Warlock ★★★☆☆

warlock (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: Warlock
Series: ———-
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 221
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

The Darklands, a loose coalition of city states presided over by General Dark, have been at war with the Orogonians, led by the tyrant Justin Matabain. There have been credible reports that the Orogonians have breached the Mountains and found the fabled land filled with technology left over before The Blank, a time of crisis 1,000 years ago.

General Dark sends a small detachment led by his most trusted Captain to Shaker Sandow. Shakers are powerful men with powers beyond the normal. They need the Shaker and his 2 apprentices to help them find this Orogonian outpost and take it for themselves, or at worst, deny it to both sides. Before the expedition even starts out though, 20 men are murdered in their beds and the 3 Shakers are set upon. Thus they all realize that the Orogonians have some spies within their midsts.

On their journey to cross the mountains and find the fabled city of treasures, the spies kill almost half the group before being revealed themselves. But they aren’t human. They are wire worm things inhabiting the bodies of their hosts and taking over. They are dealt with and killed.

Once over the mountains, the Darklanders must deal with Orogonians who have made use of such technology as airplanes and guns. Shaker Sandow uses his powers to find an unused entrance into the city where the remaining Darklanders fall victim to the descendants of genetically modified humans inhabiting the bodies of massive blue apes.

Turns out the apes were just incapacitating them all to be on the safe side, since the Orogonians had been treacherous and tried to kill all the apes. They all team up, wipe out the Orogonians in the city, take a super-submarine back to their land and wipe out most of the Tyrant’s stores of technology and his castle where he lived, thus hopefully wiping him out.

Shaker Sandow and his apprentices realize they have brought the potential for unending war back to life and envision a time when all the Shakers can come together and lead the world into a utopia of peace and knowledge.

 

My Thoughts:

This was written in 1972. It reminded me a LOT of John Christopher’s middle grade series The Sword of the Spirits trilogy that was released in 1970. Post-apocalyptic Earth with humanity rising again. Koontz is a bit more on the positive side though, with his ending foreseeing a return to the stars and a Utopia established. I did have to roll my eyes because the idea is predicated on the “fact” that knowledge alone will temper humanities’ worst impulses. Koontz has definitely bought into the Religion of Scyenze in this book. Sadly, Hitler, an extremely educated man, really taught that Generation nothing.

A decent story with some action but I didn’t feel any of the tension that I think Koontz meant to inhabit the pages. Part of that is I’m a widely read reader so nothing of this is new any more and I’ve read enough Koontz to know what he likes to write about. He likes to write about new flesh that is super in some way and while not an exact replication of that idea, the wire worms taking over the bodies were as close as could be gotten.

In regards to that “widely read reader”, there was a small section of the story where the darklanders came across an oasis of jungle land that was converted all to crystals of various kinds, ie, rubies, diamonds, sapphires, etc. Plants, animals, all turned to jewels. It immediately made me think of JG Ballard’s short story, The Illuminated Man from his Complete Short Stories Collection. That was published at least in 1964 and I’m sure Koontz “used” the idea because he thought it was cool. However, as a reader, it came across as”I don’t have enough of my own ideas so I’ll use somebody else’s to pad my own story”. That can be a fine line. Sometimes it is cool to see an idea recycled from one author to another and sometimes it really isn’t cool.

Overall, I’d call this a decent story. While it lacked the pizzazz and tension I prefer, it also didn’t end on a “pull it out of a hat” ending that I’ve experienced with some of Koontz’s other stories.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

The Running Man

793e5979af09908d5235191c31799af0This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Running Man

Series: —–

Author: Stephen King

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: Thriller

Pages: 260

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Ben Richards signs up for the Games to earn money for his sick daughter. He knows that the Running Man is rigged but all he needs to do is stay ahead of the hunters for 3 days and his wife and daughter will receive his earnings.

This is the story of Ben Richards, fighting for the survival of his daughter while having it televised as entertainment for the masses.

 

My Thoughts: Spoilers

The emotions in this book were palpable. Richards’ hopelessness, despair, cynicism and determination rolled off the pages and over me like a wave. I never got depressed from it though, as his determination was in the forefront and simply ruled his every thought and action. Ben Richards was a very desperate man, but he was not a broken man.

Taking place in 2025, King displaces the issues of his day from the late 70’s and early 80’s and simply magnifies them into the future. It isn’t a pretty picture.

There is also absolutely NO supernatural aspect to this book. I’m not used to that coming from King, even though since this is a Bachman book it can be excused. It was also very short, once again, comparatively. I’m thinking next year’s Stephen King book will be one of his fatter ones.

Time Salvager

dca88e1ef68ff104d8632cb2b9e9dd68This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.leafmarks.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

 

 

Title: Time Salvager

Series: —–

Author: Wesley Chu

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 381

Format: Kindle Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Future sucks. While Humanity has expanded to the stars, they have lost the will to innovate and hope. While they have the awesome ability to time travel, they use it to plunder the past for energy.

One of these Chronman is James. He falls in love and brings a 21st Century woman to the 26th Century. Chaos, corruption and violence all spring into life. Amid the despair, Elise is a ray of hope. Question is whether James can keep her alive when the whole of the Time Department and a MegaCorporation wants her dead.

 

My Thoughts:

I was expecting more. In fact, I felt like I was doing a good deed by giving this 3 stars instead of 2 1/2 or even 2.

I just didn’t like this. I didn’t like any of the characters, I didn’t like the situations, I didn’t like anything. Hence why my rating is magnanimous.

Arrowhead

cover
Arrowhead

Afterblight Chronicles #6

Paul Kane

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

What could be better than Robin Hood in a Post-Apocalyptic world wiped out by a mysterious plague?
That premise sounds right up my alley. I knew this was young-adult, so I wasn’t expecting deep writing or long rational explanations for events.

The story almost lives up to the premise. I didn’t have a problem with that at all.

The thing that drove me batty was that this book vacillated between between childishly simple [not even close to YA] and then extremely graphic in terms of language and violence and sexual content.

Childish:
This apocalypse is a nice quiet ordered one. Lots of people die, lots of the survivors hide out and then things just kind of settle down to a humdrum existence.
Then the badguys move in. They have guns, tanks, fuel. In fact, they have everything they need.

I can deal with simple and the above would have been ok too if the rest of the book had been in that vein. Unfortunately, schizophrenia [or marketing] set in and led to the Graphic’ness.

Graphic:
The foremost incident that stood out to me was when Robinhood at the end shoved the arrow down the sheriff’s throat, maybe his eyes [I seem to remember that but could very well be wrong] and then rammed it through his heart, all while the sheriff was lying on the ground.
The second thing that bothered me was the inclusion of continued hints at rape to one of the characters by the sheriff and her seduction of the guard to escape.
Third, was the use of the word “fuck” several times.

Now, all of the above I would expect in an adult novel and probably wouldn’t make much note of it. What gets me is the interweaving of the two. A 10 year old could read the story and comprehend and enjoy it. But I don’t want my[theoretical] 10 year old reading such graphic violence, lewd and suggestive acts or being exposed to such casual “hard” swearing.

In many ways I felt like I was watching one of those beauty pageants that are for 5 year olds. It made me ill to be honest.