It by Stephen King

It Stephen King

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boar made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

Plot

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

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Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls Abigail Haas

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

An American teenager has been found dead in Aruba, authorities there have confirmed.



Plot

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…


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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

and-then-there-were-none-agatha-christie

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

In the corner of a first-class smoking carriage, Mr Justice Wargrave, lately retired from the bench, puffed at a cigar and ran an interested eye through the political news in The Times.



Plot

First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.


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The Beach by Alex Garland

the-beach-garland

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

The first I heard of the beach was in Bangkok, on the Khao San Road.



Plot

The Khao San Road, Bangkok – first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia. On Richard’s first night there, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to “the Beach.”

The Beach, as Richard comes to learn, is a subject of legend among the young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for thousands of years. There, it is rumored, a carefully selected international few have settled into a communal Eden.

Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful as it is reputed to be. Yet over time it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly undercurrents.


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Rogues: Review

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Overall Rating of the Anthology: 3 Stars ***

I find anthologies difficult to rate, since most of the time they contain a mix of good and not so good stories. Because of that, I’ll take a closer look at the different stories below and will rate them individually.


Tough Times All OverJoe Abercrombie

2 Stars **

This story follows a package as it makes its way through Sipani, a seedy city and its inhabitants.

During the story, the package changes hands multiple times and all of the characters want that package. It is more of a cross-section of the city and its inhabitants than an actual story. We get a glimpse at a character and a hint of their story and then it moves on again.

What Do You Do?Gillian Flynn

3 Stars ***

A masseuse turned psychic (for the money) finds herself involved in a situation that might be explained by a haunted house. Or, by a psychopath.

I liked that right until the end you don’t know who to trust and what is real. Is it a haunted house? Is it a psychopath and, most important of all: who is the psychopath.

The Inn of the Seven BlessingsMatthew Hughes

3 Stars ***

A thief finds a magical object connected to a forgotten God in a dangerous forest full of man-eating monsters.

In a world where Gods can be forgotten, one sassy thief finds one and is coerced by him to fulfill a quest. It doesn’t turn out how he expected though. It was an interesting world with interesting characters, but a bit generic at times. Still a fun read.

Bent TwigJoe R. Lansdale

1 Star *

Two Private Eyes look for the drug-addicted daughter of his girlfriend. In the course, they uncover the underside of a small town.

Ugh. It was all gritty and dark, but overall just depressing and not very interesting. There was not a single likeable character.

Tawny PetticoatsMichael Swanwick

3 Stars ***

Con men Darger and Surplus seek for a female accomplice in a New Orleans full of controlled zombies.

Fun and easy read. The setting was interesting, as were the characters, though Darger and Surplus weren’t all that different from each other (except one of them being… not quite human). However, the story felt a bit rushed and confusing at times.

ProvenanceDavid W. Ball

1 Star *

This short story follows the history of a particular painting from World War II to the present day and the criminals connected to it.

Meh. It was kind of boring. It switched between present day criminals owning the painting and the history of the painting during World War II and read kind of like a textbook most of the time.

Roaring TwentiesCarrie Vaughn

4 Stars ****

The Blue Moon Club during the Prohibition is the place magical rogues drink and relax and where Madame M and Pauline go to try and convince the owner to do a deal.

This story was so fun. It is an Urban Fantasy set during the Prohibition. Madame M and Pauline are amazing characters and I loved the setting.

A Year and a Day in Old TheradaneScott Lynch

4 Stars ****

In Theradane, a city where wizards fight wars amongst themselves that leave part of the city destroyed, a retired group of thieves led by Amarelle is hired by wizard Ivovandas to steal something almost impossible.

I really liked this story. It was a fun read and the characters were awesome. I loved the thieves and their relationship and I really liked the world it was set in.

Bad BrassBradley Denton

1 Star *

One thief tries to steal from high school thieves trying to sell their stolen goods (brass instruments) to two buyers.

A boring story. It was way too long. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, it was convoluted and not interesting. It is supposed to be a comic thriller, but I didn’t see the humour in it. And seriously, way too long for too little content.

Heavy MetalCherie Priest

2 Stars **

Kilgore Jones is a man who deals in the supernatural. He is called into a small ex-mining community to deal with something that appeared there.

The story was okay but didn’t have much that made it special. It was a bit generic hunter hunting something supernatural. The character stayed bland and I am still confused as to the identity of what that monster was.

The Meaning of LoveDaniel Abraham

3 Stars ***

Asa grew up in a city within a city that, technically, is lawless. When she finds fugitive prince Steppan and falls in love with him, she takes care of him. He, however, doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. Instead, he falls in love at first sight with a woman about to be sold to the workhouse. Asa decides to help him out by freeing her.

It was an interesting setting and I liked Asa. I couldn’t quite understand her feelings for Steppan though and why she would go to so much trouble to help him. The relationship between the two could have been more developed, but overall a fun story.

A Better Way to DiePaul Cornell

1 Star *

Hamilton is a spy in a 19th century Europe in which people have the technology to cross over into different dimensions. He finds himself confronted with a younger version of himself from a different dimension.

This story was kind of confusing. There was no clear explanation of the different dimensions/parallel universes and what the “rules” were and how it worked. I also didn’t connect with the characters at all and didn’t know what their intentions and goals were. Overall too confusing to be enjoyable.

Ill Seen in TyreSteven Saylor

2 Stars **

This story plays in ancient Tyre and follows teenager Gordianus and his mentor Antipater, as they stop in Tyre on their way to visit the Seven Wonders. Antipater seeks to buy a mysterious magic book. It also incorporates the story of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser of Fritz Leiber.

The incorporation of the Fritz Leiber story was weird. I haven’t read it, so I couldn’t really appreciate it being there in the story. It was also difficult to see the reason why this story would be incorporated. Ill seen in Tyre would have worked just as well, if not better, without it. This story was confusing and convoluted.

A Cargo of IvoriesGarth Nix

3 Stars ***

Sir Hereward and his companion, Mister Fitz (a magician in a puppet’s body) are charged to retrieve some ivories that contain a dark power. To do that, they have to break into a house.

Fun read. Hereward and Fitz were interesting characters and I liked the thief they meet later on.

Diamonds from TequilaWalter Jon Williams

1 Star *

Movie Star Sean Makin finds himself involved in a crime during the shoot for his new movie when he finds his pretend girlfriend and co-star dead. The story also involves drugs printed by a 3D printer.

Just… no. The story is way too long and really boring. I had no sympathy whatsoever for Sean and it was difficult to follow the story with the weird 3D printing drugs. Too long, too convoluted, no interesting characters.

The Caravan to NowherePhyllis Eisenstein

3 Stars ***

Alaric the minstrel joins a caravan crossing the desert to a city where they sell a mysterious powder drug that drove Rudd, the son of caravan master Piros mad.

A very interesting story. I liked Alaric and found the other characters in the book interesting. The setting was fascinating and it was nice to follow the descriptions of the desert and their way through it.

The Curious Affair of the Dead WivesLisa Tuttle

3 Stars ***

This story follows a Holmes and Watson-like couple of detectives that try to solve the mystery of a dead and buried woman being seen by her sister a month after she died.

Interesting characters, interesting story and mystery, though the solution felt a bit weird.

How the Marquis Got His Coat BackNeil Gaiman

2 Stars **

The Marquis the Carabas from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere lost his coat and wants it back. On his quest to do so, he finds himself face to face with his brother, an elephant and creepy shepherds.

I really liked Neverwhere and this story fell a bit short for me. It just never reached the depth I would have liked. The characters were interesting, but they appeared so fleetingly they didn’t get to shine.

Now ShowingConnie Willis

2 Stars **

Lindsay wants to see the movie Christmas Caper at the Cinedrome, that shows hundreds of movies and has hundreds of movie-themed shops. However, everything does not go as planned as she finds it difficult to even get into the movie and then her ex-boyfriend appears with conspiracy stories.

It was kind of fun. I liked the Cinedrome, I would love to go there. However, the conspiracy was a bit weird and the relationship between Lindsay and her ex-boxfriend didn’t really click for me.

The Lightning TreePatrick Rothfuss

4 Stars ****

This story follows a day in the life of Bast, the mysterious fae companion of innkeeper Kvothe as he exchanges favours for favours with the kids of the village and the different little quests that sends him on.

I like Bast and I liked the story. It was a fun read and I liked getting to know Bast better and the way he thinks and acts.

The Rogue Prince, or, a King’s BrotherGeorge R.R. Martin

2 Stars **

This is the story of prince Daemon Targaryen, the prince who never was king but was part of the war called the Dance of Dragons.

This story is told like a history book, including discussions of different versions of part of the story. It is just not terribly interesting to read what essentially is a textbook, written in a very dry language.


Overall: Some good, some bad, and overall average.