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

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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

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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

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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

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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.