steve Diamond. The reason I am reviewing my bosses book is because he knows I’m incredibly picky, I dislike the genre he wrote in, and I’m the only EBR reviewer who wasn’t involved in the book from any standpoint other than reading it. Also, I’m more likely to be hard on Steve than nice.

So let’s talk about RESIDUE.

Right out of the gate, it should be noted that the cover is fantastic. A top notch effort, and really lends to the atmosphere of the book. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that covers aren’t important.

RESIDUE opens with Alexandra Courtney in a bloodbath and fight, and quickly establishes the novels reliance on the paranormal as a plot device and tool to make the characters unique. Almost as quickly, we’re introduced to Jack Bishop, the protagonist of the novel, who is a (surprise!) paranormally powered individual who is wanted by an evil “THINGY” for experiments. And stuff. Can’t get into too much detail there – spoilers, and all that!

Right?! Super tropey and a little off-setting in the beginning. Well buckle your seat-belts, cuz right there, is where the tropes end. First off, Diamond delivers complex, motivated characters, who refuse to be defined by what they can do, but instead are defined by the choices they make. All of the cast is well-written, delivering consistent high note after consistent high note. The use of ESP powers is done in a way not often seen in Horror, and definitely not YA.
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Review

The Unremembered (Author’s Definitive Edition)

Posted: April 7, 2015 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Peter Orullian, Epic Fantasy
The Unremembered (Author’s Definitive Edition)

I received a review copy of THE UNREMEMBERED: Author’s Definitive Edition (Amazon), in advance of the second novel in the series, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS. It’s an epic fantasy from Peter Orullian, and the plot follows Tahn as he travels with his allies, family, and friends to learn how to stand and defeat an evil from ancient times.

I had never read the original printing, so I was excited to dig in to this book.
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Review

The Girl With All The Gifts

Posted: March 6, 2015 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: M.R. Carey, Dystopian SF, Horror
The Girl With All The Gifts

I’m not a big fan of things that involve zombies, dystopia, or the apocalypse. In fact, I go out of my way to actively avoid anything with zombies (baring the occasional film). I had no idea what the contents of this book entailed when I picked it up, except for the sticky note from the EBR editor that said for me to “Read First.”
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Review

Thunderscape: The World of Aden

Posted: September 12, 2014 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Shawn Carmen, Fantasy, RPGs
Thunderscape: The World of Aden

At GenCon 2014, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the Kyoudai Games crew, and they graciously provided me with a review copy of THUNDERSCAPE: THE WORLD OF ADEN (DriveThurRPG) to review for EBR.

Thunderscape is the product of a labor of love from Shawn Carmen (of Legend of the Five Rings fame), and his team. Based on older video games, the best genre to describe the setting as (using buzzwords) is post-apocalyptic, techno-fantasy, horror.

Sounds like a win right?
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Review

The City

Posted: August 28, 2014 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: David Gemmell, Stella Gemmell, Dark Fantasy
The City

Steve knows that my favorite author is David Gemmell, whom I consider the epitome of true heroic fantasy. So when a copy of THE CITY by Stella Gemmell (Amazon) crossed his desk, he knowingly tossed it my way.

First off, I confess that my perception going into this book was colored by my adoration of David Gemmell and I was excited to get back to that style of story. This is not that style of story. This is a dark fantasy story, more akin to a combination of Joe Abercrombie and Guy Gavriel Kay.
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Review

Words of Radiance

Posted: March 7, 2014 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Epic Fantasy
Words of Radiance

The second book of The Stormlight Archives, WORDS OF RADIANCE (Amazon), comes crashing down on us after a near four year absence. And ooh boy, does book 2 deliver on what it’s promising. If you haven’t read the first one, THE WAY OF KINGS (EBR Review), go read the review and then buy the book at the link at the bottom of the page. Finishing the last Wheel of Time book kept Brandon Sanderson busy, and it’s obvious that he picked up a few things from Jordan, both good and bad.
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Review

Abaddon’s Gate

Posted: February 7, 2014 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: James S.A. Corey, Science Fiction
Abaddon’s Gate

I swear, I don’t have a man crush on Daniel Abraham. Neither does anyone else here at EBR…

…OK that isn’t entirely true.
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Review

Space Eldritch II

Space Eldritch II

Disclaimer: horror isn’t a genre I enjoy. Really, in the slightest. I can count on one hand the number of horror movies I like. I’ve never read a horror anthology before, so needless to say, I wasn’t terribly excited about reading SPACE ELDRITCH II: THE HAUNTED STARS (Amazon). But I love Science Fiction so… what the heck.
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Review

In Thunder Forged

Posted: August 13, 2013 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Ari Marmell, Steampunk, Techno Thriller
In Thunder Forged

IN THUNDER FORGED (Amazon) is the first novel set in the Warmachine world, which is known for tabletop war games, and several RPG releases. Created by Privateer Press, and published by Pyr SF&F, the novel takes place in a war-torn, steam-powered fantasy world, and IN THUNDER FORGED is a strange breed of Military Thriller, Espionage and Heroic Fantasy. I’ve been playing the tabletop game for several years now, and I’m (what I consider) pretty familiar with the world and setting. A series of tie in novels was not something I approached without trepidation. I’ve never read an Ari Marmell book before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
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Review

L5R: Imperial Histories 2

Posted: June 14, 2013 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: , , RPGs
L5R: Imperial Histories 2

Here at EBR we love our RPGs, but we’ve yet to really review any of them. We’ve decided to rectify this with a review of the latest book from Legend of the Five Rings (L5R), Imperial Histories 2.

So, enjoy this review by Alan Bahr – screenplay writer, Warmachine aficionado, and L5R (both RPG and CCG) genius.
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Review

Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier

Posted: March 14, 2013 by Alan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Myke Cole, Military SF, Science Fiction
Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier

When Steve read SHADOW OPS: CONTROL POINT (EBR Review) last year he was able to find both the good and the bad in Myke Cole’s debut novel. His review was fair and accurate, and I would have expected no less. When I read it a week ago I couldn’t find as many good things to say of it. I recognized the potential within but I couldn’t get past my intense hate of the protagonist, Oscar Britton. Ordinarily I would have skipped the sequel altogether but there seemed to be general agreement that SHADOW OPS: FORTRESS FRONTIER (Amazon) was an improvement over the debut. I wanted to see Myke succeed so I gave it a shot. For the most part I’m glad I did.
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Review

Extinction Machine

Posted: March 8, 2013 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Jonathan Maberry, Horror
Extinction Machine

Eeek! It’s Joe Ledger time! Please allow me a moment to geek out… Thanks, I needed that. Here we have EXTINCTION MACHINE (Amazon), the fifth Joe Ledger Novel by Jonathan Maberry. I’ll admit, I was a little panicked going into EXTINCTION MACHINE because I saw some rumor online declaring it the last Joe Ledger Novel. The good news is: this rumor was pure speculation, there is a sixth book in the works. The great news is: it will be called CODE Z, and it is a direct sequel to the debut Joe Ledger Novel – PATIENT ZERO (Amazon). So with that dreary cloud of depression safely behind us, let’s get on with the show!
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Review

A Memory of Light

Posted: January 8, 2013 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Epic Fantasy
A Memory of Light

This is easily the most difficult review I have had the opportunity write.  I start it off much the same I way wrote the review for the previous WoT book.  It’s difficult to write a review solely on A MEMORY OF LIGHT (Amazon), without considering all that has come before.  Opening the cover of this book, and reading those first words, all the way to finishing the last words and closing the book, has been been an inevitability hurtling (sometimes crawling) at me for 17 years or so.
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Review

Down the Road

Posted: April 18, 2011 by Alan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Bowie Ibarra, Horror
Down the Road

DOWN THE ROAD (Amazon) is one more entry into Zombie-genre novels that we wound up reading, even after we swore off of them. Gallery Books has been good to us, and for the most part we like what they give us, so we couldn’t deny this little guy a read. This is Bowie Ibarra‘s debut (and only, so far) novel.

It’s pretty obvious right from the start that this book isn’t reinventing the wheel, and that Ibarra is an extreme amateur at writing. Transitions are rushed, descriptions (except for the gore…holy crap) were minimal, and character development was only nominal. All of this can be somewhat expected though when you see the page count total at just over 200, and then see that the print is very large. This book took a whole 40 minutes to read. Seriously.
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Review

Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Posted: March 25, 2011 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Max Brallier, Horror
Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

CAN YOU SURVIVE THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? (Amazon) by Max Brallier has managed to break us out of our staunch anti-zombie book stance. It is a choose-your-own-adventure book for an adult, with a setting of… you guessed it, a zombie apocalypse. We figured it was different enough we could relent on our anti-zombie attitude for one more book.

We are glad we did. This book is a riot!
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Review

Pariah

Posted: March 18, 2011 by Alan in Books We Hate Meta: Bob Fingerman, Horror
Pariah

Bob Fingerman’s PARIAH (Amazon) has been sitting on our to-review list for a while now. We were just so thoroughly bummed out by it that after finishing it we were just too depressed to get any momentum going on a review.

Let’s get the introduction out of the way. PARIAH is a zombie book. Another one. Now that alone should tell you that there were conflicting opinions on the book. Steve loves zombies and Nick thinks they have been played out. However the book didn’t really satisfy either of us.
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Review

Speak to the Devil

Posted: February 18, 2011 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Dave Duncan, Alternate Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Speak to the Devil

Dave Duncan is one of those guys that has been improving his trade for years. From this experienced writer comes SPEAK TO THE DEVIL (Amazon). Duncan’s offering here is set in an alternate historical version of 15th-century Europe. It has all that you would expect from that time period; knights, feudalism, oppression and religion, all with the addition of magic and a fake country.
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Review

Towers of Midnight

Posted: November 2, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Epic Fantasy
Towers of Midnight

Sometimes it is difficult to review a novel. In fact, this isn’t even the original review we had written for TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT (Amazon). There are so many variables that come into play that we have to take an accounting of, that we wonder where we should even begin. ToM, obviously, is one of these types of novels. There is the matter of the book itself; the story, the characters and the progression in the novel have to be considered. But then so does the rest of the series in one as large as The Wheel of Time. And to be objective when you all know we like our fantasy in the non-Jordan fashion. Yeah. It’s all sorts of difficult to put a review of this type of novel together in a way that makes sense to you lovely readers.
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Review

The Digital Plague

Posted: August 13, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Jeff Somers, Science Fiction
The Digital Plague

THE DIGITAL PLAGUE (Amazon) is the second book in the Avery Cates Series by Jeff Somers. The previous book, THE ELECTRIC CHURCH has already been reviewed on this site (EBR Review), and I highly encourage you to read that review because everything said in it could apply equally well to this volume.
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Review

Masked

Posted: August 5, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Lou Anders (Ed), Fantasy, Anthology, Short Fiction
Masked

We know Lou Anders, and we know his style and what he is capable of. So when we picked up MASKED (Amazon), a superhero story anthology, we already knew we were going to have to reevaluate our appreciation for the genre. Superheroes, to us, have only ever been as interesting as their villains. Villains, in actuality, are the driving force behind the superhero tale. The reasons for this can be boiled down to the fact that the Heroes are almost always reactionary, waiting around for something bad to happen, and the Villains are the ones who have the grand plan or scheme.

It’s because of this that neither of us are big comic book gurus, or even fans. Did the two of us, a couple of hard-sells in the genre, enjoy the anthology? You bet your Bat-Mobile!
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Review

Dante’s Journey

Posted: July 20, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: J.C. Marino, Fantasy
Dante’s Journey

Because we are the benevolent Book Gods that you have to know, love, and worship, we have a treat for you today. A review AND an interview. Without further ado, we present JC Marino, author of Dante’s Journey.
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Review

Changeless

Posted: July 2, 2010 by Alan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Gail Carriger, Mystery
Changeless

As much as it pains us, because we love Gail Carriger, we were a bit disappointed when we finished CHANGELESS (Amazon), book two in The Parasol Protectorate. It’s possible most of what we didn’t like about CHANGELESS comes from a comparison to SOULLESS (EBR Review). It just didn’t match our expectations following her excellent first effort.

You see, all the cute things that worked FOR Gail in Book 1 (SOULLESS), started to work against her here in CHANGELESS. We thought the plot basis in Book 2 was much more interesting than the first book, but it was slowed waaaaay down by the dialog and interchange between characters. This led to the great idea for the story feeling unfocused.
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Review

Sasha

Posted: June 30, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Joel Shepherd, Heroic Fantasy
Sasha

SASHA by Joel Shepherd (Amazon), was kind of a surprise for us. We knew Joel’s work from his Cassandra Kresnov series, but we didn’t quite know what to expect from the first novel in his A Trial of Blood and Steel. While there were a few issues we took with the novel, we actually enjoyed what was offered and look forward to the sequels. Read on, slaves and loyal followers, to find out why.
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Review

Shadow’s Son

Posted: June 16, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Jon Sprunk, Heroic Fantasy
Shadow’s Son

We had the very distinct pleasure of meeting Jon Sprunk and his wife this past World Fantasy (coincidentally both Jon’s wife and son have the same names as Steve’s wife and son). We had already heard a lot about him, and had emailed back and forth a few times. It was obvious we would like him, and we did. So when his book came out we were nervous about reviewing it. Jon is a friend, and this is his first book. Luckily we don’t have to hate on his book! It was a very fun book to read.
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Review

Procession of the Dead

Posted: June 1, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Darren Shan, Urban Fantasy
Procession of the Dead

PROCESSION OF THE DEAD (Amazon), the premiere book in a new series, The City, is Darren Shan‘s first foray into adult novels. We knew his Cirque du Freak novels were dark and creepy (if for a younger audience) and therefore were pretty excited to see what the guy could do with more adult content, and we weren’t disappointed at all.
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Review

Watcher of the Dead

Posted: May 25, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: J.V. Jones, Epic Fantasy
Watcher of the Dead

New J.V. Jones? Yes please. WATCHER OF THE DEAD (Amazon) made us want to sing the “we love J.V.” song over and over. Yes, we wrote a song about her. We are Gods to you, our loyal reader-slaves, who are you to judge us!?

There are very few authors we like as much as J.V. Jones, and even fewer with the attention for detail that she has. If you couldn’t tell from our previous mention of her, we just might have a little (OK, huge) crush on her. But it is with good reason!
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Review

The Dragon Factory

Posted: May 3, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Jonathan Maberry, Horror
The Dragon Factory

Joe Ledger is back! After battling zombies in PATIENT ZERO (EBR Review), our hero gets no rest. In Jonathan Maberry‘s THE DRAGON FACTORY (Amazon) the stakes are even higher, and Joe is thrown in the midst of political, genocidal, and transgenic turmoil.

The story starts by introducing a couple of guys as the greatest mass murderers in the history of the world, an “Extinction Clock,” and then a couple jerk-face NSA dudes attempting to bring Joe Ledger in. Sucks to be them.
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Review

Ghosts of Manhattan

Posted: April 30, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: George Mann, Steampunk
Ghosts of Manhattan

If you have been following our not-so-humble blog, you know we like George Mann. So when we got our paws on his GHOSTS OF MANHATTAN (Amazon), published by Pyr, we knew we were in for a treat.

GHOSTS is set in America during the roaring 20’s, but with a Steampunk bent, and as if that isn’t cool enough, George Mann inserts enough Urban Fantasy elements to create a sweet mesh of the two genres. Actually, the genre almost does a complete swap in the last third of the book. It was a little jarring, but the pace of the book swept us along, without giving us time to let the change bother us.
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Review

Feed

Posted: April 21, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Mira Grant, Horror
Feed

At this point, even the most rabid zombie fiction fan has to be thinking, “Okay…. seriously… I’m getting kind of tired of all the zombie stuff…” We are included in that group. Yes, even Steve. So when we picked up FEED (Amazon), by Mira Grant, we began reading with trepidation and skepticism. After all, no matter how much you eat a food you love (this is not in reference to the dietary habits of zombies), if it is a course often served, you will get tired of it. This is how we approached FEED. Not very lucky for poor Mira, who could have, easily, been subject to one of our hate reviews.
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Review

The Maze Runner

Posted: March 29, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: James Dashner, Dystopian SF, Young Adult
The Maze Runner

James Dashner‘s THE MAZE RUNNER (Amazon) has garnered a lot of attention since its release. It is a novel filled with really cool and unique ideas, so on that end, its attention is completely understandable.

The plot centers around a group of amnesiac teenagers, stuck together in a foreign, hostile, and deadly maze, where bizarre creatures roam. These creatures are called Grievers, and they hunt the Gladers–as the kids call themselves–while the walls of the Maze are constantly changing. They are in marginal contact with their “captors” who send them supplies and new kids. However, the schedule of “one new kid a month” is broken the day after the main character Thomas arrives, when Teresa, the first girl Glader ever arrives with a message that “Everything is going to change.” We should mention hate this over-used phrase.
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Review

Shadow Prowler

Posted: February 22, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Alexy Pehov, Epic Fantasy
Shadow Prowler

SHADOW PROWLER (Amazon), by Alexey Pehov, was quite a surprising read for us. All we knew going in was that eight or so years ago it was released in Russia, the translation was done by Bromfield (of Nightwatch translation fame), and that the author had some recognition in his home country.

Just picking up the book gave us confidence in it. The cover art depicts an obvious epic fantasy, and it looked gritty enough to hold our attention. Before we even read the excerpt on the back we were really excited. Especially Nick, since he loves Russian writing (even if it is translated).

However, the excitement we both had for the book dissipated immediately (and more than just a little) when we read the back cover blurb. Nameless One, Ogres, Elves, Quest for “the-relic-that-will-save-the-day”…Uh oh! It’s like Pehov went to great lengths to use every single fantasy trope or cliché in this book. Nevertheless, since we ARE the most important book reviewers that have graced the internet, we moved forward in reading the book.
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Review

House of Reckoning

Posted: February 18, 2010 by Alan in Books We Hate Meta: John Saul, Horror
House of Reckoning

We are going to be honest here (stop laughing). We try to read a lot of Horror, but there is a lot of it that we miss. Mostly on purpose. We managed to mostly avoid John Saul, even though he seems to be one of the huge names in the Horror genre. Why did we avoid him? All his books, from the outside, look the same (this is foreshadowing of event to come late in this review). It’s just a picture of a house under a different color tone. John Saul’s latest novel, HOUSE OF RECKONING, follows this theme by using a house with a green tint. Creepy. Yes, that was sarcasm.
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Review

The Devil’s Alphabet

Posted: February 12, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Daryl Gregory, Urban Fantasy
The Devil’s Alphabet

With THE DEVIL’S ALPHABET (Amazon), Daryl Gregory does something really cool. He presents a book that has all the trappings of an Urban Fantasy, which hides what it truly is. A character study. This book tickled, in particular, Nick’s sociology fancy. Steve found it a little bit less exciting.

THE DEVIL’S ALPHABET is about Pax, a young man from Switchcreek, Tennessee, that returns to his hometown to attend a funeral of a former best friend, who’s death is shrouded in mystery. Switchcreek, before Pax had left, had been a victim of a bizarre “disease” that warped the DNA and bodies of it’s inhabitants. It turned regular people into the tall, muscular, slumping Argos, the short, fat, grey, Vintage producing Charlies, and the bald, self-propagating Betas. Some were left untouched, as Pax was, and some people were just killed by the transformation of their bodies. Very cool ideas are written on these pages.
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Review

The Silver Skull

Posted: February 2, 2010 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Mark Chadbourn, Fantasy
The Silver Skull

The following review, once you know that it is a Pyr book, will not come as a shock. We have to exercise the utmost of restraint in order to avoid reading through and reviewing all the Pyr books we can, as soon as we can.

THE SILVER SKULL by Mark Chadbourn (Amazon), is one of the funnest books we have read. Period. Imagine a James Bond story, but way more awesome, set in an alternate Elizabethan England. This is what you get in this book.
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Review

Breathless

Posted: January 29, 2010 by Alan in Books We Hate Meta: Dean Koontz,
Breathless

When talking to authors I know, I hear frequently of that moment when several seemingly unrelated ideas come together. They become a “perfect storm” of sorts, and often lead to an amazing novel.

Unfortunately, BREATHLESS by Dean Koontz (Amazon), doesn’t meld separate ideas into a perfect storm. The result is more like…a perfect train wreck.

Let me state, for the record, that I actually enjoy some the stories that Koontz writes. I can appreciate the transition he made into straight-forward thrillers that he has published recently (VELOCITY, THE GOOD GUY, THE HUSBAND). Personally, I enjoyed ODD THOMAS. Are they the best novels? No. Do they serve a purpose in my reading schedule? Definitely. Every now-and-again I need light reading. Dean Koontz usually can usually fill that role.

But BREATHLESS? Man. It was just bad.
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Review

Neuropath

Posted: January 26, 2010 by Alan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: R. Scott Bakker, Mystery, Techno Thriller
Neuropath

Sometimes, no matter how much you like an author, their latest book ends up being a disappointment. NEUROPATH by R. Scott Bakker (Amazon), fit that description for us. As you all well know, we love his Prince of Nothing series. NEUROPATH is Bakker’s attempt to put his spin on the thriller genre.

It is evident within the first 20 pages (probably less to most people) that Neuropath is written with a very strong bias and moral (if there is such a thing… dun dun DUN) bent. This book, while a mystery/thriller, is not the typical fare in the genre. There are lengthy discourses about free will vs. determinism, what free-will is exactly, identity issues, and the possibilities of contemporary neuroscience.
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Review

Lightbreaker

Posted: January 18, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Mark Teppo, Urban Fantasy
Lightbreaker

While at World Fantasy I had the pleasure to meet, and speak to Mark Teppo. One of our friends, Kat Richardson, kept telling Steve and I that we had to meet him. She couldn’t say enough good things about him and his writing. So the search for the man began. After finally finding him, Steve and I both agreed that he was one of the coolest people at the convention, and we couldn’t wait to read LIGHTBREAKER (Amazon) his book. Conveniently, it was given to us for free while at the convention.

OK, confession time. (Admit it, you got nervous for a moment when I said that, didn’t you?) LIGHTBREAKER was published by Night Shade Books in 2008, and the sequel, HEARTLAND (Amazon) was published in 2009, so I’m a little bit behind the times on this. Other than the obvious fact that I got the book for free, I am reviewing LIGHTBREAKER, instead of it’s sequel, because it is the beginning of a fairly new series and I thought it would be a better place to start. Hey, I don’t need to explain myself to you. I do what I want.
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Review

Hidden Empire

Posted: January 12, 2010 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Orson Scott Card, Political Thriller
Hidden Empire

I read and loved, with certain reservations, Orson Scott Card’s EMPIRE (Amazon). So when I found out there was a sequel pending for imminent release I was excited to see how the franchise was handled.

If you haven’t read EMPIRE, here’s a quick rundown. The possibility of a civil war, in America today, becomes very real when the President and all his staff are assassinated. Reuben and Cole become pawns in a conspiracy to an American revolution. The ending leaves us with a Princeton professor leading both the Democratic and Republican parties, and taking the office of the President with more than just a few suspicious events to those with a keen eye (Read: The main characters) in his resume.
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Review

The Drowning City

Posted: December 22, 2009 by Alan in Books We Like Meta: Amanda Downum, Dark Fantasy
The Drowning City

THE DROWNING CITY by Amanda Downum (Amazon) is the opening act in The Necromancer Chronicles sequence. The plot follows a number of characters, but Isyllt Iskaldur (how do YOU think this is pronounced?) is the main protagonist. She is in the island-city of Symir, in the capacity of a spy/government agent. Her mission, should she choose to accept it? Spread dissent, foment chaos, and generally wreck the status quo. Cool eh? Well, read on…
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