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Robin Marx

Joined 1 year ago

Tokyo-based American working in the video game industry. Fond of fantasy (particularly Sword & Sorcery), horror, weird fiction, and pulp.

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Don't Fear the Reaper (2022, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) 4 stars

A strong follow-up to My Heart is a Chainsaw

4 stars

Like Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, Stephen Graham Jones balances serious literary chops with an unashamed love of genre fiction. Both My Heart is a Chainsaw and earlier stand-alone novel The Only Good Indians (2020) have attracted accolades both within and outside the horror fiction community, and Don’t Fear the Reaper seems destined to enjoy the same recognition. It’s a satisfying follow-up that leaves one exhilarated and excited for the trilogy’s conclusion. Part of me wonders if three volumes is enough, however. As any scary movie fan can tell you, the best franchises have a habit of outgrowing trilogies.

Read my full review at Grimdark Magazine!

Imperfect, but worth a look.

3 stars

Conan – Blood of the Serpent is blatantly a Conan novel written by S. M. Stirling, and not something that could be mistaken as a lost Howard tale. This is all die-hard Conan fans need to know. If Howard’s distinctive blood and thunder authorial style is a requirement for a prospective reader to enjoy a Conan story, this book may be skipped. But newcomers to Conan and existing fans who love the character and are open to other voices are encouraged to take a look. This volume delivers an engaging and approachable new adventure along with one of the very best of the classic stories. Regardless of whether or not future novel plots are directly connected to the events of the original stories, I would love to see Titan Books continue to package new stories with the classics.

Read my full review at Grimdark Magazine!

Men of bronze (2005, Medallion Press) 4 stars

Review from Goodreads

No rating

This action-packed historical fiction book is about Barca, a rage-filled mercenary working in the service of the Pharaoh and entrusted with protecting Egypt from encroaching Greeks and Persians. It reads a great deal like the swashbuckling historicals of Robert E. Howard and Harold Lamb, so fans of the action pulp tradition will find a lot to like here.

Characters are sketched in broad strokes, but the main ones are given enough nuance to keep them from seeming shallow. The pacing is brisk throughout, and the ancient Egyptian setting adds flavor without getting bogged down in minutiae.

While fans of Robert E. Howard or ancient battle action in general are likely to enjoy this book, the ending seemed ridiculously abrupt to me. The climactic battle itself was vivid and exciting, but it would have been nice if a little more time was spent on the conclusion to Barca's tale and the …

Hag of the Hills (Paperback, 2022, The National Library of Norway) 4 stars

Review from Goodreads

4 stars

Set on the Isle of Skye around 200 BC, this heroic fantasy novel tells the story of Brennus, a young man who, stifled by pastoral village life, wishes to follow in the martial footsteps of his late father. He has an encounter with the titular Hag of the Hills, a wicked sidhe who promises that his wish will come true—but at a cost. Brennus' life is immediately thrown into chaos as mysterious invaders sweep across the island. He manages to survive the initial onslaught, but a doomed druid's final wish saddles him with a heavy burden.

This novel is exciting and action-packed, featuring plenty of both ancient warfare and bizarre encounters with the supernatural. The author has an archaeological background, and that clearly has enriched the story. Ancient Celtic customs and religion feature prominently; oaths possess an inviolable importance for the characters in the story and slaves are casually sacrificed …