The Best, The Worst, The Overrated from Lughnasadh to Samhain!
- The Looting Machine by Tom Burgis: A great book on responsible and irresponsible consumerism, where it leads, and what can we do about it. Because we absolutely can, and it doesn’t mean you may not buy the thing you want but don’t need per say.
Nonfiction | Review
- The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles: A book that reminded me how great the adventure genre is. My next year’s goal is to find more adventure books.
Adventure | Review
- Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky: A book on what happens after the great evil is vanquished, the same one for which many nations united and tossed their lot into same kettle. What happens when you need to divide things back up, and go home?
High Fantasy | Review
- The Borgias by G.J. Meyer: A great book on a very prominent family. How did they came to be what they are, what made their name so notorious and known, and how it all went down. Reminded me of teenage years where I’d seek out information on this family on my own. Or the good old Assassin’s Creed games with Ezio.
History | Review
- The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson: An unbelievable net cast over a whole world, a very complex, but superbly interesting high fantasy. It’s colossal and amazing.
High Fantasy | Review
- American Kingpin by Nick Bilton: A very fine book on Dark Web and the most notorious market place in it, the Silkroad. And the man who created it.
Nonfiction | Review
- Dead Jack by James Aquilone: James Aquilone was a discovery for me, and I will sure read more of their books. Dead Jack was a great dark humor book, just the way I like my dead rotting skeleton private eyes.
Dark Humor | Review
- The Last Hellfighter by Thomas S. Flowers: A poor retelling of Dracula. Dull and uneventful.
Horror | Review
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa: A world where vampires rule, where vampirism gift has mutated to create more mindless monsters than actual vampires, and where humans are like cattle. But cattle with hope and dreams of utopia, one ruled by co… by humans.
Vampires | Review
- Midnight in a Perfect World by Ambrose Ibsen: A tale of a Lovecraftian thing handing humans a recipe for a drug that makes them fall into its world, where it can build a ladder out of its prison. Humans are great mortar in the hands of the gods. Poorly executed idea.
Horror | Review
- The Mark by Lee Mountford: Another great poorly written tale of a… Well, that’s the best part, so I won’t spoil. But in general, the book is full of unnatural dialogues, strange shortage of logic, and very one-way plot.
Horror | Review
- The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch: It’s hard for me to accept this is an actual demon attack, where a child clearly is fighting to supress memories of actual assaults, molestation, and now, as a teenager, snorts cocaine all the time. She’s messed up, by human beings. What was the demon for even?
Horror; Mystery | Review
Categories: 1-5, 5-5, book facts, Books: Everything
Tags: Best Books, book, book blog, book blogger, book review, book reviewer, books, overrated books, Worst Books
From Beltane to Lughnasadh, the best, the worst, and the overrated!
05 – 07
- Vita Nostra by Marina Dyachenko: A masterful book too big to describe, to review. If you’ve ever read Labyrinths of Echo by Max Fray, this is kinda like that, but even more. It’s very interesting, and very complex in the very best way.
- Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I have no doubt these books will be, if they’re not yet, classics of the genre. It’s an amazing, dark detective, full of plots, characters, and a core line. It is dark though, like really dark.
- Heroes by Stephen Fry: You can’t go wrong with Stephen Fry. This book wittily retells the tales of heroes and how they, so to speak, cleaned the world of the ancient monsters, and made way for, well, us.
- The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles: Oh how I missed adventure! The swords classing in the night! Shots fired in the dark! Frantic horse rides through thick forests! A marvelous book I will so absolutely read again.
- Fairest by Marissa Meyer: I have no idea how Marissa Meyer is so good at writing villains, but she is, and it’s wow, it’s just wow.
- Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky: A.T. is now one of my favorite authors. This book reminded me how much I love the classical high fantasy. I think it might be good to battle reading slum too, if the size doesn’t intimidate you during those nasty dark days.
- I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter: I’ve no clue how one can mess up such plump tale as that of Jack the Ripper, but here it is.
- The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry: This book made me realize I don’t like spy stories. A book mostly about nothing.
- The Last Hellfighter by Thomas S. Flowers: Much like Ripper, this book had a dusting of a fatty tale it merely took a dusting from, the Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But author chose the safe way. Vampires and “safe way” don’t mix well.
- We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia: I expected so much. And it had so much potential. Instead it’s a dry choking hazard. But, not gonna lie, I’m kinda curious if the next one could be better.
I intend to write one entry on worst, and one on best during every month of the pagan calendar fest that marks, say, a start or peak or end of a season. This month we had Imbolc, so here goes what best and worst we had before February struck:
- “Plague of the Dead” by Z.A. Recht: With such a hellish sounding name I expected nothing less than demonic horror of reanimated dead. But all I got were jumping and running from one spot to another, sweeping zombies away, off your boat, off your car, off your road. A lot of intrigues, and very little of actual horror.
Goodreads | My Review
- “Blood Communion” by Anne Rice: This is 13th book in Vampire Chronicles and, I think, third one in Tales of Prince Lestat? I didn’t like any of the new ones all that much, some less than others. This one I picked up with hopes to see Tarquin Blackwood again, because Lestat was calling out to him in the previous one. Sadly, he forgot all about it yet again. Instead we got mister-badass bam-smack-dead evil guys that terrorized whole vampire society. And a lot of dungarees. Yes.
Goodreads | My Review
Last year, including comics, I’ve read a little over a hundred books. Some were really great, some were really bad. So let’s move on with the bad.
Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion. It’s one of those instances where we can indeed disagree, and still both be right (unlike some other instances). Let’s read what we want to read!
The Worst of Dracula
- “Princess Dracula” by John Patrick Kennedy: You know how you sometimes hear such things as “this person can’t write those people” (“can’t” as in “unable”, not as in “not allowed”), be it white person trying to write a black person and overthinking it, or, as in this case, a man writing a woman. Well, for the first time, I think, I’m witnessing an example of someone having no damn clue, and merely imagining what they’d like to see in this yucky erotic sorta way that is mighty unpleasant to read. E.g. heroine spends maybe two thirds of the books in cold weather, in the forest, stark naked, reminding you of that now and again. No concept of “we need to do something about this problem“, no, what for, bare ass on pine needle bed, fun!
- “Dracul” by Dacre Stoker: This book got into the Best list too. The reason why it’s here is because it was one stretched “Historian” by Kostova remake, with Stoker instead of that young woman from Kostova’s book. It’s good if you like that kind of clue-searching for vampires 10 years after the fact that you MIGHT have seen one. But this is not my cup of tea, no.
- “Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard” by Kim Newman: If you think Anne Rice writes high and mighty, describing everything in unbelievable detail, especially things that don’t matter one bit, well… Here’s Kim Newman for ya. He’ll tell you all about it, explain the history of it, tell you a side story on it, explain you the mechanics, and then mention maybe thirty names, just so you’d know how well read he is in the topic he’s writing a fantasy novel about. The only reason I will absolutely continue is because if you’ve not died of old age, or grew a beard like Geralt in The Witcher 3 game, after a too long dialogue – it’s good stories he tells.
The Worst of Fantasy
- “Cruel Prince” by Holly Black: I positively hate “frienemies” concept. He treats her like dirt, trash, abuses her. She is afraid of him, hates his guts. Then bump, they run into one another, and she can’t help but to like him oh so much. In my humble opinion this book is why people look down on YA genre. It sends a very shitty message to young women and girls out there. A pig is a pig, being hurt by someone is no excuse to treat someone else like trash. Nor the fact that everyone else does it, and expects it from you. There’s a word for people who change face in convenience, a word I won’t mention.
- “Bored of the Rings” by The Harvard Lampoon: A parody. I’ve read many parodies. This is merely an immature joke. Not even that, it’s simply immature, childish, and not funny. Changing letters in words to make them dirty words is not good writing.
- “Wolfsong” by TJ Klune: First of all, writing style changed a chapter or two in, and left me very confused. Admittedly it changed for the better, but what the hell anyway? Second of all, so imagine Twilight, that part where Edward leaves Bella, and her life is over, so you just watch her sit in her room, stare out the window. This is that. Packmaster leaves, and he waits. And waits. And waits. Packmaster decided, of course, that it’s best and safest to NOT contact the man you love and went out to protect, because he’s hunted by every bad guy out there, because he’s just that special. You’d KNOW if he die, so no reason to make sure you’d be warned of danger before that. And the guy just waits, and waits. And waits.
The Worst of Vampires
- “Parasite Life” by Victoria Dalpe: Let’s call things by their names. This girl here tells you what a seductress she is, and how that’s likely due to her vampire nature. While in truth she forced herself onto her friend, then guilt tripped her into helping her, and continued to guilt trip her into feeding her blood. This girl is a predator, a rapist, and I don’t know if author wanted us to be disgusted by her, or is it her way of thinking about these sort of things, but I do hope the latter is not the case. Either way, I don’t want any more.
The Worst of Misc.
- “Call me by Your Name” by Andre Aciman: I refused to review this book. It got real popular, real fast, and played well on naive romance seekers who love to love. In truth, the main character is too young, and emotionally very unprepared for the things that are happening. It starts with such nasty scenes as with him sleeping, and this student guy, the main love interest, coming in to what? Watch him sleep? The boy then imagines, hopes, prays that he’d come closer and do things with him, while he’d pretend he’s still asleep. It continues into things actually happening later on, luckily in less rape-y fashion. Still, hero right away regrets what happened, and runs into the arms of a girl who had feelings for him. After having sex with her, he then once again regrets it, and runs back to the guy. All in all, this is a love ladder. Everybody loves the ones who don’t love them, and those love interests use them. I understand why some people choose to only see the best parts of this book, but I cannot. I read a lot of LGBT romances, a lot of homoerotica, and not one book has made me sneer as this one did.
- “Welcome to the Night Vale” by Joseph Fink: This is merely not my cup of tea. Those who loved the podcast will likely love the book. To me, this was bitterly annoying. Here’s a thing. It’s completely normal. It’s not really normal to you, but it’s completely normal to them. So let me just point at it six times, and tell you how normal it is.
- “Vortena” by Neven Iliev: How about we stop writing of heroine rape in attempts to develop her character, hm? This book is very much a joke, a parody, it’s funny, it’s dirty, and dirtily funny. And then one of the heroines gets raped, and becomes suicidal. I’m sorry, but that left a bitter taste for the rest of the book for me. The only reason I intend to continue with the series is because the being apologized as genuinely as he could, and the woman accepted it, gaining more than she lost. It is not my place to tell a survivor whom to forgive, so I’ll accept this, even if I don’t feel like it was right, by any means.