Tag Archives: Novella

Shadows For Silence In The Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson : Review

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When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: “Don’t kindle flame, don’t shed the blood of another, don’t run at night. These things draw shades.”

Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on  their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself.

I wasn’t sure what I would think of Shadows For Silence In The Forests Of Hell when I started reading it, I had heard a little too much about how short it was compared to the rest of Brandon’s stories. While I don’t think it was long enough to justify it being called a novella, the fact that it’s so slow is a testament to Brandon’s skill as a writer. He has taken a very short story and filled it with an impressive amount of character and detail without having the story feel weighted down.

 Silence Montane is a Forescout–those who were the first people to leave the Homeland to explore and settle a new continent. She has learned to survive in a world where the very trees around you seek your blood, and the shades of the dead seek to destroy you. The owner of one of the safest waystop in the Forest, Silence will do whatever it takes to protect her waystop and keep her family safe, even if it means breaking every rule of survival she has learned from birth.

Despite the lack of the interesting magic systems that have become the trademarks of a Brandon Sanderson story, Shadows For Silence In The Forests Of Hell is probably one of the best things I have read this year so far. I did not expect to read one of Brandon’s stories and be glad I left my bedroom light on while I did so, it is truly the creepiest story I have seen him write so far. Threnody may not be one of the more important Shard/Cosmere worlds, but I really hope Brandon chooses to revisit it some time in the near future.

While any fan of Brandon Sanderson would love this story as much as I do, I would really suggest anyone who has not read any of Brandon’s works read it as well. I would be shocked if they were not a die-hard fan by the end of the story.


Surrogate by David Bernstein : Review

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Rebecca Hardwick wants nothing more than to start a family with her husband. But when a series of tragedies occur, she is left unable to have children by natural means.

Jane Nurelle is in an abusive relationship filled with beatings, drinking and drugs. But when she learns of her pregnancy, she is determined to turn her life around, even if it means  resorting to violence.

Through an unlikely series of events, these two women come face-to-face with a notable scientist who has perfected a way for couples to have biologically matched children through the process of human cloning. But his service comes at a price…and the women share more in common than they ever thought possible.

Surrogate is an unforgettable tale of life, love, revenge and maternal instinct

Surrogate is the newest story from Darkfuse’s line of novellas, and the second story by David Bernstein I’ve read so far this year. While this is not the type of story I usually read there were enough supernatural elements to keep me interested the whole way through. I’ve noticed that David Berstein likes to ask thought provoking questions throughout his work that keep you thinking about it well after the story is over. In Surrogate that question is simple–How far would you go to have and protect your child?

Tom and Rebecca Hardwick are trying everything they can to have a child, but when tragedy strikes and Rebecca finds herself unable to conceive they are both left devastated. Rebecca and Tom are soon approached by the secretive Dr. Kotrich and offered one more opportunity at parenthood, an opportunity that comes at a price. This is where the story starts to get a little strange and delves into the ethical questions of human cloning and surrogacy. Tom and Rebecca soon find themselves doing whatever it takes to have and keep their child, no matter what the cost.

Jane Nurelle is a pregnant and battered wife who is unable to bring herself to leave her abusive husband, even if it may cost her the life of herself and her child. These three people soon find their lives more entwined than they would have though possible.

I really wanted to enjoy this story, it has so much going for it that should have made it an amazing story. While I did enjoy it in the beginning it seemed half way through the story the author decided he didn’t know where the story was going to go anymore. The story started jumping around in an almost frenzied fashion which made it difficult for me to follow or really enjoy in the end. That being said it had enough going for it that I found myself reading it in one sitting because I had to know what was going on. Then in the end, while plenty of questions were answered, I found myself still wondering just what was going on.

Surrogate will be released October 14th by Darkfuse.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Black Out by Tim Curran : Review

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In the midst of a beautiful summer, in a perfectly American suburban middle-class neighborhood, a faraway evil is lurking, waiting to strike the unsuspecting residents.

First come the flashing lights, then the heavy rains, high winds, and finally a total blackout. But that’s only the beginning…

When the whipping black tentacles fall from the sky and begin snatching people at random, the denizens of Piccamore Way must discover the terrifying truth of what these beings have planned for the human race.

Blackout by Tim Curran is one of the newest stories in DarkFuse’s popular novella line and so far my favorite out of those I have read. With it Tim Curran tells the story of what happens when the power goes out and does not come back on again, of what happens when the stars vanish from the sky and a darkness so thick and menacing you can almost feel it descends upon the world. It asks the question of what do you do when the people around you start vanishing one by one, and those you would hope to rely on in such a situation are no where to be found. Blackout tells the story of one middle aged man and his attempt to survive what he believes to be the end of humanity.

Jon believes he lives the perfect middle-American life in the perfectly middle-class and perfectly dull neighborhood of Piccamore Way and he is completely fine with that. He is past the age of wanting excitement in his life and is content with the predictable lifestyle he now shared with his wife Kathy. That all changes when Jon wakes up one night to an almost unnaturally severe thunderstorm to find his wife missing and his neighborhood in the middle of a blackout. While searching for his wife Jon soon finds himself trying to survive with a small band of survivors who are desperately trying to evade the horrifying tentacles that have dropped from the inky blackness above and started yanking them into an unknown fate into the sky. Throughout all this Jon keeps asking himself just one question, will he ever see his wife again?

With Blackout Tim Curran wrote the perfect horror novella for me, it was just the right length to leave me feeling satisfied and while it kept you guessing at what was really going on the entire time, the conclusion was more than satisfying. It just left me with only one question, and that was why had I never heard of this author before? I would recommend this book to just about anyone who is a fan of the horror genre, and suggest to people that Tim Curran is an author to check out. You will not be disappointed!

Blackout by Tim Curran is set to be released August 19th by DarkFuse.

I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


The Wurms of Blearmoth by Steven Erikson: Review

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Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.

But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter’s End, those most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.

Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle’s memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord—Ah, but there lies this tale.

 

As a friend pointed out, the title of this short novella by Steven Erikson sounds like the name of a disease. But Spendrugle from Blearmouth is in fact a backwater town in West Elingarth and this is where Bauchelain and Korbal Broach along with our favorite man-servant Emanicipator Reese (Many the Luckless) find themselves in after their ship, Suncurl, is wrecked.

Lord Fangatooth, a sorcerer takes over this town after ousting his brother as a tyrant. And takes pride in it. He has a scribe recording all his words who I feel is mocking him but Lord Fangatooth is too proud to notice it and sees it as a praise only. The town has a whole host of other memorable characters not the least the inn-keeper with very interesting and strange additions to her anatomy. Then there is the ex-tax collector who brings out a kind of political commentary on the whole tax regime in our civilised world. The towns sheriff if you can call it who just wants to follow his Lords orders to arrest every newcomer who comes to the town. The man sentenced to death by hanging who just refuses to die.

But all of them are woefully unprepared to deal with our trio (well the duo, Mancy is just along for a ride to get away from his wife). They are taken to the Lord of the towns keep directly as they arrive on the island. Here Bauchelain indulges in some philosophical debate over tyranny with Lord Fangatooth while Korbal Broach indulges himself with some food and a dead body (not eating it of course). All the while fending off poisoning attempts made by their host. As with other novellas involving these three, there is plenty of bloodletting. Starting with the rag-tag army of the very aptly named (sarcrasm) Tiny and his band.

Well, enough with the summary. This book started out with a better premise than other B & KB books but sadly, i was disappointed with the end result. The climax had no sense of surprise except being too simple. Maybe Im just used to a much higher level of writing from SE or maybe novellas are not my thing. I like my reading complex and elaborate. This was neither. Chcharacterizationas well done. Premise was set very well. It was the conclusion which left me a bit cold. But all said, if you havent yet started with the epic Malazan Book of the Fallen, these short stories involving the necromancer, demon-conjurer and their man-servant can be a very suitable entry point for you. They are full of humor underneath all that dark sounding stuff. There are moments of pure joy where you will laugh out aloud. Like when the inn-keeper introduces the ex-tax collector to her (ahem!) assets who (or which?) can talk. Ill leave you with that image for now.

Conclusion: Its a fun read and takes the legend of B & KB forward with Elan but it could have been better.

Rating: 3.5/5

Release Date: July 8th

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

Review by Kunal Garg

 

 


Children of No One by Nicole Cushing : Review

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Sadism, nihilism, poverty, wealth, screams, whimpers, sanity and madness collide in Nowhere, Indiana
For Thomas Krieg, Nowhere is a miles-long, pitch-black underground maze in which he’s imprisoned dozens of boys for the past ten years – all in the name of art.
For two brothers, Nowhere is the only place they clearly remember living. A world unto itself, in which they must stay alert to stay alive. A world from which the only escape is death.
But for an English occultist known only as Mr. No One, Nowhere is much more…and much less: the perfect place in which to perform a ritual to unleash the grandest of eldritch deities, the God of Nothingness, the Great Dark Mouth.

Children of No One by Nicole Cushing was a bit of an unusual read for me, as this was neither fantasy nor a full length novel, but instead a novella. As such, there’s a bit of difficulty for me in writing a full length review. Exploring the darker recesses of the human mind, the art of discovering human behaviour within darkness, using a black canvas, of the battle between sadism and nihilism, Children of No One is filled with thought-provoking psychological and emotional elements.

Children of No One is a a rather creepy and disturbing short story which was well written. However I would have liked to see more from the perspective of the boys and those in the maze, which is what I had been expecting.

It’s a very short read at 49 pages, though don’t expect too much from it, as there’s not enough character development or exploration into the lives of those in the maze to give the impression of a satisfying read.  Though, as readers of my blog might know, I have a tendency to read much longer novels,because of this I’m unaccustomed to such short stories and the pacing. Those who read novellas may find it more satisfactory and enjoyable than I was able to.

Release date: March 26th, 2013 by Darkfuse.

 


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