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Memorable Books

I was going to post the book review for C.L. Polk’s debut novella, Witchmark, but then I remembered that it first has to appear in our next issue of Gamecca Magazine first which means it will have to wait until next month. It’s a contract thing. Anyway while I’m still working through Robert W. Chambers’ The King In Yellow for the next review (I’m halfway through don’t worry), I thought perhaps I should talk about books for today.


There’s this part of me that wishes I had impeccable memory and can recall the contents of a book thoroughly enough to sound… well like a scholar. I know it sounds pretentious but have you heard people talk about books like they were literally living in them? Character names. Places. Events. Linking scenes and quotes between books to draw revelations I would have otherwise completely missed. I want that ha ha. Although in my defense, I spent way too much of my youth reading Stephen King so I could probably do that with a couple of his books (looks at the collection of The Dark Tower novels).

Memorable Books

While I may lack that ability to fully recount a book’s contents, here are some memorable books I’ve read over the years that I remember well and still think of to this day. Some I can draw correlations across other books while others just changed my worldview:

1. The Program – Gregg Hurwitz

The Program Gregg Hurwitz

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

3. Kill Baxter – Charlie Human

4. Once – James Herbert

5. Endgame – James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton

6. The Bachman Books – Stephen King as Richard Bachman

7. Books of Blood – Clive Barker

8. Beyond the Pale – Mark Anthony

9. Three – Ted Dekker

10. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline


Do you have any books that have stuck in your mind or you still recall to this day? Perhaps any book that changed your mind, thoughts, world view?

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My Top Five 5-Star Rated Books

Reading

Reading is one of my greatest passions next to writing (gaming has fallen way down on the list surprisingly) and as most of you know, I have been challenging myself to read a book a week for the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It’s been tough and as far as I can see, I am a bit behind in my reading. Nonetheless, I have read enough to give you a list of five books that I have given 5 star ratings (4.5 counts too right?).


9780062332585-us

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

Well of course Endgame: The Calling was going to be on this list. I gave it a 10 out of 5 but had to scale it down for the sake of being impartial, fair, objective, realistic, etc etc. This is a definite recommendation for those looking for something better than your typical let’s-get-these-teens-to-kill-each-other-off book… and the general populace who don’t mind some fast paced, heart thumping action.


The Program_1

Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim Rackley is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

This is the book that got me back into reading. I was away visiting the States (East Coast) and I happened to  visit a Thrift Shop, which had a selection of cover-less books. I picked this up, went to a random page, read the page, and bought the book. Yes it was that good. So good, that even now in real life I am skeptical of group meetings, where there is a leader trying to “sell” something and has advisers on the side are egging on the crowds into “buying”. Mind Control I tell you. Mind Control!


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When a violent and incoherent naked Jane Doe is found cowering in the street near the scene of a brutal murder, a pair of bloody scissors in hand, Detective Frank Blackburn is faced with a tough question: is she a victim or the killer herself? Determined to get some answer, Blackburn takes the young woman to the Baycliff Hospital detention unit, to renowned psychiatrist Michael Tolan, in the hope that he will work his magic and get her to open up.

This was a book I also picked up at a random book sale, in a mall I never visit, run by an old couple who are hardly ever there, selling books at a ridiculously low price. The blurb was interesting enough but the story blew me out of the water completely. Dark. Gritty. Plot twisted. Fast paced. Action saturated. Supernaturally thrilling. This was the better-than-Stephen-King author I was hoping to meet.


Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

Magical. Magical. Magical! I don’t know where Erin Morgensten came from, but I am glad she did. An inspirational novel about a mystical circus, the people affected by it and the hidden magical realm that exists in and around the circus. Most times I am put off by long-winded descriptions but this was the exception, and a spellbinding one too.


9781415203798The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

No. No one cares! In this sequel to Apocalypse Now Now, Baxter seems to be a changed young man. No longer leader of the Spiders and now exposed to the magical realm running rampant in Cape Town, Baxter is also trying to live a new life at a notorious magical school. And as you can imagine, chaos ensues. I loved it not only because it’s local (South Africa) but also because Charlie Human is hilarious and clearly South African in his descriptions. Ludicrous in other things, but all tied up so well I couldn’t help love this novel. South African authors are just as talented!


What are your top rated / favourite books? I’m always keen for some good book recommendations.

Wednesday Book Review: Kill Baxter

9781415203798

Title: Kill Baxter

Author: Charlie Human

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Book Procurement: Bought myself – Takealot.com

Synopsis: (Back of book)

The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

Instead he’s packed off to Hexpoort, a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school, and just like Hogwarts (except with sex, drugs, and better internet access). The problem is that Baxter sucks at magic. He’s also desperately attempting to control his new ability to dreamwalk, all the while being singled out by the school’s resident bully, who just so happens to be the Chosen One.

But when the school comes under attack, Baxter needs to forget all that and step into action. The only way is joining forces with his favourite recovering alcoholic of a supernatural bounty hunter, Ronin, to try and save the world from the apocalypse. Again.

Review: 

I picked up Kill Baxter, along with the first book Apocalypse Now Now, with much excitment as I would be able to read yet another local South African author who has “made it”. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book; the telling of Baxter Zevcenko, leader of the Spiders, a group that run a lucrative porn business within the school grounds as their means of setting themselves apart from the gangs and the runts.  That is until things take a turn for the worst for Baxter, as events lead him to think that he is a serial killer whenever he blacks out, only for the supernatural world to become a solid reality as Baxter finds out he is part Siener (an ancient Boer mystic people) and part Crow (giant shape-shifting crow creatures). And then he saves the world.

Kill Baxter begins at the end of Apocalypse Now Now, after the almost apocalyptic event that destroyed a Cape Town in a different dimension (uh read the book for details, I recommend it) but no one knows of his heroism and bravery. However, new events unfold as he goes to the secret government magic school, that will allow him to avoid juvenile detention following the unbelievable events that left many dead.  In the midst of this, a legend has crept into the Hidden realm, a mysterious entity referred to as Muti Man, who seems to be the reason plenty MK16 agents are dead and missing teeth. And Baxter is once again in the middle of the chaos that ensues.

I must say that I absolutely love Charlie Human’s writing style and gritty dark scenarios peppered with humour and witty sarcasm. I have never laughed out loud in a cafe while reading a book but this book has changed that little fact. The characters are fascinating, each with their own quirks that set them apart so well. The descriptions he uses for some of the creatures are just brilliant. In one scene he refers to a goblin like creature as “He has misshapen head, bulging eyes , and thick, coarse hair, like a shower cap made of pubes.” Also, he does not hold back in his language or the crude remarks that Baxter makes which gives the characters so much colour and life. So on that note, I will also say that the language is pretty harsh so not for the faint of heart.

In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would probably read them both again just to once again delve into the underground magical realms of Cape Town, in the boots of the lovely (note sarcasm), dual minded Baxter Zevcenko.

Rating: Mind blown 5 out of 5

 

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