There was a lot to like about this book but it did have it's flaws as well. Let's start with the good.
The characters were very likable. The dialogue bThere was a lot to like about this book but it did have it's flaws as well. Let's start with the good.
The characters were very likable. The dialogue between the friends was very believable and flowed very naturally. They really felt like good friends who had known each other for a long time. The pacing flows nicely. The action is described well. The story was interesting and really pulled me in. I also liked that during the big showdown they actually get hurt and the author spends a page or two to let us know they received medical treatment and were taken care of. No miraculous healing in which the girls felt just fine after a physically and mentally intense battle. So, huge kudos on the realism of that.
However, as I mentioned above, there were a few flaws that were a bit hard to overlook. There was so much left unexplained to it. The backstory between the Tays and the Daltons. There are hints here and there. From what I gathered in Over the River the Tays were holding ghosts to their mountain and more than likely killing some people as well to bind their ghosts to the mountain as well. What is unexplained though is to what purpose. It sounds like it's for a power thing but for what reason? A bit of background would have gone a long way.
In the reality of Over the River the paranormal seems an accepted fact of life. Realtors are supposed to disclose possible hauntings, local groups are tasked with taking care of the less powerful ghosts and entities. However, when the entity or demon is particularly powerful the N.E.S.S. is called in. They are a "secret" division of the F.B.I.. I use the quotation marks because they don't seem to be all that "secret". For instance, they visit the library early so nobody gets nosy. A few things happen because their secret investigation is spread around town.
Some of the world is built well. I personally liked the hospital for people who have, in one way or another, been pushed over the edge by their gifts. It's a nice touch. Also, the research they do and the bent of their investigation is logical. They access normal research materials and use their F.B.I. liaison to search for less accessible items. All of that lends a nice air of realism to Over the River.
However, again, a bit more information about the group would have been nice. How secret are they? How did it start? Why? There are tidbits here and there but they seemed only thrown in to explain what was going on at the moment but with no further explanation or background.
The property they are researching belonged to one Joslyn Faust.(view spoiler)[ The townspeople remember Joslyn Faust as a benevolent, generous woman, despite her having several children out of wedlock. However, only two survived past childhood and in the end she killed them as well and became guardians of the grandchildren, who also met their untimely ends with Joslyn. Delilah and Milly are incredulous that the towns people had no suspicions at all and eventually come to the conclusion that her money and generosity covered most of her sins and did not invite closer inspection. It seems a bit of an implausible explanation and even Delilah and Milly express their doubts about that being the sole cause. But, it's not gone into further. (hide spoiler)]
Also, their psychic gifts. To do Over the River credit they are explained well. My only problem is that their uses seem to change at will sometimes with little to no explanation. For instance: The three women use their powers together to pull a ghost from an energy stream in which she is trapped by an evil Tay ghost. But the way their powers are described it doesn't seem like they should be able to do that.
Boiled down I would say the biggest issue Over the River has (besides using the word baby-daddy far too frequently) is the lack of explanation for so many things. Why was Helen so involved (yes, it does say her brother was killed by Joslyn's ghost but it doesn't seem like it explains enough)? What exactly is the background relationship between the Tays and Daltons? Some characters are met in passing only to impart information and then are never heard from again.
(view spoiler)[It's a huge thing in Over the River that Joslyn is using the children's spirits to 'feed' herself and someone else. I'm not trying to be gruesome but they way it was explained was unique. Depressing and sad but unique and creative nonetheless. The purpose is never explained. It seems to be for power but we're never told for what. It seems like the N.E.S.S. know what the 'feeding' means but never enlighten the reader. There seems to be some sort of end game with the presence of the two children who seem unconnected to the Joslyn thing but sinister nonetheless. (hide spoiler)]
However, I'm not crazy about that method of setting up a series. The book in question, at the beginning of a series, should take the time to build the world and set the rules of the world. Even one that's mostly grounded in reality. It should also answer most of the questions raised in the book while leaving maybe one or two small things to keep the reader hooked. In the case of Over the River, the two demonic/ghost children would have filled that role nicely. Because I am very curious to know who they are (or what they are). As it stands, I'm frustrated with the lack of explanation or closure with way too much of the book. I don't need my hand held all the way through but I do need something to go on.
There are also a couple of minor nitpicks that didn't really diminish my pleasure in reading the book but were a tad irksome just the same. The dialogue between friends that I mentioned above was great. The minor annoyances were when Delilah Dalton and Gabriel Tay (ghost) would speak to each other. It was very melodramatic and the use of, "I'm watching you, Delilah Dalton." and "You should be warned I'm not giving up, Gabriel Tay" were slightly overdone and melodramatic. By the fifth name thing I was ready to say, "Ok, I got it! She's a Dalton, he's a Tay!" Also (this might just be a personal gripe that most people would overlook) in the middle of a fairly serious meeting of the team Delilah snuggles up on her husband's lap. I realize they are all good friends but c'mon. It's more than a little unprofessional.
All in all it's a light, quick read. As a series starter I might read the next one, especially if the author gets a little better at tying up the loose strands that dangle all over the place. I was very curious about what might come next for the team. Taking a peek at her site it does look like there is a second one which I will probably check out because I did like the people and I think the author has a great potential to smooth out her writing.
The thing I love the most about Red vs. Blue is that you don't need to be a Halo fan to enjoy it. I am a gamer but I've never really played Halo. I f The thing I love the most about Red vs. Blue is that you don't need to be a Halo fan to enjoy it. I am a gamer but I've never really played Halo. I found out about Red vs. Blue the old-fashioned way: My nephew watched it, showed my son and after my son tied me to a chair and made me watch season 9, I was hooked. Now we have them all and we're eagerly awaiting season 15.
Red vs. Blue started back in 2003. In the Dark Ages before YouTube made uploading easy and viral videos spawned overnight. So when they started Red vs. Blue they had to create their own servers and went viral the old-fashioned way, by word-of-mouth. Television shows and series in general seem to follow a pattern. The show will start out with complex and varied characters. If the show goes on long enough those characters devolve into one-note characters whose entire personalities are defined by one quirk.
Red vs. Blue defied this trend by starting out with goofy characters that could easily have stayed stuck in their one-trait ruts. Rooster Teeth evolved their characters and story lines to create a complex and rich universe.
They went from four guys in a room (bow chicka bow wow) to holding their own conventions (RTX) and expanding their body of work to include another hit show, RWBY. Red vs. Blue also holds the honor of being the longest running American Sci-Fi series.
Another thing I find interesting is that Halo and Red vs. Blue co-exist peacefully together. There have been no lawsuits over Rooster Teeth using Halo's property. In fact, there are some Red vs. Blue Easter Eggs hidden in some of the Halo games.
You're not here to hear me ramble about Red vs. Blue the series (which I could happily do all day), you're here to read a review of the Red vs. Blue Fan Guide.
I could have wished for a bit more in-depth bios on the characters. especially the Freelancers. However, the Freelancers are somewhat of a mystery and I don't think that writers Burnie Burns (creator of Red vs. Blue) and Eddy Rivas wanted to take that away from the Freelancers.
The rest of it is great. I love the asides from Delta, sometimes humorous and sometimes actual info on how they created particular scenes. Now knowing how they do some of them it impresses me that much more that they were able to do a new Red vs. Blue episode every week. I can also see why the weekly Red vs. Blue episodes are on the short side. I would recommend watching them as an entire season, the flow is much more smooth.
The character chart is hilarious and so are the character focused tidbits at the back. Such as Simmons' text based video game: The Maroon Hero and Tucker's debriefing after the events at the dig site.
The notes from the Chorus rebels are interesting and a little sad. I would have liked a segment from the Federation side as well, though. I also wouldn't have minded a bit more on Felix and Locus but since they were writing the book while doing season 13 I can see why they would want to keep them more of a mystery.
The timeline is actually quite helpful since Red vs. Blue can be a little 'loopy' in their chronology.
For fans of Red vs. Blue it's certainly worth a look. I would recommend getting the physical book. Not only is it a nice-looking book but it might be easier to read. I read it on the Kindle and I had to hold it side-ways to read it, which was a bit uncomfortable. The lettering is rather small on the e-book, even with the 'tap to-enlarge feature.
The pictures are very nicely reproduced though and, as a wise man once said: "It helps when there are pictures!!" ...more
Oh Cthulhu there was so much about this book I loved. I loved the main plot of the story. The Lovecraftian Mythos was worked in perfectly. It didn't jOh Cthulhu there was so much about this book I loved. I loved the main plot of the story. The Lovecraftian Mythos was worked in perfectly. It didn't jar at all or feel like the author just skimmed Lovecraft's works just to be able to throw in a reference now and then. It all flowed smoothly and naturally. I loved it. The action parts were gripping. Especially in the last few chapters. Luther Vayne was an awesome character. I'd tell you more but, nope, sorry. You'll just have to see for yourself. The other side characters were great as well. I particularly liked Carter. I would have liked Ariadne more if she had been a tad more fleshed out. There were also no gratuitous sex scenes, which I was very thankful for.
This book was sooo close to being a 5 Skull read for me. So why wasn't it? I have one word to sum it up.
I could not stand her. She was a bitch to Ariadne, the one friend she has. She sucks as an agent and as a human being. All she does is snarl, sneer, narrow her eyes, glare and (in a really weird context) leers. I'm not saying a character has to be pleasant all of the time for me to like them but she seemed to have a chip the size of a boulder on her shoulder for no discernible reason. Even with her friend. I found myself cringing and sighing in just about every scene she was in. She's not a badass. Unless you count beating up someone who's already cuffed a badass. (view spoiler)[Diana, who is not a field agent and has been running on no sleep or food for four days, gets in a fight with a well-trained Major. He's been shot once, in the thigh. She's been shot also, in the lower torso. They get into a fight where he's armed with a knife and she is unarmed. After some parries in which he cuts her at least four or five times, she makes a dive for him, he punches her and shatters her jaw. Then turns slightly to slice her friend up. With that slight turn of the head she manages to disarm him and then kill him. (hide spoiler)] I think my eyes might have rolled so hard they almost fell out of my head. Even if this had been a male character I wouldn't buy it. Especially a desk agent. Sorry, I just couldn't buy it. The injuries also seem to have no effect on her at all. I think it'd be kind of hard to talk with a shattered jaw but she manages just fine. Making her an active field agent would have gone a long way to making this at least somewhat believable.
On a more technical note there were some odd word choices that pulled me out occasionally. One made me giggle out loud. There were also a few typos here and there. There are also weirdly italicized sentences and parts of sentences. Nothing major to make it unreadable or anything but the author might want to just skim back through to correct them. It did drag a bit near the 80% mark. At that time you know what's going on and you just want to get on with it and get to the awesome finale that you know is coming.
Which it is. Frank Cavallo has an amazing talent for setting a scene vividly and clearly. The action scenes were clear and not muddled at all. You knew exactly what was going on all the time. They were also vivid. I honestly can't praise this aspect enough. I've run across a lot of scenes in other books where you can't tell what's going on or with who. Then there are others that are so dispassionate it's like reading a manual. He is also quite accurate in the firearms which is always nice. He sidesteps these flaws with ease and paints it so clearly that I could see the battle. And it was glorious.
My major issue was with Diana and a few poor word choices. Other than those though I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to most people. Even if you haven't read Lovecraft the story will still draw you in. In other words, you don't have to be well-versed in the Cthulhu Mythos to enjoy the book. Lovecraft fans, however, will get a kick out of all the references so there's tasty goodness for both sides of the spectrum.