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review 2018-10-09 11:49
The Moor
The Moor - John Haysom

by Sam Haysom

 

This story is divided in an odd way. It starts with a news clip about two missing boys. There are occasional time jumps forward, written in present tense alternating with memories, which is all rather jumpy.

 

When it gets to a proper chapter one, the story becomes mostly linear. There are other news clips and time jumps interspersed, but basically the story is told from the pov of five different boys involved in the camping trip that led to the boys going missing, each of them having their own section, though each one progresses the story further forward.

 

First is James, the overweight boy who doesn't really want to go but gives into peer pressure to be part of the group. Then Gary who has an unfortunate habit of playing sick practical jokes. He's followed by Tom, a bigger boy who defends James against his friend Gary's jokes when they get out of hand, then Tim who is a small boy, son of the responsible adult leading the group and doesn't have many friends. The sequence of events is finished up by Matt, who is the sharpest of the boys and takes us through the climax of the story, which was very well done. The details and built up suspense were definitely worthy.

 

Through these various points of view, we slowly learn what happened, why each of the boys took part in the camping trip, what sort of person they appear as to the others and how the two boys went missing. Some of the story gets rather horrific. I sort of guessed what had to happen in the end, though not how it would play out.

 

This is apparently a debut book by a young author. I think he's going to be one for the Horror enthusiasts to watch.

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text 2018-10-08 19:32
Reading progress update: I've read 1%.
Carolina Moon - Nora Roberts

Hold.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-26 20:48
Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
Ethan of Athos - Lois McMaster Bujold

This is a side-novel to Bujold's Vorkosigan series with Miles only being mentionned.

 

The planet Athos is facing a crisis: populated only by men, the eggs needed for reproduction entirely come from ovarial tissue brought with the founders to the planet and/or purchased via trade. Now, the latest shipment turns out to be replaced by non-usable material. Ethan, a specialist in reproductive medicine (who's never seen a living female), is sent out from isolationist Athos to find out what happened to the shipment and, if necessary and possible, procure new ovarial tissue. Caught ill-prepared, he finds himself on Kline Station and is soon embroiled in a plot involving Elli Quinn, Cetagandans, telepaths, station environmental control... and women in general.

 

A rather average novel, I'm afraid, as it concentrates more on action and plots-within-plots rather than on the characters themselves. Therefore, many questions about Athos remain unanswered: I mean what led to the Athosian society's founders to emigrate and denounce/villify all females? How does a society with only one gender work? Why not focus on this social and sci-fi issue instead of devolving into another rendition of the outsider meets real world-theme?

 

Also, I'd have liked Ethan to interact more with Quinn or Cee... because even though the whole novel is from his point of view, he spends most of it confused, chased around, interrogated, told what to do or finding Cee cute. Just those first 2 chapters showing him in his usual environment on Athos aren't enough to make him become real as a person...

 

So, there's some groundwork in world-building and in characterization but it lacks some serious fleshing out - and knowing what Bujold's capable of in both regards, this leaves me rather unsatisfied.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-09 22:44
Suspended in Dusk II by Simon Dewar
Suspended in Dusk II - Simon Dewar

Suspended in Dusk II by Simon Dewar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seventeen stories that tell of life and death and those happenings inbetween, where change is all but inevitable. Be prepared for horrors of all kinds, some more subtle than others.

(WARNING: This review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thank Grey Matter Press for giving me the opportunity.

First of all, I appreciated the large amount of diversity in this book; from the foreword it became clear that individuals of all shapes of life were given the chance to contribute, and I feel that’s largely absent in anthologies these days. It’s a shame, because nobody, no matter what ethnicity or sexuality or whatever else, should be excluded from such opportunities to expand their craft.

I’ll admit however, this anthology started off as rather weak for me, with stories I didn’t much care for situated right at the beginning. Angeline by Karen Runge was about, what I assumed to be, sexual abuse at a young age and the resulting aftermath in later years, whilst The Sundowners by Damien Angelica Walters focused on the complications of old age, and they were certainly interesting to a degree, but they both fell a bit short. Crying Demon by Alan Baxter made me smile, as I’m a personal fan of horror games, yet whilst it held a great deal of potential, it didn’t make it to the top of the list. Still Life with Natalie by Sarah Read was far too verbose, even for my tastes, and Love is a Cavity I Can’t Stop Touching by Stephen Graham Jones didn’t really include all that much. Yes, cannibalism is one of my most favoured themes, but the story struck me as hollow. The Immortal Dead by J. C. Michael also didn't do much for me - I mean, it wasmwell-written but just a little bland.

Now, let’s get into the stories that made an excellent impression and completely changed my overall thoughts regarding the book.

There’s No Light Between Floors by Paul Tremblay
A man emerges into something catastrophic, where gods freely roam. I feel like this is the one to either love or hate, as it’s left intentionally vague as to what’s actually happening, and it’s that obscurity that might put off a lot of readers. I tried to look at it from a different angle and take events less literal than how they were described by the character. My conclusion and subsequent theory was that his worldly perspective was entirely skewed, perhaps from trauma. I do enjoy tales that hold a deeper meaning, where I need to put my thinking cap on.

That Damned Cat by Nerine Dorman
A cult try to summon A Duke of the Ninth Infernal Circle, yet events take a rather odd turn. This surprised me - I never thought I’d be so entertained and find humour amongst this collection, but Simon Dewar clearly had his head screwed on right, as this in particular was incredibly engaging.

Riptide by Dan Rabarts
Desperate for revenge, a man sets out to hunt down the monster that took his family. I regarded this one as possibly the strongest addition. It introduced me to the taniwha, which compelled me to further read into Māori mythology. It was memorable in the sense that it was a perfect mini-novel, with a start, middle and end that captivated me the whole time.

It occurs to me that this review is already too long, so I'll refrain from writing a ten-page essay. Suffice it to say, the rest of these stories had me hooked, and there was a tremendous amount of variety in tone, atmosphere, and writing. In some, like Dealing in Shadows by Annie Neugebauer, I felt emotion, and in others, such as An Elegy for Childhood Monsters by Gwendolyn Kiste, I experienced a sense of fascination. Seriously, every one offered me something new.

In conclusion: I believe there's something here for everyone to enjoy. Naturally, there were the weaker links, but it was a simple matter of them not being my sort of thing. Those that did appeal to me, really made Suspended in Dusk II worth it.

© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/09/09/suspended-in-dusk-ii-by-simon-dewar
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-09 20:14
Die Einsamen von Hakan Nesser, Barbarotti #4
Die Einsamen - Håkan Nesser,Christel Hildebrandt

35 Jahre nach seiner Lebensgefährtin Maria wird Germund ebenfalls tot am Grund derselben Schlucht gefunden. Inspektor Barbarotti und seine Partnerin Eva Backmann versuchen aufzuklären, was passiert ist - jetzt und damals.

 

Der Roman ist in 2 Ebenen geteilt: einerseits die Ermittlungen im Präsens, andererseits die Geschichte einer Clique von 3 Pärchen Anfang der 70er. Letztere trägt die Erzählung und saugt den Leser ein. Der Ermittlungsteil wirkt anfangs fast wie ein Störfaktor, bekommt aber deutlich Fahrt, als Abgründe ans Licht kommen und auch Barbarottis Pakt mit Gott eine neue Facette erhält. Überhaupt ist dies ein sehr spirituelles Buch, die Frage nach dem menschlichen Wesen, nach göttlicher Inszenierung stellt sich nicht nur am Schluss. Was ist das Böse? Gibt es Menschen, die von Grund auf böse sind? Und ziehen diese das Böse an? Wie hängen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart zusammen?

 

Bis rund 20 Seiten vor Schluss war dieser Roman jedenfalls auf Kurs 5 Sterne - nur leider stellt mich die Auflösung nicht wirklich zufrieden. Der Twist kam für mich zu unerwartet, als dass er sich nahtlos ins bis dahin Gelesene einfügte. Schade.

 

Insgesamt dennoch empfehlenswert.

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