A very sentimental ("heartwarming") story which is a great example for a good short story. Straight to the point, without unnecessary sidetracks, provA very sentimental ("heartwarming") story which is a great example for a good short story. Straight to the point, without unnecessary sidetracks, providing just only the details required to understand the characters and their actions. Loved the touching last sentence....more
Honestly, I had already lost hope and deeply mourned the vampire genre for being ruthlessly sucked dry of its last drop oI love, Love, LOVE this book!
Honestly, I had already lost hope and deeply mourned the vampire genre for being ruthlessly sucked dry of its last drop of originality. But just at this moment of deepest despair 'The Lesser Dead' seems to appear out of nowhere, bopping me in the head and yelling "Hey dumbass, here I am - still undead and kicking!".
The cover alone convinced me that I not only wanted to read this book, but that I absolutely needed to read it at once! Ok, that was not entirely possible, as I had to 1. order the book, 2. wait for delivery and 3. finish my previous book (I keep a very polite policy about that). An electronic copy (though I have to admit that would have been faster) was out of the question - just take a look at the cover and tell me you can hide such a beauty in the digital abyss of your e-reader! Imho, it requires to be displayed and admired in an appropriate way. Also, I was so damn sure I'd love this one that I wanted to show it off on a bookshelf. Yeah I know: silly me, but sometimes you just have to follow your gut feeling and sometimes you're even lucky.
At first glance, the summary and its tone reminded me of books like Bottomfeeder or Already Dead, but while I still feel they are somehow similar at the same time they are completely different. Hard to explain and probably a very personal experience.
Nevertheless, when I started reading the book it was like a revelation. I was sucked right in and devoured each sentence, each word, each letter like I had been starving for some time (and in a weird sense it was also true). While I did not immediately sympathize with the main character, Joey, he was gently growing on me despite of his arrogant attitude. On the other hand Cvetko, his undead and, as opposed to Joey, totally unimpressive friend, was very likeable - or so I thought.
The story is told from Joey's POV, which was a bit arduous at times, considering his penchant for the latest fashion and detailed description thereof. I enjoyed these passages as a light mocking of the long-winded descriptions I dreaded reading the Vampire Chronicles. Funny what associations the mind can create.
The plot itself was very original and mostly unpredictable, with several nasty twists that really got me by surprise. While the ending was on the verge of overdoing it, it managed to get it's act together at the last minute. The gore level reached a satisfying range with several interesting new scenarios. Not to mention the children - horror stories with children have an additional scary factor by default. The combination of childish innocence and incomparable cruelty always gives me the creeps.
So, if you like reading [vampire|horror|*] stories and are not squeamish about some blood splatters, this may just be the book you are looking for. Needless to say: highest recommendation!...more
Phantasmen ist nach Asche und Phönix ein weiterer Roman von Kai Meyer, der in der Bittersweet Reihe des Carlsen Verlages erschienen ist. Und wie schonPhantasmen ist nach Asche und Phönix ein weiterer Roman von Kai Meyer, der in der Bittersweet Reihe des Carlsen Verlages erschienen ist. Und wie schon sein Vorgänger spielt diese Geschichte in einer mehr oder weniger realen, dem Leser vertrauten Welt und ist nicht wie frühere Werke historisch oder extrem fantastisch aufgehängt. Und genau das ist auch hier mein Hauptkritikpunkt: mir fehlt die Magie, die überbordende Fantasie, die einen mit jeder Seite aufs Neue erstaunt und in ihren Bann zieht.
Natürlich ist es nicht verkehrt, neue Wege einzuschlagen und wie hier z.B. die Möglichkeiten einer postapokalyptischen, science-fiction-verbundenen Idee auszuloten. Aber leider konnte mich der Plot, der in grossen Teilen einem Road Movie glich und dessen Auflösung auch keinen wirklichen Höhepunkt darstellte, nicht wie erwartet fesseln. Viele Fragen blieben offen und das Potential der Ausgangssituation, dass die Welt auf einmal von Geistern bevölkert ist, blieb in meinen Augen unausgeschöpft. Ein durchaus lesenswerter und unterhaltsamer Roman, die ich persönlich aber zu den schwächeren Werken des Autors zähle....more
Apartment 7c is a revenge story about 82-year old Beth, who decides to put an end to her abusive neighbor...
I really enjoyed the straight and uncompliApartment 7c is a revenge story about 82-year old Beth, who decides to put an end to her abusive neighbor...
I really enjoyed the straight and uncomplicated style and yes, I did feel a sick satisfaction at the man's bloody punishment. Though the outcome was predictable, the way in which the revenge was exercised was not.
My only minor criticism is that the interspersed hints at Beth's emotional turmoil about her brutal actions were too short to make a convincing impression. They should have either been left out completely for the sake of a pure gorefest or explored in greater detail....more
As with every collection, I enjoyed some stories more than others:
1 - The one with a rusty spoon: while I anticipated the outcome, I was fascinated byAs with every collection, I enjoyed some stories more than others:
1 - The one with a rusty spoon: while I anticipated the outcome, I was fascinated by this depressing story about superstition and how a person's self-esteem can be affected by narrow-minded behavior. ****
2 - The one with a crow-nosed piano player: an average but for me unremarkable story which reminded me of X-factor episodes you are asked to guess if it is based on a true story or not. **
3 - The one with a starving wolf: nice twist on the well-known fairy tale. The poor animal. ***
4 - The one with two sets of fingernails: My least favorite, I just couldn't get into it. *
5 - The one with a pair of best friends: I was very impressed by this little bitter-sweet story, though I can't really say why. ****
6 - The one with a man made of ash: Weird and creepy, great story. ****
The flawless writing and overall convincing quality of the stories made this collection a worthwhile read.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review)...more
All stories in this collection are related to winter and christmas.
Snowmen: this was definitely my favourite story, as it evoked a sense of utter dreaAll stories in this collection are related to winter and christmas.
Snowmen: this was definitely my favourite story, as it evoked a sense of utter dread and despair as I have seldom experienced. 5 stars.
Doomsday Father Christmas: I could not relate to or sympathize with the musings of the sad old man, nor did I understand why he was protrayed as only a pretense of Santa instead of the real deal, which may have made a difference and increased his tragedy. 2 stars.
Black Static: ok, but not remarkable. 3 stars.
They Know: cold and creepy, this one send one chill after another down my spine. Well done. 4 stars.
Visitation Rights: with a surprising end some may find shocking, this story left me in a very melancholy gothic mood. 4 stars.
Overall, a very good collection of horror short stories to add some spice to the season....more
While it was ok to read and written in a professional way, I could not relate to the characters and didn't much care for the plot or its ending. JustWhile it was ok to read and written in a professional way, I could not relate to the characters and didn't much care for the plot or its ending. Just not my cup of tea I guess....more
Plague tells the story of a man who, after the outbreak of a zombie plague, has to face the changing first of his wife and then his daughters into minPlague tells the story of a man who, after the outbreak of a zombie plague, has to face the changing first of his wife and then his daughters into mindless flesh-craving creatures. It is told in diary form from the man's POV, and what I first noticed was the straightforward, matter-of-factly way he used.
It was amazing how the absence of any emotional expression could evoke such a deep sense of dread and despair. However, distancing himself from the events in such a way enabled the man to cope with the situation without breaking down. I did not agree with his final decision and would have acted differently, but I can understand it.
A very depressive but also impressive tale....more
This book completely took me by surprise and I love it! While the premise is really depressing (the female character is going to die sometime soon froThis book completely took me by surprise and I love it! While the premise is really depressing (the female character is going to die sometime soon from a brain aneurysm) and there are several other bad things happening, this book is anything but. Throughout the whole story, it managed to put a constant smile on my face. Sometimes it was only a small, shy smile, but more often than not it stretched into a broad grin. Can a book make you feel happy? This one definitely does! I've never experienced feeling so good just by reading a book. While desperately turning the (virtual) pages to find out what's happening next, at the same time I was hoping that by some magical trick there would always be a steady number of pages still ahead of me, making it never end.
While Kumquat may be categorized as a romantic comedy, it thankfully avoids any cheesy clichés. The main characters are no beauty models with homes out of magazines and their lives are anything but perfect. But it is exactly this awkward and slightly nerdy tenor of normalcy that enables the reader to relate to and fall in love with Todd and Amy and enjoy every moment of their being together as much as they do.
Pessimists may criticize that the positive attitude towards even the most unfortunate situation is completely unrealistic, and with all that happens throughout the book this rather should have been a drama. But I admire Todd's ability to cope with each rock (or, to try to fit with the book's theme, banana peel) fate throws in his way and Amy's general calm mood anyway. Of course Todd is upset with every loss he has to endure, but he always manages to get back on track and remember what's truly important: being together with Amy. OK, maybe some romance cliché after all, and you may need a tissue or two now.
I really do hope that Kumquat will get the attention it deserves and hopefully will become 'a major motion picture soon' - and I'd gladly join any fund raiser for the realization of Exit Red.
'The Broken' introduces us to a new character named Holt. We first meet him as a ranger returning runaway slaves to their merciless owner. Later on, H'The Broken' introduces us to a new character named Holt. We first meet him as a ranger returning runaway slaves to their merciless owner. Later on, Holt fights with the Confederates, but is betrayed and forced into slavery himself. Forced to fight against the invading undead, he manages to escape and later on joins a group of already well-known outcasts we met in previous installments. Together, they decide to stop the general who is responsible for the undead plague spreading through the chaos of war. While not everything is explained, more details about the origin of the zombie plague are revealed.
This was another action-packed and fast-paced adventure in the Red Dust series. However, the numerous changes that marked Holt's fate (ranger, soldier, slave, slave soldier, fugitive, ...) followed each other too fast, overloading the story with ideas. Either it should have been longer so the development of things could have been more elaborate, or the authors should have focused on a single event and summed up the rest as a short introductorily background. Reading this short story felt much longer than reading its predecessors, and I wonder whether this one would have better been put into a novella-length book.
I guess I said it somewhere in the past, but I would appreciate a detailed full-length novel for Red Dust sometime, and reading 'Broken' confirmed that the authors do have enough great ideas and potential to do so. ...more
Ein deutscher Mysteryroman!? Die Geschichte von Kyra, die in einem nur für sie sichtbaren Buch von bevorstehenden Unglücksfällen erfährt, hat spontanEin deutscher Mysteryroman!? Die Geschichte von Kyra, die in einem nur für sie sichtbaren Buch von bevorstehenden Unglücksfällen erfährt, hat spontan meine Neugierde geweckt und kam mir als Urlaubslektüre gerade richtig.
Mein Hauptkritikpunkt an dem Buch ist seine Länge: irgendwann hatte ich das Gefühl, es dreht sich alles im Kreis und ich lese eine Szene bereits zum x-ten Mal. Die Charaktere wirkten eindimensional, z.B. der schwule beste Freund war nicht sehr originell und die Auflösung seiner Beziehung zu Kyra war mehr als vorhersehbar.
Als leichte Urlaubslektüre durchaus empfehlenswert....more
This was a spontaneous purchase from a rummage table. I had never heard of the author or book before, but the premise caught my attention and I thoughThis was a spontaneous purchase from a rummage table. I had never heard of the author or book before, but the premise caught my attention and I thought it would make a decent holiday read. And I was rewarded indeed with a great story. The complex M.O., poisoning her victims and taking on their identities one after another, was very original, while the choice of an elderly woman as serial killer was unusual but fitting. The investigating DCI also was different, as Mark Lapslie suffers from synaesthesia, which manifests in all kinds of flavors invading his taste buds upon hearing different sounds. While this condition partly benefits his job, at most times it is a great challenge he has to endure.
But as if the combination of these two bizarre characters wasn't enough, the author adds a third element of surprise, which at the end explains some mysteries and connections. However, I thought it was too much and spoiled the otherwise perfectly balanced alternation between investigator and criminal, therefore "only" four stars. However, I will definitely check out the next book in the series....more