Reviews by Alan

Review

The Immortal Throne

Posted: December 22, 2016 by Alan in Books We Love Tags: Dark Fantasy, Stella Gemmell
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 Tags: Cyberpunk, Dan Wells, 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 Tags: 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 Tags: Dark Fantasy, Den Patrick
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 Tags: 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 Tags: Alan Bahr, 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 (Amaaon), 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 Tags: 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 Tags: 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 Tags: Epic Fantasy, Peter Orullian
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 Tags: Horror, Steve Diamond, 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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