March 21, 2020 – Started Reading and Finished Reading

Good in some places and average in some.

14 by Peter Clines

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment.

Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.

At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbour across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s. Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.

Or the end of everything…

Started and Finished Reading – March 19, 2020
BATMAN VOL. 11: THE FALL AND THE FALLEN by Tom King (DC)

Ever since Batman’s impending wedding went south on him, the Caped Crusader has had the sinking suspicion that there has been someone lurking in the shadows setting events into motion. After the attempted assassination of Nightwing he starts to question his commitment to his war on crime, his relationships and even his own sanity.

There has been an unseen hand orchestrating these events. And while the true villain has yet to reveal himself, his minions are starting to step forward and break the Bat down once and for all–beginning with Thomas Wayne, the Batman from the Flashpoint Universe!

Now that Batman has escaped the “Knightmares,” he’s starting to see the forces rallying against him-and that his father from another universe has joined the other side. The Caped Crusader finally digs into the mystery of how Thomas Wayne, a.k.a. the Flashpoint Batman, escaped the collapse of his dimension and ended up in this part of the Multiverse.

Collects Batman #70-74 and Secret Files #2

July 17, 2019 – Started Reading
March 19, 2020 – Finished Reading

Batman, Volume 10: Knightmares by Tom King (DC)

There are strange goings-on in the dark alleys of Gotham City, mysteries that will require a different skill set than the Caped Crusader’s if he’s going to stop the whole city from succumbing to the darkness. Still reeling from the attacks on his Bat-Family and reputation, the Dark Knight looks to track down the mysterious operator has been lurking behind the scenes in Gotham.
As the casualties begin to rise around him, Bruce Wayne will reflect on the recent events that have turned his world upside down. Something is wrong. Someone is systematically targeting Batman’s life in and out of the cowl. As the picture begins to come into focus, Bruce Wayne will have to make one of the toughest decisions of his life – accepting a fight he knows he will lose.

Collects Batman #61-63 and 66-69

One of weakest in the series… The thrill just wasn’t there.

March 14, 2020 – Started Reading
March 15, 2020 – Finished Reading

Crooked River by Douglas Preston (book:series=Pendergast)

Before he can return to New York from Miami, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is called to investigate something very strange that has happened on the west coast of Florida. Dozens of human feet, identically clad in blue have washed up on beaches. All exhibit unmistakeable signs of violence. Beyond that, nothing is known about the feet, except that they are fresh and haven’t been in the water long.

Pendergast reluctantly makes his way to the barrier islands off South Florida to investigate a case he believes to be outside his area of expertise and his interest. Once there, he finds the case both disturbing and intriguing, and is drawn into the mystery almost against his will. A preliminary pathology report indicates the feet were chopped, torn, or even wrenched from their bodies in the crudest of ways. Over the next few days, still more continue to wash in, until the number tops one hundred.

Soon the case begins to take a most surprising and complex turn, and Pendergast finds it necessary to call in Special Agent Armstrong Coldmoon for a risky and very specific undercover assignment. And when, at last, the true origin of this awful gift from the sea becomes clear, the former partners are forced to confront an enemy, and a horror, more powerful and deadly than any they have faced before.

An interesting blend of time-travel and epic fantasy. Surely one of the best fantasy works I’ve read recently and most plot threads were tied up neatly and the ending was beautifully done.

Now I’m looking forward to Islington’s next book.

March 1, 2020 – Started Reading
March 10, 2020 – Finished Reading

The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

The Light of All That Falls concludes the epic adventure that began in The Shadow of What Was Lost, the acclaimed fantasy blockbuster from James Islington.

The Boundary is whole once again, but it may be too late.

Banes now stalk Andarra, while in Ilin Illan, the political machinations of a generation come to a head as Wirr’s newfound ability forces his family’s old enemies into action.

Imprisoned and alone in a strange land, Davian is pitted against the remaining Venerate as they work tirelessly to undo Asha’s sacrifice – even as he struggles with what he has learned about the friend he chose to set free.

And Caeden, now facing the consequences of his centuries-old plan, must finally confront its reality – heartbroken at how it began, and devastated by how it must end.

The second book in the Licanius Trilogy was as good as the first one. For a few chapters mid-book, I was wondering if I was still reading the first one. I had forgotten that I was in the second book. Kudos for making it immersive.

February 23, 2020 – Started Reading
March 1, 2020 – Finished Reading

An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington

In the wake of the devastating attack on Ilin Illan, an amnesty has been declared for all Augurs – finally allowing them to emerge from hiding and openly oppose the dark forces massing against Andarra. However as Davian and his new allies hurry north toward the ever-weakening Boundary, fresh horrors along their path suggest that their reprieve may have come far too late.
In the capital, Wirr is forced to contend with assassins and an increasingly hostile Administration as he controversially assumes the mantle of Northwarden, uncovering a mystery that draws into question everything commonly believed about the rebellion his father led twenty years ago. Meanwhile, Asha begins a secret investigation into the disappearance of the Shadows, determined to discover not only where they went but the origin of the Vessels that created them – and, ultimately, a cure.
And with time against him as he races to fulfill the treacherous bargain with the Lyth, Caeden continues to wrestle with the impossibly heavy burdens of his past. Yet as more and more of his memories return, he begins to realise that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war may not be as clear-cut as they first seemed…

February 19, 2020 – Started Reading
February 23, 2020 – Finished Reading

My sister had recommended this book to me. And it was a bit different take on the usual fantasy trope though the original things that make up a fantasy world were present.

Four protagonists begin their Hero’s Journey.

The Shadow of What Was Lost by http://jamesislington.com/

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augursβ€”once thought of almost as godsβ€”were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war foughtβ€”and lostβ€”before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

Like Umberto Ecos’ Baudolino, Parker’s unnamed narrator is an unique character who’s both the hero and the villain of this novella. When he says, “I have an idea you aren’t going to like me very much.”, it is absolutely correct. But he turns out to be a lovable rogue like so many of Parker’s other characters in other works.

I absolutely loved the ending which was completely out of the blue but a typical KJ Parker ending.

If you had to read one book this year, read this.

It’s just February and I believe this is going to be the best story I’ve read in 2020.

A beautiful epistolary time-travel romance that is full of tiny bits of smart references that if you miss them, you won’t know they exist. I loved the reference to L’esprit de l’escalier. πŸ™‚ Smashing piece of writing.