"It takes skill for an old horror trope to take on new life. With a fresh spin on the shapechanger myth, The Devourers is the multilayered and engross"It takes skill for an old horror trope to take on new life. With a fresh spin on the shapechanger myth, The Devourers is the multilayered and engrossing tale of Alok, a history professor in the midst of his own personal turmoil and under the enchantment of a man he calls simply “the stranger.” The stranger tells Alok terrible, beautiful tales that cannot possibly be true. Throughout the beginning chapters, Alok vacillates between the stranger being either a madman or exactly what he claims—a half-werewolf shapeshifter, near immortal capable of terrible violence. Either way, Alok finds himself drawn to the beautiful stranger."
**spoiler alert** I love mythology and lore and the way Tompkins wove much of the culture, religion and history into his worldbuilding. However, there**spoiler alert** I love mythology and lore and the way Tompkins wove much of the culture, religion and history into his worldbuilding. However, there is very little satisfying story arc in this book. It seems to be a patchwork quilt of vignettes, mixed with a METRIC FUCK TON of historical data that is fascinating to me, but ultimately buried a lot of the story lines in the sheer volume of info dumps. I am not a reader that fears the info dump, if well done I actually love it if the information is interesting and the prose is beautiful, but it unfortunately wasn't balanced in this book.
This novel seems to suffer from lack of direction. It is almost like the prose, structure and tone are all struggling with what exactly the book wants to be, torn between commercial viability or completely embracing the patchwork vignette historical document concept. Instead, the novel rides the fence and fails at both. There were times when I thought Tompkins was on the verge of something brilliant, but his writing skill seems like it isn't quite there yet. Dialogue, character development, plot arc, all of it was just a little too weak for the novel to survive the extensive history lesson. I'd love to read Tompkins further down the road when he's had time to mature as a writer, since this is a debut.
However, beyond that, I have to call out this book for its casual use of marital rape. Aisling willingly submits to her arranged marriage and marriage bed, but then her husband decides that is not enough and "brutally sodomizes" her on their wedding night. As a female reader, I'm beyond tired of rape being used so casually with female characters, but especially when it literally adds NOTHING to the storyline or character arc. I get it, rape happened back then, but that doesn't mean I want to read about it. If we can indulge the fact that faeries exist, can't we also indulge in a world where people aren't raped as a casual device? Also, the fact that Tomkins doesn't address Aisling's trauma afterward...or really, the trauma of any character...just strikes me as false and insults me deeply as a reader. When people get raped or die, there are emotional consequences, and to just skip over that killed my emotional investment in the characters. ...more
This book touched something very vulnerable inside of me. I don't think there was a time when I was 11-25 that I wasn't struggling with feeling like IThis book touched something very vulnerable inside of me. I don't think there was a time when I was 11-25 that I wasn't struggling with feeling like I didn't belong in this world, that my parents and my peers just didn't understand me. My interests were attacked, my appearance criticized, my identity that was still developing under constant scrutiny. When I did find somewhere that I belonged, it was euphoria, but sometimes those short jaunts to Neverland ended and I got spilled back out.
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY is beautifully written story about acceptance and identity. I want to buy a copy for every single young adult that I know....more
Anthologies are often a mixed bag of styles and themes. In the case of Dead Letters, editor Conrad Williams gave his authors prompts in the way of iteAnthologies are often a mixed bag of styles and themes. In the case of Dead Letters, editor Conrad Williams gave his authors prompts in the way of items they needed to incorporate into their tale. It gives the collection the feel of a connected set of stories in a way that many anthologies can’t pull off with just a theme, namely in how distinctively random each item seems, and the texture they add to the tales in this delightful collection. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-......more
Joe Hill likes to start his readers in the thick of it, where tension is high and the hook can sink deeply and carry them along for the journey. The aJoe Hill likes to start his readers in the thick of it, where tension is high and the hook can sink deeply and carry them along for the journey. The adventure of his newest novel The Fireman is well worth diving into this 700+ page tome. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-......more
I received an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL is a collection of thirteen stories, almost all of them previously puI received an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL is a collection of thirteen stories, almost all of them previously published in magazines and anthologies but for the lead story "The Blameless." All thirteen are delightful, terrifying, thoughtful and incredibly well written. Jeffrey Ford's style is eloquent and accessible, literary and engaging. His stories have an engrossing, almost mythological feel to them, strengthened by well-placed descriptions, impeccable pacing and Ford's rare talent for delivering a satisfying ending.
Ford delivers thirteen tales that I read through to the last page with increased enthusiasm for the next and a desire to read more of his work in the upcoming year. The stories range from literary, science fiction, fantasy, horror and various mixtures of all four. Genre doesn't seem to matter much to Ford, as long as it serves the story he's trying to tell. His avoidance of tropes and skill in creating fresh, original, fiction should put this collection on everyone's summer reading list for July.
There isn't a single bad story in this whole book, from "The Blameless," about a world where exorcisms are as casual as a sweet sixteen, to "The Angel Seems," about a town under the dubious protection of a malevolent angel, to "The Thyme Fiend," a longer piece about a boy who sees the dead. Ford writes consistent, thought-provoking fiction that occasionally plucks on some very heavy, socially relevant notes.
A real stand-out for me is "Blood Drive" about a re-imagined America where the theocracy encourages High School students to carry guns. The gun becomes a rite of passage, meant to keep society "safe." It is one of the most socially relevant, emotionally gripping stories I've read in a long time. The morality is not heavy handed, the theme artfully handled, but it struck a chord with this reader, as I suspect it has and will for many others.
A NATURAL HISTORY OF HELL will be available through Small Beer Press on July 12th.
A jarring, fresh look at addiction and the lengths that junkies will go to get high, and the extremes their families will go to to get their loved oneA jarring, fresh look at addiction and the lengths that junkies will go to get high, and the extremes their families will go to to get their loved ones clean.
It is 2099, and Perry Samson is addicted to atlys, which could be symbolic of any drug, honestly. Atlys junkies will do anything for a hit, including selling their flesh. McHugh steps into the future of addiction with unflinching brutality, bringing to life characters that will do anything for their next hit, and immersing the reader in a world that is not beautiful, but poignant in its honesty. ...more