Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Written in Fire (Brilliance Saga, #3)Written in Fire by Marcus Sakey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered as a comic book fan what it would be like if X men comics were really done right? Well you should check out the Brilliance Saga. I read the first book early last year and kind of tag teamed the last two back to back. It is some truly inspired stuff, Mr. Sakey can write up a storm.

Does it have problems? a few..things get a bit cliche here and there, some of the exposition in the books gets a bit cartoonish but given the subject matter its understandable. The action however, rocks and the characters are excellent regardless of some of the dialogue, and considering the author, I don't know if I can excuse that or not.

However, the series as a whole is terrific, give it a read, just start at the beginning or you will be lost like a goose in high grass.

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The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale

The BottomsThe Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale

The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale is a rousing atmospheric murder mystery with an abundance and it has to said, more than its fair share of tension and thought provoking issue. The Bottoms won the Edgar award in 2000 and is definitely a book that will stay resolutely in your thoughts long after you've finished.

The story is an unforgiving coming of age tale for eleven year old Harry Crane set in the 1930's who along with his younger sister discover the tortured body of a dead woman in the Bottoms of small East Texas town, Marvel Creek.

'In that moment, something else changed for me. I realized that a person could truly die. Daddy and Mama could die. I could die. We would all someday die. Something went hollow inside me, shifted, found a place to lie down and be still, if not entirely in comfort.'

Harry's father is the town constable and he begins an investigation that delves deeply into the racial divide prevalent in the era, nearly breaking him in the process. Caught smack bang in the middle are the two children who insert themselves into the forefront of proceedings as the murders increase and the town seek justice.

The characters virtually leap from the page and sit snugly on your shoulder whispering their intent, leaving an impression of the story permanently etched in your mind. Eliciting disbelief at attitudes, questioning morality and leaving you firmly rooting for a family that face exorbitant trials and tribulations.

There's even some of the Lansdale humour littered sparingly within, some anxious store-bought teeth.

'Once in a while be wore store-bought teeth, but they clicked and clacked and slid around when he talked, as if they might have some place to go and were anxious to get there.'

The Bottoms is a delightful story that brings back fond memories of classic stories such as To Kill a Mocking and McCammons Boy's Life while still remaining unique and quite gripping in its own way. The characterization and the feelings inspired by this story are simply breathtaking at times, perfectly highlighting how times have changed. I did guess the killer’s identity from the various suspects tossed into the mix but it didn't detract from a wonderful story that deserves to be appreciated by all.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

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Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1)Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't really like the "young adult" genre and I have a bad thing about westerns, soooo Kevin you ask, "why the hell did you read this?" That is a dang good question, let's see if I can answer.

My dad and both granddads love westerns, and as a huge fantasy/scifi/comic geek, It never did anything for me, however the older I got and the resurgence of the "weird" western, I saw the reason and the appeal of the genre. Young adult bugs me to no end, not saying there aren't great well written novels in this genre,(this being one of them.) The concept as a whole bothers me, I started reading at a very young age, and I didn't read on my level basically ever. I will catch flak for this but essentially dumbing down your writing and being more of a formula cookie cutter story makes my brain hurt. (dont hate me!)

Wow, two paragraphs and have yet to discuss the book. I really liked this book, I do NOT spoil books so if you want spoilers dig into another review. The story was very well written and I have few issues with it, and honestly the only reason I docked it one star, my issues are solely my issues. Fully fleshed out characters, great dialogue, a well realized world and it meets one of my most basic reading qualifications, when a author has a new book, especially one that could be the beginning of a new potential series, the main thing he or she must do is make the reader want more.

I want more. What's that? My issues you ask? ok..you drug it out of me, The main character's sexuality, although it was well done and essential to the story, came across in my opinion a bit forced, but thats just my view. The ending..I HATE $#*$*#$*#@!! CLIFFHANGERS!! (thats all)

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The Traveling Vampire Show

The Traveling Vampire ShowThe Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Teenagers Dwight, Rusty, and Slim are an inseparable trio. When they see that the Traveling Vampire Show is coming to town, seeing the only vampire in captivity becomes the most important thing in the world.

The Traveling Vampire Show is a coming of age tale akin to Stephen King's The Boy or Robert McCammon's A Boy's Life, taking place in a single day in 1963. As the title indicates, the story revolves around the three teenagers' quest to attend the Traveling Vampire Show. Straight-laced Dwight, tomboy Slim, and asshole Rusty all seemed a lot like people I knew at 16.

Much like A Boy's Life, there's a lot of meandering. A lot of the book is the trio running from threats, real or imagined, and Dwight trying not to get hard around Slim or his sister in law. The addition of Bitsy, Rusty's sister, to the group showed the ugliness lurking beneath the surface of a couple characters.

I didn't mind that the Traveling Vampire Show doesn't make an appearance until the end. I did think it was unrealistic that they actually went given all that transpired early in the day. I also had some difficulty buying the others being friends with Rusty given what a selfish asshole he was.

The ending was actually pretty bad ass. I knew someone had to die before the story was over and there was death aplenty. I also liked that there were a lot of unanswered questions. Do any of the characters make appearances in subsequent Laymon books?

The Travelling Vampire Show is an entertaining coming of age tale but I wouldn't put it on the same tier as The Body or A Boy's Life. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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