Master of Horror and Mystery: A Review of The Outsider, by Stephen King

Not everyone reads books for romance or adventure.  For every book with happy events and writing that makes you feel good, there are five more than plumb the depths of depravity.  The horror stories, the mystery tales.  These are the books one reads when they want to examine the darkness that can exist out there in the unknown.  We read mysteries because we do not want to know everything, and we read horror because we want to be scared.  These genres are often paired together in an unholy matrimony of darkness, decay, and eldritch scares.  Horror and mystery combine perfectly for the simple reason that we do not know everything.

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Roadmap to the Stars: A Review of The Dreaming Stars, by Tim Pratt

Creating a sequel is not a simple undertaking.  There is a lot of responsibility to follow up the first installment of the series in a way that satisfies your audience while also changing the game to ensure you are not remaking the original work.  There is a balance that must be found, and the best sequels are oftentimes the ones that flip the original around.  Instead of raising the stakes, they lower them.  Think of The Empire Strikes Back’s, The Last Jedi’s, or The Wrath of Khan.  The first movies in all of these series involved some sort of world-ending threat.  The sequels focus in on the characters.  The sequel, in this way, is easy to mess up, but better than the original when done right.

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A Note on the Next Review: The Dreaming Stars

I am very excited to say that the next book I am reviewing is The Dreaming Stars, by Time Pratt Time Pratt.  This is the sequel to his wonderful science-fiction adventure, The Wrong Stars, which is the second book I ever reviewed on this blog.  The second book in a burgeoning space opera, I am excited to see what happens to Captain Callie Machedo and Dr. Elena Oh after their discovery of the Axiom, the demi-god aliens sleeping in the dark corners of the universe.

While you’re waiting for my review of The Dreaming Stars, go catch up on The Wrong Stars and my review, Instructions Not Included.  If you love science-fiction, this is a can’t-miss series!

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Italia Vecchia: A Review of The Book of Hidden Things, by Francesco Dimitri

There are two Italies.  There is the Italy seen by tourists on their trips to Rome, Venice, Florence, and the other northern cities.  Then there is the Italy of the south.  The old Italy, where modernity has not quite wormed its way throughout the towns and cities.  Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia.  This is the Italy most people never see, an Italy which you rarely see in movies and books.  This is the only Italy, and the only part of the world, where you can see trulli, the conical houses unique to Puglia.  Walking through the endless vineyards and olive groves, one never knows when they might stumble upon a crumbling, forgotten trullo.  A piece of history.  This an Italy which is steadily disappearing, and this is the Italy Francesco Dimitri shows in The Book of Hidden Things.

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