Some authors write horror too well for my own good. In the case of Mr. Black, this happened before the end of chapter 6. I could not go on. Not since beginning to read Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill have I been this frightened. The time before that was when I was 15 and tried to read Dracula. So, no very often.
It wasn’t the demon dogs who did it for me. They were just gross and gross can be fun, or at least interesting. But good old Elder God, Nyarlathotep, did me in.
Too bad, really, as Mr. Black’s writing was excellent. But, alas, so is my imagination.
The Red Right Hand was given to me to review by Tor Books
I wonder if true precognitives exist? There are certainly plenty of frauds out there, who in spite of generally being wrong have their followers. Ia lives in a world where paranormal powers of varying degrees is a fairly normal matter. Paranormal powers seem to be part of most of the species in Jean Johnson’s Theirs Not to Reason Why. When it comes to precognition Ia is strong enough be called “The Prophet of a Thousand Years”. Her predictions thus far have never missed their mark. What she has seen of the future frightens her because she wants life in the universe to survive.
Fighting for the survival of others or fighting to fulfill the political goals of others seems to be a soldier’s lot. This is a way of thinking that is foreign to me. I tend to think that humans need extinction. While some political systems seem saner than others, the politicians within those systems can get too caught up in games. Some of these so-called games cost young men and women their lives as soldiers fighting for what may or may not be healthy for people.
Ia’s precognition has saved the lives of many of the soldiers and non-combatants on her side. Fewer people have died than might have. If I were an officer, that would certainly be my main goal – to keep as many as possible alive while still managing to do the job that needs to be done. Losing that ability for a while – the long-term precognition – blinds Ia in a way that losing her left eye does not. Her team are so used to having solid information that they too are strongly affected by her loss. But needing to live without being able to depend on her foresight teaches Ia more about the quality of needing to lead through trust. I would find that one of the most difficult parts of being a leader, needing to trust my subordinates to do the job properly. But I imagine leaders learn a lot about themselves through such a process.
In the world of Theirs is Not to Reason Why there are quite a few political players. Not all of them are human. Some of these players are the Feyori. Ia is half Feyori and half human. In Hellfire Ia had her first manifestation as Feyori (she describes them as energy-based beings manifesting themselves as something like large soap-bubbles). That soap-bubble image is very much in my mind right now when I think about Ia’s meeting with the other Feyori in Hardship.
Hardship was a great addition to the serial about Ia. So many of the authors that I read are captivating writers who give me loads of action and imagination. Definitely recommended.
Superheroes and comic books in novel format are challenging for me to read. Needing to suspend logic altogether places me well outside my comfort zone. Every once in a while I choose to expose myself to the genre. The Scent of Shadowsis one such novel.
Joanna Archer is born in the sign of the Archer. The Archer ends up being her secret identity, one that her enemies cannot pierce. Her metamorphosis into The Archer also brings about another metamorphosis, caused by the death of her sister and Joanne’s surprising survival.
She now discovers a world where healing happens at extraordinary tempos, and where death is difficult to achieve, the latter being a bonus for yourself but a minus when your enemies are just as difficult to kill.
I found the characters in Master Comics fascinating. Strangely enough, Master Comics is where Joanna finds her answers as to who and what she is. Not from her so-called allies, the Agents of Light. But then it might be difficult to trust someone who represents both our sides with information that could make them stronger. In fact, I think I liked the people frequenting Master Comics more than the rest of the characters of Scent of Shadows.
Ms. Pettersson’s writing is what drew me in. That and some really fun action scenes. One of those is gory, but does represent a need for vengeance that some (if not most) of us probably feel at one time or another.
Life hasn’t gotten any easier for Rune. Others against humans, others against others and humans against others does not make for a quiet life for the Shiv Crew. Racism is a strange thing. Inside my head my logical part tells me that the oppressed should be above being racist themselves. But that just isn’t so. The Others have been killed for sport by many humans. Turns out the Others aren’t any better themselves really, because there is always another person whose looks/qualities places them lower on the value-ladder. In New Regime the ones who seem to be the lowest of the low are the Pikes. And the Pikes know it.
Rune asks Owen if he thinks she is evil. Owen’s answer is that she is who she is. And really, how do you define evil? Is it even possible? I doubt it. Rune fights for the people she cares for. In her case those people are the Shiv Crew and their unofficial mascot, Gunnar. For them she would do anything. To her enemies, Rune and Shiv Crew are evil. But the world is like that. We are divided into us and them and the evil ones happen to be all of THEM. The Others, the Humans, the Magic, the Strangers, the Fanatics and on and on the list goes. All of these groups have branches that consider the Shiv Crew disposable, usable or tortureable. And the feelings are often mutual.
Rune is her monster and her monster is Rune. Finally, Rune is coming to terms with that. Both want to be in control and finding the balance between the two is a struggle. While few of us will have to wade through the blood and gore that the Shiv Crew do, some people have to live lives fraught with life and death situations daily. How do people balance their monsters and kinder sides in such situations? Probably the way Rune has had to, by accepting that she is becoming the person she is and needs to find a way to live with.
There is plenty of blood and gore. Some humor. Some romance, although not of the “sigh” variety. Plenty of friendship. Plenty of action. Some really sad situations. Definitely recommended.
“Doggone it, she says. Why do livin and dyin always have to be just half an inch apart?”
Bloody hell! Some reviews hurt more than others to write.
My father was a couple of years old before the Germans invaded Norway during WWII. He had passed his 7th birthday when they left. Yet there are quite a few things he remembers from that time. Especially one thing stands out with regard to The Reapers are the Angels. During the war a certain wildness was permitted in children. Many of the little ones were used by older kids to get at the German soldiers. Being little made it less likely you would get shot. Then the war ended. All of a sudden children were expected to become normal children. As my father tells that was not a simple task to perform, even for a seven year old boy. His father returned changed from POW camp. His mother had retained a great deal of psychological scarring from the war. And my father was a wild one.
Today we have more information about the mental processes of war-time experiences on children who grow up in them. One child tells of his killing as a child-soldier:
“The youngest was a girl about six. She was shooting at me.” (IRIN Africa)
In reading about young Temple, only 15 years old, her traumatized psyche was easy to see. Her feelings of guilt, being evil, should have been able to make different choices are all classic symptoms of a child with PTSD. PTSD is something I have knowledge of and I had no problem identifying with Temple a great many times.
“She eases herself to the ground and wonders when she will eventually die because she’s awfully tired, so terribly tired, and Moses Todd is right – there are debts she owes to the perfect world and she feels like she has cheated them for too long already.”
Death is nothing I fear. Each and every one of us must end our journeys there. Some of us are less afraid of it than others. For Temple her journey has brought her to the brink of death many times in her fights for survival against the slugs. She bears them no ill will. After all, a world with meatskins is all she has ever known. Accepting the world as it is seems to be her strongest quality. Somehow there is beauty to be found in just about every circumstance Temple encounters, even in her encounter with the mutants.
When Temple is saved by the half humans/half slugs you would think she had stumbled upon a gang of “krokodil-junkies” (drug used in Russia that makes your outside and insides look grosse – Slate) taken to the extreme. One thing addicts have shown us is that if the buzz is considered strong enough by its user it will be taken no matter its side-effects. The effects of injecting zombie juice into a human body are devastating. But addicts will be addicts.
“Oh lord, Royal says, marching around the room in circles. I got a fire in me, Bodie. Right now? Right now I could fuck a hole in the world. I swear to God a’mighty I could fuck and new Grand Canyon all by myself.”
Like I said – a buzz one might want repeated.
Nothing in The Reapers are the Angels points toward a happy ending for Temple. But happy endings are illusions caused by a death put off for a while longer. Sometimes there is happiness to be found in the moment of death and that is all we can hope for for our beautiful little Sarah Mary Williams, AKA Temple.
I generally do some research before writing about a book. When the blurb began:
“What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?”
I went off on one of my curiosity sprees. Roald Dahl has a wonderful version of Little Red Riding Hood (below) that resembles the version of Little Red Riding Hood that Jordan Summers writes about.
Red has three Riding Hoods that are eaten by the big bad wolf while their grandmothers are left alone. Our Were-theme is discovered in the first chapter when the murderer describes being wracked with the pain of being ripped apart and put back together again. Then he mauls and eats his murder victim. Summers’ description of the mauling and eating is just as descriptive as her description later on in the novel of sex and its prelude – pretty explicit.
The mystery part of Red is pretty straight-forward. As a reader I know everything long before Red and Morgan do. When Renee Forrester, Lisa Salomon and Moira Collins turn up dead, I draw conclusions faster than the couple-to-be. Embroiled as they are in the action and full of fear of being discovered, fear of the other not liking them, fear of the other person liking them, and being horny to the degree that the two of them are probably slows them down.
Red is full of the non-existent, exterminated Others. These people were supposed to have been wiped out. Instead they are turning up all over the place. Some of them do not even know that they are an Other. Discovering what they are might just mean the difference between life and death for themselves and others.
We are all Others of some sort. It isn’t my Asperger side that defines me as an Other but rather the Beast in me that might rear its head at some point in my life. We sure see a lot of the Beast types in the world without needing to genetically tinker one into us.
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, “May I come in?”
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
“He’s going to eat me up!” she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough!
I haven’t yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!”
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
“I’ve got to have a second helping!”
Then added with a frightful leer,
“I’m therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood.”
He quickly put on Grandma’s clothes,
(Of course he hadn’t eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma’s chair.
In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
“What great big ears you have, Grandma.”
“All the better to hear you with,” the Wolf replied.
“What great big eyes you have, Grandma.”
said Little Red Riding Hood.
“All the better to see you with,” the Wolf replied.
He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I’m going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma
She’s going to taste like caviar.
Then Little Red Riding Hood said, “But Grandma,
what a lovely great big furry coat you have on.”
“That’s wrong!” cried Wolf. “Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I’ve got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I’m going to eat you anyway.”
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She wimps a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature’s head
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, “Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat.”