Hex-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel
James Brimstone is Jack of many trades: former child magician in circus, Korean veteran and now a licensed private investigator. His new life starts with his mentor’s funeral and his first client Nico, the scarred beautiful actress with a tale of black magic, demons and revenge on the set of a pornographic film. With knowledge of the hidden dark magics and no money in pocket, Brimstone takes the case that takes him to places which he vowed never to visit again.
When I started reading Brimstone felt like bombastic combo of Dan Turner (Hollywood Detective), Jake (Chinatown) and Dean (Supernatural).
Then why just 3 stars?
I was all over this book the second James Brimstone was introduced. Sleek, charismatic and a wonderful liar – the stupendous ragged hero. Nico was introduced perfectly as the damsel in distress of a pulp. Everything was super even the needless sex and action scenes were spot on as per a pulp. The LA setup is wonderful and tasty, the mystery is intriguing and the book is full of magical action. With ‘sexy’ written all over and weird magic gluing all together, I had set my mind to the extreme gear of ppppulp novels. But then I realized how flat the characters are. Generally, characters of pulps are written a bit ‘over-the-top’ which compliments the book and fits like a jigsaw. Hex-rated has characters which are transparent and have good and bad written on their forehead as soon as they are introduced.
All these being said, I still loved it. Somehow it grew upon me and the ride to the last page was very satisfying. I sincerely hope to see more of a better Brimstone.
Damn it I almost forgot: Thanks to Netgalley and the author for providing a free copy for this review.
Wytches Vol 1
Take all of one’s deepest darkest fears, with blood of course and stir them well for handful poignant pages while enjoying an unopened bottle of artistic masterpiece.
You know, when a comic’s cover contains this-
it’s gonna be good, goood, goooooood!
Snyder take a bow and Jock take my left hand and teach me how to draw like that.
All your fears are hear. Sailor is a teenage girl accused of murdering her missing classmate. Her family moves in a new town to start a new life only to realise, they have entered a one-way hellhole of horror. The more Sailor tries to run the more ‘they’ come. Everyone wants something and ‘they’ only want some
thingone in return.
A bloody triumph in horror genre. Horror is already polluted and cramped yet this is so new. So unique. It scores everything out of the park. Wytches is graphic, bloody, meaty and spooky to the best. Synder’s story and Jock’s art fit each other so well that its class is set even before the end.
I suggest reading this before sleeping to get perfect graphic nightmares.
Colder Vol 1 – 4 stars
Do you really think you are sane? But what if you just need a tiny little push or a tipsy bit of wrong in your righteous mind to prove that wrong!?! Do you think madness can’t be spread? What if madness is actually a feast for a soul eater? What if everyone mad are just trapped in another world but can not get back? Now tell me what would you do when these happen to you!!
Incredible! The story is so gripping that you can feel it slowly crawling up your spine! A nurse (Reece) keeps a mental patient (Decan) at her house under observation after the mad-house went on fire. Decan is growing colder and colder with each passing day for unknown reasons! But now it is her turn to feel the world going crazy. Now between the soul-eater (read Emo-Joker) and Reece, only Decan can save her by taking a stand against his creator of madness!!
Do you really need more push to read this book?! See the cover! Just that gorgeously horrifying cover is enough to get you interested. Paul Toban’s story is superb and Juan Ferreyra’s art is out of the world. Juan Ferreyra has drawn the mad world like nothing else! It is a creepy yet mesmerising tale of horror and fantasy mixed with scariest nightmares!!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane – 4 stars
In a nice and easy old-school lane full of houses, there is a pond named Ocean. And when a death disturbs the balance between worlds beyond our knowledge, something horrible made of nightmare, lust and fear comes in our world using a little boy as a door. But the only help he will get is from the mystic girl who named the pond- Ocean.
Do you remember how it was like when we were children? Neil Gaiman remembers (or maybe he knows or maybe he is). At this point I am ready to believe anything he writes.
“Adults follow paths. Children explore.”
“Adults should not weep, I knew. They did not have mothers who would comfort them.”
Every child has a superpower – imagination. The more we grow up the more it fades. ‘Age’ is the Kryptonite for Imagination. Remember the times when we saw something that we could not comprehend but somehow always managed to wrap it up with our stories by our imagination?
“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.”
Let that last line settle and it will leave a scar.
This book brings tear in eyes when I think about how much we have forgotten about our childhood where everything was new and knowing nothing about those was just what made us happy. The explorations, little magic that gave our hero the strength and the chilling cryptic horror that gave him goosebumps affected the same way on me too when I was reading the book.
How did you manage to say so much with so little Mr. Gaiman? Finishing this tiny book felt like being shot with an emotional canon. Did you left the ending open for me to finish it by imagining another chapter with my own imagination Mr. Gaiman? Because I did and you made me imagine again like I used to when I was a kid. Thank you, Sir.
This book is an ‘Encyclopedia of Children’ for adults. I recommend this to all the readers who want to smile again remembering how precious our childhood were.
The Books of Magic Vol 1: Bindings – 4 stars
Sometimes we read and gulp down books that we like. But there are few books that swallow us down and make us think, “Did I read the book or did it read me?”
Neil Gaiman had given us The Books of Magic and after a few years Vertigo decided to launch a series about it which gave us this epic and wonderful product of some great minds.
Volume 1: Bindings reintroduces us to the boy called Tim Hunter who is destined to become the greatest sorcerer of all time. But he is torn between the ‘real’ world and the ‘magical’ world where he learns more about his powers (in the hardest way) while trying to save both worlds from colliding with each other. In this first adventure he faces one of the long lost mystical collectors and faces Death (another unbelievable creation of Mr. Gaiman) too.
Reading this book is not just reading. It feels like an experience to be cherished. There are only a very few comics which created this magic e.g. The Sandman, Death, The Invisibles, Swamp Thing. Vertigo’s line up has always been untraditional, unique, mind bending and mature unlike any other. And Books of Magic is one of shiniest jewels in Vertigo’s Crown.
The raged yet classy art and the wonderful colourings just sucked me in and made me forget about where I was. The tensed fight of Tim is spin chilling too. But the best part is when Death shows up. That conversation between Death and Tim is so ironic and symbolic that I had to stop and think about what they were actually meaning. Those are some of the best comics pages I have ever read.
It is a really noticeable conspiracy that how much Timmy looks like Harry Potter. Also, both of them are destiny’s children, lost their real parents and on epic magical quests. But whatever it is, I don’t care because Tim came out in the early 90s.
So I recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or magic. Read it and you’ll live it too.
The Strain – 4 stars
A plane lands with no one alive on board (except for a few). All are dead. But no sign of any contamination, any attack or panic. But the more Doctor Eph searches for answer, he discovers a world where medical expertise goes crazy in the rehlm of supernatural! What if vampires are not just mystical creatures from story books? It is a plague, an epidemic spread among humans just like any other plague but in a bloody-sucking gory way! The dead from the plane are standing up and if Eph doesn’t find a way, humanity might be lost forever!! In this book, a man says, “Think more along the lines of a man with a black cape. Fangs. Funny accent. Now take away the cape and fangs. The funny accent. Take away anything funny about it.”
Does that not sound great??! Hell Yeah!
You’re supposed to be scared of vampires. You are supposed to feel something crawling at the corner of your room when you think about vampires! And surely for god’s sake not to be in love with them.
Take that Twilight! The Strain is the book we deserve and it is also the one we need!
Guillermo del Toro is a master of horror. The way this book balances itself is just amazing. Horror, mystery, demon, science, pace. You give any of that too much, the book could loose its purpose. You give less and it could looses focus. But nope! This book deals with all of these smoothly!
But we get some clear-as-water characters on run. Heroes and villains are labelled who they are permanently as soon as they are introduced. Thus it does feel that the characters don’t have much depth. And that is the only weak point of this book.
The strain is now a trilogy, multiple comics series, a running TV show! Thank you Mr Toro for restoring the balance in stories about Vampires!
Horns – 4 stars
Ig lost his girlfriend Mary 1 yr ago. She was raped and murdered in such way as if only devil could have planned it. Although Ig can’t remember what happened that night and there is no proof, the whole town thinks he was the one who murdered her. 1 yr later, one morning after an usual drunk night he wakes up with two horns poking out of his forehead. And if that is not enough to make him go crazy, no one seems to notice the horns as if its just his nose on his face. More to that, people seem to tell him their darkest sins and desires without knowing and Ig seems to be in control of that. Snakes, pitchfork and fire breath, Ig is now becoming what people have though he is for last year : The Devil!!
What more does a book need to make it interesting after all that? Its great! Horns wastes no time in introduction or slow pacing. It jumps right in a hell-storm and lets us know more later. Suspense is excellent and the characters are written so well, it feels like we have already read stories about them before.
After Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft this was the first novel by Joe Hill for me. A complete slow burning suspense full of surprises. I am looking forward to the movie adaptation now!