Legend Review

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Legend is the first book by David Gemmell in what is known as the Drenai Saga. The story of this book is the drenai are under attack by people from the desert known as the the Nadir. As people gather to defend the wall from attack and await the hero, Druss the Legend. Intermixed with the story of war are many smaller stories about various people manning the wall along with plenty of back story for the world as a whole. You eventually find out that the Nadir are far from evil and actually are victims of many raids by the Drenai as well as other countries and powers. See the story with in this book actually builds for what will become an entire series based around many people and countries and in different time periods within the same world. You can actually read any of the Drenai saga books in any order you want,but I would recommend this one first. As always thanks for reading, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

New Moon

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So the horror continues in the next hair raising adventure of Bella Swan with Twilight’s inevitable sequel, New Moon. Again my friends, full disclaimer, I was 18 years old going through a major emo phase. And oh this book is freaking emo. So this story picks up 6 months after Twilight left off, with Bella turning 18 and anxious about aging because Edward never does. She has a nightmare about becoming her grandma while Edward remained the same. So she mopes through the day, leading to a birthday party for Bella at the Cullen house. A paper cut throws the name into chaos, Jasper goes into a frenzy trying to maul Bella but the family stops him (damn those meddling vampires). Edward feels responsible for vampire shit and putting Bella in danger, breaks up with Bella…after walking her miles into the woods…with no one around for miles…so he could go back to her place take all the shit from her that had anything to do with him (cuz that ain’t messed up at all) and not have to deal with her. So catatonic, she wonders in the dead of night until a buff shirtless Native American dude named Sam found her and brought her back to the search party I’m pretty damn positive Edward didn’t send. Months go by and Bella’s still catatonic, waking up randomly screaming. Bitch has issues. Then to shut her dad up she goes into the city with a friend she doesn’t really give a shit about and puts herself in a situation she may get raped…because she starts to see and hear Edward. Elated by this, Bella finds a couple of crappy motor bikes and goes to buff, dorky, Native American boytoy Jacob Black to fix them. Jacob gets a boner for Bella as they become friends; Bella just wants to trip balls on Edward. They see a bunch of buff shirtless Native American teen boys with Sam cliff jumping and this gives Bella ideas, while Jacob tells her he thinks Sam’s a cult leader. Oh and people are scared of bears, forgot to mention that. So after a night at the movies with Jacob and his whiney Mike got that gets broken up by a stomach virus, Jacob disappears. Weeks later he’s a spitting image of Sam, and this is one of the last times Jacob wears a damn shirt.  So pretty much with no friend to lean on, Bella goes to the meadow her and Edward used to sit and oogle each other at and almost gets mauled by a vampire that tells her James’s pissed off ex girlfriend Victoria wants to kill Bella. When Bella’s about to get mauled, she’s saved by a pack of massive moose sized wolves….ok, so Jacob’s a werewolf. So’s Sam and a bunch of the other shirtless buff kids. Bella still wants Edward though Jacob’s got badass wolf stuff. She jumps off a cliff and almost drowns and Jacob saves her. Alice, Edward’s sister comes back, Edward wants to off himself by letting himself get killed by the Volturi- royal family of super vampires…

New Moon, like the first book has cool ideas laced in it but on a whole it kind of bites. There is more action than the first book but damn does it come off whiney. Bella’s whining about Edward; Edward is whining about missing Bella; Jacob whines he can’t have Bella. Jacob is  sympathetic to a degree but after a while he starts to come off as a jealous dick; Edward really becomes a creeper and a emotionally abusive dick; and Bella flat out uses Jacob’s ass. There is interesting lore and plot threads littered throughout but the focus is on the love triangle of bad people. It’s eh on first read, not the worst Twilight has to offer but dear god don’t watch the movie. But oh my friends, the horror of Bella Swan ain’t finished yet, til next time.

Salem’s Lot

Salems lot

Ah welcome to best and worst of Vampires part 2 (see my Dracula and Twilight reviews for part 1.) So as I said in my Cujo review, I was going to be covering a little more Stephen King and since the Dark Tower movie approaches, I thought this would be a great time to hit up Salem’s Lot, which comes into play towards the end of the series with Don Callahan, one of our main characters.

Salem’s Lot was Stephen King’s second novel after his huge success with Carrie, about how the quiet town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine is quietly taken over by a Vampire named Kurt Barlow and his assistant Straker who move into the “haunted” Marsten House. You notice how I kind of emphasized the word quiet? Well, Salem’s Lot is a quiet book. Do not read this if you are expecting a bloodbath, rich emo kids that sparkle, or vampires that turn into giant bat creatures and fight werewolves for the fate of the universe or some shit like that. Hell, King’s vampires in this are pretty typical. Pale, fangs, lure you to let them in, crosses, holy water, sunlight, and only come out at night- the classic vampire mold. And that’s not a bad thing, because we are given relatable characters and a simple setting many of us either live in or can picture and how it can be creepy or unsettling.

The story centers around Ben Mears, a famous writer who grew up in the lot and returned to it after twenty five years to write about the Marsten House that scared him as a kid. He becomes friends with old Matt Burke, a teacher, and gets the hots for Susan Norton, a young college grad who’s a fan of his. Ben finds out a man named Barlow bought the old Marsten house for his antique furniture business but no one has seen him, just his partner Richard Straker. Not soon after, people start disappearing and others start dying but don’t stay that way. Soon it’s up to Ben, Matt, Sue, young Mark Petrie, Dr. Jim Cody, and struggling father Don Callahan to ban together and finish the undead crisis weeping through quiet little Jerusalem’s Lot before they become next in Barlow’s horde.

Movies have been made about this book and/ or mini series but you’re better off just reading it. It’s a decent vampire story that’s well written, has some genuine chills in it. If you want a decent adaptation that frankly ain’t a adaptation, I recommend checking out the anime Shiki. Both are pretty damn similar but Shiki gives you some darker pathos and a six episode slaughter-fest at the end, but as one of my favorite high school teachers used to say, I digress. Definately check out Salem’s Lot if you’re a Stephen King fan or want a good classic vampire story without the goth romance tropes that have become commonplace in vampire fiction (and anime fans, check out Shiki).

Cujo

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So with Stephen King movies returning to the spotlight of the silver screen after way too long with the long anticipated Dark Tower movie in August and the equally anticipated remake of It in September, I’ll cover some King on the way. I’ve heard it confirmed that Cujo will have a cameo in the Dark Tower film (before his turn I imagine, I’d like to think a rabid St. Bernard wouldn’t get too far in New York City.) so I figured why not not start with this underrated King classic.

Cujo is a simple, confined story of a mother and son trapped in there busted down car in the middle of a empty farmhouse at the mercy of the blazing summer and a massive, diseased St. Bernard gone insane after getting bitten on the nose by a rabid bat. The Trenton family, mom-Donna, dad-Vic, and young son Tad are a reasonably happy young family living in the small burg of Castle Rock, Maine, at least at first. Donna had an affair with tennis player, furniture fixer uper, and total douchebag  Steve Kemp. On top of dealing with Donna’s infidelity and his Ford Pinto breaking down all the time, Vic’s small advertising business is caught up in a scare involving defective breakfast cereal and the backlash of legal weight accompanying it, putting everything Vic worked so hard for and his family’s lively hood at stake. Vic has to go away to try to save his business, leaving Donna to go to the town mechanic’s house in a last ditch effort to save that dying Pinto with her son. Joe Cambers is the town mechanic, and a abusive alcholic; Charity, Joe’s wife, wins a small lotto pool and tries to use the money to take herself and there son Brett up to her well to do sister’s place and disappear from Joe’s assholery. He agrees to let her go, planning on going into town with his buddy and scoring some hookers and booze while the wife and kid’s away. This just leaves us to the most tragic character, the lovable St. Bernard Cujo. He’s kind and loves his family but sadly chased the wrong rabbit, ramming his head into the wrong hole where the fateful bats lurked. Cujo slowly loses his mind, his slow, loving nature deteriorates into relentless crimson hate and a lust for blood. When Donna and Tad venture up to the Cambers house on the outskirts of town, Cujo has already slaughtered Joe Chambers and his buddy and will not stop until he kills the Trentons.

So, for the most part the book and movie are similar, though I will recommend the book over the movie for two critical reasons. The first being Cujo’s change which King hauntingly narrates through the big dog’s perspective, being both tragic but also more frightening as the dog almost comes to symbolize the devil coming to make Donna pay for her lustful sins. The second reason is the ending to the book is more heartbreaking but more harrowing than the movie’s. In the movie, Donna pulls a unconscious, dehydrated, and overexposed Tad into the house, giving him CPR desperately until Cujo appears where she finds Joe’s shotgun and blows Cujo’s filthy, bloody ass away, Tad wakes up, happy ending. Well, the book says F you happy ending. Donna has had several severe infected wounds from the mutt; Tad never wakes up and dies scared wanting his daddy; Donna beats Cujo to death in the hot sun until Vic and the police pull her off of him. By no means is the movie bad, it’s actually a solid movie and the imagery of the dog is terrifying as hell.

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There is a flaw either way: it drags a bit either in book or film. The book handles it a little better. I’d suggest shortening it but it’s already a little over 350 pages which is short as hell for any Stephen King story. I have to say, I hope the rumors of a remake are false because a lot of this story would be null in void if told in our modern day (one cell phone call- end of story in twenty minutes.) Definately pick up the book or catch the movie on netflix and may the gaming gods bring you glory and don’t send Cujo on your asses.

Slaughterhouse Five

sh5 So if you’ve been following us here at Saviorgaming.blog, you may have seen a pattern in the book reviews I do: I love horror and fifties era books. Truth be told I’m not much for modern literature respectively, not to say their isn’t good reads out there ( but every modern feels like a landmine in a age where Fifty Shades runs supreme). I was inspired the 50’s- 60’s era of repressed literature when these kind of books were not only fiction but a ways to let things out, and I think a world as exposed by media and the internet, I wonder if we lost some power in our fiction as time goes on…but I’m here to review a book dammit so let us begin.

Slaughterhouse Five is Kurt Vonnegut’s World War 2 strange opus of Billy Pilgrim as a P.O.W, plane crash survivor, alien abductee, optometrist and the revelations of time and space brought onto him by the Trefladorians (my apologies on the botched spelling). Both a fascinating non linear story with dark comedy, sad moments and well done characters. For a story as unconventional as this, it flows really well and though it drifts sporadically, it isn’t hard to follow. I seriously couldn’t put this book down. I read it in the span of a couple days and got me back into reading after a long hiatus. If you are looking for a unique classic that will make you laugh, scratch your head, and ask some questions bout time, sanity, and the horrors of war, definitely pick this up.

Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns

redlantern So we’re one step closer to Blackest Night with the first of two preludes to it, introducing us to Atrocitus as the leader of the red lanterns as well as the introduction of Saint Walker and the re-emergence of the Star Sapphires, while giving you a Easter egg of Larfleeze at the end (tune in next time for his crazy ass). To refresh our memories, in Green Lantern: Secret Origins we learn Atrocitus is a infamous murderer with a group called the Five Inversions obsessed with slaughtering the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Universe for the Manhunter’s galaxy wide massacre that killed Atrocitus’s family. In Secret Origins, Jordan and Sinestro defeated before he could kill William Hand. Well, our story begins right after Sinestro Corps War ends, Sinestro is awaiting execution in a Green Lantern Sciencecell, while the Guardians deal with the consequences of releasing the power rings nonlethal protocol. When Green Lantern Laira searches out a certain member of the Sinestro Corps and murders him in cold blood, the Guardians order the formation of a new subdivision within the Green Lanterns called the Alpha Lanterns, hybrid soldiers of lantern and Manhunter, to keep the regular lanterns in check. Laira flees only to have her ring replaced by a new, sinister that replaces her heart with boiling rage. Forged by blood and hate the red lanterns emerge and strike at the green and yellow light, Atrocitus yearning revenge on the legendary defenders who beat him years ago. So Hal Jordan and Sinestro must band together with the mysterious blue Saint Walker, who teaches them green and yellow are no longer the only lights in the universe, the spectrum has shattered and others are coming…

atrocitus  Again, like with the last book, this Should not be your first step into the world of Green Lantern. If you didn’t read SCW, you are pretty screwed trying to follow. However, once again the writing by Geoff Johns is amazing and the art is violent and colorful. Fans of lantern will love this story centered around fan favorite Atrocitus, who kicks major ass as always. May the gaming gods bring you glory and “With blood and rage of crimson red ripped from a corpse so freshly dead together with our hellish hate WE’LL BURN YOU ALL- THAT IS YOUR FATE!” red lantern oath.

Lord of the flies

flies So this is a weird one, friends. Lord of Flies is a book that is both strange and deep, much like Animal Farm, showcasing the the evils that can spawn in the hearts of man without the threat of society’s consequence. During the dawn of WW2, a plane full of English boys crash lands on a island in the middle of nowhere. They are the only human inhabitants. Our character is Ralph, a carefree young lad transfixed with the promise of no grown ups and a island to explore. Soon he meets Piggy, a fat, asthmatic boy in glasses who acts as a thread to rationality to the story. Together they find a conch shell in the sand; Ralph blows on it to summon the others. Others come forth, including a band of black clad choir group led by Jack Merridew. Ralph and Jack, two of the oldest, old a vote to see who leads the group. Ralph is voted chief, while Jack takes point of leading hunters for food. The goal is simple: build and maintain a fire on top of the island and survive. Ralph quickly discovers the hardships of chiefdom- the fire isn’t easy to keep up, fear spreads among the little ones of a monster that lives on the island eating the children, and ultimately his tumultuous clashing with Jack, who slowly falls into madness and overthrows Ralph by violent force.

By itself Lord of the Flies is a hard book to classify; it exhibits pieces of psychological horror, parable like animal farm, and straight up adventure epic. It’s a very slow burn, but like many good stories of this kind, once the eerie and dark parts begin it escalates nicely. My favorite aspect is Jack’s slow descent into madness and how he throws away much of morality behind clay paint he wears, feeling disconnected enough not to be affected by the blood he starts enjoying spilling. I enjoy the grim look at man’s action without consequence. My only gripe is yes this is a slow ass burn and not even a big book. A lot of detail goes into the scenery and setting, much like the novel for The Shining which is fine but sometimes, ok more than sometimes, hurts the pacing. Absolutely worth a read if you ever wondered what a cross between Children of the Corn and Gilligan’s Island would be like.

Twilight

twilight Once upon a time, Torsten V was a 18 year old emo kid who actually found Twilight a fascinating book with a cool story and decent characters. Back then, I only had read a couple books on my own and I was in a bad place in life and, OK, the excuses are piling up on me, aren’t they? Well, Torsten V grew up, read more books, and learned the truth about Twilight- it sucks. Twilight is the story of boring ass Bella Swan who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad. Forks is a small, rainy, boring town. She goes to school and there she sees the Cullens for the first time, a group of overly pretty, rich, pasty kids that are adopted siblings of the town’s Dr. She has Bio with Edward Cullen, a dude that looks at her like she hasn’t showered in week and hauls ass away from her the second the bell rings. Two days later, he talks to her and seems interested in her ordinary life. Couple days later she’s almost crushed by a skidding van (if only that’s how it woulda ended.) In a flash Edward appears and shoves the van back with ease, denting the side of it with his bare hand, disappearing into the distance again. Through her own personal investigation, Bella discovers Edward is a vampire, and how could she be safe with him- oh I forgot to mention it’s a love story.

Ok, I’m not going to 100% crap on the book. Yes- the characters are meh at best. Yes- the villain really has no meaning to the overall narrative and is more tacked on than Rhino at the end of Amazing Spider-man 2. Yes- Bella is a shallow character with no real past and willing to hurt her poor dad for a guy she met like a month prior. And YES- these novels are not particularly well written; no where 50 shades bad though. I will say the first person perspective is done believably; Bella is written to be a 17 year old girl of average intelligence, and that I can believe unlike other stories I’ve read in this perspective where the speaker and the character don’t match ( I once read a book told through the voice of a middle school drop out who reasoned shit and spoke like the bastard had a Phd. That kind of bullshit.) And debatable as it is, some of the vampire lore is interesting. I actually think it was cleaver to have there beautiful appearance aid in luring their natural prey. I like the idea of vampires building a lifestyle where they aren’t monsters and I feel like restructured it could lead to some good plot threads. As for the movie…you ever hangout with your friends, grab a pizza and some beer and watch a shitty movie for laughs? I bring you the twilight movie as a prime example. The effects suck, the acting sucks, the action at the end is just funny, but I admit the score is good. In fact the soundtrack ain’t bad, and I’m not even into that kind of music really. So did the twilight series murder vampires? Eh, it didn’t kill it but it stated the virus that did. May the gaming gods bring you glory and beware sparkly emo people…sigh.

Dracula

dracula1 Dracula…what can be said of the most legendary vampire and one of horror’s oldest and greatest icons that hasn’t been said? This harrowing and creepy novel has been adapted to several movies ranging from the greatness of Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee to the crap shoot that was Dracula 2000 and the awesome manga/ anime Hellsing, which kind of inspired me to write this review. The story is told through a series of letters, newspaper articles and journals either by the characters or pertaining to them in some fashion, which I thought was really cleaver for the time. For this review I’ m going to skip a direct synopsis because let’s face it, after watching several adaptations and then reading the novel, the plot seems cemented into the public’s mind one way or another: a Gothic manor in the mountains of Transylvania, an immortal bad ass rising from a coffin to do battle with men armed with torches, wooden stakes and garlic, and the names Harker, Van Hellsing, and of course Dracula feasting on the blood of the innocent. I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would have; and good news  to all of the people like myself that have a hard time dealing with old English, the dialect isn’t as intense as many other books I’ve read from the time period. There are lags in the pacing but a great sense of atmosphere and tension. Dracula is far more OP than people give him credit, I mean shit dude, he can control werewolves. He’s more closer in ability to Alucard from the Hellsing manga/ anime series or the 2014 film Dracula Untold. Van Hellsing, despite what the 2004 movie with Hugh Jackman would have you believe, is not a expirenced monster-hunter but a wise physician and teacher. Still epic in his conviction and a great character. My only real issue is the ending is anticlimactic, especially after a well paced race against time, but I can let it slide. If you’re a upcoming writer like myself or want a great horror story, definitely worth a pick up…which I got to give a shout-out to my  Bestie for giving me the E reader I read it on a few years back, you were amazing as always:) may the gaming gods bring you all glory and god help me for my next review, for Dracula maybe the best of vampire stories, but next I cover the worst…gulp…

A Clockwork Orange

clkwk o bk I will never listen to my old droog Ludwig Van the same after this real horrorshow book and film. Whether you prefer Anthony Burgess’s telling in invented British slang or you want to get blown away by Stanley Kubrick’s trippy visuals and sound, A Clockwork Orange is a story both thought provoking, disturbing, and grim but beautiful. Clockwork is the story of a young ruffian named Alex and his band of droogs who enjoy mischief and chaos in a dystopian future Britain that thankfully never came to be. In fact, Alex is king of his own little world. His droogs follow his every whim, his parents don’t ask questions why he never goes to school, and everything he does gets a slap on the wrist. In one night they beat a homeless man, steal a car, and get into a giant gang brawl with their rival Billy-Boy, and end the night with some spiked “Milkako” (milk). But Alex isn’t just rage and the ol’ ultraviolence, his greatest love is that of Beethoven. Even when his droogs seem to want a change in the group dynamic, Alex doesn’t seem to care, he merely brings them back into line. But one night, one of their escapades goes wrong, a woman dies and Alex is left alone to suffer the consequences, betrayed by his friends. In prison, serving a twenty year sentence Alex discovers a new kind of experimental government treatment for violent criminals that will get him out in a matter of weeks. It uses a mix of violent imagery and audio to subliminal discourage acts of violence, causing feelings of intense pain. But when Beethoven is part of the program, Alex comes into a dilemia. Released back into a populace he misused, beat, and molested with no way to defend himself Alex truly learns the error of his ways as everything bites him in the ass.

Both movie and book are pretty similar with only some minor changes; the book has an additional chapter as an epilogue that carries the story farther than the movie does and Alex is a tad bit younger in the book, which makes some of the horrible things he does a little more disturbing but the movie has the iconic scene of “singing in the rain”. Either way, I love them both. It’s something I think everyone should experience at least once. So until next time, I’m Torsten V, your humble narrator.

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