And the Last Trump Shall Sound by Harry Turtledove, James Morrow, Cat Rambo
This isn’t a novel but an anthology of three stories by different writers. Each one takes the events of an alternative US a bit farther. Mainly, Trump has died and Pence has succeeded him. The former has achieved a god-like stature for the masses. Things have become so bad that several States decide to secede. Those stories show us what happens during and immediately after secession. The scary part is how easily all of this could come true because, as we know, the country is divided into red- and blue-voting states. Even now, there are Americans who have voted for Trump. There’s an incident where Pence’s government sends the SS to kidnap the leader of one of the first States to secede. It was harrowingly prescient of what happened months later with the Governor of Michigan. In other words, these didn’t read like far-fetched tales. Sure, they’re heavy-handed and one even has a ridiculous resurrection scene in it (the second one). But this is 2020 and anything can happen!
Anyway, these are the stories you’ll find in this collection:
- The Breaking of Nations by Harry Turtledove
- The Purloined Republic by James Morrow
- Because It Is Bitter by Cat Rambo
The Apocalypse Strain by Jason Parent
What I liked about this book was how easy it made for me to picture everything that I was reading. Human body parts mutated into alien structures. People heard the voices of their dead loved ones. The virus jumped from one body to another. The scene with the flowers stands out in my mind’s eye even now. It was written very well and so easy to imagine. I’d loooove to see it done in a movie some day.
Now, when it comes to what I didn’t like, things get complicated. Even though I love the way everything was written, this wasn’t a unique story. It’s your run-of-the-mill horror movie with a sentient virus — and we’ve all seen those. In fact, you could probably predict what happened at the end, even without reading the book. I did too!
So, if you don’t mind a rehash of the same ol’ and are more interested in the writing, this is the book for you. Creepy and awesome!
His Father’s Ghost by Linda Stratmann
This book was my introduction to the series, Mina Scarletti. Even so, it wasn’t unwelcoming or difficult to immerse myself into — bear in mind that this is actually the fifth book! I enjoyed reading about life for the middle class in Victorian times so much that I was willing to overlook one important fact. Since the protagonist has a life-threatening condition — for the era this book’s based on — she cannot go trundling about to solve the mystery at hand. For most of this book, she remains in bed but that doesn’t mean her mind stops working on the case. I’m sure I’d love it even more when I see her in action.
The mystery was interesting and the characters were likeable. In short, I enjoyed this book very much and want to continue with this series.
Dryad, Vol. 1 by Kurtis Wiebe, Justin Osterling
This was a beautifully illustrated book that didn’t get as much support from the story as it should have. The vibrant colors and a sense of history and culture that we come across in the first half or so is reminiscent of the movie, Avatar. However, all that suddenly goes away and we’re told it wasn’t even real. Okay, I got that part too. Whatever came after that was a big blur for me! I did understand that one of the parents had magic and the other was trained in combat. They were running from some kind of guild and keeping their kids safe, hence the lie. But ask me to tell you more about the book and I wouldn’t be able to. The information we get is so scant that I wasn’t able to connect to the main characters. And then we’re hit with a cliffhanger at the end, which didn’t make me want to rush out and grab the sequel. It just made me go meh! Make of that what you will.
Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures by Stephen Fry
In this case, it was a good thing that I haven’t read the first book. Several reviewers on GR have remarked that this was a weak addition to Mr. Fry’s series about Greco-Roman mythology. And since, I really enjoyed reading this one, it can only get better from here!
Having said that, don’t begin reading this book, expecting a novel-like structure. It’s not a novel and has a lot of mileage to cover, which is why the author doesn’t go into too many details. Mainly, we get a whole lot of Hercules and Jason and bits about many others.
But then, this is Mr. Fry we’re talking about — have you heard him talk about Georgette Heyer? So, you can expect in-depth research and flawless recounting of the material that’s available. We also get some Fry-esque humor, which made me laugh out loud in many places.
So to conclude, I had a lot of fun reading this one.