Monday, 11 February 2013

Among Prey

Among PreyAmong Prey by Alan Ryker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was introduced to Alan Ryker through the DarkFuse Kindle club via his book The Hoard. What I liked most about that book were the characters. They were great, believable characters. So when DarkFuse sent me Among Prey, I thought I'd stop what I was reading at the time to fit this review in before the book's release date.

And I'm glad that I did.

My enjoyment of the characters in The Hoard is multiplied tenfold here. The story is told in four parts with the POV of four different characters. It is written in the third person, but each character comes off the page like a slap in the face, they're so real.

Amber is a doll maker for the more upper class of children. The dolls are custom made right there in the store, and the client, the child, has full control over how to create their doll. One day a 7 foot giant, Bobby, who has the mind of a small child comes in with his nurse. He makes a doll and then goes in once a week to make a new doll each time. This seems to make him happy, but Amber notices something wrong with the dolls the giant is creating.

Little girls are missing and their bodies, alive or dead, are never found. The dolls that Bobby makes looks just like the missing girls. they're even wearing what they were when they went missing.

It takes four characters to tell this story, and each one of them shine. My only problem is that an important character is introduced to the reader a little late and is therefore jarring. This could have been easily fixed with some edits, but it didn't really ruin the story for me.

Among Prey is more about the journey than it is the conclusion. Once you let the characters talk to you, letting the tell their story to its end, you'll be hypnotized and left wanting more.

Highly recommended! 4.5 stars and a new favorite.

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Fevered HillsFevered Hills by Keith Deininger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fevered Hills by Keith Deininger is a difficult book for me to review. For one, I think that it's brilliant. The problem is, I'm not entirely sure why I feel this way. All I can say is that I really enjoyed what I read.

Martin, A sixteen year old soldier escapes and returns home hoping to reacquaint himself with his parents. Unfortunately, he finds nothing but an empty home and a garden that's overgrown, the livestock dead in their pens.

But the war will not let him go. The soldiers are coming and there's nowhere for him to go but the pit he's accidentally found himself fallen in, and the two strangers who live there.

Fevered Hills excels at showing the reader the horrors of war and its effects not only the people of the countryside, but the human psyche of those who've had to fight within it. There is a creature element to the story that, if anything, only added to the "horrors of war" aspect to the story for me.

What impressed me most, however, was the writing style. It resembles Margaret Atwood and Joyce Carol Oats. It brings to mind The Road and The Slaughterhouse-Five. There's serious stuff happening in Fevered Hills that we need to pay attention to, because it speaks of what we're made of as humans. How none of us are innocent, that everyone has grey areas. And if you were to put a serious war in the middle of this, then this becomes an interesting character study.

To answer my own question, I guess that's what I liked best about the book. It's honesty and unflinching look at the human condition.

Because Fevered Hills is a haunted character study. And I can't wait until I read more by this gifted author.

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