Category Archives: Reviews

Soulless by Gail Carriger

 

Title: Soulless

Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Page Count: 284 pages

ISBN: 9780316056632 (Orbit; US; 2009)

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Worth a Read?: At least once, if you enjoy supernatural tales with a comedic romance flare.

 

 

 

“First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?”

This is a collaborative review by A. Lachance and M. McKinnon.

A: My first impression was laughter. Those first few paragraphs grab you by the funny bone with their premise — vampires, tarts, parasols… Really? I didn’t pick it up right away, but I knew I’d end up getting to it eventually.

M: The good thing about getting books recommended to you by people who have already suggested many other books that you’ve enjoyed is that there is a very good chance that you’ll enjoy the next one too. I admit, looking at the cover of this, I wasn’t sure about this one at all, but once my eyes had passed that first page, I was certainly not going to put it down, in case there were more amusements to come my way.

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Kraken Bake by Karen Dudley

 

Title: Kraken Bake

Author: Karen Dudley

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy

Page Count: 472 pages

ISBN: 9780888014665 (Ravenstone; UK; 2014)

Format: Trade paperback edition

Worth a Read?: Absolutely yes!

 

 

 

“It’s a great day for Greece when Perseus defeats the dreaded kraken. But victory begins to lose its lustre when the remains of the beast swamp the shores and fishing nets of the Aegean. Now after weeks of kraken cakes, kraken kabobs, kraken fritters, and kraken stew, everybody is getting decidedly sick of kraken – none more so than Chef Pelops.”

This was a surprise for me. First, it was a surprise that I picked it up from the shelf with nary a word known about it, and, second, because I ended up enjoying it so much! I have a bit of a terrible track record for picking up books on the fly, so this was a welcome change.

Kraken Bake is set in Greece and littered with characters who, if you have any love of mythology, you’ll quickly recognise, but these are not your mother’s Greek icons. This book is neither a history, nor a mythology lesson. There are elements of Greek myth and society interlaced in this fantasy tale, but it is exactly that—fantasy.

Dudley, however, crafts the world beautifully with enough research and reality to ground the story and make it believable. I didn’t bat an eye when Dionysus shows up in the agora for a chat any more than I did while reading the description of the various shops or architecture there. A cute little tidbit going along with the story are the advertisements for those shops and other elements of the book popping up here and there.

This is, for all intents and purposes, more a comedy than anything else. If you develop any love for the main character, your heart might break a little in places, but his temperament (and narration), the various conflicts, and Dudley’s style are sure to give you a few smiles (maybe some out loud laughs too).

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Newfangled Death by Derek Achoy

 

Title: Newfangled Death

Author: Derek Achoy

Genre: Horror/Short Story Anthology

Page Count: 54 pages

ISBN: 9781479357420 (Self-published in 2012)

Format: Trade paperback edition

Worth a Read?: Absolutely yes!

 

 

 

“A volume of sad/strange/silly stories featuring weirdos and sweethearts, immobile birds and neglectful planets, all flavoured with a loving dash of death.”

I will preface this review by saying, I’m initially very skeptical of any and all self-published works. There’s a tendency for authors to try doing everything without the experience necessary to completely succeed. I always expect flawed editing, poor design, and printing errors from even the most diligent people.

So imagine my surprise to hold this near-perfect book in my hands. It’s a very thin book at 54 pages in length, but every last story is tidy, articulate, and surprisingly meaningful. There are a total of 8 short stories ranging from the gory “Bookworms” to the more psychologically heartbreaking “Lighthouse.”

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