The Shadow Over Innsmouth

The Shadow Over Innsmouth introduces the coastal town of Innsmouth and the amphibious Deep Ones to Lovecraft’s mythos. It’s a well put together story, all about a traveler that decided to take a detour he was warned against and ends up in a town with something of a dark secret.

Overall, the plot is relatively straight forward and even the twist at the end was sort of expected (given the narrators genealogical bent). It’s still interesting to read though and there are some really tense moments and shiver inducing descriptions of the Deep Ones.

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Moon Called

Take a kitchen sink urban fantasy world (vampires and werewolves and Fae, oh my), toss in a few interesting twists and head it with a woman mechanic protagonist with a flair of Native American magic.

Worldbuilding-wise, there are a lot of urban fantasy tropes in here, but on the other hand tropes are tropes for a reason. The werewolves are extremely hierarchical (despite the fact that real world wolves aren’t actually, but it makes for a more interesting story) and there are some interesting aspects to pack magic that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Vampires are fairly typical thus far, although having one that drives around in a Mystery Machine van is kind of hilarious. (Plus I know we get more of him later). Walkers I’ve seen in other books and we really know little about them thus far (although to be fair, neither does Mercy), but it’s nice to have a bit of non-European flavor.

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The Dunwich Horror

Reading The Dunwich Horror back to back with Call of Cthulhu is an interesting experience. The former is everything I wanted the latter to be.

The core of the Horror itself (Yog-Sothoth) is described just enough to be terrifying, but not so much as to be anything concrete. It impacts on the people and land around Dunwhich just keep building up, growing more and more horrible. In particular, the Whateley family… Wilbur and his even more monstrous brother. shivers

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The Bands of Mourning

Sanderson has this tendency to completely change the world in ways that you’d never think could possibly work… and yet pull them off. He did it between the first and second Mistborn books and he just did it again.

Worldbuilding-wise, so many things have changed. Yet he hasn’t really broken the rules that he set down in the previous books, just expanded them, exploring areas that we’ve never seen before. We learn about people that live far from the Lord Ruler’s rule. We learn about new and fascinating ways that the Metallic Arts can be used–Feruchemy in particular. And we start to see just how magic and technology can be combined.

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The Call of Cthulhu

For all I’ve heard of The Call of Cthulhu, I expected more.

Basically, you have three short stories about perhaps the best known of the Old Ones. Truly ancient cults. Even Cthulhu himself rising. But it’s all just a little underwhelming, especially when read back to back with The Festival and The Colour out of Space.

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The Colour Out of Space

Who would have thought that a colour could be so terrifying…

I guess it helps that it’s actually some life devouring, madness inducing shade that fell to earth in a meteorite and proceeded to wreck havoc on a local farm.

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The Festival

References abound to things I’ve heard of before. Arkham. The Necronomicon. The mad Arab Abdul Alhazred. Miskatonic University.

Is the narrator the same man as in The Nameless City? No idea. Feels like not. But it’s certainly a shared universe. One with an impressive feeling of size for only a pair of short stories thus far.

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The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season takes place in what could easily by (may intentionally be?) a far future Earth where volcanoes, earthquakes, and various other seismic disasters have an annoying tendency to kill off large portions of humanity every few centuries. Combine that with a few powerful individuals (orogenes) who have magical abilities associated with said earthquakes that they cannot always control… And you have quite the world.

It took me a while to realize that the various different sections of the book were following the story of a single character. She went by different names at different times and didn't always have the same powers, so it wasn’t always easy to tell who you were dealing with. On top of that, there are jumps in the timeline from chapter to chapter, covering years (if not decades). Once you finally figure out who and when you’re reading about, it’s fascinating to see how everything fits together. Before that… it’s confusing and a bit frustrating.

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The Nameless City

So. That’s Lovecraft.

This is the first of his that I’ve read (complete works for 99ยข on Amazon), although I’m relatively familiar with the mythos. It’s interesting

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Red Rising

Take one part Hunger Games, one part Ender’s Game, and mix in some Harry Potter to taste. Take the whole thing and put it on Mars. Voila Red Rising.

Despite the description–or perhaps because of it–I did actually enjoy Red Rising quite a bit. Essentially Red Rising follows the story of Darrow, a Red (slave caste) of Mars who, with the help of the local freedom fighters / terrorist cell is biomodded to be a Gold (ruling caste) instead. That’s the first third or so of the book. After that, we switch to full Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game mode with a game of capture the flag cranked up to 11 taking up the rest of the book.

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