Book Review – Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Hellboy The God Machine

Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas Sniegoski is the fifth Hellboy novel, based on the comic book series created by Mike Mignola. Religious artifacts and other random objects of worship have started disappearing without a trace, the identity of the perpetrator a complete mystery and their motives unclear. Following a tip from an unlikely source, Hellboy and Liz Sherman foil a museum heist attempted by crude, undead cyborgs, fashioned together with scrap technology and powered by the souls of the dead. These creatures were created by a small order of fanatical psychics, who plan to use esoteric technology to bring a new messiah into the world. If they succeed, it could bring about the complete annihilation of humanity.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 24, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

I’m between books at the moment. I meant to start reading volume 26 of Berserk by Kentaro Miura last night, but I got sidetracked.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Oddest JobsOver the weekend I finished reading the anthology Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden, and I posted the review yesterday morning. None of the successive books in this trilogy lived up to my experience with Odd Jobs a few years ago, but I’m actually fine with this. I’m thinking that might have been lightning in a bottle, between the book itself and my mindset going into it. This book was for the most part consistently enjoyable, with a few more surprises along the way than the second one. I actually enjoyed this one more, as it had a couple of stories that were really something special, going to some wonderfully weird and imaginative places. This marks the first book completed for my Series Challenge for this year too, which feels pretty good.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesAs I’ve said for a couple weeks now, I’m going to start reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I should actually start any day now. It will feel good to read a more conventional novel again (not that it’s really been all that long). I definitely want to read through Berserk Vol. 26 first, but that won’t take very long. I’ll probably read through volume 27 right after too, to be honest. Other than that, I’m really not sure what book I’ll read next. I ought to figure out the comics I’m going to read next sooner. I’ve been good about getting those read so far this year and I want to keep that momentum going.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 10, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Oddest JobsI’ve started reading Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, the third anthology of stories set in the world of Hellboy and edited by Christopher Golden. After a lot of humming and hawing, I decided to make this the only book I’m reading at the moment. It took a bit of time for my reading to gain some momentum, though I’m sitting at nearly 40% of the way through, and I’d like to no linger on this book too long. So far it’s done a great job of living up to the “odd jobs” moniker, especially the first story by Joe R. Lansdale, which had Hellboy and a weird preacher combating a spectral train that was snatching up entire town-fulls of people. They literally fight a train, and its source, and its much weirder than it simply being a ghost train.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Resistance - VillainsI’ve officially finished reading through all of the “Age of” Star Wars comic books. Last night I read through Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains by Tom Taylor et al, telling stories about the villains of the sequel trilogy. The book was of about the same middling quality as the rest of these books, which isn’t really to knock it, they’re just not that remarkable. They’re filler stories, so there’s not much to be expected other than a bit of fun. I suppose I was hoping for a little more from the Age of Resistance books, though, as I want more expanded media tied to those films/characters. For what it’s worth, I did particularly enjoy Phasma and Kylo Ren’s stories, as they offered a bit of a look at the First Order’s conquest of worlds in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy.


Reading Next

to-be-taught-if-fortunateProbably unsurprisingly, I’m not 100% what book I’d like to start next. There’s an ARC that I’ve been eyeballing that I might start, but I think I want to test the water before I commit to reading all the way through it. Just a feeling, not based on anything too concrete as of yet. Since I will have read two collections in a row after Oddest Jobs, I’m thinking it should just be a more straightforward novel. I’m considering To Be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers or The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, but I’m really just grasping at the straws from my to-read list that I feel most interested in.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 6, 2021

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Nothing this week. Been taking a little breather from reading since my blitz last week, but I’ll start reading my next book before the week is out.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1956The night of last Wednesday I read through Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al. It had been a little while since I continued this series, and it was strange coming back because of how much the whole volume felt like filler. I liked how it tied itself in with Hellboy in Mexico, which took place in the same year, having Hellboy largely absent from the events concerning the BPRD. The death of his childhood dog being part of his motivation for going AWOL/on a bender in Mexico for six months was a nice addition too, though I wish it had had some sort of emotional payoff, since the people around him were oblivious to what he was going through. The rest of the book kind of spun its wheels, though, and connected with other books I’ve yet to read.

SpiderlightI also finished Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky last Thursday, which I largely loved. It was a strong contender for one of my Top 5 Books Read in 2020, but I ended up having really mixed feelings about the ending that I’m still trying to come to terms with. When considering the novel’s tongue-in-cheek attitude toward fantasy tropes, I kind of love what the ending does to the characters and the world itself. As something emotionally cohesive with the themes of the story, however, it felt like a bit of a cop out. I’m firmly of two minds about this, which has made tackling the review in a more timely way a little difficult. I should have it up before next Wednesday, at any rate. Still, it was a great fantasy novel with an excellent inhuman character and a highly nuanced look at the dynamics of good vs evil.

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryLastly, I read through The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo as my 11th hour read for 2020, allowing me to complete my Goodreads challenge on time. Though a lot of the lore within I’d learned from secondary sources that used this very book for the information, it was a lot of fun to read through the primary source itself. I really enjoyed running into some snippets of information that I first ran into in novels that came out after this one, showing how long these ideas had been in place in canon. It provides some great, close-up images of props from the film too.


Reading Next

Master & ApprenticeSomething I’ve mentally committed to doing this year, as I did last year, is reading through the leftovers from my scrappy to-read list, which I put together every January. With that being the case, the next book I’m going to start will be Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, which I’m still really looking forward to thanks to Gray being the author. Her Star Wars stuff has been so good so far. The other two leftovers are Moby Dick by Herman Melville and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I don’t know when I’ll get to them, as I expect the first will be a particular undertaking, but I am resolved to read them this year nonetheless.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below. Happy New Year, everyone 😀

WWW Wednesday – December 30, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Decided to take an impromptu week off last week, but now I’m back and ready to read more WWWs 🙂


Currently Reading

SpiderlightI’m just about 3/4 of the way through Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and oh boy am I enjoying this book. It takes its setting and lore so seriously, yet has such a hilariously tongue-in-cheek attitude towards it at the same time. I take the characters, the quest, and their personal tribulations very seriously, but it’s also made me laugh many times. One of the main characters is a giant spider named Nth, who is made to join the band of heroes and turned into a man-spider thing by their magician. His involvement in their quest compromises the group, while he himself is miserable, and it makes for some great group dynamics. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop between him and the Chosen One of their band, as she is still far from accepting him as anything more than a thing of the Dark.


Recently Finished

During the holiday I did very little reading, so over the past few days I’ve done a blitz of reading graphic novels to catch up on my Goodreads challenge. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Shortly after my post on December 16, I read through Remina by Junji Ito, which you can read my full review for here. Though a longer book, it felt more like an expansion on a short story idea the author had, rather than something of the caliber of his other longer works. I was a little disappointed, but it still made for a decent cosmic horror story, with some fantastic imagery on two-page spreads.

I finally decided to crack open more Berserk by Kentaro Miura, reading through volumes 22, 23, 24, and 25. It’s great to be reminded again of why I love this dark fantasy series, simply by coming back to it, and it was great to see some of the veils of its world peeled back and explained more clearly than ever before, though it was a lot to take in. Manga volumes read so fast, so now I need a bunch more that I will quickly finish once I get to them.

Finally, last night I read Koshchei the Deathless by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck et al, which takes place in the Hellboy comic book series. It was a fantastic little side story about the titular character’s life, told retrospectively by the old lich to Hellboy, the two of them sitting together in a bar in Hell. Unlike other books “From the Pages of Hellboy” that I’ve read, I really connected with this one emotionally.


Reading Next

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryIt’s safe to say that the reading plans I laid out aren’t going to come together, so no Master & Apprentice until the new year. If nothing else, I want to complete my Goodreads challenge. So, as one last graphic novel for the year I’m going to reading Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al, continuing the series set during Hellboy’s early years, after not having read any since the middle of 2019. Hopefully I can recall all the little plot threads. Additionally, I’ve decided I’m going to read The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo. As of Christmas I have all of these books for the Sequel Trilogy, and decided I ought to read them instead of just sit on them. I expect it will be quick and fun, and a bit different as I don’t usually read through reference books.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon

Hellboy Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon is the 4th standalone novel in the Hellboy series of books, based on the characters from the comic book series of the same name. As with the third novel, this book is apparently considered to be non-canon with the comic book series. Mythical creatures have suddenly appeared all around the world: a werewolf stalks the streets of Baltimore, a dragon perches on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and many more. Hellboy and his fellow BPRD agents (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence) are spread thin, trying to contain the situation before more lives are lost. As things go from bad to worse, however, they come to learn that the emergence of these creatures across the globe is simply a diversion, meant to distract from a more concerted plot that, if successful, could change the world forever.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 8, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Different SeasonsI started reading Different Seasons by Stephen King over the weekend, though I’ve been busy the last couple days and haven’t made any further headway. It starts with the novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” which has been really interesting as a big fan of the film. The film is actually quite faithful to the story, it just tells it a little more chronologically and streamlines some of the story points. Red is our sole narrator, and while he’s Irish in the book, there is no escaping hearing it all in Morgan Freeman’s voice. I think it’s all the better for that. I’ll be finished this story in the book sooner rather than later, so I guess I just have to wonder if it has any surprises in store for me that were left out of the film. The rest of the book is fairly unknown territory, at least. Regardless, it’s great to read some classic King again.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I also finished reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, the fourth Hellboy novel. With all of it said and done, I want to say I have mixed feelings, but it’s actually weirdly straightforward. I think I’m going to remember this novel better than the other Hellboy books I’ve read so far because of how simple the story is. I don’t necessarily mean this as a strike against it, though I certainly do feel certain things could have been done much better. The premise was just simple enough, with memorable action and some evocative characters, that it will leave a better impression on me than some of the more complicated plots of other Hellboy books. I’ve been more preoccupied this week, but I should have a review up soon.


Reading Next

Through the WoodsI’ll be occupied with Different Seasons for a little while, I’m sure, so no novel has been chosen next, but I do really want to start reading Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, a comic book collection of short horror stories. I recently heard about this collection in a video discussing horror graphic novels, showing it as an example of some of the better stuff that has come out of Western comics lately, which made me eager to give it a look. Flipping through the pages, the art looks lovely, and I can’t wait to read through it.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – July 1, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionI haven’t finished reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon like I planned to last week, but I am less than 100 pages away from finishing it, so I got pretty close. I’ve got weirdly mixed feelings about this rather action-heavy novel. On the one hand, it is exactly what I wanted as a palette cleanser: pulpy fun. My mind does glaze over occasionally while reading extended action scenes, but Hellboy fighting a bunch of dragons wreaking an airport does make for good fun. I’m oddly most interested in the characters introduced in this novel though, i.e. none of the series main-stays. I think the writing is best when told from their perspective. A lot of the characters come of as low-key hot for each other too, which I’ve found strange. I’ll probably have it finished and a review up in the next week.


Recently Finished

Immortal Hulk AbominationOver the weekend I read The Immortal Hulk: Abomination by Al Ewing et al, the fourth volume in the series, and it has reminded me just how much I love these books. It’s a series about the Hulk told within the main Marvel Comics continuity, but tells it as a horror story. This story introduces a new interpretation of the Abomination, as well as a strange new form for the Red She-Hulk, both of which I really liked. The Abomination was absolutely haunting, which is amazing considering how mainstream and often cartoon-y these big hulking brutes are as superhero characters. Beyond the body horror of it all, I love how the psychology of Banner and the different personalities that reside within him are fleshed out and given depth.


Reading Next

Different SeasonsIt has been a week, yet before I started writing this I realized that I still hadn’t made a decision on what book I want to read next. Well, I have made a snap decision. I will finally start reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. If I remember correctly, this collection of novellas was one of the first of his books that I bought when I really started getting into his work outside of The Dark Tower, yet I let it languish while I read through others instead. It’s time to fix that. This will be a long one, but I’m hoping his writing style will help me breeze through it. My understanding is these stories have less of a horror bend to them as well, one having been adapted into the film Stand By Me and another The Shawshank Redemption.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – June 24, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I started reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, though I only got about 50 pages in. I’m enjoying how much it just dives right into its premise, that around the world different mythological creatures are appearing and wreaking havoc: a dragon perching on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a werewolf stalking the streets of Baltimore, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and more. Each is being tackled by a different Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) agent, giving us a number of perspective characters so far. These stories are intercut with with two magicians traveling the world in the 1970s, uncovering the remains of old creatures and sending them to their father, who seems to be behind the attacks in the present. I’m curious to see where the story goes and how this all ties together, especially with the monster-fighting kicking off the novel.


Recently Finished

The Rise of SkywalkerLast week I pushed myself to finally finish off reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. While I prefer how this book fleshes out the details and gives greater context for the ideas introduced in this story, there is something to be said for the visual spectacle being lost when translated to the page. My ideal version of all this would definitely be an extended cut of the film, but having been fairly satisfied with what the film was on its own, though disappointed in spots, I feel even better having read this now. Given the more unique reasons for picking up this novelization, which I don’t normally do, I don’t especially feel like reviewing this book, so I likely won’t be putting one up. I’m planning to write up a little analysis of some of the more fleshed out lore and character details, though, for the contingent of my readers who are interested in such things about Star Wars.


Reading Next

I’m at the point again where I really don’t know what I want to read next, though I’ll have to make up my mind soon, as ideally I want to be finished with Unnatural Selection by next week. I think I might take a break from reading Star Wars comics, though, to get caught up on The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing at el. I just purchased volume six on sale, which means I’ve got three of those books to read now.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

 

 

WWW Wednesday – June 17, 2020

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The Rise of SkywalkerI’ve made considerable headway in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. When I started it I intended to set aside time I’d normally use for other hobbies to read this, but my efforts on this front have been mediocre. So, with the other books I was in the middle of finished up, I decided to give this book more direct attention and now I’m over 75% of the way through. For all the film’s flaws, I still quite like it, so I’m happy to see this novel present a better version of that story. I’ve reached many of the bigger moments from the film now, and the benefit of prose and some expansions have appreciably given the story more depth. Some of my inferences prior to reading have been vindicated as well, which is always a plus.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Rogues and RebelsOver the weekend I finished up Marvel’s mainline Star Wars series that started in 2015, set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The 13th and final volume was Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels by Greg Pak et al, which nicely tied up the story lines of the previous volume. The stuff with the rock people got really weird (in the best of ways), and I particularly liked that the book didn’t try to stitch itself seamlessly into the beginning of the film that follows it. I guess I just like that it gave things a little room to breathe. The only thing that bristled me a little was one of the epilogue chapters, which tied into the end of the Doctor Aphra series, which I’ve yet to finish. I wish I’d known that was in there before I started, but oh well. It didn’t spoil too much.

White TearsI also finished reading White Tears by Hari Kunzru, which became quite intense as it got further into the back half of the novel. It made for a superbly unique ghost story, the main character Seth being pushed to the brink by the mashup of real-world and otherworldly forces that assail him. His search to uncover the origins of the anomalous “Graveyard Blues” he recorded, and in turn make-good with the ethereal musician Charlie Shaw, takes a decidedly dark turn as he gets closer and closer to the heart of the matter. It made for some effectively harrowing reading, and I especially liked the how disorienting the narrative became as his placement in reality became more distorted and unreliable. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionComing away from White Tears, which uses horror to cover rather heavy, real-world subject matter, I’ve decided I want the next book I start to weigh easier on the mind. To avoid starting another Star Wars or Discworld novel so soon, I’ve decided I’ll start Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, which is the next standalone Hellboy novel that I need to read. It should make for some good, pulpy fun as he faces off against mythical creatures turning up in major cities around the world. This will be the second multi-media tie-in novel of Lebbon’s I will have read too, after reading Alien: Out of the Shadows back in 2018. It wasn’t badly written, but I had mixed feelings, so I’m intrigued to see what he does with a less restrictive property.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.