Tuesday 25 March 2014

Last God Standing by Michael Boatman (review - first published on TerrorTree)

An interesting premise here, and one that works really well. After 2000 years doing “the job he was created to do” God has quit and come to live among humanity. He is now Lando Cooper, living in Chicago and working in his Dad’s Auto supplies shop…….he also aspires the make it as a stand up comedian.

Unfortunately for Lando he is being regularly challenged by God’s from the elder pantheon (think Greek, Roman, Indian God’s and you get the idea) who want to take his place as Supreme Being. On top of all this a murderous new God known only as The Coming is on the horizon and getting closer.

This novel has a lot going for it. The idea on it’s own is a good one – God lives among us (as do other God’s and even Lucifer) but he is just a regular guy! There are several battles between Lando and other Gods and at times these can be quite epic but there is also home life (the interactions between Lando, his parents – both separated – and their partners are, at times funny enough to make your sides ache) and his love life.

So, all Lando has to do is face and beat an array of God’s, The Coming, and win the girl’s hand while not letting anyone know who he is/was. Oh, and win a slot at the comedy club night and host a TV customers show. There is, needless to say, quite a lot going on but it is to the author’s credit that at no point does it feel rushed or crammed. There are moments that will make you chuckle, touching moments and one’s to make you laugh out loud (the restaurant scene with his girlfriend and her family is a work of comedy genius in my opinion).

The other plus for me is that although the main character is God the book itself is not overly religious or preachy – just a good fun read that I will happily recommend to anyone

Sunday 23 March 2014

The Soul That Screamed by Dan Weatherer (a review)

The Soul That Screamed by Dan Weatherer
Now, this is, in my opinion, just how story collections should be. There is plenty of variety, more or less something for everyone. This is a first collection from Dan Weatherer, but to read his words you get the feeling of reading someone who's been doing this for a while.
Some of the tales here have the voice and style of the 'old masters' like Poe, Lovecraft, and M R James (The Legend of the Chained Oak, Florian, Siar's Rock) while others feel a lot more modern. There are ghost stories in here, there are zombie/re-animation stories here, there are demons a plenty, a 'creature feature (Fly Bad Butterfly, Fly - particularly disturbing for me this one as I have a ridiculous fear of butterflies and moths) and two darkly comic tales  ('Once A Butcher's Wife' and its' follow up 'Always A Butcher's Wife').
Weather comes across on the page as a more than competent author with a selection of 'author voices' to entertain you. I think we will be hearing a lot more from him in the future (I certainly hope so) and would be interested to see what he would do with a full length novel (and I want more stories of Agnes Ferry, the eponymous butcher's wife - you've got to love the old dear, even if she is a nasty piece of work at times)

Thursday 13 March 2014

The Copper Promise by Jen Williams (a review)

The thing with being a fan of fantasy novels, series etc is that there is a lot to choose from out there - and a lot of it is formulaic, the same old same old, if you like. You often have to wade through a lot of  "average" to find a gem.

Fortunately Jen Williams debut 'The Copper Promise' is such a gem - and then some!

The story has everything you would want from a fantasy novel. There are the heroes, Wydrin (aka The Copper Cat) and Sebastian, a disgraced knight. There is a dispossessed Lord. There is a Dragon, there is an army of the aforementioned dragon, there are villains. And there is oh so very much more.

Oh, and dungeons complete with traps and treasure (can`t forget the dungeons!!).

But what this story has, above all else, is heart. It is a big world, with big characters but it feels real. You will care about their plight and their adventures.

What else sets this book above standard fantasy fare? One of the big things for me was the army of the dragon's children. They are developed in a very clever and believable way but I'll leave you to find that out for yourselves ;-)

The book itself was originally released in four separate parts and is still available as such on Amazon (for kindle) so if you wish to you can buy part one and give it a try if you want to but I would say just get the whole thing in one volume - you'll be glad you did!

The Copper Promise is the kind of story that got me reading fantasy in the first place and I honestly believe this will one day be looked on as a classic of the genre. And also, that Jen Williams will be a big name, up there with the likes of Sanderson, Rothfuss, Weeks, and Tad Williams.

Highly recommended - 7 stars out of 5 (and yes I can do that because a. it's that good, and b. it's my blog)

Go treat yourself and join Wydrin, Sebastian and Aaron Frith in the first of many adventures