The author is a good friend, and so I warn you, I'm somewhat biased.
Whitehouse's breezy, effortless style is exactly what I would expect out of the crThe author is a good friend, and so I warn you, I'm somewhat biased.
Whitehouse's breezy, effortless style is exactly what I would expect out of the creator of ASTOUNDING TALES, HONOUR AND FORTUNE, and SCIENCE VERSUS PLUCK. I have always admire Howard's dry wit and droll delivery in his game designs (seek them out). To participate in an ASTOUNDING TALES game is a visual treat-- a game that plays like a mix between stand up comedy, vaudeville and performance art all at once and 90 miles an hour. Howard brings the same sensibilities and sense of humor to his pastiche of the "precocious children's lit" niche squarely aimed at young adult readers these days. Only he achieves so much more than a Harry Potter and a Lemony Snicket-- likable (not very annoying) children characters, foreboding villains, evil conspiracies. All done with that sense of detached parody you might see in a Flashman novel (without the naughty bits).
Island of the Mad Scientists is a great read, one I would recommend to adults FIRST and young adults SECOND. Then again, I'm biased. ...more
I'm impressed. I read the Sky People last year, and was favorably impressed with it. The Courts of tNot the audio CD, actually.. I just noticed that.
I'm impressed. I read the Sky People last year, and was favorably impressed with it. The Courts of the Crimson Kings builds on the foundations laid by the earlier novel and greatly expands the milieu. S.M. Stirling is not much at characterization, nor do I find much of his output to have the 'legs' to go beyond the first book in a series (Loved the first Nantucket book, put the second one down after three chapters.. loved Peshawar Lancers, disliked most of the rest of it). This book shows me that Stirling has the chops to craft a great story arc, and likeable enough characters (if a tad cookie cutter). I applaud his move in this direction and think this series-- SKY PEOPLE, CRIMSON KINGS.. is the best he's ever done....more
This is a rare five-star classic, a book I would review to anyone. Tim Powers (a colleague and conspirator with James Blaylock) often lapses into theThis is a rare five-star classic, a book I would review to anyone. Tim Powers (a colleague and conspirator with James Blaylock) often lapses into the mythic using "fantasy reality" tropes. This book, and perhaps the more famous ANUBIS GATES, treat the fantastic as part of a perfectly understandable world, which makes for an interesting writing style.
Duffy is an aged soldier on the road to the Siege of Vienna, where he hopes to achieve some employment as a defender of the city. Along the way he seems to wander in and out of Faerieland; he certainly receives hints of a higher purpose for himself. The ensuing story has a little bit of everything thrown in to it- turks, mongols, magick, King Arthur, the Siege of Vienna, seedy Vikings, nuns, cannons, and most of all, BEER (the title references the annual drawing of the "Dark Batch" of Bock Bier at a particular bar in Vienna, which figures large into this plot).
The Drawing of the Dark is a romp-- unapologetically throwing everything AND the kitchen sink into the mix and achieving wondeful results. I recommend it to anyone....more
I found it ponderous, and the pacing quite slow. It is clear Blaylock is a lover of the written word, but if HOMUNCULUS is any indication of his skillI found it ponderous, and the pacing quite slow. It is clear Blaylock is a lover of the written word, but if HOMUNCULUS is any indication of his skills, I will likely not read any more of his work. ...more
Without a doubt, I found this book enjoyable and quirky. I adore literary in-jokes, and ANNO DRACULA has them in spades. Long before THE LEAGUE OF EXTWithout a doubt, I found this book enjoyable and quirky. I adore literary in-jokes, and ANNO DRACULA has them in spades. Long before THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, this series created a thrilling horror/alt.history tale just packed with contemporaneous literary characters. The plot itself, and the main characters are a bit non-standard, but Newman writes a decent sentence and can really move a plot along.
Without giving too much away, imagine an England where Count Dracula was NOT defeated. An England where the good Count is not satisfied with a shadowy role on the edges of good society, but instead enslaves Queen Victoria, turns her into a vampire and makes her his consort. And that's merely the starting point.
Add to that a shadowy group of Victorian troubleshooters, a sympathetic Vampire protagonist, and virtually every character you can think of from vampire fiction of the era, and you have some idea of what kind of story ANNO DRACULA will be.