Monday, May 14, 2012

The Diablo III Hiatus

The time has finally come. Evil is back and hordes of hellspawn once again ravage the lands. I must heed the call to arms. It is with a heavy heart that I abandon my beloved tomes and the safety of my sanctuary, but evil cannot be allowed to go unopposed.

I will stand! I will fight! I will triumph!

Fear not, though my journey will be fraught with dangers I will return...


If all goes to plans I should have my copy of Diablo III in my hands by Tuesday evening. I've been waiting for this release for ages and I can't believe that it's finally here. *Does happy dance*

Unfortunately this means that I will most likely be neglecting the blog (and my reading) for quite some time, so don't be alarmed if you spot a cobweb or two. Things should return to normal once I get Diablo III out of my system.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four

Title: The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Four
Edited by: Ellen Datlow
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781597803991
Series: Best Horror of the Year: Volume #4
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Published: May 2012
Genre: Horror / Anthology
Source: eARC from publisher

Buy it from:
The Book Depository
Baen Ebooks ($6.00, DRM-Free)

Fear is the oldest human emotion.
The most primal. We like to think we're civilized. We tell ourselves we're not afraid. And every year, we skim our fingers across nightmares, desperately pitting our courage against shivering dread.

A paraplegic millionaire hires a priest to exorcise his pain; a failing marriage is put to the ultimate test; hunters become the hunted as a small group of men ventures deep into a forest; a psychic struggles for her life on national television; a soldier strikes a grisly bargain with his sister's killer; ravens answer a child's wish for magic; two mercenaries accept a strangely simplistic assignment; a desperate woman in an occupied land makes a terrible choice...

What scares you? What frightens you? Horror wears new faces in these carefully selected stories. The details may change. But the fear remains.

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four edited by Ellen Datlow brings together an eclectic collection of some of the best horror short stories and novellas of 2011. The 18 stories and novelettes included in the anthology are diverse, ranging from the plain weird to the utterly disturbing. While two stories from big names in the horror genre, Stephen King and Peter Straub, start and conclude the collection it is the works of the lesser known authors that steal the show.

My favorite, and probably the most disturbing story in the anthology was Omphalos by Livia Llewellyn in which an incestuous family goes on a vacation which ends in tragedy. Some others that stood out were: The Moraine by Simon Bestwick where a married couple comes face to face with an ancient predator after getting lost while hiking in on a mountainside; The Show by Priya Sharma, a fake medium gets far more than she bargained for when she discovers she does indeed have the gift of second sight; Dermot by Simon Bestwick where the police force strike a terrible deal with a monster in order to protect the rest of the city and lastly, The Final Verse by Chet Williamson which explores the sinister roots of a beloved folksong.

I only highlighted the stories which I enjoyed the most, but there are lots of other stories which might appeal to other tastes. One thing is certain: after reading this collection you'll never look at the horror genre in quite the same way again.

The full table of contents can be found below:
  • The Little Green God of Agony - Stephen King
  • Stay - Leah Bobet
  • The Moraine - Simon Bestwick
  • Blackwood's Baby - Laird Barron
  • Looker - David Nickle
  • The Show - Priya Sharma
  • Mulberry Boys - Margo Lanagan
  • Roots and All - Brian Hodge
  • Final Girl Theory - A. C. Wise
  • Omphalos - Livia Llewellyn
  • Dermot - Simon Bestwick
  • Black Feathers - Alison J. Littlewood
  • Final Verse - Chet Williamson
  • In the Absence of Murdock - Terry Lamsley
  • You Become the Neighborhood - Glen Hirshberg
  • In Paris, In the Mouth of Kronos - John Langan
  • Little Pig - Anna Taborska
  • The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine - Peter Straub

The Verdict:
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Four offers a great collection of stories which are bound to please any horror fan. The themes explored are varied and thought-provoking, especially those that show that humanity itself is often far worse than the monsters hiding in the shadows. While some stories are more effective than others you are guaranteed to find at least one which will send shivers down your spine. It might be best not to read this one alone in the dark. Recommended!

The Rating: 7/10 (Very Good)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Arrivals

After my bout of sale madness I haven't ordered any new books, which is a huge accomplishment for me. I did however receive some orders which I'd placed at the end of March.

Pre-Loved Books

These are all used books from my two favorite online shops, Awesomebooks and Betterworldbooks.

Science Fiction:
Empire of Light by Gary Gibson
Version 43 by Philip Palmer
The Way of Kings Part II by Brandon Sanderson

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
Across Realtime by Vernorn Vinge
Mercury, Venus and Tales of the Grand Tour by Ben Bova
Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
Flood by Stephen Baxter

The Children of Hurin by J.R.R Tolkien
Elves: Once Walked with Gods by James Barclay

Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet by Steve Squyres
Deep Sky Objects by David H. Levy

Wait, there's more...

I also received my pre-order of the stunning omnibus edition of the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. This is a truly gorgeous book. The photo can't do it any justice at all. The cover is stunning with some amazing detail and it has some nice black embossing which doesn't show up in pictures. It also contains lots of extras including a map and 62 extra pages of bonus content. Well worth the money!

Lynsey Dalladay from Transworld Publishers was also kind enough to send me a copy of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I've been meaning to read this for ages, but I just haven't gotten round to it. Thanks Lynsey!

And even more!

I also won a competition hosted by Kelly over at It's a Book Thing. The prize was a bit of a mixed bag, but it did contain some gems. Sadly my camera's batteries decided this was the opportune moment to give up the ghost, so I'm only going to list them.

Medicus by Ruth Downie
A Devil is Waiting by Jack Higgens
Blood Games by Faye Kellerman

Thanks so much Kelly!