I really wanted to like this book. I really, truly wanted to. I love the Iron Kingdoms as a setting, and the description on the back gave me a tasty lI really wanted to like this book. I really, truly wanted to. I love the Iron Kingdoms as a setting, and the description on the back gave me a tasty little chunk of plot to bite down on. Sadly everything between the pages was bland, and what's worse, it was boring.
That's enough for some people, but I wrote a much more in-depth review as to what I believe is wrong with the text at the link below. Check it out if you're of a mind.
The intro of this book, and leading off with "The Little Green God of Agony" really sets readers up for a hard and disappointing tumble. The intro, asThe intro of this book, and leading off with "The Little Green God of Agony" really sets readers up for a hard and disappointing tumble. The intro, as other reviewers have mentioned, talks up the collection as "reclaiming the monsters" and taking back beasts and bogeys from the romance genre. It promised readers gut wrenching horrors, and terrors from beyond the grave. Then it opened with a haymaker from Stephen King, and it seemed like a solid knock out. Then the book sprained its wrist.
Out of the dozen and change stories between these pages only King's "The Little Green God of Agony" and "the Coffinmaker's Daughter" would get my recommendation. Both of them were beautifully paced, with characters you could follow, and solid world setups. Most of all though, they had punch to them. They reached into the reader's guts and found that place that sent a shiver through your bowels with the implications of what was in them. The other stories... not so much.
Rather than bemoaning the state of horror as a genre though, this likely comes due to the reviewer being a bit of a book snob. However, while lots of the stories held good promise, they felt like horror blue balls. There was foreplay, a flash of a beast here or a ghost there, and then they ended with a "well, that's that. You're not scared?" Even the last story, which deals with the reflections of a serial killer, couldn't quite get back up off the mat to finish strong. Overall it felt like a collection trying really hard to be scary, but that broke it's leg a few steps out of the gate. There was no visceral punch, and most of the tales were just confusing rather than frightening....more
This novel shows that you should never judge a book by its cover. And that when your friends make a recommendation, you should listen to them.
I was duThis novel shows that you should never judge a book by its cover. And that when your friends make a recommendation, you should listen to them.
I was dubious when I first read the concept of this book. Magic about pulling items out of sci fi novels? I had never read anything by Mr. Hines before, but I figured that there was nothing gained if I didn't give it a try. It is, unequivocally, the best modern fantasy novel I have read this year. And not just because of the unique take on magic, though that helped.
Hines understands what he's writing at a level that makes this book great. He draws on literature, and the shared catalog that readers should know, to bring together deus ex machina that will leave fans breathless that they wouldn't have thought to do that. This world is cleverly assembled, with a fantastic blending of action and cleverness, and just a few hints of goofy here and there.
From one writer to another, I tip my hat to you, Mr. Hines....more
I've had bad luck of late with collections, but this one felt awkward and immature; a teenage amateur dressing up for his first night on patrol. ManyI've had bad luck of late with collections, but this one felt awkward and immature; a teenage amateur dressing up for his first night on patrol. Many of the writers tried to literally describe comic book action, but the problem is that comic books work only because they're illustrated. Making that literal made it feel adolescent rather than action packed. It was even more of a disappointment because the introduction talked up the content eloquently and really got me excited for what was inside. But by the time I got through "The Whores of Onyx City" I had seen so much disbelief-stretching action with so little explanation and believable characterization (hard to do in a short story, but if writing was easy everyone would do it) that I couldn't take any more. It felt like picking up issue 179 of a big, ongoing series... there probably were answers to all my questions, but because I'm not starting way back at the beginning, I'm just confused and disappointed by what I found....more
A collection cannot be judged on the basis of any one story... but I stopped after I found the 5th story in a row predictable and lacking. While the aA collection cannot be judged on the basis of any one story... but I stopped after I found the 5th story in a row predictable and lacking. While the attempt to get the feeling and language of the city was laudable, it felt jarring, with the stories being told in a rambling, ghetto street vibe that evoked less atmospher that annoyance. Nothing in the collection got my pulse running or made me want to keep reading, and while many of the stories might have been rough, none of them that I managed to get through felt hard boiled....more
This was a fantastic conclusion to a series that has made me like fantasy again. Satisfying conclusions to character stories and arcs, and revelationsThis was a fantastic conclusion to a series that has made me like fantasy again. Satisfying conclusions to character stories and arcs, and revelations of hidden shades of personality that you've never thought to look at. Abercrombie shows, better than any other writer of fantasy I've come across, that there are no heroes and villains, but there is only perception. The truly wicked think of themselves as heroes, and even the noblest intentions can turn you into a black wreck. If there was a ranking higher than 5 stars, I'd give it!...more
When I picked up Hammerjack at the local library, I was expecting true, cyberpunk noir in the style of "Neuromancer." However, what I got was somethinWhen I picked up Hammerjack at the local library, I was expecting true, cyberpunk noir in the style of "Neuromancer." However, what I got was something that I would warn people against reading.
To be fair, Hammerjack has a detailed world that's full of grime and filth. There were even some nice touches with Giller's "street species." However, even a solid plot couldn't save this book from the major problem I had; the way it was told.
I love metaphor, as anyone that's read any of my own work knows. But the metaphors in Hammerjack get tortured so badly that I often wonder what the hell it is he's talking about after a sentence or two. It got to the point where I was skipping description just to keep with the story's flow. This was problem number one. What earned it such a low rating though was how shallow and boring most of the cast was.
Our main character especially suffers from being blase. He's a spook without a purpose, a reformed hammerjack himself, and he's supposedly a name that strikes fear into the regulars. But we never really see him do anything to justify that reputation, nor do we see him use it at any point. It feels as if we're just supposed to accept this view of him, which really isn't played out in his own thought patterns. He feels very soft, and way too soft to be playing this kind of hardball game.
Aside from our lead though, everything felt like it was trying too hard. Avalon, the deadliest woman on two planets, feels like a parody of the super soldier. The cultish villains lack any real punch, and on the whole any real visceral content is lost in the data stream.
My suggestion, to make this a better book and something that would have been more engaging, would have been to focus more on the human aspects, and to view technology through them, rather than the other way around....more
Just as good, if not better than, Hard Magic, Spellbound keeps the story of the Grimnoir Society going. While the world-crushing evil is on its way toJust as good, if not better than, Hard Magic, Spellbound keeps the story of the Grimnoir Society going. While the world-crushing evil is on its way to Earth, Actives have to put enmity aside to prepare for its coming. A cleverly woven world that's full of the feel of the time period, and gritty enough to serve as a bed for asphalt, Spellbound is a great read. Read the whole thing myself in 2 days because I couldn't set it aside....more
I've been a fan of Larry Correia since his Monster Hunter International books, but I had no delusion that I was reading great literature. It was a funI've been a fan of Larry Correia since his Monster Hunter International books, but I had no delusion that I was reading great literature. It was a fun story full of guns and monsters, but those books tended to overshadow the complexity of the plot readers were going through. With Hard Magic the plot, as well as the world, take center stage in this work that could be summed up as a combination of The Untouchables and X-Men... a fantastic read that actually kept my nose in the book despite being at a sci-fi con....more