GIVEAWAY

Click Here To Win a Copy of “The Empty Ones” by Robert Brockway!!!
Enter HERE

Blog Archive

View My Stats
Friday, June 20, 2014

Mini-Reviews: XOM-B by Jeremy Robinson and Hot Lead Cold Iron by Ar Marmell (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)


Official Author Website
Order the book HERE

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: XOM-B by Jeremy Robinson is quite a story; I was intrigued by its blurb and cover which promised a fascinating crossover between I, Robot & The Walking Dead. Safe to say the author managed to surprise me with his plot and the way the story ended.

XOM-B opens by introducing us to what are later revealed to be events such as “the Awakening” similar to the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. Set in the tumultuous events set between 2052 to 2054, this small prologue while seeming confusing is of grand importance in the latter half of the story. The first chapter introduces to our protagonist Freeman and is set in 2074. Freeman is a person who can’t remember much about his past and according to his memory, he seems to be only sixteen days old. His protector Heap is a quiet sort not offering much but doing his best to help him survive the wasteland that is Earth. Certain events that occur in the first chapter lead Freeman onto a rather decrepit part of their location wherein he meets Luscious and Jimbo who are rather surprised by him and his appearance.

The story then races forward as we find out what exactly happened to the world? Who is Freeman? What is pursuing him? This storyline is an incredible mash up and I can’t reveal more without spoiling the story. Firstly a warning, in nearly the first hundred chapters, most readers will feel an acute vertigo of sorts wherein the author drops you along with Freeman into the story. We don’t know much about what has happened and what is currently happening. Stick with the story and there’s a huge payback from the middle wherein we get clues about what is the current nature of the world and how it all comes together.

The storyline is a classic quest story but with such subversion of tropes that you will definitely enjoy the ride planned by the author. Characterization is bit dicey as we only get a singular first person POV from Freeman & therefore the worldview and understanding is limited. There isn’t that many characters introduced but all of them have a big part to play as well as big secrets to reveal. The pace is definitely top-notch as the reader is shunted quickly along the plot and from twist to twist. The story forces the reader to look out for small clues along the way as well as understand the world from Freeman’s limited understanding.

A thing that bugged me about the storyline was that because of the tight POV focus we never get to truly see the world developed within or seen through another POV. This definitely robs the story of some of its sheen. I would have enjoyed knowing more of the world but it isn’t too much of a deterrent.

CONCLUSION: This is a brilliant exploration of the zombie apocalypse story angle but with robots as well as humans, Jeremy Robinson indeed proves that he’s one of the rising stars of the SFF genre. Be sure to check out XOM-B if you want to read a story about zombies of a kind that you have never read before.


Official Author Website
Order the book HERE
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Agents Of Artifice
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Conqueror's Shadow
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Warlord's Legacy
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Goblin Corps 

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Hot Lead Cold Iron is the first volume in the Mick Oberon chronicles, however it isn’t Mick's first appearance. That honour goes to the short story “The Purloined Ledger” which appeared in Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales in the Roaring '20s, a little over three years ago.

This story however does a fantastic job of introducing us to private detective Mick Oberon who lives in 1930s Chicago and does a bang-up job reminding the readers of famously jaded lone-wolf detectives such as Phillip Marlowe, Lew Archer, Sam Spade, etc. He’s however much different in nature while sharing their drive to do good against all odds. He’s not entirely human, scratch that he’s not a human at all but one of the Fae folk. He’s carefully hidden this secret quite skillfully and yet managed to pass among his acquaintances as an eccentric person but a person nonetheless.

His newest case however will have between a rock and a hard place when the wife of a famous Mafiosi requests his aid for their daughter. She claims that a changeling has replaced her daughter and it’s up to Mick to find out where her actual daughter might be. Mick slightly reluctantly takes up the case and that means travelling back to the world of his origin wherein he’s been a persona non-grata for reasons revealed in the story. What happens next is something that most readers can guess but the beauty would be in RAFOing what a magical twist the author has accomplished on the nature and structure of the Fae world.

The story has a very historical feel to it with the characters mouthing words and phrases that seem very specific to the thirties decade. This was really excellent and helped make the story immersion that much smoother. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the pace and the twists that the author throws into the story. Of course due to the nature of the story, some of them are quite easy to predict but then most of them due to the infusion of Fae mythos into the crime structure of the storyline makes it a unique one (as far as I know).  Another thing worth mentioning is the fabulous cover art by Julia Lloyd and the way it helps capture a distinct look for the book.

Drawbacks to this story are the same to most urban fantasy books, if you don’ t like the genre then this book won’t be changing your mind about it. Also if you are a tickler for no magic in your mystery then this definitely isn’t your cup of tea. For me there wasn’t much to complain, as I love both genres of urban fantasy and mystery stories. Perhaps the only thing that I lightly grumble about is that sometimes, the main character’s speech patterns can get confusing. But that was just my peeve and not something that should be mildly troubling for everyone.

CONCLUSION: Hot Lead Cold Iron is Ari Marmell’s most imaginative and strongest book so far in career. Give it a shot if you love to read lone-wolf PI stories or love historical crime mysteries or simply innovative urban fantasies. This one didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

0 comments:

Follow by Email

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Of Sand & Malice” by Bradley Beaulieu!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Summerlong” by Peter S. Beagle!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Spellbreaker” by Blake Charlton!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Obelisk Gate” by N.K. Jemisin!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “Poisoned Blade” by Kate Elliott!!!
Order HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click Here To Order “The Tome of Arbor” by M.R. Mathias!!!
Order HERE