Grave Importance—A Fraying Reality

Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw book cover
Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw

Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, is the third and final book in the Dr. Greta Helsing series. Greta has been called in by a friend to temporarily run Oasis Natrun, an exclusive health clinic for mummies. Something is causing the patients to black out and it’s up to Greta to find out what. There’s also the matter of her best friend being cursed and needing to be taken to Hell, Sir Frances Varney proposing, and reality itself coming under attack.

1—The Whole Gang

All my favorite characters show up. Greta, of course. The vampire Ruthven and the vampyre Varney. But also the vampires Grisaille (who’s now Ruthven’s sweetie) and Emily from the second book. And from the first book there’s Cranswell—Ruthven’s friend who works at a London museum—and Nadezhda, Hippolyta, and Anna, Greta’s team at her London clinic. Not everyone gets a starring role, of course, but they’re all there. And there are new people to meet too—mummies, and angels, and Dr. Faust himself.

Continue reading “Grave Importance—A Fraying Reality”

Hellboy (2004 Movie)—Over the Top

Hellboy (2004) movie poster
Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy, based on the comic book series of the same name, and directed by Guillermo del Toro, follows the titular character as he tries to save the world from Nazis and Rasputin, who are trying to summon eldritch abominations to bring about the apocalypse.

1—Setup

In 1944, Nazis open a portal to another dimension off the coast of Scotland, led by Rasputin. They’re foiled by Allied soldiers and young scientist who’s also versed in the occult. Before destroying the portal though, something gets through—a baby demon, whom the group dub Hellboy. Continue reading “Hellboy (2004 Movie)—Over the Top”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie poster
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. It follows Henry Turner as he truest break his father’s curse by enlisting Jack Sparrow and Carina Smyth to find the Trident of Poseidon.

1—Tone

The special effects were spectacular, of course, and the soundtrack is great and follows the music of the rest of the series pretty closely. The tone, creepy and adventurous, is pitch perfect Pirates of the Caribbean. Continue reading “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable”

Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children—The Movie Doesn’t Live Up to the Book

Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children film poster
Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children

The movie version of Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children lacks the charm of the book. It starts off slow, gets really morbid, the ends as a fluffy action movie. It also had some time travel consequences that didn’t make sense to me, namely the grandfather coming back to life—I know I’ve mentioned I hate time travel, something that didn’t even occur to me while reading the book. Also, I didn’t buy the romance between Emma and Jake.

It wasn’t all bad though. The monster designs were cool, and the special effects were great. Worth seeing once for the scenes in the underwater ship. I also liked Eva Green’s performance as Miss Peregrin.

Legend Has It—Reality Ain’t What It Used to Be

Legend Has It by Elliott James book cover
Legend Has It by Elliott James

Legend Has It is the fifth in the Pax Arcana series by Elliott James. This adventure sees John Charming, werewolf and semi-former Knight Templar, chasing after a madman with a reality-warping book.

1—Telling Stories

Despite his use of obfuscating stupidity John doesn’t solve his problems just through brute force. He thinks. And thanks to the use of what is technically one long epistolary to the reader, we get to see his thoughts. John is occasionally an unreliable narrator—true to his smartass nature, he likes to mess with his reader as well as everyone else.  Continue reading “Legend Has It—Reality Ain’t What It Used to Be”

Grave Matters—Back With the Night Owls Crew

Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy book cover
Grave Matters by Lauren M. Roy

Grave Matters, by Lauren M. Roy, is the sequel to Night Owls. An urban fantasy set in and around Boston, this book focuses on vampires and a necromancer.

1—Vampire Turf War

The Boston vampires, lead by Ivanov, are being threatened by a new upstart, the Oisin, a group of young Irish vampires. As Elly works for Ivanov, she ends up right in the middle of things. This is especially problematic as she suspects the groups are being deliberately played off one another by the necromancer who’s been raising ghosts and ghouls all over her new home town of Crow’s Neck. Continue reading “Grave Matters—Back With the Night Owls Crew”

More Anthologies

These are the most recent anthologies I’ve read.

1—Witch High

Edited by Denise Little

Stories set in Salem Township Public High School #4, they range from the humorous to the thoughtful, from scary to mournful. A truly diverse set of stories all linked by the common theme of witches in high school.

2—Naked City

Edited by Ellen Datlow

Another diverse collection this time under the common thread of urban fantasy, in the broadest sense of it. All the stories center on two things—cities and magic. Some are happy, some are haunting, and a few I just didn’t get but I still enjoyed.

3—Shadowed souls

Edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes

These are dark stories. Look for no happy endings here. Even the happy-ish endings are sad or otherwise bittersweet.These stories are about morally grey areas and people. Also magic. Where does the person leave off and the monster begin?

Charming—Knights and Valkyries and Vampires, Oh My

Charming by Elliot James book cover
Charming by Elliott James

Charming, by Elliott James, is an urban fantasy and volume one of the Pax Arcana series. John Charming, former modern-day Knight Templar and current fugitive, is just trying to get by without trouble when trouble comes walking into his bar and sweeps him up in a much larger adventure.

1—Narration

Charming is told in first-person smartass, a trope I particularly like. Mr. James is good at weaving the worldbuilding in through John’s observations, and there’s a lot of worldbuilding to be done. John’s observations of the world color the narrative, as this is essentially his journal. There’s a Prelude and an Interlude to help explain how the Pax Arcana works, but they’re amusing. For the most part though, information is woven into the narrative. Continue reading “Charming—Knights and Valkyries and Vampires, Oh My”

The Girl With Ghost Eyes—Immersed in the Spirit World

The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson book cover
The Girl With Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

The Girl With Ghost Eyes, by M. H. Boroson, is an urban fantasy set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1898. Told from the first person viewpoint of Xian Li-lin, a Daoshi exorcist and young widow, and the titular girl with yin eyes. The book is full of spirits, rituals, and mayhem.

1—A World Between Worlds

Chinatown on the cusp of the twentieth century is very much its own world and Mr. Boroson draws us into that world. It’s a world of gangsters and priests, spirits and monsters. It’s a world caught between the traditions of the old and the temptations of the new, between China and America. And Li-lin’s world is that caught between the human and the monstrous. Continue reading “The Girl With Ghost Eyes—Immersed in the Spirit World”