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review 2017-10-13 02:55
Because I'm a completist
Gunmetal Magic - Ilona Andrews

Drat, barely a vampire cameo. Will need another book. No matter.

 

I'm not as invested in Andrea, much less in her hit-me/kiss-me relationship with Raphael, but I had fun. It's inevitable with any of Andrews' books. Fast pace, mythology tie ins, and badass characters all around are always good. And I'm closer in filling in the bits of Kate Daniel's world.

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review 2017-09-27 12:25
Man's World
Wolfshead - Robert Bloch,Robert E. Howard

This my first stab at Howard, of Conan fame, and I don't know how to rate it, or if I'll ever read something by him again.

 

In favor it has the fact that it has no compunctions about pulling in elements from any source, and mimic any style to flavor and serve the current story. Makes for diverse settings and background mythos, always an entertaining plus.

 

The downside: It is so heavily male. I'd call it misogyny (and it is), but women so seldom make even a peep appearance in this volume, and affect the stories none at all, it goes past contempt or hate to total disregard territory (I went into minute detail here, so scant they are). It is a man's world he writes, and what makes it worth it are guns, swords and fighting monsters so you can tell a tale *eye-roll* White man's world. Blond white man's world... yeah, you get the drift.

 

So, the run of the stories:

 

- The Black Stone: Cthultuish account, with a nice dash of bookish love for ancient tomes. The name Xuthltan comes up.

The flogged dancer, and the sacrificed girl.


- Valley of the Worm: Norse myth flavored epic (Aesirs). Big on white and man.

Some mention of women being fierce too. None named, one appeared a second without lines.

- Wolfshead: Swashbuckling European nobles in Africa, and a werewolf. Reminded me of Quartermain's adventures.

One pretty virgin, one flirtatious twit (who might be the best female character of the whole book, for what it is).

- Fire of Asshurbanipal: Hunting for treasure in the dessert turns Lovecraftian. Another mention of Xuthltan.

None appear.

- House of Arabu: More blond male. If nothing else, the pretty pictures it painted in my mind and the hour reading on Sumerian mythology it spurred may make it worth it. Aesirs' world. Fits the demon square.

One assassin courtesan (that sounds like it could be sooo cool, but no), one backstabbing, abused slave girl, one demoness, geee, we are overflowing.

- Horror from the Mound: Vampires in the old west.

Again, not even mentioned.

 

Since it's an anthology that runs the gamut, this one could fit Vampires, Demons, Supernatural, Monsters, Classic Horror, likely a couple more if you squint, and my pick:

 

 

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review 2017-09-05 19:37
Victorian (?) Ghost Snooze
The Woman in Black - Susan Hill

I'll let the book itself tell it

 

my main sensation was one of tedium and a certain lethargy, combined with a desire to finish the job

 

As a love letter and homage to Victorian ghosts stories, it fell very short. Hill clearly is familiar with the elements, which is necessary, but then fumbles them. A little flare is essential in these type of tales, specially when it's a throw-back to the style case.

 

As it is, it managed to bore me and made me struggle to finish the short pages. Everything is telegraphed pages and pages in advance, so by the middle I was just rolling my eyes and waving a "get on with it". No surprises, and a foregone conclusion.

 

It is not dreadful. It might appeal to a kid during that starting-to-read horror-addiction phase. And the beginning was somewhat promising. The jump-in-time matrioshka thing could have been interesting if it had been panned out, but only the framing was kept, and all the head-ache of years-math was for nothing. Seriously, what was with that house-buying reminiscing? Useless fat. And the morning-at-the-office while catching the train... tell it straight if it has no purpose!.

 

Then there are the issues of character calling things Victorian. Given the three times we are working with (the maybe 50 years old man writing, the recount of buying his house when he was some 35, and main story when he was 22/23, where a car appears) it could be that the protagonist is applying more modern terms to his past thinking. But I feel like either the author tried to get a cute wink at the fourth wall and it fell dead, or she forgot to stay in time (since she seems to be aiming for an "authentic" Victorian ghost story).

 

This last might be me over-estimating how long it took people to call the Victorian era such, and identify things and styles with it.

 

Anyway, I'm done roasting. Not awful or offensive, but I'm not reading another of hers.

 

 

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