Charles' Reviews

Charles' Reviews (149)

Broken Meats (Harry Stubbs #2)
27, Sep

The HARRY STUBBS series is probably the best H.P. Lovecraft fiction which is currently on the market today with the possible exception of the ANDREW DORAN series by Matthew Davenport or my own CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON (I may be biased). This is because it dials down the squid and the splatterpunk horror elements so many authors dial up to return to the occult mystery element that Lovecraft's best works were famous for.

Shattered Hopes (Light in the Dark #2)
23, Sep


SHATTERED HOPES by Ulff Lehmann is the sequel to SHATTERED DREAMS. The premise of SHATTERED DREAMS was an epic war being fought between an invading army and multiple players between it as well as the return of old magic the world. I liked the various characters within it as well as the twists and turns in the subplots. Characters found out their allies were enemies, their memories were untrustworthy, and what they thought was going on was nowhere near the truth.

Fierce (The Brutal Trilogy #2)
20, Sep


FIERCE, the second book of the BRUTAL TRILOGY, is an unapologetic homage of Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard with many homages not only to the original stories but also the L. Sprague De Camp pastiches. There are many original twists and turns with the Sellword turned king, Gathelaus, having some differences with Cimmeria's most famous son. It is a great sword and sorcery from beginning to end.

Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition
14, Sep

VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE 5TH EDITION is a book I never expected to see. I was a huge fan of Vampire: The Masquerade in the nineties. I was about as big a Gothic Punk as a tabletop roleplaying gamer could be in the South with no Goths around him, no black clothing in his wardrobe, and a restrictive Catholic high school. I loved pretending to be 8th generation Elder Lord Sirrius of the Ventrue and Erasmus Von Prague the Tremere Knight. It was a game inspired by INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, LOST BOYS, and BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. I traveled from the seedy streets of Chicago to Prague during the Dark Ages to the end of the world before the line ended in 2004.

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)
13, Sep


KINGS OF PARADISE by Richard Nell is one of the favorites to win the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (#SPFBO). It is a story which has been recommended to me over and over again. I was surprised by this because the fantasy fans I hang around with are a very cynical bunch. If one liked THE POPPY WARS, then the next disliked it. I was a huge fan of 1000 SCARS but others were iffy about it. Here? Just about everyone who read this novel had nothing but praise for it. They said it was the best grimdark they'd read since THE GREY BASTARDS or WHERE LOYALTIES LIE. So, i decided to check it out.

Black City Saint (Black City #1)
11, Sep


I've mentioned how much of a huge fan I am of Richard A. Knaak. He's the guy who made minotaurs a viable alternative to orcs in Dungeons and Dragons, made some of the most entertaining World of Warcraft fiction, and has written some really great independent fiction as well. It was the latter I was most interested in as while I was always a fan of him playing in other worlds, I wanted to see what he could do in his own universe. He decided to do that by combining two genres that often intersect but rarely so directly in a noir urban fantasy novel.

Staked (Void City #1)
08, Sep


Vampire novels are incredibly overdone but that's a bit like saying superheroes, Westerns, and police procedurals are incredibly overdone. Yes, there's a deluge of them but there's always some new diamonds to be found in the rough. The simple fact is they are a never-ending source of fascination and that's not just because I wrote STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON. No, sir. That's not an influence at all. Ahem.

Halo: Last Light (Halo #17)
25, Aug

I'm kind of done with HALO to be honest as I was bitterly disappointed with HALO: GUARDIANS but also because the universe has become unrecognizable. Part of what was great about Halo was the fact humanity was a little fish surrounded by incredibly powerful neighbors. Now, the new books act like humanity is the United States and able to throw its weight around despite all but being annihilated. This isn't a problem with HALO: LAST LIGHT which I say without irony is probably my favorite Troy Denning book since THE TRIAL OF CYRIC THE MAD. Hell, even more so.

Paternus: Wrath of Gods (Paternus #2)
21, Aug

PATERNUS: WRATH OF GODS is the sequel to the extraordinarily good PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS released last year. The premise of Dyrk Ashton's excellent book is that humanity has secretly been host to a race of superhumans called the Firstborn who are the descendants of a billion year old alien called the Paternus. He is the father of all the gods and they are the inspiration for every one of them from Isis to Zeus to more commonly worshiped ones today. Facing them are the Asura, who are led by Lucifer and Shaitan and Baphomut. Which, as you can guess, makes them the bad guys.

Lords of the Dragon Moon (Rex Draconis #2)
20, Aug

Richard Knaak is a name in fantasy which is very dear to my heart since one of the first novels I read in my teenage years was THE LEGEND OF HUMA. Later, I would read many of his other works like THE SUNWELL TRILOGY and WAR OF THE ANCIENTS. Other than his DRAGONLANCE and WORLD OF WARCRAFT novels, I read his excellent BLACK CITY SAINT urban fantasy series.