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review 2020-06-24 15:39
Bastard Rebellion
Shadowless - Randall McNally

One of the benefits of building a world unfamiliar to the reader and characters that can live for hundreds of years, is the size of canvas, on which the author can construct his story. Certainly, in ‘Shadowless’, Randall McNally has developed a book exploiting those epic proportions, ranging across the ‘Northern Realms’, with a large cast of characters that perhaps befits such an ambitious undertaking. The fact that this is also a debut novel merely emphasises the congratulations due to the author, for such an absorbing read.

 

Amid echoes of Greek and Roman mythology, the Northern Realms is a world that cultivates curiosity and discomfort, wonder and horror in equal measure. The book also rather morphs into a novel, as the first half comprises a series of chapters, which read almost like short stories, or vignettes, introducing the respective ‘heroes’, with their inherited power and explaining how their differing local environments are formulated.

 

The malevolent ‘villains’ in the region are undoubtedly the cohort of powerful gods, who have survived a civil war among themselves, but in the process killed all of the goddesses. As a consequence, this exclusively macho group, using their ability to assume any form, satisfy their carnal desires among mortal women, the resulting offspring being born with supernatural traits, but without shadows. The ‘shadowless’ are thus born with innate advantage and yet are destined to be marked out and damned, neither mortal, nor god. The power bequeathed by their respective fathers may grow, if they can survive, but it can also be ‘harvested’ by the relevant god, in a cynical cull of their illegitimate children. Moreover, the Northern Realms are in the thrall of temples and mortal worshippers, who seek to enthusiastically appease the gods, by deploying a militia of ‘Shadow Watchers’, to identify and sacrifice the shadowless. Survival depends often on staying hidden from public view, in aristocratic isolation, forest, dungeon, or underground community. Only the mysterious Brother Amrodan, priest within a sole religious order committed to finding and helping the shadowless, appears to be on their side. Moreover, Amrodan is the lynchpin, mapping the whereabouts of the disparate individuals over centuries and devising the plan by which the gods might eventually be challenged. For me, he was a fleeting reminder of Nick Fury, meticulously assembling the ‘Avengers’, only Amrodan’s use of the dark arts involved a primeval pool and his kickass firepower came in the shape of a black dragon!

 

In a sense, the fact that these fascinating shadowless individuals seemed to struggle to gel as a group was hardly surprising. However, as prophesied, within the group is an especially powerful ‘shadowmancer’ who didn’t really fulfil his potential in this first outing. Coming up against a 25 feet tall monster with destruction on his mind may test the mettle of any leader, but it has left me with the impression that this book is the foundation of an ongoing story, the opening battle in a war, which I hope the author will continue. Interesting as they are, I did wonder at the sheer number of characters and the juggling required to keep them all in play, but if this does indeed culminate in further volumes, then returning to the canvas analogy, the author has acres of material to work with. Certainly the polish in some of those discrete early chapters bore the hallmarks of a talented wordsmith and I hope to return for Mr McNally’s next instalment soon. Incidentally, whilst the reader should rarely judge a book by its cover, the cover art, which did well in an online competition, on this occasion, is rather a good guide to the quality within.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-04-03 05:56
Book Review : the legend of the golden raven k. Ancrum
The legend of the golden raven - K. Ancrum

April 2-3
K. Ancrum's The Legend of the Golden Raven novella, part fairy tale and part gritty reality, follows a boy as he descends into madness.

August and Jack weren’t meant to be friends. One is a misfit with a pyro streak and the other a golden boy on the rugby team. But as their relationship intensifies, Jack slowly begins to lose his mind—taking readers on an intimate journey into the fantasy kingdom creeping into the edges of his world.

As the novella moves back and forth between a medieval legend and our own, contemporary world, nothing is as it seems. The boys alienate everyone around them as they struggle with their sanity and as Jack’s quest to fulfill a dark prophecy begins to consume them both . . .

Devour this companion novella to The Wicker King.


Review : this novella was very interesting it was from Jack's POV and we got to see what he saw and how he loves August and his fantasy world I enjoyed reading it .

Quotes :
You’re the love of my life, you know,” he said bravely.

 

 

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review 2020-01-20 22:57
Visit Berkeley Series
North Berkeley & Gourmet Ghetto (Visit B... North Berkeley & Gourmet Ghetto (Visit Berkeley) - Caroline White,MiSoon Burzlaff,Heidi Unruh
Berkeley 1967-2017 Summer of Love (Visit... Berkeley 1967-2017 Summer of Love (Visit Berkeley) - Caroline White,MiSoon Burzlaff

There are several titles in this series, and as such the various short ebooks tend to become a little repeatitive, with many of the same entries used for the various books.  Still a nice easy read for an armchair traveler.

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review 2020-01-17 18:53
Last Stop on Market Street
Last Stop on Market Street - Matt de la Peña,Christian Robinson

I think I've reviewed this book about three times now, but I just can't stop coming back to it. 

 

I'm currently reading Echo which was a Newbery honor book in 2016, the same year Last Stop on Market Street won the medal. I wanted to see if I thought Last Stop really deserved the medal over Echo (which I'm enjoying much more than I ever liked Last Stop). 

 

This time I really paid attention to the words, and thinking about it, de la Peña does write effectively and evocatively. There is an expansive story conveyed in very little text.

 

I think after this reading I better understand why Last Stop won the Newbery, though I still don't agree that it should have won. 

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review 2019-12-20 14:25
Review: Apocalypse Cow
Apocalypse Cow - Michael Logan

So this was an adventure.  This book was as funny as I expected, but also serious, which I did not anticipate.  It follows several people separately as a government made virus is accidentally released and infects cows at an abattoir in Scotland.  A terrifying government agent is sent to clean up the mess and tie up any loose ends. But a lone cow manages to escape the slaughter and sets off infecting animals along to countryside.

 

The various characters' stories all merge until they are one group trying to escape Britian and avoid capture, torture and death at the hands of secret government assassin.  All while trying to avoid slavering animals who were hell bent on screwing and then eating the uninfected to death.

 

There were some parts with the slaughtering that turned my stomach and made me put the book down for a bit.  But this was a good read.  I actually connected with some of the characters and was rooting for them to survive and get the true story out about how the virus was actually spread.  This book was a mess in the good sense. I'm looking forward to diving into the sequel. 

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