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B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (Vol. 4): The Devil’s Engine and The Long Death: Two stories about confronting monsters

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (Vol. 4): The Devil’s Engine and The Long Death by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Tyler Crook (artist), James Harren (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer).

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (Vol. 4) gets off to a quick start. In The Devil’s Engine, we begin in New Mexico with Fenix the psychic boarding a train that, she says, makes her uncomfortable. This can be only a bad sign from a psychic. She’s accompanied by field agent Andrew Devon from the B.P.R.D. who is escorting Fenix back to the Colorado B.P.R.D. base. When Fenix’s predictions about the train start to come true at the start of the story, Devon’s and Fenix’s journey turns into a road trip from hell. They must face some of the monsters that are roaming the world and take them head-on. Also, Devon has a burning question that he’s been curious to ask Fenix about.
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Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg: Full of madcap entertainment

Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg by Phil & Kaja Foglio

The GIRL GENIUS novels are so much fun! When I picked up the first of these (Agatha H. and the Airship City), I assumed that a novelization of a web comic wouldn’t work very well. Boy, was I wrong! Though the Foglios’ artwork is fabulous, and I urge you with all the force of my will to take a look at it online, I find that I enjoy the story just as much with the novels. The Foglios have a wonderful sense of humor that really comes out in this expanded format, especially with the funny footnotes that allow them to fill in details, remind us of events that happened previously, and provide little jokes just to make us laugh.

Ag... Read More

Broken Homes: Changes the direction of the story

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Peter Grant, mediocre policeman and inferior wizard, is back. Broken Homes (2013) is the fourth instalment of Ben Aaronvitch’s PETER GRANT series, and the detective returns with his love of acronyms and Red Stripe. Once more under the supervision of DCI Thomas Nightingale, Peter, Lesley and (the newly initiated) thirteen-year-old Abigail, must police the supernatural elements of London’s crime scene.

The story opens with a series of seemingly unconnected crimes: a car accident, a body half-buried in some scrubland, a suicide and the theft of a magic book from a home of a famous architect. And the missing link? The Faceless Man, of course, the other recurring character and super-b... Read More

Cibola Burn: The flagship space opera series

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey

In my review of the third EXPANSE novel from James S.A. Corey (actually a collaborative effort from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), I said this:
How did Corey do, based on strengths I highlighted in reviews of the first two books?

fluid prose: check
likable characters: check
mostly strong characterization: check
humor that runs throughout: check
nice balance of shoot-em-up action, political fighting, and personal conflicts: check, check, and check
quick pace that had me knock of a 500+ page book in a single setting: check
a feel (in a good way) of old-time sci-fi along the likes of Heinlein or Asimov: check
a ratcheting up of tension and stakes: check and check
a sense of risk thanks to not all the characters making it to the end? check Read More

Prince of Fools: A slick, well-crafted buddy adventure fantasy

Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

Prince Jalan Kendeth is the black sheep of the family. A self-confessed untrustworthy scoundrel and coward who has taken every advantage of the life of luxury that comes with being royalty, he is perfectly content with his life as it is and has no plans to change or inclination for greater things. However, when he crosses paths with a courageous Viking named Snorri, Jal discovers that he may have been destined to stand against an undead evil. Snorri is returning north to rescue his family and, despite his unwillingness, Jal is bound by mystic forces to accompany him.

For those (like me) who are already die-hard Mark Lawrence fans, Prince of Fools, the first book in the RED QUEEN'S WAR series, is just what we expected — pure awesomeness and then some. But for those of you who found Jorg of Lawrence’s BROKEN EMPIRE TRILOGY too bloody hard for your tastes, give ... Read More

Chapel of Ease: A romantic ghost story

Chapel of Ease by Alex Bledsoe

I love that each of the novels in Alex Bledsoe’s TUFA series can stand alone. They are all set (at least partly) in the same area of Appalachia and have overlapping characters, but they each tell a self-contained story. They can be read in any order, though it would probably be ideal to read them in publication order: The Hum and the Shiver, Wisp of a Thing, Long Black Curl and now, Chapel of Ease (2016).

Chapel of Ease begins in New York City. Our hero, M... Read More

The Curve of the Earth: A pulse-pounding adventure

The Curve of the Earth by Simon Morden

Simon Morden’s The Curve of the Earth is a book that flew below the radar. It’s set in a sort of futuristic Earth. Politics and the whole “the earth is flat” thing have effected how people live, communicate, work and understand each other. The world is a different place. Some areas, like America, are ultra conservative, while others are downtrodden and rather terrifying, ruled by crime bosses. It’s a world where crossing the Atlantic takes a fraction of the time it takes now. In a world like that, the proverbial ripple of a butterfly’s wing can cause massive, sprawling political and ecological impacts worldwide in a matter of minutes. It makes today’s digital, satellite, and almost instantaneous world look like a snail’s pace in comparison.

Metrozone, the London o... Read More

Murder on the Orient Elite: A short GRIMNOIR CHRONICLES story

Murder on the Orient Elite by Larry Correia

For fans who just can’t wait for the next installment in Larry Correia’s GRIMNOIR CHRONICLES, you can get a quick fix by reading Murder on the Orient Elite. In this short story (only 1 hour and 15 minutes on audio) which is set in an alternate 1937, not too long after the events of Warbound, Jake Sullivan is contacted by Dr. Wells to do an undercover job on Wells’ dirigible, The Orient Elite. Wells, the psychopathic (and maybe also paranoid) psychologist, suspects that one of his passengers is planning to blow up the luxury airship on its maiden voyage and he wants Jake to figure out who the saboteur is. When Jake comes aboard, he realizes the ship is full of his usual enemies — Russian, German, and Japanese agents. Jake must uncover the plot (if... Read More

The Widow’s House: A consistently excellent series

The Widow’s House by Daniel Abraham

I have to hand it to Daniel Abraham; the guy takes some risks. In his first series, the absolutely masterful LONG PRICE QUARTET (read it if you haven’t), he had metaphor as the central conceit — a bit subtle and certainly less flashy than what most probably expect in a fantasy series. In his current series, THE DAGGER AND THE COIN, he makes banking one of the core action threads. Yes, I said banking. And yes, I said action. In fact, in the latest book, The Widow’s House, banking is perhaps THE pivot point of the story. I don’t how he does it, but not many authors, perhaps none, can, as he has done, have one banker explain to another banker what is basically the creation of a paper monetary system and have the reader thrill at the possibility of what that means to the plot. Yes, I said thrill.

Of course, Abraham doesn’t rely ... Read More

Batman and Robin: Requiem for Damian by Peter J. Tomasi

Batman and Robin (vol 4): Requiem for Damian (New 52) by Peter J. Tomasi

DC did a soft reboot of their universe almost three years ago. It's called the New 52, and Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi is one of my favorite books, particularly volume one, which I liked so much I taught it in my college English class. Overall, the entire series has been incredibly consistent. Even if you didn't know that Batman has a son named Damian who is the most recent Robin, you can still read and enjoy this series because it deals with significant themes and not just with superhero action. Volume one deals with Damian's coming of age in his rebellion against his father, as well as Bruce Wayne's trying to figure out how to be a loving authority figure to his young son. In events just previous to volume four, unfortunately, poor Damian died... Read More

Batgirl (Vol. 4): Wanted (New 52)

Batgirl (Vol. 4): Wanted (New 52) by Gail Simone

I have enjoyed the first few volumes of Batgirl in the New 52. It hasn't been my favorite title, but I'm a fan of Gail Simone's work so I'm usually willing to give her work a try. So far in the New 52, Simone has taken Barbara Gordon to some dark places, and doing so has worked well. However, I did not like the beginning of this particular collection, primarily because I found the main villain — the Ventriloquist — to be just too creepy and disgusting for my tastes. But after the story about the Ventriloquist, the comic book gets much better. It's still dark, but in a more interesting way. Overall, Batgirl: Wanted is okay in the first half and excellent in the second half.

The story of the Ventriloquist is the story of a little girl who discovers she has the power to control other people's actions and voices; when she grows up, she mainly uses an evil-looking mal... Read More

Blade Reforged: Fun cloak and dagger fantasy

Blade Reforged by Kelly McCullough 

Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE series has been a lot of fun to read. For fans of cloak and dagger fantasy, it’s been a welcome, easy to read morsel. You really don’t need to pay close attention because the story is about humor, a little danger, long lost romance and loyalty to ideals that have been lost. It’s not complex, but it’s good.

Blade Reforged follows Aral Kingslayer through his final transformation back from dissolute, amoral thug-for-hire to someone who at least resembles the rising star of the Order of Namara before her death at the hands of the Son of Heaven. His reformation, as the events of the past books have chronicled, has been very gradual. From relative indifference to the world around him, to caring about a former Novice from his Order, to defeating a former mentor and Master of his Order because he has gone over to the enemy, Aral has become a bet... Read More

Aquaman: Death of a King by Geoff Johns

Aquaman (Vol. 4): Death of a King (The New 52) by Geoff Johns

Geoff Johns, perhaps best known for his incredible nine-year run on Green Lantern, has written another winner with Aquaman: Death of a King. The company-wide reboot of all DC titles is known as the New 52, and it's had a lukewarm reception, to put it mildly. Post-reboot, only a handful of titles have been considered exceptional, including two by Geoff Johns: His start to Aquaman and his Read More

Green Lantern: Dark Days by Robert Venditti

Green Lantern Vol. 4: Dark Days (The New 52) by Robert Venditti

Venditti has one of the most difficult jobs a writer can get in writing monthly comics: Taking over a title that has just finished a long successful run by another author. Green Lantern was written by Geoff Johns from 2004-2013. And, though I've never been a huge Green Lantern fan, I read that series because Johns is a great writer. Because of Johns, I know enough about Green Lantern's character to be interested in what he's up to now, and though Green Lantern Vol. 4: Dark Days is not a great book, it's certainly a Read More

Tricked: Oberon and Granuaile are back

Tricked by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, the 2000 year old druid who looks like he’s 22, has just pissed off a bunch of Old Norse gods (for details, read Hammered) and now he must go into hiding. It’s a good time for that because what he really wants to do is spend the next 12 years training his gorgeous and smart apprentice, Granuaile. Fortunately his werewolf lawyer can fix up some new identities, but first he has to fake his own death so the gods will stop hunting him, and then he needs to do a favor for Coyote, the Navajo trickster god.

Of course, this doesn’t go as easily as he hopes. The favor that wily Coyote demands involves befriending an elemental that Atticus doesn’t know, transferring a vein of gold to a Native American reservation, sabotaging a coal mining company, fighting off some scary skinwalkers, and battling some “locusts of unusual size.” And he’s also a little worried about the new vampire... Read More