This is a damn good point to keep in mind.
09 May 2013
The Blurb: Five years ago, it all went wrong for Cason Cole. He lost his wife and son, lost everything, and was bound into service to a man who chews up human lives and spits them out, a predator who holds nothing dear and respects no law. Now, as the man he both loves and hates lies dying at his feet, the sounds of the explosion still ringing in his ears, Cason is finally free. The gods and goddesses are real. A polytheistic pantheon—a tangle of divine hierarchies—once kept the world at an arm’s length, warring with one another for mankind’s belief and devotion. It was a grim and bloody balance, but a balance just the same. When one god triumphed, driving all other gods out of Heaven, it was back to the bad old days: cults and sycophants, and the terrible retribution the gods visit on those who spite them. None of which is going to stop Cason from getting back what’s his...
I am a huge fan of Chuck Wendig's, having devoured his Miriam Black books with relish. I'm also a faithful follower of his blog and the writing advice he dishes out on there are entertaining and quite brilliant in it's own right. I must admit my Urban Fantasy reading shelf leaves a lot to be desired, consisting mostly of Dresden running around doing what he does best. This book proves that there are some damn good ones out there that I miss and I'll work to rectify this.
Onto Unclean Spirits. The main character here is Cason Cole, a retired MMA fighter who faced an easy choice. Serve a monster in order to save his family. It was a no brainer and of course he accepted. You save those you love and screw the strings attached. There were some bastard strings attached to this deal, but at least his family was safe.
Cason gets a lucky break when someone blows up his boss, which he thinks allows him to go back to his family. He thought that the deal was done, the strings cut. Far from it for the poor man, his torture was only starting.
The gods has been evicted from their respective pantheons and are living with us normal people on earth. Some of them just get on with life as it were, while others manipulate humans to their own ends. I'd like to think that humanity has rubbed off on them after their time here, since the petty squabbles and mistakes they make are quite human at the end of the day. They aren't omni-cognisant or omnipresent, but they are still the scariest thing you'll ever meet by a country mile. A pissed off god is not to be trifled with.
Unclean Spirits is definitely not for the YA crowd, seeing as language use is quite, shall we say spicy? The violence present in the novel is also pretty graphic, but done in typical Wendig style. It's dirty, desperate and hilarious in equal measure. It fits in with the story damn well, seeing if this ever happened to me I would be running around cursing, screaming and peeing myself for the majority of the story. And whimpering. Lots of curling into a ball and whimpering.
Most of the gods are bastards, manipulating events and Cason to their own ends. Many a time he thinks he's doing the right thing, only to realise later on that he was being lead around by the nose. Cason isn't a quitter and he bulldozes his way through most of the problems he faces. He takes some hits along the way and as the plot around him becomes clearer, he's still his own man. For someone who has been put through the meat grinder by damn gods, this is admirable and you cannot help but cheer the man on.
Is this book the same as Gaiman's American Gods? No. The premise is the same with gods running around all over the place, but that's about it. Wendig's gods are foul mouthed, meaner and petty for the most part. Infected with humanity if it makes sense. It makes them more fun to read seeing as they scheme to cheat each other more than they try cheating humanity.
Unclean Spirits was a fun novel to read. The pacing is fast and never lets up. The action is wall to wall awesome and there were enough humorous parts to lighten it up and lift the story. As a quick jaunt into urban fantasy filled with gods and drama, this was awesome.
30 April 2013
No joke, this looks like one hell of a good movie. Huge monsters vs. huge robots? What's not to like? I can't wait for it!
We have a Public Holiday tomorrow - Workers day, which seems kind of funny getting a day off work for working - and we're going to a wine tasting, so not much reading will be done. Lots of wine will be sampled though, and that is good.
23 April 2013
18 April 2013
The Blurb: Chicago, 1931. A strange house gives serial-killer Harper the power to travel through time; to hunt and kill his ‘shining girls’. They’re bright young women full of spark – until he cuts it out of them, leaving clues from different times behind to taunt fate. Kirby, the 90s girl, survives his attack and turns the hunt around. Tracing Harper’s bloody trail of victims – from a glowing dancer in the 30s to a tough welder in the 40s and a bombshell architect in the 50s – Kirby is running out of time trying to solve an impossible mystery. And Harper is heading towards her once again.
This is the first time that I've included the book trailer, since it's a doozy and damn well done.
To the book!
First off, Joey Hi-Fi is a damn magician when it comes to book covers. The black one up there is the limited edition hardback of which only 1,000 was printed. I was lucky enough to receive number 541. I also attended the book launch in Johannesburg, but was too much of a fanboy to ask anything of worth. I apologise for this and will do better next time.
The premise of the book is helluva interesting. A time travelling serial killer kills his Shining Girls. He feels drawn to them, drawn to something they possess. He visits them throughout their lives and then, when he cannot contain himself any longer, kills them. And not quickly. The killer is Harper, a 1920's degenerate who stumbles upon a time travelling house which allows him to travel up to 1993 and back.
The story is based in Chicago, and the amount of research that has gone into the historical city is purely perfect. There's no infodump, just an interesting observation now and then about the technology, fashions or state of the city in the different eras to make them stand out beautifully.
Harper is a sick bastard of a human being. He is clearly insane and getting worse throughout the book. He takes a deserved pummelling from the world in general and from his victims, and I must say it felt good reading how his ass gets handed to him. He's a monster of the worst order as all serial killers surely are. He possesses no redeeming quality, but then if their was any he'd have been a much shallower character. I'm not sure if I believe in pure evil, but his insanity makes him come pretty close.
Kirby is the only victim who survived the attack, and her story primarily happens in 1993. She is most definitely not one to sit back and accept her fate or swallow the hurt and move on. She dedicates her life to finding her attacker and to stop him from hurting anyone else. She enrols to study journalism for the sole reason to get to Dan, a burnt out homicide Journalist who is currently covering sports,to get him to help her in her investigations. She is driven, foul mouthed and distrustful of most people. Hell, she's fun to read. The relationship between Dan and Kirby is really uplifting in the book, as it introduces a nice touch of humanity into a pretty dark story.
One of the interesting things about this book is the chapters. Since it's a novel that involves time travelling, they aren't close to chronological. Harper is all over the place and it made reading interesting, seeing as it made me look at the chapter header for possibly the first time in my life. It adds a touch of chaos to the novel, and it works well.
Time travel is well known for the paradoxes it can create, and those are skilfully handled. The more I think about it the more impressed I am. Harper screws up quite a bit as you'd expect him to, and all these are brought into the story without a hitch. I do not want to spoil anything, so I won't elaborate.
The ending is elegant. I can't think of a better word to describe it. It was surprising and pure perfection.
So, if you would like to read a dark, twisted, beautiful, damn close to perfect novel, read this one.