Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bottled Abyss- Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Bottled AbyssBottled Abyss by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was introduced to Ethridge's work last year with Black & Orange which easily became one of my favorite books of the year. Ethridge's talent for turning folklore and myth into his own device stays strong in his new book, Bottled Abyss. The story initially starts off about Herman and Janet, a married couple who lost their young daughter recently to a hit and run driver, and all the trauma which that entails. While looking for their lost dog, Herman meets Charon the Boatman, and learns first hand the power of the Boatman's bottle. This spirals Herman and Janet's life down a dark spiral of horror, insanely dark realms of Greek mythology, and a glimpse of how genuinely damaged people can be.

Honestly it was that last facet of the book that made reading it such a visceral experience. As mentioned before, Ethridge is a master of creating a new world out of old myth. His legendary figures take on a new life that is vastly entertaining to read. I, however, was just amazed at how well he fleshed out the four main characters of the book, and how each of them were experiencing lives that were broken to a point where the dark myths that permeated the story almost took a back seat. It made the book incredibly hard to put down.

The resolution of the story is as terrifying in implication as it is in what is made known. If he ever did a sequel to it, I'd honestly be intimidated to read it. All in all, a fantastic, dark read from a consistently talented writer. Five stars definitely.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: The Neon Court- Kate Griffin

The Neon Court (Matthew Swift #3)The Neon Court by Kate Griffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been a huge fan of the series since I first discovered A Madness of Angels. Griffin's world of Urban Fantasy makes me think of what Jim Butcher would do if he was stuck on an island with a copy of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, a complete collection of the Hellblazer comics, and no coffee. The world that main character Matthew Swift lives in is one of an amazing mythos, but it's a very modern one. There are beings within it that are from folklore (Such as the Neon Court in this book.) but they're existing and identified in a contemporary setting. This creates a fantastic atmosphere that gives one the feeling that Magic exists if you just look down an alley the wrong (or right) way.

The Neon Court differs slightly in tone from the first two books in the series in that the storyline pretty much takes place in the world that Swift has created/been thrown into as it stand right now. The first two books dealt with his resurrection and his advancement into the role he plays in London's magical underworld right now. The Neon Court has no real advancements of the character plot-wise that I could see, but I haven't read the fourth one yet, which could make me look like a complete idiot for saying this.

One stand alone comment: Griffin likes to break her toys. I did not see some things that happened to what I thought were major characters coming.

Definitely a good read and time well spent. Four stars.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just a thought.

75 years ago today, Howard Phillips Lovecraft died. What did you do today?

Rest in Peace, you magnificent bastard.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fun with moving

I've been trying to get into using Twitter more simply because it's proven to be an absolute treasure trove of great ideas coming together in real time. As I'm going to start the horrendous process of moving (Moving is intrinsically horrendous, even when it's simple. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.), I decided that I will tweet about it in the style of H.P. Lovecraft. Also, I just want to use the #uhaulofcthulhu hashtag.

Also, if you're in tweet space, add me. I add you back like an unquestioning whore. @ajbesson

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good day is good

Just received the e-mail this morning; New Apartment Achievement is unlocked. Hopefully will be able to move  in by mid-March. This will undoubtedly be one of the easiest moving experiences in the history of the sordid act. The new domicile, which will either be christened the Citadel of Nastiness or Mad McCready's International House of WTF, is a block away from where I currently live. This means that I can simply walk the majority of my possessions over to the new place, making the moving of the remainder of the big stuff a short process. My personal stuffs are few, as I'm not a fan of lots of stuff. At any rate, go me.

Just finished reading this

Lovely piece of work, edited by a gentleman who went to my alma mater, Sonoma State University. Overall, an excellent read. Not all the stories revolve around Ol' Squidface. In fact, many of the stories in the anthology go quite far in the expanding upon the bizarre nature of the Cthulhu mythos. A couple of the stories were so abstract that I unfortunately had to give up on them. (No, I'm not going to tell you which ones they are, as YMMV.) At any rate, with writers such as Brian Lumley, Cherie Priest, Charles Stross, and Ramsey Campbell in the mix, you can't go wrong. Four out of five stars.

Also, got a Pinterest account today. Don't know yet if it's social media craze that's going to sweep the nation, but damn it if some people don't take awesome pictures. If you want to add me on it, you can do so here.

Also, I forgot how incredible this band was. Miranda Sex Garden. Madrigal singers with a love for Nick Cave.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Google+ Tango

My G+ account was linked to a gmail account that I hardly ever use anymore. Got tired of having to log out, then in again to see what was going on in G+ (FIRST!WORLD!PROBLEMS!). Since Google doesn't allow you to migrate your G+ account, I just started a new one. Add me here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What I've been doing

Oh my, but I've let this go recently. Go ahead, yell "WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT'RE YOU DOING IN MY RSS FEED?!!?" I deserve it.  I could tell you I've been busy in far off lands with no wi-fi connections, but I'd be sitting on a throne of lies. I'll just start off with general blathering to make up for lost time.

A Movie You Should See: The Woman in Black

I lurves me a good ghost story, and this one hits all the marks. Tense atmosphere, bleak settings, and loads of "Oh shit, I just flung my popcorn everywhere." moments. Daniel Radcliffe plays a very non-Harry Potter lawyer  who is sent off to a 'orrbly goffik village in Victorian-era England to assess the property of a recently deceased client. The villagers shun him when he gets there, as 'orrbly goffik villagers will do, and do their best to impede him for reasons unknown. When he gets to the desolate mansion of the client out in the marsh (You're gettin' beat over the head with 'orrbly goffik at this point. It's wonderful!), he sees a woman dressed in a long black dress. Shit gets real after that. Here's an example

Popcorn. Popcorn everywhere. I guarantee it.

Books you should read: The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin

Griffin's Matthew Swift series started with A Madness of Angels, centering around Matthew Swift, a sorceror in modern day London who gets killed, then comes back to life, and things go horribly downhill from there. In A Madness of Angels, Griffin creates a dark London and exists within and alongside the "real" London comparable to the works of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and Ekaterina Sedia's The Secret History of Moscow.  The Midnight Mayor expands upon the world she puts forth in the first book, where our hero(?) is put into a position where he needs to find who wants to totally destroy London, why they want to destroy London, and hopefully put an end to such shenanigans. Fans of the Hellblazer comic books series would find definite, positive comparisons between John Constantine and Matthew Swift, and Griffin's descriptive and world building capabilities are nothing short of amazing. Definitely check this out.

That's it for now. In future episodes:

*Trying to get a new apartment! Like you care!

*What the hell am I going to do with this ham my co-worker gave me?

Good night, lieblings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book review: Concrete Grove- Gary McMahon

I love Urban Horror, absolutely love it. There's a starkness to it that just butters my toast. For a video game fix of it, I have Silent Hill. For a music fix, I have The Axis of Perdition (It's an acquired taste. Trust me on this.) With Concrete Grove, Gary McMahon has filled out the literary avenue for me.

Concrete Grove is the tale of a low-income, high-crime housing complex in Newcastle, England, and the people who live there and around there. The day-to-day, grimy, very tragic lives of these people is being intruded upon by something primal and dark, something all the more terrifying because they don't know if it's for the better or worse. Things start off bad, and then get worse. To tell you more than this regarding the plot really would give too much away.

McMahon's characters in Concrete Grove are, quite honestly, some of the most broken ones I've ever read.  It's a hard call to say whether or not the supernatural elements of the story are worse than what the main characters have endured and currently endure in their mundane lives. You find out early on about the histories of each of them, and they are straight across the board horrible. The major horror comes from where these histories lead them too. Overall, the supernatural horror elements play second fiddle to the human horror. This isn't to say the supernatural elements aren't utterly disturbing and terrifying, it's that they're the condiments, not the main course.

As you may have guessed, this is a disturbing, harrowing read. I'm not saying this in a "I frikkin' dare you!" type of way, it's just a warning. If the combination of the potential bleakness of the human condition and supernatural darkness that's never fully explained is your thing, you do yourself a great disservice by not reading this. Otherwise, consider something that'll let you sleep at night. At any rate, I'll definitely be checking out McMahon's other work after this. Rating: Five out of five cracked-out monkeys.