Tag Archives: adult fiction

[Review] Bird Box — Josh Malerman


Book Title                  Bird Box (Standalone)
Author:                        Josh Malerman
Number of pages:  272


josh malerman - bird box book coverSomething is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

(re: Goodreads @ Bird Box by Josh Malerman)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– I have no sales pitch. If you enjoy ambiguity, uncertainty, and if the blurb interests you, then by all means read Bird Box
– Psychological horror set in Detroit that feeds on the unknown; there is gore but it’s not over the top
– The writing is succinct and can feel choppy; displayed through past-and-present narrative
– Limited growth in a majority of the characters as they were generally dragged along by the plot

Initial Thoughts

This might be the shortest review I’ll go on record of having written.

Continue reading [Review] Bird Box — Josh Malerman

[Review] A Darker Shade of Magic — V.E. Schwab

Book Title                  A Darker Shade of Magic (ADSOM #01)
Author:                        V.E. Schwab
Number of pages:  398


A Darker Shade final for IreneKell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

(re: Goodreads @ A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– Mainly plot-driven, multi-POV story set in four parallel Londons akin to The Fellowship of The Ring with characters bringing a rock back to Not-Mordor.
– Imaginative world building that reads effortlessly with an easy-to-learn magic system
– Romance is either non-existent or is that of a slow burn (you can still ship though)
– Villains who were complex on paper but felt different in action
– Kell’s coat is made out of Doraemon fur (see picture below)


Initial Thoughts

Kell’s coat, Kell’s coat, Kell’s coat, Kell’s coat, Kell’s coat, Kell’s coat.

Continue reading [Review] A Darker Shade of Magic — V.E. Schwab

[Review] Less Than Hero — S.G. Browne

Book Title:                  Less Than Hero (Standalone)
Author:                         S.G. Browne
Number of pages:   368


less than hero - s.g. browne - book coverFaster than a spreading rash! More powerful than dry heaves! Able to put villains to sleep with a single yawn!

Convulsions. Nausea. Headaches. Sudden weight gain. For the pharmaceutical soldiers on the front lines of medical science—volunteers who test experimental drugs for cash—these common side effects are a small price to pay to defend your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of antidepressants.

Lloyd Prescott, thirty-year-old professional guinea pig and victim of his own inertia, is the first to notice the bizarre, seemingly implausible consequences of years of testing not-quite-legal drugs: his lips go numb, he becomes overwhelmed with exhaustion, and instantly a stranger crumples into a slumbering heap before him. Under cover of night, Lloyd and his guinea pig friends band together to project their debilitating side effects onto petty criminals who prey upon the innocent. When a horrible menace with powers eerily similar to their own threatens the city, only one force can stop this evil: the handful of brave men who routinely undergo clinical trials.

(re: Goodreads @ Less Than Hero – S.G. Browne)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

— Features the everyday apathetic hero fueled by ridiculous abilities (i.e. makes people vomit on will)
— Narrative follows a first-person POV, character vignettes, and snippets of news articles
— Socioeconomic diversity in characterization albeit non-descript nature of a [mostly] male cast
— Well paced, dialogue-driven page turner that can often find itself struggling with expositive info-dumps (e.g. listing side effects of certain drugs); bantering is full of sarcastic LOL-worthy wit
— Revelations feel a bit too neat and tidy; characters don’t experience steep growth
— Rating: 3.5/5


Initial Thoughts

Whenever I see fantasy a la superhero, I will wave that wormy arm in the air holding a “sign me up banner”. I quite enjoy them; and this book is like the adult-ish take on all of the pew pew super power goodness without the actual inhumane abilities.

Full disclosure: I received a finished copy of Less Than Hero through PAI Media. I extend thanks to Gallery Books and the contact at Pai Media for providing me the opportunity to review this title.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review from here onward.

Continue reading [Review] Less Than Hero — S.G. Browne