I really, really like the cover. It looks creepy and professionally done. I was also really psyched to read it with all of the rave reviews in the begI really, really like the cover. It looks creepy and professionally done. I was also really psyched to read it with all of the rave reviews in the beginning.
I'm having a hard time with this, really. Other people might like it better than I did. It's well-written and I did particularly like chapter five. It definitely shows an in-depth perception of people who are solitary creatures rather than social butterflies.
I just didn't find the twist all that compelling or the ending all that believable. A lot of the book is the narrator's inner life. It's rather...middling. It's not the writing at all. This may just be a matter of me not 'clicking' with the story. His constant inner monologue is a bit annoying. It reminded me a bit of Catcher in the Rye, which might work for some people but unfortunately I hated that book.
Part of the reason the ending didn't work for me is a bit of a spoiler so... (view spoiler)[The two friends start harassing the guy because he ditched their friend at the restaurant because he was bored and she was talking about death, specifically her mom getting hit by a train (I read into it that it was possibly suicide but that just might be my interpretation) and she was upset that he ditched her. Which is understandable. Except that it's a third date and they barely know each other. After their various harassment attempts he calls the police. They talk to Wendy and she kills herself. And they blame him. Even though they're her best friends, started the stuff that led to the police being called. It doesn't even make sense. Maybe it would have been better in a It didn't ring true to me. Also, his memory of his sister is so fleeting it barely registers. He goes deeper into his feelings on martinis than that. The description implies that Patrick is a killer or psychopath or something which maybe he is but he never does anything that shows it except for not liking other people very much. (hide spoiler)]
One of the stories is new to this book alone and the second is in his collection Sandcastle and Other Stories.
So, all in all, it wasn't a bad read and the writing is actually good. I just think I didn't click with it.
Received from the author for an honest review...more
Nonpareil is the debut short story collection from Anders M. Svenning. It contains five stories altogether ranging from horror to light, philosophicalNonpareil is the debut short story collection from Anders M. Svenning. It contains five stories altogether ranging from horror to light, philosophical mysticism. As usual I'll go story by story and give you my summation at the end.
Creighton - 4 Stars The collection started out strong with this story. It's a story of loss and trying to bring back the past. A man isolates himself in one wing of his home, trying to isolate himself from the pain of his losses but tries to bury them by bringing them to life. I liked it. The story was interesting and the emotions felt very realistic.
A Philosopher's Lexis - 2 I really liked the idea of it. That the story and the writing of the narrator are 'cursed'. It was a very interesting idea but there were some flaws to it's execution. It could have benefited from being a bit longer, though. With it being so short some things seem rushed to the point it's a little unrealistic. Like being admitted to a mental hospital after drawing a single picture.
Charlie - 1 A bit long and rambling. It was a bit interesting in the begining and then took a nosedive into straight up unbelievable.
Malorana - 2 1/2 It started out nicely but again, the tendency to ramble got in the way of the story. The setting of the scenes in the jungle were very nicely done and the description of Becca's journey were great. Ultimately it just kind of ends. I don't really get the point to the story except as an excuse to philosophize.
The Split - 2 Really this one seemed like an addition to the Malorana story. More philosophy couched in a near-death experience where the narrator is trapped in The Split. The philosophy in this one is more about life after death and the divide between science and mysticism.
Altogether the writing, while good at it's essence really needs a proofreader. There were a lot of misused words, weird dashes (for example: hap-pening) and odd sentence structures.
Received from the author for an honest review...more
Well, I can't say my mind was blown but I did laugh my butt off. A lot. After having just finished a very good, but a little depressing, book it was jWell, I can't say my mind was blown but I did laugh my butt off. A lot. After having just finished a very good, but a little depressing, book it was just what I needed.
If I could name two flaws that The Longest Con has it would be these. Being so funny I can't say that it was very scary. And it made me jealous that I've never been to a Con! of any kind. If you read the book you'll get the exclamation point.
I do urge you to read it. It's hilarious and it was interesting to see some favorite authors in more...unusual roles. I have a few books by Michaelbrent Collings and they are now pushed to the top of the To Be Read pile.
Don't get me wrong, though. It's not all joke after joke. The Author/Warden works them in very naturally with the rest of the plot that's going on around him. That's no mean feat. Sometimes if a book tries too hard for the jokes the plot becomes unraveled or hard to follow. That is not the case with The Longest Con. There is a plot and it's a good one with lots of twists and turns and a host of fascinating characters.
It also accomplished another very important thing. It made me want to read the other authors mentioned. I have read some by Mercedes Yardley, mostly short stories but they were great.
As I said I've never been to a Con! of any kind but he really made me feel like I was there. The Otherworld creatures were also described very well. I also loved the footnotes, which were generally funny.
All in all if you're going in expecting gore and terror (and if you're expecting that from the description what's wrong with you?) you will be disappointed. However, if you're looking for a rollicking good time with humour and mind-bending twists then that's what you'll get. I honestly think that's the first time I've used the word 'rollicking' in a review. Ever.
Received from the author for an honest review...more
First off, I love the cover of The Red Room (except for the clipboard). I was a bit intrigued by the synopsis but honestly? I wasn't expecting much. IFirst off, I love the cover of The Red Room (except for the clipboard). I was a bit intrigued by the synopsis but honestly? I wasn't expecting much. I was expecting maybe torture porn type writing and bland as hell characters. I was very wrong. I can see why it might look like it from my trigger warnings at the top but the acts are written well and with no apparent urge to lengthen them out for sensationalism. The Red Room acts are drawn out a bit more but in this book context really does matter. The characters were great and while I can't say I loved the characters of Joe and Ellie they were average people and fit well into the plot perfectly.
There were a few parts that were a bit predictable. Two separate characters whose stories follow along with the main one but you know that eventually both roads will lead to The Brotherhood and when it does, it's great. Thrillers are a bit hard to review because of potential plot spoilers, so I won't go into as much detail as I'd like to.
I honestly can't say I liked the characters of Joe and Ellie much. I think Joe was kind of an idiot. Ellie wasn't in the picture much and when she was she was just annoying. Their characters were pretty realistic though. The dialogue flowed smoothly which was especially noticeable with The Brotherhood. A lot of times when you have a group of the uber-rich in a conspiracy setting they all talk like Bond villains, super fancy. There was a little bit of that but for the most part they were pretty casual with each other which was a nice change. As much as I do like The Brotherhood my favorite characters were Daisy and Grace. Daisy's journey and character was a great one and I loved her ending. Grace, well, she doesn't have a lot of page time but I like her for...reasons (beyond the obvious). You'll just have to read the book, I guess.
The pacing flowed smoothly with no real lags or stops. the action builds nicely towards the finish. I was a bit bummed out near the end because a character dies that I liked. That's all I'm saying about the end. The plot was laid out well with no missteps or illogical weirdness. Chris Thomas did a great job of laying it out in order.
The one thing The Red Room does well is raise questions about the concept of vigilante justice. I think the reasons books like this and Dexter and all of the cop shows is that people want to believe. People want to believe that there are cops out there who are unbiased. Who will go the extra mile to solve your case. And if the law fails, then maybe there are people willing to mete out the justice deserved. But the downside to it is that too often people make up their minds on little to no actual evidence. To me, it's only justice if it's 100% that that person did the crime they're being accused of. And the average citizen does not have the resources for that.
The Red Room circumvents this by having The Brotherhood be conveniently rich so that they can hire people to mete out punishment. (Which would be the only way to have the resources necessary to do what they do). It does also raise the question of the 'innocence' of the bidders. The Brotherhood says that the bidders would never turn them in because they're just as guilty by watching and bidding. Now maybe a lawyer could try to get a conspiracy charge on the bidders but good luck with that. They can always say they thought it was fake. It's obviously not but in court it would make for a good defense. I'm probably getting off on a tangent here but bear with me. Even if they're legally innocent what about morally? Even if they're not taking part in the murders they are watching them with no attempt to stop it. And how does the guilt of the "victims" relate to the moral guilt of the viewers? To me they're interesting questions with no easy answers.
As far as the ending goes I think it ends perfectly with a nice little twist that I didn't see coming.