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 »

Book Review – Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Hogfather

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett is the 20th novel in the author’s comic fantasy Discworld series, and the fourth in the Death sub-series. Susan Sto Helit, the granddaughter of Death himself, has settled into a life of education, living with a wealthy family as their astute and capable governess. Sure, she occasionally has to bash in the heads of monsters the kids imagine live under their beds or in the basement, but such things are old hat for someone like Susan. She knows all too well how powerful imagination and superstition can be on the Discworld. Aside from such hiccups, everything is perfectly normal, just the way she wants them to be.

But things take a turn for the stranger on Hogswatch Eve, a time when a jolly fat man is meant to be about delivering presents to all the good little girls and boys. He’s nowhere to be found, and in his place is Death, trying to fill the big man’s over-sized coat. With Death unwilling to inform Susan of what is going on, it’s up to her to learn the reason for her grandfather’s odd behaviour and uncover what has happened to the Hogfather. It’s a race against the clock as Hogswatch morning approaches. If she fails, the sun may never rise again.Read More »

Book Review – Bacchanal by Veronica G. Henry

Bacchanal

Bacchanal by Veronica G. Henry is the author’s newly published, debut novel. Set during the Great Depression in the Southern United States, the story follows Eliza Meeks, a young black woman barely getting by in Baton Rouge, abandoned by her family many years previously. Thanks to a latent, otherworldly power that allows her to communicate with animals, she is noticed by a talent prospector and hired by the G. B. Bacchanal Carnival as a new crowd-drawing oddity.

Among the other carnies and strange folk, Liza finds a place to call home, but Bacchanal is not entirely as it seems. Lurking behind the games, attractions, and sweet treats is a demonic being that feeds on innocent lives and imbues the carnival with the presence of spirits from beyond the veil. Only Liza has a chance at stopping her, if she can come to understand the true nature of her burgeoning powers.Read More »

Book Review – Where Have You Gone Without Me? by Peter Bonventre

Where Have You Gone Without Me

Where Have You Gone Without Me? is a recently published crime thriller novel by Peter Bonventre, a longtime journalist and award-winning sportswriter. The story follows Eddie Sabella, a 37-year-old hot shot reporter and columnist at a tabloid newspaper in New York City. The year is 2006, when a local church is rocked by a supposed miracle: their statue of St. Joseph appears to be crying real tears. Eddie gets an exclusive thanks to a tip and at first things play out like any other story for him, who is ever on the prowl for the next subject of his column. It soon becomes the story of a lifetime, however, after the statue is stolen, putting Eddie in contact with a colourful cast of characters including restaurateurs, aging mobsters, and a long lost love who up and disappeared on him 15 years before.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Lovesickness by Junji Ito

Lovesickness

Lovesickness by Junji Ito is the latest story collection by the horror manga author to be published in English by VIZ media. The featured story stars Ryusuke, a middle school student who has returned to the foggy town of Nazumi after his family moved away eight years previously. Soon after moving back and reuniting with some old friends, rumors begin swirling about a bewitchingly handsome young man who has been compelling girls to commit suicide after telling them their fortune at the crossroads. Eerily reminiscent of a dark secret of Ryusuke’s from before his family first moved away, the boy takes it upon himself to confront the beautiful boy of the crossroads and bring an end to the mystery once and for all.Read More »

Book Review – Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett is the 19th novel in the author’s Discworld series and the third novel in the City Watch sub-series. There’s murder afoot, as the bodies of a priest and a baker have been found bludgeoned in their respective homes. Headed by Commander Vimes, Captain Carrot, werewolf Corporal Angua, and their new forensics expert Cheery Littlebottom, the City Watch is on the case. Despite the talents each bring to the case, however, it seems no other living thing was present for either murder, though a lot of clay was.

Golems are made of clay, but they’re just things that do as they’re told, not alive, and murder goes against the sacred scrolls that make them function. With the case only getting foggier, the Patrician of the city, Lord Vetinari, suddenly falls victim of poison from an unknown source, weakening him but not killing him outright. Vimes and the Watch’s policing skills are put to the test as they must uncover not only whodunit, but howdunit.Read More »

Book Review – To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

to-be-taught-if-fortunate

To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a 2019 science fiction novella by Becky Chambers. Close to the end of the 21st century, science has made a breakthrough in space exploration. Using a revolutionary method called “somaforming”, an astronaut’s biology is synthetically supplemented by a patch worn on the skin, allowing them to survive the harsh conditions of interstellar travel and other planets. Instead of trying to alter the destination, we alter ourselves.

With this bold new technology on hand, a number of manned missions have been launched to survey exoplanets suspected of harbouring life. Ariadne O’Neill is part of one such mission, Lawki 6, along with three other scientists, to explore four worlds in a system 15 light-years away from Earth. Arrival on each world brings unique changes to their bodies, alien landscapes, and news of an ever-changing Earth as the years back home pass them by.Read More »

Book Review – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is the author’s first novel, retelling the life of the ancient Greek hero Achilles and the events of The Iliad by Homer. The story is told from the perspective of Patroclus, a Greek prince from a relatively small yet proud kingdom. To his father, the boy is a disappointment: small, slight, and timid. His life with this cruel, unloving father is empty and cold. After accidentally killing another noble boy who tries to take something from him, Patroclus is exiled to the kingdom of Phthia, to be fostered by King Peleus.

Initially ostracized by the other boys for his crime, he attracts the attention of Peleus’s son Achilles, a demigod destined to become the greatest hero of his time, becoming his faithful companion. As the two grow up together and become lovers, however, destiny becomes a portent of doom for any prolonged peace and happiness in their future together. Nevertheless, the call of the greatest campaign in their history becomes too difficult for one such as Achilles to ignore, compelling the two to meet whatever destiny has in store for them on the plains of Troy.Read More »

Book Review – Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

Master & Apprentice

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice is a standalone novel by Claudia Gray, set in the new canon of Star Wars. Set several years before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the story follows Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his 17-year-old Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi at a crossroads in their relationship. Though they’ve been partnered for some time, they are at odds with one another, Qui-Gon a maverick who often disregards the inflexibility of the Jedi Council and Obi-Wan more rigid and committed to following the Jedi Code to the letter.

Their partnership is put at risk of ending altogether, however, after the Council extends an unexpected invitation for Qui-Gon to join them, meaning he can no longer keep an apprentice. He takes some time to think it over, fearing he will fail Obi-Wan as a teacher if he leaves him, yet wondering if another master may be better suited to teaching him. Despite so much uncertainty between the two, they embark upon what may be their final mission together, after an old friend reaches out to Qui-Gon for help.Read More »

Book Review – Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Spiderlight

Spiderlight is a 2016 fantasy novel by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The Church of Armes of the Light has battled against the forces of Darkness for as long as anybody can remember, and their campaign against the Dark Lord Darvezian is the latest in their long history. It has been foretold that a band of misfits, led by a priestess of the Light, will bring about the end of this latest Dark Lord, armed only with their wits and an artifact retrieved from the wretched Spider Queen. The group’s conviction is put to the test, however, as they are forced to take Nth into their party, a spider from the Queen’s hideous brood. Without him they cannot find the “spider’s path” to the Dark Lord, as foretold, but can servants of the Light utilize the Dark in such a way without being corrupted by it?Read More »