Diversity: C.S. Pacat – Green but for a Season | Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5

31814812Most of you don’t even know that I recently re-read the Captive Prince trilogy. Well, I did, and then I remembered there’s short stories I didn’t yet get to! “Green but for a Season” by C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5; ISBN B01LB1H41E; 24p.; Goodreads) is the first one, held between the second and third books, and concentrates on Laurent’s captain, Jord.

Jord is a lowborn nobody with a well honed fighting skill. It was because of this skill that prince Auguste has noticed him back in the day, and took him into the ranks. Later, as Auguste fell in the battlefield, and red regent flags covered up the blue ones of the prince, soldiers and guards either took up the red, or were put away. Lowborns were the least wanted. So here he was, trying to make due for years. Up until prince Laurent grew a little, and realized what game his uncle was playing. Seeing the dangers, he decided to form his own Prince’s Guard, with gold starburst on blue, not red, and for that he wanted only the best of the best. And his brother surely knew who the best were. So, again, here he was, Jord, trying to make due, as Laurent called upon him, promised him this will be even harder than it was with Auguste, and asking if he’ll take up arms for him, the way he did for his brother. Jord didn’t need to be asked twice.

Today Jord is a captain, proud to serve prince Laurent, who proved true to his word. The boy protected them, and in return, they were ready to kill and die protecting him. Still, a captain’s rank to a nobody seemed a dream beyond wildest of hopes. Especially in a situation where an actual high-born nobleman was present. A nobleman who was forced to serve the prince, as the youngest son, with least prospects, other than a good betting chip, in case Regent gets fooled. And maybe, just maybe Laurent knew it before Jord did.

This was a very fine read, shining light on many things at last. 5 out of 5, not even a half point less.

Advertisements
Categories: 5-5, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen King – The Gunslinger | The Dark Tower 1

43615I bought this book so very long ago. Yet came about to reading it only when they released the series. I’ve a love-hate relationship with King’s books. I like his stories, but don’t much enjoy the books themselves. Adaptations are often good, but then… Anyway, I’ve finally read “The Gunslinger” by Stephen King (The Dark Tower 1; ISBN 0452284694; 231p.; Goodreads), the first book in The Dark Tower series. And I really didn’t like as much as I hoped I would.

This is a very slow story of a Gunslinger, the last of his kind, chasing a man in black in a world that’s tearing itself apart, across the desert beyond which the world, according to some, simply ends. But that is where he must go, for he must find the Dark Tower, and the man in black is likely the key to getting there, getting inside. All the while he’s expecting a trap from the man in black, for he has seen it before. He left villages obliterated due to those traps, due to people attacking him with firm belief that he is the very devil incarnate. He saw it in minds of others, even in people he liked. Like the woman who was given a keyword that would’ve opened the memory of her risen from the dead friend. He would’ve then told her what’s out there, beyond, and it would’ve driven her mad. Much like the idea of a trap is driving the Gunslinger mad.

The Dark Tower itself is a nexus of everything. Time, possibilities, but most importantly – size. What’s behind the door, behind the sun, the galaxy, all of the galaxies, what’s there, at the far end, where nothing is anymore? The idea of it, the want to see, to know, is driving Gunslinger through this scorched place of madness and delusions.

The idea would’ve been of epic scale, if I’ve not read similar philosophies many times before. This embodiment of everything, across the dunes, and over the train tracks, built by gods, for who else could’ve done that? Demons in the sand, in the bones, in the machinery that no longer goes. If none of that sounds familiar, then you might just like this book. It is worth your love, it is a classic for a reason. It’s just not my cup of tea. 2 out of 5, but, yes, there’s a but. I’m not ready to quit just yet, so I’ll be reading the next one.

Categories: 2-5, Apocaliptic Books, Books: Dystopian, Books: Fantasy, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christina Henry – Alice | The Chronicles of Alice 1

23398606I can’t recall how I stumbled upon this book. I don’t think I had it in my to-read list. And while I like Alice in Wonderland re-tellings, especially the scary ones, I don’t go out of my way searching for them. But since I did read it, let’s talk about it. “Alice” by Christina Henry (The Chronicles of Alice 1; ISBN 0425266796; 291p.; Goodreads) was pretty good, and pretty scary. My only regret is that I didn’t put my hands on it in October. But hey, Nosferatu has a blog called Night Mode Reading for a horror reason, so maybe I shouldn’t complain?

For so many years now Alice lived in asylum, daily drugged, and haunted by the fear that the Rabbit was real. The only other person she gets to talk to is the man next door, as insane a creature as she herself. Maybe even more so. She was merely deluded and he actually chopped people up. But even with his oddities, he’s kind to her, and Alice is glad to have a friend. Even if that friend scares her with creepy stories of some dark creature living in the bowels of mental institution, waking…

Alice and Hatcher are likely the only people who survived the fire of the asylum. They’re definitely the only people who witnessed Jabberwocky rise from the flames. And thus it falls on them to stop the creature most would never even believe to exist. Luckily, as time goes by, the drugs they were fed with for all these years begin to wear off, releasing the suppressed memories. Yet whether they won’t break them mad again is a thing to be seen. After all, they’re going back to the very people who drove them mad with torture and horrors. They’re going to the Old City depths, to meet the Bosses of the gangs that rule this cursed place, for if anyone has anything that could stop the Jabberwocky, it will be them.

There’s a lot of blood and gore in this story. It’s dark, and at times – terrifying. But pretty good as stories on Alice go. I did enjoy it, and I can easily give it a 4 out of 5!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Horror, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A.R. Torre – If You Dare | Deanna Madden 3

+ifyoudareWow. I’ve finished Deanna Madden trilogy with the “If You Dare” book by A.R. Torre (Deanna Madden 3; ISBN 0316386693; 368p.; Goodreads), and I did not expect that. For one, the book mostly jumped off the regular topic, as one might expect in an evolving and ending story. For two, I think everyone expected a different ending!

Deanna blacks out just to wake up with a broken nose, a dark spot in her memory, and vague sense of dread. There’s a new really annoying woman living in the neighborhood. Her junkie helper is getting bold. Her boyfriend doesn’t pick up his phone, and the last she remembers seeing him, was the night before her nose got broken. After some digging in her mind, she is pretty sure, he was the one to do it too. To calm her down. But why was she so aggravated? Did she try to kill him? Did her madness overpower her? To the point where her boyfriend knocked her out, and ran for it?

Police shows up at Deanna’s door, armed with questions and prepared to search through her stuff. Deanna was pretty sure she cleaned all there was to clean when she had to, but here they are. In her car. With her knife. And blood on it. And so Deanna is arrested for attempted murder of her boyfriend.

This was one fine detective line, leading me on well to the end. I enjoyed this book greatly, and wish it were series, rather than just a trilogy! 5 out of 5, couldn’t give it less if I wanted to.

Categories: 5-5, About Msg2TheMing, Crime Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stephen Seitz – Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula

+sherlockholmesYes, it seems I’m pretty good with October spooky reads, but it’s an accident, mostly. “Sherlock Holmes and the Plague of Dracula” by Stephen Seitz (ISBN 1780921705; 204p.; Goodreads), as you might guess from that one word in the title, is not an accident tho. Sadly, it wasn’t really any good, so I can’t give myself any credit for this choice…

When Jonathan Harker disappears in Romania, with only a couple of cryptic letters to account for his final days, miss Mina Murray comes to Sherlock Holmes for help. Believing the worst, Sherlock and John Watson leave for Transylvania, in search of this suspicious count Dracula, and likely – Harker’s body. What they find instead is far more disturbing. A village bound in terror and superstitions, children disappearing, and no other than three vampire brides of Dracula roaming the castle. Is it all smoke, mirrors, and drugs, or can this possibly be real?

Soon after their return to England, mostly empty-handed, friends find out that the mysterious count and his crates of dirt are here too. Not only is count working with the criminal mastermind, he seems to be well able to put others under his vampiric spell too. As we know from Bram Stoker’s account, Dracula took the life of miss Lucy. What we didn’t know is that he was preying on Watson’s wife Mary also!

This book has a lot of nothing. Dracula appears, threatens, and disappears after Sherlock swears to get off his back. Watson spends his time at work, mourning his friends, and pondering vampirism, with nothing happening around. Plague of vampires, terror of Dracula? Nope, none of that. 2 out 5, I can’t give it more.

Categories: 2-5, Books of Supernaturals, Books: Dracula, Crime Books, Nosferatu Books, vampires | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Shards of Time | Nightrunner 7

+shardsoftimeDammit! “Shards of Time” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 7; ISBN 0345522311; 409p.; Goodreads) is the last book in Nightrunner series, so it ended, I’m done, dammit. And this one was so interesting too, with all the prophesies coming to a close. I just kinda already missed Beka, due to her being indisposed in a good way. But all the rest was great!

Due to all they’ve done, Alec and Seregil get a thanks in lands and titles. They gladly accept the land with the manor, fully intending to make it a perfect little dignified clanhouse for the former fae slaves, who can then make a living on their own, using what these two can provide. But that isn’t the only perk of the land. Sadly, the other one is far less pleasant. Back in the day something terrible has happened here, leaving the place haunted by ghosts, disturbed, and unhappy with the new excavations happening in sight.

Long ago this land was ravaged by a powerful dyrmagnos, a worshiper of one god, Seriamaius, the Dead God. It fed on human lives, and was so powerful, that it took insane magic, and death of two greatest wizards to seal the being away. Now in death they guard that what they could not kill. But greedy humans are taking things from excavation sites. They break, they chip away, they ruin the seals… And so the darkness slowly seeps into their time, into their world. Deaths begin.

This was a wonderful, strong, and yet simple, homely, very natural end of an adventure. I truly loved how imperfect and human everyone was. How life went on, and changed. How there were actions, and consequences. I can give it a 5 out of 5, and a 4 out of 5 for whole series, due to a couple of weaker books. This was a beautiful story.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, high fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.R. Torre – “Do Not Disturb” | 2

+donotdisturbIt took me a book and a half to figure out that Deanna Madden trilogy has a pattern on victims in Deanna’s life. It really seems obvious now, so how I didn’t notice – I don’t know. Anyway, “Do Not Disturb” by A.R. Torre (Deanna Madden 2; ISBN B00R1NS5VK; 325p.; Goodreads) was a very good read, and I enjoyed it very much.

Deanna enjoys the little freedoms she gave herself due to newly found improvement on self control. Life’s getting better, it seems. She, her psychotic murderous self, has a boyfriend, bought a fancy new car, and crossed the street for a snickers bar, all without killing anyone. Only her doctor is honestly worried about all of this. In his opinion, her steps are too fast, and will result in slipping and killing. Here he and Deanna agree only on one thing: it is not her who might be in danger, it is the people around her.

After long years in jail he’s finally free. Only a few more months of house arrest, and he can return to his life fully. Life of money, power, respect, women. To pass the time he seeks women online for the time being, until he stumbles upon a cam-girl site, where girls engage with you via their web cams. And there she is, that one, beautiful, with defiance in her eyes. There was something wrong there from the moment he asked her what can he make her do. Just a little bit later she actually made him ask for things nicely. She made him ask. And then, when he asked to meet her in real life, offering her plenty of money for it too, she dares to outright block him! Ah, but that’s fine. All he needs is someone skilled with computers, someone who can give him her real address. And then he’ll teach her respect. They all learn under his breaking hands. Deanna Madden is no exception.

This was one hell of a ride. The story is strong, and interesting to follow. I enjoyed it far more than the first book, and hey, I loved that one too. So here’s a 5 out of 5, well deserved.

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

Kerri Maniscalco “Hunting Prince Dracula” | 2

+huntingprincedraculaI really waited for the “Hunting Prince Dracula” by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack The Ripper 2; ISBN 031655166X; 434p.; Goodreads), for obvious reasons. And while the book was pretty good, and really good as murder detectives in this time period go (the time of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, all loose on England), I’m still a little disappointed. For all the wrong reasons too. For as I said, the book is great. But I missed for Dracula around. It was obvious from the first book that there won’t be no threading the supernatural paths, so what the heck did I expect?

Audrey Rose comes to Romania to study forensic medicine in one of the old Dracula castles. Yet from the moment she sets foot on Romanian soil – strange things start to happen. From bones, to wolves, to strange people, to stranger deaths. There’s one dead, seemingly killed by a vampire. There’s another one, apparently killed by a vampire hunter. It didn’t take much digging for Audrey to find out that these dead people are of same bloodline Dracula was from (Basarabs, Danestis, Draculestis). So not only someone is purging the Dracula line, they’re trying to put a superstition, myth into the kettle too! But what the hell for? Is someone trying to reclaim Dracula’s throne?

The castle hides more than just corpses for students to practice on. There’s plenty of locked doors, pitch black corridors, dangerous creatures lurking in the dark, and traps, due to which Audrey had few too many near-death experiences. Yet the answers are far more important than her fear, for her most beloved friend is a Dracula descendant too. She can’t allow innocents to get murdered like that, and she absolutely can’t allow her friend endangered like this either.

I like how Audrey is written. She’s smart, kind, funny, and yet flawed as a human being would be, making her someone I’d gladly be friends with. The story is good too, even if the bad guys turn out to be deluded idiots, for the lack of better wording. But I’ll take one point for my own personal reason of: that’s not the Dracula I wanted. Trust me when I say, these books are very fine October reads: 4 out of 5 from me.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Dracula, Crime Books, LGBTQ+ Books, Nosferatu Books | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s doing Inktober 2017?

Scan_20171012 (2)_BW

Leave me links! Because I only have one person I can follow for it right now!

Categories: Artwork, My Work | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Philip K. Dick – Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep?

7082This is, on mere technicality, a re-read. I was very little when I first put my hands on “Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner 1; ISBN 0345404475; 244p.; Goodreads), and recall it best in relation to other non-related sci-fi books on bounty hunters, profession I highly wanted to participate in back then. Yet the reading now was delicious. Funny how sci-fi has such a special spot in my heart, and yet I read so little of it.

Rick Decard is a bounty hunter with a license to kill, if you please. His job is to test suspicious individuals and, if they can’t pass the test, kill them, any means necessary, excluding human endangerment. Otherwise his mission would sort of lose the purpose. For he kills androids who pose as humans, androids who escaped Mars, usually, after killing humans there, and who are getting just too good to track down. There is only one test they always fail. Androids, unlike real humans, are too logical to have proper empathy. They can be trained to respond, but there’s only that much you can wiggle your way out of. Yet Rick’s job is no easier due to this. No empathy, for starters means they’ll kill people if they have to, even if “have to” is a mere distraction.

So the hunt begins. Decard follows in the tracks of androids his colleague has fallen to. Falsely gaining confidence after the first kill, he soon finds himself in far more trouble, than he ever thought possible. Worse, slowly but surely he is uncovering a far deeper rooted plan to survive that androids have cast in a web across his city, if not planet. They infiltrated places they had no rights to be in, right under their noses, every day at their ears. And newer models make even him question the morality of his work, hell, even his own humanity becomes questionable… Because, what if memories are false too?

I really like the characters in this book. Decard is not the only protagonist, but I excluded the other one purposefully. I also really love how androids have this delusion of what a head hunter for androids is: this unstoppable machine they’ll fall to if they as much as lock eyes with. If you like cyberpunk – you must read this. It’s a very easy to read and follow book, and I’ll gladly give it a 5 out of 5. And if anyone’s wondering about those sequels – someone else wrote it, I don’t feel like reading them right now.

Categories: 5-5, Books: Everything, Books: Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi Books | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.