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Angry Robot Double-Review: Harbinger of the Storm (Aliette de Bodard) and Death’s Diciples (J. Robert King)

It’s been a while since I reviewed Angry Robot titles, and even though I’m way behind (as regards AR titles) I thought these two titles deserve reviews. 🙂

Harbinger of the Storm – Book 2 of the Obsidian and Blood Trilogy by Aliette de Bodard

Ever since I picked up the first book in this trilogy, Servant of the Underworld, I immediately became of fan of not only Aliette’s work but also a fan of Acatl, the central protagonist in the trilogy, so it was awesome to get back to Acatl’s world – that of the Aztec, albeit through a noirish, mystery-framed lens. 🙂

I had high hopes for book 2, and wasn’t disappointed!

In this book, Acatl is almost immediately put under immense pressure – not only has he earned the attention of some of the most powerful people in the Mexica Empire, but he is still dealing with the fallout of the previous book’s events.

Now he has to deal with a rising body count and incredibly powerful creatures that make the things he faced in book 1 pale in comparison.

Book 2 did much to flesh out Acatl as a character and person, even more so than the first book, because much of what Acatl had to do in this book had even more of a personal cost; without a doubt he was pushed further and harder than before, and by the end of the book I had the distinct feeling that even though Acatl had persevered the costs were heavier than before.

Action- and magic-wise, this book really kept me on the edge of my seat – as I said before, the creatures that Acatl and his allies (and even enemies) face in this book are damned powerful, but it doesn’t end there – deities enter the fray, and Aliette did a great job in layering them with incredible menace and danger; definitely not deities who sit back and move pieces on a board.

The rush toward the book’s climax held my attention all the way, and once again Aliette managed to beautifully bring together the myriad plot threads and mysteries to satisfying conclusions. I’m definitely looking forward to the last novel, and to more of Aliette’s work! 🙂

9 / 10

Harbinger

To order copies of Harbinger of the Storm, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa; you can also head over to the Robot Trading Company to purchase all the Angry Robot eBooks you need, including Servant of the Underworld and Harbinger of the Storm. 🙂 Also, check out Aliette’s website here.

Death’s Disciples by J. Robert King

I’ve been a great fan of Rob’s work since I read the incredible Angel of Death and stunning Suicidals Anonymous, and I was seriously looking forward to Death’s Diciples. His second Angry Robot novel turned out to be completely different to Angel of Death and Suicidals Anonymous, but as damned good.

The novel follows Susan Gardner, the only survivor of a terrorist bomb on an airliner, and how Susan discovers just how she’s tied into the terrorist-plot – or is it a terrorist plot?

The first thing about this novel that struck me was it’s relentless pace – from the opening scene (Susan in the plane, witnessing its destruction) right up to the climax, it felt like I was left with literally no right time to take a break from the book; every chapter drew me onwards, as if I had suddenly become some ass clomping after a juicy carrot. 🙂

The second thing was Susan herself – Rob did an incredible job of revealing her personality chapter by chapter, managing to play to my expectations of her and what I thought she would do (she is the central protagonist, after all), and surprising me constantly. For most of the novel we are in her head, immersed in her thoughts and reactions, and the ride is sometimes chilling, sometimes funny, always surprising and, at times, heart breaking. She’s a great character!

There are more characters, of course – Susan’s brother, confronted with the sibling he thought he knew as he tries to help her take her place in her life again; Krupinski, an FBI agent investigating the attack (and Susan’s miraculous survival), and Mr Nero, one of the coolest and most twisted antagonists I’ve yet encountered in Fiction.

The plot of this novel, the twists and turns it takes, is nothing I could have ever predicted – Rob manages to make you believe that this is a book about terrorism and the stress and trauma of surviving a terrible event, until the weirdness hits, and hits, and hits, in waves of relentless tension and kickass, surprising events. Where Angel of Death was measured, menacing, beautiful and tragic, and where Suicidals Anonymous was superbly satirical and darkly humorous, Death’s Disciples is a thrill-a-second ride, supremely plotted, exciting, hard-hitting, and definitely falls into the Twisted Blockbuster category – one hell of an awesome ride!

9 / 10

Death's Desciples UK

Death's Desciples US

To order your copies of Death’s Disciples, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa; remember, you can also get this novel and all of the published Angry Robot titles in various eBook formats over at the Robot Trading Company. 🙂 Check out Rob’s site here.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Review: Suicidals Anonymous by J Robert King

Some years ago, I decided that the only way to solve problems and deal with pain was to kill myself. Obviously I didn’t succeed – either that or I’m Patient Zero of a zombie-disease. 🙂 Anyway, I swallowed approximately 120 strong pain pills and slashed my left wrist (I’m right-handed) and tried to pass from this world. I’m not saying this to shock you, or to gain sympathy, or any positive or negative comments regarding what I did. I’m bringing this up because of what I started reading last night and finished reading this afternoon.

Many might consider Suicidals Anonymous an absolutely terrible novel – because of the taboo subject it focuses on. Others will probably think of the novella as brilliance. Still others, and I’m a part of that minority, will see the novella for what it is – the closest anyone will ever come to understanding the intention to commit suicide.

Rob uses the story of Chris, the *failed* author, and his urge to kill himself to force us to look at just what suicide is and means, but it’s not just suicide that Rob focuses on; things take many turns, shocking, hilarious, deep and very, very dark, and Rob doesn’t allow you to catch your breath. The story absolutely hurtles along, with hardly a pause for toilet breaks or food. Chris is you, me, someone you know. He’s confused, depressed, ebullient, maniacal. I may not have found myself in the situations he found himself in, but I sympathized with everything he went through. How could I not, having survived suicide?

But do you have to be a suicide-survivor to enjoy and understand (at least, on the surface) Chris’ story? Not at all. You may not ‘enjoy’ it, but it’ll probably gut-punch you something heinous. And that is the mark of the kind of stories we all want to read – a story that’ll make you wince, make you swear, make you tremble. A story that’ll make you tremble and want to put the novella down because maybe you don’t want to think about what you’re reading, but you can’t, you’re drawn to the tale, to Chris, to facing the thoughts of suicide you’ve had because of Chris, and to finally understand that wanting to end your own life, on your own terms, for your own reasons, makes you human.

Suicidal’s Anonymous is disturbing, brilliant, funny and uplifting – and not always for the face-value reasons. I urge you to read this and experience it – you may not like it, you may not even understand it, but one thing’s for sure – you’ll look at the world with different eyes.

10 / 10

For more info about Rob and his work, check out his official website here; to order Suicidals Anonymous eBook click here for the US (Kindle), and here for those who frequent MobiPocket. For those wanting a hard copy of the novella, follow this link to Popcorn Press.

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2010 in Reviews, Uncategorized

 

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