Monday 27 September 2021

Born To The Dark by Ramsey Campbell


Born To The Dark is the second of Campbell's The Three Deaths of Daoloth and sees us back in Liverpool but 30 years on from The Searching Dead. I'd advise reading that first as it gives the story a little more flow but you get a reminder of previous events early on.

Dominic Sheldrake is now all grown up with a family and his 5 year old son is having trouble sleeping. While Dom is away his wife signs Toby (the son) up to the Safe To Sleep program without Dom's consent. Things get bad between the two when it turns out that Christian Noble (the Big Bad from The Searching Dead and Dom's nemesis) and his daughter are behind Safe To Sleep. And Toby's nightmares are getting worse...

As usual for Ramsey Campbell this is a very creepy read, the kind that has you turning the page slowly, not knowing what scares are around the corner but also eager to embrace them. I've been reading RC since the 80s and don't believe he has ever let me down - and it's the same with Born To The Dark. I'm looking forward to seeing how the series finishes

Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour, Flaming Tree Press for providing the review copy and Ramsey himself for keeping me entertained all these years.

Please have a look at the posts by the other reviewers on the tour - we really appreciate it

Monday 20 September 2021

The Wisdom of Crowds by Joe Abercrombie


'Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies . . . while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver's ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together . . .'

                         My Opinion

Well, what can I say about Joe Abercrombie and his writing that's not been said before - not a lot I guess. You know what you are getting with JA and with The Wisdom of Crowds believe me, you get it by the bucket load. 

 TWOC is the final volume in the Age of Madness Trilogy and brings things to a glorious finish. As always JA puts his characters through the wringer (although, to be fair the ones put 'through the wringer' are the ones that get of lightly). This is a brutal book but there are moments of humour too. I got my review copy early and had the intention of saving it for my holiday, (which was in release week) but I made the mistake of "just reading the one chapter, you know, just a taster". Well, that taster turned into a full on banquet and too nightshifts later I was done. As is often the case with Abercrombie putting the book down is not an option. 

 I tried to think what I could compare it too and the best I could come up with was Charles Dickens meets Les Miserables. What made me particularly enjoy this series was that JA moved things forward, giving the tale a more Age of Industry feel, advancing the world, if you like. 

What I didn't like - it came to an end and now I have to wait and see what the author does next. 

Highly recommended 5/5* 

Thanks to Gollancz for inviting me to join this Blogtour. 

Please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers (below) - every read helps us be more visible 

Monday 6 September 2021

Fury of a Demon by Brian Naslund


                 ABOUT THE BOOK 

The land is in chaos as a hero heads for war.

Commanding a devastating army of skyships, Osyrus Ward has conquered most of Terra. And to finish the task, he’s building a machine of unparalleled power. With it, he’d be unstoppable – and dragons would be wiped from the face of the earth.

Bershad and Ashlyn are leading a desperate rebellion, but they’ve been trapped within the Dainwood by Ward’s relentless mercenaries. The rebels pray Ashlyn’s dark magic will give them an edge, but her powers are well-known to their enemies as they draw ever nearer. Out of options, Ashlyn must embark on a dangerous mission to save her fledgling army – or be crushed by Ward’s soldiers.

Bershad was once invincible in battle, but this very power may prove his undoing. Now, with every new wound, his humanity is slipping further away. Bershad seems to be Terra’s last and best hope against terrifying forces. But to save the world, will he become the nightmare?

                    MY THOUGHTS

I think it's fair to say I've loved this series from day one so seeing it come to an end is a bit of a downer but it's also fair to say it's gone out in style.

What impressed me most I think (apart from the dragons - I mean, come on, who can't be impressed by dragons as awesome as these) is the way the magic system develops to a more sciencey/maybe steampunky type and how natural this feels. To win, to progress you have to adapt and that really feels like the case here.

Our heroes, Flawless Bershad and Ashlyn have gone through the wringer at times to be where they are at the start of Fury and things really don't get any easier for them throughout the book. I was left at times wondering who would make it through to the end and, yes, I actually cared about the characters wellbeing - for me that's the sign of a good storyteller.

Naslund's world building really worked for me - there's a difference between knowing the lands because you can see a map and knowing them because 'you are there' in your mind. Another strength of Naslund I guess.

As final battles go Fury really turns up the dials here and I was quite exhausted by the end but thoroughly enjoyed it. And I guess it's not really the end for me because I'm going to give it a couple of months then I'm going to go back to the beginning and read all three back to back - can't wait 😉

Highly recommended and a very much deserved 5/5*

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Deep Cover by Leigh Russell


      Welcome to my spot on day 8 of the Blogtour for Deep Cover 

              ABOUT THE BOOK 

When a sex worker dies in suspicious circumstances in York, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel struggles to remain focused on the murder investigation: she is distracted by her worries about her colleague and life partner, Ian Peterson, who has disappeared. As Geraldine becomes close to her new DS, Matthew, she is unaware that Ian is working undercover in London, trying to identify a criminal gang who have been targeting her.

As a second victim is discovered in York, and Ian's life is threatened by a psychopath the tension mounts. If he fails in his mission, both he and Geraldine may die...

                    MY THOUGHTS

This is the sixteenth book in the Geraldine Steel series of Police Procedural/ Crime Fiction novels but was a new series for me. The author has two cases on the go here, told in alternating chapters. In York Steel is investigating the murder of a prostitute while her ex DI Ian Peters on is undercover on a drugs op. She doesn't know this and thinks him mlssing which affects her concentration on her case.

At first it starts out as two different cases but (as I guess you would expect) there are strands that pull the two together but it is done in clever ways and still managed to pull the rug out from under me a few times.

As I said earlier this series is new to me and I do like seeing characters develop over time so I turned to Amazon and found the first three in the series were on offer so gave them a try. I enjoyed them immensely and will be reading the rest when I get chance. Deep Cover is a lot later on in the careers of Steel and Patterson and there are new characters since those early cases and some faces not there any more but I'll find out bout those later (and so will you I guess if you're following the blog - I aim to post more about the series as I go through it)

Anyhoo, back to Deep Cover - I got through this in just a few days as it's one of those 'one more chapter' books that finds you still awake at 2am wondering where the time has gone and can you chance carrying on and just stay in bed tomorrow (I did!😂).

Deep Cover works as a stand-alone novel despite being part of a series but I strongly advise having a look at the the other books as well just for quality of the storytelling 

Highly recommended 4.5/5*

Leigh Russell has quickly taken a spot on the list of authors I will picking up on release date 

Thanks as always to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this blogtour. Please have a look at the other  blogger posts (below)