Book Review: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

This book rocked! I described it to a friend as being 1984 meets The Lego Movie! I didn’t really have any idea of what to expect. I hadn’t read the synopsis or any reviews of it. I just knew it was by an author I wanted to check out.
What really sticks with me is the tone throughout the story is pretty level regardless of what’s happening, but that’s just a thin covering of the real tone of the story.

I listened to the audiobook of this one and the narration by Steve Rimpici was perfect for the book. he got the tone just right.

Billy and the Cloneasaurus was right up my street and is a fantastic modern day dystopian that is gripping and memorable. Definitely worth checking out!

Advertisements

May 3rd 2018

Not much to report today. I’ve written 426 words tonight on a short story but haven’t done much else. I had errands to run during my lunch break so got nothing done then.

I did start listening to Never Forget by Lisa Cutts. I’m really loving this book so far. I’m a good 60% of the way through and it’s pretty much hooked me and I’ll be getting the rest of Cutts’ books over the next few months.

Reading wise I am trying to up my game a bit. I’ve got such a big ‘to-read’ list I’m never gonna get though a fraction of them if I don’t start now.

Speaking of which, I’m off to do some reading. My main book I’m reading is Bleeding Empire by CL Raven, I’m also still reading the Bug Hunt anthology as well as a couple of other books.

 

Siege By Rhiannon Frater

When I first started looking into zombie fiction it was mainly audio and I listened to one by, I believe, a Spanish writer. It was okay, but didn’t really blow me away. The fact I can’t remember who it was and the name of the book speaks volumes. Then I come across two others, first was Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo, and then there was The First Days by Rhiannon Frater.

Siege is the third, and I believe final, book in Frater’s As The World Dies series, and is a good ending to it.

I liked how Frater wasn’t afraid to change it up in some quite big ways throughout the story. There was one huge moment were I actually rewound the audio to make sure what had happened, did in fact happen.

I will admit I’d held off listening to this as how the second book ended opened up a storyline that i wasn’t to sure I’d like, and I regret that decision. The storyline in question opened up the universe a little, and was dealt with really well and wasn’t taken where I thought it was going to go.

The endgame of this story felt very real. I could imagine it was what real people would at least attempt.

Forest Underground by Lydian Faust

Forest Underground was very interesting and gripped my attention pretty quickly. Some books can take some time for me to really get committed to them, but this one had me within five minutes.

I liked how Lydian Faust teased a lot of the world but stopped short of really revealing what was going on. I think that may have broken the pace of this novella up too much if there’d been a lot of scene setting.

The story is really interesting and splits into telling the story of the two main characters, and you end up feeling a little for each one and the trials that life has thrown at them.

Pippa Bailey’s narration is on point and works well for the story. She brings an energy that adds to the story incredibly well.

Definitely worth a read/listen, and left me wanting to know more about this setting.

The Silence by Tim Lebbon

I wrote a post about The Silence as I was about halfway through it. I talked about how it was getting under my skin, and how uncomfortable it was making me feel. It made me realise that’s what horror should do. It should make you feel uncomfortable, to the point where you don’t want to carry on with the story. Don’t get me wrong, the gross out stuff is fun but this touched a nerve I’ve only just started accepting that I have.

I’m glad I stuck The Silence out. It is a book that struck at so many of the fears that I have. There are characters that remind me of people I love. I could get on board with some of their motivations as well and decisions as well

I said in the post I wrote the other day that it felt like this book was written for me, simply because so much of it struck me. I understood the fear the characters had, I felt it as they feared for their lives. I felt the conflict when hard decisions had to be made. I felt their grief, and confusion.

Each time the protagonists were pushed by the events around them it felt like a punch in the gut each time. A few years ago I would have stopped listening (I have the audiobook), but the characters kept me going. I needed to know what happened to them in the end. I was cheering for them, hoping they’d get to safety.

img_0710

The movie The Ritual (based on Adam Nevill’s book) taught me a lot about horror last year. It gave me a whole new perception of what horror meant. The Silence did ten times more than that. It got under my skin and into my bones.

There is a movie adaptation coming this year, if it’s half as good as this then it’ll be a great movie.

Horror That’s Getting Under My Skin

Up until recently I’ve rarely seen a horror movie that got under my skin. I say movie because I’ve only started delving into horror novels recently.

Aside from being grossed out by the odd scene here and there I’ve never really felt uncomfortable in a way that I now know horror should do. The first I noticed this was last year when I saw The Ritual. This is a film that was based on the novel by Adam Nevill. When I watched that film in the cinema I remember feeling a long way out of my comfort zone, but I still got through it and really enjoyed the movie (I’m looking forward to reading the book itself soon as well).

This week I’ve started listening to The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Tim Lebbon is a name I keep seeing pop up, and after meeting him at Bristol horror con last year and hearing him on a couple of podcasts (Three Guys With Beards & The Horror Show With Brian Keene) I knew I needed to check out some of his stuff. At the con I brought off him his book After The War, but knowing what a slow reader I was and that The Silence will be released as a movie sometime this year I believe, I wanted to read that one. So I got it on audiobook and although I’m only half way through it, it’s got under my skin. I thought The Ritual had an unsettling affect on me, but The Silence has gone deep. I almost stopped listening to it a quarter of the way through. It is so carefully crafted to trigger the readers own fears, even to the point where it feels like Lebbon’s written it just for me. Some of the elements here feel personal in a way I’ve not felt from a book before. That’s not to say books haven’t had an effect on me, because they have. Hell, a few have had me chocking up while others I’ve been punching them air in triumph and celebration.

As I was listening today I was thinking I’ll be finished it by the time I finished work at 3pm tomorrow, but I had to leave a day between the quarter way point of it and where I got to today, so I might resume it Monday and let the events in it sink in a little.

This book is really getting under my skin, and although it’s making me feel this way that’s what I feel is good horror. For horror to really work it has to make you feel how this is feeling. If I had to give this a rating right now it’ll easily be five stars.

I don’t have any ideas how this book will end, but I’ll be going in headfirst to find out.

The Warmaster by Dan Abnett

I’ve just finished The Warmaster by Dan Abnett and wow! What a book! I loved how Abnett put this together and how it was tied into Salvations Reach (of which I’m glad I listened to immediately before embarking on The Warmaster). I’d guess there’s a lot more connections in the books that have lead up to The Warmaster, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read them. (I’m really hoping they come up on Audible because I really want to read them again, and listening is quicker for me as I can listen while at work).

The Warmaster picks up for Gaunt and his Ghosts right after their mission to Salvations Reach, but all is not right with their return.

IMG_0641
Such a beautiful edition.

Now, I am a huge fan of this series of books, this being the fourteenth, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I first heard about it a little while ago. There was a gap of time between Salvations Reach and The Warmaster, but it was worth the wait. Dan Abnett really turns things up to eleven in this book. He pushes characters into places that I wasn’t expecting, but that said I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With the Gaunt’s Ghosts books it feels like each book goes in somewhat of a different direction. This one is no different. A lot of the events in this book I didn’t see coming or where they were going to go.  A lot of the characters had their lives turned upside down and Abnett wasn’t scared to kill any of his characters. That is something I learnt a long time ago about Abnett with this series. He is not afraid to kill the most beloved of characters, often in brutal and unfair ways. Even in war where people die for what can be the most silly of reasons, some of the deaths in these books have been a huge kick in the gut. Even when a character doesn’t die, but they are pushed into something harsh and tough to stomach it feels the same as when a loved character dies.

That is one of Abnett’s biggest strengths I think. He can write these stories with a huge cast of characters and you either love or hate them, with the odd middle of the road character in between. You get their motivations, you get their mentalities. It all works very well.

This book really opened up a whole can of hell yeah! And it puts so much out on the table for future novels that has left me bouncing and determined to re-read the previous books again in the new year.

There are many reasons why Dan Abnett is one of my favourite writers, the Gaunt’s Ghosts series is one of them. Beautifully written, to the point where you’re almost there when the las-bolts are flying.

***Very Minor Spoilers Below image***

***(Very Minor) Spoilers***

If you’ve read these books you’ll know there have been three characters that have left over the years that had nothing to do with dying, although one did eventually die if I remember right, but the two that always sits in my mind when I’m reading these books are Brin Milo and a scout called Mkvenner (I can’t for the life of me remember his first name). Both these characters went off for different reasons. For Milo, he went with Saint Sabbat, and I’ve heard rumours that Abnett has always intended Milo and the Ghosts to get back to each other at some point. With The Warmaster, the Saint is on the same planet as Gaunt and his Ghosts. When I found this out I was waiting for them to come together, but it didn’t happen. I really hope Abnett does so in the next book, because aside from the return of Mkvenner, that is one of the moments in this series of novels that I am eagerly waiting for.

I think Dan Abnett is setting up to bring this series to a close, to a point where the Sabbat Worlds Crusade is either won or lost.