epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

Book Reviews: The House Next Door +Steampunk'd +A Plague of Angels +The Best Horror of the Year 2

The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons
This is an engrossing ghost story set in the American Deep South. It’s not set in a ruined antebellum plantation house featuring a southern belle wailing for her lost world, but rather in a modern suburb. Well modern meaning the 1970’s when the book was originally published.

In an upper middle class Atlanta suburb, construction begins on a vacant lot. A new house is to be built to the dismay of Colquitt and Walter Kennedy who live next door. But privacy concerns soon turn out to be the least of their worries. There’s something wrong about the beautiful modern house.

The Harralsons move in. They are happy newly weds, at first. Soon death and disgrace cause them to exit and the house is up for sale. A new family move in and the pattern repeats. The tension ratchets up as Walter and Colquitt in between dining at the club and visiting their beach house are forced to accept the unthinkable. The house next door is wrong.

Walter and Colquitt know they have to do the right thing but it is costly for them. Friends turn against them and they are mocked and despised for their efforts to help. This is an excellent haunted house story.

Best Line:
There’s something Tennessee Williams about the whole tribe of ‘em.”

Steampunk’d edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg
This is a good collection of tales that reimagines the Victorian era if it were powered by steam tech.

Chance Corrigan and the Tick Tock King of the Nile
A good romp through Egypt with rotters, adventure and magic.

The Battle of Cumberland Gap
The American War for Independence was lost and now there is a Franco-British race for Kentucky coal. Whoever gets the coal will decide the fate of the Napoleonic wars. This is okay.

Portrait of a Lady in a Monocle
A wronged woman seeks justice. This is okay.

Meteorite hunts and augury in Russia. This is good.

Of A Feather
A bizarre adventure in the Amazon. This is an okay quasi-sequel to ‘The Lost World’.

Scourge of the Spoils
A downbeat tale of the price of progress.

The Nubian Queen
An interesting alternate history that sees a decedent of the victorious Cleopatra fight for her throne. This is good.

Imperial Changeling
An okay tale of the fey in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Transmogrification Ray
A mad scientist accidentally crates something ominous. This is good.

A Plague of Angels by Sheri S. Tepper
This is a fantasy novel set in the far future. The remnants of the human race live either on farms or in the last few derelict cities.

An orphan girl lives in an archetypal village being prepared for the day she must fulfil her destiny. The farm boy Abasio runs away to a city and is forced to join a gang. Meanwhile in the last fusion power plant on Earth, the wicked witch makes her evil plans.

This is an intricate tale and is very enjoyable. It has malevolent and dark influences, an overly labyrinthine cunning plan and many characters. It’s great fun.

The Best Horror Of The Year Volume Two edited by Ellen Datlow
An enjoyable collection of scary, creepy and disturbing horror tales that has a somewhat unnerving cover.

Lowland Sea
An okay homage to Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’.

Each Thing I Show You Is A Piece Of My Death
An excellent and unnerving tale of a dead man who keeps appearing where he shouldn’t.

What Happens When You Wake Up In The Night
A little girl wakes up to find her nightlight is gone. But that’s not the only thing that’s changed. This is creepy.

A woman eats and eats. This is an unnerving tale of monstrosity with a weird ending.

In The Porches Of My Ears
A couple choose to sit next to the wrong people in a cinema. Okay.

Lonegan’s Luck
A scary western.

The Lion’s Den
A creepy tale of a strange incident in a zoo.

A freaky tale of goings on at a commune.

The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall
Two women look for vampire dogs. This is okay.

Dead Loss
A fishing boat hauls in something it shouldn’t have. This is okay.

An okay tale of two lovers who go to an art show, but they’re the exhibits.

A college professor teaches a special class. This is very good.

Best Line:
“Those forests are the ones that people Don’t Go In. Or if they do, not all of them makes it out.”
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review

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