Monday, September 15, 2014

The Falcoln Throne

It's rare that I read a book and don't really know what to think about it, but that's the case with The Falcon Throne. I've enjoyed other books by Karen Miller, and I certainly didn't dislike this book. It just seems like this book was written to cash in on the popularity of Game of Thrones.

Both works have Throne in the title. Both books are fantasies set in pseudo-medieval kingdoms. Both works are about politics with lots of treachery and backstabbing and power-hungry lunatics who want to seize a throne at all costs. Both works have large numbers of major characters. Both works keep magic more or less in the background. Both works tell fairly dark stories.

I'm not saying that Falcon is a copy of Game, because it clearly isn't. It is, however, very much the same sort of story. If you enjoy Game of Thrones, the books or the TV show, you'll probably enjoy this. Unfortunately, its also long, fairly depressing, and you will see bad things happen to characters you like.

Personally, I will probably pick up the rest of the series when it's written.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

After the Funeral

Considering how many books I read, it's surprising that I'd never read an Agatha Christie novel until I read After the Funeral, and the only reason I read that is because the publisher sent me a review copy. Now, you might wonder why a publisher would send out review copies of a book that was originally published more than 50 years ago. Apparently, the Christie estate has authorized Sophie Hannah to write a new Poirot novel called The Monogram Murders, and the publisher had her choose her favorite Poirot novel and write an introduction for a new edition, She chose After the Funeral for its "nontransferable motive."

This book certainly had one of the most peculiar motives I've read. In fact this is one of the few mysteries I've read where I didn't have any idea who the killer was until the end of the book. Despite being a Poirot mystery, Poirot isn't in the book very much.  The book spends most of it time with the family of the victim(s).  They are a strange lot.

I really enjoyed the book and will have to add Agatha Christie to the ever growing list of authors whose books I really have to read.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Limbus Inc.: Book II

Limbus, Inc.: Book II has got a really great lineup of contributors. Joe Lansdale is one of my favorite writers. I've rnjoyed eyerything I've read by Jonathan Maberry. I've generally enjoyed Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill stories. I've only read a couple of Harry Shannon's books, but I thought they were pretty good. I haven't read anything else by Joe McKinney, but he seems to be reasonably popular.

With that lineup, this book must be good, right? Yes, it and no. As with the previous book, I really don't think it really hangs together very well as a shared world story collection. Limbus is supposed to be a sort of pandimensional employment agency. The problem I have is that in some of the stories Limbus seems to be fairly benevolent, but in others it is utterly malevolent. The stories themselves are mostly good though.

Maberry fan's will probably really enjoy his story, which is a crossover with Sam Hunter (from the previous Limbus book) going to Pine Deep (which Maberry wrote a trilogy about) and teaming up with Joe Ledger (who is the star of Maberry's most popular series).  Joe Lansdale tells a story about a shadow government, a dinosaur hunt, and the Hollow Earth, with Allan Quartermain making an appearance. Gary Braunbecks story, which I found disappointing, was about a librarian who is kidnapped by Limbus and turned into a slightly more psychotic version of James Bond. Harry Shannon's tale is about an alcoholic who gets a job involving time travel and a quest for redemption. Joe McKinney's story is also about an alcoholic on a quest for redemption, only with a ghost instead of time travel.

Realistically, I think most people would be less bothered by Limbus's ambiguous nature than I am, and the stories are really good, so I'd say that you should read this book.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Halfway House

I haven't read a lot of Weston Ochse's books, but I thought all the ones I've read are great, including Halfway House. An orphan who may be the son of the king of rock and roll is searching for his birthright. A local gang leader is fighting to save San Pedro, California from a violent invasion by MS-13. An elderly surf bum is reconnecting with his estranged daughter. There's also a dead bruja who is devouring the souls of anyone who dies in San Pedro so she can sustain the curse she cast on a group of Japanese soldiers who murdered her daughter.

I thought the characters were well done, except for the villains who were a bit two dimensional. The plot did, perhaps take a bit too long to get to the titular Halfway House, but the events leading up to that part were still interesting. This is a great book for any horror fan.