The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy – Joseph R. Lallo

The 8th book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.   Although it isn’t actually part of the main series.

A genuine stand alone book that can be enjoyed either with or without the main series, and vice versa.   It just so happens that this story happens in the same world as ‘The Book of Deacon’ series.

So what’s it about?   Well, to begin, it’s mostly a children’s story, and if you have any children who like things like fairies and mermaids then i’m sure they’ll love you to read them this story.

Essentially, a fairy ends up getting snatched from the shore by a merman and dragged off under the sea for a rather big and exciting adventure.   What more can a child ask from a story?

And even if you’re not a child and just including this book because you’re reading ‘The Book of Deacon’ as a whole series like i am, this is a nice fun book to read.   After all the heaviness of ‘The Battle of Verrel’ and the end of the war, it’s nice to have a book like this to take a breather from the main series before diving back in for the second half.   It really is a great, half time, refreshment read.

So, to sum up, a nice easy read, which i think would be great for children either for reading themselves or being read to.   The characters are enjoyable, well written, fun, and keep you on their side all the way through.

And now i dive straight back into the main series with ‘The Redemption of Desmeres’.

Joseph’s Page

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The Battle of Verril – Joseph R. Lallo

The 7th book of ‘The Book of Deacon’ series, which essentially ends the first half of the series.   Yes, 7 books are just the first half, we’ve got it all to do again to finish the series.   So what was book 7 like?

Well, it was a bit of a roller coaster, and then some.   A relentless, none stop, too and fro between The D’Karon and The Chosen.   We’ve been informed several times that one of The Chosen isn’t going to survive this battle, so we kind of know the rest are, but it’s what’s going to be left of the world after they survive that is the question.   We also know that this is only the end of the first half of the series, so obviously something of The D’Karon is also going to survive as well, but as we don’t know exactly what The D’Karon is, or are, we don’t know much on what or who is going to survive.

It’s all pretty big, epic fantasy, and while i’m not big into all the fighting stuff, i still find it really enjoyable.   Well written, easy to follow, with great characters on both sides of the conflict.   You can really lose yourself for a couple of months in this series.

The next book is ‘The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy’, which, although set in the same world, isn’t part of the conflict and serves as a nice palate cleanser after all those nasty battles before we dive back into the next half proper.

Also available in ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’.

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Meeting of the Mas – Joseph R. Lallo

Just as i was about to start ‘The Battle of Verrel’ Joseph released this month’s Patreon short story.   So i thought i may as have this as a little inbetweeny before diving back into the universe of Deacon.

I was really quite excited about getting to read a book with all 4 instances of Ma having a meeting as i can’t get enough of Ma, the more the merrier.

My only complaint… I wanted sooo much more of all the Mas.   I really do think they deserve their very own full length novel or even a dedicated trilogy.

But it’s a good little short and a good little inbetweeny while we await the next Big Sigma novel.

So how do you get it?

It’s currently only available to Joseph’s Patreon supporters.   Sign up today and get some book’s, support our favourite independent writer and keep on keeping it real against the big corporate nasty publishing houses who want to control everything we read.   Independent writers are well worth supporting, me thinks.

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The Great Convergence – Joseph R. Lallo

The sixth book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series follows the travels of The Chosen and their getting to know each other a bit better.

Joseph has created a set of heroes, The Chosen, for this story that are everything but a cohesive unit working towards a singular goal, and, at times, this can become rather frustrating and annoying.   I just wanted them to sort their shit out and get on with it, but they just keep pulling in opposite directions with their own agendas being more important than the goal the gods set for them.   And the end result of my frustration and annoyance is i end up liking and admiring The Generals more than i do The Chosen.

So far this has been the strangest book of the series.   Whereas ‘The Book of Deacon’ was exploring how magic works within this series, this book is mostly spent with The Chosen learning to fight, both individually and together.   And i’m not a big fan of lots of fighting, so i can’t say it all worked for me.

But, lots of buts, i suppose this was inevitable.   You take a bunch of people, some who don’t want to be heroes and some who do, and throw them together for a goal that some don’t care about and some do, and you’re going to have chaos for a while.   And this is what this book is really for: bringing together these conflicts, internal and external, of our heroes and attempting to get them resolved before the big day ahead.   Will they all be resolved?   Will all our heroes survive?   You’ll just have to read it and find out.

One more thing about this book.   The war between the Northern Alliance and Tressor has been going on for well over 100 years, continuously, and i kept on feeling that this book had a lot to say about war and the reasons we fight it…

“Peace is preferable to war.   If defeat is the price, I am now willing to pay it,” the king stated solemnly.

“You claim to care for your people, yet you would sacrifice their freedom with victory so nearly at hand,” Bagu scolded.

“Their freedom was not mine to sacrifice, nor was it theirs.   Their forefathers and mine gave it to the war long ago, and the war has been given to you,” said the king.

“Remember this, Your Majesty.   Your continued power is an illusion for the benefit of your people.   The only true power lies in the hand that wields the sword,” warned the general.

With that he returned to his lair.   The defeated king sat in silence.

Food for thought there.

Also available in ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’.

Joseph’s Page

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The Book of Deacon – Joseph R. Lallo

Although this is the fifth book in ‘The Book of Deacon’ series, this is where the story truly begins.

In this book we follow the journey of a young woman, Myranda, as she gets all mixed up in the game between The Chosen and the D’Karon: and it’s quite a journey.

It’s also a bit of an info dump, in that this is where we learn, through Myranda’s journey, how magic works in this world.   But it’s not a tedious info dump, the info is blended seamlessly into the story and everything just flows along at a really good pace and you never get any down time.

And we also end up back at Entwell during this story and discover what became of our sweet little fairy Ayna, and also get to know a few more of the characters there: which is always good.   There’s even a cute little baby dragon, and we all like dragons, especially cute little baby ones.   Joseph always throws a cute little beasty thing into his stories and they do make for a lot of fun.

Final thoughts… This is my second reading of ‘The Book of Deacon Anthology’ and it’s actually better than i remember it.   It really is one of the best fantasy series out there IMHO.   If you like fantasy, or are fantasy curious, then this series is a great one to read.

Joseph’s Page

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Woken Furies — Richard Morgan

And so, after the fantastic, ‘Altered Carbon’, followed up by the enthralling, but not quite as good, ‘Broken Angels’, i had decided not to expect anything from this book other than a couple more incredible sex scenes like the first two books had.

And i was still left utterly disappointed.

The sex scenes in this book are like Richard just couldn’t be bothered.   The incredible, imaginative stuff of the first two books had gone and in its place was just crude basic crap with the word ‘cunt’ used far too often like Richard was a 4 year old who just learned a naughty word and is trying to impress all his friends with it.   Really, that’s what it was like.   It’s like someone else wrote half of this book.

It’s not like the great ideas and a good story that were in the first two books weren’t there any more, they were, and that aspect of it was just as good and just as enthralling.   It’s just the telling of it and the writing of it felt totally different.

I felt a bit of this in book two, compared to book one, and this third book continues the downward trajectory.

Did the editor get changed?   Because whoever edited this book needs sacking.   You really have to stop and pause while you work through conversations trying to decide if someone’s thinking or speaking or whatever because the punctuation is completely missing.

Too many faults in a really good story.   What could have been an amazing book is left to be bearable to read once and i can’t ever see myself reading this trilogy ever again.

Richard’s Page

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Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan

Wow! How does one review something like this book?

To start with… It’s hard, brutal, nasty and cruel. It’s got rape, torture, snuff, hardcore literary pornography and other unpleasant stuff, even some bestiality thrown in for good measure. So if any of that kind of stuff bothers you, seriously, don’t open this book. Instead, you can go and watch, what i presume will be, a tamed down version on Netflix. I say ‘presume’ because i most certainly am not going to be watching it after reading this book as i don’t want Netflix ruining it for me, plus, i’ve got plenty of really good books to read instead. After reading this book, i’m very content with the impression the book leaves, any video hack job of this book will only diminish that contentment.

The story is in the first person narrative of our protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, who was a highly trained military asset known as an ‘Envoy’. ‘Envoy’ being quite the twisted, euphemistic description of what his military role used to be. And as an Envoy, Kovacs was trained to have no feelings towards anyone or anything. He’s essentially just a pure, flat affect machine designed to get a job done that normal military assets can’t be used for, for one reason or another. But now he no longer works for those who trained him and instead uses his training as a free lance criminal with devasting effect.

So, with that in mind, you are taken on a journey from the point of view of a weaponised, mal-adjusted, amoral, machine like mind, and at times it can become quite the uncomfortable ride.

On top of all this, the book is set in the future where human minds can be decanted into software and ‘re-sleeved’ into new bodies, either real, synthetic, semi-synthetic or virtual and as such some of the characters have been alive for over 300 years. These older characters are known as ‘meths’, short for ‘Methuselahs’ named after the longest living character in the bible. It is one of these meths that has employed Kovacs, under duress, to find out who killed him in his last ‘sleeve’. And so we go on a high octane, magical carpet ride on steroids as Kovacs takes on the worst of the future of humanity in his search to find answers.

It’s not an easy read either. As you are seeing things from the point of view of this highly trained military killing machine you have to pay the attention to the details as he is, and you do find yourself having to re-read a few pages here and there. But it’s certainly worth that extra effort in what it pays back.

All in all, to sum it up, ‘A fantastic book, but most definitely not for the faint of heart.’

I can’t wait to get into book 2 of this series, ‘Broken Angels’

Richard’s Page

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Luku Makes a Didgeridoo – Kyle Maplesden

A nice view into how a traditional didgeridoo is made and crafted, explained in language that i would probably reckon about 7 years upward.   But as a Kindle has it’s own look up dictionary it’s always a good thing to push a few new words — like “pigment” — onto young minds.

Illustrated throughout with some lovely pictures which unfortunately don’t get full justice on the black and white Kindle screen.

Nice first book, Kyle.

Kyle’s Page

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The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

One more David Mitchell book has been read, this one, maybe even his greatest.

When i began reading David’s books it was simply because of the furore generated by the film, ‘Cloud Atlas’.   With all the expense, $102 million budget, it seemed worth it to me to give the book a read before watching the film.   After all, no one paid $102 million to see this film be made without having read the book first.

So i read the book, and was so impressed by David’s writing that i went back to the beginning and read all of his books in order.

What i loved about some of his early books, like ‘Cloud Atlas’, were his subtle interconnections between seemingly unrelated short stories to create a whole story throughout.   But as one moves along his list of books in their published order, one gets the feeling that he’s doing this with the books themselves.   Each book does have subtle interconnections to his other books, and one is left wondering, after finishing his 6th book, is there a bigger story underlying all of his books that is yet to be revealed?   Maybe, maybe not, it certainly wouldn’t detract any if there wasn’t but one can’t wait for his future books to see.

Back to ‘The Bone Clocks’… our story begins in Gravesend, Kent, with our protagonist, a teenager, Holly Sykes, who hears voices in her head and sees imaginary people.   The story then flies off into the supernatural world of other beings and whizzes around the world with all kinds of odd and strange things going on, some natural, some supernatural, but all of which keep leading us back to Holly.   It’s certainly quite a journey that Holly goes on and it’s one worth tagging along with her through this book.

And while we’re happily whizzing around the world, our writer also throws his usual little critiques at our contemporary world and life randomly into the mix, and David does have an exceptional talent in this area which always adds a little food for thought and makes reading his books a joy, IMHO.

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014, but didn’t get shortlisted — shame on them! But it does show just how good a writer David is when he’s had three of his six books longlisted, and two of those shortlisted.   That’s quite a tally, and not to mention the other awards his books have received along the way.

I still haven’t got around to reading more of David’s books.   I keep putting it off until my memory of the first 6 fades away then i’ll re-read them and totally binge on all the new ones as well, and see what this back story tells in them.

David’s Page

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The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell

And onto David Mitchell’s fifth book…

It’s certainly a change from his other books, being based in Japan at the end of the 18 Century at the Dutch East India Company’s island/trading post, Dejima.

When the Shoguns closed Japan to westerners they left Dejima as the only doorway into Japan for Europe’s trade, and it was the Dutch who ran Dejima.

The book centres around actual historical events, but names and dates are changed to allow David to weave his tale.   And the tale takes us inside ancient Japanese nefarious occult beliefs and practices as we follow our protagonist and his love for a Japanese midwife who becomes entrapped within the cultists’ lair, all the while having to deal with the political machinations within the interplay between Dejima, Nagasaki and the Shogun in Edo.

Once more, a great piece of story telling from this incredible writer, and a also an incredibly interesting look inside the life and work of Dejima itself at a very interesting time in Japanese history.   Well worth a read after you’ve read David’s first four books, but do expect something rather different.

And i’m now embroiled in David’s 6th book, ‘The Bone Clocks’, which is more in style with his first four books and i’m enjoying immensely.   I’ll let you know what i think soon.

David’s Page

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