Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Broken glass

  I initially passed on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas since an endorsement on the cover compared it to Game of Thrones and the Hunger Games. That sounded pretty much like a copycat of sorts to me. I was both right and wrong. As usual the endorsements didn’t really help the book, but just confused a potential reader. The story didn’t truly remind me much of either series of books mentioned, but is a somewhat original take on the mythical fantasy assassin.
  Celeana is in jail, in beyond cruel slavery in hellish salt mines, a dreary, unending existence, without any visible hope of getting out, but eventually she does, anyway. Her further path remains perilous. One wrong move may mean death. Her freedom beckons, but only if she can survive a competition between killers and become the King’s Champion. She does not ask if it’s the right thing to do. She doesn’t have a genuine choice. So she fights and keeps fighting, like she’s practically born to do.
  There is cruelty here, even if there should have been more, there is realism, even though there should have been more of it and better defined. I read the entire book through and that is certainly rare enough in itself. Usually, I lose interest halfway. The story does hold my attention. Its suspense is sufficient to hold my interest to the end, and I might want to read the next book in the series in spite of its flaws.
  This is a young adult romance book and that is ruining much of my enjoyment. An assassin behaving like a lovesick brat is so infuriating that I can hardly express it. The absence of sex and of truly mature themes in general is always insulting.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

In the age of Trump

  This novel would have been important no matter who the US president happens to be, but in the age of Trump: novels like Thunder Road -Ice and Fire by Amos Keppler become more important than ever.
  There is just a desperate need for people speaking up against the narrow-minded view on climate change and life in general Trump and his people represent.
  This isn’t a documentary, even though it’s documenting in excellent ways the step by step results of human folly. It’s an engaging story describing the ultimate ramifications of recent human idiocy. We follow a group of people slowly turning into a tribe, following them as they travel from south to north in Europe, and even as climate change refugees from even farther away.
  Human civilization itself is collapsing around them, collapsing under its own weight. Extreme measures slowly, surely become needed and downright mandatory in order to survive. They fight on, against impossible odds, struggling beyond struggling to reach a place at least approaching a safe haven, in a world that has become so dangerous that death might strike at any time. This is a reality far removed from any ivory tower and especially those where Trump and his people reside.
  One of the greatest scenes in the novel is when a man stands in front of his house and the fast-rising ocean splashes his feet and he shouts: NOTHING BUT NATURAL VARIATIONS
  I will always visualize Trump in my mind when I think of that part…

Monday, March 20, 2017

The scary depths within us all

  This is my review of Shadows by Shaun Hutson. Hutson was a great, underestimated author during his lifetime. It pleases me to honor him now.
  He wrote many fairly good novels, but this is his best. This one is great!
  You know early on that this isn’t a storybook, a run of the mill tale. It’s too cruel, too real life for that. The characters aren’t exactly model citizens or saints in any way. I see it pretty much as a hard core, black metal novel without audible music. It offers a hard, uncompromising look at modern mankind, giving no quarter.
  Against a backdrop of the celebrities’ paranormal scene, we’re drawn into a dark and sinister stage. Hutson pulls no punches when describing either that or a society plagued by corrupt politicians and officials. One scene of the book, where a politician goes completely overboard with his distaste for his constituents is particularly memorable. Hutson excels in gallows humor, not only in his writing of dark tales, a feature I certainly appreciate.
  In a very clever manner we never see the entire picture, everything happening until almost at the end. Several people we might suspect of being the villain are revealed to be just unsympathetic and not the true instigator of the ongoing and deepening horror. We keep guessing until the shocking end and are left hanging even then.
  Hutson, at his best is an entire genre on his own, as every author should be.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Unreasonable reasons

 One more in an endless line of silly reasons why we should believe there is a God and worship him/she/it is the following:

  «Why take the chance of denying him/she/it? What if he/she/it is real and you end up in hell? What do you have to lose by accepting him/she/it?»

  Which God? In an extended pantheon of thousands it will be difficult to pick the right one. And choosing any of the wrong is often sufficient to ensure the wrath of the others. No thanks...

  Becoming religious, on the other hand is to join in on the brutal oppression of humanity spanning thousands of years.

  Atheism makes sense to me, like a true path, not one where you join billions of oppressive con men.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thoughts on the novel ShadowWalk by Amos Keppler

The first thought striking me when I’m reading ShadowWalk by Amos Keppler is how great it will be as a film, if the story is followed closely. Its visuals are truly amazing.

Then tons of other thoughts strike me. I’ve rarely read a novel so rich in detail and content.

This is a book about witches, about the hidden depths of the world, still here, even in this age of indifference and inch-deep culture.

It isn’t just that Keppler write about alternative lives in one specific area. He does it in all areas, presenting us all with riddles of mystery and empowerment. His stories are like a looking glass into a different, but very real realm of existence.

It also takes a good, hard look at Christianity and its violent history and present, and has a great origin myth for God. It's filled with blasphemy. This makes it even more valuable to an atheist like myself.

Strong-willed women and people loving strong-willed women will definitely love Keppler's books. There are few «typical, civilized, conditioned, overcautious human female characters» in his books. He doesn’t insult the readers that way either.

Any Keppler is an entry into the unknown world of humanity and ShadowWalk is one of his best.

It’s also the first in the series The Janus Clan. At least I read that one first and it worked fine.

So far four books have been published and they are all intense beyond words. While reading them you are venturing into the real world, not the fantasy most present day people immerse themselves in.

The Defenseless is another starting point, the book that is «officially» the first book and it’s certainly the start of the story chronologically. The main characters are merely early teenagers at this point, taking their first nascent steps on their path of vast discovery and endless growth, but life’s cruelty is with them already, as it always is and will be.

If you want to read a pleasant goodnight story for children, stay away from this one. If you seek a story filled with brutal realism and one that doesn’t insult the reader, go for it with all your heart. ShadowWalk, The Defenseless, The Slaves and Birds Flying in the Dark are all novels written for those having a strong need to experience everything life has to offer, both within and outside made up stories.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Control

"To keep control, we are schooled, taught, and programmed against our own natures by the fear instilled in us by grown-ups and authority figures. And it's all a lie! We are warned not to lie, that it's bad to lie, but the people who are telling us that are lying to us all the time!"
Charles Manson

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sighing wind

The wind is sighing between the tombstones. Even when there is no wind there is a whisper in the rotting ears of the walking dead. Skeleton feet are subbing on the wet ground. An ice cold howl casts its echo between the walls of the downtrodden castle. Blood is dripping from dirty branches and color the stone gray. Fangs and claws flash in the dirty moonlight. The thunderous sound of growth mixes with that of tasty raw meat torn apart. Blood and bones and slices of flesh decorate the overgrown garden. The ballet and the dance begin on the desolate yard. The ground is slick, causing many to slip and break their neck, and the ground turns even slicker. Blades turn golden metal in the light from the fires, and red upon being dipped in buckets of blood. The swimming pool in the backyard is used often and well. Virgins are being fucked to abandon, drawing their final breath through cut throats. Hot seed is pumped into cooling bodies. It’s raining and people calling the castle home are cheering and drinking the most exquisite wine. Skulls are the most practical of glasses. Bodies decorate the trees as the most beautiful of dreams, as art in red and gray. At dawn most people are rushing by. Only a few stop to admire the exhibition, the desolate beauty, and even fewer dare venture inside when the night once more grows ascendant. Huge eyes glow in the moonlight, while raindrops fall like knives in the three-dimensional painting breathing and panting and rocking on the enormously beautiful graveyard right by the city hall, where the undead politicians are making their final effort before nightfall.