Tag Archives: Guy Haley

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook The Ghoul King – Book 2 of the Dreaming Cities series by Guy Haley

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When I requested this one from NetGalley, I wasn’t aware that it was a novella or part of a series. However I’m glad about that, because I probably wouldn’t have chosen it otherwise, which would have been a shame.

theghoulkingThe Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world – whatever that means, any more – to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many…

I’ve recently read The City of Mirrors, Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic tale of a ruined America struggling to cope after a plague of cannibalistic creatures that were once human – see my review here. This adventure has many similarities – set in a post-apocalypse America where nests of vampire-like ghouls lodge in derelict buildings. The difference in The Ghoul King is that surviving humanity is ruled by fearsome angelic beings, who decree that no technology is allowable for any reason – and back up that edict with terrible punishments.

The fact I hadn’t read the first slice of this adventure didn’t matter – I was quickly swept up into the action, following Quinn as he was plunged in the middle of an action-packed quest. Haley writes with pace and economy, managing to pack a great deal in a short amount of time. I didn’t particularly bond with Quinn, but then I don’t think we’re supposed to. However, I really liked Jaxon, the healer driven to rebel as he finds himself treating patients who are dying of illnesses entirely preventable – if only he had access to some of the old, forbidden knowledge. The story is told in first person viewpoint as Jaxon is interrogated by the authorities.

There are some interesting twists along the way  and the ending satisfactorily tied up the story arc, while leaving a couple of dangling ends in readiness for the next instalment in this desperate, ruined world. I have found myself thinking about it at times, while supposedly working on something else, which is always a sure sign that a book has ticked all the boxes. If you are a Justin Cronin fan, then consider tracking down this bite-sized post-apocalyptic world – it is worth it. I received an arc copy of this novella from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
9/10

Sunday Post – 3rd July

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Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

It’s lovely getting a new desktop computer, of course it is. But… then comes the grotty bit – transferring all my files and software across from my elderly clapped-out model to this shiny new beast. I’d love to say it’s all gone smoothly, except it hasn’t. I endured the ‘blue screen of death’ on Friday when I messed up loading my anti-virus program and had to prevail on Number One Son to fix it for me via Instagram. At 3 am this morning I finally had the last of my files transferred AND on the right drive – which isn’t as straightforward as it should be, in my opinion.

As a result, I haven’t come within sniffing distance of Breathing Space and am looking forward to having a chance to getting down to resuming my line edit, ever conscious that the days are not so much ticking, as flying by…

This week I’ve managed to read:
thenightmarestacksThe Nightmare Stacks – Book 7 of The Laundry Files by Charles Stross
Alex Schwartz had a promising future – until he contracted an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain’s only counter-occult secret agency.
His first assignment is in Leeds – his old hometown. The thought of telling his parents that he’s lost his old job, let alone them finding out about his ‘condition’, is causing Alex more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses. His only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a student appearing in the local Goth Festival, who flirts with him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock. But Cassie has secrets of her own – secrets that make Alex’s night life seem positively normal . . .

This smart science fiction/fantasy mash-up goes on delivering cool new ideas and the whole series comes very highly recommended. I’ve already posted my review of this book.

 

Night Shift – Book 3 of the Midnight, Texas series by Charlaine Harris
At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and nightshiftdramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town. Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place. And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be…

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting yet another favourite series and love the way Harris is quite content to leave us with a slew of unanswered questions about her community of paranormal oddballs, so they can unfold throughout this quirky series. I will be reviewing this book in due course.

 

The Ghoul King – Book 2 of The Dreaming Cities by Guy Haley
theghoulkingThe Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world – whatever that means, any more – to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many…

I hadn’t appreciated when I requested this offering from NetGalley that this was a novella and part of a series. However, Haley’s far too fluent and experienced to leave his readers floundering. The adventure whisked me up and pulled me into this disturbing, violent world – the only snag is that it ended too soon. The review will be appearing on the release date.

 

The Nest – Book 3 of Star Wars Adventures in Wild Space by Tom Huddleston
In a galaxy far, far away… With their parents held captive by the evil empire, the Graf kids could use thenestsome help. They trace their latest clue to a remote jungle world where a terrifying adventure unfolds. What will Milo and Lina find in THE NEST?

I’ve been grannying this week-end and Oscar and I have plunged back into this nail-biter. It’s been a joy watching him read with increasing fluency in his quest to discover what will happen next. I’ve ordered the other available books in the series, to his delight when he found them stacked up on my teetering TBR pile.

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 26th June

Teaser Tuesday – The Nightmare Stacks Book 7 of The Laundry Files by Charles Stross

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Magic Bitter Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Real Neat Award

Friday Faceoff – Simply the Best featuring Among Others by the mighty Jo Walton

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Nightmare Stacks – Book 7 of The Laundry Files by Charles Stross

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

This moving tribute stopped me in my tracks… Somme by Jean Reinhardt –
https://jeanreinhardt.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/somme/

Steph produces yet another informative article on the latest happenings in Space – I really love this series… http://earthianhivemind.net/2016/06/29/waiting-for-juno/

As I’ve been grappling with my computer this week, this particular blog by Ana caught my attention. I knew some of these, but others… https://anaslair.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/the-mystery-words-on-your-screen-by-dictionary-com/

This hilarious article by Katherine had me laughing aloud during a week when the atmosphere at Higbee Towers has been somewhat fraught… http://iwishilivedinalibrary.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-signs-youre-in.html?spref=tw

This is the latest in Kristen Burns excellent discussion series – and should be required reading for all authors… http://blog.kristenburns.com/realism-in-books-big-things-vs-little-things/

Hopefully, I can put my computer tech hat back in the drawer this week and concentrate more on using the darn thing for writing and editing. In the meantime, the weather continues to be atrocious – thank goodness for that spiffy roof over the centre court at Wimbledon. I hope all of you across the pond have a lovely 4th July. Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

Review of Reality 36 – a Richards and Klein Investigation by Guy Haley

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This is Guy Haley’s debut novel, though not the first one I’ve encountered – see my review of Crash here. Somehow, this offering slipped through the net…

Richards – a Level 5 AI with a PI fetish – and his partner, Otto Klein, a decommissioned German military cyborg, are on the trail of a murderer, but the killer has hidden inside a fragmenting artificial reality. Richards and Klein must stop him before he becomes a god – of the sake of all realities.

reality36So, we have a whodunit set in the near future where technology has leap-frogged forward due to the artificial intelligences now proliferating. With Stephen Hawking’s recent warning ringing in our ears, I was particularly fascinated to see to the extent that Haley agrees… I really enjoyed the Timeline at the back of the book – it meant that swathes of exposition could be cut from this densely written book, which needed to move forward at a fair lick, given it’s a whodunit.

Have to say, it did take some time to get going. There were several early scenes that I felt could have been omitted without compromising the narrative arc – and given that this is the first slice in Richards and Kleins’ adventures, some of the information we were given then could easily have been interleaved within subsequent books. But it wasn’t a deal-breaker because I did keep reading, mostly because the world is detailed and intriguing. One of the reasons I could have struggled at the start, was that I didn’t fully bond with Richards until a very long way along the story. This is always something of a problem with posthuman protagonists – by definition, Richards is smarter than humankind and knows it, so frequently comes across as annoyingly smug. But I did like the fact that Haley recognises this is an issue, and instead of trying to humanise his protagonist, he provides a coterie of other Fives who are even more obnoxious… However, there are other characters who do give us the human touch – Veronique and Chloe, and the wonderful partnership between Sir Jagadith and Tarquinius also ticked all my boxes. I loved their eccentricity and the sheer fantastic extravagance of what this closed-off corner of a former gaming reality managed to produce.

Much science fiction tips into science fantasy, but Haley’s world seems all too plausible to me, and once the story really got going, the pace picked up and it barrelled ahead. Until the ending – which is a cliff-hanger… Given that the sequel wasn’t out when Reality 36 was first published, this was something of a risk. How many readers would be truly irked at having got to the final page – to discover they still didn’t have a conclusive ending? If I’d been one of the early readers, I probably would have had a bit of a tantrum – however these days it isn’t a problem. As Omega Point is available, all I have to do is track down a copy – which I fully intend to do…
8/10

Review of Crash by Guy Haley

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Guy Haley is always worth reading – and when I came across his latest book, it was a must-read.

Dariusz is an engineer whose career ended years ago: now, a man he’s never met sits in a bar that doesn’t exist and offers him a fresh start… at a price. Cassandra – ‘Sand’ to her friends – is a space pilot, who itches to get her hands on the controls and actually fly a ship, rather than watch computers do it for her. The ‘Pointers’ – the elite 0.01% who control virtually all wealth – have seen the limitations of a plundered Earth and set their eyes on the stars. And now Dariusz and Sand, and a half-million ambitious men and women just like them, are sent out to extend the Pointers’ and the Market’s influence across the galaxy – but events don’t go according to plan…

crashI’ve omitted the final paragraph of the back-cover blurb as it contains far too many spoilers. But you have the scenario of a generation-ship and pioneer colony tale – classic science fiction fare. Does Haley provide a sufficiently novel spin on this familiar storyline?  Oh, for sure. Haley’s tale of ordinary men and women trying to prevail while snared in a cat’s-cradle of social inequality, hubris and deep-laid plots makes for an engrossing read. His smooth style is effective at depicting his protagonists with sufficient depth and complexity that we root for them despite the fact that he isn’t afraid to show their flaws. Or kill a few main characters off along the way…

The story continues gathering pace throughout the book, so there are several significant time-jumps near the end as the action whisks along at a fair clip. If Haley wasn’t such an accomplished writer, I might have had more of a problem with his accelerating narrative pace and felt somewhat cheated by being scurried along. But I didn’t, because he is also extremely good at depicting his landscapes. No matter if we were hammering through the story at almost sprint speed, there wasn’t any time that I didn’t have a very clear idea exactly how the protagonists were feeling about the whole business – or where they were and what it looked, felt and smelt like.

If you aren’t a SFF fan, perhaps you don’t realise just what a huge deal this is. It’s tricky enough presenting a convincing backdrop of a familiar cityscape as background to a whodunit without putting a brake on the murder mystery. But when you are establishing a fantastic landscape that no one other than the writer can see in his mind’s eye, this suddenly becomes a major issue. Hence, it isn’t uncommon for two to three pages of info-dumps to regularly occur in SFF books, which we either skim or revel in, depending on our preference. I like to be able to clearly visualise the world and how the characters interact with it in, without pages of turgid detail. And Haley manages to deliver this in cinematic, pin-sharp detail, making it look a whole lot easier than it actually is.

There is clearly a sequel to this adventure, as far too many dangling plot points are waving in the wind for this to be a stand-alone story. And I shall be on the lookout for it when it hits the shelves – meanwhile Haley’s lonely colony will lodge in my head due to his strong, skilful depiction of their plight.
8/10