Paperbacks From Hell: Book Review

This week I’m starting off my Halloween horror reviews with a review of a nonfiction book about horror fiction.

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The Epic Crush of Genie Lo: Book Review

There are some YA novels that I have read that feel like I’m reading an anime. This is, in part, because some of the light novels that have been adapted to anime were aimed for YA audiences. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is an YA novel that definitely fits that concept, though one with some very different and unique narrative hooks because of the point of view character and setting that make it really worth your while (and makes me wish it would get turned into an animated series).

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The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook: Book Review

I like cookbooks. They are the fusion of my love for cooking and food, and my background in technical writing. I also love fantasy fiction & roleplaying games, with The Elder Scrolls series in particular. So, when I first played Skyrim and found there was cooking in the game, one of my first thoughts was “Man, an Elder Scrolls cookbook would be neat!” So, when one finally came out, I knew that I needed to check it out. Much as with the second Von Bek novel, I should have been looking at the Monkey’s Paw.

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The Warhound and the World’s Pain: Book Review

Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion series is interesting to discuss. Some stories have direct analogies to and inversions of Robert E. Howard’s work, like Elric. Others, like Hawkmoon, go in radically different directions. The first Von Bek novel probably falls more into the former camp – feeling like something of an inversion of Solomon Kaine, in multiple respects.

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Doctor Who: Cat’s Cradle – Time’s Crucible Book Review

Virgin Books’ Doctor Who: New Adventures series was, back in the day, meant to provide fans of Doctor Who the thing they wanted after the show was put on indefinite hiatus after the serial Survival. Time’s Crucible is the 6th book in the series, part of a pair of thematically linked stories under the heading of “Cat’s Cradle”.

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Dragons of Winter Night: Book Review

Dragons of Winter Night, as a novel, runs into the problem of adapting what was we think of it into just a trilogy of books – a bunch of material has to be skipped over. We start off after the retrieval of the Hammer of Karass and the re-unification of Dwarven society (which would later be covered in Dragons of the Dwarven Depths), with that kind of setting the tone somewhat for how the show comes out.

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Excerpt from the art of The Electric State.

The Electric State: Book Review

The Electric State is very much a different book from Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood. Those books had a retrospective narrative – the point of view for those books was from the viewpoint of someone looking back on events with a sense of nostalgia. The Electric State, on the other hand, has a more conventional narrative, while still having significant themes of memory, but definitely without the warmth of nostalgia.

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The October Man: Book Review

The last book in the Peter Grant series of Urban Fantasy police procedurals wrapped up the end of the “Faceless Man” Arc, with the recurring antagonist of that series being taken down, while one of the members of Peter’s supporting cast who had turned to the Dark Side was now on the lam. In the wake of this, author Ben Aaronovitch has decided to, basically, explore a different chunk of this world with the novella The October Man, which moves the plot from the UK to Germany.

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Quag Keep: Book Review

If I was going to describe the modern “Isekai” genre in brief, I’d describe it as “Game-based another world fantasy.” It’s not just fantasy where a protagonist is whisked to another fantastic world from ours like with the John Carter of Mars novels, or on the anime front with El-Hazard and Magic Knight Rayearth. This is fantasy where the characters are explicitly in a world that draws inspiration to games from gaming – sometimes by drawing the characters or their psyches into an actual game (ala Sword Art Online or Log Horizon), or a world which uses the language of RPGs like with Konosuba or Grimgar: Ash and Illusions. I would argue that if not the first of these, then one of the first of this particular genre – and was done in the ’70s by a woman.

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Dragons of the Dwarven Depths: Book Review

Dragons of Autumn Twilight ended with the refugees from Pax Tharkas having found a refuge in a mountain pass in the hope of (possibly) making it through the winter. The second book in the Dragonlance Chronicles series begins with the Heroes of the Lance having already gone on another adventure, and having brought the refugees to the Dwarven city of Pax Tharkas. In the roleplaying game modules, your player characters would have gone through this story. However, while much of the Dragonlance modules were adapted to the original Chronicles series, not all of them were. In the late 2000s, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman returned to Dragonlance to adapt this missing chapter into novel form.

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Cropped excerpt of the cover of Midnight Riot

Peter Grant Novels Books # 1-7: Book Review

So, I’ve been behind on my reviews of the Peter Grant novels (having only done a review of the first book – released in the US as Midnight Riot and the second novel, Moon Over Soho), so I’m going to do something of a blanket review of the first 7 novels, which effectively make up one massive story arc, which I’m going to call “The Faceless Man Arc”.

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