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Archive for the ‘steampunk’ Category


I’ve become a fan of Belcher’s steampunk, weird West novels. After having read Six-Gun Tarot and Shotgun Arcana, I became Kirsten Dunst’s character in Interview With The Vampire and I wanted MORE. And somehow, Mr. Belcher heard my silent plea and brought forth Queen Of Swords. Took me a while to get my paws on this one since the library only ordered a few copies (bloody hell) for the ENTIRE system (aye, a travesty) and so I had to join the other mortals and put in a REQUEST for this one. Took me a while to get it but when it showed up on my desk … there was Handel’s Messiah sung with Enya’s voice … purring in my ear. Yeah, I know … need to get out more (and I did … was in Vegas in the last week of September … more on that in another forum). So enough with the bollocks .. . and let’s get this book review on the road, yeah?
Belcher’s first two books, in this series (why is he saying series and not trilogy like he said in the past reviews … patience, mates or feel free to skip ahead and read … and possibly miss some Vegas stories … who knows), took place in the Midwest city of Golgatha. Queen, however, takes place in South Carolina, London and Western Africa. And this time, everything is mostly centered around Maude and Constance Stapleton who we all know are members of a secret cult of women known as the Daughters of Lilith and these women are badasses (think witches combined with ninjas … yes, some serious stuff). In previous books there has always been mention of Anne Bonny, the pirate queen, that not only is a distant relative but a mentor (of sorts) to the Stapleton women. Queen, however, delves deep into the life of Anne Bonny and I must admit she’s a loveable asskicker. But hey Evil Parrot, you may say, what or who is the bad guy in this one? Pushy aren’t we … but I’ll be a good chap and all. Meet Typhon, a sort of octopus monster-thingy wearing a really bad human disguise but is quite the evil tosser you’d love to hate. Oh did I mention like Lilith, he is the Father of a cult that is mostly male and rivals the Daughters of Lilith: the Sons of Typhoon. And yes, for those that have fired up an extra neuron or two have figured that … yes … Typhon and Lilith had thing, possibly engaged in copious amounts of the good old in/out, in/out … and like most relationships, things went tits up and here we are. As most of know, previously, Constance had moved away from Golgatha to be with her grandfather in North Carolina and apparently the grandfather was holding on to her whilst claiming his daughter, Maude, was seemingly unfit as mother. I guess it was that whole exposing-your-daughter-to-battles-with-demons-monsters-and-cannibals thing that must have gotten this bloke’s knickers all twisted. What a pissy bastard, that one. A bit too hard on the man, you say? Eh, maybe. Nay. So Maude is off to Charleston, South Carolina to reclaim her daughter that results in a fiery courtroom battle featuring a female lawyer (Maude’s representation and possible future regular character), Arabella, that is just as vicious as any of skirmishes in the book in its subtlety. Keep in mind that this is the 1800s where lawyers were mostly men and yet Arabella manages to make Gloria Alred look like a bottom-feeding ambulance chaser. Whoa, did I go a bit too far on that one? Maybe, and yes, I guess I did go there. So along with dealing with a cantankerous father, Maude now has to deal with the emergence of the feral Sons of Typhon and some other Daughters of Lilith. And the focal point of this madness: her daughter Constance. And yes, we get to meet some more Daughters: Inna and her daughter Lesya Barkov(Russians), Leng Ya (Chinese and arrogant as hell), Amadia Ibori (cool headed African), Itzel (Guatemalan and deceptive in appearance) and Alexandria Poole (English, with possibly ice for blood). Did I mention that they are very formidable badasses. We’re also introduced to the mystical/somewhat spirit guide/sensei Raashida (very ancient, African and witty).
Queen is written in two timelines, approximately a century apart, detailing the life of pirate queen Anne Bonny and her quest along with the “present” craziness involving the Stapletons, the Sons and the Daughters. This is not, I caution, mere filler stuff when it comes to the two timelines and it is done purposely that adds to the delightful climax in the novel. How, you ask? I’m not going to be a bloody tosser and say, mates. Sorry, that’s how the Evil Parrot rolls. Also a few adorable notables: Alter Cline ( reporter that’s apparently gunning for Maude’s affections), Belrose (a French mercenary that is seemingly drunk throughout the entire book), Adu (the enigmatic African guide that is enigmatic as he is formidable), and Nourbese (a Yoruba Amazon that makes Rhonda Rousey sound like a ballet dancer). Our favourite half-breed (half coyote/half man) Mutt, along with Golgatha, makes a brief appearance. Still trying to figure out the dynamics behind that whole coyote-man thing … and then often spend a bit erasing the imageries from my mind. But the best part is the trip, towards the end of the novel, is getting there: sinister plots, betrayals, ulterior motives … all caught in an adrenaline-infused roller-coaster of emotions (mostly anxiety and fear) as Belcher hurtles … like a screaming banshee on fiery steed … towards a conclusion that would make you anxious as the last page approaches. And yes, I don’t think Mr. Belcher is done with the Weird West (at least that is another of my silent pleas in hope of another book). Good show, Mr. Belcher. Jolly good show, mate. Keep it coming. Just don’t go George R.R. on us. And yes, I did go there, GoTers.

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jacobtracy_cvr

I across this book in my stacks and was immediately drawn to it. Did it whisper to me as so many other books seem to do, you might ask? Yes, and I don’t think I’ll ever need electro-shock therapy. I just might need to get out more. Possibly, date. Maybe.
Set in 1880 St. Louis, we are introduced to Jacob Tracy: a seminary school drop-out, and a veteran of the Civil War that has recovered from his war wounds and vicious morphine dependency. Ah yes, Mr. Tracy has the uncanny ability to see … and speak to ghosts. Along with his partner, a former slave named John “Boz” Bosley, they encounter the strange and enigmatic Sabine Fairweather who hires them for a job: to find a certain rosewood jewelry box that belongs to her. But in the Weird West there is no such thing as straight forward mission and some things are more than they seem. Soon Jacob and Boz are plunged in a world of ghosts, demons, werewolves and vampires as they do jobs for the enigmatic Fairweather. Aside from being their employer, Ms. Fairweather seems to have knowledge and abilities of a supernatural nature. It is what keeps Jacob drawn to Ms. Fairweather, since it seems that she might hold the clues to his true abilities. In every battle that Boz and Jacob encounter, there is one name that often surfaces: Josef Mereck.
Mereck runs a circus that employs people of various supernatural capabilities and even though, on the surface they are probably used to entertain, in the big scheme of things they are being used as supernatural weapons in the most terrifying ways.
Messinger in her debut novel has a good handle of the Weird West, from the lingo to the characters. It the Wild, Wild West in the most terrifying of ways and every page turned sucks you in as Tracy and Boz’s battles grow more intense and frightening towards the final meeting of Mereck.

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shotgunarcana_cvr

R.S. Belcher returns us to the fantasy-filled, steampunk wild West world of Golgatha. Golgatha is a strange little town where all is not quite as it seems and it is populated with strange, enigmatic, and in some cases, terrifying characters. In Shotgun Arcana, Belcher returns with some the old crew: Maude Stapleton (the female assassin/pirate), Jon Highfather (the sheriff that is seemingly unkillable), Mutt (the half-Indian/ half coyote … still trying to figure out that arrangement), Jim Negrey (the deputy with the strange jade eye) and Malachi Bich (the mysterious, charismatic fallen angel). Believe me, there is quite an intriguing roster of delightful characters I’d love to mention but that would make me a complete and proper tosser and it would deprive your curiosity. Translation: you’ve got to read this book … but don’t take my word for it. Oh alright then … please do be a good sport and take my word … just a wee bit.
It is the year 1870, and Golgatha had just endured a wee little Wurm problem a year ago (something about plunging the universe in darkness and chaos … yeah, small stuff … please see the first book). As the residents of Golgatha begin to pick up the pieces and life seems to return to normal (if there is ever such a thing as normal in the town of Golgatha), a new evil rears it head in the horizon. No, it is not a Bruce Jenner reality show chronicling his “changes”. The horror, the bloody horror. A mythical skull said to contain a vile force, that once released would turn the world into a murderous fury, is sought by a mysterious Ray Zeal (who apparently had a past with Malachi Bich). Even worse, a collection of some of the vilest beings, ever imagined, are all being summoned by a strange sinister force. How file are these wankers you say, let’s just say that they make those ISIS assholes look like a bunch of daisy-picking, little girls … dressed in pink tutus. Come to think of it ISIS backwards is SISI. I’ve detoured slightly. And guess where all these fine specimens of gene pool maladies converge on? Ah yes, the unwitting town of Golgatha. No rest for the wicked, yeah?
So as Golgatha gears up fo another cataclysmic showdown of apocalyptic proportions, some interesting are added to the Golgathan roster: a female Pinkerton agent, a Madame that could probably take down Rhonda Rousey very easily (Rhonda can, however, take me down ANYTIME), and a bouncer that is a well-read, teddy bear with the personality of glacier (wtf … you say … trust me). And that’s just the folks on the good side.
Shotgun Arcana is like a runway train, hopped up on meth, careening into blinding lightspeed as the suspense and action takes readers into an explosive conclusion that could only be measured in kilotons. And it will have most readers jonesing for the sequel. This IS, after all, trilogy, right Mr. Belcher?

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6guntarot_cvr

Yes, I know … it is February and it is the month that we have Valentine’s day and this year … the premiering of the Fifty Shades movie. Now I know what some of you folks are thinking. Is this the moment that the Evil Parrot takes one for the team (whatever team that may be) and actually … dare I say it .. read and review some erotica. And this is the part where I laugh and say … like bloody hell I would. So yeah … I’m afraid no erotica, but instead scary stuff. That’s how the Evil Parrot rolls. So enough with the bollocks and lets get on with it, yeah?
In 1869 Nevada, Jim Negrey is a wanted man on the run. He carries with him his six-shooter, a nearly empty canteen of water, and a false jade eye that was once his father’s. As he and his horse, Promise, painstakingly prepare to die from starvation, he is rescued by Mutt, a half breed: half man and half coyote. Yes, that was not a mistake … you did read the word, coyote. Apparently Mutt is some sort of shape-shifter.. Jim finds himself in a town called Golgatha. And this is where things begin to get dicey. In Golgatha, there are strange types and strange worlds where science and sorcery meets in an almost delightful but symbiotic blend. And as a war rages in the heavens (aye, there angels involved in this), an ancient evil more ancient than time itself threatens to awaken and wreak havoc on the world. No it’s not Kanye West’s ego or another frightful narcisistic endeavour by the Kardashians. Nay, it is something much more evil and called the Voidling. And caught in the ground zero of this glorious event is the delightful town of Golgatha and delightful handful of characters whom the fate of the world depends upon: a mayor that is hoarding treasure and secrets (such as a gay lover named Ringo); a banker’s wife that belongs to a secret order of pirates and assassins and the cult of Lilith; a sheriff that bears the mark of many nooses around this neck and is seemingly unkillable; a shady saloon whose got his fingers in everyone’s business and knows more of town’s dark true origins. Are ye intrigued at this point? Like bloody hell you should.
It is my first (yes, I have to shamefully admit) steampunk novel. Aye, I know … scandalous … I am such a naughty boy. What next, erotica? Gasp. Here we go again. But then again … anything for my readers/followers. So there, my first steampunk novel and I loved it. In Tarot, Belcher has written an intriguing western that is delightfully marinated in the worlds of science and sorcery, trickling over with copious yet well measured amounts of drama, humour and suspenseful action. The characters are delightful and you will find yourself attached to many, and every intriguing, suspense-filled page that urges you onward the teeth-clenching-teddy-bear-squeezing climactic conclusion that’ll take your breath away. And yes, I do have a teddy bear … named Mr. Noodles. Totally trampling over my Evil Parrot persona like a total tosser. Bloody hell. Great debut, Mr. Belcher and … cheers.

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