Acceptance is the conclusion to Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy. It is told from multiple view points. The Biologist, Control, the former Director, the Assistant Director are all woven together to create the most complete picture of Area X readers will be given. There are still questions when the book is finished. Some may be answered by a second listen. Others may remain because Area X is still Area X and as such is till a mystery.
Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, and Xe Sands do a fantastic job as narrators. The alternating viewpoints are clearly voiced and it is no problem deciphering who is speaking. I really enjoyed this changing of narrators in this book. It helped make the mysteries of Area X more believable. There is so much about the book that cannot be shared because of spoilers. I highly recommend the entire Southern Reach trilogy.
Authority is the 2nd book in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. I highly recommend reading the first book Annihilation before Authority. Otherwise it will not make much sense.
While Annihilation was told from the viewpoint of The Biologist, this book is told from the viewpoint of Control. Control is the third generation of spies in his family. He is sent to the Area X administration to assume the position of Director. His job is to find out what is wrong with the Area X explorations and fix it. First up is to interview the three members of the 12th expedition who returned, including The Biologist.
Control is challenged at each step by the Assistant Director who loyalty is to the former Director. He is also given orders by The Voice, a faceless, nameless male that he must give progress reports to daily on the phone. As Control struggles to do his assigned job, he discovers there is as much hidden in the administration of the Southern Reach as there is behind the barrier of Area X.
Bronson Pinchot does a fantastic job narrating Authority. He creates distinct voices for Control and The Voice as well as the female characters. He is one of my favorite narrators. Authority leaves the reader/listener waiting for the solution to Area X.
Jeff VanderMeer creates a very realistic and at the same time foreign world in Annihilation, the first book of the Southern Reach Trilogy. The world is real. It seems to be set in contemporary times, with cell phones and no radical technology that screams future world. The premise is that an area called the Forgotten Coast, which is predominately rural, has suddenly been cut off from the rest of the world. Some type of invisible force field came down and the area became inaccessible. No one knows what happened or the fate of those behind the barrier.
The Southern Reach is the administrative body created to monitor and study Area X as it is called. This first book deals with the 12th expedition sent into Area X. The story is told from the viewpoint of The Biologist. The expedition members are referred to by their functions, not their names. As the story details the expedition from The Biologist viewpoint, we learn about the strange life forms in Area X and the byzantine administration that continues to send expeditions in Area X even after disasters.
The narration by Carolyn McCormick is very good. Although this is the first in a trilogy, it does have a rational ending. Trust me, you will want to continue. Trying to find the secret, the reason for Area X will get under your skin.
Scott Kelly describes life on the International Space Station with total clarity. Not having been there myself, Kelly's descriptions made it easy to understand what he was talking about. It is not just the science Kelly discusses but the humanities, such as the smell of flowers, the sound of rain. The windows on the station do not open and it has been continually occupied for decades. Weather is a big discussion among the crew since they are not getting to experience any type of weather. The US and Russian sides of the station are operated much differently. Kelly provides examples of this. For anyone who loves space and is looking forward to man going back beyond our own Earth orbit, this book is a must.
I saw the Psycho movie multiple times over the years but this was my first time with the book or audiobook in this case. The story is so much more than the movie ever covered (no surprise). There is an entire backstory to Norman and his mother. Norman is described as being overweight, not the thin good looking Anthony Perkins from the movie. Mary, the character Janet Leigh played in the movie, also has a more complete story. I really enjoyed the write style of Robert Bloch. Even though it is somewhat dated, the dialogue is not stilted at all. The suspense was maintained until the very end. The narration was good but not great. I cannot quite put my finger on what in the narration bugged me but something was enough to cause me to rate it 4 instead of 5 stars. I will be checking out the rest of the series soon.
by Vic James
Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Pub Date 06 Feb 2018
Tarnished City is the sequel to Gilded Cage. You must read Gilded Cage first or there will be major spoilers in this review. Gilded Cage is amazing so go read it.
Tarnished City continues with the same lush detail that I enjoyed so much in Gilded Cage. Every event, person and thing merits a second look because nothing is what it seems at all. The Skilled and the Unskilled both have unexpected reactions to the events that culminated in Gilded Cage. Abbey goes on the run in an attempt to find the truth and free her brother, Luke. Luke is taken captive and delivered into the hands of Crovan. At Crovan’s isolated castle, which cannot be entered or exited without the lord’s permission, Luke is to be tortured and questioned about his activities at Kenyston.
I have read over 100 books in 2016, and The Gilded Cage was in the top 3. It is a finely crafted novel. I enjoyed it so much I purchased it in a Kindle version, a hardback and an audiobook version. I plan on doing the same with Tarnished City. I already have the paperback from the United Kingdom because I could not wait for the American release date. It continues the wonderful story lines that Gilded Cage excelled at. Now everything is in flux. Abbey has found the resistance and found them to not all be Unskilled like her. Luke is trying to survive each day and find a way to escape the castle without instant death as he walks through the door. The Jardines work to consolidate their power, seeking to make their family not just powerful but royal.
I was so pleased that Abigail Hadley, strong in the first book, continues to fight to save not only her brother but all the Unskilled. She has moments of doubt but stays strong. It makes her a very relatable protagonist. Luke has lost some of the strength he gained in Milltown. What the Jardines and Corvan did to him has left his brain broken. Gavar is still hot tempered but not as naive as he once was. To share his father’s vision of a powerful future means to lose his Unskilled daughter. Silyen has his own plans for the family’s power. He just has not shared them. Since he seems to be the most powerful Skilled of all, people must use caution around him.
All of the characters in both books are 3 dimensional. None of the characters are flat or unformed. This world, with all its magic and class distinctions, is very believable because the characters and their reactions to the events are so real. Tarnished City takes the politics and action from Gilded Cage and turns it up several notches on the scale. It leaves the reader breathless and ready for book number three.
Book Review - While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent Into Madness by Eli Sanders
While the City Slept is a disturbing and compelling read. It kept me turning pages long after I should have gone to sleep. Mr. Sanders weaves the story of two women and one man together with such skill that the inevitable collusion still creates tension. For anyone who questions whether or not there is parity in mental health care in this country; anyone who wonders if tragedies could not sometimes be avoided; anyone who thinks preventative care for mental health is unnecessary - this book is a must read. It is also a book that will stay with you and hopefully move you to action. Write letters to your representatives, support charities that work with mental health and help those who need help fight to get it.
This was amazing. The ebb and flow of the life, both good and terrible, of the hospital itself is well done. The pages with Mr. Lobotomy were shocking (I had read about him elsewhere). But what ultimately got me was the cemeteries. All the sudden there they were. And I could not get over the numbers of souls in them. If I ever have occasion to be up in the MA area, I plan to stop by with flowers for those forgotten souls. Thank you so much for documenting this important historical place and time.
City of Endless Night
by Douglas Preston; Lincoln Child
Grand Central Publishing
General Fiction (Adult)
Pub Date 16 Jan 2018
I first met Agent Pendergast when I read Relic, the first book in the series. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child wrote books that I could not wait to get my hands on. I read the first eleven books as soon as I could get my hands on them. The next six books came and went without me getting to them for a variety of reasons. That being said, when City of Endless Night was offered by Netgalley, I choose to read it. Being the eighteenth book in the series, I hoped that the six books I had missed would not be an issue.
The characters I last saw seven book ago were familiar and I comfortably connected with them again. I did find I had missed some important plot developments and will make time to go back and read those six book. It did not derail my enjoyment of City of Endless Night. Like all the Pendergast books, this is a thriller. It has a mystery at its core but also high levels of suspense.
Back in New York, where many of the books are set, a murder occurs that interest Agent Pendergast. A billionaire’s estranged daughter is brutally murdered and her head is missing. Lieutenant D’Agosta is ambivalent about working with Pendergast who seems off his game, possibly due to personal losses. Then another murder happens, another seemingly impossible crime and the head is missing. As the headless bodies pile up, Pendergast and D’Agosta work individually and inefficiently to solve the crimes. Then it all comes together in an active, tense conclusion.
City of Endless Night was not my favorite book in the series but it also was not my least favorite. The first four books are my absolute favorites. I do not know that I could recommend jumping into the series with this book. If possible I would start at the beginning or at least at book three. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.
Widow's Point is a wonderful haunted house story but with a twist. The haunted house is a lighthouse. So as is the case with most lighthouses, it is isolated and at the edge of a cliff at the mercy of the sea. The atmosphere is the book was just incredible. As a reader, I could hear every creak, see the shifting of the shadows and know without a doubt I would never, ever visit it.
Why Thomas Livingstone decided it would be a good idea to be locked in the lighthouse for an entire weekend is simple; discovery. As the author of several books on haunted locations. Livingstone was attracted to Widow's Point as Queen of Haunted locations. No ghost hunters have been able to figure out what or who is behind the mysterious occurrences, including several gruesome deaths. As expected by any readers of horror, Livingstone's camera stops working as soon as he is locked in the lighthouse. The story is told through the audio recordings he made as well as historical documents.
The book is beautifully illustrated. The illustrations help set off the atmosphere the authors created with their words. Although I finished the book several days ago, it is still with me. I feel compelled to read it again. Maybe once the sun is up.
Thank you to the authors for the advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.
By Stephen King and Owen King
Read by: Marin Ireland
Courtesy Simon & Schuster
I went into this audiobook expecting the wonderful hair raising horror experience that I have enjoyed from Stephen King since reading his first book, Carrie, back in the 1970’s. So I did have high expectations. I expected a good story, great characters and something normal morphing into something that scared the crap out of me (example clowns).Sleeping Beauties did not deliver. I did not find the book or characters enjoyable.
In a small town in Appalachia there is a women’s prison. Many of the women are there because of drugs or domestic violence that caused them to break the law. A strange illness breaks out at the prison where the women fall into a deep sleep and are enveloped in a cocoon. If they are removed from the cocoon, they become dangerous and homicidal. While the women are in the cocoon they travel to a different place. Time is different. There are no men. They are safe and heal from their traumas. Meanwhile, the men go into testosterone overdrive. There are a lot of guns, a lot of driving around, and a lot of dealing with the situation by violence.
I found that I just did not care about the women or the men. I did not find any reason to connect to them. Marin Ireland did a nice job narrating. My inability to get into the book had to do with the story and not the narration.