Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dream Stalkers

Dream Stalkers (Shadow Watch, #2)Dream Stalkers by Tim Waggoner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A new drug called Shuteye is on the streets of both earth and Nod and Audra and Jinx are the Shadow Watch officers assigned to the case. But what, if anything, does that have to do with the First Dreamer and the Wakenists bent on waking him? And why have Audra and Jinx begun spontaneously swapping bodies?

I got this from NetGalley.

The Shadow Watch and the crazy worlds they inhabit are back in a second outing, one that expands upon events from Night Terrors.

The world setup, one of my favorite parts of the first book, is further developed. I'm still pretty intrigued with the idea of a police force preventing things from Nod, the dream world, from intruding on reality. Audra and Jinx's relationship has developed a bit from the first book as well and not in the usual urban fantasy way.

Speaking of urban fantasy, the series this book most reminds me of is Simon Green's Nightside, only better written and not so repetitive. Waggoner's humor with Jinx is very well done, not nearly as ridiculous and over the top as it could have been.

The Shuteye case is fairly interesting as well and I really enjoyed the ideas presented about the First Dreamer and the associated cult. I did wind up guessing who was being everything but not until a few pages before his or her identity was revealed.

The ending wrapped things up nicely but it wasn't all beer and pretzels, nicely leaving some loose ends for a sequel. For what it was, Dream Stalkers was quite an engaging read. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015


AlectryomancerAlectryomancer by Christopher Slatsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A field hand named Rey is ready to put his rooster up against Alectryomancer, the champion of the cockfighting ring. But what about the mysterious book Rey doesn't remember acquiring, or the ancient engines beneath the surface of the earth?

I bought this Dynatox Ministries chapbook shortly after reading the blurb on the back. "A Depression-era Weird tale about California laborers, cock-fighting, time travel, UFO abductions, and more..." was a pretty good description. It almost reads like a lost Flannery O'Connor short story that couldn't be published due to excessive weirdness.

It's a really short book so I don't want to give too much away. The story can either be read as the sun-born hallucination of a lonely field hand or a weird tale with hints of a deeper strangeness.

For what it is, a less than 50 page nugget of the purest weirdness, I easily gave it four stars.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Skull Throne

The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4)The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Are Arlen Bales and Jardir dead or just missing? Who will step up to fill the power vacuum left in Jardir's absence? And what of Leesha Paper and the child inside her, or Rojer Half-Grip and his ever-growing group of wives? And what of Count Thamos? All of these questions and more will be answered in the penultimate volume of the Demon Cycle, The Skull Throne!

I got this from Netgalley.

After the wreckage that was the Daylight War, I decided nabbing an ARC was the only way I cared to continue the series. Fortunately, I got my wish. Was it worth the time?

That's hard to say. In many ways, I thought this was A Feast for Crows for the series. Why do I say that? Arlen and Jardir are barely in it! Once the cliffhanger from the last installment is resolved, I'd say they barely get 50 pages total. The rest of the book is split between the Krasians, Leesha and Rojer, and what's going on in Angiers.

While it didn't focus on Arlen and Jardir, what we did get was better than the Daylight War. Maybe not having to experience Arlen and Renna's fake-seeming relationship actually perked up the story a bit. I do like where the book seems to be heading for the conclusion of the saga, though. Too bad we get barely a taste of that in this volume, though.

My two main gripes with the series as a whole are that it seems to have been Martinized after the first book in that a lot of extraneous characters have been introduced and some of the existing ones have been detailed to an excruciating degree. Also, when the main character is the least charismatic of the bunch, you have problems. While I like Arlen in a D&D character sort of way, I don't really find him very interesting.

I'm giving this a 3- since I liked it more than the Daylight War but didn't "like" it like it.

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