Category Archives: Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Review: Assassin’s Creed: Homecoming

Assassin’s Creed: Volume 3 Homecoming

Synopsis:
The Brotherhood of the Assassins is in trouble. Their long feud with the Templar Order has depleted their resources and they are struggling to regain their footing in a world where the goalposts are constantly shifting. Could joining forces with a mysterious collective help, or are their aims too different to make an alliance an option? Join Charlotte de la Cruz and Galina Voronina as they try and navigate a clear path for the Assassins through turbulent waters!

Review:
Volume 3 starts off with a rush, as the Templars have the Assassins in hiding. Charlotte now has to deal with her overbearing grandmother as they search for answers in the past. As usual, my favorite scenes are set in the past. But her ancestor’s memories seem muddled and lead to a surprising result. Meanwhile, as the Assassins try to forge an alliance, a familiar face returns for another fun twist. This latest installment is fast-paced and action-packed. I thoroughly this series of graphic novels – tying into such an exciting world of science fiction and history.

Fantasy Book Review: The Adventurer’s Guild

The Adventurer’s Guild by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos

Synopsis:
In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone’s only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he’ll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild.

But just as it seems the boys’ dreams have come true, their lives take a startling turn . . . and they find themselves members of the perilous Adventurers Guild.

Led by the fearsome Alabasel Frond, the guild acts as the last line of defense against the Dangers-hungry, unnatural beasts from otherworldly planes. And when the boys uncover a conspiracy that threatens all of Freestone, Zed, Brock, and their new allies-Liza, a fierce noble, and Jett, a brave dwarf-must prove their worth once and for all.

Review:
Zed and Brock are hoping to get into their favorite guilds. But when Zed is picked for the dangerous Adventurers Guild, Brock volunteers as well. Though, he has a secret reason he’s infiltrating the guild. Zed and Brock make a great team and are likable despite their flaws. The Adventurers are the only guild to brave outside the city walls, so the new recruits must prove themselves. And the boys soon discover there’s a traitor in the city.

This is the first installment in a new children’s fantasy series. The Adventurer’s Guild is packed with engaging characters, exciting intrigue, dangerous creatures, and magic. This is a fun and fast-paced story that builds to a surprising finale. The rich, fantasy world is familiar – with the feel of a role playing game. I look forward to the next in this promising new series.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad

Star Wars: Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden

Synopsis:
After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. But not for long. In retaliation, the elite Imperial soldiers of Inferno Squad have been called in for the crucial mission of infiltrating and eliminating the Partisans—the rebel faction once led by notorious Republic freedom fighter Saw Gerrera.

Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire—no matter the cost. Now Inferno Squad must prove its status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But the growing threat of being discovered in their enemy’s midst turns an already dangerous operation into a do-or-die acid test they dare not fail. To protect and preserve the Empire, to what lengths will Inferno Squad go . . . and how far beyond them?

Review:
Iden Versio survived the destruction of the Death Star and is assigned to the elite Inferno Squad running Special Ops for the Empire. They often have to let their morals slide to further their goals. But when they’re asked to infiltrate a Partisan group who have taken up Saw Gerrara’s cause, each individual of the Inferno Squad will be tested.

This latest Star Wars novel is a new favorite. Christie Golden is a master at tie-in novels. And this Inferno Squad is a great example of her fantastic character development and fleshing out a well-established universe. Iden Versio is a wonderfully complex character. I love that this story is written from the point of view of characters who follow the Empire and believe in what it stands for. Yet, readers will sympathize at times. This original story is full of suspense, drama, and exciting intrigue. And the climactic, surprising ending does not disappoint. I would love to read further adventures of the Inferno Squad.

Fantasy Book Review: Besieged

Besieged by Kevin Hearne

Synopsis:
In ancient Egypt, Atticus agrees to raid a secret chamber underneath the library of Alexandria, dodging deadly traps, only to learn that on-site security includes two members of the Egyptian pantheon.

At a Kansas carnival, fun and games turns to murder and mayhem, thanks to soul-snatching demons and flesh-craving ghouls luring visitors into an all-too-real house of horrors.

Verily, in olde England, striking up a friendship with William Shakespeare lands both Atticus and the Bard in boiling hot water with a trio of infamous witches.

During the Gold Rush, the avatar of greed himself turns the streets of San Francisco red with blood and upsets the elemental Sequoia. Atticus may have to fight fire with fire if he’s going to restore balance.

Review:
I’m not usually one to read a lot of short stories. But I’ve read this entire series, so I decided to indulge and let this collection tide me over until the next full novel installment. There is a great variety of stories from several character’s point of views. Each story is very short, and we’re given a short description where each story falls in the timeline and the character it involves. I really liked the majority of these, the first set of stories in particular – ancient Egypt, the Gold Rush, Shakespeare, and the carnival (all mentioned above) set a fantastic tone. However, a strange story involving BDSM felt really out of place. And a couple, I ended up skimming as the plots didn’t engage me. But with nine short stories, this was a mostly-solid set of fun and exciting stories with some fantastic characters that fans of the series should enjoy. The final story has a nice lead-in to the next novel involving Loki and Ragnarok.

Graphic Novel Review: The Lost Boys Vol. 1

The Lost Boys Vol. 1 by Tim Seeley

Synopsis:
Welcome to scenic Santa Carla, California. Great beaches. Colorful characters. Killer nightlife. And, of course, all the damn vampires.

The Emerson brothers (Sam and Michael) and the Frog brothers (Edgar and Alan) learned that last part the hard way—these underage slayers took on the vampire master Max and his pack of punked-out minions, and drove a stake right through their plans to suck Santa Carla dry. After scraping the undead goo off their shoes, they figured everything was back to normal.

But now there are new vamps in town.

A coven of female undead called the Blood Belles has moved in, and they’ve targeted Sam, Michael, the Frog Brothers, and every other vampire hunter in Santa Carla for bloody vengeance.

It’ll take every trick in the brothers’ monster-killing book to stop these bloodsuckers from unleashing an entire army of the damned. And they’ll need help from an unexpected source—a certain shirtless sax-playing savior known only as the Believer!

Review:
This story pics up not long after the ’87 film ends. Sam Emerson is working at video store and his brother Michael at a nursing home. The Frog brothers continue to try to hone their skills as vampire hunters.

When the Emerson’s grandfather is involved in an accident, the boys know that vampires are involved. And it’s time hunt the vicious undead once again. This new story feels a lot like the original movie, with plenty of humor and suspense. The artwork looked great, with sharp lines and a dark mood. Though, it did bother me that none of the boys looked anything like the actors from the film, so it was really hard to tell who was who. These fantastic characters makes The Lost Boys standout among other vampire series. I hope to see these comics continue in the future, as Seeley did a fantastic job with the characters and developed an original, exciting story.

SciFi Book Review: Replica

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis:
Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

Review:
Lyra and a fellow clone escape their facility only to learn horrifying truths about their pasts. Gemma helps Lyra and 24 escape, and finds herself in the middle of more danger than she could imagine.

Replica is a unique and fascinating story told from two different characters’ points of view. It’s the first in a YA scifi duology. It’s a flip book, as one side of the book is Lyra’s story, and you flip the book over to start reading Gemma’s which ends in the middle of the book. The pacing is steady and flows well – even when we switch to Gemma’s side, it doesn’t get repetitive. Full of suspense, intrigue, drama, and a bit of romance – this is an exciting thriller that I won’t soon forget.

SciFi Book Review: Pawn

Pawn by Timothy Zahn

Synopsis:
Nicole Lee’s life is going nowhere. No family, no money, and stuck in a relationship with a thug named Bungie. But, after one of Bungie’s “deals” goes south, he and Nicole are whisked away by a mysterious moth-like humanoid to a strange ship called the Fyrantha.

Once aboard, life on the ship seems too good to be true. All she has to do is work on one of the ship’s many maintenance crews. However, she learned long ago that nothing comes without a catch. When she’s told to keep quiet and stop asking questions, she knows she is on to something.

Nicole soon discovers that many different factions are vying for control of the Fyrantha, and she and her friends are merely pawns in a game beyond their control. But, she is tired of being used, and now Nicole is going to fight.

Review:
Nicole is a down and out, and pretty much given up when she’s suddenly abducted by aliens. She and other humans are used to work as laborers aboard the spaceship. And as it turns out, Nicole has a special gift that makes her especially valuable to her abductors. She is able to communicate with the ship – as it tells her specifically what the work crews need to fix. But Nicole stumbles upon another section of the ship that will push her to do more.

Pawn is the first in a new, original scifi series. The story wasn’t quite what I expected. The majority of the story takes place entirely on the ship, as Nicole uncovers a mystery. It’s well-paced, and full of drama and suspense. Fyrantha is an intriguing ship, and I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface in this first installment. Zahn has created another engaging universe of diverse aliens and complex characters. I look forward to the next in this promising series.

Fantasy Book Review: The Rat Prince

The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder

Synopsis:
Before Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters moved into Lancastyr Manor, Cinderella was known as the Lady Rose de Lancastyr. Then her stepmother forced her to become a kitchen maid and renamed her. At first the rats of the manor figure Cinderella for a lack-wit and take pity on her by bringing her food and a special family heirloom. But when Cinderella’s stepmother finds a way to prevent her from attending the ball, the rats join forces to help her. The night of the ball is filled with magic and secrets–not least of all who Lady Rose will choose to be her Prince Charming.

Review:
Char is the Rat Prince, who looks after Cinderella and the household. You may know the story of Cinderella, but this is a fun new twist, both from Cinderella and Char’s point of views. This all-ages novel is a highly-enjoyable fairy tale. This clever take puts Cinderella’s rat friends as main characters and a surprising Prince Charming. There is plenty of humor, suspense, drama, and heart. This sweet and endearing story is not one I’ll soon forget.