Bruce’s Reading Round-Up: The “Not What Your Were Expecting” Edition…

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Welcome to another Reading Round-Up, wherein I skilfully lasso some of the wily beasts that have been lumbering across the plains of my shelf of late. Today’s edition should probably be retitled the “Not What I Expected” edition because all of these books were surprising and, well, not what I expected. Saddle up readers – let’s ride!

Twisted Dark, Volume 3 (Neil Gibson)

I received this title from the publisher via Netgalley.

Two Sentence Synopsis:  twisted dark

A collection of graphic short stories that are linked by a theme of twisty darkness. The stories are illustrated by a range of artists and broach a diversity of content.

Muster Up the Motivation because:

If you enjoy stories that lean towards the dark side of human nature and have a twist in the tail, you should find something to appeal to you in this collection. The stories range from the consequences of crossing a torture-loving drug lord to the inner anguish of body image distortion and pretty much everything in between. A few of the stories left me a bit underwhelmed by their endings, but overall this is a gripping and gritty collection with some stunning artwork to flesh things out. I’d recommend this to horror and short story lovers looking for something new to surprise them.

Brand it with:

Twist in the tail, tortured souls, eye-popping artwork

World of Shawn (Jordan M. Ehrlich)

I received this title as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaways.

Two Sentence Synopsis:  world of shawn

Shawn’s attempts to create a fantasy sandbox game using a map-rendering program go disastrously wrong when he discovers that the program seems to be creating its own reality. With his two good friends by his side, Shawn must go into the game to try to tame the beast he’s created.

Muster Up the Motivation because:

This is a nicely original take on the whole “falling into a parallel universe” tale with a definite skew toward the young adult gamer community. I found the plot to be reasonably tricky to follow at some points as multiple versions of characters are spawned from the malfunctioning program, but overall the story is a fun read, featuring all the banter and humour one would expect from young lads attempting to kill the (virtual) dragon and win the heart of the princess. The author does take some pains to explain various bits of the programming to the uninitiated (ie: me), which I appreciated, but if you are into that sort of thing to begin with, this book should provide a light, non-digital diversion from the gamersphere.

Brand it with:

Weird science, create-your-character, role-playing in the real world

normalisedNormalized: The Complete Quartet (David Bussell)

I received a digital copy of this title from the author for review.

Two Sentence Synopsis:

The once mighty Captain Might has to come to terms with living an ordinary life after his superpowers are snuffed out. Fortunately, he has documented this process in a journal for any other aspiring supers who may fall victim to similar villainy and be forced to return to the anonymity of normal life.

Muster Up the Motivation because:

It’s quite nice to see a superhero – and an arrogant one at that – get a bit of comeuppance. This is the complete collection of four novellas tracing the demise of Captain Might. If you are a fan of the superhero genre and have been waiting for a tale that is prepared to go no-holds-barred into that good night, then this will probably tickle your fancy. The books are replete with (fairly male-oriented, it must be said) humour and a bunch of supercharacters who are remarkably similar to common-or-garden a**holes that you’d find in any social circle, were you to discount their super abilities. I suspect that Bussell’s writing style won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a brash, unflinchingly politically incorrect character on an inner journey of identity renewal, then you couldn’t find better than the travails of Captain Might (and his infinitely less talented brother, Birdy).

Brand it with:

“Oh no he di’n’t!”, super-narcissism, men in lycra

As I said, this round up ended up being a collection of books that came out of left field, so if you’re looking for something that deviates from the norm, genre-wise, I’d recommend having a look at these three titles.

Until next time,

Bruce

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