Reviews by Steven

Review

Freedom of the Mask

Posted: May 23, 2016 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Historical Fiction, Horror, Robert McCammon
Freedom of the Mask

Matthew Corbett is missing. Following the events in the 5th Matthew Corbett novel, THE RIVER OF SOULS (Amazon), our favorite problem-solver finds himself without memories of who he really is. So begins the 6th Matthew Corbett novel, FREEDOM OF THE MASK (Amazon).

Robert McCammon is in top form in this meaty novel. Yes, you heard that right. Meaty. As much as I loved the prior novel in the series, I felt like it was a quick adventure meant to set up the next several books in the series. A transitional novel. It was an excellent read, but with this 6th novel I hoped we would get something closer in scope to SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD (EBR Review) and THE QUEEN OF BEDLAM (Amazon). Turns out, this is exactly what we got.
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Review

Fall of Light

Posted: May 6, 2016 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Epic Fantasy, Steven Erikson
Fall of Light

I’ll be honest, Steven Erikson’s novels have become increasingly difficult to review. Not because they are bad–on the contrary, Erikson’s works are consistently excellent in my opinion–but because I feel like I end up making many of the same comments. Well, here we go again.

Another Erikson novel, another fantastic read.
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Review

The Liar’s Key

Posted: March 18, 2016 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Fantasy, Mark Lawrence
The Liar’s Key

It always feels good writing a review for a Mark Lawrence novel. He is a terrific writer who is constantly improving his craft. THE LIAR’S KEY (Amazon) is no exception. It’s Lawrence’s longest novel, but it is easily his best yet.

THE LIAR’S KEY takes place shortly after PRINCE OF FOOLS (EBR Review), with Jalan Kendeth and Snorri ver Snagason in possession of Loki’s Key. This key can unlock any door, according to myth. But for Snorri, he is set on opening the door to death to find and rescue his dead family. Meanwhile Jalan is… busy being Jalan.

Jalan Kendeth. Prince. Playboy. Berserker. Coward. Seeing all these defining aspects of his character was a complete joy. I still can’t help but compare Jalan to the Jorg from the Broken Empire Trilogy. The contrast couldn’t be stronger, and it makes the Red Queen’s War Trilogy, in my opinion, so much the richer.Read the rest of this review »

Review

Boy’s Life

Posted: December 21, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Fiction, Horror, Robert McCammon
Boy’s Life

Have you ever finished a novel and thought to yourself, “My goodness… that was… special.” Not just good. Not great. Better than that. A book that you immediately know will stay in your top five until the day you die? For me, that book was BOY’S LIFE by Robert McCammon (Amazon).

Now, I’m a pretty big McCammon fan. I’ve loved everything I’ve read of his. THE WOLF’S HOUR (EBR Review) remains one of my favorite novels ever. But even that novel is beat out by BOY’S LIFE. In fact… nearly every novel by every other author I’ve ever read gets beat out by BOY’S LIFE. How do you even review a novel like this?
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Review

The Martian

Posted: September 8, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Andy Weir, Science Fiction
The Martian

When a novel is hyped beyond all reasonableness, I immediately dislike it on principle. Most of the time, this near-irrational dislike ends up justified when I finally get around to reading the story. But every now and then the hype is warranted.

Enter, THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir (Amazon).

Perhaps the most hyped novel in the last year or two—apart from READY PLAYER ONE—THE MARTIAN has a very simple premise. Mark Watney is stranded on Mars, and he needs to figure out a way to survive on that wasteland for years—that’s right, years—to even have a chance to be rescued.
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Review

Grunt Traitor

Posted: August 25, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Military Science Fiction, Weston Ochse
Grunt Traitor

Weston Ochse’s GRUNT LIFE (EBR Review) was one of my favorite novels released in 2014. It was also one of the finest Military SF novels I’d read, and I’ve been anticipating the sequel ever since. After the follow-up novel, GRUNT TRAITOR (Amazon), arrived I took it with me on a plane trip… and ended up reading the whole novel that day.

To put it mildly, GRUNT TRAITOR was a page-turner.
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Review

Teaching the Dog to Read

Posted: July 20, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Jonathan Carroll, Short Fiction
Teaching the Dog to Read

I’m not sure what I expected going into this novella. I mean… look at the cover. It’s weird, kinda creepy, and automatically makes me want to read the story. Subterranean Press was kind enough to send over a copy of the exceptionally strange novella by Jonathan Carroll, TEACHING THE DOG TO READ. It didn’t disappoint.
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Review

Prisoner 489

Posted: July 7, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Horror, Joe Lansdale, Short Fiction
Prisoner 489

From Dark Regions Press, we have a great novella from one of my favorite authors, Joe Lansdale. PRISONER 489 (Amazon) is short, sweet, and a terrific read. While I simply adore Lansdale’s Westerns, I’m an even bigger fan of his writing.
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Review

The Devil’s Only Friend

Posted: June 16, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Dan Wells, Horror
The Devil’s Only Friend

When it comes to author Dan Wells, people seem to point to his Dystopian YA Partials series. Those are good novels, no doubt about it. But the novels that won me over were those in his John Cleaver series. It’s no secret how much I love Horror, and Wells’ first novel, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (EBR Review), hit all the right notes for me. After three novels in that series, I wondered if I would ever again read a new John Cleaver story. I feared the worst…

…until Wells said he was writing a new John Cleaver trilogy.
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Review

Next of Kin

Posted: June 15, 2015 by Steven in Books We Love Tags: Dan Wells, Horror, Short Fiction
Next of Kin

With THE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND (Amazon) releasing tomorrow, I figured I’d draw your attention to a must-have novella from Horror author, Dan Wells. Set in his John Cleaver series, and during the events of THE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND, we have the novella NEXT OF KIN (Amazon).

From the moment I first began reading the John Cleaver novels, I was arrested by my curiosity for the series’ villains, the Withered (or Gifted, as they call themselves). These god-like beings are known and identifiable by what they lack, and that simple idea became such a compelling one that I often (all the time) wondered how THEY were seeing this story unfold.

NEXT OF KIN does exactly that. It puts readers in the head of one of the Withered.
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