Princess of Blood (The God Fragments #2) ★★★★☆

princess of blood (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Princess of Blood
Series: The God Fragments #2
Author: Tom Lloyd
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 545
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Cards head to another independent city state ostensibly as bodyguards for the Ambassador, but with Toil telling them to “be prepared”.

Some fool scholar has opened a mystery in the city of Jarrazir that leads down into a duegar maze of mythic proportions. Legends hint of a stash of god fragments, but that is odd as the duegar pre-date the fall of the gods.

Sotorian Bade, working for the Knight Charnel in his role as relic hunter, leads a force of knights underground to recover the fragments. General Faril is leading a very visible attack against the city to distract everyone from Bade.

But Toil isn’t distracted. She has a vendetta against Bade since he left her to die in the Underdark all those years ago. With the very reluctant blessing of the Nobility of Jarrazir, Toil and some of the Cards head underground, along with the surviving student of the aforementioned fool scholar. Now in a race with Bade, both groups will be tested to the utmost in all areas: magic, brains and brawn.

Bade successfully carries off the god fragments but Toil realizes there is a greater treasure and the 7 survivors are imbued with some sort of magic that ties them together. Once upon the surface, they must work together, with the remaining Cards and other mercenary groups to throw back the Knights Charnel. This they successfully do.

Now Anatim must figure out just what his Cards are becoming and if it’s something he still wants to be in charge of.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this as much as the first book. On the plus, there were no “slow” times like I experienced previously. On the minus side, Lloyd goes into perverse immorality here. Sadly, I am letting my enjoyment dictate the outcome instead of dnf’ing this like I’ve done other books with such content. I’m sure it will happen again so I’m already preparing myself for stopping this series at the next such instance.

Lloyd likes to write a lot of setup. While the Maze opens in the first pages, neither the Cards or Bade actually go underground until after the 50% mark. It worked this time but there were times I felt like telling him to “get on with the story”. The maze reminded me of the movie Cube, just not quite so spectacularly violent and grotesque. I’m ok with that though. Sadly, the whole time in the maze felt a bit rushed. I do wish there had been more fighting or traps or monsters or something. Less backstory for that wretched Toil and more Maze death.

Lynx didn’t feel nearly as much the main character as he did in the first book. It seemed like Toil kind of bulled her way in and tried to take over. I don’t mind her as Lynx’s love interest or as a side character, but I don’t care for her as a main character. She’s simply “too much”. Lynx is a bit more believable. In a world where pieces of gods are used to make bullets I mean * rolls eyes at self *

We do find out a little bit of the history of this world and the fact that the gods might have been duegar. My initial thought on learning this was “what is this going to do to the psyche of the people if they learn their gods were nothing but jumped up dwarves?”. I have a feeling Lloyd is simply going to ignore that aspect of things. Just like he’s pretty much not written how the gods being dead and their carcasses being used affects people.

This does continue to get the profanity tag as well. F-bombs are used like mage bullets it seems.

★★★★☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Gattling’s Big Guns Part I & II (Silver Sable & the Wildpack #2 & 3) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Gattling’s Big Guns Part I & II
Series: Silver Sable & the Wildpack #2 & 3
Author: Gregory Wright
Artist: Steven Butler
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 64
Format: Paper Edition

 

Synopsis:

Silver and Co are hired to protect a televangelist who has been targeted after publicly saying he was pro-choice. We are introduced to 2 new members of the Wildpack, Crippler and Battlestar. The Wildpack also get new uniforms (thank goodnes for that!!!).

Silver runs into the assassin, name of Gattling, who can turn invisible, fly with a jetpack and has 2 huge gattling guns. She also runs into her ex-husband, the mercenary/assassin The Foriegner and he reveals that the Evangelist is in cahoots with a druglord and that that is what eveything is about. The Foriegner kills off another televangelist who is also in the drug trade and Silver and the Wildpack take down Gattling. Silver then turns her client in to the FBI as he was the one who hired the Foriegner to kill off the other televangelist.

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, several things really stood out with this. First, comic book writers are as preachy, ham-handed and obvious as any social justice warrior today. Christianity, rascism and sexism, all dealt with in this book, with all the finesse of a lumberjack using a sledgehammer to knock a tree down. I don’t have a highly developed sense of tastefulness but this just hurt! Second was the ads. Targeted to the 12-16 age group for sure.

The only really good thing about these 2 comics was the expansion of the Wildpack (we see more besides just Sandman and Powell) and the uniform change.

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We get the addition of Crippler, some badass hydra bounty-hunter to Battlestar, a black Captain America knockoff who is augmented in some way or another. We also see Chen (that is her name I believe) for the first time and we hear some other “names” that I’m sure will be part of the main team.

Silver is just an incredibly bitchy jackass. She is also drawn in some of the most outlandish dinnerware styles that are so revealing that I had to roll my eyes. Once again, subtly was not aimed for.

The artwork is pretty rough too, with Silver being more identified by her white hair and white/silver outfit (whether dinner dress or battle uniform) than in any uniformity of face or form. This was done quick and dirty and it shows.

Overall, this is the quintessential 90’s comic that shows every trope and stereotype possible in its effort to sell another magazine. And I can remember thinking how awesome this comic was. Awww, the sweet innocent naivete of youth 😉

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

Surviving a Bad Book – Sword of the Archon

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Sword of the Archon by D.P. Prior

1/2 Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, this book. I wasn’t really on WP when I wrote this review in ’14, but over on Booklikes. I was just crossposting all over so I wouldn’t lose any reviews or be silenced. It was not a good read for me and the author, who I’m guessing had a search algorithm going for mentions of him or his books, came over and commented. That wasn’t so cool but since I wasn’t using WP as my main platform, I just let it go. I’m not sure if Prior even left any follow up comments.

However. Ahhh, yes, that “However”, don’t you just love them?

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Hippo Mafioso LOVES “howevers”, especially if kneecaps are involved…

 

However, one of his fans couldn’t let things stand, because obviously I was an evil demon sent directly from hell to destroy their beloved author’s reputation and life itself. Since I wasn’t on GR, said fan couldn’t stir up the hordes of ignorant idiots, so they resorted to commenting on the WordPress review. And they left page long comments. Showing how I was wrong, how I was destroying Prior, blah, blah, blah.

For weeks.

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That was when I became very familiar with comment moderation and turned it on. I turned it on then and would just delete comments from that poster when I saw them come up. But it kept on going. So then I just turned comments off altogether and ended up forgetting I had done that, which is why there are a significant amount of reviews on here that don’t allow comments. That’s the kind of thing that’ll get fixed in my little Blog Under Construction project.

It still boggles my mind that another person can invest such energy into such a pointless exercise. Did that commenter think I was suddenly going to change my mind? Did they live in a world where nothing bad was ever said or negativity didn’t exist? That couldn’t be the case because of the rape scene in the book that they were so vociferously defending. And why do “I” draw in those kind of people for my reviews? I mean, they left comments for WEEKS! Who even thinks that way? Sigh. Must have been a Pig Ignorant Euro-snob *wink*

And there you have it, another book, author and rabid fan that I survived. This is the tenth post in this series and you know, I’m beginning to really wonder if there is something wrong with me. Do any of you have stories like this? Because one or two or even three I could see. You just can’t interact with people for 18 years and not have bad experiences, but this many? Which leads into my next paragraph nicely.

I’m getting tired of posting about all the bad experiences I’ve had with books, authors and fans. So I’m going to start another series of posts where I focus on the good experiences, kind of like my Favorite Books series but just one book at a time. Probably going to call it Thriving on a Good Book, and see how that works.

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Thriving Baby!

 

Mattries suggested that I not give up this series of posts altogether though, so I’m thinking I’ll probably do a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio of Thrive to Survive posts. I think I can handle that. Cheers!

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Mere Christianity ★★★★★

merechristianity (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Mere Christianity
Series: ———-
Author: C.S. Lewis
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Theological Non-Fiction
Pages: 190
Format: Massmarket paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lewis turns some radio lectures/talks into book format in which he talks about Christianity and humanity on very basic levels and very broad terms. It really does come across as someone trying to have a casual conversation about an important subject and it feels like Lewis gets the balance of casual and importance just right.

 

My Thoughts:

I read this completely because of my reaction to Toll the Hounds. I needed a good anti-dote to Erikson’s horrific existentialism and his debasement of Redemption. If any one could help, strengthen and encourage me in my Christian faith, Lewis is the man to do it.

I deliberately didn’t take notes and actually tried to read through this as fast as I could, kind of like chugging some medicine. Not because it tasted bad, but I knew if I stopped to taste it, I’d start eating it drop by drop to get the full taste and I needed a large dose of medicine NOW. It worked well. No man is sufficient to himself and we ALL need help and encouragement along life’s way.

This was not a heady and deep look into the various thoughts of Christian doctrine and how this church and that church have come to the conclusions they have, etc, etc. This was very much like Lewis having a conversation with you and much like any good conversation, if you aren’t ready for it or don’t want it, then it won’t work for you no matter how good it is. So I certainly wouldn’t just blanket recommend this to everyone. If you don’t know anything about Christianity and want to learn something without committing yourself or getting dragged into theological depths you simply aren’t even aware of, this is the book for you. If you are a Christian who needs some reminders and some encouragement, this is the book for you.

I COULD have taken notes. Pages of them. But that might just be me and how I deal with non-fiction. I go into a gear where I feel like I need to write a book report whenever I read non-fiction. However, I did underline one phrase that really stood out to me:

For mere improvement is no redemption, though redemption always improves people…”

Attaboy Lewis!!!

I am giving this a conditional “best book of the year” tag. Conditional because I don’t read enough non-fiction for there to be enough to truly choose from. Also, I really don’t like comparing escapist fare (no matter how enjoyable) with a serious book like this. Comparing them would mean they are equal and they aren’t and I don’t ever want to get into the mindset where they are.

★★★★★

bookstooge (Custom)

Lost Souls (Frankenstein #4) ★★★☆☆

lostsouls (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lost Souls
Series: Frankenstein #4
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 402
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor is alive. Or at least, his replacement clone is. But Victor 2.0 isn’t quite the same as Victor Helios. Victor Immaculate, as he calls himself, doesn’t want to replace humanity now, he wants to destroy it. If he can do that, he’ll have negated Scripture, thus making him more powerful than God.

With an array of new replicants and a new type of human called Builders, Victor sets forth his plan to begin exterminating humanity in a small town in Montana. With key officials replaced, the Builders can begin feeding on the towns people and begin the cycle of death and destruction.

Michael and Carson, now private eyes with a baby girl named Scout, realize that they have more to lose than ever. Scout means more to them than their own lives. When Deucalion comes calling telling them he has a hunch that Victor is alive, they don’t want to believe him. Then Erica Five, who has been living in a small Montanna town, calls Carson and tells her she has seen Victor. Now Michael and Carson have no choice. If they want there to be a world for Scout to grow up in, they must go out and do battle once again.

We also follow various townspeople from Rainbow Falls as things begin to go downhill. A vagrant and a special needs man, both in jail but for opposite reasons, survive the first wave of Builders’ feeding and must work together to stay alive. An old man and a young boy, both in the hospital, must depend on each other to escape the hospital, which has become a major center for the Builders. Two X-Files style FBI Agents are also in town chasing down rumors that The Money Man, a shadowy figure, will be in town and they mean to nab him.

Everything is set in motion for a climactic battle for the survival of Rainbow Falls and the world itself. Then the book abruptly ends. Like a meat cleaver right down the middle of a carcass of a cow.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one and it was all set to be a 3 ½ star book. Then came the artificial ending. It was obvious that this book and the next, titled Deadtown, are really one story but due to length was cut in half. However, that cutting was done with all the finesse of a drunk butcher, who was blindfolded and who was told that one of the slabs of beef hanging in his freezer was really a pinata and to have at it. No resolution of any kind, no story arc completed, just full stop. That is bad story telling and it pissed me off. So I knocked that coveted ½ star off. I sure taught Koontz a lesson with that!

Besides that grievance, I did like this. I didn’t give it much detail in the synopsis but we really spend more time in the town of Rainbow Falls with various townspeople than we do with either Michael and Carson or Deucalion. That worked well as the Koontz definitely goes into “horror” territory more than in some of the previous Frankenstein books. How the Builders consume people is something else. There was one instance of where a church group was locked into a building and when some Builders were let loose and the replicants were watching, almost every single adult in the group pulled out a gun. The replicants were all killed and some ex-soldiers led the group out. It was great. God, guns and guts (ie, courage, not literally guts. With this book, there might be some confusion, hence this awkward, longwinded and rather unnecessary explanation)

The X-Files guys, (one of whom is named Dagget for goodness sake!!!!), play almost no part beyond being introduced and giving the reader a tiny bit of info.I suspect they’ll play a bigger part in the final book with how everything gets cleaned up.

Given how quickly the storyline for Victor Helios was wrapped up in the previous trilogy, I suspect the next book (which is also the final book in this series) is going to follow the same pattern. Koontz definitely has a paint by numbers plan for this series. A special needs child, the badguys beginning to fall apart on their own (evil consuming itself), etc, etc. It’s not a bad formula, just a bit obvious.

I chose not to read the final book immediately, due to my reading setup, but for anyone else, I’d recommend they read the first trilogy all in one go and then this duology in one go. I suspect it might make the overall narrative less choppy feeling if each story arc is read as one big book.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Empire’s Corps (The Empire’s Corps #1) ★★★☆☆

theempirescorps (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Empire’s Corps
Series: The Empire’s Corps #1
Author: Christopher Nuttal
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 505
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Captain Stalker leads a disastrous rescue attempt on a slum on Earth and ends up with thousands of civilians dead. When he speaks “Truth to Power” (so help me my eyes almost rolled out of my head at the bloody cliched phrase) he and all 80+ of his marines are exiled to a planet on the rim of the Empire, Avalon. He is given a huge budget by the Marine Commander and very vague instructions.

The Empire is tottering and the rim planets will soon be on their own. Marine Commander hopes that Stalker and his marines can keep Avalon from falling into barbarity.

Once on the planet, Stalker is faced with the problems of an entrenched political/economic elite who want to keep thing the way they are even while that path is leading straight to revolution. Stalker deals with the bandits, then deals with the Opposition forces and the Council all in one fell swoop.

The book ends with a Space Navy ship dropping off a note telling Avalon that the Empire will be sending no more ships to them for the foreseeable future.

 

My Thoughts:

PG’s Rambling has been reviewing this series on and off even though he’s more of a spaceship kind of guy while I prefer the ground pounder action. And that is exactly what this book, and series I assume, is all about: Space Marines during the decline of a galactic empire.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

“Truth to Power”. For fracks sake, responsible people don’t use that hackneyed phrase, only people like the Occupy movement, ie, those with too much time on their hands and no drive to actually support themselves. Thankfully, it was only used 2-3 times but that was just 2-3 times too much. Nuttal also writes about homosexuality enough that I won’t be surprised if I end up dnf’ing this series in another book or two. Thankfully here it was not “PC homosexual character spewing modern liberal cant, CHECKMARK”. He also writes about brothel’s and prostitution and they are both legal in this book universe. One of the characters opines “It’s ok as long as they “want” to get into that business”. It never works that way and always ends up as a legal sex slave trafficking. I was more concerned about the attitude behind it than that it was included. There was also one sex scene that was used as a plot device, so I can’t accuse it of being completely gratuitous, but another one like it in any future books will push this out of bounds for me.

Now on to what I did like.

80 highly trained marines on a backwoods world. Nuttal makes as much hay with this as he can and I loved every second of it. They are like wolves going through a pack of puppies.The fighting was awesome and Nuttal doesn’t make the mistake of writing the bandits or Opposition as complete chowderheads. They are clever and when they have armaments equal to the Marines, a real threat. One thing I was kind of edgy about was how the bandits raped a lot and it was definitely used as a device to make them “Despicable”. It was never described in detail but I just found it bordering on the tasteless with how it was written.

The politics side of things felt a little too pat and easy but considering that Captain Stalker has had to deal with Earth Politics, whatever Avalon throws at him isn’t nearly at the same level. I do appreciate that Nuttal doesn’t try to make his badguy characters to be grey, ambiguous “oh, those poor misunderstood” type of badguys. They are bad, period. Thank goodness for that.

Nuttal is an indie, as far as I can tell, but besides the repeated misspelling of “deport” and its various forms, nothing stood out (depot and depoted were the main culprits). At 500 pages, I was expecting a lot more than that in all honesty. I enjoyed his writing style and his characters had enough depth so they were unique and not just the same character with a different name.

I do look forward to reading more in this series (there are 14 books and it appears that book 14 is the final book) and if it works out, I’ll probably be trying other series by the author.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)