Fiction book reviews


Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

I desperately want to write a review. I usually read one or two books a year, therefore I'm not the one who writes reviews for a living. It just happened that I want to compare this book with an old quest game.

As the author mentions in the Acknowledgements, this book might never been finished. And unfortunately, this is noticeable. The first chapter is very poetic and reminded me of The Broken Sword (the first one is called The Shadow of the Templars). Which I can describe as a cartoonish and romantic adventure in a Paris setting.

But then it dries out. Somewhere later in stagey narration through flashbacks, in about 5 random paragraphs, this literary style is waking up again.

After the buoyant start, I expected an optimistic love journey, but it was sad. I was sad after not well explained betrayal between friends caused by sex addiction. And such despair to see the main characters staying optimistic after they understand how everything is fucked up in their lives.

This book is based on an interesting true story. But I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I decided to use a very simplistic rating system in the beginning. Where 5 means that I enjoyed reading the book. 4 - some moments could be better, but in general, the book gives a pleasant pastime. When I say 3, it categorizes the book as tolerable and, perhaps, good, but I would not recommend it to anyone. 2 and 1? Hopefully, I will not find myself reading anything of that level.

Tidepool by Nicole Willson

It’s Lovecraft Lovecraft-inspired novel. There’s a special Lovecraft category on GoodReads but it was hard to choose a book because I wanted something specific I guess.

Okay, so what can I say about Tidepool by Nicole Willson? Overall, it’s not terrible. Somewhere in the beginning I wanted to stop reading it because of one line that said that the room smelled of cigarette smoke and it was written in a way that I didn’t feel it.

I was skeptical if the author even knew how such a room smells. I knew. My grandfather smoked a lot. Do you know how many cigarettes in one pack? About 15-20? So he smoked 2 packs a day. The cigarettes of one specific brand without a filter. He made a filter rolling a piece of newspaper around it. The house, everywhere where he was, that smell was there. And I wanted the author to return me to that time. But she didn’t.

Despite that, I continued to read. It had some nice moments later on, moments where you like what characters do, and how organically they make it. Nevertheless, it’s missing cosmic horror and inevitable doom as one would expect from such a novel.

I’m looking for a book that will uncover the atmosphere from one particular picture. It’s a cover of a board game, Arkham Horror. And I really like just that glimpse of the story that is in that picture, although I’ve never played the game. Let me describe the picture.

It’s a night street lit by warm yellow light from three-four-story buildings and gas street lamps, mixed with a green glow from the end of this street. There’s an old car from the 1920s driving towards us. In the car, we have a very engaged driver, an old white-haired professor who almost fainted in the back seat, and a woman in an elegant coat and hat, holding a Tommy gun and shooting worm-squid-like monsters chasing them from the green portal opened at the end of the street.

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