Books of Occult

Patrick Sheane Duncan – Dracula Vs. Hitler

draculavshitleOh happy day for me! I’m a fan of Dracula stories, always in want of new, good ones. It was impossible to not notice “Dracula vs. Hitler” by Patrick Sheane Duncan (ISBN 1942645082; 441p.; Goodreads), so I saw it, I took it, and I’ve read it. And I loved it. I believe anyone who loves action-packed movies with Dracula, Van Helsing movie, or Hellsing in any form, will also appreciate it.

Monsters in human form roam the earth, Nazis. Bit by bit they’re occupying Europe, same tactics, same alternative facts on importance of “racial purity” bullshit. Their brutality is unmatched. And as Van Helsing watches guerrilla not only fail, but get slaughtered, as he watches his daughter Lucile, named after a tragic heroine, risk her all for it, he has to make a decision: could a monster vs monster work?

Some years ago he, and a few brave men, captured Dracula, overpowered, and imprisoned him. Not many know he is not really dead thou. And while Van Helsing often thought of coming back to the sarcophagus with the immortal creature within, he always thought it’d be for science sake, for experiments, research. By far he did not expect himself to stand over the prince’s body, prepared to wake him from the possibly eternal slumber, in hopes that Vlad the Impaler will be willing to defend his homeland once again, against a new enemy.

It’s a very amusing, action filled, and fast paced book. Dracula is well written, and I love that once again he is portrayed as a relentless reader. He muses about new creations humans have made, and doesn’t smell of rot. But then he kills like a walking fortress. I can give it full 5 out of 5, and hope to someday add a physical copy to my collection, for this is a worthy piece to my shelves.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Dracula, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Vampires, Vlad Dracula III | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neil Gaiman – Anansi Boys [2]

ananI really did enjoy American Gods, so when I noticed Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (ISBN 0060515198; 384p.; Goodreads) marked as second book, I had to take it. But this one lacked the charm American Gods had, and is absolutely not a sequel of any kind. Merely the setting is the same, but you can read or not read either one – they’re not connected with anything but the fact: there’s gods here.

Fat Charlie’s father has died. And while he’s not too heartbroken about it, this death keeps ruining his life! First he finds out his father was actually a Spider God. Then, that he has a brother. Then this brother turns out to be much cooler, and way more interesting than Charlie. People can’t tell them apart, and yet they obviously prefer this brother. His boss, and his fiance too… And then it turns out that this brother, is not even a brother. He’s a little more. And a little less.

Charlie, hating what his life is becoming, decides to root out what he sees as the cause of the fall. This brother of his. For that he has to get deeper into this White Rabbit Hole Alice once went, see more of these divine beings, and strike a very, very stupid bargain, with a very, very malicious being. Be careful what you wish for. Or, you know, how you phrase your wishes.

The book is not too good, but easy to read. One can take it for a light piece on the go, no matter whether one has read American Gods or not. This has neither spoilers, nor is otherwise connected. Sparingly I can give it 4 out of 5, it’s not bad, just not good either.

Categories: 4-5, About Msg2TheMing, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Funny Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frank Herbert – Dune Messiah [Dune 2]

dune2Right, well, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (Dune 2; ISBN 0441172695; 331p.; Goodreads) felt far longer than it actually was. Odd how the peak of the story came to be at the end of the previous book, and now – everything spiraled down. Truth be told, if there’s nothing to pick it all up in book 3, I’ll abandon the Saga, glad I’ve read the first book.

Muad’dib has power beyond measure. He’s in sole control of Spice mining, and everyone needs it, everyone wants it. Drowning in visions induced by air saturated with this very spice, Muad’dib is dreaming of the simpler days. With no empires to rule, no legions to control. With no intrigues, politics, and those nasty fate lines he can see so clearly now. One wrong step is all it takes for it all to fall. The face changing assassins. His dead mother’s sect in hunt of, what, his genes? Stolen worm to be taken to another planet in attempts to take away the monopolis from Muad’dib. The most trusted friend once dead, now alive again, dubbed Hate by smiling faces. Just one step, and…

The Dune is changing. There’s now plenty of water for everyone, but not everyone is happy about it. Worms went deeper, further away into the desert, for they fear all this moisture. And people too feel there’s something wrong in this lavish…

 

As you can probably tell already from the hard-to-read writings of mine, I didn’t like this book much. I can give it 3 out of 5, no more. For there were indeed plenty of very good parts, but they reminded me more of gold veins in marble. You follow this thin line, twisting, breaking, turning. The rest was filled with that superbly common topic of those on top dreaming to be simple men. It was mighty boring to read of a person with, what, super-awareness? Someone who can remember what her ancestors might have known, dreaming to “just be loved”.

Categories: 3-5, Books, Books of Occult, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth May – The Falconer [1]

FalconercoverfinalAh. There are books you read in one sitting, because they’re just THAT good. And then there are books you read in one sitting, because you already know what’s going to happen in the next page. I’m sad to say that “The Falconer” by Elizabeth May (The Falconer 1; ISBN 1452114234; 378p.; Goodreads) is the latter kind. If you read more of this YA kind of fantasy, there’s no reason for you to pick up this one. In short: time trial for the chosen one to close a thing before bad things come out of the thing.

She is one of the kind. And the last of her kind. The awkward Scottish lass leading her double life. During the day hours she is attempting her best to salvage her reputation scraps, and build new contraptions on the spare time (steampunk theme). And at night time (and I’m almost quoting here), she’s trying to sate her unquenchable bloodlust, her need for murder, power, by killing the very bad fae. The fae are usually all teeth and claws, fairly scary if you ask me, and they all feed on human energy. Those who resemble humans more can put you to such awe, that you’ll be tempted to throw your reputation in 1844 Edingburg right there, out the window. That’s called Faestruck, by the way, and our so very bad and murderous heroine is apparently immune. Apparently.

Time Trial begins. A gate to fae prison is opening, and she’s the only one who can close it before all the bad things come pouring out to hunt humans as they used to, and destroy all the things. So she packs up her flying contraption, her own made weapons, which are impressive, I admit, and the Mister Unfriendly Fae friend for whom, of course, she’s developing feelings, and goes to close that damned thing! Did I mention it has to be done during specific lunar event? Well, in my humble opinion, that was obvious anyway.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not all is bad about this book. I’ve simply had oh so many like this one in my hands before, that I can no longer appreciate the simple beat-the-clock script. If you don’t read many of this kind, it’s a very good starter book. Story has all the things, Steampunk, decent jokes, funny heroine, the inhuman love interest, best guy friend who will marry you because that’s his duty as your friend: to defend your tarnished honor, and references to Scottish folk tales, that are pretty damn great, if you ask me. But for me, in my own personal opinion, this is not worth more than 3 out of 5, and that’s mostly because her fiance drank his own tea, and then hers too, because her butler was too slow in filling his cup.

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

V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows [2]

gatheringofshadowsI forgot I didn’t yet tell you about this book until I realized I have barely any left of the third. So do let me tell you how great was the second book in V.E. Schwab trilogy Shades of Magic, “A Gathering of Shadows” (ISBN 0765376474; 512p.; Goodreads), for it was amazing. Mind you, if you haven’t read the first one, you might want to skip this review, and just know that I loved it cover to cover.

As Kell and Rhy are now sharing one life – a lot of things pass between them via that magical link. At first it was seemingly just pain, for if one dies – the other one dies too, only natural you’d feel the deadly prick just as the other party does. But then there’s all the mental stuff too, and before they strangled each other due to constant hum at the back of their heads, Rhy makes up his mind. His brother will have to attend the magical dueling tournament and release some of that built-up magical steam. For unlike your regular mages, this one will gladly slap you if you finish off his already thin patience, or scare him too much by nearly dying if he cared about you, etc. And, of course, since he’s the most powerful magician known, that people revere and fear as a god, he’ll have to enter in disguise…

Delilah Bard turns her ears up when Captain Alucard, after long months at sea and foreign ports, turns the ship around back to London. He intends to attend this magical dueling tournament, and Lila just happens to have discovered she has powers too…

In the mean time, White London, the drained and bleak one, is stirring. A legend came true. On their throne now sits a hero, a king that fairy tales claimed to be able to restore magic in their world.

I can’t stop admiring the characters, how much each one of them is their own person, acting on their own set of mind, and not just there to ask the right questions. I love how Rhy would flirt with a chair, but then is madly in love with one person, and keeping that feeling safe from the world. I love how Kell, at points indeed revered as god due to power is actually a hotheaded spirit, ready to stomp his feet in anger, and yell at you if you chocked and nearly died in his arms, because he got so scared, and you can’t do that! And I just love Delilah Bard, I do believe she is my all time favorite woman ever written. 5 out of 5, deserved every one bit.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

V.E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic [1]

ADarkerShadeOfMagicAh, what a discovery, what a find! Thank You, Hannah Cassie, for all those relentless recommendations at P.S. I Love That Book, for at last I reached one and it was oh SO good. This is my first encounter with V.E. Schwab, and her first book in the superb fantasy trilogy “A Darker Shade of Magic” (Shades of Magic 1; ISBN 0765376458; 400p.; Goodreads) blew me away. One of those books I nearly finished all in one sitting, but then scolded myself, and reminded how bad it feels to not be able to continue the next day. I promise, there was more than 2 chapters left when I put it down.

Kell – a messenger from Red London, traveling among the other ones, passing letters from royals to royals. Grey London is mighty boring, no magic, no nothing. White London is fairly scary, for magic there is enslaved, and thus – fights back, draining the life out of the users to the bone. Legends say there was once Black London too, but people don’t speak of such nasty things in good company.

Of course, being one of the rare creatures who can travel among Londons is not the only talent Kell has. He’s a great damn smuggler too, taking little trinkets between the worlds, under the nose of the law. Sometimes just because it’s fun. Other times because it pays off, thou how is a heavy question: what do you need, belonging to royal family, with crown prince loving you as his own brother? And another time – just because he wanted to do something good to the desperate. On one such expedition Kell finds himself with an artifact that by all means, should not exist. The artifact creates magic, where magic shouldn’t be, as in – those who have no talent for it – suddenly can create like they were born into it. Worst of all, the inscription on the artifact is written in the language Kell knows for a fact was used so freely only in Black London. No, wait, that’s not the worst. The worst is that he notices it too late.

Oh, this was so amazing. Delilah is amazing, the most wonderful woman I have ever read about. Kell is fantastic, such a bad-ass with so little understanding of how bad-ass he is. No “fell off my unicorn due to how gorgeous you are” shit, they’re imperfect, usually dirty like chimney-boys, and so on. No “I wanted to travel, but I’ll stay here, because you’re here” bullshit either. The pace was perfect, build up – great, tension – even more so. 5 out of 5, this is definitely among my favorites of all time now.

 

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anne Rice – Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis [12]

PrinceLestatAndTheRealmsOfAtlantisAnd so, with “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles 12; ISBN 0385353790; 451p.; Goodreads) I am fully caught up on the Chronicles. I can now calmly (or not so calmly) await for book 13th, for Anne always ends her books with a possibility of continuation, I feel. This book could conclude the Chronicles thou, for it gave full-on origin of how the spirit that made first vampires came into existence in the first place, and, if I’m honest, at times it felt more like a sci-fi book than anything else.

Vampire Core currently lives in Lestat and seems to be content about it. They bicker inside his head, and Lestat, being such a brat, is enjoying every bit of it. I was amused to learn he liked being called a slut. You live and you learn. But not all is jolly and happy. Not everyone is content with their lives being in Lestat’s hands, nor are they all enjoying him being the Prince of the vampires. And some are beyond mere wishing things change.

Somewhere in the dark basement of one of these opposing vampires lies a creature that looks just like a human being, but is not. Starved to death he did not die. Drained of all blood he merely lost consciousness, and then his body regenerated the blood in full. No vampire can miss the benefit such a creature poses to all their kind: innocent, never dying, yet not of their own kind. In one such attempt to drain the creature to death, Lestat’s current greatest enemy finds himself staring into the secret that are way beyond his own comprehension. Who are these beings? Where did they come from? And why do they chant the name vampires know so very well? The name of the Core.

This book felt very different from all the previous ones. And hey, Lestat even remembered Quinn, and there’s a sort of a hint that he might come in next book to join his court. In a sense it was much better than all the previous ones, but there’s so very much repetition, and the talks are so long for no reason or use. Still, I’m happy I got through all this. And I’m happy that Anne wrote more on this too. I’ll give it a very strong 4 out of 5, just a hair away from a five. And will very eagerly await, maybe there’ll be another book, maybe Quinn will be back, and maybe Anne didn’t forget what my beloved alter-ego was like, and why I took his identity with me.

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Stalking Darkness

StalkingDarknessWhile I considered Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewellyn to be my slow night reads, I abandoned sleep until 4am just to finish “Stalking Darkness” (Nightrunner 2; ISBN 0553575430; 501p.; Goodreads). There’s just something about these books that feels familiar. Reminds me of those summers I spent reading through the night with a flashlight, all those fantasy books, Innkeeper’s Song, Swords against deviltry, Hobbit. And if the previous book got to you, well, this one will do so even more.

Politics are done, no one needs Seregil’s head anymore, but that seems to be the only piece of good news. No rest for the wicked, somewhere out there dark magic webs are being woven, and tendrils already reach his beloved city. It all started with small, simple, even insignificant things, like sudden renovations in the sewer system. A passing shadow in an alley there or here. Odd feeling in the dark. And then deaths. Seregil’s underground has been well rooted, pushing him out in the open to gather the information…

Further adventures were a test of morals, for attempts to break them were made in earnest. Brutal murder, destruction, carnage, and kidnapping set the four, Micum, Seregil, Alec, and Nysander apart, and the Darkness is prepared to break their wills before they’re given to the Eater of Death, where they’ll be set part of this nightmare for the rest of the eternity.

It’s a long book, as I said. The start of it is so different from the middle, and the end, that I can’t describe it in earnest without spoiling the living hell out of it. What I can say is that while slow paced it was intense, and had the edge-of-the-chair moments by the handful. Descriptions are down a notch, so it’s easier to read. But be aware, it is a mistake to think this is a light goodnight read. It’s too hard to put it aside for it to be a good bed companion. I’ll give it a full 5 out of 5 this time. And on to the next one!

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, High Fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne Rice – Prince Lestat [11]

princelestatukI remember the excitement when we heard Anne was writing another book on Vampire Chronicles. And what an odd feeling it was to pick up “Prince Lestat” by Anne Rice (Vampire Chronicles 11; ISBN 0307962520; 458p.; Goodreads), knowing it’s as good as a miracle for this book to exist. And how upset I was that Quinn Blackwood, the guy Lestat spent previous two books, was as good as nonexistant. Nobody remembered him, nobody spoke of him. The most obscure vampires got their scene time instead. Pardon me if I’m already bored of half the fellas around. Just, dammit.

A voice with no body, physical or aetherial, is whispering to all the vampires it can reach, seducing them into committing the Second Burning (first one was when Akasha walked into the sun after being abused by her priests, she didn’t die, but due to the link vampires share – anyone below her were dying out, starting with the weakest and the youngest). And as a wave of fires rolls across the world, burning those unworthy, young and old, vampires who never deserved the Gift, no one feels safe anymore. It seemed natural, that in this moment of terror, they all turned to Lestat. After all, he switched bodies, wrote chronicles, drank from Akasha and gods themselves, escaped the devil, and did hell knows what else.

The voice, the source, the idea behind this is brilliant. I’m torn about the political situation here thou, for at times it felt like watching that Simpsons episode on new Star Wars episodes, where 2 hrs in they were still talking import/export and economics. The book ends up being made half of good hooking action, and half of monologues, and discussions on how vampires will from here on make their laws. In a sense I like it, because I grew up on Vampire the Masquerade, where rules and laws mean your survival. In a sense it was just a bit funny: you guys took THIS long to realize you need some kind of order? I’ll give this book 4.5 out of 5, a worthy read, even if I did get mighty annoyed by the lack of Quinn…

Categories: 5-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anne Rice – Vittorio, the Vampire

2And so I continue with Anne Rice, this time it being “Vittorio, the Vampire” (New Tales of Vampires 2; ISBN 0099271095; 339p.; Goodreads) book. Which is apparently the last book in New Tales of Vampires, and Vittorio himself is not someone I recognized at all, thus it felt fresh. Maybe that’s the reason I still like Blackwood Farm the best – Quinn is no longer on the radar after the two books that revolved around him, more or less. The Romeo and Juliet bits redeemed the less interesting stuff in this one, since, again, it just felt different from the already seemingly stamped books in the Chronicles.

Vittorio is a young Italian, writing his story, if I am not mistaken, on his own, without David’s beckoning or presence.

In the dark of the night came a tall dark stranger, demanding his father to pay what was due. His father, being filthy rich, refused with outrage, and soon whole household found themselves on alert, barricading the home, hiding. For the dark figure would not be refused, and no gold or pleas would persuade him. It’s blood he’s after, and he’ll have it.

The story spins around Vittorio as the sole survivor of his family, out for vengeance and vampire blood. Tricked and toyed with he looks like one of those Young Adult book characters, a young warrior with no more than a sword against the darkest forces pits of hell could produce. How funny and delightful it seemed that he’d spare a vampire, believing her fair, fragile, and incapable of intended malice. I must give this book 4 out of 5, and then I’d give a whole five if not some hiccups that I hate in every book. This one’s good tho, in its own way.

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Gothic Books, Nosferatu Books, Vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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