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review 2015-10-23 10:21
Story or avant garde art?
Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune

This one almost lost me at the beginning. There's a fast paced prologue written in present tense and fairly gory, followed by a slow paced first chapter. Add to that a protagonist named Rooster (so I have a mental picture of him as a chicken every time his name is mentioned) and it was only the creepy scarecrows that held me.

Lots of Ak 47's, high testosterone stuff. But then there are increasing hints of horrors to come and things get pretty cryptic. The scarecrows made me wonder if we had some Children of the Corn type Horror in store, but then it took a different turn. Having finished now and assimilated the great reveal, I'm tempted to say this is more of a piece of avant garde art than a story. Objectively, it was very well done. The ideas were above the pale and stimulated a lot of analytical thought.


However, as a story, it was non-linear and very confusing at times. First a guy is dead, then he's alive again, then... you get the picture. It all makes sense in the end, but that feeling of not knowing what's going on along the way isn't what I look for in a story. It would probably appeal to Tarantino film fans. Personally, I'm hoping the next story I read is a little more straight forward with the old fashioned beginning, middle and end formula.

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review 2015-05-22 16:53
Kingdom of Shadows review
Kingdom of Shadows - Greg F. Gifune

So here I am again, offering yet another positive review of a Greg F Gifune book. I know, I know, it's predictably boring. But the man writes quality. So what else is there to say?

Well, one thing I can say is this novella tells the story of Rooster, a retired thief whose last job went horrendously wrong and involved the death of one of his crew. Now he's looking for work, but has a wonderful girlfriend who is his rock, so he knows everything will be okay ... except for some strange dreams about the last job he is starting to have. And then, when another member of the crew contacts him out of the blue with a dire warning, Rooster becomes desperate to understand just what is happening to him. As well as discover what really did happen on the day of that botched robbery ...

Moody, atmospheric, and at times, chilling, Kingdom of Shadows represents a writer on top of his game. The mystery is intriguing, Rooster is a decent POV protagonist, and Gifune wastes not a sentence in pulling the reader along at a fast pace.

However, it all does seem very familiar. There is much of Kingdom of Shadows that I've read before - and every one of those previous reads have also been written by Greg F. Gifune. It seems the man has some personal demons (if you'll pardon the pun), because time and again the same themes - devils, government conspiracies, the nature of evil, visions of some form of the afterlife - come up in his works, with some examples being The Bleeding Season, Orphans of Wonderland or Rogue. As a result, Kingdom of Shadows lost some of the impact it would otherwise have had on me. Which is a shame because I think the conclusion of this one trumps anything else from him I've read, and to my mind, this contributes to Kingdom of Shadows being my favourite Gifune book yet.

To sum up, this is an excellent novella that would have been a 5 star read for me if it didn't feel I'd read very similar narratives from this same author before.

4 Well-Defended Memories for Kingdom of Shadows.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/830167302
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review 2014-07-28 16:40
Review of Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst
Kingdom of Shadows - Alan Furst

Another solid entry in the Night Soldier's series.  This book follows a Hungarian as he helps people flee who are in danger during the rise of fascism in late 1930s Europe.  I don't necessarily enjoy the plots in Furst's books as much as I enjoy the immersion into the time period.  I especially enjoy that all of the characters I have read in the series up to this point are Eastern European/Russian.  It is good to get into the heads of the people on that side of the conflict.  

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review 2012-10-07 00:00
Kingdom Keepers 3: Disney in Shadows
Disney in Shadow - Ridley Pearson The third of Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keepers series takes its young protagonists to my favorite Walt Disney World park, EPCOT. Maleficent and Chernabog, captured and contained at the end of the second book, have escaped -- and taken the kids' Imagineer friend, Wayne, with them. The book involves finding Wayne, with the help of his daughter, Wanda -- and takes the (now) six Disney Host Interactive models through a series of challenges and adventures.Part of what makes these books so much fun is that I've been on the rides and attractions they describe. Despite the fact that I'm much older than the intended audience for these tales, I'm thus able to put myself right into the action with the teenaged characters.These books are a great deal of intelligent, escapist fun that is a safe read for the 10 and up set.
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review 2011-11-05 00:00
The Kingdom of Shadows - K.W. Jeter It was beautifully written and I really both enjoyed and liked it. It would be absolutely worth 5 stars except for one small detail. In all the intricacies of the story and the sometimes even painfully emotional scenes I think the writer got so caught up in the storyline, that as a reader there seemed to be no conclusion or point to the story. This is no way reflects upon how great I thought it was, but just to iterate. What is Martes' story about? The way men use beautiful women or perceive them only as a pretty physical shells? What is the point of the last scene in relation to the fate of the Lazarenes? Pavil spends the entire book wanting to meet Marte and when he does that also seems to have no bearing other than helping her towards the last scene. I thought the scenes that describe and depict the savage torture by so called medical professionals (Menegele ect.)before and during WW2 was brilliantly researched, so kudos to the author for that. That includes the descriptions of how the war brought the Germans to their feet and made each previously proud believer of the regimes policies into fugitives and then they become the victims of their own crimes. I am hoping there is a sequel or even a prequel that explains more closely what the Lazarenes are or were. I received a free copy of this book for my review.
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