“a delicious evil” – review by Jill-Elizabeth of Resurrection Men

Cover design and artwork by Alison Buck

On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has written a review of Resurrection Men by David Craig, the first book in his Sooty Feathers series. She starts with an apology that she can’t write a long review because the book is so “well-crafted and full of the right kind of surprises” that it’s hard to describe without giving too much away – she wouldn’t want to spoil the enjoyment for a potential reader with an overly revelatory review.

After introducing her review with “What a great find!”, she goes on to say that she “thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait for the next in the series”. She describes it as an original take on the supernatural topics covered – “no small feat” – and says the gothic writing is “gorgeous” and “perfectly suited to the tale”. The two principal characters, Hunt and Foley, she compares to Mulder and Scully as a great mix and foil for each other, while the Sooty Feathers are “a delicious evil”.

Read Jill-Elizabeth’s full review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads and Amazon with 5 stars).

 

“captivating and well-crafted” – review of The Deep and Shining Dark on Risingshadow

On Risingshadow.net Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed The Deep and Shining Dark by Juliet Kemp, the first book in the Marek series. Describing it as a “strong debut novel from a talented new author” Seregil compliments Juliet on having produced an entertaining and well-written fantasy with “subtle complexity, good worldbuilding and fluent characterisation”, saying that it was “one of the most positive reading experiences I’ve had this year”.

Artwork: Tony Allcock

Admitting that he read it in one sitting because “The story immediately pulled me in and didn’t let go until I’d reached the end”, Seregil says that the story “flows effortlessly and becomes increasingly intriguing” as it “immerses readers into the story right alongside the protagonists and takes them on a fascinating journey” that is “filled with intrigue, politics and magic”. The characterisation is “interesting and realistic” because Juliet “pays attention to their lives, feelings, flaws and problems, making them as real as possible”. The worldbuilding is “effortless” presenting a vibrant vision of the citystate of Marek that is “believable”, paying attention to “cultural differences and … how the Houses maintain control”. The magic is “interesting”, the politics “intriguing” and “LGBTQ elements handled fluently”.

Seregil says that he is looking forward to reading the instalment in this series, because this is a “promising and strong start” that he enjoyed. He recommends The Deep and Shining Dark as “captivating and well-crafted” fantasy.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

“impossible to become bored” – review of Fictional Alignment on Comic Book News UK

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On his Comic Book News UK website, Benjamin Williams has reviewed Mike French’s latest novel Fictional Alignment. Fictional Alignment is a sequel to An Android Awakes, which Benjamin previously reviewed (“something that is to be admired”).

He starts by saying that it is tough to explain the plot of Fictional Alignment, not because the plot itself is tough but because there’s “just so much happening”. However he goes on to give a reasonable outline of the plot, followed by “Sounds completely mad, right? That’s because it is. It’s also incredibly hilarious.”.

Benjamin likes the fact that there is so much going on that it’s “impossible to become bored”. He likes the various science fiction references that are included, not gratuitously but “that fit the story”. For him the best character was Heisenberg (one of the androids), who “is awful and seemingly uncaring throughout most of the book”, but is “quite funny” and usually delivers the best lines; as a result, he adds, much of the chaos in the book is because of Heisenberg. As the story is playing with time travel and androids trying to be human in the past, using future technology that isn’t always fully explained (because it’s funnier that way), Benjamin says it can leave you scratching your head a little, but that’s “all part of the madness that you just need to embrace when reading it”.

Although it has a different premise and feeling from An Android Awakes, Benjamin says Fictional Alignment is a “worthy sequel” but “it does leave a question over where French can take the story from here”.

You can read Benjamin’s full review on Comic Book News UK here.

 

“fascinating time travel adventure” – review of Timekeepers on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Timekeepers by Dave Weaver, which he describes as “an entertaining combination of old-fashioned time travel adventure, modern storytelling and suspense”. Seregil says he is a fan of well written time travel fiction, and is happy to say that Timekeepers is “one of the best offerings to date”, very much in the same vein as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Successfully blending young adult fiction elements with adult fiction that works well because “the story is gripping and suspenseful”.


Seregil complimented Dave Weaver’s characterisation, believable vision of a Roman Britain, use of alternate history, time travel technology, artificial intelligence, and his deft handling of challenging themes and issues. He sums up with “a highly enjoyable, suspenseful and well written tale”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

 

“well written escapism with plenty of magic” – Review of The Promised Lie on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Christopher Nuttall’s The Promised Lie, the first book of the Unwritten Words series.

Seregil starts his review of The Promised Lie by saying that he considers “Christopher Nuttall to be one of the best authors of entertaining epic fantasy for adult readers” who “has found his own voice and knows how to entertain his readers with good and exciting stories”. He goes on to compliment the characterisation “good and believable”, the worldbuilding “excellent”, and Christopher’s writing – he writes in an “effortless way” about politics, “writes well about magic and what can be achieved by using it” and “also writes well about religion and worshipping gods”. Seregil adds that there’s “something about the ancient magic and forces that is almost Lovecraftian in nature”. Overall he says it is a thrilling story and excellent entertainment, and finishes by saying that this is Christopher’s “strongest fantasy novel to date”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow.net here.

Fictional Alignment is An Android Awakes dialled up to eleven – Shelf Abuse review

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On his blog Shelf Abuse, Carl Doherty has just reviewed Fictional Alignment, which he introduces as Mike French’s “sequel to the brilliantly bonkers An Android Awakes”. Describing the book as “grand and eclectic” he adds that “it’s never boring or short on style or ambition”. He says he absolutely loved Fictional Alignment, perhaps even more than An Android Awakes (which he reviewed in 2015 as “I bloody loved it”), adding that it’s “quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. Mike French is a distinct voice in a genre that too often not only settles for the derivative but is expected to do so by its readers.” Mike’s writing, Carl says, “has more in common with British comics than prose”, it is “punky and anarchic” and “closer in tone to the cheeky satire of classic 2000AD than anything else I can think of”.

Carl concludes by saying that Mike’s “idiosyncratic irreverence and boundless creativity make Fictional Alignment a demanding but unforgettable read”. You can read the whole of Carl’s review on Shelf Abuse here.

 

“this book should be on every fantasy reader’s reading list” – review of The Ghost in You on Risingshadow

Photographs and artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has recently reviewed Katrina Mountfort’s new novel The Ghost in You, describing it as “one of the best YA ghost stories I’ve ever read”. He goes on to say that, despite there being a rise in popularity of YA ghost stories from other authors, The Ghost in You feels like a breath of fresh air “because it’s more compelling and more realistic than many of them and the author writes good and fluent prose”.

Seregil says that one of the best things about the book is that it’s got “a lot of heart and soul”, and is “an unputdownable novel that immediately sinks its hooks into you and pulls you into the protagonist’s life”, admitting that he read it in one sitting because he really couldn’t put it down! The story “flows fluently and smoothly from start to finish, because Katrina Mountfort writes engagingly about Rowena and her ghostly existence”. He also commented on Katrina’s attention to detail, with a realistic vision of the afterlife, and that the “characterisation is good and believable” with the main character, Rowena, having an “original and powerful voice”. “Rowena’s first-person point of view is both fresh and engrossing”, says Seregil, and she is “an interesting and easily likeable protagonist”. The way that Katrina has written about the relationship between Rowena and Oliver, who is alive, is “sweet, realistic and touching” says Seregil, adding that he was amazed at “how easily she wrote about both of them and how they felt about each other, because nothing felt forced”. He says that there’s “something irresistible about the author’s writing style that will capture readers’ hearts”. She writes well about “sadness, anger, love, romance, confusion and acceptance in this novel”, and the story includes a nice amount of humour and popular culture references that enhance the atmosphere.

Seregil summarises his review by saying that The Ghost in You is a relatively fast read but insightful, Katrina “doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readers, but offers them a captivating and gripping story with depth”. He suggests that this book should be on every fantasy reader’s reading list because it’s gripping and well told, and says “No matter what you normally read, this novel will charm and entice you with its story”, concluding that it is “Excellent YA fantasy fiction!”

You can read Seregil’s review of The Ghost in You on Risingshadow.net here

 

“consistently imaginative and always entertaining” – review of Fictional Alignment in Alternative Magazine Online

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On Alternative Magazine Online, Marty Mulrooney has reviewed Mike French’s surreal novel Fictional Alignment, the sequel to An Android Awakes. Marty starts by recommending reading An Android Awakes first, because both books complement each other in “exciting and often unexpected ways”. He goes on to warn readers of Fictional Aligment to prepare “to be shocked, baffled and amazed, in no particular order and sometimes all at once”.

Mike French, says Marty, writes “like a man possessed, transitioning from science fiction to romance one minute and from horror to comedy the next, with a multitude of other genres crammed in-between” with prose that is often “surprisingly elegant”. Describing Fictional Alignment as a book that celebrates the power of the written word, Marty concludes his review by saying that “there was nothing quite like An Android Awakes when it was first published in 2015 and there’s nothing quite like Fictional Alignment now in 2018”. Fictional Alignment is, he says, “just as well written and engaging as An Android Awakes” and he highly recommends it.

Read Marty’s full review on AMO here.

 

“mind-bending” and “emotionally expressive” – Win Wiacek review of Fictional Alignment

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On his website Now Read This!, comics writer (and past chairman of the Comics Creators Guild) Win Wiacek has reviewed Fictional Alignment by Mike French, the sequel to An Android Awakes. You may remember that Win was very complimentary about An Android Awakes (a “captivating and fascinating tome”), and he is no less enthused about Fictional Alignment. He describes the new book as a “mind-bending Scientific Romance” which offers a “challenging odyssey through the theocracy of thought and depicts a trenchant guerrilla war between What Is, What Might and What Should be…”. He suggests it will appeal to devotees of Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch among others. High praise! Thanks Win.

You can read Win’s review on Now Read This! here.

 

“poignant and rewarding” – Risingshadow review of Cursed on the Prairies

Artwork: Alison Buck

On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Cursed on the Prairies, the final volume in the Sacred Land Stories from Tanya Reimer. Seregil starts by commenting that Cursed on the Prairies brings the trans-generational story to a satisfyingly “poignant and rewarding ending”. He says that he “was impressed by the harrowing grittiness of the story arc. It’s great that the author avoids easy resolutions and delivers scenes that are not forced, but achingly realistic despite their occasionally fantastical and speculative nature. The author has a masterful control of elements related to past happenings, secrets and destinies, because she writes about them in a gripping way without preaching. This means a lot in the long run, because it creates a sense of realism that acts as an important counterbalance to the speculative fiction elements.” He continues by complimenting the quality of Tanya’s characterisations, story-telling and ability to tackle difficult subjects, “harsh realism”, in a way that does not feel artificial.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.