Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Jersey Devil

The Jersey DevilThe Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Jersey Devil sightings spike, Sam Willet and his family head to the New Jersey Pine Barrens for a reckoning sixty years in the making. With a cryptozoologist and a van full of firepower, will they be able to bring down the devil and live to tell the tale?

My young eyes first encountered the legend of the Jersey Devil in Monsters You Never Heard of sometime before the age of ten. I thought it was kind of lame and forgot about it until it was featured in an early X-Files episode. Anyway, since Hunter Shea is the bee's knees, I figured I'd give this one a shot when I saw the price dropped to ninety-nine cents. I'm cheap, what can I say.

The Jersey Devil is the story of Sam Willet and his family's axe to grind with the Jersey Devil, who terrorized Grandma Willet six decades earlier. Aided and abetted by a noted cryptozoologist, they walk into the Pine Barrens. Some of them even manage to hobble out.

This book is about as gentle as a trip to a slaughterhouse. Character after character are introduced, only to be fed through the Jersey meatgrinder once you feel something toward them. The body count is off the chart. The Devil's origins are explored and its mythology is expanded upon. And its many children go on a feeding frenzy...

I'd say this is the goriest Hunter Shea novel I've read yet and the threat of the Jersey Devil was probably the worst. After a while, I was just hoping one or more members of the Willet clan would survive.

The Jersey Devil is a gory good time, highly entertaining but definitely not for the squeamish. Four out of five stars.

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Fallen Gods

Fallen GodsFallen Gods by James A. Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The gods took my family from me! They deserve nothing but death and destruction!"

"Tell your gods I'm coming for them! Tell your gods that I'll see them dead for what they did!"

Brogan McTyre and his friends are wanted alive. The gods demand these men be sacrificed or they'll end the world. Brogan has other ideas. Thanks to the help of his friend's wife who studied under the Galeans, he has learned there is a way to kill the gods. Brogan is determined to find this weapon and kill the gods.

Fallen Gods is a strong story set in a hopeless world. I can't get over the overwhelming weight of the hopelessness. At any moment the gods through their servants the Undying can demand nearly any person as a sacrifice. They offer compensation that may appease a slaveowner whose slave was taken, but never the husband or father who just lost their wife or children like Brogan McTyre. Strangely enough it's revealed that rules are established by the gods that no more than one person should be taken from a kingdom in any month so as to avoid the very scenario Brogan found himself in where his entire family was taken. Gods do as they wish it seems, but actions have consequences and I do love to see horrid people get their comeuppance whether they are men or gods.

The author does a great job displaying how different people are dealing with the end of the world. Many are hunting Brogan despite not faulting his actions, some wish him dead, and most simply want life to return to normal. I enjoy the diversity of characters in that they all come from different walks of life. The addition of point of view sections from the king's was strong as the gods are no more fair or caring with them than they are anyone else.

Fallen Gods was quite enjoyable, I look forward to the conclusion, and I hope to see these ravenous gods be sacrificed for the good of all.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Banished (Street Rats of Aramoor: Prequel)Banished by Michael Wisehart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

13 year old Ayrion is so skilled at his tasks that people believe he's a cheater or a liar, at least that's what the head of his clan believes. Ayrion has a gift others in his clan don't have, he has the magical powers of a wielder. Ayrion tries to live in a world where doing his best gets him into trouble.

Banished is the prequel to the upcoming Street Rats of Aramor series. This story focuses on Ayrion's life with the Upaka. A few aspects of the Upaka's way of life surprised me. One of them being they live underground in the city once known as Rhowynn before it's destruction by the volcanic Ash Mount. The city is now known as the Lost City.

Another aspect of Upaka life I didn't realize in The White Tower is that the Upaka are more than just mercenaries or they can be. I didn't understand the reaction Ayrion received in The White Tower and when he left the Lost City in Banished, but now I realize that Upaka are generally called in when killing needs to be done. They will take any job except killing one of their own if the money is right. That's the basis for their civilization so it's not hard to see why people would react negatively to their presence.

Ayrion literally suffers for being too good. He suffers for that in The White Tower and he suffers from that in Banished. He's so good others can't stand it. It's truly a shame as he's just trying his best, his best is just so much better than others that it causes resentment. I just hope that every story about him doesn't involve people hating him because he's better than them.

Banished is a solid look at Ayrion's youth and the Upaka society.

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