Rites of Azathoth ★★☆☆½

rites of azathoth (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: Rites of Azathoth
Series: ———-
Author: Frank Cavallo
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Pages: 420
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Diana Mancuso, FBI agent, is carrying on an affair with her boss, one of the Assistant-Directors of the FBI. She is assigned to a high profile murder case of a potential vice-presidential candidate. The profile indicates a man who up until 24hrs ago, was 1000 miles away in a maximum security prison. He has mysteriously disappeared. It turns out that the VP candidate has ties to all the previous victims, who were ritualistically murdered.

Doctor Carter, former protege of Gamaliel a discredited historian who dwelt on Elder gods as the true history of mankind, has been invited to join a mysterious group headed by a reclusive billionaire. Carter has been recruited to translate an elder language that he was taught by Gamaliel.

The ritualistic murderer is acting as supernatural conduit for Azathoth, who the billionaire is attempting to awaken. Said awakening will grant all knowledge to those involved but might destroy all of creation as well. Luther Vayne is acting on Azathoth’s will to prevent this awakening.

Everything comes together, a gateway is opened by Carter, Mancuso and Vayne prevent Azathoth from awakening, the occultic group is destroyed and Carter is taken into the realm of Chaos and he thinks how wonderful it all is.

 

My Thoughts:

I feel like I am being rather generous in giving this 2 ½ stars. Mancuso was a very unpleasant character. She’s just a jerk to everyone, even her so-called friend. This friend covers for her, breaks the law for her, lies to FBI agents for her and said friend tosses it off as “Oh well, that’s what friends do”. And Mancuso takes it as her due instead of as the huge thing it is. Then comes her affair with her boss. He’s married and trying to fix his marriage AND keep Mancuso on the side. She’s pissed off that she’s the side woman and is always put out that he won’t toss his rich, beautiful, young wife for her. She’s the very definition of an angry bitch. It was NOT amusing or enjoyable.

Carter was an arrogant ass who was divorced and failing at pretty much everything, including being a dad. He stays arrogant, assuming and overbearing during the whole book and his little “Oh, how wonderful the other side is” comment at the end was completely out of character and had NO place in a horror story about eldrich horrors beyond mortal ken.

The horror side of things worked pretty well. Demon children adopted by a cabal of women, hunted down by a supernatural blind killer, a half demon billionaire who sacrifices the blood of virgins to his own mother, it was fantastic. It was what you’d expect from an HP Lovecraft themed story. So the whole thing about Azathoth using Vayne to prevent the end of everything didn’t fit. Elder gods don’t care. And Carter saying how beautiful the chaos of the other realm was? That was complete bollux. The other realm drives men mad, period.

So unlikeable characters and an ending that didn’t fit with the theme made for a rather bleh read. There was also a lot of profanity.

★★☆☆½

 

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The Dead Town (Frankenstein #5) ★★☆☆☆

thedeadtown (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 Dead Town
Series: Frankenstein #5
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 447
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Everything begins falling apart for Victor Immaculate. His vat grown creations once again transcend their genetic coding and that transcendance is always in the form of breaking. Builders take on non-biological matter and can’t reproduce properly, the replacement clones begin to obsess and lose sight of their mission.

Through it all, Michael and Carson begin helping the townsfolk defend themselves while Deucalion hunts Victor down. Deucalion snaps Victor’s neck, the creations fall apart upon their creator’s death and Deucalion can now walk quantumly through the Light instead of skulking through the Shadows.

 

My Thoughts:

Even while I was expecting this story to turn out like this, it was still disappointing to have it actually happen. This followed the exact same pattern as the first trilogy but without any finesse or style. Evil simply falls apart and the good guys win by default.

Also, I already wrote this review, forgot to post it online, forgot I hadn’t posted it and deleted the hard copy from Open Office. So I’m writing this all over again. That always ruins things.

Basically, I didn’t enjoy this book or this series overall. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am going to continue dipping my toes into the Koontz universe. I’ve got 20 of his books available so I’m going to go exploring and see what I find. I hope I find better things than this book.

If anyone has read some of his standalone stuff, feel free to make recommendations in the comments, otherwise I’m just going to start picking stuff randomly.

★★☆☆☆

 

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Queen Bitch (Kurtherian Gambit #2) ★★★★☆

queenbitch (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: Queen Bitch
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #2
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 258
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Bethany Anne must begin cleaning up the mess left behind by Michael. She has to start cleaning up the Forsaken who are starting to make inroads in North America due to Michael’s absence. She has to start putting Michael’s “good” children back on the straight and narrow and have them go back to their duties of keeping the supernatural outside of the purview of the normal world. She also has to put the Council of the Were in their place, as several members are thinking that without Michael around they can begin shoving the humans around, perhaps even ruling them.

While ALL this is going on, Bethany Anne also has to keep in mind that the overall threat is so much greater and her final goal must be to get humanity into space and ready to fight off potential hordes of ravening aliens.

Sometimes, being Queen Bitch just isn’t worth the hassle.

 

My Thoughts:

This was F-U-N!! Nothing deep, nothing worth a re-read but my goodness, Bethany Anne kicks some serious butt. She is pretty much a Mary Sue, but only if Mary Sue was a psycho violent vampire who was trying to protect the planet. I can handle that.

Even through all of this, Bethany Anne is still planning on just how she is going to save the planet. She might be violent but she’s not at all stupid. She’s beginning to make more and more use of TOM and she’s already thinking about how she can use its knowledge to grow humanity’s knowledge AND give her the funds necessary to build the space stuff that will be needed.

Thinking about this book, I would compare it to the earlier MHI books in terms of action and violence. I’d compare it quality-wise to the first MHI book as well. The thing that gives me pause is that Anderle has a bajillion books while Correia has a steady output of steadily increasing quality. I’m kind of afraid to find out where Anderle plateaus or even nosedives. That’s the only problem and that is all in my head.

I almost started in on the next book right away but thank goodness my inner core of self control kept me safe. Nothing is worse than having too much of a good time all at once.

★★★★☆

 

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Death Becomes Her (Kurtherian Gambit #1) ★★★☆½

deathbecomesher (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: Death Becomes Her
Series: Kurtherian Gambit #1
Author: Michael Anderle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 271
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Michael, the Father of All Vampires, is awoken after one of his children is killed. He sets out to find a replacement but there is only 1 candidate that fits Michaels very exacting standards. He contacts General Reynolds to setup the interview.

Bethany Anne Reynolds, a black ops of black ops agent, has been diagnosed with an incurable blood disease that will kill her in less than 6months. She has only told 2 people, neither of them being her father. So when she is summoned to her father’s base, she assumes one of the two spilled the beans.

Bethany Anne is recruited by Michael. She is now officially dead and her record of existence has been closed. However, Bethany Anne was not recruited to simply be a new child of Michael’s, but Michael’s own replacement as he realized that events in the world were moving faster than his 1000 year old brain could handle. New blood was needed (I think I made that pun all by myself!).

It turns out that what turned Michael into a sunwalking alpha vampire a millenia ago was an alien scout sent to change any sentient races it found into beings capable of fighting an enemy that the aliens, the Kurtherians, were no longer able to fight. Now with an alien computer in her head, Michael disappeared and the kickass attitude that has gotten her through life so far, Bethany Anne must face down all of Michael’s children plus all the residents of the Unknown World (what the supernaturals refer to themselves as collectively).

The book ends with Bethany Anne forming a new proto-team of her own and taking down of Michael’s grandchildren who had gotten out of line. But with the Forsaken, children of Michael who have rejected all his strictures, life, or death, isn’t going to be easy for Bethany Anne.

 

My Thoughts:

My first impression of Bethany Anne (you have NO idea how sick to death I became of that two name nomeclature by the time this book was done) was that I hated her guts. She was piss and vinegar with a bad attitude. Thankfully, once she is made over by the alien machine, and starts acting like an alpha vampire, it’s more palatable. I still don’t particularly care for her, but I stopped actively disliking her by the end.

There was a lot of setup in this book, what with introducing vampires, the shape changers and then the whole “alien” thing. That took this from a “so stereotypical urban fantasy that I want to gag” to a much wider scope of story that could be, and will be, told. Also, Bethany Anne didn’t have any love interest in this book at all, so that was nice.

The action scene where she destroys the werewolves and then goes after the vampire that set them on her was nice and I wish there had been more of that. But at under 300 pages, Anderle had to really choose what to include in this and honestly, I think he did a good job of balancing everything.

This was another book that came across my radar because of PG’s Ramblings. He was dead on about the profanity too, so be aware of that. It only took me a year to get around to reading this. So take that into consideration if I ever tell you that your review has inspired me to read Book X. It’ll be a while

* grin *

★★★☆½

 

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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.

★★★☆☆

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Seal Team 13 ★★☆☆☆

sealteam13 (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:
Seal Team 13
Series: ———-
Author: Evan Currie
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 337
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

10 years ago a Seal Team witnessed the destruction of a destroyerboat by tentacles. The 2 surviving SEALS were drummed out of the service and burned for their report. Monsters like that don’t exist.

Incidents like that have been increasing and Admiral Karson realizes that the United States Armed Forces aren’t getting the job done of finding out what is going on. He re-calls Harold “Hawk” Masterson, one of the surviving SEALS and has him assemble a team that can handle such incidents. When a town in Alaska suddenly goes off the radar and the police and national guard sent in to investigate disappear, Karson realizes it is time for his team to annointed by fire.

Masterson and crew, all survivors of various unexplained events, head in. With Alexander Norton, known simply as The Black in the supernatural community, Masterson wants to prove that his team can handle such threats and begin fighting back against the supernatural.

Lots of hints are dropped about The Veil, something that keeps an ignorant humanity protected from the worst of the supernatural. Apparently, if someone witnesses something, they can cross the veil and see things. Unfortunately, it also means that those “things” can now see them.

The town of Barrow, Alaska, has been taken over by a vampire and its inhabitants turned. Masterson must destroy the alpha vampire while battling off thousands of shambling zombie/vampire things. The Team wins, deals with the instigators of the whole thing and come to the attention of masters of the Supernatural.

Now the Armed Forces can fight back, with Seal Team 13.

 

My Thoughts:

This was originally supposed to be the start of a series, but considering that we’ve never seen another one I’m guessing Currie lost interest, or something. That is why I put that this is just a standalone.

I was expecting something along the lines of the Monster Hunter International series but with SEAL’s instead of a private organization. Things started out with a bang and I was rather excited. Sadly, it did not coalesce into the awesomeness I was hoping for.

Firstly, the whole Veil thing. It is sideways referenced so many times that I had the idea of what it was but no clear idea in actuality. It would appear to literally be a Veil of Ignorance. If you don’t know about the supernatural, they can’t affect you. But the attacks by supernatural beings seems to give lie to that. How does a Kraken take down a whole Destroyer if it supposedly can’t interact with those who don’t know or believe? Same with the whole town of Barrows who were all zombievampirized. The idea was cool but the execution was not thought out the best or at least, not explained very well.

Second, the sniping at Christianity and America. There is an instance where The Black holds up a cross and tells the main character that the cross is an ancient celtic symbol of the sun and the symbol of punishment for the worst scum by the romans and asks the main character which he thinks would be more effective against vampires. Then an instance of the a secondary character being from the Canadian Special Forces and Currie praises them and snipes at the SEALs. Neither of those instances are huge, but it was one more thing that rubbed me wrong.

Thirdly, plot related things. The Black knows about the vampire and knows that bullets can’t kill her. But does he tell the rest of the SEAL team or at least let them know that only his special knife might have a chance of killing her? Nope, he waits until they’re already attacking before he lets loose that info. There were several instances like this where a real SEAL team would have all the info possible before proceeding.

Finally, and least important but most noticable to me, was the continued references to Masterson as “Harold “Hawk” Masterson”. Ok, we get it. Use it at the beginning of the book, but in the last chapter? WE KNOW THAT ALREADY.

Overall, this came across as slapdash and mediocre at best. I like the idea, a lot, but the execution was poorly done and I doubt I’d try a book 2 even if Currie (who has improved tremendously through his career to date) wrote it now. I’d rather him focus on his Scourwind trilogy and finish that up.

★★☆☆☆

 

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Jackaby (Jackaby #1) ★★★☆½

jackaby (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:
Jackaby
Series: Jackaby #1
Author: William Ritter
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

Miss Abigail Rook has found herself in New Fiddleham, after running away from her college and absconding with the tuition put forth by her parents. Wanting adventure, yet afraid of her parents censure, Abigail took a “tour” of Europe. Which was mostly digging uselessly through mud looking for dinosaur bones.

Now in America, Abigail is looking for work that will support her until she can figure out how to have a proper adventure. She comes across an advertisement as an Assistant and this in turn leads her to Mr. R.F. Jackaby, investigator of the unknown. Jackaby is eccentric at best and with his unusual hat and long trailing scarf AND his ability to see supernatural entities, wasn’t quite what Abigail was looking for.

Sucked in to an ongoing murder investigation, Abigail becomes Jackaby’s new assistant. More murders occur and in the end Abigail and Jackaby and Jack Cane face off against a Red Hat fairy, whose mundane existence comes as a surprise to them all.

Jack is revealed to be a shapeshifter and saves Abigail’s life. This leads to him being dismissed from the force at New Fiddleham but he ends up in another small town and continues communicating with Abigail. The fairy has the kabosh put on it, Jackaby solves the case and the police inspector involved is promoted to Chief until a new one can be voted in.

 

My Thoughts:

Rec’ed by Simply a Book Drunkard.

This was in the young adult section of my library and after my conversation with Milou on her review I knew this was YA. Thankfully, none of the tropes that make most YA books so abhorrent to me were present in this and I do plan on reading the next 3 to finish the series.

Jackaby is eccentric at best and would be infuriating as a character if he was the main focus. Thankfully, we as readers get him filtered through Abigail and makes him mostly eccentric. With his funny hat and scarf, the mental picture I have of him is Dr Who when played by Tom Baker.

tombaker

Doctor Who? Doctor Jackaby you jackass!

I enjoyed this book, as it rolled along and Abigail is very good narrator. The hint of romance between her and Jack Cane was masterfully done and walked the line of not being obnoxious and not existing. I liked it. It is made clear from the get-go that Abigail and Jackaby are not an item, so no triangle. Jackaby hints at a mysteriously sad instance of love lost of his own, so I figure we’ll see more of that storyline resolved.

I enjoyed this a lot and it was on track to be a solid 4star read before I read one small thing that knocked it down half a star.

“Saint George’s legend tells of the dangers of mythical creatures, and the value of man asserting dominance over them. Manu’s tale, quite conversely, stresses the value of mercy, coexistence, and peaceful symbiosis.”

– Jackaby to Abigal Rook

Coexistence. That is one of those words that is a loaded phrase nowadays and displays such an astonishing amount of ignorance of all the various religions of the world. It is condescending in tone, with the implications that what you may believe doesn’t really matter as long as you get along (however that is defined, and seems to differ from person to person). This is an obvious sore spot for me and won’t make an impression on most other readers.

Overall, I was very pleased with my read of this book. It was short, told an engaging story, didn’t wallow in hormones or sentimentality and gave me a couple hrs of enjoyment. It also helps that the series is finished so I know I can go through all 4 books and then be done.

★★★☆½

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