Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Unbound Book Review

The Unbound

by Victoria Schwab


(January 28, 2014)

5/5 Stars


      One the best things about the Archived Series is the sense of reality in the supernatural.  I find that the author does an incredible job of making all of her characters real people.  Not stereotypes or carbon cutouts.  I also truly enjoy the twists that she puts in to every book she writes.  The Unbound is an excellent sequel to the Written.  I would have to say that I actually liked it a little more.  Which I would imagine is because I knew all the characters better and didn’t have to get into them through exposition.  I would also have to say that the end of this book was certainly more interesting and unique than the first.  I was really going into with no expectation of really knowing what would happen.  I voraciously read through the book and if I’d had more time in one sitting to read it; I probably would have finished it in one sitting.  I truly love the world and characters that Victoria Schwab has created here.  I can hardly wait for the next book in the series.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Einstein Intersection Book Review

Einstein Intersection

Samuel R. Delany


New edition edition (July 15, 1998)

4/5 Stars


            Einstein Intersection is perhaps, a hard book for some people to understand.  I’m not sure why this is, perhaps I had a hard time finding the meaning in the story but I certainly understood it perfectly well.  The book takes place on Earth, in the future.  When humans have left the Earth, presumably due to some kind of nuclear disaster.  There are rampant mutations and now aliens have arrived to pick up where Humans have left off.  But the one to one here is by way of three or four.  What I mean by this is that things are exactly what they seem and if you take some things at face value you might not only miss the point of the book but get very confused.  Also, reading carefully is a must for this short novel.  If you don’t, you also will lose your way.  Everything is important, from the incredibly interesting language used by the characters to the strange travel log quotes the author uses at the head of some of the chapters.  Einstein Intersection is a masterpiece of Science Fiction.  Not because it was exciting or had memorable characters, which it did.  But because this book was written in the 1960s and we can still discuss what it means and the themes it deals with today.  That, to me is what separates literature from fiction.  Einstein Intersection is definitely literature.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Unicorn Western Volume 1 Book Review

Unicorn Western

Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

Realm and Sands

October 16 2013

3/5 Stars


              Unicorn Western Volume 1 is the first part of a larger saga.  This is evident from it’s brevity and the lack of a descent ending.  I like some aspects of the story but there are lots of things in the book that not only pull the reader out of the world; but also they don’t really do the story itself any favors.  Let me explain some of them specifically.  That way you don’t have to think that I’m dumping on a book that you can get for free.

               First, using the constant words, “Yar,” “Nar,” and others of similar annoyance.  These are, my guess; supposed to be parodies of yup, nope, etc…  But all these do is annoy the reader as they occur with such frequency.  In fact, they are over used to the degree that in some cases they move from being dialog fillers to trying to be parts of dialog.  Which is ridiculous in and of itself.

               Second, the setting:  The place that Mai comes from is called, “The Sands.”  Which is only explained as desert.  The Marshal comes from a place called,”The Realm.”  Which is only explained as a place of magic.  Neither place is explained; the town they are in is called Solace and the place Mai threatens to go is Sojourn.  Neither place is really described as if compares to the Sands except that they are somehow related.  There is some insinuation pretty far into the book that the Sands references EVERYTHING that isn’t the Realm.  But it is also said that the Realm is lost.  So the whole world is the Sands?  If that’s the case why are they referencing like it’s a place you come from or you’ve been.  I don’t say, “I’m from Earth.”  When I’m on Earth or around people who are also from Earth.  This distinction might seem like a small thing but the reader always feels like they aren’t being told enough for them to really care about what’s going on.  I certainly wasn’t.  Realm and Sands is the name of the author’s self publishing company, btw…

               Third, all of the anachronisms that seem to have no explanation.  There is a mention of the board game Risk among other things that seem completely out of place in this world.  I was put off a little bit each time one of these was mentioned.

               Fourth, Teddy… Oh my god, he is the worst excuse for a frame of reference character I’ve ever seen in my life.  I think he is also supposed to be comic relief but frankly he is just annoying and not funny.  Then he disappears near the end.  Hopefully he was killed by bandits or something.  I think he was supposed to be around 13 but he acts like he was more around 8.  I really can’t say enough that he was totally unnecessary and seemed like something that shouldn’t have gotten through the first edit.

              Finally, I know there are people out there who are sure to think I’m hating on this book.  That it is supposed to a fun, light, romp and if I don’t like it I shouldn’t buy the rest.  And yes, you are correct, I wouldn’t buy the rest if someone gave me the $10 to do so.  I have too many books to read and my time is more valuable than that.  But the point is, if you think the books are funny, great; Read them…  I found them to be annoying and only mildly entertaining AT BEST.  If I want to laughs with my fantasy fiction I’ll stick with Terry Pratchett.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Doctor Who Into the Nowhere Book Review

Doctor Who: Into the Nowhere

Jenny Colgan

Random House UK, Ebury Publishing

Pub Date: Jan 16 2014

4/5 Stars


         I’ve pretty much loved all of the Doctor Who Time Trips Series and this book is no exception.  While in some cases the size of the book does not gel with the price.  I think that they are getting better about that.  While overall, the story here is a little lackluster and for some people having Clara be so close to the beginning of her time with the Doctor rather nearer to the end might be a bit weird.  I found the whole thing wonderful and if my time permitted me; I would have read the whole thing in one sitting.  It was incredibly fast read and while, as I said, the story wasn’t the best.  I found the dialog most intriguing and enough of the story was good to keep me interested.  Perhaps it was the very nature of the material or perhaps some of the more witty sections were too obviously witty.  But the plot didn’t really do it for me.  But I love a good Doctor Who story and this one was good enough to push it over the mark of average and into the realm of good.  If not only just.  So read at your own risk but considering the price; it really is a no brainer to purchase no matter what.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Iron Wolves Book Review

The Iron Wolves

Book 1 of The Rage of Kings

Andy Remic


Pub Date: Dec 31 2013

2/5 Stars


         The Iron Wolves is a paint by numbers fantasy with too many sad tropes and some really questionable content.  First of all, and most disdainful in my opinion was the author’s constant use of foul language.  I’m fine with some foul language but he seemed to use the F-word as a dialog filler.  Also, the book borders on misogynistic in many places, I’m not sure the author crossed the line but he comes very close.  The book reads more like a 90s New York Street Gang novel written by a sixteen year old boy than a fantasy book

        Second, the ending…  I won’t spoil it for you, but the Deus Ex Machina nature of it was a serious let down.  The author had obviously painted himself into a corner and said, screw it…  I can usually handle somewhat of a Deus Ex Machina ending but it was like two kids were playing and one is going to be beat the other and the kid getting the dirty end of it says,

“Oh yeah, and I have super powers!”

The other kids says, “You never said you had them before.”

“The kid says, oh well… I just remembered.”

   I wish I was joking, I really do…

       I mentioned paint by numbers yes, here we go:

        Step 1: gather your ragtag group of anti-heroes

        Step 2: make them unlikable and have a dark past brought on by terrible person circumstances.

        Step 3: make even the King of the land be so corrupt that he doesn’t side with the heroes

        Step 4: create an unbeatable foe for them to fight.

        Step 5: At the last minute have one of them(the most likable hero) pull victory from disaster.

      But more than anything, for the first book in a series; Iron Wolves has a TERRIBLE final act/epilogue.  It was too sudden and based on some of the crazy stuff that just happened 20 pages before it.  The whole thing just drops on its illogical butt right out of suspension of disbelief. 

       I did enjoy much of my time with Iron Wolves.  In fact, if not for the very boring nature of it and some of the distracting profanity the book isn’t too bad.  I just wish the author had focused his attention on more, original, pursuits rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.  There are far better authors that have come before that have done this kind of fantasy far better.  But even THEY don’t write it anymore…


Sunday, January 19, 2014

One Third is Not Enough!

          As much as this site is virtually only about Reviews for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Novels with some Graphic Novels thrown in for good measure.  I have to say something about a growing trend in the books I’m reviewing.  This is happening more and more; surprisingly it’s not the mid-listers that are guilty of it.  It’s the old timers…  That the majority of the book is crap except for the last fourth or third.  It’s like they actually decide to show up for work; except they were late.  The reader must slog through, some times hundreds of pages to get to a part of the book we will call “PART 3” because that’s what the authors usually call it.  I call it, where the novel should have started!  I’m a budding author myself(as so many people are who tend to read too many books).  And I’m continuously hearing how important it is to have a strong beginning that will carry your reader through to the epic climax.  Well folks, people who have been published for YEARS and who have won awards don’t seem to be able to do this; so don’t feel too bad.

           I was convinced that this was some kind of isolated occurrence that only a few authors had this problem and they were just being lazy.  But it is ACTUALLY a trend.  I’ve seen SO MANY books do it now, that when I begin reading the first few chapters and the pace is slow and there are too many characters I start to think, “Oh no, this again!”

            If only I wasn’t right most of the time.  There are certainly incidents where the last third of the book, “makes up for.”  The first two thirds or even some cases where it puts it into perspective so that it “seems” better.  But my god, if these folks were trying to get published today and didn’t all ready have big names, they would never make it off the slush pile.  There is no agent or publisher in the world that is going to read over 200 pages to get to “the good parts.”

            Please editors!  If you are reading this, which you probably aren’t, but I can dream.  Stop letting these people turn in this garbage.  Tell your authors that ONE THIRD of a good book is NOT ENOUGH!

Pandemic a Book Review


Scott Sigler

Crown Publishing

Pub Date: Jan 21 2014

3/5 Stars


         I want to say first off that I have not read any of the other books in the Infected series.  This is book #3 in that series and while I’m not sure it’s the end, it seems to imply it.  This novel has a very slow start, certainly unlike most third books in a series there is lots of groundwork to be laid.  Which I felt was strange, even while appreciating that you really didn’t need to have read the other books in the series to appreciate this one.  By the middle of the book things start to get going and I would say from about 60% on the book is a thrill ride.  I really liked it.  But that was my entire problem with the book.  Why was only thirty percent of the book exciting.  There certainly was plenty of room for other things to have happened during this period.  The author even skips ahead through some areas that weren’t worth describing.  Well why not make them worth describing.  Also, there is a large amount of time, that Margret Montoya is stuck on this submarine with nothing at all happening.  It seemed rather odd to me that they didn’t explain what was going on during this period.  The sequence of events might have been simultaneous but it was described that way.  It seemed very odd and an oversight in what was otherwise a very well crafted novel.  At least if you discount the entirely too long and too boring part 1 which could have been summarized for as much as I ended up caring about it.  And very little of it actually effects the rest of the book.  The characters we meet are hardly used to any degree that would make us care enough to have read through the slog that is part 1.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faceless One Book Review

Faceless One

Mark Onspaugh

Random House Publishing Group - Hydra

Pub Date: Oct 28 2013

4/5 Stars


              Faceless One is definitely not your typical debut offering.  If I hadn’t known that this was Mark Onspaugh’s first novel I would have never even considered it a possibility.  This is a genuine piece of awesome horror fiction.  It does drag in areas and getting through a good portion of the book could be a bit of a trial.  But all in all I really liked his ideas and found many of the takes he examined of not only a way to bring in some Native American mythology without being racist but also he was able to introduce supernatural elements without making them too crazy.  Atleast until the finale, but that also seemed appropriate.  There are arguments to made criticizing the work; like there were too many characters or that the pay off was a little to easy to figure out.  But I was happy to not contemplate these issues and just enjoy the ride.  Considering Random House has the book so reasonably priced I’m sure you will find yourself feeling the same way.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mitosis Review


Brandon Sanderson

Delacorte Press (December 3, 2013)

5/5 Stars


              As someone who loved Steelheart this book is the perfect hold over until the next book comes out.  It is short but when you are reading you won’t feel that way.  It is like an episode of a television show.  I was enthralled from the minute I started reading, dropped directly back into the world of the Reckoners and Epics.  I loved this book.  You will find your $1.99 well spent and if you haven’t already bought and read Steelheart you will want to do that before you buy this book.  Can’t wait for the full sequel but even if the author decided to put out a couple more of these in the mean time I wouldn’t complain.  It is a spectacular effort.

In the Company of Thieves Book Review

In the Company of Thieves

Kage Baker

Tachyon Publications

Pub Date: Nov 15 2013

3/5 Stars


        First, I would like to mention that this book is a compilation of short stories.  It was compiled by Kage Baker’s sister after the author’s passing.  This is probably the reason why this collection seems to be a little hit and miss as far as quality and coherence of theme are concerned.  In my personal opinion there are perhaps one or two really good works in this book.  Everything else is just alright.  The synopsis refers to the two stories that are at the end of the book which deal with Kage Baker’s series of stories about the Immortals and such.  But the majority of the book is not about them at all and rather just seems to hang together and deal with various other fantasy stories and one or two that border on Steampunk.   I would definitely say that “Mother Aegypt” and “The Unfortuante Gytt” are the best of these stories.  Both having been printed elsewhere previously.  But I’m certainly not saying as a whole the book is bad.  Certainly not, just not that great.  I enjoyed some of my time with this collection but as a whole I found myself hoping the next story would be better than the last.  Which was usually not the case.

        I haven’t had the opportunity to read anything else Kage Baker has written and certainly her historical science fiction series seems interesting while the two stories here seemed a bit meandering for my taste.  Perhaps a full length novel would be better as I did like the idea of a world that she presents and the mechanics there in.

        I would certainly suggest this to anyone who is a fan of Kage Baker or perhaps trying this out as an introduction to her work as it was mine.  There is certainly a wide variety of story types to choose from in this five story short fiction compilation.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mrs. Poe Book Review (Yes It’s Historical Fiction)


Lynn Cullen

Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books

Pub Date: Oct 1 2013

4/5 Stars


       First I would like to say up front that this book is not Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror.  It is probably best categorized as Historical Fiction.  The reason I’m reviewing it here, is not only was it a good book.  But also because it was mostly about Edgar Allen Poe and his family.  Which certainly bares some interest by people who normally read this blog.

        The book has a good pace, creates an immersive setting, and certainly the main character is interesting.  The book is told in first person, which helps to keep too many points of view from mudding the waters of the story.  The only problems I had with the book were spotty instants where the author breaks from the more period speech and throws in some modern slang or in the event where the melodrama is a little much to bear.  There is a lot of melodrama in the latter third of this book.  At some points the reader is just swimming in it.  Considering the fact that many times throughout the book the point of view character makes note of the ridiculous situation or says that they acted in a childish manner.  I found it incredibly strange that she never makes comment as to how silly she and Mr. Poe are being.  The fact that they act like teenagers isn’t what I would say is wrong with the piece.  It’s that they act like teenagers in a 1950s soap opera.  The rest of the book was handled so well and with what seems such attention to detail that these parts, while few in number, really break the reader from the immersion, that the author had created.  Otherwise, while Mrs. Poe isn’t the type of story I usually read, I certainly appreciated it for being an excellent period piece with some descent meat on it’s bone.  I would suggest it to anyone who likes a good thriller or a good piece of historical fiction.



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Belated Best of 2013 Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Books!

         Yes guys, this is really late Best of 2013 list.  Enjoy:


10. Happy Hour in Hell

          Definitely one of my favorite books of the year.  It was not only an exciting read, but it went far and away to out due Dirty Streets of Heaven.  Everything about this book riveted me.


9. Companions: Sundering Book 1

          The best of the Forgotten Realms Books and certainly the best book that R.A. Salvatore ever written.  The impact that this book has had on the Forgotten Realms and the world of Faerun itself is incredible.  I really loved this book and while some of the other books in the series so far have been really good.  This one is certainly the jewel in the crown of the entire series.

8. Steelheart

       Certainly the best YA Book I’ve ever read.  The world of superheroes in Science Fiction and Fantasy is nothing new but Brandon Sanderson did an excellent job with this trope and certainly made a world and mark of his own that has nothing to do with any of the other trendy works out there.

7. Vicious

       No other author this year really made an impact on what is possible in science fiction and fantasy than this book.  The way the points of view and progression are handled in this book are absolutely incredible.  This is another incredible super hero book.  But not in a DC or Marvel sort of way, but in the way that movies like Chronicle does it or the way the television series Tomorrow People does it.  Many people have said Flatliners meets super heroes which I won’t disagree with.  But it’s still awesome.

6.  All is Fair (Split Worlds)

     This was one of the most awesome of the Split Worlds Books but it certainly doesn’t do too much to outdue itself from the rest of the series.  But it is still absolutely wonderful and anyone who is even a mild fan of the Split World Books should give it a shot and buy it.

5. Ocean at the End of the Lane

            This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.  I would suggest this book to anyone who likes to read Fantasy or Fiction in general.  The book is incredibly well crafted and in a way that you probably won’t expect.  So go out and buy it.

4.  The Rojan Dizon Series

   The entire series is was so good.  I would have appreciated an entire volume not three books.  But all of them came out this year and while #1 could have been a bit better the rest of the series was incredible.  It was an awesome work for a first time author and it should have received a lot more recognition.

3.  Fortune’s Pawn

        This is the most interesting book I’ve read this year.  It was like Rachel Bach pulled al the good elements from Warhammer 40K and Starcraft and drop them into a unique world with a unique sets of races and politics.  I absolutely love this book.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series.


2. Necessary Evil (Milkweed Triptych #3)

        I’m not normally an Alternate History fan, but once I read the first book in this series I read all the rest in two days. I had to have them all and I had to know what happened.  It was an incredible series and this vote is more for the series as a whole than this particular book.  But this book was also extremely good in it’s own right.

1. Ancillary Justice

      Ancillary Justice was the best Science Fiction book of the year.  I haven’t read anything this year that could touch it.  The book’s story was incredibly complex and interesting.  The book was so complex and exciting that it was shocking that the book was the first novel from the author.  If I could write my fifth book as well as she is writing her first I would feel my life had meant something.  Go out and buy Ancillary Justice, you will love it.


      As much as I love some of the more established writers in the industry.  I cannot ignore how awesome the new authors are that are emerging in our genre.  There were no horror titles in this top ten and for me there were only two descent horror books out this year; NOS4A2 and Doctor Sleep.  If those are your thing, check those out.  Otherwise, there are certainly tons of awesome books out there and I would love to hear about any other books you loved this last year!  Hit the comments for that or hit me up on twitter, @timothypecoraro

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fortune’s Pawn Book Review

Fortune's Pawn

Rachel Bach


Pub Date: Nov 1 2013

5/5 Stars


        Having just finished Fortune’s Pawn, I must admit the first thing I did was go pre-order the next book in the series.  This book was amazing, but a few things you should probably know in advance: Do you like books like Warhammer 40k?  You will like this book.  Do you like Starcraft?  In any form?  You will like this book.  What about books that have a kick ass heroine who is capable and emotionally complex?  Yeah, you will like this book.  Rachel Bach creates an exciting, interesting world; that I was enthralled with from the beginning.  I was very sad to see the book end.  It did have a good, complete ending; but I can’t imagine anyone reading to the book’s completion and not wondering what happens next.

       The book is well paced and never let’s the reader completely relax for too long.  The characters are so interesting and mysterious that knowing about their back stories is as interesting as finding out more about the story.  There is so much to love in Fortune’s Pawn and I would have to say that the only thing I didn’t like about it was that it ended.  I could have easily read another thousand pages and been happy.  I’ve read so many middle of the road or just plain terrible books lately that a book like this makes me remember why I love Science Fiction and why I started doing this in the first place.

      Now that I’m done gushing, go out and buy this book.  You will be glad you did, in fact, pre-order the next book while your at it.  Because you won’t be able to stop with just one.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Snowblind Book Review



Christopher Golden

St. Martin's Press

Pub Date: Jan 21 2014

3/5 Stars


          Snowblind was an incredibly hard book to get into.  I spent the first three quarters of the book wishing for it to end.  The pacing is so slow and arduous that you wondered whether the author had actually read the book before putting out there.  Snowblind is one of those old school Stephen King/Dean Koontz sorts of stories.  Which means that it characterizes each and every character in the book to the point where by the climax you should be completely in love with them or at least that these could be real people in an unreal situation.  The problem with that is when a couple of the characters that should ACTUALLY be the main characters are not given their due in favor of having a kind of balance between all of the characters.  Joe Keenan and Jake are obviously the main characters of the book.  But they are given no more “screen time” than anyone else.  Which by the end, you kind of feel cheated.  That the author essentially throws characters away that he’s built up even though he hasn’t built anyone else up enough to sufficiently take their place.  This isn’t about the author killing off my favorite characters, honestly I didn’t really care all that much.  It was more about the promises of the story not necessarily being fulfilled by the end.

           Having said all that the last 25% of the book was excellent and kept me reading.  But if I wasn’t reading this book for review I would have never made it that far.  This is a problem, most readers are just going to get to around 30-40% of this book and be so defeated by the lack of interesting things going on that they will simply put the book down and tell people how bad it is.  I think a lot of editors think that as long as the book has a strong start, it will keep people reading.  Well, the first 25% of the book was pretty descent until it stops abruptly and we fast forward into at least 100 pages of dull storytelling.  So basically what I’m saying is that half this book is good and the other half is terrible.  The book is too long, but the good parts are, well… Good.

           Based on the quality of the story as a whole, I would like to recommend this book.  But considering all the reader has to sit through to get there.  I just can’t…