Historical Books

K.J. Charles – A Case of Possession [2]

18074870I am the worst, I know. I finished the book probably a week ago, but here I am, only now making up some kind of a review. K.J. Charles book “A Case of Possession” (A Charm of Magpies 2; ASIN B00D89QGW8; 159p.; Goodreads) is the second book in the trilogy, and I must admit, I am more than half way done with the third by now. And not that this book wasn’t as good or anything, it’s just… I get lost in comparisons, I guess.

Peter S. Beagle taught me that there’s no force more dangerous, than a magician who found no peace in death. When giant rats start flooding London, coming from no where, going hell knows where, killing mercilessly – Crane finds himself able to help his magical lover, and point him in the right direction. No matter how modern you are, how deeply you abandoned old beliefs, and how much you don’t care for superstitions, if a Shaman dies in your care, you’d want to make sure they found peace, just as a precaution… For giant rats is a myth told in Shanghai, that is proving to be very real, and very hard to stop back here, in London. And if that didn’t get under the Lord Vaudrey’s skin, the next best thing over fluence is coming when the magic in his blood is noticed by the very worst…

This book was pretty intense, I’d say. Blood and gore is just as present here, as it was in the previous one, but add the unappealing idea of dog-sized rats inflicting the gut-tearing. It’s not too badly detailed, I’d not dare call this a horror story, but author really knows how to dash the dark colors into the lines. I’ll give this one another 4 out of 5, for while better than the previous one, it still fell short… And maybe that’s the problem: it was short.

To those curious, yes, there’s smut here, fairly rough but absolutely consensual sex between two similar age guys with severe size difference (Stephan is short and red-haired, while Crane is tall and blond). Njoy the ride!

 

Categories: 4-5, Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Historical Books, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

K.J. Charles – The Magpie Lord [1]

17730586Ah, what a wonderful transition from a fantasy world with realistic history similar to our own, that of Captive Prince, to this. Our very England, filled with warlocks and what not. “The Magpie Lord” by K.J. Charles (ISBN 1619215764; 200p.; Goodreads) was yet another recommendation I took from Bonnie Burton (not personally, but the book club she’s in, and her goodreads are good sources for curious, open minded, and ever searching people), and once again, it did not disappoint.

Lucien Crane Vaudrey was the bad and rotten son in his father’s eyes. Thus, when this became possible, he packed the boy off to Shanghai, informing his servant that there’d be no tears if the lad fell over board during the journey. It says nothing good of Lucien, especially knowing what the rest of his family is like. Folk already learned to avoid the Vaudreys, and expect no justice from them. In fact, they’re realizing they might have to take justice in their own hands, for otherwise innocent blood will continue to flow as the father and son pleased. We could imagine here a mob, pitchforks and torches. But why the bother when there’s a witch at hand?…

After whole Vaudrey family took their own lives due to sudden madness, Lucien has no other choice but to return and take care of all the legal matters one has to take care of when one is the new Earl. He didn’t plan to stay long in the country, and at best – stay in London, up until first nuisance, attempt to arrest him for his orientation (being gay was illegal in those times, and thus the reason he was exiled too), or such, then he’s off, back home, to Shanghai. It’s just that the madness that pushed his father and brother to suicide seems to be lurking in his blood too. Dark spots in his memory, and vision, voices. Getting back to your own mind, with your servant trying to take away the knife that you didn’t use all that delicately in attempt to carve your life out of yourself. This can’t continue. Either he’ll go mad, or… Merrick, with his lord’s blessing, went out to the darkest places of London in hopes to find help that would’ve been at hand in an open-minded Shanghai. He needs a Shaman. After all, all England cannot hate Vaudreys, can they?

I love how they used magic, how magicians a.k.a. practitioners are like vampires here: they need energy, and can very well take it from a person, even if it means taking their life in the process. I loved how Merrick reminded me lightly of Sebastian Michaelis (Kuroshitsuji), allowing little slips in courtesy towards his master now and then. And I loved how it all reminded me of the intense adventures I had with Bartimaeus, where walls shook from the power of those entities summoned. Oh, and not to forget, I loved how “prince charming” was a tiny, thin, redheaded man with crooked teeth. 5 out of 5, no less.

Categories: Books, Books of Occult, Books of Supernaturals, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alternative History

Alternative_history_books

Alternative History genre is among my favorites. It is just that: one or several historical facts are completely or partially changed in the book, and whole world is then perceived via the prism of that possibility. Steampunk genre is most commonly known in Alternative History genre, since it operates on alternative possibility of Steam Engine being the one that got developed wider and longer than it actually was.

My most favorite examples of Alternative History could also be called Alternative Reality, since fantasy enters (fantasy as in supernatural, not as in mere fiction). One being Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. We all have read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, haven’t we? Or at least seen the dozens of movies that we can choose from without even looking for them (and if you do look, there’s hundreds awaiting). There the brave men ganged up and killed our Father in Darkness (in Anno Dracula that is how your sire is called, Mother/Father in Darkness). Yet in Newman’s story that is not what happened at all. Some meager little men against someone like the Impaler? Ha. He rips them to shreds, in some cases even literally, and slowly but surely brings vampires into the daylight. Not literally. History proceeds as is, but vampires are a great part of it. Say, Bloody Red Baron tells the famous Red Baron story, yet here we not only have some epic pilots doing their jobs, heck, we have giant blood thirsty bat-dragons.

The other example is Bartimaeus sequence by Jonathan Stroud. Empire of Great Britain has never crumbled, but just went on, and on, and on, becoming the greatest power since Roman Empire if you please. History ceases here, since this is not the main genre of the book, and yet it fits the frame.

There are, of course, many more, since I told you what Steampunk is at the base, so even our very own Tapinas with his Wolf Hour is guilty of being Alternative History writer. It’s a genre for all those who overthink things, I think (see what I did here?), since it allows us a wider view of what could’ve been, and how that would’ve changed our lives as we know it.

Categories: Alternative History Books, Books, Books of Dracula, Books of Supernaturals, Fantasy Books, Gothic Books, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ruta Sepetys – Salt to the Sea

25614492How wonderful it is when someone born so far away, living a life across the world, still looks back with care to where their roots are. Be it the World as a whole, nature as mother, or merely a country full of people who know exactly what your name is, and means. “Salt to the Sea” (ISBN 0399160302; 391p.; Goodreads) is the second book by Ruta Sepetys that I have read, and it confirms it: she’s wonderful.

The story is one of fleeing refugees, trapped among the two sides at war, two sides with little to no care of who dies, or who lives, as long as they can secure victory, or avoid defeat. Joana Vilkas is a nurse with consciousness weighted by the fate of her cousin, Lina Vilkas, from the previous book “Between Shades of Gray“. Lina was taken to Siberia, while Joana is running for a ship that’d take her to Germany, where she’d be reunited with her mother. Being a compassionate nurse she soon finds herself in a larger group of people. A wandering boy who just came out of the forest one day, claiming his granny never woke up. An old man, shoemaker, full of hopes, and plenty of positivism to share and spare. A giant woman they call Sorry Eva, for her mind lacks the filter when it comes to saying awful, brutal, and just disrespectful¬†things, adding “sorry” before or after. A blind girl with great sense of people around her. And the two they will soon meet.

Florian is running for his life, shrapnel in his body making it ever harder. He needed to stop, and so the underground bunker he stumbled upon seemed heaven-sent. Inside he didn’t lose a moment assessing the situation. A rowdy Russian soldier. A girl in pink hat, probably not older than his own sister, passed out in terror. Girl, Emilia, woke up to find a corpse staring at her, and her knight, her savior, who shot him. Lifting her own fears, and secrets up, she follows him, as the last good man on Earth.

Their destination is one: get on a ship to Germany. Russians are not only already surrounding the refugees, but are pressing in too. It was wonderful to see what broke people to put their darkest secrets into the hands of others. How among dread, and terror, hope in, and for humanity was born. I give it a firm 5 out of 5 for I could not possibly give it less.

Categories: 5-5, Books, Historical Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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