Petit : The Ogre Gods – Hubert Boulard & Bertrand Gatignol (Review)

The giants are getting smaller. Once, they were titanic near-immortal beings, warriors and philanthropists. Now, each inbred generation is smaller than the last, and as they decline physically, they decline morally as well, becoming more brutish, more cannibalistic, and more obsessed with restoring their diminishing size. They rule swinishly over a half-ruined city where humans are food and servants.

Petit is the youngest and smallest of the giants, shunned by his own race and feared by the humans for his violent outbursts and occasional consumption of human flesh. The book follows his growth to adulthood in a decaying society, navigating the brutal ogre court and his own divided nature.

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Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi (Review)

If you only looked at Western bestseller lists and film rankings, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Egyptian mummies are the only fantasy storyline which Africa has ever produced. But you’d be wrong – and I was thrilled to see that Children of Blood and Bone has brought a long-neglected mythology into young adult fiction.

We need more African stories. There’s an incredibly rich tradition of storytelling across the continent, which remains largely unrepresented in Western publishing. Tomi Adeyemi’s novel seems to draw mainly on Nigerian culture and mythology for inspiration, but I hope it heralds a great variety of stories from a great many more countries.

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Bone Dungeon – Jonathan Smidt (Review)

After an unjust execution, Ryan returns to consciousness as a dungeon core – a sentient lump of rock with the power to shape its immediate surroundings. Paired with Erin, a celestial fairy, Ryan’s goddess-given task is to challenge adventurers, stocking his dungeon with monsters so that questing heroes can gain experience.

There are complications to this though; Ryan has a magical affinity to darkness (necromantic energy), which is not only totally opposed to Erin’s magic/morals, but also a beacon to higher-levelled evil beings who seem him as an ally or a pawn. Living up to Erin’s expectations involves not using the full scope of his power, but living at all means he needs to get stronger, fast.

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Hellboy (2004) – Review

In the last days of WWII, desperate to change the course of the war, occult Nazis open a portal to hell; this is a classic occult Nazi tactic that will doubtless be familiar to you. Although US special forces eventually manage to close the portal before reality itself is unwritten, something still manages to come through.

That something is a juvenile demon, named “Hellboy” by the remaining allied troops. Initially intended to be a world-ending weapon for the Third Reich, the baby monster is instead adopted by a scientist and taken to the US. Years pass, and the demon becomes a vital asset to humanity, fighting monsters as part of the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence).

In 2004, occult Nazis are nothing but a distant memory, except – surprise! – they’re all still alive and now they’re back to open a new portal to hell and unleash chaos. Hellboy’s attempts to stop them are hampered by both his complicated personal life and the way that everything he does plays right into their hands.

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The Binding – Bridget Collins (Review)

‘Imagine you could hide a secret. Forever.’

Set in an alternate past in which the binding of books is a magical process, people have their most traumatic memories erased and bound into books.

I have to admit, I initially wanted to read The Binding mainly because I kept seeing the gorgeous cover in the bookshop where I used to work and I coveted it, which feels quite appropriate. Having read it, I really don’t know what genre I would peg The Binding as being.

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Spellslinger – Sebastien De Castell (Review)

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In a society where power, status, and freedom are only given to those with magic, Kellen has a problem. Despite being from a powerfully magical family, and with only days to go before he either demonstrates his powers or is enslaved, Kellen’s magic has yet to appear.

It’s not a great situation to be in, and his personal problems pale into insignificance compared to the increasingly unstable political situation – an internal power vacuum, spies from a hostile kingdom, and the re-appearance of an extinct enemy. Kellen has little time(and even less power) to fix anything, but apparently it’s all his responsibility.
The setting is non-standard – it’s low fantasy but with more magic than normal, displaying little technology but with aesthetics somewhere between Arabian Nights and Westerns. It’s difficult to place the world against an equivalent mundane era, or tie it to a specific mythology. There’s a definite Eastern influence, but not to the exclusion of all else. I like things like that – it takes longer to work out what’s going on, but the creatures and magic are fresh.

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Doctor Strange (2016) – Review

A1dZex6UxyL._RI_SX300_After a brilliant but arrogant surgeon loses the use of his hands in an accident, his search for healing takes him beyond science and medicine to strange realms of magic.

With new power comes new responsibility, as though that’s a common theme to all Marvel plots or something. Our reality is under threat, and Doctor Strange has to fully embrace the powers he only half-understands in order to fight back.

 

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