Tag Archives: #Supernatural

Angell, Lorena: A Diamond in my Pocket (The Unaltered I) (2012)

a diamondA Diamond in my Pocket is book one of The Unaltered Series.

What would you do if you one day discovered you had an unexpected ability? Like running fast, really fast. Fast enough to break the world record. It would be a great ability to have if you had to run away from trouble (or maybe to).

Callie Courtnae suddenly discovers this ability and is asked to join a school in Montana that specialises in youth with record-breaking abilities. She goes and discovers that the people at her school are extraordinarily beautiful and a lot quicker than she herself is. Hmmm, I smell a rat.

The premise for A Diamond in my Pocket is pretty good. It is difficult to come up with something new in the world of fantasy. But Angell manages to put a couple of twists in that I don’t think I’ve read before. However, however, however. The characters needed a bit more work and the novel tightening. I wish A Diamond in my Pocket could have fulfilled its potential, because it did have plenty of that.

Aaronovitch, Ben: Rivers of London (US: Midnight Riot) (Rivers of London I) (2011)

Midnight-Riot-DUO
Cover artist “Rivers of London”: Stephen Walter
Cover artist “Midnight Riot”:

Before starting on the Peter Grant series – mystery books – Ben Aaronovitch was busy in the writing business. He has been involved in screenwriting, audiodramas, television-series, short stories and spin-off novels. While being mainly an author, Aaronovitch has also had the great pleasure (as so many other writers) of supporting his writing habit with non-writing jobs.

On his blog he states that the Peter Grant series was in part influenced by these sources:

Rivers of London

When Peter Grant gets out of being assigned to the Case Progression Unit by being sent to Chief Inspector Nightingale, he “left in a hurry before he could change his mind, but I want to make it clear that at no point did I break into a skip.” Brits. Gotta love them.

What Peter discovers when he gets to DCI Nightingale is that magic does exist and so does everything else paranormal literature delves into. His and DCI Nightingdale’s job (being the only representatives of that side of life) is to regulate the super-natural community, making sure they uphold the laws.

Rivers of London is at heart a mystery. A serial-killer is on the loose making use of magic in her/his/its killings. It is vital that Nightingdale and the rest of the Met find the serial-killer before more people are found without their faces. Peter has his chance at being a detective at the same time that he has to negotiate peace between the lower and upper sides of the Thames (mother and father Thames). His baptism into the super-natural community is at times frightening for him and delightful for us.

While a mystery with death and mayhem, Rivers of London is a light-hearted novel. There is plenty of humor and an irreverent look at society that I enjoy.

Thus far, Rivers of London is the only book in the series that I have read. I do believe I am going to read the next one as well. Aaronovitch manages to balance humor and action in true British style. I like Peter Grant’s distracted manner, something that gives us insight into his character but also into the city of London.

rivers__of_london_by_deadiscordia-d51xtoa
Fanart by DeaDiscordia
Upper left: Beverley Brook, “daughter” of Mama Thames and goddess of a small river in South London
Bottom left: Police Constable Lesley May
Centre: Police Constable Peter Grant
Upper right: Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, head of the Folly and the last officially sanctioned English Wizard.
Bottom right: Molly; The Folly’s domestic helper.

Nevill, Adam: Apartment 16 (Formerly known as “Down Here With the Rest of Us”) (2010)

Apartment 16 - Adam Nevill

Creepy! I think that’s the best description I can give of Apartment 16. I couldn’t read the whole thing because it was too creepy for an old lady. But if you enjoy horror, then this is the book for you.

The writing is excellent. Adam Nevill uses all of his writing tools with a gifted hand. It’s not often I get this creeped out by a novel, but this time the author won. You know the tight feeling you get in your chest when something is too freaky. Quite frankly, I was scared shitless.

Most likely it was Seth’s descent into madness and the experiences that brought him to that point that did me in. His experiences seem similar to the experiences that Apryl’s aunt Laura had when she slowly lost her grip on reality. Or perhaps it could be said that both Laura and Seth got to know a new kind of reality. Apryl’s experience with Apartment 16 at the very end of the book shows us that what went on with Apartment 16 was very real indeed.

Apryl has inherited an apartment in London. In her apartment block there is an apartment that is a bit off. But opening the door to that apartment would be unwise in the extreme. You see, this apartment is haunted, and it’s out to get you. If it catches you – well you know how it goes. You’d better not be caught and that leaves Apryl in a tighter and tighter spot as the novel progresses.

Enjoy.


Reviews:


Apartment 16 on Amazon UK


Haunted houses in London

Kay, Guy Gavriel: Under Heaven (2010)

Under Heaven

Under Heaven affected me profoundly. I believe it was the depth of Shen Tai’s mourning for his father and his offering to his father’s spirit that moved me most. Imagine setting yourself the task of burying all the bones from a battle twenty years past in order that those spirits might find peace. A more appropriate place for restless spirits than a battleground I cannot imagine.

Kay went on to say that he’s interested in how the course of a person’s life can change in a moment, and how “small moments and events can ripple outwards.” Whether it’s an individual or the life of a people, he pointed out, “significant consequences can begin very inconsequentially. That’s one thing that fascinates me. The other thing that fascinates me is how accident can undermine something that’s unfolding, something that might have played out differently otherwise.”

To Kay, “the human condition is redolent with this aspect of randomness, and I try to work that into all of my books.” (CBC Books)

The choices Shen Tai, his older brother and their younger sister, Shen Li-Mei, make end up having both intended and to a great extent unintended consequences. All three discover that assistance and opposition comes in many forms and sometimes from unexpected quarters.

In this story there aren’t any really bad people. There are mainly just people with the regular gamut of human emotions and with varying degrees of ability to do something about their desires. While the Tang Dynasty was a better place for women than the ones before it, women held less room in society than men. As with most places in the world today, women had to be a lot more creative in their maneuvering than men did. Their accepted roles were also very different from the one men were able to hold. To become a warrior like Wei Song, one who even guarded a man, was not something that was open to most women (much like today).

Reading about the role of women was both a painful process but also a delight. Delightful because of the intelligent and brave women I got to meet and painful due to the few changes that have happened in the world when it comes to the roles of women and how true their power is.

Under Heaven is a fairly dark story. Considering the times and the rebellion it portrays that is no wonder. I am trying to decide if I would call it dark fantasy, but I don’t know if that would be appropriate. I love its complexity and many threads that all come together one way or another in the end. What an awful race we humans are. It really is rather sad to see us revealed in all our terrible glory. Under Heaven was an intensely touching book that left me thankful for having found it. According to the author, his goal in writing is to keep the reader turning pages. It worked.


Reviews:


Women of the Tang Dynasty

Song Dynasty (the Kitai Empire in Under Heaven)

An Shi Rebellion (simplified Chinese: 安史之乱)

Hua Mulan (Chinese: 花木蘭): female warrior

Uyghur Khaganate


  • Winner of the 2011 Sunburst Award for Adult Litterature
  • Nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Best Novel
  • Nominated for the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature