Charles' Reviews

Charles' Reviews (127)

Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves #1)
08, Jul


CHILD OF THE NIGHT GUILD is the first novel in the Night Guild series by Andy Peloquin. It deals with a concept I've always loved in fantasy: the Thieves Guild. Before the mafia existed, the concept of an organized criminal underworld in Medieval times. Created in fantasy by Fitz Leiber, the Thieves Guild has been a mainstay of fantasy settings influenced by it like Dungeons and Dragons or Skyrim.

Brutal: An Epic Grimdark Fantasy (The Brutal Trilogy #1)
06, Jul


BRUTAL: AN EPIC GRIMDARK FANTASY by James Alderice is an homage to the classic Western A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, 1920s gangster movie LAST MAN STANDING, and samurai story YOJIMBO. The premise for it is a remarkably flexible one. Basically, a lone warrior goes into a town which is controlled by two rival gangs. Playing the two against one another, he attempts to make a fortune but things quickly spiral out of control.

Star Wars: Lost Stars
01, Jul


LOST STARS by Claudia Gray is probably one of my top five Star Wars books with the others being THE THRAWN TRILOGY by Timothy Zahn and SHATTERPOINT by Matthew Stover. It is a book which doesn't talk about Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han, or the other characters but follows two original characters through the events of the Galactic Civil War (A New Hope to the Battle of Jakku following Return of the Jedi).

Saint Death
29, Jun


Since Santa Muerte went public as a religious sub-cult in 2001, there have been numerous cases of alleged human sacrifice. This is less unprecedented than people might think since in the United States we've had human sacrifices to Slendeman. Whether there really were such actions or just sensationalized reports is debatable. A good urban legend combined with a few possible true facts can be the source of great fiction and entertainment.

The Saint of Liars (The Lucky Devil Series 2#)
28, Jun


THE SAINT OF LIARS is the sequel to THE FINDER AT THE LUCKY DEVIL and the second volume of the LUCKY DEVIL series. The Lucky Devil series is an excellent find and one of the most interesting new books to come out of the indie urban fantasy market in years. I say that as an indie urban fantasy author myself (Red Room, The Bright Falls Mysteries). It takes place in a Shadowrun-esque setting where corporations rule and magic is abundant.

City of Kings
25, Jun


What happens when you find out after traveling with a bunch of people you took to be lovable antiheroes that they were, in the end, just plain evil? This is an interesting question that doesn't often come up in grimdark despite the fact it is a series based around the principle of there being no good people and only various shades of black. One instance this happened with me was the FIRST LAW TRILOGY where Glokta, after being one of the most fascinating sympathetic characters for two books, eventually revealed himself to be irredeemable.

Son of a Liche (Dark Profit Saga #2)
18, Jun


SON OF A LICHE is the sequel to the Dark Profit Saga's first book, ORCONOMICS. The premise of the series is that Dungeons and Dragons is how the world is set up. Adventurers go into dungeons, grab a bunch of loot, and kill the monsters inside. However, this has attracted venture capitalists who wagered fortunes on this activity. This brought the dark sides of capitalism to monster slaying and it soon became a racism-and-murder based economy which was unsustainable since eventually you're going to run out of orcs to murder for their meager savings. The satire was inspired by the 2008 housing crisis and the present novel also brings up some elements of Donald Trump, though he's only got a few pot shots taken at him.

Hack/Slash Omnibus volume 2 (Hack/Slash #2)
10, Jun


HACK/SLASH is basically a love letter to both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 80s horror movies. The premise is Cassie Hack, a beautiful but traumatized Goth girl, is the daughter of a Slasher. Slashers are regenerating and resurrection-prone serial killers that afflict the teens of her world. She has taken to hunting them with her brutish deformed (but gentle) partner Vlad.

By Fire Above (Signal Airship #2)
09, Jun


BY FIRE ABOVE by Robyn Bennis is the sequel to the enormously awesome THE GUNS ABOVE which was probably my all-time favorite example of a steampunk novel. So, I not only pre-ordered this novel but read it immediately upon acquisition. Is it as good as The Guns Above? For the most part, yes, and has a bunch of twists I did not expect.

She Dreams of Fire (The Hammer of Witches #1)
09, Jun

SHE DREAMS OF FIRE is probably my all time favorite novel from M.K. Gibson and that's impressive since I absolutely loved VILLAINS RULE and the TECHNOMANCER series. I think my reasons for liking it are due to the fact it takes place in the modern world and manages to do a Dresden Files-esque world of fairies, magic, and demons. Indeed, M.K. Gibson's writing style is naturally similar to Jim Butcher's so it is really hitting the sweet spot as I wait for the release of PEACE TALKS or BRIEF CASES.