Book Review: Moonfall by A.G. Wyatt

moonfallMoonfall is an interesting take on the genre, where the moon has disintegrated and fragments fall to earth raining destruction. It deals mostly with the aftermath and follows the fortunes of Noah Brennan, a drifter accompanied only by Bourne (his empty gun) who while wandering the wastelands is captured by a group of militia who mistake him for one of their enemies and imprison him. As he discovers more about his surroundings and the people he is dealing with, he becomes involved in a battle for survival and must make a choice between doing the right thing or what’s best for himself.
Wyatt’s post apocalyptic world is dark and realistic, a harsh, twisted landscape where the weak are preyed upon and the strong fight each other for control of what remains of civilisation. Noah is a complex character struggling with his past who initially appears sullen, selfish and hardened by his experiences, but as we see him interact more with those he comes across he becomes a warmer character with a wicked sense of humour and much more to offer. As the story progresses, the plot gathers pace and culminates in events that test Noah’s resolve and conscience and ultimately lead him to make hard decisions about his future, while occasional glimpses into the past and references to current culture refresh the narrative and build an intriguing but incomplete backstory that hopefully will be built upon in later novels.
Moonfall is one of the better attempts at post apocalyptic fiction I’ve read this year. It’s a well-written, heady mix of action, tension and grim reality that serves as a great primer for the rest of the upcoming series.

Amazon 

Amazon UK

Advertisements

Review: Shadows Burned In By Chris Pourteau

sbiShadows Burned In is a fresh take on the old haunted house story we all know and run away screaming from in terror from, which has other agendas. In fact on closer inspection it really isn’t a ghost story at all. Sure there’s a creepy house with a creepy back story and other supernatural moments but this is something much more ambitious.

Set in the near future, where schools are now mostly closed and children learn from home in virtual classrooms and spent most of their spare time playing online immersive games, Elizabeth, a young girl relocated to her father’s home town becomes fascinated with a derelict house with a shady past. Her father David too has a connection to the house as we see from flashbacks to his youth, but is battling the demons of his own childhood while trying to come to terms with the slow disintegration of his relationship with his wife and daughter.

We also see a glimpse of prison life as an ageing prisoner Wayne Alan Kitts attempts to make a brutal and daring escape at any cost, with horrifying repercussions. The author makes no attempt to sugar coat this character or his experiences at the hands of both prisoners and guards. He is a violent machine bred by violence who has passed the point of no return and aims to use his escape to commit even more vile acts. There’s no redemption, Shawshank or otherwise to be had here, which makes him more frightening than any supernatural entity.

It’s a story of contrasts, of conflict, of opposites. It’s a serious study of the cycles and effects of abuse on different generations. Part speculative fiction, part coming-of-age drama that also looks at the brutality and inhumanity of prison life, all overshadowed by a looming structure that serves to embellish the story rather than dominate it, Shadows Burned In is a tense, absorbing debut with an important message for the modern reader.

Eamon Ambrose

AMAZON

AMAZON UK/IRELAND

SMASHWORDS

Book Review: Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather

cyber-storm-draft-14.2-rgb-684x1024

It’s pretty safe to say we all take technology for granted these days. It controls all our communications, utilities and for some people, daily life down the most minute detail. We’ve become so dependent on technology we could soon be nearing a point where we can’t live without it.

But what if we had to?

CyberStorm follows the story of an unprecedented attack on the United States, disabling it’s entire communications network and causing massive power outages and disabling utilities, coupled with adverse weather conditions and it’s effects on the residents of a New York apartment building seen through the eyes of Mike Mitchell, an upper middle class businessman already struggling to keep his life and family together.

Using whatever means available the residents hunker down for what they hope is a temporary inconvenience but soon learn that they are shut off from the outside world and locked in a desperate fight for survival. Greatly helped by prepper neighbour Chuck who has stockpiled supplies they are hopeful but both external and internal forces are conspiring against our survivors and their circumstances start to deteriorate very quickly.

The pace is steady and realistic and thankfully at no point glamourises the situation the survivors are faced with with silly action sequences or needless Hollywood shootouts. It is a careful study of the depths some people will go to to survive with some going so far as to give up certain aspects of their humanity and decency while others are guided by conscience and the instinct to protect their family at all costs. There are fine moments of suspense and some snappy twists and turns excellently placed throughout carrying the story to it’s final satisfying conclusion.

Author Matthew Mather cleverly uses his frankly impressive tech background to great effect at certain points dealing with the very nature and effect of the cyber attack and also where one of the characters cleverly resurrects existing technology to suit their needs, providing an essential advantage to the survivors. At times the story becomes almost educational, and because the world events surrounding the collapse are very real and contemporary, the reader will most certainly at some point look around at the resources available to them and wonder if it’s enough and how they would react facing a similar situation.

CyberStorm is a thrilling read. Frightening, thought-provoking yet ultimately entertaining and with as much sentiment as it does adrenaline it is a strong addition to the genre.  No small wonder then that 20th Century Fox have bought the movie rights and have announced it will be scripted by House Of Cards screenwriter Bill Kennedy.

Available now

Amazon

Amazon UK & Ireland

Book Review: Neurocomic Graphic Novel by Dr. Matteo Farinella and Dr. Hana Ros

wpid-IMAG0365_1.jpg

Ever wondered what makes you tick? How your brain works?What it’s made of?It’s a pretty complex piece of kit, and one who’s wellbeing we are  becoming increasingly aware of.

Advances in neuroscience have heightened our curiosity towards the brain and it’s inner workings and in an effort to further increase awareness, neuroscientists Dr. Hana Ros and Dr. Matteo Farinella have created a unique graphic novel unravelling the mysteries of the mind.4

Beautifully bound in hardback with gold and silver embossing on the cover, Neurocomic is drawn simply in plain black and white and leads us on an amazing journey through the human brain, through forests of neurons, castles and memory caves, guided along the way by pioneers of neuroscience.1

It’s genuinely educational and the graphic novel format is perfect for this purpose using drama, humour and peril to arouse the interest of the reader and help them understand the functions of the very thing they are using to read this book and why those functions work (and sometimes don’t.)

6

 

With mental health becoming more and more at risk in modern society, it’s essential to provide a basic education in how the most important organ in our bodies works, and the beauty of Neurocomic is that it does so very simply, without resorting to jargon or condescending the reader and accomplishes more in a short graphic novel than a lot of educational textbooks have in teaching the essentials of brain function.

www.neurocomic.org

amazon buy button

amazon uk buy

 

Book Review: Atlantic Island By Fredric Shernoff

ImageI have to admit I haven’t read many Y.A. titles of late, the last being Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, but when this arrived in my eReader the (Jason Gurley designed) cover got my attention (sorry I do sometimes judge a book by it’s cover, or at least bump it up on my reading list!)

Atlantic Island begins with a group of teenagers on a break in Atlantic City who shortly after arriving are caught up in an unknown catastrophe which leaves a huge chunk of the city mysteriously transported as an island to a seemingly unknown location. Once the survivors come to terms with their situation, politicians take control, tasked not only with finding out what happened but planning for the future.

However the internal struggle within their leadership is allowing a maniacal force to push for control, forcing the group, led by seventeen year old Theo Essex to fight not only for their own survival but for the freedom of every survivor left.

The story is fast-paced and thankfully Shernoff wastes no time allowing the characters to be thrust into their impossible situation before developing them, and it’s interesting to see how they initially adapt to their circumstances, given their age. To some extent we don’t really need to know what they were like before The Event (as the incident is referred to) as they now have a clean slate and just need to concentrate on survival but as in most disaster situations, not everyone makes the best use of this opportunity.

Once the power struggle escalates on the island, Theo finds himself the unwilling leader of his group and much of the story is focused on both his struggle to accept his role and his determination to embrace it once he does accept it.

There are definite coming-of-age elements to the story but instead of a bunch of whiny Glee teenagers we get a pretty grounded bunch making the best of their situation (and not singing about it every five minutes!) and as the events unfold to the riveting conclusion we see the bonds of their initial friendship strain through some pretty scary events and some canny plot twists nicely topped off with a sweet cliffhanger leaving the reader both shocked and curious for more.

Overall it’s a gripping story and while it’s easy to spot the influences it defiantly stands on it’s own two feet as an action-packed and entertaining addition to the Y.A. genre.

Now available on Amazon Kindle
Eamon Ambrose

Book Review: 100 Ghosts by Doogie Horner (Quirk Books)

image

Once again Quirk Books knocks it out of the park with this beautiful book from the supremely talented Doogie Horner. Doogie is responsible for some of Quirk’s best book cover designs
and 100  Ghosts is no exception.
An hilarious collection of variations on the iconic bedsheet ghost pictures we all know and love we get to see what that ghost would look like when they’re a pirate, or Scottish, or Marilyn Monroe, among 97 others.

image

A beautifully designed hardcover with a wonderfully simple layout and colour scheme this tome of spectral shenanigans will be loved by all ages and will be on top 10 Halloween book lists for many years to come, including mine (coming soon!).