Books: Horror

book review | The Fall by Guillermo del Toro | The Strain Trilogy 2

the fall guillermo del toro chuck hogan the strain book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Title: The Fall
Series: The Strain Trilogy 2
Genre: Thriller, Vampires
Pages: 308
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

I’ve many people in my circle who enjoy the series based on this trilogy and/or the trilogy itself. I, personally, am not yet made a fan, and I don’t see how that’ll happen with only one Strain Trilogy book left. Currently I finished Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan book The Fall, which is the second one. And am not impressed.

About the Book: Master has taken over New York. From here the rest of the world will fall under his feet too. But he has to be careful and not think of these things too much. For when he’s too deep in thought, they, others like him, the first kind of vampires, can hear it, and know it. So instead he plays his pawns, the most influential, powerful, rich people. It’s just that he miscalculated just how very much some of them fear death…

My Opinion: Other than internal monologues, there’s so little happening in this book, that I can’t even tell you what’s it about clearly. Basically they all spend the whole book either thinking of bad old days, from the creation of supernatural creatures, to genocide, to childbirth, or they chase a book that speaks of vampire creation. That book could give them the true name of the Master and that would somehow help them destroy him and the rest of his kind. I give it great props over making vampires what they are, but bloody hell how dull it gets.

Right, so, I can’t give this book more than 3 out of 5, and the biggest plus is the vampire origins. One more book to go.

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Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: Other Fiction, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Thriller Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

book review | Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker | Stoker’s Dracula 2

dracula the undead dacre stoker book coverAuthor: Dacre Stoker
Title: Dracula the Un-Dead
Series: Stoker’s Dracula 2
Genre: Horror literature, Vampires
Pages: 424
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

So, the most recent book by Dacre Stoker, the “Dracul” is a prequel to Bram Stoker‘s “Dracula“, and this one. It’s a sort of a fictional biography of Bram Stoker and a sort of the origin of how the book “Dracula” was born, or the basis for it. Then you should read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” itself. And then this book, “Dracula the Un-Dead“, for it is a direct sequel to “Dracula”. And yet, it barely sticks with that prequel.

About: About twenty years after that little band of heroes got terrorized by the truth of vampire existence, Quincey Harker, son of Mina and Jonathan Harkers, against his father’s wishes, but in secret as to not lose his financial support, is pursuing a career as an actor. All is well and good, really. He even gets to meet his hero, his idol, famous actor named Basarab, who fully supports the boy’s want to become an actor, even if his father disapproves. Basarab even promises help, connections. All in return of a small favor Quincey can absolutely provide: introduce him to Bram Stoker. For, you see, Stoker is now building a play called “Dracula”, and Basarab has a few words about it…

But this is where Quincey’s life as he knows it crumbles to dust, bit by bit. The play is based on the book, the manuscript by the same title. In that story the main heroes are his mother, father, and their friends, in hunt of this vampire named Dracula. With fury of thoughts, among which not the smallest is the youthful look of his mother, who easily passes for his sister, Quincey hurries home. Yet, some secrets should remain buried in the past. For no sooner is Quincey able to find some information, confront his mother, as his father is found dead. Impaled.

Mine: The characters seem mentally challenged. They neither have logic, nor can see any. They will listen to absolutely nothing they don’t want to believe in, even if their own beliefs have absolutely no basis other than their own fantasies and fictional books they’ve read. Bram Stoker didn’t even bother to change the names of the people from diaries he presented as his book, apparently. Yes, why do that when you try to outbest your writer friends, such as Oscar Wilde. But. While I equally hate and love Dacre Stoker’s books, I must say, no matter how stupid the plot gets at times, for there’s plenty of second-hand shame I felt, they’re well written. I mean, I need a moment there and here to process the ridiculous ideas, but then, I read further, because I want to, because I’m curious. So, ah… Well done?

So. Dracula wasn’t the only vampire out there. Jack the Ripper wasn’t who you thought he was. And Titanic carried passengers from Stoker’s Dracula. For all of that, for this one and only clever ruse, for nothing else in this book was clever, I give it as much as 4 out of 5. And, you know what? I’d read another one.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, F/F Literature, Gothic Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

book review | The Strain by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan | The Strain Trilogy 1

the strain vampire chuck hogan guillermo del toro book coverAuthor: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Title: The Strain
Series: The Strain Trilogy 1
Genre: Horror Literature, Fiction
Pages: 403
Rate: 3/5 | Goodreads

The cover of Guillermo del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s book “The Strain” said it’s new vampire classics. To me it felt more like a retelling of many, concentrating onto the common theme: New York city, epidemic that turns people into brainless monsters. I bet you can think of one or two off the top of your head, without thinking.

About: A Boeing lands, dark and silent. All the people inside are still, as if asleep. Dead, their bodies drained of blood. All except four, it seems. But those four survivors are not likely to tell any tales, for they are dead men walking themselves. Whatever killed all those passengers – is eating them up too.

It spreads like a virus. The disease takes over, mutates the body in a matter of days, chucking anything unnecessary. The smallest drop of their blood can turn you, and then you too will hear His voice, and you too will haunt your loved ones in search for easy prey, easy blood, nourishment.

Mine: Remember how Dracula entered England? He steered a ship into a port on a stormy night, with all crew gone but for a corpse or two. All while he himself hid in a crate full of soil. And then disappeared, with the said boxes of dirt. This is a very classic scary monster vampire story. Authors here too did their best to dissuade the reader from wanting to become one of these foul beasts who feed and urinate at the same time, whose very genitals fall off, and body mutates into grotesque horror meant only for feeding. And yet there are still those, in the story, who want this for sheer fact that there’s a certain mental capacity, a form of life, immortality. That’s the good side of this tale. For the rest of it was already told, many times over, with the same brave but annoying characters.

I watched the series, didn’t finish, and am not planning to, but first season and first book seem to be fairly on the same level. So if you didn’t like the series, don’t bother with the book. I can give it a 3 out of 5, no more.

 

Categories: 3-5, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

dracula | “Straight to Hell” by John G. Hartness | Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 2

1Author: John G. Hartness
Title: Straight to Hell
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 99
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

Oh how I waited to read the next book in these series! The first one made me laugh to tears, and was heavily packed with action. Thus, left a good impression on me.

About: You’d think that opening the gates to hell isn’t all that easy. Well, it turns out, as long as you got someone with the right bloodline… A young guy gets kidnapped to be used in rituals that’ll summon the Four Apocalypse Horsemen. And Harker is just not having any of this!

Mine: I was about to say that this book was way too short. But then I thought a little, and decided it was perfect. It fully followed one story, with very good and mild tracks into side stories that got fully processed here too. No unnecessary scenes, details, descriptions. It’s really well written too. It feels like reading one of those old classic superhero comic books. Your views on Harker will range from “this dude’s more deranged than Deadpool” to you laughing hysterically at what the hell just happened.

For the next month I’m preparing to read a Dacre Stoker book on Dracula, and I can tell you, I am not looking forwards to that. For it means I’ll abandon these series for almost two months. But for the time being, this one gets 5 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Supernatural, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

diversity | “Midnight” by Megan Derr | Dance with the Devil 3

4Author: Megan Derr
Title: Midnight
Series: Dance with the Devil 3
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 212
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Have I mentioned before, that these books remind me a lot of Castlevania cartoon? There’s this vibe of magic mixed with science. The really modern inventions in almost medieval settings. The distinct territories and lines between the Normals and Supernaturals.

About: Somewhere far, at the edge of the vampire, the Draculas territory, and too close for comfort on the edge of the dragon territory, a Siren song rises the dead from their slumber, and turns them into draugr. But these are inferior beings as Lord Devlin White knows it. For he once shared his own heartbeat with a dying boy, Midnight, which resulted in a fine young man, capable of thought, function, growing up. Midnight is nothing like these shambling monsters. And, apparently, someone is more than aware. Someone out there, using the song, is luring Lord White into a trap, for Midnight is a secret highly prized…

Mine: This was a slow, but very fun and dark adventure. There were fierce but cute dragons, their knights, yes, their knights, and magic. Priests who dabbled in evil and still thought themselves holier than thou. And, as I now noticed, the usual little line of a classic fairy tale woven in there to lead on the detective plot of who did what and why. The only thing I horribly did not like was the not-yet-even-a-boyfriend jealousy. Yes, how dare you have had life before them, and love interests. Bah.

These are very easy to read magical books. I like them a lot, so I’m glad there’s more to get through. Much like some of the KJC’s romances, these too follow different people through same setting, universe, and it works very well like that. So I give it a strong 4 out of 5.

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Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, paranormal romance, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

diversity | “Dance in the Dark” by Megan Derr | Dance with the Devil 2

1Author: Megan Derr
Title: Dance in the Dark
Series: Dance with the Devil 2
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT Literature
Pages: 350
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I’m not sure whether I liked this book because it was good, or because it was a cozy read. Either way, the book is not bad at all. Had a good vibe to it, so to speak.

About: Johnnie, a normal, had to grow up among supernaturals. After his family was slain by a blood crazed wife of a Dracula, the vampire followed tradition and adopted the child, raising him as his own in all but the vampirism. But not all liked it, even if it was what tradition demanded. And even Johnnie grew up to resent this position a little, for now he didn’t fit in either of the worlds. A human among vampires, never a vampire. No longer a Normal, so unable to live in that side of the world either.

So he does what he thinks will fit the situation best, and moves out of the Dracula’s estate, taking up supernatural cases in a shady part of town. All goes well and good until they start affecting his life more and more. And then one day a woman knocks on his door, asking to find her beloved. A man, who, Johnnie soon finds out, is no other, than his brother, Dracula’s heir. Soon to marry a noblewoman.

Mine: The book had a nice A Wolf Among Us vibe to it. Supernaturals living separate from the Normals. Old fairy tales seeping into their current life. A slight re-telling of a Snow White, poisoned apples and mirrors included. And even if there was stalling, it was still cozy, and fun enough.

This might not be your next favorite book, but it’s definitely an interesting take on it. 4 out of 5 from me, and we’ll see what’s next.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Horror, Books: LGBT, Books: Supernatural, dark fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

dracula | “Raising Hell” by John G. Hartness | Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 1

1Author: John G. Hartness
Title: Raising Hell
Series: Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter 1
Genre: Vampires, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 110
Rate: 5/5 | Goodreads

I love re-tellings of Stoker’s Dracula, prequels, sequels, different perspectives. So I was very excited for what I found! A story of Quincy Harker, the son of Mina and Johnathan Harkers. That’s my this month’s Dracula book, for Dracula is indeed here.

About: Quincy is a demon hunter who calls Dracula his uncle, is on great “bail you out of jail time, and time again” terms, and is in general your long lost Winchester brother (10 points to your Hogwarts house if you get the reference) who gets his ass grated if he doesn’t visit the said uncle often enough.

This city of his has its share of supernatural junk all over the place. Not the least being the bar owning demon in cat’s body who can’t resist the urge to knock shit off the tables. But when someone starts killing off nephilims and draining their blood, well… That’s more of an evil shit a human would do. But why? Oh, and who?

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Mine: I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Every joke, every other line out of Quincy’s mouth, is a killer. There’s a real nice familiar demonology here too, the encyclopedia-wiki friendly kind that we’re used to. None of that “let me rewrite it, so I’m unique” stuff. I love it, for I am real tired of the hundreds new ways a vampire is a vampire, if I’m being honest. The book itself is very short, real easy to read, and be sure, will teach you to cuss like a true demon hunter on a job.

Yep, happy little me is very happy. This one gets a strong 5 out of 5, and I will likely take the second one for the next month right away, even if something else was in the plans. We’ll see.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Books: Everything, Books: Supernatural, dark fantasy, Dracula: General, Nosferatu Books, Paranormal, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

diversity | “Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland | Dread Nation 1

2Author: Justina Ireland
Title: Dread Nation
Series: Dread Nation 1
Genre: Alternative History, Zombies
Pages: 455
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

Character-wise this book was like a gust of fresh air. For instance, our main hero is a young black woman warrior with attitude befitting someone with her skill and their underestimation. Yet, story-wise, the book was very mediocre.

About: The war between states of America has come to a halt when dead started rising on the battlefields, and killing the living. Like a plague they run over the whole nation, and possibly beyond that. Some say it is because slavery has been made illegal. Others care not for this nonsense, and still treat the colored folk as secondary. Which led to schools of combat made especially for them, where people of color were taught to fight and defend.

In some places in America there are walled off safe havens. But safety is relative in places where dead don’t stay dead. Jane McKeen could almost smell her graduation from Miss Preston’s School of Combat as her life got flipped, and the core of it might just lie in one of those places. It all started mildly. Like a lord turning into a shambler mid-ball. Then one of the best families in Baltimore disappeared, leaving everything behind. Next thing you know, she has been packed off to defend one of these undefendable forts people called havens. She was put in lines of poorly trained brothers and sisters of color. She was given weapons which wouldn’t cut grass, let alone zombies. And she was told not to kill, unless necessary… But once hordes come in, of creatures seemingly smarter than the stuff she killed before, she makes her mind up. To survive, and to get some damn answers.

Mine:¬†Somewhere in the background there’s zombies, hordes of them, crawling through forests and planes. Those who died recently are fast, agile. Those who died before are slower, but gather in greater numbers. They are seemingly evolving too… And yet all we get to read about are intrigues, crushes, lies, politics, brutes, and Jane’s want to get away from every place she lands in. She complains about how her weapons are trash for long, long chapters, and yet kills things easy enough. In fact, everyone kills with little to no taste of horror in the air, even when lines are broken, and things start roaming in the streets. It seems all we get is this one narrow bubble with, well, no feeling to it. The only reason it wasn’t boring was Jane herself. I said time and again, a good character can save your lack of plot any day. Jane’s the only reason I’ll continue with the further books, with hopes they’ll improve story-wise. How do you make a zombie book so very… Not?

I don’t know, I didn’t like the way the story was told much. I’ll give it a wobbly 4 out of 5, only because the characters were interesting.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, LGBTQ+ Books, zombies | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

dracula | “Powers of Darkness” by Bram Stoker; Valdimar Asamundsson

1Author: Bram Stoker; Valdimar Asamundsson
Title: Powers of Darkness: The Lost Version of Dracula
Series: –
Genre: Horror Literature, Gothic Literature
Pages: 320
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

I set myself a small but not easy task. I want to read one book of Dracula every month this year. And I’ve started this challenge real well too, with, seemingly, the lost version of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. For he had to edit and censor his for England of those times. But he didn’t have to send the edited version to every other publisher abroad, apparently. So, places like Iceland got something different from what our copies might be.

About: The book is not ground-breakingly different. The essence is exactly the same. Except that here, after a very, very long debate by translators and whoever else at the start, we get different proportions, and slightly differently toned characters. For instance, while we had a fairly short visit at Dracula’s castle, or at least a short description, for it wasn’t all that short for Harker, and then a longer story of the hunt for Dracula in England, here we got the opposite. Most of the book is purely Harker roaming about Dracula’s castle, realizing he’s a prisoner, and that he really, really likes Dracula’s niece. The rest of the book is told very quickly, in meager little chapters, and not in the already familiar diary form. As for differences in characters, Dracula is a bit more blunt, and fairly more sexual being, not at all timid with his words or compliments. Others got some alterations too, but due to lack of interaction with them, since there virtually was no continuation after Harker fled the castle, I’ve nothing to tell other than what translators at the beginning told.

Mine: At the start of the book the translators will tell you high and mighty what this book is supposed to be, how it’s different, how different are the characters, their interactions among themselves. After a long debate, they come to a conclusion that this is: a) a rewriting by Icelandic translator; b) a blessed by Stoker rewriting by Icelandic translator; c) the original that Bram Stoker wrote, but couldn’t publish. In my humble opinion, they spoke too much to serve us what they served. If this is not word-to-word translation, and is instead an abbreviation, for I honestly tell you, at the end we’re told “and then Dracula came, roamed around, and those guys killed him” rephrasing, then I’m more than a little bit upset. And then, if it is an uncut gem, fully translated book, then it is marvelously bad. Either way, it seems, I’m not very happy.

If you like Dracula the way I do, both the historical figure who might have inspired Stoker, and the myth, the legend, Count Dracula the Vampire, then you should read this book, no matter what. And Dacre Stoker’s works too, mostly for his own speeches in them. This is also the reason I give this book a 4 out of 5, no less. For otherwise, if you are not a fan, this is not worth that high of a score, no.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Gothic Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

horror | “Plague of the Dead” by Z.A. Recht | Morningstar Strain 1

1Author: Z.A. Recht
Title: Plague of the Dead
Series: Morningstar Strain 1
Genre: Horror Literature, Zombies
Pages: 292
Rate: 2/5 | Goodreads

Such an ominous title. I truly expected hellish creatures, a zombie apocalypse, terror left and right. Instead I got long discussions, plain characters who always make the right decisions, and linear plot from one zombie infested point to another.

About: A virus outbreak tends to be similar every time. Isolated incident. Then isolated cluster. Leading to a few such before it starts spreading all over like wildfire. Even your common flu is scary when it spreads this way. And this? This is a zombie apocalypse, a virus to wipe humanity out.

Virus can take both living and the dead as host. The living are called “runners“, for they’re agile, fast. They’ll chase you down, often in hordes, and you better pray you’re faster than a creature with no sense of what is tired, and doesn’t need to breathe the way you do. But you can kill these the regular way. It’s those who are infected dead, or those who died infected, that are bothersome. They’re quiet, dormant until there’s anything of interest, and will slowly crawl across the desert itself to reach your yet uninfected flesh.

And then we have the backwards effect. From isolated incident to isolated clusters. To plague. To isolated clusters of survivors, to isolated, single survivors.

Mine: A group of soldiers sent to evacuate survivors hops from point to point. Each one either already infested by zombies, or is somehow not deemed worthy of them. While now and again we see them run, because ammo is long gone, most of the time we see them stand there, chatting, deciding what to do. Everyone does the right thing, everyone succeeds or becomes hero for trying. This was the bluntest story, and not in the good way, I’ve read in a long time, with very one-dimensional characters that did not help me progress at all.

Zombies are great. It’s a hard topic to mess up. You’ve a virus, you’ve horror, fear to live, fear to die. The hopelessness of easy infection and very, very difficult destruction of the infected. The book sort of had these traits, but they got buried under politics, who should do what, and why is the place they’re at – bad. 2 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 2-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything, Books: Horror, zombies | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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