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Book Review: The Last Station Before Heaven by Peter J. Mylin

The Last Station before Heaven by Peter J. Mylin is set during a time where Christianity has been outlawed. It is narrated by a journalist invited by a former priest to find the last station before heaven – located in a kind of underground. At first our nameless journalist tells us about his story; that he doesn’t know where his wife is, his son is gay and doesn’t know if he survived the persecution of homosexuals and he hopes that this journey to find the last station before heaven will be worth it.

He meets the former priest, John Campbell, and his cat, Eva, and they spend the rest of the book decoding messages in hidden CDs that play hymns. Our journalist and John talk about John’s former life, being the head of a massive corporation-like church.

As the road trip continues we learn more about why Christianity was outlawed, and why most people wouldn’t like it; churches ruled like governments, and basically sucked the money out of their parishioners and spit them back out when they didn’t have any more money.

I thought the world described by Mylin was believable, and more than that, it was interesting. I read this book online, and I couldn’t stop clicking to advance the page. Usually I find a lot of fault in books that have a clear stance on religion and why we as a society should or shouldn’t have it, but the story was engaging and well developed. I also thought that the main characters were developed and weren’t just the two sides of the story. They were hilarious, and confusing, and weird and sad. I myself preferred John’s frank manner of speaking about all the mistakes that he had made in his life, and whether he felt that his actions were justified.

I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire story even though the characters went through a cycle of getting a secret disc, cracking the code, and then going to the next location there was enough variety at each destination to keep me interested.

Although I really enjoyed this story I thought that it could have used more female characters, and the female characters like Jael could have been more developed. I won’t spoil it, but I felt the ending was too perfect. As a reader I felt like I had followed this story, this journey about characters that I cared about, for no reason.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and I would give it three out five stars.

3outof5


MirandaMiranda is a college student studying Adventure Education and Sustainable Agriculture. Don’t let all that outdoorsy-ness fool you, when the Deathly Hallows came out Miranda was at the release party. Other nerdy credits include having deep discussions about various book series on reddit, tumblr, and twitter. She loves Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, the Delirium series, basically anything dystopian and the community of Nerdfighteria. You can find her on twitter @genderisweird, check her out on her blog and tumblr.

 

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Book Reiew: I Kill Monsters by Dennis Liggio

As an avid reader of Kelley Armstrong, Seanan McGuire, and Charlie Huston, I like to consider myself to be very familiar with the urban monster landscape. I Kill Monsters is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I would label his work as having solid potential. I Kill Monsters isn’t the first of its kind, nor the most original, but it does have its charm.

The book features two brothers Szandor and Mikhail, living on a rougher side of town, who take down the creepy crawlies hiding in the city. They take money as best as they can, but work the daily grind to keep the bills paid (mostly).  When a well-to-do client comes along, they jump at the opportunity to play bodyguard for a few days. Unfortunately for them, something much more nefarious than the boogeyman is afoot, and the boys are launched into a part of the monster industry they didn’t even know existed.

Overall, the writing flows well and it is a good, albeit shallow, read. There are times I found myself genuinely laughing, but also times I found myself cringing at some of the bland writing. The main character describes himself to have a “punk” haircut, which I cannot fathom precisely what that may mean. The main character describes at least two women to be “hot”, with little description as to why. There is a fade-to-black sex scene, with little post-coitus followup. I may be spoiled by the many female writers that I read, but if you’re going to include a sex scene, use it.  An author friend of mine tells me it’s important to “show, not tell”, and I find this book doing a lot of telling. To give away a mild spoiler, Szandor’s brother uses a nickname that he hates, and that’s how he describes it- as a nickname he hates; with no explanation. Why does he hate that nickname? Was there an embarrassing story involved? An awkward teen obsession? What a wasted opportunity to deepen the character.

One of the things I do enjoy is that neither Szandor nor his brother seem to be the Dark Brooding Type. Not every character in monster-themed books need to carry their burdens in every sentence, and it’s refreshing seeing these guys just going about their lives, having the typical brotherly love that also involves wanting to throttle each other at times.

Despite a few missteps in the writing, I Kill Monsters is a light and easy read, great for anyone on their lunch break or riding on the train. I’ll look forward to reading more of Dennis Liggio’s work.

Overall, I give this read a 4/5 star rating.

4outof5


Barb2

Barbie O’Havoc has been considered a nerd since the first time she pissed someone off for having a weird opinion. Since then, she’s been spending her time indulging in the surprisingly expensive habits of reading trashy vampire novels and hitting people while playing roller derby. Both of her main hobbies have led to a love of terrible puns, much to everyone’s dismay.

Barbie O’ also loves coffee and local restaurants, and occasionally rambles about both on the Johnstown Food Blog.

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