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Interesting suggestions, folks. When we're talking about dark fantasy, are we referring to things in the vein of The Witcher, or The Black Company here? Because that's what I like.
I haven't read either of those, but I did play The Witcher 3 if that counts =P I would say Aurora's Angel is more inclined to romance, so I'm not sure if you'd like it. I don't remember reading other books in the genre, which is weird considering I like it xD
 

Xeo

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I haven't read either of those, but I did play The Witcher 3 if that counts =P I would say Aurora's Angel is more inclined to romance, so I'm not sure if you'd like it. I don't remember reading other books in the genre, which is weird considering I like it xD
Well, in the case of dark fantasy I will say this, a lot of the genre takes it's queues from The Black Company. It was an extremely influential series that unfortunately kind of slipped into obscurity over time. It's very good, and I'd highly recommend it. However, it's written in a strange manner that turns off some. In that it's written from the first person account of the titular Black Company itselfs (A mercenary warband of outlaws, misfits and thugs.) chronicler. So it's like reading a looooong journal. It inspired a shitload of much more well known properties like Berserk, Demon's Souls, The Witcher, etc.
 
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Aug 9, 2020
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Well, in the case of dark fantasy I will say this, a lot of the genre takes it's queues from The Black Company. It was an extremely influential series that unfortunately kind of slipped into obscurity over time. It's very good, and I'd highly recommend it. However, it's written in a strange manner that turns off some. In that it's written from the first person account of the titular Black Company itselfs (A mercenary warband of outlaws, misfits and thugs.) chronicler. So it's like reading a looooong journal. It inspired a shitload of much more well known properties like Berserk, Demon's Souls, The Witcher, etc.
I've already added this book to my list! The "journaling" writing is perhaps similar to what George R. R. Martin did in Fire in Blood? If it is, then it will be fine for me, I liked that format!
 

Xeo

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I've already added this book to my list! The "journaling" writing is perhaps similar to what George R. R. Martin did in Fire in Blood? If it is, then it will be fine for me, I liked that format!
I haven't read that, so I can't say for sure.
 

Dango

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Queen Anne's Revenge
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But then I tried to get into The Edge Chronicles with The Curse of the Gloamglozer, and I love it.
Done with the book. Still love it.

This was just fun as hell all the way through. I wish I'd grown up with this, but it's still exciting to have most of the series ahead of me.

The world this takes place in is one of the most imaginative I've ever read about. It's full of cool locations and interesting lore details. The book starts with ships that are able to fly using magic rocks, and it keeps throwing out ideas on that level all the way to the end. Even a scene that takes place in a classroom is made interesting because of how the room is structured. Since it takes place in a society full of these weird sky scientists who are obsessed with verticality, the desks are placed on little platforms on the wall, and most students have to use a ladder to get there. The whole book is full of stuff like that.

It's also not afraid to get a little dark here and there, or to give its characters plenty of nuance. Gloamglozer definitely feels like the first in a series (even though it's apparently the fourth book, but also the first of its own trilogy), yet it's still one of the better 'part 1's I've read. It hits that balance between genuine closure and open plot threads pretty well.

I just think it's amazing to find a fantasy series that does something so fresh and unique with the genre.
 
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Aug 9, 2020
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For the horror fans, here is a new recommendation: To Rouse Leviathan. This is a Lovecraftian/Weird Fiction anthology by Matt Cardin, focusing on theological and artistic themes. Its philosophical personality and the "essay vibe" in some of the stories make for a heavier, sometimes tiring reading. But it's a great collection with plenty of scary concepts and articulations instead of the usual and cheap jump scares.

To Rouse Leviathan(1).jpg
 

Xeo

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For the horror fans, here is a new recommendation: To Rouse Leviathan. This is a Lovecraftian/Weird Fiction anthology by Matt Cardin, focusing on theological and artistic themes. Its philosophical personality and the "essay vibe" in some of the stories make for a heavier, sometimes tiring reading. But it's a great collection with plenty of scary concepts and articulations instead of the usual and cheap jump scares.

View attachment 873
This sounds right up my alley. It also reminds me a lot of The Fisherman by John Langan. Though that's a novel, not a short collection.
 
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Aug 9, 2020
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The year is coming to an end and here is my TOP 10 of the books I read this year:


10. Pain & Pleasure: A Collection of Lyrics & Poetry by Stephanie Owen [Poetry, Romance]


9. I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid [Psychological Horror]


8. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon [Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance]


7. Shadows of Aggar (Amazons of Aggar #1) by Chris Anne Wolfe [Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction]


6. Finding Jessica Lambert by Clare Ashton [Romance]


5. The Three-Body Problem (Earth's Remembrance #1) by Liu Cixin [Science Fiction]


4. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky [Philosophy]


3. Shaken to the Core by Jae [Romance, Historical Fiction]


2. This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone [Romance, Science Fiction]


1. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters [Romance, Historical Fiction, Mystery]

If you're wondering how many books I've read this year, Goodreads has a number for you:

Goodreads2020.png


I plan on reaching 85 before 2021 (or maybe more, depending if I'll continue the sci-fi short stories series I've started a couple of days ago) but yeah, that's it!
 
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Last book of the year: The Sting of Victory, the first chapter in the Fallen Gods series, written by S.D. Simper. Having officially joined my Goodreads list of favourite authors, Simper is incredibly talented in writing the kind of soul-deep, ethereal romance that I love. Add this to a rich dark fantasy setting that has no fear of being brutal, and we have a great title to finish 2020 with a flourish! It's a shame I won't be able to finish the series now since I'm saying goodbye to Kindle Unlimited, but this is a tale that I'll certainly get back to in the future.

The Sting of Victory(1).jpg
 

Xeo

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Well, my last book of the year it appears will be "The Last Final Girl" by Stephen Graham Jones. What a fun book!

If the title to this one doesn't give what it's all about away, it's an homage to the slasher genre, most especially the classics from the 80's. After a popular teenage girl survives a weekend massacre by a serial killer wearing a Michael Jackson mask that later becomes known as "Billie Jean", she come back to school to the fanfare befitting of her heroics and her popularity. As homecoming is right around the corner she wastes little time in assembling her new homecoming court, but since her friends, the popular kids all died during Billie Jean's weekend of terror, it leaves largely the outcasts. Nerds, goth girls, etc. Freak accidents and more murders are still cropping up in the days leading to homecoming, with the focus getting put on the new court. Who will be the last final girl?

I think that paragraph sums up the story well. Both in it's actual description, but also in how campy it sounds. Very similar in fact to what you might read on the back of some low-budget slasher VHS tape. And that's exactly what this book was going for. It reads as if you're reading through the script of said film, rapidly switching point of view between not only character but even just describing scenes like a panning camera. If you're not familiar with Stephen Graham Jones, he writes with a fair amount of wit, and this book in particular is dripping with it. Not only from the narrative perspective, but even more so when focusing on our leading lady for this story, Izzy Stratland. A quintessential know-it-all goth/punk teenage girl, probably about seventeen years old. She dyes her hair in purple streaks, considers combat boots part of her mandatory attire, regardless of formality, smokes like a sailor and cusses like one too. She can be utterly obnoxious, but also begrudgingly fun simultaneously. Her dialogue, particularly when going back and fourth with her bestie Brittney is absolutely dripping with sarcasm and the general cynicism like so much splattered blood that only a teenaged goth girl could muster. (I speak from experience, they were kind of my type at around the same age. I dated my share, eventually even married one.)

Regardless of your personal knowledge and appreciation for the slasher genre, I think there's fun to be had here. However, let it be said that IF you're a diehard of the genre like myself there's a lot of name dropping and not at all subtle nods here to keep you smiling with that "I understood that reference!" grin every other page. To the point where one of the more important plot developments later into the story actually even hinges on that knowledge of name dropping, though Jones did a pretty solid job of having Izzy fill in the blanks in case it goes over your head regardless.

While the book can get down and dirty, it rarely ever feels too overly serious. Not unlike the genre it's basing itself on, really. Slashers, after all are like the popcorn flicks of the horror genre. That's largely successful thanks again to Jones' ability to naturally weave comedy and general wittiness into his writing. This is a book full of fun characters, several of which you know will end up being part of the body count. And you're ok with it, because like all good slashers, you love to hate some of them. Anticipating whatever new and creative way they're going to see their end. Based on a larger than life plot device that has become a staple of the genre. That of course being the titular "Final Girl". If you're uninitiated, the final girl is the virgin girl that survives the night in the end against Jason Voorhees or whatever masked manic has been hacking people to pieces for the past hour and a half during your movie.

It can all come off eye-roll inducing and even cringey at times, but it's done so purposefully and lovingly, all in the name of the subject matter and as homage. You'll have characters doing the things you as the reader (viewer?) most don't want them to do, you'll have the usual red-herrings of the genre, the lame jumpscares and the "told ya so" moments typical of the genre ending in some violent dismemberment or another. But if you fully acknowledge that yes, this is all part of the fun then there's a pretty good chance you'll end up having a good time here. I certainly did.

lastfinalgirl.jpg
 
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Aug 9, 2020
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Well, my last book of the year it appears will be "The Last Final Girl" by Stephen Graham Jones. What a fun book!

If the title to this one doesn't give what it's all about away, it's an homage to the slasher genre, most especially the classics from the 80's. After a popular teenage girl survives a weekend massacre by a serial killer wearing a Michael Jackson mask that later becomes known as "Billie Jean", she come back to school to the fanfare befitting of her heroics and her popularity. As homecoming is right around the corner she wastes little time in assembling her new homecoming court, but since her friends, the popular kids all died during Billie Jean's weekend of terror, it leaves largely the outcasts. Nerds, goth girls, etc. Freak accidents and more murders are still cropping up in the days leading to homecoming, with the focus getting put on the new court. Who will be the last final girl?

I think that paragraph sums up the story well. Both in it's actual description, but also in how campy it sounds. Very similar in fact to what you might read on the back of some low-budget slasher VHS tape. And that's exactly what this book was going for. It reads as if you're reading through the script of said film, rapidly switching point of view between not only character but even just describing scenes like a panning camera. If you're not familiar with Stephen Graham Jones, he writes with a fair amount of wit, and this book in particular is dripping with it. Not only from the narrative perspective, but even more so when focusing on our leading lady for this story, Izzy Stratland. A quintessential know-it-all goth/punk teenage girl, probably about seventeen years old. She dyes her hair in purple streaks, considers combat boots part of her mandatory attire, regardless of formality, smokes like a sailor and cusses like one too. She can be utterly obnoxious, but also begrudgingly fun simultaneously. Her dialogue, particularly when going back and fourth with her bestie Brittney is absolutely dripping with sarcasm and the general cynicism like so much splattered blood that only a teenaged goth girl could muster. (I speak from experience, they were kind of my type at around the same age. I dated my share, eventually even married one.)

Regardless of your personal knowledge and appreciation for the slasher genre, I think there's fun to be had here. However, let it be said that IF you're a diehard of the genre like myself there's a lot of name dropping and not at all subtle nods here to keep you smiling with that "I understood that reference!" grin every other page. To the point where one of the more important plot developments later into the story actually even hinges on that knowledge of name dropping, though Jones did a pretty solid job of having Izzy fill in the blanks in case it goes over your head regardless.

While the book can get down and dirty, it rarely ever feels too overly serious. Not unlike the genre it's basing itself on, really. Slashers, after all are like the popcorn flicks of the horror genre. That's largely successful thanks again to Jones' ability to naturally weave comedy and general wittiness into his writing. This is a book full of fun characters, several of which you know will end up being part of the body count. And you're ok with it, because like all good slashers, you love to hate some of them. Anticipating whatever new and creative way they're going to see their end. Based on a larger than life plot device that has become a staple of the genre. That of course being the titular "Final Girl". If you're uninitiated, the final girl is the virgin girl that survives the night in the end against Jason Voorhees or whatever masked manic has been hacking people to pieces for the past hour and a half during your movie.

It can all come off eye-roll inducing and even cringey at times, but it's done so purposefully and lovingly, all in the name of the subject matter and as homage. You'll have characters doing the things you as the reader (viewer?) most don't want them to do, you'll have the usual red-herrings of the genre, the lame jumpscares and the "told ya so" moments typical of the genre ending in some violent dismemberment or another. But if you fully acknowledge that yes, this is all part of the fun then there's a pretty good chance you'll end up having a good time here. I certainly did.

View attachment 876
"by a serial killer wearing a Michael Jackson mask" Uhm, that was unexpected, but I guess the choice has its merits. I've never read a novel in the slasher genre (watched a few flicks, yes, can't say they've become my favourite films or style but it was entertaining enough) but you made it seem interesting enough, especially how the author writers this almost like a screenplay, so I'll probably give it a chance someday - damn, it was free on Kindle Unlimited! Also, gothic girls, who don't love them? 😂🖤
 

Xeo

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"by a serial killer wearing a Michael Jackson mask" Uhm, that was unexpected, but I guess the choice has its merits. I've never read a novel in the slasher genre (watched a few flicks, yes, can't say they've become my favourite films or style but it was entertaining enough) but you made it seem interesting enough, especially how the author writers this almost like a screenplay, so I'll probably give it a chance someday - damn, it was free on Kindle Unlimited! Also, gothic girls, who don't love them? 😂🖤
It was a pretty fun read as a serious slasher fan. Your mileage may very. But I think it emulated the genre very well in book form. The Michael Jackson mask thing is silly and prompted me to look it up on google to see. And there are some...pretty terrifying looking MJ masks, so I'll assume it was one of those, lol.Stephen Graham Jones typically writes stuff that's a bit more serious, in fact it's often something to do with his heritage, being a Native American Indian. Which was my personal original draw to him, being half Cherokee myself. This was something completely different for him, and he showed he's not only a classic slasher fan, but also has a pretty intimate knowledge of the genre. As someone who does myself, particularly my favorite, Friday the 13th, I appreciated the hell out of it.
 
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Aug 9, 2020
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First book of 2021: Backwards to Oregon by Jae.

Backwards to Oregon(1).jpg


Jae has done it again - a slow-burn romance with a pair of incredible women at the centre-stage: Luke Hamilton, a woman living as a man since she was twelve, and Nora Macauley, who worked on a brothel for three years before Luke came to her with a "marriage" proposal, a farce that would benefit both sides. But, along the long and dangerous Oregon Trail, real feelings begin to surface.

The dedication to the historical setting is fascinating! I could easily see myself in the scenario with the cast of characters, and sometimes it was almost like the Oregon Trail was itself a character - the main antagonist which forces the characters to change and evolve.
 
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I’ve bought a lot of books in recent years but haven’t given myself enough time to read ‘em beyoned a Bowie biography called The Next Day. After playing a bit of Cyberpunk I finally decided to get started on Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
 
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Xeo

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I’ve bought a lot of books in recent years but haven’t given myself enough time to read ‘em beyoned a Bowie biography called The Next Day. After playing a bit of Cyberpunk I finally decided to get started on Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
Good a time as any now, right?
 
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I’ve bought a lot of books in recent years but haven’t given myself enough time to read ‘em beyoned a Bowie biography called The Next Day. After playing a bit of Cyberpunk I finally decided to get started on Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.
Coincidence or not, today was the first time I heard about this author when Goodreads recommended me his Seveneves and yes, I've added it to my list :D I read the blurb for Snow Crash as well but Seveneves seemed more intriguing despite the lower review score.
 
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Coincidence or not, today was the first time I heard about this author when Goodreads recommended me his Seveneves and yes, I've added it to my list :D I read the blurb for Snow Crash as well but Seveneves seemed more intriguing despite the lower review score.
Snow Crash is great for its intriguing themes and sci if setting though not very character based, I was thinking about picking up his book Diamond Age too, and maybe some of George RR Martin’s sci if books.
 
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