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The Empty Ones

(The Vicious Circuit #2)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  580 ratings  ·  60 reviews
1977 was a bad year for Carey: The NYC summer was brutally hot, he barely made rent on his apartment, and most of his friends were butchered by a cult that worships the quantum angel he helped give birth to. He needs a vacation. You know where there’s supposed to be a killer punk scene? London. Oh, plus the leader of the aforementioned murderous cult is building an army th ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Tor Books
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Martin Totland You should read The Unnoticeables first at it goes a long way in setting up the parameters of the universe the story takes place in.

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I think it’s incredibly awesome that The Empty Ones is a lot like punk rock but in book form—loud, fast-moving, aggressive. It does its own thing, all the while being shamelessly, wickedly unapologetic about it. Better yet, I loved that this sequel was even better, funnier, and more entertaining than the first book!

The story picks up again not long after the events of The Unnoticeables, for both timelines—because as you’
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

My rating is 3.5 stars.

It is difficult to find sequels that are better than the original. Sure, a few are out there, but those are the exception to the rule — at least, in my opinion. But, now, I am happy to have uncovered one of those rare sequels in The Empty Ones, because Robert Brockway has delivered a follow-up to The Unnoticeables that delivers a swift kick to reader’s proverbial asses — but only in the best of ways.

Picking up shortly after the conclusion
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Number 2 in this 3 book punk rock horror series is gorier and goofier than the last installment and if you liked the first one, you'll find yourself delighted by this one too. Looking forward to seeing how it all ends.
Rachael Sachse
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has a seriously broken mind's eye, and has the hardest time imagining anything that's happening in the books I read, Brockway has blown the hell out of my neural eccentricities and I had an actual world in my head, including the parts that don't even exist. He's that good at describing what is happening, the characters, and the non-existentent purely psychological aspects of the human psyche.
Damn good book. I meant to wait it out until I bought some cheap beer & a leather jacket b
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, urban-fantasy
The sophomore novel in the trilogy shines, but not quite as brightly as the first. Three POVs alternate throughout the book-- Carey in 1978 London, Kaitlyn in 2013 Mexico, and Meryll in a variety of times/places between the two. Carey is still thankfully a lovable asshole and still his unrepentant self even with Kaitlyn. Something bigger is up, however, as every 36 years the unnoticeables try to summon angels to do their bidding or something like that and Carey and Kaitlyn are in the think of it ...more
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
It's probably not a great idea to jump into a series with the second book, so maybe I'm not being entirely fair to The Empty Ones, but I didn't like this book very much. Its punk sensibility feels like it's wearing air quotes the entire time, and the mythology behind the plot machinations never coheres into anything really interesting. I spent most of the time wondering why I should care. Brockway writes well enough, and I'd consider reading something different from him, but I don't feel any rea ...more
Miriam Smith
Won in the Goodreads Giveaways - not read, passed to another reader.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Tor Books for the copy in exchange for my honest review!

Picking up right where THE UNNOTICEABLES left off, I dove right into THE EMPTY ONES by Robert Brockway. It's always such a treat when a series continues just as strong as the first book. It's arguable that this one is better than the first - it's got the wicked humor, it moves fast and aggressive, and there are new elements added to the mix!

It's 1978, Carey's main mission in life is now revenge. He and Randall survived the war
Johnny O'sullivan
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even better than the first one! If the first one had one major flaw (upon reflection), it would be the lack of a really good villain. This book introduces a truly menacing and at the same time sympathy-inspiring villain in an ingenius way.

I am very excited for the next (Final, I believe) entry of this story.
Shane Keene
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review coming soon to For now, suffice it to say that the mayhem and hilarity that commenced with The Unnoticables continues in full force in The Empty Ones. Brockway delivers bleeding edge fear heavily laced with pure, unadulterated fun.
Catherine Barker
Mar 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Book 2 in a series. Although I made myself finish this book, it wasn't very good. I doubt anyone could identify with the characters and the back and forth between time with the chapters doesn't help the story except to make it more confusing. Save yourself some trouble and don't read this book.
Tobin Elliott
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
While there are times when I get a little lost with the various bugaboos in this series, I can't help but keep going simply for the full-on politically incorrect laugh out loud narration by the various protagonists.

And overall, it just feels so wildly different from most of the horror that I read, that it's a total blast of fresh air in a genre that can often feel like it's on life support.

On to the next book!
Daniel James
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The cosmic, gory madness continues as Kaitlyn and Carey travel from L.A. to Mexico in a give-and-take pursuit of Marco the husk.
And more of Carey’s colourful punk rock misadventures are filled in as we learn more of his own vengeful pursuit of Gus through the 70’s London punk scene.

Fun, gripping, witty, and filled with some grisly-awesome body-horror.
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed at Thoughts Stained With Ink:

** Received a copy of The Empty Ones by Robert Brockway from Agent Sam Morgan in exchange for honest review**

It’s a Saturday. It’s a glorious day outside; feels like crisp October weather despite being the second week of September. Tiny hooligans that belong to the neighbors I’ve never met scream and frolic outside. It’s my day off and my options of how to spend that day are limitless, only growing because of the beautiful weather. So how do I cho
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Lovecraftian Feelings

Read this book to know how universal monsters might see us.
Brilliant work from the singular genius of Robert Brockway.
Sebastian H
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's rare that I remember anything more than a general outline of the plots of the books I've read some time ago. This is especially troubling when I'm about to jump into the next entry of a saga, when I happened to have read the previous one last year and can't remember jack of the all-important details.

Now then, my usual M.O. is to think "screw it" and go at it anyway. After all, if it's self-contained stories it won't matter, and if it's a sequential story, the continued plot will become clea
Fantasy Literature
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars from Marion and 4 stars from Jana, read the full review at FANTASY LITERATURE

The Empty Ones (2016) is suspenseful, scary, action-packed and occasionally gross. This is the second book in Robert Brockway’s THE VICIOUS CIRCUIT series, following 2015’s The Unnoticeables. The Empty Ones crackles with tension, and I found that several of the questions that plagued me at the end of Book One are answered here. By the end of this one, I am even more worried about young stuntwoman Kaitlyn than
3 stars

Robert Brockway's The Empty Ones has character, at least. It hits you over the head with character, pokes it in your eyes, drags it through your brain, and pulls it out your ears, hoping that you'll wipe away the blood and come back for more.

The plot is interesting enough - there are several kinds of dark, part-human (or ex-human) creatures, and they cause havoc - though apparently only selectively. The book shifts among several viewpoints and timeframes of charact
Collin Henderson
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
More punk rock, more empty shells of former humanity, more balls of light seeking to "solve" the problem of the human race.

This sequel to The Unnoticeables once again follows the parallel story structure of the first. This time around, Carey in 1978 is going to Britain to seek revenge against Gus, an Empty One who killed most of Carey's friends. In 2013, Kaitlyn, Carey, and Jackie are trying to find Marco, the Empty One that nearly killed Jackie in a similar fashion to all of Carey's friends.

Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book via goodreads first reads.

If punks, monsters, gore, swearing, sarcastic humour and non-stop action is your thing, then this book is for you. There are also frequent sexual references, which goes without saying for setting the scene for punk rock, but I am just putting this out there as I know some people don't like it.

As I said above I won a copy of this book and when I received it, I realised it was the second in a series so I ordered the first one as I have a thing about
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook of the unnoticeables not that long ago, looking for something to read since I had nothing left in queue and it was a nice surprise. Original, funny in parts, nice action sequences and the voices of the characters were unique enough to make you care (of course when it comes to audio books the voice actors play a big part too). So I didn't know exactly where the book would go after part one but I definitely wanted to read or listen the second part. When it finally came ...more
Doug Lewars
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of a three-part series. In addition, the author follows three timelines so I found it to be a little tough sledding. It is urban fantasy and the author has created a world of monsters that appear to be threatening humanity - or at least a part of it. There were several classes of monsters and since there were some cross cultural differences among the protagonists, different names were used for the same class of monster by different individuals. That was a little off-putting as ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first book, I thought it took some time find its flow and that the portrayal of punk was a few years ahead of its time, but I ended up really enjoying it. I still have the latter complaint this time around. Misfits LPs in 1978 just weren't a thing. But I'm not gonna let that ruin it for me. I dug the hell out of part 2 of the Vicious Circuit trilogy. We're in London and Mexico this time around, chasing not-Iggy Pop in one era and not-AC Slater in another. This part of the trilogy really fles ...more
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Is it fair to review a book when I've read only half? I loved the first book in this series, but this second book just isn't grabbing me. The new British characters are all interesting, but it feels like the book is just rehashing what we already knew, but with a British accent with UK slang. Maybe it get better later, but I found reading The Empty Ones to be a chore. Don't let my two star review stop you from reading this, perhaps my reading brain was just not in the right place for this.
Andy  Haigh
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simply put completely bonkers in the very best way.

Robert Brockway's second book featuring the misadventures of cantankerous NYC punk Carey, his best (and possibly only friend), Randall and former stuntwoman Kaitlyn who find themselves caught up in a nightmarish scenario is just as good if not better than first book The Unnoticeables.


Rachael Dunn
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved the representation of crude punk culture but I also appreciated the further explanation of what is going on with the Angels. The ending just raised more questions so I look forward to the next book in the series.
Rating: 4 stars

Review posted at Fantasy Literature .
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Great sequel.
Gary Carper
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
All I am going to say about this book is that it is awesome and I cannot wait til the next one comes out. And also if it gets made into a film/miniseries I am auditioning.
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I am Robert Brockway. I wrote The Vicious Circuit trilogy from Tor Books. I wrote Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity. I wrote Everything is Going to Kill Everybody. I am but a man.

Other books in the series

The Vicious Circuit (3 books)
  • The Unnoticeables (Vicious Circuit, #1)
  • Kill All Angels (The Vicious Circuit #3)

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6 likes · 0 comments
“We don’t do this because we can win. We don’t do this because nobody else will. We don’t do this because it’s the right thing to do. We do it because: Fuck them. Fuck people who use their power to dick over whoever they can get away with dicking over. It doesn’t matter if that guy’s a high school teacher, or a Wall Street broker, or a cop, or a demon inside the shell of a store brand Iggy Pop. You have to punch him in the face because he deserves to be punched in the fucking face. End of story.” 0 likes
“We don’t do this because we can win. We don’t do this because nobody else will. We don’t do this because it’s the right thing to do, or it’s the only thing we can do. We do it because: Fuck them. Fuck people who use their power to dick over whoever they can get away with dicking over. It doesn’t matter if that guy’s a high school teacher, or a Wall Street broker, or a cop, or a demon inside the shell of a store-brand Iggy Pop. You have to punch him in the face because he deserves to be punched in the fucking face. End of story.” 0 likes
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