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Phobophore (Manchester, England.)

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Imajica
Imajica
by Clive Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

2.0 out of 5 stars Time to Give Up?, 27 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Imajica (Paperback)
With the exception of 'Sacrament', I've read all of Clive Barker's books and - with the notable exception of 'Mister B Gone' and the first 'Abarat' novel - really enjoyed them. This one, though... I first tried to read it about five years ago and gave up after around 400 pages; this time I've managed just over a hundred pages and I'm ready to give up again. It's such a slog. I'm finding the characters really dull and nothing that's been foreshadowed thus far seems particularly interesting. At the current rate of progress, I expect to finish it in about 6 weeks. Can any readers advise whether the book is a slow-starter or not?


Juggernaut
Juggernaut
Price: £3.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Solid., 11 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Juggernaut (Kindle Edition)
Despite its faults (of which, in my opinion, there are quite a few), this is an exciting, tightly-plotted, and well-researched action/horror novel. If you're looking for originality or characterisation, I'd give it a miss, but if you fancy an entertaining, no-nonsense, and entertaining read, you could do a lot worse.


Pines (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 1)
Pines (The Wayward Pines Trilogy, Book 1)
Price: £3.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable thriller with an admittedly daft ending. (Possible spoilers!), 11 Feb. 2014
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Touches on quite a few genres this one, but in essence it's a thriller with a bit of science fiction thrown in at the end. I thought the writing was solid and occasionally even better than that; the characters engaging; the story moved along at a nice pace; and the air of mystery was well-sustained right until the end. There then follows a rather silly bit of exposition and the story gears up for a second book, which is likely to be a very different beast than this one. It's full of plot holes and the ending is, as I say, daft, but it's entertaining enough and I went on to read the second book and will read the third one when it's eventually released. So make of that what you will...


Dead Man's Land (Dr Watson Book 1)
Dead Man's Land (Dr Watson Book 1)
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good., 21 Dec. 2013
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An interesting, entertaining and undemanding piece of historical/detective/fan fiction. The novel moves along at a nice pace and whilst I wouldn't call it gripping, it is exciting in a rather gentle manner. The book could easily have been written without the Sherlock Holmes angle, but I suppose the publisher wanted to appeal to as many markets as possible and it does enable them to differentiate a fairly standard detective story from the huge number of competitors when they're marketing it. Overall, I enjoyed it.


Conjure Wife
Conjure Wife
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., 21 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Conjure Wife (Kindle Edition)
Like everything else I've read by Fritz Leiber, Conjure Wife is difficult to fault. An excellent central idea, interesting, well-rounded, and sympathetic characters and a pleasure to read, the writing is lean and the length of the book perfectly judged. Highly recommended.


Carrion Comfort
Carrion Comfort
Price: £4.74

2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing., 21 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Carrion Comfort (Kindle Edition)
I'm a big fan of Dan Simmons and would rate The Hyperion Cantos and The Terror as two of my favourite books, but Carrion Comfort was a real disappointment. In fact, I wasn't able to finish it and called it a day about a third of the way in. Unlike other reviewers who found the book didn't live up to its original premise, I wasn't particularly inspired by the idea of mind vampires, so I think my enjoyment of the book was hamstrung from page one. Why, then, did I buy it? Because it's a Dan Simmons book and I've enjoyed all the other novels of his that I've read to a greater (the above titles) and lesser (Song of Kali) degree. I appreciate that it's not the most sophisticated of literary criticisms, but my main problem with this book is that it's incredibly boring. The pacing is terrible and the whole things just feels bloated and in need of editing. Also, it's cursed with one of the dullest introductions I've ever read.


Smoke Ghost and Other Apparitions
Smoke Ghost and Other Apparitions
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb., 21 Dec. 2013
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Can't recommend this highly enough. I've only started reading Leiber's work recently, but he has very quickly become one of my favourite authors. His novels and short stories are a real pleasure to read, filled with some great ideas and interesting characters.


Off Season
Off Season

4.0 out of 5 stars A genuine 'horror' novel., 21 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Off Season (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book I've read by Jack Ketchum and overall I was impressed. In some ways I was reminded of Richard Laymon's work, which I'm not a huge fan of, but the standard of writing is much, much better. The story is very simple and it progresses at an impressive pace. It's also one of the few books I've read which I've found genuinely horrifying, as some of the description is really quite unpleasant. Few books (or films for that matter) live up to the 'horror' label, but this is one of them.


The Revelation
The Revelation
by Bentley Little
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little book., 21 Dec. 2013
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I was very surprised by this book, as I had low expectations when I started reading it. It's a straightforward, tightly-written story with some excellent imagery. It's also fairly short, which I think for this kind of story is ideal. Recommended.


Our Lady of Darkness
Our Lady of Darkness
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great Novel, Bad Conversion., 30 Nov. 2013
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As I've recently discovered, Fritz Leiber is a great writer and 'Our Lady of Darkness' is a nice little book. Without wishing to state the obvious, it feels like a long short-story, but Leiber's writing style is such a pleasure to read you don't begrudge the extra pages. I'd certainly recommend it.

However, the conversion to e-reader format is quite poor. 'Th' is often rendered as 'm' throughout the novel, which at times is quite confusing and distracting. There are a number of other problems too. I've read three other books in the SF Gateway series and haven't experienced any problems with them, so I guess the problems with 'Our Lady of Darkness' could be a one-off. It doesn't ruin the book by an means, but it is irritating and you should bear it in mind before purchasing.


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