Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review: "Senlin Ascends" by Josiah Bancroft

I read a lot of good books and an occasional few great books, but rarely do I find something that’s truly remarkable in just about every way. That’s just what Josiah Bancroft’s “Senlin Ascends” delivers, though.

“Senlin” first came to my attention as a runner-up in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off, but it’s grown quite a buzz of late with reviewers and other authors praising Bancroft’s work. And it’s most worthy of that praise.

The story begins with a small-town teacher, Thomas Senlin, headed off on a great adventure with his new wife Marya. Senlin has always been fascinated by the great Tower of Babel, which looms over the landscape of his world. It’s a massive structure with each level being its own kingdom, or ringdom, as they’re called. No one is sure how many there are, and each is full of wonders. Or so the handy guidebook that he’s studied tells him.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Review: "Monster Hunter Alpha," by Larry Correia

Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series came as a bit of a surprise for me. A quick glance at the covers and description, and I dismissed them as something that probably wasn’t for me. Then I read the first one and was immediately hooked. Now on the third book, “Monster Hunter Alpha” ($7.99, Baen), Correia throws another curve ball.

I’ve gotten used to the voice and attitude of his protagonist Owen Z. Pitt through the first two volumes, but this one switches up on us, instead following the story of the cranky old man of Monster Hunter International, Earl Harbinger.

The MHI leader’s former military commander gives him information that his arch-nemesis Nikolai Petrov has entered the country. Harbinger and Petrov, as we’ll learn through the course of the story, played a legendary and bloody game of cat-and-mouse during the Vietnam War. They’ve had a truce for years, but Harbinger knows that his old enemy’s presence in the U.S. can’t be a good thing.

Petrov’s trail leads him to Copper Lake, a small town in the upper peninsula of Michigan, where Harbinger's past and lost memories are destined to come back to haunt them.