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Book Reviews: Volatile Bonds + Summon The Keeper + The Red Brain, part 1

Volatile Bonds by Jaye Wells
This is the 4th book in the ‘Prospero’s War’ series. It’s good. Kate continues her mortal feud against dirty magic and various bad people do bad things while casting murderous glowers. Kate’s brother fails to be emotionally truthful while being deliberately inflammatory.

People utter portentous dialogue and have plain sinister plans as the ongoing story arcs go on unresolved for the foreseeable future. Someone is colossally ambitious as they seek the unattainable. Kate has a glaring lack of tolerance for stress and receives attention from many men whilst being over-introspective. I enjoyed this but one grows tired of Kate’s rationalisations for her grievances.

Best Lines:
“We ended up being threatened with a duck.”

“Smell the ambition on you.”

“Weren’t going for subtlety on this.”

“It was pretty cool if you didn’t mind stumbling over homeless people having sex.”

“Still managed to shout intermittent threats.”

~
Summon The Keeper by Tanya Huff
This 1998 fantasy sees various people with magical powers, magical beings and a cat getting into bother at a B&B that has a portal to hell in the basement. This is Book 1 In a trilogy and it is onerous to read.

Hell has unachieved ambition, there is a loveless heroine who is a custodian of knowledge and instead of being a compelling outsider - she needs a man. This is neither humorous nor darkly disturbing. The characters eschew any personality. It is not worthwhile to read this.

~
The Red Brain: Great Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos edited by S.T. Joshi, part 1

Introduction
“An eighteenth century gentleman unwillingly placed in a twentieth century he abhorred-”

Falco Ossifracus: by Mr. Goodguile
This Lovecraftian spoof is a dull tale of non-inventive melodrama that isn’t masterfully subtle.

Best Line:
“That we possessed tastes mutually morbid or a predilection for graveyards I must strenuously deny.”

The Red Brain
This tale full of clunking exposition is full of narrative contrivance and is of no particular worth.

Best Line:
“No one knew or cared, for there was then none to know or care.”

The Beast Of Averoigne
In these sorrowful reflections a monk tells of a beast. This tale promises us a dramatic maelstrom but it is just unfulfilled promise.

Best Lines:
“Its advent was coeval with the first rising of the red comet.”

“Satanry to come.”

The Will Of Claude Asher
This is a very good purple prosed tale of an evil brother who is held in low regard and who is entirely capable of evil. This was unexpectedly efficient. This tells of treachery, cruelty and how one man brings the character of an area into disrepute while making general statements of his evil intent.

Best Line:
“Horror-ridden years that followed.”

The Pattern
By Ramsey Campbell. This tale doesn’t seethe with menace just underlying pointlessness.

The Sect Of The Idiot
By Thomas Ligotti. This is over-written torpor done in such absurdly dramatic fashion that it is wearying.

Meryphilla
An okayish tale of a ghoul and her lovelessness and grim unsentimentality.

Best Line:
“Vanished under circumstances of suggestive peculiarity.”

The Peddler’s Tale, Or, Isobel’s Revenge
By Caitlin R. Kiernan. I’ve read this before. A storyteller is ominously evasive about the truth of her emotive oratory.

Instinct
A neo-noir tale of the cataclysmic impact taking an ill-advised job has on a PI. While not incredibly dark and intense, it is okay and has cold logic.

Pickman’s Lazarus
An artist plays tribute to Pickman’s uncanny promise. There is no emotional investment in this cheerlessness.

Best Line:
Weird things keep cropping up in the cellars and attics of old Boston.”
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