Unbury Carol

Unbury CarolUnbury Carol by Josh Malerman
Published by Del Rey on April 10th 2018
Pages: 384
ISBN: 0399180168
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four-stars

“I’m a thing old enough to know that old was once young and that because young becomes old there is not love of life, only a fear of decay.”

Unbury Carol is sort of a mash up between a spaghetti western, the Brother’s Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty and do I dare say it, a Quentin Tarantino movie? I could seriously see Tarantino doing a movie with this book. Some of the characters are almost cartoonish such as Smoke – and I do mean that in a good way. He is a nasty piece of work.

I am not a fan of westerns, True Grit and a couple of others are the exception to this. I’ll be honest. I requested this book because I LOVED Bird Box. I was hoping that this book would be in the same vain – it’s not. It’s unique and as I stated it feels like a mash up of the various interests of the Author. Having said that, this book started slow for me then my interest grew and I was intrigued.

Carol Evers has a secret that very few know – she slips into coma’s. She appears to be dead but has a slight very hard to feel pulse. While in her comas she literally falls into a place she has named Howltown. After the funeral of her close friend, she slips into one of her comas, and her devious husband, Dwight decides to make his move. He has married Carol for her money and now that she appears to be dead, he decides to Cash in. He plans to bury her alive and feels no one in town will be the wiser. But being devious makes a man paranoid, so he hires another man, by the name of Smoke to kill the only other person who knows about Carol’s condition – her former boyfriend, the famous outlaw, James Moxie. Moxie is famous for killing a man in a duel without even pulling the trigger. No one knows how he pulled this off and for this reason he is feared.

“Can a man set right his past?”

Dwight has a right to be afraid because James Moxie has received word of Carol’s “death” and he has sent a telegram stating that she is “not dead”. James takes to the infamous and dangerous “Trail” in hopes of arriving in time to save Carol. He has tremendous quilt over leaving her upon learning her secret and wants to set things right. Along the way, James encounters those who idolized him and want to help such as Rinaldo and Moxie’s former partner, Jefferson.

“A hero is always recognizable to those who adore him.”

Along the way, the reader learns about Moxie’s past and his feat of “magic” during a dual. Moxie is also haunted by Rot who does not want Moxie to arrive to save Carol. Rot, I akin to a demon or a devil. Moxie is in a ways also wrestling his own demons as he makes his way along the trail in hopes of rescuing Carol.

“I am present when things fall apart.”

Then there is Smoke, hired by Dwight to catch James Moxie on the trial and prevent him from saving Carol’s life. Smoke has his nickname for the obvious reason that he likes to burn things, he is also crippled and walks on fakes legs. Legs he uses to hide the oil he needs to start his fires. He is a scary man and is feared by all who he encounters. Smoke is scary and dangerous. He enjoys what he does and has no problem taking life. He gets off on watching things burn.

“Hell, I let you live. You wanna live, doncha?”

I’ll be honest, when I started this I thought “WTF am I reading?” I also felt like Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s novel Misery.. I wanted to say “What is this Cock-a-doodie book about, Mr. Man?” But I kept with it, because I loved Bird Box, and this book grew on me. Honestly, at first I didn’t know if I liked this book or not. It is one that I thought about a lot as I read and after…but that is what I kinda love…when a book has me scratching my head trying to figure out if I like it or not. One that stays with you and you are not sure why. This is one of those books. It’s very clever and as I mentioned Quentin Tarantino earlier, this book felt very much like a Tarantino movie to me, not in way in the story or plot but in the feel of it.

I will say that I wanted more excitement at the end. More of a BOOM, if you will. Things got tidied up pretty fast and I would have liked a little more action. But there were a couple of surprises as the end. One that I did not see coming. Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was great storytelling. This book is very clever, strange, entertaining, and fun.

I received a copy of this book from Random House publishing – Ballantine and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to them.

four-stars

The Girl in the Tower: A Novel

The Girl in the Tower: A NovelThe Girl in the Tower: A Novel (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey on December 5th 2017
Pages: 352
ISBN: 1101885963
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four-stars

The Girl in the Tower is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy (first book being “The Bear and the Nightingale”). This book sees our heroine,Vasya, attempting to survive alone after her father’s death. It is medieval Russia and a lone woman has few choices: enter a convent or get married. Wanting neither option, Vasya turns to Morozko for assistance. Morozko is “Frost” a winter demon who cannot die (or can he?). He helped her in the first book in the series and there appeared to be an inkling of romance there. Hmmmm will we see more of that in this book????

Vasya sets off on her trusted Stallion, Solovey, who can understand her when she speaks and who can speak to her, for Moscow. Knowing she will not be safe traveling alone as a woman, she disguises herself as a man and sets forth on her journey. In Moscow, the reader gets to be reacquainted with Vasyas’s sister, Olga and her brother Sasha. Through Sasha we learn about a team of bandits who have been terrorizing villagers and kidnapping girls to sell as slaves. We also meet Vasya’s cousin Dmitri – The Grand Prince of Moscow. He considers Vasya to be a hero after her fight with bandits. There is one who does not see Vasya as a hero – that being the evil priest. But enough about him.

This story/trilogy based on Russian Folklore/Fairy tales is addicting. It could go off the rails with Vasya being able to see creatures that no one else can see and having the ability to communicate with them but it does not. All of this works in this book. What does not work for me? The lack of Morozko in this book. Yes, Yes, I know he is in it. But can I be honest? I love his character. I wanted more of him. I love how he shows up to help Vasya when he can. I love the hint of romance. How they each read the other person and his/her attentions completely wrong. There were times that I wanted to shake both of them. I wanted more and got less. But there is a third book in this series and I feel that not everything is finished where these two are concerned. This is a fairy tale and things are not always as they seem so I will anxiously wait to read the last book to learn what course Vasya’s life takes. I did enjoy learning of their “connection” and why they are drawn to each other. I also hope to see Vasya come more into her own, mature more and grow as a person.

If you have not read the first book in the series (The Bear and the Nightingale), I recommend reading that book prior to reading this one.

Winter is coming and what a wonderful book to read on a cold, long night. I think it is safe to say that there is a little bit of magic in this book!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Published by Del Rey on January 10th 2017
Pages: 336
ISBN: 1101885939
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three-half-stars

Received from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was inspired by Russian Fairy Tales.

Vasya grows up wild after her Mother dies in childbirth. Her Mother had become skinny and weak prior to her birth but wanted a child ” a daughter” like her grandmother. A child with “gifts”. Unfortunately her Mother does not survive her birth and Vasya grows up believing she killed her Mother and that she is not attractive or beguiling as her sister. She also sees “creatures” that no one else can see and she has a connection to the horses in the stables. Her father and older siblings can’t seem to tame her. It is suggested that her father take a second wife in hopes that a “new” mother will help tame this wild nature loving child. Her step Mother is not an evil stepmother but a young woman herself who never wanted to marry. She had hoped to spend her life in a covenant. She feared the “house-spirits” that she saw and hoped to stop her step daughter from seeing them.

This is the ultimate fail as her father’s second wife seems to see the same “demons” that Vasya does. To make things more interesting, her father is approached by a stranger in the forest with piercing eyes who has an amulet for the young girl. Her father is instructed to give the necklace to his daughter and that she must always have it on her. Vasya’s nurse maid ultimately keeps the amulet and only gives it to Vasya when she feels she is ready to take possession of it. Meanwhile a force, a bear, if you will, has awoken in the forest and is threatening to destroy them all.

At first I was not sure how I felt about this book. I kept starting it and then putting it down and opting to read other books. Then finally I thought “this is enough already.” This book has been compared to Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I really enjoyed that book and decided to give this book the old college try.

Why was it so hard to get into? Initially because I needed to get used to a book with so many unusual names. This may sound trite but it is true. Also, I have been reading a lot of mysteries lately and was in the groove of reading them. But when I sat down and gave this book the old college try, I found that it slowly creeps up on you much like the “spirits” and “demons” of this book. This fairy tale about/within a fairy tale set in a far away Russian kingdom slowly came to life and slowly sucked me in. I don’t even know how I would categorize this book. What I will say is that my description does not do it justice. This book had a lot of atmosphere and one could feel the cold and mounting dread as the bear awakens. The imagery is amazing and I could literally “see” this book unfolding before me. There is not a HUGE amount of action in this book. It really does build, giving the reader the “chills” as the suspense builds to the books finale. What seemed like a hard book to get into turned into a hard book to put down.

An interesting book for lovers of fairy tales, folklore, or fantasy-type books.

three-half-stars

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the ApesPlanet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle, Xan Fielding
Published by Del Rey on May 29th 2001
Pages: 268
ISBN: 0345447980
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I’ll admit it..I have never seen the movies. I know, I know, this revelation is shocking but true.

This was bizarre yet interesting. I’m not a big Science Fiction fan but this book was intriguing. A love how it ended. The couple in the beginning (Jinn and Phyllis)..I was shocked at their genus at the end. The couple find a bottle floating through space and open it to read the story of a french man (and other french scientists) who land on a planet and soon learn that humans are considered animals and the planet is ruled by higher forms of life (chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. The men are hunted by the clothing clad Gorillas (hunters) and are taken to a science type facility where humans are studied and experimented on. One of the men is killed in the hunt, one is placed in a zoo, and the main character, Ulysse, is paired with a mate and studied. Ulysse attempts to ingratiate himself with his captors and prove that he also has higher intelligence. He befriends a Chimpanzee researcher, Zira, and begins to find himself in the class system of apes. His mate gives birth to a son and eventually Ulysse, Nova and their son, flee in Ulysses’s space craft and make it back to earth to find that Earth is ruled by….you guessed it apes. Jin and Phyllis have a laugh and it is revealed what they are…

 

This was a fast bizarre entertaining book. Having not seen the movie, I had no idea how things would turn out. Yes, I suppose I knew some of the premise, but not all so some of the revelations were shocking.