Monday 13 May 2013

Everville; The First Post by Roy Huff (a review)

As a first book in a series this holds a lot of promise. It is aimed more at young adults but all ages could find it an enjoyable read.

The story throws you in at the deep end really when, right from the first page, Owen, our hero, falls unconscious in the medical rooms at Easton Falls University, where he is just starting out his freshman year. While out cold he finds himself transported to the world of Everville, where he meets the Keeper, who tells him of a threat to the land.

In short time he is back in the medical rooms at EFU - no time seems to have passed. From here there is a lot more to-ing and fro-ing between our world and Everville, the nature of the threat is explained and Owen's friends - Dante and Anika - become involved.

At times this seems very much like Harry Potter for the slightly older generation but that is not a bad thing.

On the negative side, it did feel a trifle disjointed in parts and the revelation of the 'bad guy' towards the end felt a bit tacked on but, on the whole, this was a good read and I will be looking forward to the next in the series

The Sum of all Men by David Farland (a review)

This series has been on my radar for many years but for some reason I never got round to starting it.................oh, you foolish, foolish person! Turns out I've been missing a real treat.

Although the story is fairly standard fantasy stuff there are two things that really stand out;

1) The magic system, whereby people can be empowered by taking enhancements from people - making the person recieving the the enhancement more powerful but leaving the donor a wreck. At times this can be quite horrific or saddenning, depending on the situation, whether the enhancement is taken by force or freely given and as a plot device it is really well used.

2) The description of the world. Right from the very first page this land jumps off the page. It feels real and alive. For me, this makes a story all the more enjoyable.

All in all, quality storytelling and characterisation, set in a believable land - It took me a while to start this series but I'm really glad I did.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

New Tales of the Old Ones ( various) - a review

This little gem of a collection from Knightwatch Press is a tribute anthology to the works of HP Lovecraft. There are stories from 8 authors and, to be honest, there isn't a weak one amongst them.

This is horror at it's most horrifying so if you're looking for sparkly vampires you're in the wrong place.

Lovecraft wrote his stories in the early part of the 20th century so, for me, The Curse of the Frasers by Emma Bunn probably has the most Lovecraftian feel, just by dint of being set round the earlier part of last century. But that is to take nothing away from the other authors on show here - all have a good grip on what makes a good Cthulhu Mythos tale.

Sometimes the terror creeps up on you, sometimes it's in your face but it's always, always there.

How good is this collection? I started on it last night with the intention of just reading one or two stories. I didn't put it down until I was done with it.

You know that nightmare you had?

The really bad one that kept you from going back to sleep?

That was only the warm up act!!!!

The Old Ones are back (and thanks to Knightwatch Press they are in safe hands)

More please.

Monday 6 May 2013

Watch these publishing houses - they will be big!

Short post just to say keep an eye on these three great publishing houses.

At present I have several titles for review and they all have a lot of promise and among these are;

Grimm and Grimmer volumes 1 and 2 from Fringeworks

New Tales of the Old Ones (New Cthulhu Mythos) from Knightwatch Press

Code Z: An Undead Hospital Anthology from Knightwatch Press

Machina Mortis from Knightwatch Press

And then there's Crooked Cat Publishing who's numbers are growing by the day - many and varied titles in a mix of genre's from Anthony Price's 'The House of Wood' a psychological horror, to Catriona King's D.C.I. Craig novels, quite possibly the best crime series I have read in a long, long time via such authors as Pamela Kelt, David W Robinson and Tom Gillespie.

These are great publishers - have a look at their pages, you won't be sorry

Sunday 5 May 2013

House of Wood by Anthony Price (a review)

Three years ago Rachel James was caught up in terrible events at the House of Wood that ended in tragedy. She survived and left for college, vowing to never return to Willows Peak.

Move to the present, and the death of Rachel's parents changes things - she has to return for the funeral and on approach to the town she sees the last thing she expects.............someone is rebuilding the House of Wood!!

This is a cracking tale of horror and possession in the style of the books I was reading when I first discovered this genre many years ago. No vampires, no werewolves, no zombies, just a tale that creeps up on you, and once it has a hold, doesn't let go 'til the last page is turned.

While the deaths are being investigated Rachel has to stay in town and meets 'new guy in town' Doctor David Cochrane, a psychologist. She agrees to talk to him about the 'event' over dinner and it is here that the story really picks up a couple of gears.

During the evening the whole story comes out (in flashback), the atmosphere grows tenser, and the book gets more difficult to put down.

I must say, I thought I knew where the story was going. It seemed the author was leading the story one way, but in the end he wrongfooted me, and I am glad to have been wrong.

The climax was strong and fast paced, the resolution believable and satisfying.

And then...............The Epilogue - WOW!

Another winner from Crooked Cat Publishing.