Categories
Book Reviews

Song of Kali by Dan Simmons

After the Romans had conquered the city of Carthage, they killed the men, sold the women and children into slavery, pulled down the great buildings, broke up the stones, burned the rubble, and salted the earth so that nothing would ever grow there again.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book in my life set in India with such a great accent on how crappy the place is / was.

Told from first person POV, the story of how the Song Of Kali came to be is both a mix of supernatural and an absolute trashing of Calcutta and India. What begins as an exploration of an exotic and forbidding world turns into a harrowing descent of steadily mounting terror when an American writer travels into the dark underworld of the cult of Kali.

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This masterful and terrifying debut novel has earned Hugo- and Bram Stoker Award-winning author Dan Simmons the World Fantasy Award.

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Book Reviews

Zero G by Dan Wells Book Review

I had the book in my audiobook library and it came as a freebie so I had my expectations on low and under.

I was blown away with the acting, the smart way of introducing interesting concepts to children and for actually making you think for a while. If you’ve seen the movie “Passengers” with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, the premise of this book is quite similar. A passenger wakes up from cryo sleep during a long-haul colonisation mission. The passenger is only a boy though and through his questions and explorations, we find out a few cool facts about space and also have the opportunity to embark in a good adventure.

Feel the excitement!

Length: 4 h 8 min

Categories
Book Reviews

Parrot and Olivier in America – Peter Carey Book Review

Novel set around 1830 and narrated alternately by Parrot (the son of an English engraver killed for unwittingly participating in a Dartmoor counterfeiting ring) and Olivier (the grandson of a Nobel guillotined in the revolution and whose family cautiously support restoration).

Categories
Book Reviews

01 – The Witcher Saga – The Last Wish

I absolutely love The Witcher (after randomly coming across one of the later books in the series). So I decided to do what every sane person would do – get all the books, all the audio books, all of the original Polish comics (and I say ALL) and read it from the start.

The Last Wish follows Geralt as he travels from one part of the land to the other righting wrongs, discovering mysteries and saving people. The stories might seem familiar because you’ve already heard them growing up. Like Cinderella:

Prince Hrobarik, not being so gracious, tried to hire me to find a beauty who, sick of his vulgar advances, had fled the ball, losing a slipper

Categories
Book Reviews

Margaret Atwood – Lady Oracle Book Review

Why did every one of my fantasies turn into a trap?

Ms Foster has a secret identity. She has a nom-de-plume of Lousie DeLacourt and is known for writing trashy novels for the bored housewives of the world called Costume Gothics. The kisses are always chaste, the women always nearly escape from rape and murder and their caped hero is always there to rescue them.

She, herself, needs some escaping – from both a life as a unhappy housewife and also from a jealous lover and a count who turns up across the ocean to take her back to her subdued mistress role in England. Sounds like a good story! And it is!

This is one among the first books that Margaret Atwood wrote, closely after The Edible Woman.

Title: Lady Oracle
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dimensions: 345 pages, 6.88 × 3.98 × 1.21 in
Published: March 26, 1999

Every myth is a version of the truth

And Joan Foster begins her tale with how she faked her murder and ran away to Italy. Sounds like Gone Girl right here! She looks back on her life and her choices that brought her to this specific point in her life and we get to grow up with her in a house where the mother was never happy, where the father was mostly absent and where a kind-hearted aunt would come in and help entertain the girl. The girl Joan used food as a form of punishment, of rebellion. She gorged on everything she could find, she grew to enormous proportions and loved to ignore any hint of weight loss or other catalogues left behind by her mother.

“In my experience, honesty and expressing your feelings could only lead to one thing: disaster”

https_%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fen%2Fe%2Fe9%2FLadyOracle.jpgWhen her aunt Lou passes away, she leaves behind a small inheritance for Joan with the condition that she would lose weight. A lot of it. Joan takes it as an offence at first – her partner in all the lovely times in her childhood is no longer around her and in her will she feels criticised for her weight. She goes on to loose it with anything she can do. She starves herself, drinks weight-loss pills, worries her mother again who now leaves cakes lying around the house to encourage her to eat again. In a heated argument, her mother picks up the knife and lightly stabs her in her arm. She runs away afterwards and goes to England.

I wanted to forget the past, but it refused to forget me; it waited for sleep, then cornered me.”

She quickly finds out two things: She has no viable skills to help her find suitable employment and after her sudden weight loss, she suddenly starts attracting male attention. She bumps into an older man, a Polish count who escaped the Nazis and who made a living by writing trashy novels with Nurses as main characters. Joan quickly ponders that no real nurses would ever have the time and patience to read such books but that women will always look for ways to escape in a fantasy world and maybe, just maybe, she can help.

She unwillingly becomes the count’s mistress and then gets resigned to this role. She can eat caviar from a tin and can write in her spare time. She soon starts earning more money than the count who took her in and he starts getting jealous and petty. She runs away when he threatens he will lock her in the house.

I believed in true loved, he believed in wives and mistresses, I believed in happy endings, he, in cataclysmic ones.

She goes to live with Arthur, a guy who was spreading flyers on the street about different causes he was interested in. One day she gets a surprise visit: her mother, crying, sitting in the middle of the living room! It was only a ghost and soon he gets a telegram from her father telling her that her mother had died.

She goes back to Canada, continues writing trashy novels and marries Arthur in a non-denominational ceremony.

“For true happiness, you must approach life with a feeling of reverence. Reverence for life, for those loved ones who are still with us and also for those who have gone before. Remember that all we do and all that is in our hearts is watched and recorded, and will someday be brought to light. Avoid deception and falsehood; treat your lives as a diary you are writing and that you know your loved one will someday read, if not here on this side, then on the other side where all the final reconciliations will take place.

Above all, you should love each other for what you are and forgive each other for what you are not. You have a beautiful aura, my children, you must work to preserve it.”

Her life is oddly domestic and the only adventure comes from secretly putting out novel after novel after novel. She studies her competition and decides to introduce a bit of supernatural in her books. For this, she goes into an induced trance-like state where she imagines going down a labyrinth holding a candle. This is a descent into her subconscious and upon her return she finds odd words scribbled on a piece of paper with a writing that was not like her own.

“She sits on the iron throne
She is one and three
The dark lady
the redgold lady
The blank lady
oracle
of blood, she who must be
obeyed
forever
Her glass wings are gone
She floats down the river
singing her last song”

She decides to try to sell the new poetry that came out and she finds a publishing house that was absolutely in love with it. She gets published, she has interviews lined up for her and a bright new future. Arthur, her husband, is not so thrilled. He feels cheated that she didn’t tell him about this book (he still has no ideas about the others) and thinks that the poem is about him.

We see Joan who now starts keeping even more secrets, can’t seem to reconcile her relationship with Arthur and starts a new one with an artist. Cheating couples and minor tragedies galore. Her relationship with the artist gets discovered (well after it’s ended) by a scummy journalist who was thinking about blackmailing her into sharing 20% of her profits with him.. She then decides to stage her disappearance with the help of two friends and run away to Italy, at the same time inventing a new persona for herself.

Categories
Book Reviews

Flesh and Spirit – Lighthouse Duet * Carol Berg Book Review

This was a difficult book to make it through for me. I kept looking around the corner expecting to find something that just was never there. I got bored during the first half and even though people thoroughly recommended it for its well rounded characters, the book never picked up the pace well enough to make it through.

The book was the winner of the 2009 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature
Finalist for the 2008 Colorado Book Award

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“Loyalty never put blood back in a man’s veins.”

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Stephen King

The Talisman * Stephen King

https_%2F%2Fvincentchongart.files.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F02%2Fthe-talisman.jpgThere are some books that stay with you for a very long time. This is one of them. Set in the universe of the Dark Tower and the Territories, Stephen King brings to life the epic journey of a young boy to save his mother. From one side of the States to the other. Hitchhiking through dangerous situation, meeting all kinds people and battling his own uncle. It’s the story of Jack and his mother, Queen of the B movies, Lily Cavanaugh.

PS: The story of Jack is continued in The Black House * Stephen King And Peter Straub

Categories
Excerpts

The Talisman * Stephen King Excerpt * The Multi-verse of the Dark Tower

This excerpt is taken from The Talisman. It’s just after Jack took possession of the fabled treasure and he realised that he was holding the axis mundi.

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Categories
Stephen King

Riding the bullet * Stephen King short story

“I know something now that I didn’t before. The worst stories are the ones you’ve heard your whole life. Those are the real nightmares.”

riding-the-bullet (1)I really liked this book because the whole concept was really unique. No one really writes a book about hitchhiking.  The story grabs you by the throat from the first lines, because it has such a true feel to it. Stephen succeeds in giving Alan Parker such a believable background, that when the hammer hits the pain is extremely powerful. At the end the story struggles a bit, but since it gives you something nasty to think about it still stays bearable.

There were hidden messages through out the book and the details and ongoing journey made it interesting. In addition, this is a very short read that didn’t drag on whatsoever, so if you don’t have much time but want to read something unique and interesting, then this is probably the book for you.

Categories
Dean Koontz

The eyes of Darkness * Dean Koontz * And a bit about Las Vegas

It has been nearly a year since I’ve picked up The City – Dean Koontz Book and I wanted to read something on my flight. I found The Eyes of Darkness in my e-library and decided to give it a go.
md19386008971.jpgHere was a surprising book about love, about a divorce, about a child that was burried but not dead and a secret agency with a dark secret.

This is a story about a mom in search of her son (which reminded me of Stranger Things for some reason).

This is a story about Las Vegas and the show life – and a few funny exchanges which are so lacking in the later Dean Koontz books.

Here’s one piece of dialogue I found most endearing:

“I guess you’ll be going to a New Year’s Eve party.”
“I hate New Year’s Eve parties. Everyone’s drunk and boring.”
“Well, then . . . in between all that popping in and out of Magyck!, do you think you’d have time for dinner?”
“Are you asking me for a date?”
“I’ll try not to slurp my soup.”
“You are asking me for a date,” she said, pleased.
“Yes. And it’s been a long time since I’ve been this awkward about it.”
“Why is that?”
“You, I guess.”
“I make you feel awkward?”
“You make me feel young. And when I was young, I was very awkward.”
“That’s sweet.”
“I’m trying to charm you.”
“And succeeding,” she said.
He had such a warm smile. “Suddenly I don’t feel so awkward anymore.”
She said, “You want to start over?”
“Will you have dinner with me tomorrow night?”
“Sure. How about seven-thirty?”
“Fine. You prefer dressy or casual?”
“Blue jeans.”
He fingered his starched collar and the satin lapel of his tuxedo jacket. “I’m so glad you said that.”

 The story:
Tina Evans has spent a year suffering from incredible heartache since her son Danny’s tragic death. But now, with her Vegas show about to premiere, Tina can think of no better time for a fresh start. Maybe she can finally move on and put her grief behind her.

Only there is a message for Tina, scrawled on the chalkboard in Danny’s room: NOT DEAD. Two words that send her on a terrifying journey from the bright lights of Las Vegas to the cold shadows of the High Sierras, where she uncovers a terrible secret.
When she first saw the message in the room she immediately suspected her cheating ex-husband, Michael, looking for revenge. She calls him but when he doesn’t respond, she goes on a hunt to get him to confess his morbid torture of her wits. The discussion with him proves he’s innocent but also uncovers a quite funny list of Las Vegas Diseases.