Charles' Reviews

Charles' Reviews (149)

The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands #1)
09, May


I struggled for a long time to figure out how to describe THE GREY BASTARDS in a way which really managed to explain what is so great about the book while also warning people of what they're going to do. In the end, the best way I could figure out how to do it is to compare it to Unforgiven or The Searchers to fantasy. Grimdark is a genre which pulls no punches with language, sex, racism, classicism, violence, and more. This is grimdark, friends.

Orconomics (The Dark Profit Saga #1)
04, May


The original DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS was a game which didn't stand up to much scrutiny. You were a group of adventurers who headed into a pre-created maze of tunnels, castles, and sewers to kill the monsters inside in order to steal their treasure. Sometimes, gamers noticed that they were the invaders and a few even made the joke that it was Hate Crimes: The RPG.

Wearing the Cape: Special Edition (Wearing the Cape 1#)
30, Apr


WEARING THE CAPE is one of my all-time favorite superhero prose novels. It's up there with SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE by Austin Grossman and ORIGINS OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN. I even like it more than some of my supervillainy books. It's a great contrast ot most superhero prose books that star antiheroes or supervillains, instead starring the idealistic and fundamentally good Hope as Astra.

The Elder Ice (Harry Stubbs #1)
25, Apr


I don't normally write reviews of novellas. There's so much to write about with longer form works that it seems like a waste to do a review over something under a hundred pages. However, sometimes I find myself reading books which I think deserve reviews despite this and lead into larger more interesting categories. One of these books is The Elder Ice by David Hambling, which clocks in at just under a hundred pages. It is the beginning of the Harry Stubbs adventures and that is a series which I think of as some of the best Lovecraft inspired novels currently available.

Song (The Manhunters #1)
20, Apr


SONG by Jesse Teller is a book I had to read twice because it is a work which is full of interesting elements that are not only noticeable on the second read through. It's a novel which is very economical with its world-building and yet manages to weave a fascinating tapestry of a kingdom, its culture, and its enemies. It reminds me a great deal of the old Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms novels which had vast numbers of bad guys as well as plots as well as counter-plots but we only got to see a tiny fraction of them in the existing books.

A Wizard's Forge (The Woern Saga 1#)
18, Apr


A WIZARD'S FORGE by A.M. Justice is a story which I was recommended and by a poster I liked on the grimdark as well as fantasy forums. It existed somewhere in the middle of my TBR pile for some time, not really making too much progress since I didn't know what to make of it. What is the story about? What is the protagonist? It's about a wizard, right? Eventually, I got around to finally reading it and I was blown away. It's so far the best self-published novel I've read in 2018 and would be definitely something I'd support for the next SPFBO.

Broken Nights: Strange Worlds (Broken Nights #2)
08, Apr


    Superhero fiction is a niche genre in a niche genre. Superheroes thrive in comic books, video games, and movies but aren't so very popular in prose fiction. Perhaps because it's such a visual medium but I think it's more there's just never been an iconic example of the genre. Despite this, there's some truly great examples of superhero fiction which I've been proud to review. Things like Wearing the Cape, Origins of a D-List Supervillain, Soon I Will Be Invincible, and Villains Rule.

Under the Dragon Moon (Rex Draconis #1)
24, Mar


I was a huge fan of Dragonlance growing up. I would often go down to my local bookstore, once a week at least, and I would purchase a five dollar paperback to read for the next few days then pick up another one. There were hundreds of stories written by many different writers that expanded the world of Krynn as well as its characters. Some were good, some were bad, and all were eagerly devoured by my younger teenage self. One of the best Dragonlance writers was Richard A. Knaak. He created The Legend of Huma, Kaz the Minotaur, and several other works which rank among the best of the setting's work.

Darkrise (The Rhenwars Saga #3)
16, Mar


Well, it's over. What? Fantasy. There's no more need to do it because someone has done what I've wanted done in the genre since the very beginning. M.L. Spencer has created a fantasy world where we saw the forces of "good" battle the forces of "evil" with increasing ruthlessness, all the while justified by the narrative until the (seemingly) final victory. Then we switch perspectives and have the exact same plot play out from the perspective of the quote-unquote baddies.

Caped: The Omega Superhero
11, Mar


CAPED by Darius Brasher is the first volume of THE OMEGA SUPERHERO series. As anyone who knows me could say, I'm a huge fan of superhero fiction. I'm not only a big fan of CONFESSIONS OF A D-LIST SUPERVILLAIN by Jim Bernheimer, BROKEN NIGHTS by Matthew Davenportm and PLEASE DON'T TELL MY PARENTS I'M A SUPERVILLAIN by Richard Roberts but I'm also the author of THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA. So I have a pretty exacting set of standards towards my superhero fiction. So, how is Caped? It's pretty damned good.