Category Archives: Adventure

The Blue Blazes

TheBlueBlazes-144dpiThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

Series: Mookie Pearl #1

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adult

The Plot
The Blue Blazes draws together the criminal, gangster underworld and supernatural happenings to give a rather unique take on an urban-fantasy novel. There may be creatures of the dark that haunt your nightmares, but the key feature of the novel surrounds drugs. The ‘blue blazes’ that provide supernatural strength, endurance and enhanced senses is the drug everyone wants to have on their side in battle. However it isn’t that only drug that everyone is searching for, as the main character Mookie uncovers.

Mookie Pearl is a man involved in both the supernatural and gangster underworld, but his family life also crosses over between the two and the novel follows him, and his spats with his daughter that adds yet another dynamic to this urban-fantasy novel.

The Review

 

Chuck Wendig is an author that not everyone will appreciate, but I read the first two books in his Miriam Black series and enjoyed them, I was curious to test out another series by him. However, like with the Miriam Black series he does not shy away from the violence and brutality, harsh language and rather grumpy, sometimes dislikeable characters that characterised the Miriam Black series. Nevertheless, he has a fantastic imagination, and if you don’t mind those sorts of things, delving into The Blue Blazes is an exciting, unique journey that served to keep my interest!

The Blue Blazes is not to me the typical urban-fantasy novel, which I think sets it head and shoulders apart from its genre. Wendig takes on something a little more adventurous and more applicable to modern day and succeeds with flying colours to craft it into a believable, exciting and scary fantasy world. After all, we have drugs in our world, why can’t there be ones that bring about supernatural changes?

Mookie Pearl admittedly is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t make the best life choices and his conflict with his daughter and seeming ignorance of her life makes him seem like a poor father figure. Throughout the novel he doesn’t really seem to make real attempts to mend the broken relationship and whilst his daughter and her wild attempts on her father’s life when she opposes his gang seem to make such things difficult, he still seems to be a rather harsh character. However, he does undergo some character development in terms of sorting out his family relations that redeems him in my eyes. He’s also not the typical main character that usually stares in the books I read and I enjoyed exiting from my comfort zone. Especially since he has a strong sense of identity developed and he is a hard-man with a lot of gruff, ready-to-roll style.

The Blue Blazes has a lot to offer in terms of fantasy and criminal underground dynamics that makes it unusual. It’s exciting, tense and it has tonnes of potential for the future series. I am definitely intrigued to know more about the origins of the drugs, what will happen with them all and especially the gang dynamics after things collapse a little at the end of The Blue Blazes. One thing this novel was not, was predictable and I will definitely be looking out to get my hands on the second instalment of the Mookie Pearl series. This might not be your usual type of book, but definitely take a leap of faith and try The Blue Blazes, as I think any fantasy fan can appreciate Wendig’s innovative slant on the criminal underground!

Historical Survival Chances

I have been contemplating for a short time now, how I rate books, and whilst I might give this book a solid 4.5 stars, will it last into the future? Will people in 20-30 maybe even 100 years time be reading Chuck Wendig like we read Mary Shelley or Dickens?

Wendig is innovative and creative enough that I think in the genre of urban-fantasy, he might stand a strong chance of being read well into the future. So I will be applying a survival chance percentage and an expiration date to the novel when I think people might no longer hold interest in these types of things.

Survival Chance: 65%    

Expiration Date: 2064

Favourite Quotes

“The Blazes are like that: the blue stuff doesn’t merely tear aside the facade to reveal the monsters, but when on it, the whole of the Underworld pulses with a different kind of energy.”

“The saying goes that there is more below the streets of New York City than there is above them. An exaggeration by those who say it, perhaps, but they don’t known just how accurate that statement truly is. Hell’s heart, as it turns out, has many chambers.”

 

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

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Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Adult, Adventure, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Uncategorized

The Grim Grotto

The Grim Grotto

Title: The Grim Grotto

Author: Lemony Snicket

Series: Series of Unfortunate Events #11

Genre: Young-Adult, Adventure, Mystery

Published: September 21st 2004 by HarperCollins Publishers

Plot:

Dear Reader,
Unless you are a slug, a sea anemone, or mildew, you probably prefer not to be damp. You might also prefer not to read this book, in which the Baudelaire siblings encounter an unpleasant amount of dampness as they descend into the depths of despair, underwater.
In fact, the horrors they encounter are too numerous to list, and you wouldn’t want me even to mention the worst of it, which includes mushrooms, a desperate search for something lost, a mechanical monster, a distressing message from a lost friend, and tap dancing.
As a dedicated author who has pledged to keep recording the depressing story of the Baudelaires, I must continue to delve deep into the cavernous depths of the orphans’ lives. You, on the other hand, may delve into some happier book in order to keep your eyes and your spirits from being dampened.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Review:

It’s been a long time since I read the first ten books of this series, and I easily fell back into reading this one. Snicket creates a tragic event in three young children’s life into an exciting, extraordinary and unique tale of mystery, adventure and despair.

He continually tells you not to read on and relates the story around a theme. For this instalment our central focus was upon the water cycle which was related to the underwater adventure. It’s interesting how he manages to pair this with the nature of the three children and their journey and he continually reminds us throughout the book of this!

We have still yet to have our questions answered and if not got more than we originally started with, but Snicket’s really holds the attention of the reader and makes the pages turn!

The children are as intuitive as ever, and they make up an interesting and intelligent set of characters. It’s nice to watch the progression of Sunny from a baby into a more able and talking toddler and Violet seems to always be beyond her 15 years in my view.

I found there was real suspense, excitement and with in this story. However some of his continual repetition that created the characters began to annoy me at times, and I found myself wishing they’d shut up. Despite this, I think the book has some very engaging moments, a good mystery that doesn’t really give away the ending and a continual need to carry on and read the series.

The Grim Grotto is without a doubt a fantastic addition to the young adult genre. I think Snicket makes the Series of Unfortunate Events appealable to both the young generation and the adults who like to indulge in the young-adult genre.

My Rating:

4 books

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Filed under 2004 Publication, 4 Books, Adventure, Hardback, HarperCollins, Lemony Snicket, Mystery, Young Adult

The Golden Flute

The Golden Flute

Title: The Golden Flute

Author: Catherine Lanigan

Series: Adventures of Lilli and Zane #1

Genre: Young-Adult, Adventure, Fantasy

Expected Publication: June 12th 2012 by Cedar Fort, Inc.

Plot:

Teen treasure hunters Lilli and Zane have grown up in a world of ancient artifacts, coded messages, and long-buried mysteries. But there’s no telling what they’ll unearth when they face off against the infamous Zorav and his even-more-menacing advisor.

With the fate of the world in their hands, Lilli and Zane will have to stay one step ahead of danger, find the treasured artifacts, and keep them far away from their enemies or face death—and maybe even worse.

Masterfully written by bestselling author Catherine Lanigan, this thrilling action story keeps you guessing through every twist and turn. Cross continents and connect the clues along with Lilli and Zane as you’re pulled into a world of mystery and suspense. A must-read for adventurers of all ages!

Review:

This isn’t my favourite book by far, but by the end I guess I enjoyed it. I don’t think it’s really geared towards people older than around 11 and I’d say buy it for your children/nephews/nieces, but you’ll probably not enjoy it as much yourself.

The premise for the story sounds great with the whole archaeology aspect and the adventure/fantasy side excited me. I read the first chapter and fell in love and then I met the villains and the protagonist and I felt things begin to crumble a little. That’s not to say the characters are dreadful, I just felt like they didn’t hold structure to a character plan. They seem to fluctuate in whether they actually ‘fit’ in their age group. At times they seem to excel and then others they fall into simplicity that makes them too young. It was probably the biggest thing that annoyed me.

Do also prepare for the ‘jock’ stereotype introduction and girl who’s a social ‘outcast’ and the looks they cast between each other. However this premise quickly drops off once we fall into the adventure of the story, which is annoying despite the fact that the whole idea now annoys me. It annoyed me because it was so easily forgotten and only recalled at the end.

The story line at times fell into stupid simplicity that felt like it was being condescending even to a younger audience. However this doesn’t draw away from the story being rather well written. I just felt certain episodes were unbelievable and drawing to far away from realism.

The fantasy is an aspect you really have to fall into because if you can’t let the realms of reality fall away then this book really isn’t for you! For me, I found this hard to do and I never really did it by the end of the novel.

I did enjoy the dynamic between Zane, Lilli and Teddy when it worked, it worked really well! I think with more fine-tuning from Lanigan their characters could have really taken off. The budding romance between Zane and Lilli wasn’t overdone and despite it never reaching a moment of ‘flourish’ we were aware of it. I hope Lanigan will take the chance to develop this storyline throughout their next adventures because I think it could add something to the story. I feel like Lanigan needs to make it more explicit.

One thing this story doesn’t lack is the historical/archaeological ideas that surround Atlantis, Stonehenge, the Gods. It really does involve a lot of interesting legends and connects them in a way that intrigued me.

I found at times the book tended to drag, but the short chapters helped me to get through and the constant location change helped. However we did seem to skip whole time phrases that added to the confusion of the story and did nothing to improve my opinion.

For a first young-adult novel I thought this was a good start, but there is a lot of work that needs to come to refine the smaller details. If you can overlook the loopholes and get along with the characters you’ll probably enjoy this, which is why I suggest giving it to a younger audience I feel it’s more designed for who are unlikely to find fault with the exciting, action this book offers!

*This book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for early review*

My rating:

2.5 books

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Filed under 2.5 Books, 2012 Publication, Adventure, Catherine Lanigan, Cedar-Fort, E-book, Fantasy, Young Adult