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)

 

 

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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.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

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

bookstooge

 

 

Dead and Alive (Frankenstein #3) ★★☆☆½

deadandalive (Custom).jpgThis 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: Dead and Alive
Series: Frankenstein #3
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 372
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor Helios’ empire is crumbling. His new humans are all going insane, or changing in unexpected and uncontrolled ways. Murderous rampages, multiple genetic reorganizations, it is not good news for Victor. Then he gets a call from Wife #4, who he killed. Only she’s not dead, but alive and well in the dump and the creature that brought her back to life wants to confront Victor and destroy him.

The two cops, buddies slash romance partners, whose names I can’t even remember, are in touch with Deucalion and just drive around until it is time to meet up at the Dump. They have a “spiritual” moment, witness the end of the Victor and then get married, have a baby and start their own detective agency.

Deucalion steps through shadows, gets in touch with the freed new humans at the Dump and witnesses the end of Victor.

Victor denies that anything bad is happening, allows himself to be captured by the freed new humans and then dies. This sends a signal to some satellites in the sky which transmits a code and all the new humans, including the Dump Monster, die. Even though the coded deathkey didn’t work when Victor spoke it earlier.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a mess of a story. Everything was so rushed and completely unbelievable. That is coming from within a story about Frankenstein for goodness sake. And don’t give me crap about “Frankenstein’s Monster”. Koontz might sidestep it by calling him Deucalion, but since the series title is Frankenstein, yeah, I rest my case.

These books started out interesting, with Victor Helios being one bad ass badguy. The newhumans were real threats and things looked grim at the best. But Victor pretty much going insane and believing his own reality instead of what was actually going on really wrecked the whole villain vibe. I am hesitant to assign a motive to Koontz but I wonder if he was simply trying to show how pride can blind and ultimately destroy even the most brilliant being? I know that Koontz is Catholic and the parallels with Satan are unmistakable, but am I reading my own ideas into this? I simply don’t know.

Cop1 and Cop2 have guns, guns and guns and super ammo and only get to fight against two insane newhumans. Both of whom are naked. Cop2, the male, makes a big deal about the newhuman woman being naked. It didn’t quite get into slimeball territory but it definitely didn’t fit with “The End of Humanity as We Know It”. If you’re running for your life, are you really going to notice how tight some woman’s butt is? Especially when that woman is covered in blood, running faster than your car and trying to kill you with her barehands? If so, you really, really, really need to check your priorities.

There are 2 more books in this series and I do plan on reading them. I just hope they are standalones so that Koontz can pace himself a little better. As a trilogy I wouldn’t recommend this series but I’ll wait until the final book to see if this book was just the weak link or indicative of the overall direction.

★★☆☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Bookburners: Season One Volume One ☆☆☆☆½

bookburners (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: Bookburners: Season One Volume One
Series: Bookburners
Author: Max Gladstone
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 295
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

New York Police Detective Sal gets sucked into the world of the Bookburners when her brother opens a magical book and ends up in a coma after a demon possesses him.

Now under the auspices of the Catholic church with Father Menchu, with Presbyterian layman and former demon possessed Liam, super duper fighter secret keeper Grace and Archivist Asanti, Sal is out to capture dangerous magical books that could have a huge negative impact on the human race.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first half, 8 short stories, of the first volume of the Bookburners. It is a collection of short stories that tell an overall bigger story. Things were flying along right up until the last story. Then I had 2 serious issues.

A transgender character is one of the main side characters and everybody in the group is perfectly fine with it, including the Catholic Priest and the layman Presbyter. The one character who does have a problem with the whole transgender issue is literally demonized by the author. Not going to be reading more of that!

Then you have the relationship between Sal and Liam. They end up sleeping together once and then wonder where things are going. By the end of this volume, Liam has decided since he was damned for being demon possessed, what’s a little fornication on the side? It was horrible to read and yet shows the mind set of most 21st century people in this day and age. There is no mention of Jesus Christ, just the Catholic Church’s traditions. There was no power towards Salvation.

So no more of this for me.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge

 

City of Night (Frankenstein #2) ★★★☆½

cityofnight (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: City of Night
Series: Frankenstein #2
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 482
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Victor Helios is stepping up his campaign of the overthrow of the world with his newmen. Unfortunately for him, some really weird things are starting to happen with his newmen and even though he doesn’t realize it yet, he’s losing control. They are changing, mutating, becoming something completely non-human.

Deucalion is still hamstrung by his inability to harm Victor and so his use of police detectives Carson O’Connor and her partner Michael Maddison continues.

Victor sends some of his assassins after Carson and her autistic younger brother but things don’t go as Victor planned because one of his creations managed to get to them first and put them on guard.

The book ends with the group planning on how to assault Victor and not unleash the wrath of the newmen who have replaced so many key officials in New Orleans.

 

My Thoughts:

This series is one I am glad I didn’t read as it came out. Each “book” ends on a serious cliffhanger and without a lot of resolution. It is really more one big story that has been artificially chunked up into 5 separate books. Knowing that I have it completed and just waiting for me to read, I don’t mind nearly so much. I’m actually reading the omnibus edition, but reading over 1500 pages all at once is just a bit more than I want to deal with. Plus, it’s easier to review 5 smaller chunks than one huge thing like that.

This time around there is no small time villain like in the previous book. It made the cops’ part feel not as needed. A lot more time with the newmen happens and we see some of the happenings as they change. It is wicked creepy and yet perfectly illustrates how evil always turns on itself and destroys itself.

The threat of the newmen is also made a bit more evident in this book. There was at least one incident where the newmen assassins (a couple where the woman is going crazy because she wants a baby but Victor created them unable to have children) simply walked through a hail of 9mm bullets. Being very familiar with the 9mm, as I own a Sig-p938 cbt, it really brought out just how dangerous these beings were. Not immortal, not invincible, but not something that a regular police force could handle. A race of super villains as it were.

Both Carson and Michael come to the realization, and acceptance, that to stop Victor, it will probably cost them their lives. That is a sobering thought to me as a reader. It also makes me want to cheer for them even harder. Heroes.

The ending with the group planning to assault Victor’s secret lab really amped up the tension for me. The lab is filled with newmen, but it is also starting to fill up with the mutations, all of which are wicked nasty and give even the newmen a run for their money in the violence department.

I really wanted to just jump into the next book right away, to see what happens. But I know myself well enough to not start down that path again. I’ll get to the next book in a month or two. That wait won’t hurt me and will help temper any excitement and expectations I may have for book 3.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

The Monster Hunter Files (MHI #7) ★★★★☆

monsterhunterfiles (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 Monster Hunter Files
Series: Monster Hunter #7
Author: Larry Correia, et al
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories about various monster hunts and hunters, some good, some bad, all interesting. Correia starts the parade but then each story is by a different author and none are overlapping or interconnected. A nice montage to fill your Monster Hunter craving.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection immensely. In fact, I stayed up until almost midnight monday night reading it. I kept on telling myself, ok, THIS is the last story for the night. And before you know it, bam, midnight!

There were only 2 stories I actively disliked. One was a Jane Yellowrock/Faith Hunter story. It reminded me why I don’t read 99% of Urban Fantasy. Bad attitude assholes with chips on their shoulders so large that they have their own gravitational pull. If I had my druthers, Yellowrock would get run over by her own motorcycle while having her shotgun shoved up certain orifaces. That’s how she makes me feel after just a short story. Imagine a book, a whole series? No thank you. The second story was about some vietnam vet who rescues a commune of hippies from a vegetable demon. First, it portrays Vietnam vets as nothing but mentally disturbed violence seekers. You know how many Vets from that time settled down afterwards and just got on with life? Yeah, you don’t hear about all of them, they don’t make the news. Second, the hippies turn out to be semi-intelligent and OK people. Yeah, I’ll believe that in a heartbeat. Hippies are just soft Commies. In fact, if you put a Hardline Communist and a Hippie in a sealed room and gave me a Sig P938 and ONE bullet and told me to choose, I know exactly what I’d do. I’d line them up, Hippy first. At least if the Hardliner survives I’ll know he’ll go for my jugular. /End ranting and raving/

Here’s 2 of my favorites. One about a girl and her hippy dad (hahaha) who move into the Enchanted Forest trailor park because the girl tried to kill her science teacher because he was a werewolf. Not even her father believes her. Of course, moving in where the Queen of the Elves lives doesn’t help things. But when the girl helps take out an invading clan of garden gnomes, it’s all good! My second favorite was about Janitor One who hooks up with talking mice because his janitor2 coworker opens up a portal to hell to summon a demon because the janitor2 is jealous of how Janitor One actually does his job. I think part of the appeal was how Janitor One would literally try to fight anyone who looked down at him, even Owen Pitt 🙂 That takes some serious balls.

The rest of the stories varied between pretty good to hohum. Some were funny, some were sad. One of the ho-hum ones dealt with the douchebag hunter from the Monster Hunter Memoirs series. But overall it was nice to get another MHI story. It’s about the only Urban Fantasy series I look forward to reading or can even stomach in most cases.

★★★★☆

bookstooge