Interesting setting and plot wasted with a lackluster resolution.
Dawn in Damnation opens in a western bar where a veteran resident is explaining how a newbie got there. Damnation is “hell’s sifter”. Those that have some redeeming qualities included in an evil life, go to Damnation to be judged. Those that kill a man, go straight to hell. Men who can avoid killing for a year might make it to heaven but no one has made it yet. The town, in perpetual dusk with an eerie sky, includes a “dead” vampire and a pack of dead werewolves.
The setup for this plot is innovative. However, foreshadowed events go nowhere and the ending just dribbles to a close without resolution of any of the town or citizen’s issues or questions. Instead there is a preview of volume two of the series that seems to indicate the addition of more problems rather than a resolution of the current ones.
There is nothing more frustrating than rushing to read a book to find out what happens–and then nothing is explained (heavy sigh). I can’t recommend this book even though I loved its innovation. 1 star.
Thanks to the publisher, Lyrical Underground, and netgalley for an advanced review copy.
Posted in Horror, Paranormal Tagged with: oct 31, vampires, werewolves
A former Pinkerton detective, MacGregor, searches for a known criminal in a Western town infected with evil.
Set in 1890, the villainous gangs in this graphic novel are extremely original paranormal creatures. Their originality is the best part of this book. The other characters are western movie stereotypes like the damsel in distress, the old doc and the crooked richest man in town. The plot is a standard western trope too with the usual villainous gangs replaced with monsters. There is also an off-hand reference to steampunk and a sub-plot regarding slavery, which seemed to be afterthoughts.
I love the idea of a western paranormal mashup. It makes sense that an old mine might house evil. The plot is good if somewhat derivative. However, the artwork is murky and it is frequently difficult to tell what is happening. Many of the panels use the exact same color for the foreground and the background with only a thin line separating the two. Also, the shadowing is done using thick cross-hatching, while the outlines are using thin lines that decreases the clarity in many panels. The original online comic won a Harvey award and didn’t have this clarity issue. Hopefully, that will be the way it will appear in the final released version.
The real reason to read High Moon #1 and the next volume due out in May 2018 is to prepare for the all-new volume 3. The original web series ended with a cliffhanger about seven years ago. Fans of the original series and others that want a good quick scary read for Halloween will be interested in this book. However, others should get a free Kindle sample or view the book in person to make sure the artwork issues have been cleared up before ordering a copy. 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Papercutz, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Paranormal Tagged with: oct 31, series, western
Great teen/young adult paranormal mystery perfect for fans of Beetlejuice and The Good Place.
It was the worst possible day for Echo. She had 70s makeup and 80s hair. Oh, she was also in an open casket at her own funeral. Okay, maybe being murdered was worse.
Sixteen year old Echo wakes up in Middle House not knowing how or why she arrived there. Soon she realizes her goal is to bring her murderer to justice. There is more than just one mystery to solve in Bad Girl Gone. Why does the caretaker, Mrs. Torvous, keep crying? Why doesn’t her best friend, Cole, talk about why he is in Middle House?
Bad Girl Gone was written by a screenwriter and it shows. This book would make a great movie. The author makes the setting feel real. This is paranormal at its best–not frightening but more thought-provoking. How would you handle it if you switched places with Echo? The use of ghosts in a paranormal mystery is not new. There is Bailey Ruth and The Others. However, the world building in Bad Girl Gone seems more organic like a science fiction or fantasy plot. Bad Girl Gone also has some clean romance.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking for the something different than the usual werewolf or vampire paranormal mystery.
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that did not impact my review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: Afterlife, romance
Great paranormal mystery set in near future New Zealand.
Penny is a scientist who has just opened a her own business. Her first criminal case includes a missing person, a large pool of blood and a ceremonial bowl.
Her brother, Matiu, is her driver in 2040s Auckland where pollution is rampant and few can afford private cars. Luckily, their rich parents run a car service, which is where Matiu works. Matiu has a criminal past and is recently out of prison on probation. Matiu has a special power.
It’s his blessing, his curse, to feel the veil that lies between the worlds, to touch it as it slips and slides in his grasp, rasps along his senses, teases at his dreams.
Matiu and Penny begin to solve the crime–not just do crime scene analysis as Penny has been contracted to do by the police. The clues to the solution are as varied as Rasputin and the Egyptian god Osiris.
The best part of the Hounds of the Underworld is the prickly but humorous sibling dynamics. Setting the novel in near future New Zealand is so brilliant! I’ve never read another novel with that setting so it feels fresh in a genre that frequently feels overused and stale. I also felt that the characters acted in ways that most people would react in similar circumstances.
The ending was engrossing and a real page-turner. However, it did leave a couple of major plot points hanging so I took one star off for that. This is book one in a planned series so I understand the point of having a cliffhanger but I thought this was a bit too much. Hopefully, the next book in the Path to Ra series will be published soon!
I would highly recommend this book to any mystery lover who wants more diverse plot elements than your standard genre book. This novel combines four genres: mystery, fantasy, light science fiction and paranormal. And it does it with style! Just don’t expect all the plot’s skeins to be neatly rolled up at the end.
I received this book in a Librarything giveaway but that has not impacted my review.
Posted in Fantasy, Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Science Fiction Tagged with: near future, New Zealand, Siblings
Great characters in an absorbing paranormal romantic mystery.
This was a good paranormal romantic mystery. Maybe it’s because I have read so many mysteries, but Force of Nature seemed rather easy to figure out. However, I loved the characters in the book–each had their own voice, motivations and quirks. The paranormal part was good too just enough to keep it interesting without becoming silly. I truly loved the ending.
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway but that has not impacted my review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, Paranormal, Romance
Makes you think what would you do! If you loved Scott Pilgrim, you will love this one more.
I loved this graphic novel. The plot was totally unpredictable. It also mashed together so many genres that it is hard to categorize, which is great. Maybe young adult paranormal mystery sci-fi romance?
I picked up this book because I enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim vs the World books by the same author. However, I believe this book is better and it is not a series so you get the immediate gratification of an ending. The magic mushrooms in the plot make you think about how you would change your mistakes well after you have finished the book.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: do-over