Widdershins Book Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Continuing with my m/m romance streak, I decided to give the Whyborne & Griffin series a shot based on the recommendation of a fandom friend. Widdershins is quite the genre blender – an m/m historical fantasy/horror novel set in late Victorian New England. It stars Percival Endicott Whyborne, a reclusive scholar, and Griffin Flaherty, an ex-Pinkerton detective who now works as a private investigator.

The two meet when Griffin asks Whyborne, a comparative philologist, for his help in deciphering a coded book sent to his client by the client’s son, shortly before the son was brutally murdered. Whyborne soon realizes that it’s a book of spells… and that the spells work! From there, the two are drawn into a terrifying world of secret societies and dark sorcery.

To be honest, I dislike secret society plots as a rule, so I was skeptical about how much I’d like the book before reading it, but I did end up really enjoying it. Jordan Hawk did a great job building up the dark and creepy atmosphere of Whyborne’s hometown of Widdershins, MA, to the point that the setting is like a separate character, and the Lovecraftian monsters and eldritch abominations were grotesque and genuinely frightening. As a certified wimp, I’m a little surprised one scene in particular hasn’t given me nightmares.

The characterization was also really well done, especially Whyborne. In addition to being shy and reclusive, the man also has a severe case of social anxiety and very low self esteem. I wonder if his interior monologue might be a little annoying for someone who doesn’t suffer from either condition, but speaking as someone with a (thankfully milder) case of both: yes, that is exactly what social anxiety sounds like internally. I wanted to give the poor man a hug and a copy of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (which really helped me with mine) but unfortunately neither I nor the book are going to exist for another hundred years or so.

The romance was a nice slow burn. I didn’t think the UST was as delicious as it was in my favorite m/m romances to date – The Captive Prince and Think of England – but I liked Whyborne and Griffin as a couple quite a lot and the sex scenes were well-written and hot.

Also, major kudos for an awesome female character: Dr. Christine Putnam, a female archaeologist and Whyborne’s co-worker and friend. Her interactions with Whyborne, Griffin, and the sexist Bradley were always entertaining and she’s a great character in her own right as well. I kind of want an Amelia Peabody crossover with her.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Edit: I have now finished the rest of the series as well, and enjoyed all of them. They continue to feature the same gift for creepy atmospherics and great characterization. It has also been pleasant to see Whyborne’s relationship with Griffin and growing magical abilities slowly build his confidence and reduce his anxiety. I definitely recommend this series. The rest of the books are:

  • Threshold (book 2) – Whyborne, Griffin, and Christine investigate a coal mine in West Virginia that has been plagued by mysterious disappearances and other strange events
  • Stormhaven (book 3) – One of Whyborne’s co-workers is arrested for the murder of his uncle, a murder he has no memory of committing. I was worried about how much I’d like this one, because it’s got ANOTHER secret society, plus prophetic dreams, a trope I like even less than secret societies. But while it wasn’t my favorite of the series, I did enjoy it. It’s also got a kraken in it, and it’s hard to go wrong with krakens. 🙂
  • Necropolis (book 4) – An urgent plea for help from Christine sends Whyborne and Griffin to Egypt. This book made me want an Amelia Peabody crossover even more.
  • Bloodline (book 5) – Whyborne’s sister comes home from England for a visit, and is promptly murdered. Lots of interesting new information about Whyborne’s family here – I look forward to seeing how it affects future books.

Book 6 will be entitled Hoarfrost, and is due to be released sometime in 2015. The series also includes several short stories, including Eidolon.

Anaconda Movie Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Some movies are so bad they’re good. Anaconda is not one of them. In fact, it’s a pretty strong contender for the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

My rating: 1 Stars (1 / 5)

[Read more…]

Supernatural Season 3 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

While I appreciated that Kripke and the writers didn’t allow the Yellow Eyed Demon storyline to drag on and on, it left them without such a strong arc and much of season three seemed to be grasping at straws trying to fill in the gap. On top of that, the Writer’s Strike forced the season to be shortened (16 episodes instead of the usual 22), leading to the compression of several storylines, inconsistent characterization and plotting, and inadequate payoff at the end of the season. Thus, I consider season three to be the weakest of the first three seasons, even though many individual episodes are actually quite good. (I’ve starred the good ones below for your convenience.)

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

[Read more…]

Supernatural Season 2 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Season 2 of Supernatural was stronger and more consistent than season 1 while continuing the first season’s strengths.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

[Read more…]

Supernatural Season 1 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Horror isn’t usually my thing, but so many of my friends were falling head over heels for this show, I decided to give it a shot, and found it much more enjoyable than I expected.

Supernatural follows a pair of brothers on a cross country road trip looking for their missing father, stopping to hunt supernatural baddies of various sorts along the way. The monster of the week plots are generally entertaining, but the real draw of the show for me was the first class family drama. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have great chemistry together as brothers Dean and Sam Winchester. I also enjoyed the show’s soundtrack of classic rock, the focus on small town and rural backroads America (my America) rather than big city locales like New York and LA, and, of course, the eye candy.

My rating:3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

[Read more…]