The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest (Books Are My Favorite Movies)

The Inexplicables (The Clockwork Century, #4)The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cherie Priest has gotten dumped on a bit for this one, with some calling it the weakest of the Clockwork Century books. I think that's a bit unfair. Even though it's clearly not the strongest entry by a long shot, I think I enjoyed its basic story (and certainly the back half) to be much more enjoyable than Clementine. That still remains the weakest entry for me.

That said, I think most people have issue with the main character, Rector. He's a whiny, angsty teenager with a drug addiction. This isn't a coming of age story, though. It's a redemption story. I applaud Cherie Priest for writing a protagonist that isn't likable from the word go and turning him into someone who eventually is. She's written her fair share of anti-hero protagonists, but all of them had a certain rogue charm as soon as the reader is introduced to them. Rector doesn't. His utter lack of charm as a thief and junkie makes the first few chapters of the book a big of a slog, but it creates a real arc for the character that moves slowly and has a payoff.

I enjoyed returning to the Blighted Seattle of Boneshaker (which will still remain an epic that's head and shoulders above everything else in Clockwork Century except for maybe Ganymede) and seeing all of the characters introduced in many of the previous volumes work together to take out a new series of threats to their poisoned but hard-earned city. Definitely a worthy volume to read if you're into the series, but I certainly wouldn't start here. You will be lost and perplexed. Definitely start with Boneshaker.

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The Herald of Autumn (Book Review)

The Herald of AutumnThe Herald of Autumn by J.M. Guillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Herald of Autumn really has that American Gods feel, and because of that I liked it from the beginning. It follows the titular character, The Herald of Autumn, as he awakens to face a dark, backwoods force that swallows and possesses all the magical essence and life it can find. The Herald also has to deal with the puzzling circumstances of his awakening, brought on by a trickster-type named Coyote.

There's world-building here, but it is achieved in a way that avoids infodumps and seems familiar, even if it builds on but deviates from a lot of folklore. Much of it is kept vague, which works to the story's benefit in establishing an air of mystery and suspense. A very good read in that it is engaging, provides a lot of very poetic language, and then is over before it wears out its welcome. It blends fantasy with some elements of horror very skillfully.

Only downsides are that it ends abruptly and the often heavy use of italics during some of the storytelling sections is somewhat confusing. J. M. Guillen has a very interesting style of writing, if occasionally overwrought, but in this case it fits the mood and atmosphere of the material quite well.

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The Herald of Autumn
By J M Guillen

The Book of Matt and Small Town Fear and Loathing

The Matthew Shepard case turns out to have been a lot more complex than most people have been led to believe. Jimenez seems to have uncovered exactly the sort of seedy underbelly in Laramie, Wyoming that's usually reserved for basic cable dramas. Matthew was, of course, a victim of it but his relationship with his attackers was a lot grayer than a simple hate crime. I'll definitely give this a read, mostly because it sounds like top-shelf investigative journalism and a microcosm of so much.