Books: Horror

Hugh Howey “I, Zombie”

2Author: Hugh Howey
Title: I, Zombie
Series:
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Pages: 222p
Rate: 5-5 | Goodreads

I couldn’t figure out where I know the author from. And only now, as I opened goodreads, did I notice that Hugh Howey wrote Wool books too, Silo and all those. I didn’t like them much, to be honest. But this one was wonderful.

About: All the speakers in this book are either zombies, or people who are about to become zombies. Little by little, including interesting enough personal background stories, they tell a tale of how did this happen, to them, to their city. It’s scary, how it all began with a few infected on the street. They looked no worse than deranged sick vagabonds, so people avoided them. But apparently, they didn’t do so well enough. For not long after that, a gang of zombies, a shuffle, came along. They weren’t fast, what with their rotting, often broken bodies, but their need drove them forwards, causing panic, horror, and all the disasters that start with it. Some, now, like our very first speaker, are trapped in their rotting bodies, internally screaming against impulses they can no longer control, as their broken bleeding hands shove rotting flesh into their mouths, throats. Others feel relief, for they won’t have to worry about anything anymore, not the contamination, virus, not even death. But they’re all united with one need, one want: human flesh. They can always smell them, always feel them. So they know full well there’s choppers above, full of scientists and military, all people who do nothing but observe and research. And by the time they reach a conclusion: sacrifice a city for the sake of humanity, by the time they decide to bomb it… They already know there’s herds of living, delicious flesh behind the barricades of this city.

My Thoughts: This was a very scary read. From the very first story, where a completely conscious woman with a gaping hole in her cheek, explains the terror she feels when her hands shove guts into her throat, and how painful is the wind against her bare teeth. Then to living people, civilians. One had just enough bullets to show mercy to some, choosing to shoot women and children first, and put them out of this horror of existence. And finally, to those who didn’t see the rising sun of a bomb fallen, for they were pushing, scraping at the barriers between themselves and humanity. By the end of this book my heart was thumping. I am not someone who likes to be scared. But this was unbelievably amazing. Not every story was interesting or scary, but a total of the book was definitely worth it.

I am waiting for Dying Light 2 even more now, praying it’ll still have zombies, and not just gangs of people. I was never interested in zombies, never felt the need to read or watch anything with them, really. But this book had a teller who was one of those people who were actively preparing for a zombie apocalypse, like quite a few in our world actually do. And so it just brought it all to life, made it beautifully believable. I give it 5 out of 5, and to you I suggest to put it up for October, Halloween read.

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Categories: 5-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Everything, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Drink Deep” | Chicagoland Vampires 5

1Author: Chloe Neill
Title: Drink Deep
Series: Chicagoland Vampires 5
Genre: Fantasy, Vampires
Pages: 321p.
Rate: 4/5 | Goodreads

The greatest plus of these books is them being real easy to read. You start one, and it already ends. So I’ve read through fifth book in Chloe Neill series Chicagoland Vampires, “Drink Deep“, and I do believe I will read me another one too.

About: After the death of Cadogan House head, Merit’s love interest, no less, power assertion and drama begins. Vampires who took over have no love for this house and soon start changing the rules, rationing their blood, making their training more strict, etc. They don’t even hide their displeasure and want to get rid of some people, and we won’t point fingers to Merit. But to her this problem soon becomes secondary. After all, whoever turned Lake Michigan into black tar might just be more dangerous than a bunch of vampire assholes. So Merit goes off with the secret vampire organisation to follow up on any possible leads. Those include other supernatural races, such as fae in control of elements, water nymps, and so on. But as leads dwindle to nothing, magical apocalypse continues. Sky turns red, and lightening storms serve destruction.

My Opinion: The book, for the most of the first half, was as boring as one would expect from a story where one of the lovers died. Romance drama is one of the worst plotlines for me, so this is my own fault, for picking up books like that, I guess. To add to that, Merit keeps having dreams about Sullivan, and they seem to be trying to warn her. So I just rolled my eyes at the “there was a storm behind him, and I started to run“, and continued. Of course, not all was bad. I did really enjoy the magical catastrophe, it was very apocalyptic, and very horror genre worthy, what with all the lightening strikes, and sky turning red. New races were introduced fairly well too. There was a pretty great Sookie-Stackhouse moment when hungry vampires went insane over sweet fae blood scent.

So, all in all I still didn’t much like any of the books. They’re about there, where you can continue reading, with random goodies to sweeten the pot. In this book it was that magical apocalypse, so I can give it a 4 out of 5.

Categories: 4-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Books: Fantasy, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill “Hard Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 4

1I get used to series. Then I read them, even if I don’t particularly like them. Same happened to me with Chloe Neill series Chicagoland Vampires. Lucky for me, though, “Hard Bitten” (Chicagoland Vampires 4; ISBN 04512333328; 350p. Goodreads) ended up with a very interesting note.

Tension is ever rising in House Cardogan. Protesters outside the windows demand day and night for these dangerous bloodsucking creatures to go back where they came from – hell. Some people go missing after especially brutal raves take place. New drug is rumored to be on the market, messing things up. And, seemingly, all of these strings lead to House Cardogan. Its master, Sullivan is under pressure from two different ramparts: the mayor of the city, and the vampire authorities from across the pond. Pressure itself wouldn’t be hard to handle, of course. It’s their orders that put him between an anvil and a hammer. One side wants him to take care of this, because Cardogan looks involved. Other side wants him to stop meddling in what the head of Cardogan is not supposed to meddle. So, clan reputation or his own skin?

Merit, on the other hand, seems to have found a way around all this mess. After all, the orders were to her liege, not her directly. And what her liege doesn’t know, her liege cannot be blamed for, right? Thus she picks up her contacts in dark deep places, and sets off after those who survived the raves. Sadly, the deeper she digs, the less she likes the secrets. Some of them are about to flip her whole world upside down. Like the one about her getting turned into a vampire…

The ending was a very interesting choice author made, and it got me real curious of how will this develop then. Still, I really won’t be recommending these to anyone who didn’t get this far to begin with. 3 out of 5 from me. Will read the next one though.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jordan L. Hawk “Threshold” | Whyborne & Griffin 2

2I enjoyed the first book in Jordan L. Hawk series Whyborne & Griffin, so it was only a matter of time, and finding the time, until I got into the second one, “Threshold” (Whyborne & Griffin 2; ISBN 0988564971; 249p.; Goodreads). I must say, this was the most unexpected turn of events. And yet I didn’t like it so much. But I do enjoy the Lovecraftian vibe the author has.

Whyborne’s father was never overly fond of his younger son. Especially not after he decided to make his own life, and not follow the path he provided. That slightly shifted after the battle with monsters from another dimension, where Whyborne showed immense knowledge and great courage. Still, even with that little bit of mending, Whyborne is mighty suspicious when his father hires Griffin to investigate supernatural happenings in one of his coal mines.

Miners hear buzzing, vibrations behind the walls. Some claim there’s voices telling them of rich coal veins nearby. People disappear or die in strangest accidents. Some return, strange and different. A lot of these strings lead to excavation site in a cave system nearby, so that’s where the trio heads. There’s nothing real special there, nothing archaeologists haven’t already taken account of. Up until the floor breaks under Whyborne’s feet, and he is plunged into the darkness of the caves below. Here walls are all covered in drawings of strange creatures enslaving humans. And there’s something lurking just behind the band of light…

SPOILER: this is a personal preference, but I really do not like when mild fantasy meets mild sci-fi, and results are aliens vs cowboys. END OF SPOILER. I think the biggest peeve here was the romance line. I really hate the whole “but I thought this, so I did that, because I thought…“, for as a reader you know exactly how that’ll go. There’ll be spilling sand between the fingers, then making up, and apologies, and in romance novel cases: make-up sex. Other than that, the events were very unexpected, so while I can only give this book 3 out of 5, I will definitely read the next one.

Categories: 3-5, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, Sci-Fi Books, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victoria Dalpe – Parasite Life

4Received “Parasite Life” by Victoria Dalpe (ISBN 1771483970; 260p.; Goodreads) from the publishers, or maybe the author, I can’t recall. It was intriguing, and I had nothing better to do, so why not a vampire book, right? Yes, right. I didn’t expect to get what I got, and I can’t figure out whether that’s bad or brilliant. So let me just tell you of the book.

Jane lives her life in a creepy old house, with her dying mother. She’s asocial, but not by choice. her nature, invisible to the eye, is pulling at the primal instincts in people, making their skin crawl. Even her own mother, with as little expression as she has left, seems to show no will to communicate with her daughter. So, with no friends, hated and shunned, Jane tries to survive until she can finally leave. Somewhere. Anywhere. Up until a new girl, a gorgeous gothy Sabrina shows up, and turns her whole world around. Starting with this new sensation of having a friend, and escalating to love. And passion, during which Jane unceremoniously got drunk with Sabrina, forced herself on her, after a very clear no, and gnawed at her neck to sate the beast inside. For Jane is a vampire, and her mother is dying due to this dark nature of hers.

Sabrina, either to her own kind heart, stupidity, or compulsion of a vampire, forgives Jane, and they set off on a quest to find Jane’s father, the very one who passed this gene upon her. Jane hopes he’d know of a cure, or at least some substitute she could use instead of constantly abusing Sabrina. Or, maybe he could teach her how to be better. And oh boy, does Hugh McGarrett has lessons for her. Not the least one is how easy it is to manipulate those who aren’t afraid of their kind. People like Sabrina.

Jane is a horrible little monster. First bells rang in my head when she called herself a “seducer” after she forced herself on this girl. Rapist is the word, Jane. Second, she thinks she’s giving something by, what? Caring for a stray cat, and dying mother, who is dying because of this “care” she’s providing? Or was it caring to drag a girl on a wild chase of some man who never wanted to have anything to do with her, because hey, that friend has a license, can take her mum’s car, and oh, Jane can feed on her all the way there, all the while smooching up, and playing with the “I love you, I need you” cards. And then the very, very final straw was when this girl, while laying down the body of the person who saved her, claimed she has saved herself. Yes, you locked yourself in, good job on saving your sorry ass. So, as you can see, I’m feeling extremely negative towards this book. But I will give it a 4 out of 5 anyway (3 might be more fitting, due to lack of substance in secondary characters, like Sabrina). Here’s why: I hope that author is not insane, but rather – brilliant. Jane is a very classic vampire. A disgusting creature, deluded into believing any demented reason they come up with on why their existence is good. I do believe that if Stoker’s Dracula would’ve been written from his perspective, we would’ve heard how kind and generous he is too. So with that hope, that’s the rate I’ll give this book. Don’t read it if you don’t like the image of the modern vampire tarnished.

Categories: 3-5, 4-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, F/F Literature, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chloe Neill – “Twice Bitten” | Chicagoland Vampires 3

7060582I cannot recall majority of the events from the previous Chicagoland Vampires books. Just had to read “Twice Bitten” by Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires 3; ISBN 04512306447; 355p.; Goodreads), and then skim over it the second time. Now I just don’t think it had any impact on me understanding the plot. I can easily say, this is the lazy-day reading, when you don’t want to think too much. On a scale I’d put it below Sookie Stackhouse, which was also simple, but I loved it anyway.

When vampires came out into the public eye, shifters chose to stay in the dark due to their nature being so much more harder to detect. And, apparently, it’s not the first time they backed away, leaving vampires on their own. But now that air is heavy with another impending war, Merit’s house is trying their best to secure shifter alliance, and persuade shifters to fight along side them. With great hopes they won’t leave again. Not an easy task, what with benefits of this alliance would mostly fall into the vampire yard. Not to mention the turmoil behind the scenes. Not every shifter is happy with current rule, nor the need to obey laws or decisions they voted against.

In the meantime, Merit is entertaining the possibility of joining a secret vampire organization, meant to protect all supernaturals, not just the heads of the houses. They collect the best, members being required to be able to fight their battles, and so, Merit got on their radar. Joining them would mean standing front lines in emergencies, defending everyone without an exception. Which means, leaving her main duty: standing by her liege and defending his life with her own. And really, only his.

I’d say the book was good, but then the romance part happened and UGH. It’s one of those where you see where it’s going, you see what will happen, and then you know how things will be solved in the distant future, split among many, many books. I’ll give it 3 out of 5, can’t give it more, but won’t give it less either. We’ll see if I can manage another. I might just. (Let’s face it, I’ve read worse.)

Categories: 3-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Everything, urban fantasy, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kim Newman – Johnny Alucard | Anno Dracula 4

15798788Yes, I was reading this book for years. Just happened that I dropped it, and haven’t picked it up for forever. Kim Newman is definitely not for everyone, and maybe not for me, but I have still troopered through “Johnny Alucard” (Anno Dracula 4; ISBN 0857680862; 400p.; Goodreads), and I will absolutely read the fifth one, no matter what.

Imagine America during the 60s to 80s – full of vampires. Andy Warhol? Vampire. Mad Men? Probably vampires. Vampires, just like the warm, feel the need and want to get famous, become movie stars, rock stars. Much like actual movie stars, famous people, rock stars – wish to become vampires. Problems are: some vampires don’t even show up on film, leaving them with such duties on set as special effects (ripping off clothing, carrying “floating” things around); while talented folk who are becoming vampires – often lose their talents. But this problem, unlike having no image on film, can be solved by faking it. There’s a new drug in town, called Drac, that gives you all the vampire traits for an hour or six. And this is how some young man named Johnny Alucard has evened out the scales among these two tribes of humans vs vampires: both parties crave each others blood. For if Drac runs out, well, some states don’t even consider vampires legally alive to be killed for blood again. In the meantime, Dracula is on everyone’s lips. Stoker’s name as pseudonime is as common as Smith. Directors are trying to overthrow each other by making better Dracula movie. Adult film industry is blooming with Dracula Rising and Dracula Sucking. Capes, castles, and intense need to tell the folk you are an indirect Dracula’s get is a must in Hollywood if you want to be a somebody.

Johnny Alucard, back then known as Ion, is the last of Dracula’s get. During war in Romania his own people, his own commando, threw him at Dracula’s feet as a tribute, as a snack, as an exchange for their own necks. Ion felt no regret over it for, in truth, the boy barely felt anything at all. This empty shell of a boy, with no fear or emotions in him, became the perfect vessel for Dracula and his final plan. For, after all, World can be taken in more than one way, and it doesn’t have to involve guns.

The book is very fine and interesting. It’s the author’s constant need to put names, backstories for the names, references, and so on, together with massive scene descriptions (which are great, don’t get me wrong, but what’s too much is too much!) – made it a chore, no longer a pleasure. I couldn’t listen to this book in audio form, for my mind would start filtering the droning that was in no way relative to the story and the next thing you know – missed a bit. So I can’t give the book more than 3 out of 5, but be assured, I shall read the fifth one in the series.

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

John Patrick Kennedy – Princess Dracula [1]

33763808I started reading John Patrick Kennedy book “Princess Dracula” (Princess Dracula 1; ASIN B01MSQGCS3; 203p.; Goodreads) last year, and barely managed to finish it last night. It’s a very plot-lacking book that smells of a man not knowing he can just write a woman like she’s a person, and not an alien.

Ruxandra Dracula, daughter to Walachian prince Vlad the Impaler, has been raised in a covenant for most of her life. One of these nights he comes to collect his daughter, and Ruxandra can only pray it is so he can marry her off to someone kind and handsome, like one of the knights that came with him. Instead Dracula takes her into a cave where a ritual for demon summoning is being prepared. He offers the demon his own daughter, confident he’ll be able to control the powers given, and use them against the Ottoman Empire. But demon only laughed, for it had spiteful plans of its own.

Ruxandra craves blood. At times her own body fights her, and all too often completely overpowers her, with this need to survive, while she herself is not exactly feeling like it. But she’s a Dracula, meaning she’s stubborn and determined. Determined to not hurt people, and find a way to die eventually. Until a beautiful young man finds her in the woods. Kind and caring he inspires hope in Ruxandra’s dead heart.

Too much work was put into explaining the logic of why the female protagonist has to be naked time and again. Too little work left, thus, on the plot, which was mediocre at best. For most of the book – nothing happens. And what does happen, like the brides of Dracula take (there’s an unevolved plot-line where those “brides” are actually Ruxandra’s friends, and they’re having this strange poly-amorous relationship, it could work, it would be an interesting take of Dracula’s Brides, seeing how Ruxandra is Dracula), gets left mentioned by a word or two across whole book. So I start a year with a book I can only give 2 out of 5 to. But that doesn’t mean I won’t read further.

Categories: 2-5, Books: Dracula, Books: LGBT, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Christina Henry – Red Queen | The Chronicles of Alice 2

27246122I wasn’t really in the mood for anything wonderlandish, but I needed something short and light, and so I picked up second book in The Chronicles of Alice by Christina Henry, the “Red Queen” (The Chronicles of Alice 2; ISBN 042526680X; 291p.; Goodreads). It was pretty good, but again, not the best as Alice’s retellings go, and maybe a tad poorer than the first one too.

Lands beyond the Old City are burned, scattered with bones, and patrolled by strange people in even stranger contraptions. But this is the path Alice and Hatcher must take in order to find his daughter Jenny. So they simply move forwards, trying their hardest to survive against the climate that lacks so much as clean water for drink, and hides many a predator, let alone all the spells, traps, and schemes cast upon the land by White Queen and Black King.

The Black King was once a man. A man no one said “no” to. He was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it. Including magic. Their family magic was fairly weak, so when a magician got in his way on one of the hunting trips, his fate has been sealed. And not even because he wanted it all that bad. No. More because the White Queen has wanted him to, and likely instructed what must be done to obtain that power. But their hearts were not meant to be, for one didn’t wish to belong to another. And so today their spill their anger and sorrows onto the former green and hopeful lands.

For some reason these books reminded me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle stories. Likely because of how magic works, or how Alice wields it so similarly to Sophie. I really loved the White Queen’s story too. But all in all, I can only give this book a 3 out of 5, but if there’s gonna be more, I will read more.

Categories: 3-5, Books: Fantasy, Books: Horror, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Joe Hill – Nos4a2

15729539I’ve read “Heart-shaped box” by Joe Hill a fair while ago. I didn’t like it much, which, I guess, resulted in me forgetting all about this author. Until his “Nos4a2” (Nos-Four-A-Two; ISBN 0062200577; 704p.; Goodreads) appeared in my sight. And while this book wont become my favorite any time soon, it was still better than the previous one. But whether that is because I’ve read a translation of that one, and original of this one – who could tell now?

Charles Manx is a nosferatu in more sense than one. He feeds on human happiness and youth to remain youthful, and seemingly, immortal himself. Of course, he doesn’t have to drink blood for that. Not that he’d want to either. All he has to do is save the abused, underloved children, and take them to the Christmas land, where happiness is eternal, and frowns are against the law! Charles Manx wholeheartedly believes that what he does is right. And so, no one will ever stop him, he will save as many kids from their awful parents, as he absolutely can!

Victoria McQueen was likely the only Manx’s victim to ever escape, and that only thanks to the ability both she and Manx have, which is to open a way elsewhere. Manx opens a road to Christmas land riding his car, and Victoria opens hers to just a general place elsewhere, wherever she needs to be, a sort of a shorter way. Her run-in with the Christmas land got written down as mental illness, caused by stress of being kidnapped by a molester. She was medicated all her life for it, so, naturally, when Manx’s body disappeared from the morgue, she’d rather not hear about it. Even if she is the only person who can possibly stop him.

As I said, I do believe this book to be better than the “Heart-shaped box”, but I’m still not a fan. 3 out of 5, no more, no less.

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

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