Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Four books done this past week

I always get a lot of reading done when I'm on trains and when I'm staying with my parents. I find that if I don't have the computer as a distraction I get a lot more reading done :P So here are the four books I've finished these past days. Thursday - today.

Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack, by Mark Hodder. It's the first in a steampunk series and it's the first time I've actually read a proper steampunk novel (not counting Jules Verne cause he wasn't intentionally steampunk). I loved the book to the point that even before reading 200 pages I bought the sequel. If not counting the steampunk genre the book falls somewhere on fantasy/sci-fi/mystery/detective. The main character is, despite the series name, Sir Richard Burton, who is a very intriguing character. He becomes the King's Hand (Queen Victoria was assassinated and Victorian England is now called Albertian England) and is tasked with investigating the werewolves that have abducted young boys all over London. At around the same time he's assaulted by a creature that can only be described as the Spring-Heeled Jack, the bogeyman of this universe. He discovers that a detective inspector of the Yard has been ridiculed for claiming that Spring-Heeled Jack exists and from him Burton is also tasked with finding out the truth about Spring-Heeled Jack. As the novel goes along, Burton starts to suspect that he's not working on two cases, but one...

The Undertaken Trilogy: Mistle Child, by Ari Berk. It's the second novel in The Undertaken Trilogy. I previously read Death Watch and it was really good albeit a bit slow at times. But while reading Mistle Child it became obvious that Death Watch had worked as some sort of prologue for the series. There's a lot of action going on in Mistle Child and it becomes impossible to put down. The series is filled to the brim with mythology and folklore concerning death. Ghosts, living dead, shadowlands, Watcher of the Threshold etc etc. I love the characters and the scenery in this series, which is the reason why I continued reading it after Death Watch. The only thing I don't like about this book is the name. Mistle Child is only mentioned once in the beginning and then not again until the very end when suddenly everything is about this Mistle Child. I'd rather the book were named Arvale or Janus, but I can see a theme of naming every book in the series two words, so I guess that's why. In this book the main character Silas Umber has settled into his role as the new Undertaker of Lichport, a role carried down throughout his family for generations. Out of the blue Silas is called to Arvale, the ancient family house, which he discovers is neither here nor there, but rather seems to be it's very own shadowland host to several of his ancestors one of whom called him there. He is tasked with becoming the new Janus, the Watcher of the Threshold and during the ceremonies an ancient evil is let loose.

De Sära: Särskild, by Nene Ormes. This is the second novel in the Swedish urban fantasy series De Sära, which takes place in Malmö, very close to my hometown. The first book sadly didn't impress me, but I'm acquainted with the author and felt that I should buy the second book too (and I got it signed!). I don't regret buying it. This second book is leagues better than the first one. It takes place in August, two months after the first book, and it's during the annual festival in Malmö. The main character, Udda, who has only just gotten to know the underworld of special people in Malmö is pulled into a territorial fight amongst shape-shifters. She is forced to find herself a master and in the midst of all of this she finds herself fearing for her life as several factions don't seem to want her alive due to her abilities. While most books tend to make you love the main character the most, my favourite character in this series is the shape-shifter Hemming, who (quite literally) takes Udda under his wing and becomes her protector. While the first book was in a generally confused state due to Udda never fully grasping what is happening, this second book focuses more on the workings of the society of the special people and we get to know a lot more about their different abilities and what they entail.

Necronomicon, by H.P. Lovecraft. I've finally finished Necronomicon! Lovecraft is the father of modern horror and fantasy (mostly horror) and anyone who likes Stephen King should definitely give Lovecraft a chance. There isn't much that scares me into nightmares, but Lovecraft succeeded with one specific short story in this collection: At the Mountains of Madness. This makes At the Mountains of Madness my favourite out of them all. But then there are the ones that have made me either queasy or uneasy like Herbert West - Reanimator, The Music of Erich Zann, The Colour Out of Space, The Dreams in the Witch-House, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Shadow Out of Time, The Thing on the Doorstep, and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Above those any short story containing Randolph Carter is practically bound to be good: The Statement of Randolph Carter, The UnnamableThe Silver Key, Through the Gates of the Silver Key, and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Despite it making it harder to read and making me a slower reader, I love Lovecraft's language and his usage of odd words. I love how he can make a single sentence into a whole paragraph. And I love how he, with his odd words, creates terrifying and weird landscapes out of otherwise ordinary towns. My top five favourites in this collection are 1) At the Mountains of Madness, 2) The Colour Out of Space, 3) Through the Gates of the Silver Key, 4) The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and 5) The Shadow Out of Time.
"Lovecraft opened the way for me, as he had done for others before me."
- Stephen King
"H.P. Lovecraft built the stage on which most of the last century's horror fiction was performed."
- Neil Gaiman

1 comment:

What's the first thought in your head after reading this? Let me know!