Ahh May, the last month of autumn and the time when we begin to work on our end of semester uni assignments. I’ve had numerous assignments submitted this month for my degree, mainly on the creative side for my digital media classes. This work has resulted in me having a bit of a dry period, writing-wise, which has been tough. Yet, despite the assignments and at the same time booking of a trip to Japan and Hong Kong for later in the year, some reading got done. It’s nowhere as much as I would’ve liked, but it’s still something.
The Glow by Brooks Stanwood
A couple is looking for a new apartment in New York. The husband finds one through an older couple after he was robbed in Central Park. The couple moves in and suddenly start living much healthier. All this while they begin to notice strange things with their new neighbours, which is connected to some strange things.
This is basically all I can say for the premise of The Glow, a horror novel from Brooks Stanwood. I’ve read some pretty bad books in the past, and this is another to add to that list. I didn’t connect well with the main characters here; I found them to be nothing more than just shallow rich people with no true personalities. The plotting of this story was all over the place and I had some trouble understanding what the hell was going on. To top that all off was the godawful climax. The climax was nothing more than a long-winded mess which wasn’t scary at all, which is what a horror story is supposed to be.
If there’s one thing I can say that was good about this story was reading it. This was one of those easy reads where the reading level is low and there’s not much massive words or descriptions used. Apart from that, I really can’t say anything else good about this story.
I didn’t expect much from The Glow (it was an op shop pickup), and that’s just how it was. It may have a good readability level, but that doesn’t help it being long-winded, not scary, and the characters being unlikeable. If you like reading shitty novels then give this a read. If you don’t, then just give this a pass.
Dreams of Empire by Justin Richards
The Romanesque Republic in outer space is on the verge of collapse. With this, the fear of war begins to grow, which they want to prevent. This is a mission only the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria can solve.
Yeah, that’s all I could really say about the premise of Dreams of Empire. This is one of the licenced Doctor Who novels I picked up around the fiftieth anniversary. This one follows the Doctor in his second incarnation (Patrick Troughton) and his companions, Jamie and Victoria. I’ve read some Doctor Who books in the past and overall thought they were pretty good. This one, however, is a bit of a mixed bag for me.
There’s a lot I like about this story. First of all, I love the Second Doctor in here. He’s a very physical Doctor in the show, and the author did really well to show it in this book, something that I can only imagine is really difficult. I liked the idea of a Romanesque Republic in outer space. It’s something I’ve not seen before and I ended up finding really interesting. I also liked how the entire story was connected to a game of chess.
Despite these positive points, there are some unfortunate negative things here. I had a lot of trouble reading this story properly, due to the way it was written. I also didn’t find the narrative to be all that interesting outside of all this, which I find is a bit of a shame. The characters outside The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria were a little wooden and didn’t really appeal to me, which is a bit of a shame. Their Roman style names as well made it more difficult for me to follow properly and remember exactly who was who.
Dreams of Empire is overall an interesting read. It has some good and interesting points within it as well as some bad things. It’s not my favourite Doctor Who book, but it’s still an interesting read altogether.
As per usual, I will keep my short story descriptions brief, to prevent spoilers from appearing.
‘And no Birds Sing’ by E.F. Benson
Another story from my Vampire Stories collection, ‘And no Birds Sing’ is an interesting tale of horror and suspense. Everything about it is dripping classic early 20th-century horror, which I really like. The writing is dated, but is still readable. And the reveal, holy shit, I never expected the vampire in this story to be what it was. Want to know what that vampire form is? Read this story and you’ll find out!
Seeds by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter
The first short story from the Midnight and Moonshine collection, ‘Seeds’ is a really interesting story. This is a speculative story with Vikings, something I’ve heard a lot about but not read too much of. Despite containing Vikings, this story, for me anyway, was a little confusing and odd. I had a bit of trouble understanding the plot and found the characters a little forgettable, despite them having awesome names. This was an interesting tale I really wanted to like, but I found myself unable to.