Book Review: The Ritual

After watching a movie first thing I do is wiki it. I want to know if there is a planned sequel, did I miss something, was it based on a book, etc. So when after watching the Ritual I saw that it was a book first, I zipped over and picked up the kindle version here. And boy was I glad that I did!

Worldbuilding: Set in the modern day, with just a layer laid atop it just doesn’t leave much room for elaborate worldbuilding. What there was, was solid however. The grim forest setting was damn near palpable in places. 4.

Characters: The characters felt real, their motivations genuine. I had a problem however, and will acknowledge this is more of a me thing, and not an actual problem with the text: I hate characters that spend a long time disabled in some way. Be it hobbling along from a gun wound, or staggering almost dead through a desert, any character I follow at length I hate for them to be intensely damaged. And that happened a lot in this book. 3.

Prose: A real strength of this book, the prose was on point. The words painted a picture, which in turn went a long way to building the horror. 4.5.

Plot: The best part of this book. It was similar to the movie, but different in such delightful ways. 4.75.

Total: 4.06

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Book Review: Scattered, Smothered, & Chunked

Going forward I intend to get a little more in depth on my book reviews, rather, there will at least be more structure to them. To that end after talking with Derek, we’ve decided to base our reviews on the four pillars of fiction: Plot, Characters, Worldbuilding, and Prose. Each category will get a rating from 1 to 5, which will give an overall average!

So first up I have the excellent Scattered, Smothered, and Chunked by John G. Hartness! A collection of short stories about Bubba the Monster Hunter, this book is a fun as the title and leading character would lead you to think!

Plot: What begins as a series of standalone stories begins to morph into a larger overarching storyline that left me wanting more, far more! I think this is where Hartness’s greatest strength lies, and is why I give it a rating of 5.

Characters: Bubba at first seems a hyper-stereotypical redneck cliché. But as the stories progress I found a surprising depth to him as a character. As you peel back the layers on his worst traits, and find out the origin of why he is the way that he is, he became real to me. I would like to see more of Skeeter going forward would be my only quibble. I would be interested to see him outside of the context of playing sidekick to Bubba. 4.25.

Worldbuilding: As a book that takes place in our own world, just a more monster filled version thereof, there isn’t much to be done in the way of worldbuilding. I do like that Hartness worked in some monsters somewhat outside the ‘normal’ bevy of baddies, like the Rakshaha. And some of his spins on the more typical horror fair were enjoyable as well. 4.

Prose: The prose is punchy and pulpy. Hartness is no Rothfuss when it comes to chaining together words, but there aren’t any glaring problems. The words convey what they need in a workmanlike and humorous way, which really is what you want in a book like this. Too flowery and it would have clashed with the tone and feel of the book. There were a few typos I noticed, but nothing outrageous. 3.75.

Final Score: 4.25

Treat yourself to a copy here.

Warbreaker Deep Dive!

Bob and Superfan Tonya go deep on Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, while Derek sits in the same room.

Get your own copy here.

Check out this episode!

Book Review: Warbreaker

The 7th Brandon Sanderson novel I have read now, and honestly, I think it is the best. The Stormlight Archive is really good as well, but I will reserve full judgment til it has finished. Warbreaker though…

I think this is the tightest read of all his books. Other than a dalliance that runs a little long with one character, each storyline is nice and tight and builds to a great conclusion. All the little loose ends are wrapped up, while still leaving you longing for more. the magic system, as you would expect from Sanderson, is well thought out and amazingly innovative. The world building is on point, and the characters feel real. If you like Sanderson’s writing, then what are you waiting for?

Get a copy of your own here. Also keep your eye out for Superfan Tonya and I’s podcast deep dive on the book (but warning, its rife with spoilers, so only listen after you have read!).

Book Review: Jade City

So, after losing my charger a couple of times, I was finally able to finish Jade City by Fonda Lee. And to say the least, I view the experience of having read this book…wait for it… fondly!

Hehe.

But yeah, for a guy who grew up reading damn near everything Mario Puzo ever wrote, this book scratched an itch I had not realized I had been feeling in some time. This book is like the Godfather meets a Jet Li movie, blended together into a tasty literary pastry. If you enjoy tales of family honor, criminal dealings, badass fighters, and amazingly flawed, realistic characters, then this is the book for you! You will not be disappointed!

Score your copy here!

Book Review: Red Rising

Daaaaayum, this book was good! I would just stop now, go to the bottom of this and click the link so I could buy my own copy. Cause otherwise you are wasting time that is keeping you from reading this! Pierce Brown knocked it out the park, so it’s no wonder this puppy has been licensed to become a movie.

If the Hunger Games took place on Mars, with a dash of Harry Potter style Houses, mixed with a bevy of fascinating sociopathic characters, you would have Red Rising. The mother of all coming of age tales, its oddly timely with the current worldwide political climate. But most of all it’s fun, in that “I should feel bad for liking this, I mean kids died, but I still love it” sort of way.

This is the first in a trilogy, so soon as I finish Warbreaker by Sanderson, I am going to be diving in hard on them!

Get you one!

Three Great Stand-alone Fantasy Novels

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Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay

This book is a wonderment of prose. I think it is impossible to not be impressed by the craft Kay has put into this novel, and the story it tells is poignant and at times painful. The story is intensly compelling, twisting and turning as it tells the tale of a country that is desperate to not be forgotten. Get it here.

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Talion: Revenant, by Michael Stackpole

If you haven’t heard of this book by now, you haven’t been paying attention to this podcast/blog. Talion is the first novel Stackpole ever wrote (though not the first to be published), and has been a long time favorite of mine. If you enjoy books that involve political intrigue, school settings, roaming badasses, and interesting world building, then this one’s for you. Get it here.

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Grunts, by Mary Gentle

This book is not for the faint at heart. But if you can stomach the incredibly dark humor of this novel, you are in for one of the wildest rides in fantasy history. Telling the story of what happens after the ‘final’ battle between good and evil, it follows a band of orcs as they try to survive, and in doing so turn the world on its head. Get it here.