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Marko K. Susimetsa (Finland)
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An Odder Quintet
An Odder Quintet
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of "weird tales"!, 20 Oct. 2013
This review is from: An Odder Quintet (Kindle Edition)
Sometimes it is fun to just pick up a few short stories to enjoy rather than dive into the depths of longer novels. Michael Brookes' collection is a sort-of continuation to his previous short story collection, as two of the short stories included continue the stories from the previous work. All of the stories are very different from each other and offer a refreshening selection of what I call 'weird tales'. I especially liked 'Not Welcome at the Gate', which allowed us to see what happened to Morlock the Demon after he had been trapped inside a human body.


The Ritual: 1 (Theft and Sorcery)
The Ritual: 1 (Theft and Sorcery)
by Erica Dakin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.56

3.0 out of 5 stars A good story from a beginning author, 7 Aug. 2013
Erica Dakin's The Ritual is the first part of a trilogy, but I was very happy to find out that it works as a stand-alone novel and is not simply a teaser of a larger story.

First, I have to say that the novel was overall very well written and I could only spot a couple of typos. This is very unusual for a self-published novel and the author deserves praise for good proofreading. Second, I did like the basic premise of twins as heroes - I haven't seen such premise since some early Dragonlance books that I read in my youth and it offered some fresh perspective to the storytelling. Third, the plot is intriguing and you are kept guessing what dark secrets the male twins are keeping from our heroines until the very end.

However, I also had some issues with the story. The biggest one of these was the ending which worked a bit too much like a deus ex machina to my liking. One big twist is left completely unexplained while a major one comes like a lightning from a clear sky and is explained only partially. The story also revolved a little too much around the protagonist's incessant drooling over the man she was attracted to. It seemed that she was quite unable to concentrate on anything but him, as pretty much every other paragraph contained a reference to his smell, eyes, presence, actions, behavior etc. etc. This broke the immersion in some scenes where the protagonist should really have been concentrating on the task at hand and such inattention should really have caused more problems and trouble for her than it did. This continues throughout the story, so I take it as part of the genre (romance fantasy, as I choose to name it), but I suspect that the story would have been stronger if the author had been a bit more sparing with these descriptions.

Overall, I still have to say that the story kept me reading until the end and that it did so better than some more established authors have been able to. Erica Dakin compares very favourably to Raymond E. Feist's recent novels, for example, in that she manages to keep the reader guessing and interested in her heroes' and heroines' fates.


Faust 2.0 (Morton & Mitchell Book 1)
Faust 2.0 (Morton & Mitchell Book 1)
Price: £1.82

4.0 out of 5 stars A definite page-turner, 26 Jun. 2013
A very nice sci-fi thriller with great central characters. For a male author, Michael Brookes makes the female hero, Sarah Mitchell, very believable (but since I'm also a male, I'll refrain from saying more than that ;) ). Dan Emmet is another character that we spend a lot of time with and he is also described in a way that makes you really know him as a person, with all his hopes and weaknesses.

These characters - and many others - are put through an ordeal as a new entity is born in the Internet that begins to sell favours for favours. Unfortunately to those who are persuaded by her promises, the price they must pay is more than they bargained for. Some of the events that we are shown as parts of these deals are pretty disturbing, verging on horror if it were not for the fact that such events have taken place in the real world all too often.

Overall, this was a great read and a definite page-turner - a great summer read!


Conan: Born on the Battlefield (Conan (Dark Horse Unnumbered))
Conan: Born on the Battlefield (Conan (Dark Horse Unnumbered))
by Greg Ruth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feat that should have been impossible, 14 Jun. 2010
Robert E Howard never wrote about Conan's past. He only gave some hints of what had happened in Conan's homeland before Conan had started to roam the civilized world. Given how bad most non-REH Conan stories are, it should have been impossible for anyone to write a good story of Conan's childhood, let alone an excellent one. Nevertheless, the crew at Dark Horse have accomplished the impossible. Conan: Born on the Battlefield is an engaging story with great visuals. Greg Ruth really makes Cimmeria and its characters come alive with fantastic colouring and sense of mood and style.

Whereas the rest of Dark Horse's Conan comics have had their ups and downs, Born on the Battlefield only contains ups.


The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels
The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels
by Patrick O'Brian
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stunning literature, abysmal editing, 23 Jan. 2010
Like others at amazon.com, I must draw attention to the abysmal scanning and editing that this edition has suffered. Many a time one's immersion into the story is brought to an abrupt halt when dialogues are rendered incomprehensible when the lines of several characters are stuck into the same paragraph, or other words are just misspelled so that they become entirely different words.

However, the magic of POB shines through on every page. If this is the only edition you can get your hands on and haven't read the books before, take your chance - buy it, read it and remember it forever (and re-read it many many times).


Ysabel
Ysabel
by Guy Gavriel Kay
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A let down compared to other GGK novels, 1 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Ysabel (Paperback)
I've grown accustomed to picking up a GGK novel and being transported to a fantasy world beyond comparison. Tigana, Al-Rassan etc. do this to you and make you want to re-read those novels time and time again even if you have a pile of unread books waiting their turn from other authors. Unfortunately, Ysabel falls short of Kay's usual excellence with a mediocre, even light plot, shallow characters and way too detailed and travel-book like descriptions of the area of Provence. It seems as if GGK paid as much attention to writing his book as his main protagonist pays on writing his school essays... Perhaps Provence was _too_ beautiful?

In some sense, Ysabel is clearly targeted towards a younger audience than GGK's other works. Perhaps he also wrote this more to his own kids than to his usual grown-up fans?


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