Three Short Reviews (NOS4A2, The Tyrant’s Law, Mockingjay)

I’ve decided to bundle three reviews. Not because these books aren’t deserving of their own reviews. I just don’t have anything profound to add to the discussion. So here’s the rundown of my recently read books.

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NOS4A2 (short for Nosferatu, the famous 1922 horror flick) is Joe Hill’s third novel. I’ve read his previous two novels, his short story collection, and his wonderful comic series, Locke & Key. This novel is a clear progression in his writing career, expanding into a more epic story line that spans decades rather than days like in Heart-Shaped Box and Horns. There are more characters, a more complex plot, and overall a more gratifying novel.

Joe Hill took a pen name, desiring to make a name for himself on his own accord. His previous novels shied away from his father’s (Stephen King) horror themes. In NOS4A2, Hill embraces his father’s legacy, paying tribute to some of his older novels including Christine and The Dead Zone.

The story follows the life of Vic McQueen, a young brat growing up in a broken home. She has the magical ability of finding lost things and encounters a soul-stealing pedophile of sorts by the name of Charlie Manx. She escapes from his grasp, but his interest in her continues into her troubled adult life. Her son is captured and brought to his child prison known as Christmasland. Vic must enter Manx’s world to save her son from Manx’s grasp.

NOS4A2 is everything Joe Hill fans can want and expect. Recommended.

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15790816The Tyrant’s Law is Daniel Abraham’s third novel in his The Dagger and the Coin epic fantasy series. This is one of the top five epic fantasies out there and perhaps the only really good one that is being written with any regularity (although, I expect Brandon Sanderson to get right back on track with his The Stormlight Archive).

This series is smaller in scale that George R. R. Martin’s series, but similar in a couple of ways. Like A Song of Ice and FireThe Dagger and the Coin is a battle for the throne. Abraham also employs Martin’s technique of naming each chapter with the viewpoint character. The Tyrant’s Law follows four — an exiled widow named Clara, a young cutthroat banker named Cithrin, a bodyguard/captain named Marcus, and a scholar-turned-tyrant named Geder Palliako.

I will admit that I thought the series got slightly bogged down in this volume, but as I said, if you are into epic fantasy, this is one of the best things going right now.

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7260188Mockingjay is the third book and final book in Suzanne Collins’ mega-blockbuster series, The Hunger Games.  I read the first book a few years ago and then finally picked up the second book on audible a couple of months ago. I had a short-notice trip to Toronto last week and was able to pick up the third volume on Overdrive through my library.

The series was entertaining and perfect to listen to on commutes where my attention can be somewhat divided. Given the popularity of this book, there is no point in me discussing the plot. While I enjoyed the thrill of the Battle Royale-style survival, the series fell victim to common tropes (a three-way romance and a classic dystopian militaristic society). It was well worth my read, but I doubt it will have a lasting impression on me.

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