Exoskeleton: Book IV – Revenant by Shane Stadler (Book Review)

Revenant is the fourth novel in the Exoskeleton series by experimental physicist Shane Stadler, and it follows on directly from its predecessors.

Those not already familiar with this series, can find my reviews of books 1 through 3 here, via the following links:

Book I – Exoskeleton

Book II – Tympanum

Book III – Omniscient

…warning: potential spoilers ahead…

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The Khehemni Chronicles: Book 1 – Dragon of the Desert by Jean Lowe Carlson (ARC Review)

Dragon of the Desert marks the beginning of a prequel trilogy in the same fantasy realm as Jean Lowe Carlson’s earlier Kingsmen Chronicles trilogy, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Set 1,000 years before events in Blackmark book 1 of the Kingsmen Chronicles, this book tells the story of the Khehemni.

With the King deemed unfit to rule and the nation gearing up for battle, it is up to the Heir Leith Alodwine, to pass his trials of kingship in order to take his rightful place as successor to the throne. Will Leith survive, or is the royal line in jeopardy? Read Dragon of the Desert now to find out.

I like that there is an appendix attached to the book with a pronunciation guide for the names and phrases, as it can be difficult to work out how to pronounce them properly otherwise. However, as usual with digital books, any maps attached – no matter how pretty they are – are almost impossible to read.

This action-packed epic fantasy from Jean Lowe Carlson will leave you breathless and wanting more, with its fast pace and thrilling story, this is everything you could ask for. Written in similar style to George R.R. Martin’s Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones) this is definitely a book fantasy fans don’t want to miss. It blends war and strife, with hope and magic. Gives us characters to root for, and inspires emotion as we travel on their journeys across the desert with them, fighting for their homes and families. With great descriptive details, you almost feel like you are right there in the desert with them, so immersed in the story it’s almost like you’re playing a part, side-by-side with your favourite characters.

At 5 out of 5 stars, I’m eagerly anticipating the release of book 2 in this trilogy, Wolf of the Resistance. While you’re waiting though, if you haven’t already, I recommend catching up on the other series and reading the Kingsmen Chronicles trilogy: Blackmark, Bloodmark and Goldenmark.

Also, for the record, I received a complimentary copy of Dragon of the Desert directly from Ms. Carlson herself and have voluntarily chosen to write this review.

See also:

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 1 – Blackmark

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 2 – Bloodmark

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 3 – Goldenmark

Armada by Ernest Cline (Book Review)

Armada is written by Ernest Cline, who’s better known for his book, Ready Player One, a best-seller later adapted into a successful film.

This book though, is written in first-person perspective from the point-of-view of American high-school student Zack Lightman, and to a certain extent is a reasonably good young adult sci-fi story. Much more believable and realistic in comparison to Ready Player One.

However, there’s far too many unnecessary pop-culture references, some of which could be considered spoilers for those not familiar with the movies, games, books or TV shows etc. that they reference. Unlike with Ready Player One, I don’t feel that these pop-culture references add any depth or meaning to the story. In Armada they just seem to be thrown-in to show how much pop-culture knowledge is rattling around inside Ernest Cline’s head, and they quickly become tedious and extremely annoying.

I’m not the biggest gamer in the world, but I’m of a generation that can understand enough of what’s going on to follow the concepts. Also FYI I’m old enough to comprehend most of the pop-culture references, unlike a lot of this books likely target audience.

…warning: spoilers ahead…

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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Book Review)

For my first book review of 2022 I’ve chosen Anansi Boys, the sequel, or rather companion novel to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. You can read my review of American Gods here.

…beware of possible spoilers…

Continue reading “Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (Book Review)”

Supernatural: The Roads Not Taken by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

The Roads Not Taken is a fantasy novel based on the cult TV series Supernatural which was created by Eric Kripke.

Tim Waggoner’s idea behind this TV tie-in novel, coupled with illustrations from Zachary Baldus, is to allow ‘YOU’ the reader a rare opportunity to decide the fate of your favourite characters, Sam and Dean Winchester. This interactive book provides four different inter-connected tales of supernatural terror and during each story there are numerous hunter style decisions that the brothers must make: Use a gun or a knife? Holy water or salt? Go in alone or wait for backup?

Each tiny decision can seal the fate for our heroes. Now ‘YOU’ the reader can make those choices and decide for yourself how you want them to end, as you travel across the back roads of America as a passenger in the Impala, during the following four adventures:

  • Here Kitty, Kitty
  • Shulman’s Model
  • Hollow Town
  • Let Us Prey
Favourite Quotes:

 “Crazy cat ladies, there’s at least one in every town.” – Dean. (pg19)

“Cat, you have five seconds to get off my car before I start shooting. And so help me, if you scratched the paint with your claws…” – Dean. (pg24)

Sam: “Heart attacks in otherwise healthy people. And the victims were found with expressions of sheer terror on their faces.”

Dean: “So? Dying is scary. We ought to know; we’ve done it enough times.”

(pg63)

“It’s cold out today, even homicidal maniacs need to stay inside and keep warm.” – Dean. (pg100)

“Crazy in life, crazy in death.” – Sam. (pg126)

Ever wondered how you would fare if you lived the life of a hunter like Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural? You ever wish the brothers had made a different choice? Well here’s your chance to seal their fate, based on your own decisions.

During The Road Not Taken, ‘YOU’ the reader have the opportunity to make each difficult choice, when you reach the pivotal moments in the story. Will the good guys win? Should you save the life of the innocent victim? Can you wait until the cavalry arrives or blunder on and hope for the best? You decide!

At 4 out of 5 stars, I’m sure the supernatural hunter inside you will love this fun little book of four short novellas and its rather unique and delightful premise. I only wish this book was a little longer.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Carved In Flesh

Supernatural: Mythmaker

Supernatural: Children of Anubis

Supernatural: Joyride by John Passarella (Book Review)

Joyride is book sixteen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the fourth to have been written by John Passarella. It takes place during season twelve between episodes 19 (The Future) and 20 (Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes).

…major spoiler warning for this review, as well as for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

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Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Book Review)

Project Hail Mary is the third sci-fi novel from bestselling author Andy Weir. Most readers are probably aware of his great debut The Martian, but if not you can read my review of that book here. Continue reading “Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Book Review)”

The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone (Book Review)

Ezekiel Boone is the writer of The Hatching Trilogy, and if you’re interested you can read my reviews of these books via the following links:

Book 1 – The Hatching

Book 2 – Skitter

Book 3 – Zero Day

 

The Mansion is his stand-alone science-fiction horror techno-thriller, which merges artificial intelligence with an old-school haunted house story. With a creepy location reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel, and a sinister AI technology, this book comes across as a mix of Stephen King horror and a Michael Crichton thriller.

 

With his marriage on a precariously balanced tipping point, debts up his eye-balls and substance abuse issues, life has taken a turn for the worst for Billy Stafford. But when his old multi-billionaire pal Shawn Eagle calls him with an offer he can’t refuse, things brighten up for Billy and his wife, Emily.

Nellie, an AI program first developed by Billy and Shawn shortly after graduating University, had been shelved after the boys parted ways. But now, years later Shawn’s made giant leaps in the programming and technology world, and finally brought Nellie to life. However, she currently has some issues. So Shawn invites Billy and Emily to his renovated Mansion, so that Billy can test drive and fine tune Nellie’s programming.

 

The vast majority of this book has numerous similarities to The Shining by Stephen King, everything from the location, to the weather, to character personalities, and even the writing style and plot. It’s almost a re-write of that novel coupled with the typical stereotypes found in stories such as this: Alcoholic father, beats wife, beats kids, kids grow-up with issues and go on to become alcoholics who beat their kids etc. ad nauseam, but with some AI and sci-fi thrown in, and not forgetting the all-important love-triangle. Despite this, and probably because of it, I really enjoyed the beginning of The Mansion. However, I got a little bored through the middle when the story began to feel stretched out, with very little of importance happening.

I was hoping for more of a horror feel to The Mansion and while there are a few horror elements, unfortunately the story is primarily techno-thriller. I’ve never been the biggest fan of this genre, or indeed of the premise of self-driving cars, despite them now becoming a reality and not just a figment of sci-fi imagination, and I always found myself squirming in discomfort every time the characters got behind the wheel of such a vehicle.

At 2 out of 5 stars I’d say the overall concept is mediocre, the AI aspects intriguing, but with all the similarities to The Shining I thought there was a lack of uniqueness to the plot which lets this book down terribly. If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Shining as a novel, and also enjoy techno-thrillers then you might appreciate the base concept behind The Mansion. However, be forewarned that once you pass the initial set-up and scene setting, the plot becomes slow and laboured for a long time before finally reaching its conclusion. I really wanted to love this book, but it dragged on so long in never-ending ways, with large chunks of time where absolutely nothing happens.     

 

See also:

The Hatching

Skitter

Zero Day

Supernatural: Children of Anubis by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

Children of Anubis is book seventeen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the third to have been written by Tim Waggoner. It takes place during season twelve between episodes 5 (The One You’ve Been Waiting For) and 6 (Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox).

…major spoiler warning for this review, as well as for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Children of Anubis by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)”

EIGHT 2: The Alpha Species by W.W. Mortensen (Book Review)

The Alpha Species is the follow-up to W.W. Mortensen’s debut novel EIGHT, and continues the story of Rebecca and Ed’s terrifying trip into the Amazon jungle from where the first book left off. Therefore, in order to fully understand this book, it’s recommended that readers are familiar with EIGHT before moving on to The Alpha Species.

You can read my review of EIGHT first by following this link.

Continue reading “EIGHT 2: The Alpha Species by W.W. Mortensen (Book Review)”