No Way Home by J.S Collyer, Lucas Bale et al

Morning lovely readers 🙂

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Well, today I get to talk to you about the exceptional No Way Home, a collaboration of short stories from some brilliant writers including my wonderful friend J.S.Collyer. I was one of the people lucky enough to receive an advanced review copy and believe me when I tell you you will not be disappointed on reading this.

Now the only thing is where do I begin? The high calibre of the writing is maintained throughout the book with each author presenting a unique view on an almost dystopian sci fi future; each in turn with the underlying theme that there is no escape. Imagine finding yourself in such a hostile environment that you long to escape. What would you do to survive? Blackmail? Philander? Maybe even kill? or perhaps you come to realise that surviving isn’t an option at all? This collection gives us glimpses into a quality of life when seemingly all hope is lost and there is indeed no way home.

First I’d like to begin by mentioning the first story within this stellar book, To Sing of Chaos and Eternal Night by Lucas Bale. This particular story pulled a chord with me as there is quite a well written and shock provoking twist to the story. I won’t go into too much detail here as always but I have to say that as the story progressed I did not expect to find out what I did. Imagine living only for war, your previous life totally forgotten in the amount of times you have lived and died for the cause. You know only that you must fight, that you must kill. You are the only thing standing between humanity and outright extinction, or are you?? The imagery created within this narrative is very clear and succinct to the plot line. The cold harsh reality of the tools of war scream at you from the written word, the protagonists acceptance of his fate as unavoidable is clear as water. The language use is apt to show the brilliance of the intrigue; ‘It is a boy… I cannot understand why he has fired on me; why he would attack me at all. Across the colonies, Widows are renowned, legendary even. We are all that stands between the human race and it’s extinction…’ It’s here where you start thinking hang on a second, what’s really going on. The ending left me breathless but resolute in my liking of the story.

Next (and you knew it was coming lol) I’d like to talk about J.S Collyer’s story Grist. It was here that I felt very strong representations of excellent narrative tools. J.S manages to create a very strong sense of suspense throughout the whole narrative. You begin to wonder if there’s more to the World than J.S represents in the story. Why all the need to escape? There are no spoilers intended within this review but I will say this; what really struck me about this story was the portrayal of the protagonists relief at the end. You can literally feel a weight being lifted off your own shoulders. J.S is great at many things within the literary World but what always catches me is her ability to really bring to life the emotion in her work. As to the story itself, imagine everything you knew was ripped away from you. You are then thrust into a dark, grimy and hate filled World where you can never be sure who is friend and who is foe, enduring years of slave labour. What would you do to escape? How will you act when the desperation mounts? As mentioned before the emotion really comes through as does the imagery created. The World the protagonist finds themselves in really seems to shout of similar imagery to the bowls of Hell; it’s hot, the senses are burned away and everyone suffers. The language use itself is velvety and oozing caramel; ‘They say it’s the beginning of the end when you can no longer smell the grease. It’s the sharp, smoky smell, like hot copper, that gives bloodgrease it’s name. That and the fact that it turns a thick, dark red before the final filter.’ I know right? This ambiguous beginning, as this is where I got these lines, actually sets the scene for the protagonists suffering; why they are there, why they are needed. It’s a thrilling tale that leaves you gasping for more.

Finally I would like to mention the story by S. Elliot Brandis, XE, or People are Crazy. It’s in this story you can really feel the belief that not having all the information you need can askew your view of the World. As cliché as this sounds, what really attracted me at first was the title. Anyone who knows me will know that I love anything that is interesting and different. XE manages to keep that sci fi aspect but hello? People are Crazy? I need to read this. What follows is an intense story of hope, abject confusion, loss and ultimately betrayal. Much like J.S, S. Elliot is very good at projecting the emotion of the protagonist. I must admit, hearing the history of the character bought a small tear to my eye. The narrative itself is a study in misdirection and intrigue. Imagine you were sent to a colourful New World to see if it is indeed habitable. You were promised a life lived in peace should you succeed. You’re determined but scared. Everything seems to be going well, until you discover something small, something you never expected, which changes everything. The thing that stood out for me was the vividity of the colour represented in the story. You feel like you can actually see the World in your minds eye. The language use is just enough to blast your mind with creativity; ‘ His eyes flash open, made brighter by the glow of the blue sun overhead… Around him is a sea of Orange. Well, not quite a sea, but the effect is similar. Orange grass extends as far as the horizon…’ I love anything colourful and imaginative and this story has both in spades.

So, after all my non stop talking (I do that a lot 🙂 ), I can honestly say this is a book worth getting. It is a credit to the authors and all involved. It’s an ooey gooey slice of literary creative goodness which you need to get as soon as it’s out. You will not be disappointed.

Thank you.

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Jessica by Helena Hann-Basquiat with J.S Collyer et al

Evening lovely readers 🙂

jessica6As promised here is my review of the riveting Jessica by some of the most talented writers you will find. Again I will be sounding like a broken record but I LOVE FANTASY. Heck I’d bathe in the damn thing if it were substantial enough to do so (yes I meant substantial, though not huge there is a fair bit of me 😉 ). I do however try to branch out on the genres I read as you can find some real gems in the most unexpected places. For example, if you get a chance please read my review on the awe inspiring Zero by J.S Collyer. Now I’m not usually one for sci-fi but the story was immense with in-depth scene setting and characters who you saw as human rather then plot points, but I digress… Jessica is one of these lovely little gems that reaches out and grabs you by the throat screaming READ ME, READ ME NOW and not once will you be disappointed that you did.

If you have not heeded my advice before pop on over to Helena’s blog now, she is one of my most favourite writers. There you will find a scrummy assortment of literary ooey gooey goodness that will leave you in awe of the very writer you seek. Helena herself is a writer and dilettante of such high calibre that I feel honoured to review her work. As icing on the cake this collection includes another of my most favourite writers, J.S Collyer. The author of Zero lends her literary genius to this collection to help complete the the dazzling effect of the overall narrative.

The book entitled Jessica is a bid to answer the question who is Jessica B Bell. It is essentially a horror story told from the perspective of other people with one character seeming to be the more main narrators throughout. Now if you have been on Helena’s website you’ll see the mysterious Jessica figure mentioned a lot, in both passing and as author of some fantastic narratives of her own. But who is she? What ensues is such an adventure of intrigue and questions for the protagonist Helena that you are left reeling even as you continue to read. We’re never treat to interaction with Jessica ourselves but multiple points of her life are related by those who have met her, those who have met her and gone mad and those who have met her and stopped themselves before they went mad. Is Jessica such a demon to be feared? The great thing about this book is that you can relate to the stories as you read them and I can’t talk for others but I certainly found my heart pounding as I read the horrors these tales related. Imagine mutilating your own face so you don’t speak of the demons you know are real? Or witnessing the birth of a demon child through the face of the mother, a mother who has been plagued by a demon voice for so long?

This collective narrative is very well written, encompassing the more thrilling aspects of horror without being too overtly gory. The language used is also exceptional in that it’s used to the greatest effect,

‘Then she twirled and sauntered away, though in my eyes her head twisted and her eyes stayed on me right until she was out of sight.’

I know right? Ahhhhhhh that was chilling and gave me the creeps at the same time, but I have to say one of my favourite sentences came from the very beginning of the book. It’s decadent and lavish and as if you’re rolling around in velvety caramel,

‘There are rumours that I keep a writer trapped in my basement, chained to a chair, writing stories by candlelight in her own blood on dirty yellow parchment, but I assure you, those rumours are exaggerations, darlings.’

It’s this level of creative genius that flows straight through the book. Undoubtedly it’s a brilliant piece of well written horror that you will find engrossing, thrilling, scary and unique. I urge you to pick up this book today as you won’t be disappointed. I really cannot say one bad thing about any of the writers as they all work in such an exceptional way that it really makes a literary geek such as myself happy.

Thank you 🙂

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