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Welcome to Sci-Fi Kingdom

Welcome to the new home of the Sci-Fi Kingdom book review blog here at wordpress.com.

 

First of all I would like to thank all of the people who supported the original website. Unfortunately, as you now know, I have had to relocate the blog. I have also decided to make a number of changes to the original format of my reviews by changing the rating system to a much more streamlined and practical 5 star system, rather than the complex 10 star system, as outlined below:

Continue reading “Welcome to Sci-Fi Kingdom”

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Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates (Book Review)

World’s Scariest Places: Book 1 – Suicide Forest

I took an interest in Jeremy Bates’s World’s Scariest Places series as it focused on real locations, which can sometimes be a nice change from made-up places usually found in fiction. However, as I began reading I remembered that what had originally piqued my interest in Suicide Forest, was the film which I had reviewed a few years before for a previous incarnation of the blog.

So I decided to post my movie review of The Forest first, and those interested can read it here.

 

I really wanted to enjoy this book, as suicide and depression are issues that are quite close to my heart, and I thought that some of these aspects of the story might be quite fascinating. However, the writing style and prose itself were very tedious, and I found myself struggling to continue reading beyond the initial 20% of the book.

My many issues with this novel include the monotonous plot – vastly different from that of The Forest – and the characters who deliberately set off for hiking and camping without proper equipment and clothing, then leaving the proper trails and paths behind, despite numerous signs and warnings not to do so.

I had expected this book to be immensely creepy or scary, considering the location, but in reality there were very few creepy moments and nothing that truly scared me. The characters plodded slowly along through this boring and overly descriptive story, until finally something of significance happened about halfway through, after which the plot dissolved into somewhat predictable and fairly ridiculous events.

At just 1 out of 5 stars, I couldn’t wait for Suicide Forest to be over, and I could move on and read something much more exciting. Frankly, and probably surprisingly, despite my negative review of the film, The Forest had a much more engaging plot than this snoozefest of a novel.

Pick up Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates, at your own risk, by following this link to Amazon.co.uk.

The Forest (Movie Review)

Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones) stars in the horror movie The Forest as Sara Price, a young woman who travels to Japan in a bid to find her twin sister Jess, a school teacher believed to have gotten lost during a routine school trip.

Aokigahara Forest is a real place in Japan, lying at the base of Mount Fuji. A place that suicidal people tend to visit when they no longer wish to continue living, and is therefore known as the Suicide Forest. Legend also has it that if you enter the forest with sadness in your heart, supernatural forces can drive that person to despair.

Despite protests from the locals, Sara is convinced that her sister is still alive due to their special spiritual connection and wishes to scour the forest in search of Jess. When she meets Aidan (Taylor Kinney – Chicago Fire), a writer who intends to journey into the forest the following day, he volunteers to accompany her to ensure that she doesn’t get lost.

When they discover Jess’s tent deep inside the forest just as night is closing in, Sara refuses to heed the advice of their guide and leave to continue their search in the morning. Instead she stays and as darkness falls, she endures strange sounds and terrifying visions.

 

When I first clapped eyes on the trailer for The Forest, I was excited to see this movie. With Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney, two actors that I admire from Game of Thrones and Chicago Fire respectively, coupled with an intriguing storyline surrounding the suicide forest, I thought ‘this looks really creepy with plenty of ghost filled jump scares’.

Oh how wrong I was. The film was definitely not the tense and scary ride that I had expected, instead being a mediocre trot around a fairly ordinary looking forest, during which time very little of interest really happens, except for an overuse of jump scares.

However, kudos to Natalie and Taylor for making The Forest a little more watchable, but by the time I reached the end and the inevitable twist, I had mostly lost all interest. The conclusion is a bit confusing and also a bit implausible. There are holes in both plotlines, regardless of whichever one you decide to believe.

The main niggles I have with the movie is that her injured ankle healed itself fairly quickly, and let’s not forget the smartphone batteries that last for well over 24 hours, despite being used as Dictaphones and torches?

This was a great idea, just very poorly executed.

At 3 out of 5 stars The Forest is worth a watch if you enjoy plenty of scares, just don’t expect too much from it. Check it out on Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

World’s Scariest Places: Book 1 – Suicide Forest (Book Review)

The 5th Wave: Book 3 – The Last Star (Book Review)

The Last Star is the third and final novel in Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave trilogy for young adults.

…warning: potential spoilers for those not already familiar with books 1 and 2…

Check out my review of book one, The 5th Wave here, or book two, The Infinite Sea via this link.

Continue reading “The 5th Wave: Book 3 – The Last Star (Book Review)”

Supernatural: The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber (Book Review)

The Unholy Cause is book five in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the first of these books to be written by author Joe Schreiber. The monster-hunting duo return for yet another adventure in this unique tale, which takes place at an unknown point during season 5.

 

The Winchester brothers are led to Mission’s Ridge in Georgia, where some civil war re-enactments have become a bit too realistic. With two dead civilians and a pack of demons invading the town, can Sam and Dean figure out how replica weapons are killing people, before they end up arrested by the local Sheriff, Jack Daniels?

 

Favourite Quote:

“War is hell.” – Phil Oiler (p109)

 

At 2 out of 5 stars The Unholy Cause is ok, personally I’m not a huge fan of war re-enactment style novels, and since I’m not American the content doesn’t really appeal to me. However, it’s Sam and Dean Winchester on the hunt of the Supernatural, so I kept an open mind. The story did enough to keep me reading, and I kept waiting for something interesting or exciting to happen, such as a jump-scare scene or super-creepy monster, but sadly nothing of any real substance happened. In truth it was a little boring for me, especially compared with some of the other Supernatural books, and I can’t say I’m all that keen to re-read this one anytime soon.

Joe Schreiber doesn’t offer much in the way of backstory about the Winchester brothers, but since the only people likely to read these books are people who are fans of the TV show, this probably isn’t much of an issue. As far as characterisation is concerned Sam and Dean are portrayed very well, and the overall pace of the novel is quite swift, so I found this to be a relatively quick read. My final negative point is that we don’t know when exactly in the overall timeline this book is set, only that it takes place during season five, and this is a small, niggly detail that the perfectionist in me hates.

 

Anyone interested in war re-enactment style fantasy novels, can check out The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber here via this link to Amazon.co.uk.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon

Brent Bolster Investigations: Book 4 – Double Infinity (Book Review)

Double Infinity is the fourth science fiction novel in the hilarious Brent Bolster Investigations series by author Michael Campling, and it is reminiscent of writers such as Douglas Adams and Red Dwarf creators Rob Grant and Doug Naylor.

…warning: potential spoilers for those not previously familiar with the Brent Bolster series…

My review of book one, Dial G for Gravity can be found here.

Continue reading “Brent Bolster Investigations: Book 4 – Double Infinity (Book Review)”

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Heart of the Dragon is book four of the TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the third book to be written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. The monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, take on another action packed adventure in Heart of the Dragon, which takes place during season 5, between episodes 8 (Changing Channels) and 9 (The Real Ghostbusters).

 

In this Japanese themed story, the boys travel to San Francisco, where an enemy previously thought defeated by both John Winchester, 20 years earlier, and the Campbell family, 40 years ago, has once again returned.

At their Angel friend, Castiel’s insistence the boys drive to California to hunt a demon that has returned to wreak havoc during the Demon-Angel war, which for those familiar with the backstory was accidentally initiated by both Dean, and then later on by Sam’s selfish handiwork – check out season 4 for further details on that.

 

While I enjoyed learning more about Samuel, Deanna and Mary Campbell, as they took down a vampire nest and faced off against the Heart of the Dragon during its first incarnation. This novel is really one story, split into three separate parts, and due to the various different time periods, there are a significant number of secondary characters. As a result Sam and Dean don’t really have that big of a part to play in the overall narrative, and aren’t in the story as much as I would like.

At 2 out of 5 stars I found the Heart of the Dragon to be an enjoyable and interesting enough book, which manages to successfully tie together a very basic story, which is told over numerous different decades. It also provides fans of the show with additional details of the Winchester brother’s family history, which we haven’t previously been offered elsewhere. However, it has a surprising lack of Sam and Dean – as well as only an extremely brief cameo from Castiel – and as most fans will know, the brother’s fraught relationship is a large part of the TV series. Therefore, this book doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.

 

If anyone wishes to check out The Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido, they can do so via this link to the Amazon.co.uk product page.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

 

Harvest Moon by J.D. Oliva (ARC Review)

I received an ARC of Harvest Moon from author J.D. Oliva and have voluntarily chosen to write this review.

In hindsight, this supernatural police procedural probably wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but having received an unexpected ARC I decided to check it out.

The plot seemed to be a little confusing at first, over whether the murderer is a copycat, or a man previously believed to be dead. Despite the witness testimony that the supposed murderer had been shot in the head five years earlier, there appeared to be some debate around whether it was possible that he might have survived. No real detail was given to back up or explain why this doubt existed and had I not already seen the werewolf on the book’s cover, I’d have given up reading. However, I persevered and somehow made it all the way to the end of this crazy story.

The novel follows ex-cop Jackson Shane, an unhinged alcoholic, who has been brought out of retirement and asked to assist in a strange murder investigation, which has links to the serial killer he supposedly killed five years before.

The book was ok, but a little boring and confusing in places. The somewhat tedious language wasn’t helped by the countless spelling and grammar errors littered throughout the story – I counted at least 125 – so the book could definitely do with the heavy hand and red pen, of a good editor and proofreader.

I’m giving this 2 out of 5 stars because I made it all the way to the end, and while it wasn’t really to my liking it may be suitable for those who like their police procedurals. Anyone interested can pick up a copy of Harvest Moon from Amazon.co.uk here.