War Lord manages to be shockingly dark and laugh out loud funny in various parts. John Constantine is an amusing and fascinating fellow in this book.War Lord manages to be shockingly dark and laugh out loud funny in various parts. John Constantine is an amusing and fascinating fellow in this book. He gives out this vibe of the bumbling ineffectual, who could give a flip about anything. However his ability with magics and the arcane is inestimable. A drunk, chain-smoker, and a bit of a lecher. His sense of morality doesn't seem to fit into the boxes that you might usually ascribe characters. However, he does have a sense of honor, just believes in doing things his own way. All in all, hard to pin down and not one to be taken for granted.
The storyline itself is very harsh. It's about war, and the fact that many use war to profit. That's no secret, but seeing it written down on paper emphasizes the wrongness of glorifying in human suffering, causing it for one's own ends. In this case, a dark cabal is stirring up violence to awake an ancient War Lord to bring about the apocalypse, so they can rule. However, that's not going to go over well, not with Constantine on the opposite side (even if he dislikes the fact that he has to choose sides).
I found myself laughing at some of the admittedly coarse humor. But it was very funny. I loved the side joke in which Constantine remarks about the parallel worlds that exist, one in which he has black hair and wears a black coat, and lives in Los Angeles. That might sound familiar to some folks.
Some parts are off-putting, even repulsive. The dark magics are rather disturbing (in the fact that some folks might choose to go down those roads). However, those who like reading fiction about the arcane and esoteric might appreciate this book. There's even a cameo by a descendant of Aleister Crowley. Some stuff went over my head as far as the Hidden World, but I'm okay with that.
I can't give it a high rating because it has a very slow start and the pace was too uneven in parts. Not to mention the fact that the atrocities committed to see the dark purposes of the cabal to fruition didn't sit right with me (even though they make sense for this book). However, it was a good read and I enjoyed it. So it's easily 3.5/5.0 stars....more
This book started out slow, but I ended up very sucked in. I think that the author was successful in writing a layered story that had some very 'literThis book started out slow, but I ended up very sucked in. I think that the author was successful in writing a layered story that had some very 'literary' elements. I liked that although this was a Hellboy book, the story was more about Brad Lynch, a young man suffering from PTSD after being a journalist in Iraq and witnessing some truly horrible events, his broken relationship with his father William, and his evolving relationship with his best friend and co-worker, Lisa. Although this was very much horror/dark fantasy, it was also a drama about family dynamics. How a horrible event can tear a family apart, and leave the survivors walking woundeds who go on to live emotionally dysfunctional lives.
Hellboy is tasked with finding the Kiss of Winter to prevent a catastrophic takeover of the world by werewolves. He finds out that it's being kept in the famed Grant House in Boston, and ends up on Brad's doorstep, because Brad's father owns the house. He convinces Brad (with Lisa's help), to go to Boston and get his father to let them in the house so they can find the Kiss of Winter. Hunted by hungry werewolves, they barely make it into the house as an unseasonal and fierce blizzard hits Boston. Inside the house is some protection from the wolves, but it's full of spirits, some benign, and some very, very malevolent.
I do have to say that this book was very scary at times. The house was extremely menacing, with negative entities out for blood, although there were also some helpful presences in the house that help save Hellboy and his companions' bacons quite a few times, and also help them to obtain the Kiss of Winter. Mr. Chadbourn writes one heck of a haunted house story. To be honest, I enjoyed these elements more than the werewolf aspects, and that's saying a lot since I love werewolf fiction. The construction of the house is very creepy, adding to sinister feel of this book. Also, hearing the ill-fated histories of the family who lived in the house added to the atmosphere. I reached a point where this book was a bit too scary to read late at night, but I didn't want to put it down because I was sucked in. There were also some intriguing time travel/warp elements, as the Kiss of Winter and its sister artifact, the Heart of Winter, together help to manipulate and fold time.
Hellboy is his usual witty, tough self. I like his wisecracks, but I like how he sees the emotional aspects of the interactions between Brad, Lisa, and William. He has his hands full, fighting hungry werewolves, evil ghosts, and trying to encourage Brad to make up with his dad and to let Lisa know his true feelings. Hellboy is pretty darn awesome, I must say.
I liked the use of various arcane/occult devices in their struggle against the werewolves. The witch candle was pretty awesome. It protected the house, and it set the werewolves on fire as they tried to enter.
This ended up being a very enthralling read, although it was occasionally a bit slow. Once I got used to Mr. Chadbourn's writing style, he delivered a very good story, and he makes good use of Hellboy and the elements that make this character and his world distinctive, but in a very personal, character-driven fashion. Not an easy task when you're dealing with subject matter that by nature is more action and event-driven. I hope he writes some other haunted house books, because he knows how to make this horror fan cringe in fear.
From the Top Secret File of an Unofficial Reviewer of the Files Recording the Incident Henceforth Known as "The 1997 Event."
For Authorized Eyes Only
DaFrom the Top Secret File of an Unofficial Reviewer of the Files Recording the Incident Henceforth Known as "The 1997 Event."
For Authorized Eyes Only
Date: 15 October 2010
I came upon this historical document, and I was amazed at how close the world came to a true cataclysm. Fortunately, Hellboy, and the BRPD were there to save the day, at some significant personal cost. Truly, the death toll was astounding. The engineer of these horrible happenings was a man with good intentions, but one who slipped over into madness. He believed that if he brought back the mythical creatures that had once ruled the world, but had since slipped into Memory (that lost place where the legends go when beliefs falter), the earth could be the beautiful Eden that it was. He declared war on modern humanity, for their wanton destruction and rape of the Earth.
It was no easy feat, reading about the carnage that creatures like griffins, sea serpents, dragons, huge black demonic dogs, and yes, even a kraken; and others perpetrated on humanity. These creatures had an unlimited capacity for destruction. Based on this document as reviewed, Heathrow Airport is a smoldering ruin, and London hasn't faired much better.
We can only thank the BRPD, including Hellboy, Liz Sherman, Abe Sapien, and the werewolf who strove to be human, Abby Paris, for fighting these creatures, not to mention those who gave their lives in sacrifice, for dealing with these threats, and the man behind them.
This historical document reminded me that humanity is frail. We live in arrogance, assuming that we are at the top of the food chain, that we are stronger than myth and legend, that we can easily defeat the ancient dragons and other beasts of the past; but there is always a price to be paid for our arrogance. We must also look at the darkness within ourselves and determine if we will fight it, and become the heroes that we are meant to be, or to become the villains.
I'm a mere civilian who happened to be privy to this information, but I can truly tell you, we dodged a bullet here. Even still, the world will not be safe, if it ever was; for some of the creatures of Memory now inhabit our world. And they are hungry and angry for their loss. The BRPD will have their work cut out for them, indeed.
My thanks to the brave recorder of these events, Mr. Tim Lebbon, for posterity's sake. It is my hope that we will use this information to be prepared for the worst that is to come.