Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson: Review

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“Found guilty of a terrible crime he didn’t commit in 1986, 15-year-old necromancer Finn Gramaraye was exiled to the Other Realm for 25 years. But now he’s back in the mortal world and is disappointed to discover that he’s middle-aged, DeLoreans can’t fly, and he’s been framed for using dark magic, again.

All Finn wants is to pick up the pieces of his life and patch things up with his family: his mad scientist father, the ghost of his mother, a sister who is allergic to magic, a younger brother who thinks he’s a werewolf and an older brother who is most unhappy to see him. But with just three days to clear his name before he’s sent back into exile forever, Finn will need all the help he can get to figure out who wants him gone, and why.”

We all love a bit of nostalgia. And Henderson’s debut is packed full of good old geeky nostalgia. Whilst at the same time opens the readers eyes to a modern day fantasy with all its rules and regulations vigilantly kept in check by the Arcana.
The mixture of both of these elements added with the comedy factor makes for a very quick paced and engaging read.

It becomes quite clear to the reader from the start, that Finn is a bit of a geek, but Henderson hasn’t written the main character in the stereotypical fashion.
Big Bang Theory, I’m looking at you.
Added with the fact that Finn is a Necromancer and can talk to the dead. Henderson has certainly created an interesting character flaws and all.
Then we have Zeke. Who is an ex ARC enforcer (Arcana Ruling Council)
Now, Zeke is reluctantly thrown into Finn’s crazy life and even more reluctantly helps Finn to prove his innocence. Zeke can only be described as an amalgam of Don Johnson, B. A. Baracus, and a Viking. Very much a badass with a heart. As well as being able to hold his own against the Fae (who after years of war have a very fractious relationship with those of the Arcana) Zeke can also do magic with … um, urine.
Then we have Vee who is a were-squirrel. And is also Zeke’s sister as well as being an integral part of Finn’s story, piecing together lost memories of Finns when he came out of exile and being rather handy in a fight.

Henderson has crafted an intriguing world within a world with it’s own laws and diversity. The magic system is simple and effective, and has everything I love about magic,  endless possibilities but also harsh consequences.
I’m not going to spoil the ending but I really didn’t see it coming, actually I think I used a swear to show my disbelief. In a good way of course. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens to Finn next.

Finn Fancy Necromancy is a fun fast paced novel. The A-Team meets magic and mayhem. Or as I like to call Finn’s friends and family, The Fae Team!
A really strong debut that leads to what looks to be a really cool series with a great cast of characters.
The eighties nostalgia is a brilliant touch, and as someone who was born in 86 I approve muchly.

P.S Finn thinks a bluetooth is called a Bluebeard. I propose we change the name Bluetooth to Bluebeard.

Finn Fancy Necromancy is out now from http://titanbooks.com

Romeo Checks In

Hello lovely people.
So, things have been a little quiet on the ol’ blog recently.
Don’t worry I’m not going anywhere.
I have been a busy Pisky of late, and in between working on my novel and various short stories, tackling the wonderful Malazan series and some other fabulous books that are waiting to be read in the TBR pile, and badly burning my hand on a pizza (Ouchy)
I have also been working on a few articles for other folk on the Interwebz. Two of which dropped this week which I shall post the links to below.
So I thought I would check in and let you know that I haven’t been kidnapped by Goblins … Yet.

As I’m sure you are aware the SFF community lost two Giants recently in the form of Leonard Nimoy and Sir Terry Pratchett whose deaths really affected me, and it took me a while to be able to write down some thoughts about it. The lovely Paul Weimer @PrinceJVstin  put out a Mind Meld invite on Twitter and many responded. The topic was about the Impact that both Nimoy and Pratchett have had within the community. The Mind Meld on SF Signal are always worth checking out and I’m honored to have participated (plus my name is next to Scott Lynch :mrgreen:) http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/04/mind-meld-remembering-terry-pratchett-leonard-nimoy-part-one/

I’m also over at the Horror Blogsite Haddonfield Horror talking about the 1982 classic Poltergeist as well as this years remake. I also relay my opinion on remakes in general. http://www.haddonfieldhorror.com/2015/04/remake-remake-mommy-tv-people-are-here.html?m=1

Stay tuned for an Incoming review of Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson.

Stay cosmic folks

The Blogaversary of the Moustached Man

Hello lovely people.
So, It would appear that I have been running this blog for two years. That’s right, two whole years and here’s to many more.
I would like to thank everybody who has supported the blog, whether that be through commenting, likes, tweets, retweets and just general loveliness.
You’re all cosmic!

Deadhouse Gates (Malazan Book of The Fallen 2) by Steven Erikson: Review

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So its not unusual for me to be vocal whilst reading. In fact its a very common thing. Its usually in the form of things like this.

-Character gets in trouble-
Me: BLOODY* HELL!

-Something unexpected happens-
Me: Wuh! Whoa! Wow! (Not necessarily all three.)

-A particular nasty thing happens-
Me: Noooo! (Followed by yelling at the characters)

You get the Idea.

These outbursts were common and many throughout Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson.

In the Holy Desert Raraku, the seer Sha’ik and her followers prepare for the long prophesied uprising named the Whirlwind. Enslaved in the Otataral mines, Felisin, youngest scion of the disgraced House of Paran, dreams of freedom and vows revenge, while the outlawed Bridgeburners Fiddler and Islam conspire to rid the world of Empress Laseen (although it seems the gods would, as always, have it otherwise.) And as two ancient warriors -bearers of a devastating secret- enter this blighted land, so an untried commander of the Malaz 7th Army leads his war-weary troops in a last , valiant running battle to save the lives of thirty thousand refugees.

So many revelations, twists, turns and moments of pure wow! I laughed, I cried, and was left feeling the affects of some of the books most fantastically crafted scenes, and events. Not to mention an absolutely jaw dropping ending.

When I read GoTM, Kalam the assassin was more of a prominent character than Fiddler, whom I acknowledged in GoTM but didn’t really notice much. This changed for me in Deadhouse Gates. Fiddler, the sapper Bridgeburner who has a broken fiddle on his back and shoots deadly munitions from his crossbow, has become my favorite character.
He is the everyday you can get behind, and becomes your counterpart in a wonderful but dangerous world.

Of the new characters that feature there is, Heboric the historian and ex priest of Fener, Baudin the thug, Fist Coltaine, Duiker the historian, and Icarium the Jhagut and Mappo Runt the Trell.
There are many more characters and all are listed in the book.

Erikson, once more, weaves a fantastic plot of stories interwoven surrounded by fates insurmountable. Raraku is full of many dangers if the lack of food and water dont get you, then the shapeshifting Soletaken, and D’ivers will, whose presence can be detected by a strong, spicy smell.
On the subject of which, whilst reading this I went to kitchen to fetch a snack, and upon opening the fridge I caught the smell of something spicy and Immediately thought, “D’ivers!”

The pacing of Deadhouse Gates is a lot smoother than GoTM, and DG is incredibly well written, as Erikson unveils each scene, the reader finds themselves totally immersing themselves into the world.

I dont want to spoil anything for anyone so Im going to leave it there.

Needless to say, I am so enthralled with this series so far and am now reading the third installment.

Deadhouse Gates is out now, and available from Bantam Books http://www.transworldbooks.co.uk

Folklore and Superstition: An Introduction To Cornish Folklore

Dydh da, dear folk.
Firstly allow me to introduce myself. For those of you that do not know me, my name is Romeo Kennedy and I hail from the mystical land of Kernow (Cornwall.)
Home of the legend of King Arthur, and a place that, for me, will always be full of magic and mystery.
I was born in a small fishing village not far from Lands End and from a very young age Cornish Fairytales and Legends have very much been a part of my life.

Like most fairytales, the stories that are prevalent in Cornwall have a strong dose of superstition and most come with a moral warning of such. However, superstitions also have their own place in Cornish culture and some of these then begin as the vessels to wonderful stories i.e One superstition involves telling the bees of a death, and one story that involves this superstition tells the tale of a young man who did not tell the bees about the death of his father and was then himself stung to death.
Some Cornish stories have the ‘happily ever after’ ending, and others are quite sad tales of Mermaids lamenting for the heart of their long lost lover or in the case of the Doombar Mermaid supposedly murdered by her lover.
Other tales come with a warning, for example The Many Trials of Jan Tregeagle who was said to have been handed the harshest punishment for his wickedness and was given many impossible tasks, like draining Dozmary Pool with a limpet shell that had a hole in the bottom. Dozmary Pool of course is said to be the home of the Lady of the Lake and where Arthur’s sword ‘Excalibur’ rests. It is also said to be bottomless. Tregeagle escaped this task by running away and being chased by demons he was then given another task to weave a truss of sand and spin a sand rope with which to bind it. Legend says that Tregeagle is still carrying out his final task as we speak. As a side note this is one of my favorite stories and would make an absolutely delightful film/tv series.

Cornish folklore/fairytales feature many creatures that are somewhat exclusive to Cornwall, although Irish, Scots, Welsh etc have something fairly similar if not featuring the same characteristics of those particular creatures i.e Sprites, Sidhe Brownies, Sidhichean, Piskies are usually depicted in very similar ways if not sometimes precisely

Now of the creatures that are prevalent in Cornish folktales are your usual fairytale trinity of Mermaids, Giants and Dragons. Although the stories of Dragons are not as common but the there ares some brilliant ones, but I like to think of that as they ate everyone who came close so no one could recount their tale of their encounter with the furious lizards. In a Christian Cornwall it is said that Saint Petroc confronted a marauding dragon and whispered a prayer into its ear and the dragon flew away. A story that I once heard of a pre-Christian era Cornwall recounts the tale of a dragon that rescued a village from a flood by … Um, setting fire to the village …
“Yay! We’re saved! … Oh.”
Its said that the heat from the dragons breath evaporated the water saving the inhabitants of the village whilst leaving them a little scorched. But alive nonetheless.

Giants are depicted as the usual “Fee, fi, fo fum!” lot, especially the Giant who is said to live in the cliffs of Portreath and when bored throws boulders at passing ships.
The main story of Giants is the very well known story of Jack the Giant Killer who slew the cattle devouring Giant Cormoran. Jack was then taken by another Giant named Blunderbore who vowed vengeance for the death of Cormoran. Jack was taken to an enchanted castle and eventually hung and stabbed Blunderbore and his brother Rebecks, as well as freeing three ladies from the castle. Jack also tricks another Giant into cutting its own belly open.
Of course it is also said that Giants are fantastic builders, for example, Carreg Luz en Cuz or as it is now known, St. Michael’s Mount, was built by Cormoran and his wife Cormelian. The stone was carried long distances to build the castle and sadly ended up with Cormelian’s death after another Giant threw a hammer to Cormoran, missed and accidentally hit Cormelian.
Interestingly enough, it also said that the inventor of the Steam locomotive was part giant, it was said that he could throw a boulder over the top of Camborne town clock, and he had hands the size of shovels, as well as being quite tall.

Mermaids, as I have already mentioned, are the usually the subject of sad stories. The very famous tale of An Vorvoren a Senar (The Mermaid of Zennor) tells the story of young lady who frequented the church service in Zennor. Everyone noticed how this woman never aged for all the years she had visited this church. It was said that she had the sweetest singing voice and with that voice lured the church steward Mathey Trewella away to her domain beneath the waves. Mathey Trewella was never seen on land again. The chair that the Mermaid apparently sat on is still there and is known as the ‘Mermaid Chair.’

The other creatures that are prevalent in Cornish tales are the Piskies, Spriggans, and Knockers.
Now there are plenty of stories that revolve around these creatures.
There is much dispute as to what Knockers are as in some areas they are known as the Bucca but to my experience and that of folklorist William bottrell, there are types of Bucca (good and bad) and stories depict it as a deity of the wind/storms. For example there is a place in the fishing village of Newlyn that has a bridge nicknamed Buccas pass and fishermen have been known (and still known) to make an offering of fish to the Bucca as so to get a good wind behind the sails for the morrow.

Spriggans are said to be the spirits of Giants although a lot smaller and quite ugly. Almost resembling very old men and women and dressed in a whole manner of things ranging from furs to greenery.
They are the guardians of treasure and are said to be very quick to anger and very swift with their retribution. I recently shared a story of a vengeful Spriggan with the lovely folks at The Cult Den on their Twitter page. Spriggans are also said to be ones that kidnap children and leave the parents a changeling.

Knockers on the other hand are at the root of many Miners superstitions and fears.
Knockers live within the mines and are said to be about knee height. They were rejoiced on a good mining day and cursed on a bad although very much out of earshot as an upset Knocker was likely to cause a cave-in. Miners would appease the Knockers by throwing the bit of their crowst (lunch. A pasty) to them.
There are stories that tell of the Knockers making precious gems as well as releasing, or encasing spirits within them. The name came from the sound the that Miners heard whilst working and just before a cave-in. A story by the well known folklorist William Bottrell (who studied and collected many Cornish tales) tells the tale of Tom
Trevorrow who made the Knockers rather cross by not giving them any food and so they tormented him for the rest of his life, “Tommy Trevorrow, Tommy Trevorrow, We’ll send thee bad luck tomorrow.” They stole his tin and tools and money and left him poor.

Piskies, are lucky little people but like Knockers like to play tricks on people, these tricks are usually deadly but that all depends on the Pisky. They are also said to be very kind natured, for example the tale of two Piskies that witnessed a Spriggan kidnapping a child and leaving a Changeling in its place. The Piskies were so outraged that they took the Changeling to the fabled Mên-an-Tol near Madron. The Mên-an-Tol is a large stone with a hole in the middle and the Piskies passed the baby through the hole in the middle to change it back. The stone is said to still have a Pisky guardian to this day.
If a farmer would wake to see their horses worn out, lathered with sweat and with their manes tied in an unusual braid, they were said to Pisky-ridden. As it was well known that Piskies came out to play with the stars. There are stories that involve the cows being drained of milk and sightings of Piskies riding bats in the air.
As I have already mentioned Piskies are said to be incredibly lucky and having one in your house would be the epitome of good luck and fortune as well as being the envy of your neighbors. Although there is the tale of Jowen Polglade who captured a sleeping Pisky in a butterfly net and took it home. He was quite cruel to the creature, making it dance to the point of exhaustion. Until one day the Pisky had had enough of is cruel captor and told him that his house would be forever lucky if he was to find a jeweled feather. So off Jowen went, and the unbeknownst to him the Pisky made sure that he lead Jowen Into getting very, very lost. Jowen eventually found the feather when he was a hundred years old, and the Pisky had lead him to the end of his journey. So much so that when Jowen lifted the feather in triumph through old creaking bones, the old man lost his footing, slipped and fell off a cliff.
A good tip to remember, if you find yourself lost and feel you are being Pisky-lead, always remember to turn your coat inside out.
Why this works, no one can say but it is well known that this method is one hundred per cent Pisky proof.

So there we have it. A small introduction into the wonderful world of Cornish fairytales and folklore. There are truly many, many wonderful stories out there, some that are waiting to be found and some that will always remain undiscovered.

I haven’t even mentioned Pirates, Witches, Ghosts, Smugglers, and the Cornish Gods, and so much more.
No matter where the stories are from and how they are told and whether there is a sliver of truth to them. These tales are our magic and its so important to keep the magic alive.

Many of reading this you are probably feeling like you have Déjà Vu, or suffering from a weird sort of Fae Groundhog Day. Basically this was originally a guest post that I did for The Cult Den, who this week sadly announced their closure. So I thought I would put it here for everyone to (hopefully) enjoy.

Gardens Of The Moon (Malazan Book Of The Fallen: 1) By Steven Erikson

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A few months ago I read and reviewed my first Erikson read and, as many of you who read my humble bloggage will know, I didn’t like it very much. So naturally I was apprehensive starting a massive series by the same author.
But, dear friends, I bit the proverbial bullet and ventured forth into book one of the Malazan series. And goodness me, what a venture it was.

The Malazan series has always been described to me as the height of Epic Fantasy. And the author’s Magnum Opus, so to speak.
Gardens of the Moon throws the reader into the deep and then proceeds to lead them on a vast voyage of discovery. The Empire are seeking more control and with Empress Laseen at the helm, it seems it won’t be long till the world Is in the palm of her hand.
Now, Laseen has her sight set on the City of Darujhistan, the last of the Free Cities of Genabackis. However the disbanded Bridgeburners (a veteran unit of the Malaz army) and an unlikely group of Darujhistan citizens will be moved like pieces around a board by the meddlesome Gods of the world, and Gods can be ever so unpredictable.
It has been described by many to be very much Influenced by Greek mythology.

Gardens of The Moon is the first book that I have read that has made me somewhat grateful to be a slow reader. Every detail is important and even if at first glance it doesn’t appear to be. Im telling myself that the questions I have upon finishing GoTM, will be answered in later books.
Erikson sets up a wonderful cast of characters against a backdrop that has wonderful worldbuilding, and adds a really exciting magic system to the mix. Talking of which, the system of Warrens (a source of magic among other things) felt to me, like a world within a world. And I had a horrible dream in which I was chased through one of these Warrens by a rather creepy sorcerer.
Needless to say that I was absolutely riveted by this book and the cosmic storytelling by Erikson. It has everything a fan of Epic Fantasy would love. Nuances that one will not soon forget and characters that you can really invest in and see the world through their eyes. As I write this I am reading book two (Deadhouse Gates) and I can happily say that I think I shall be spending a lot more time in Erikson’s world.
On a complete tangent, before I read this, I pronounced it Mah-lah-zahn, which makes it sound like a fantasy alternative to the clothing retailer Matalan. I don’t think that is the correct way but it made me, with my silly sense of humor, smile.
I loved Gardens of The Moon and that’s my truth.

This book is available now from Bantam Books