The Darkwater Bride – Marty Ross [Books]

darkwater bride

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Audible Studios

Rating: starstarstarstar

Katrina believes her father to be a good man, honest and hard-working. He promises her he has to make one last business trip to London, and then he’ll never have to leave home again. But when his body is pulled from the Darkwater, Katrina travels to London to find out what exactly happened to her father.

This is another full cast audio production, and it works really well. The characters are fully fleshed out, emphasised by the voice actors, from the innocent Scottish Katrina to the maybe a little naive policeman Cully, to the gruff old detective and the various others who inhabit this world.

Katrina and Cully retrace her father’s footsteps, revealing to Katrina that she, ultimately, didn’t know her father at all. Overshadowing all this is the The Darkwater Bride, a mysterious figure mentioned in passing, who Katrina becomes convinced is tied directly to her father’s death.

Along with the characters, the story weaves in and out of various locations in London, with Cully forever insisting Katrina remain behind, and her determined to move ahead and confront exactly who her father was. I have to admit, this back and forth got a little tedious at times, a touch repetitive, but the voice actors dealt with it well and the interactions between the pair were still entertaining, even if we’d heard something similar shortly before.

It really was the voice acting that made this a 4 rather than 3 star. The story is good, but does get a little repetitive – characters go to dodgy places, discover Katrina’s father went to these places, find out he did something bad there. At times, Katrina comes off as too naive, and at others, so does Cully, whereas in other scenes we see the opposite.

The Darkwater Bride is definitely enjoyable, with the mystery of the bride building up, and there’s a lot in here about the way women are treated, what women must do to survive and the sort of thing they have to put up with to just keep going. The ending felt a bit forced, but overall this was a good production with a good cast, and an interesting story.

Penny Dreadful, Volume 1 [Books]

penny dreadful

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Titan Comics

Rating: starstarstar

I really liked the TV series Penny Dreadful. (Not the ending though, but I can’t remember the last time a TV show ending actually left me satisfied) Penny Dreadful is what a good The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen adaptation should look like. Vanessa, in particular, is a fantastic character throughout the series, and I was keen to check out the graphic novel that explored the events prior to the start of the TV show.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think this really added much, and felt more like rehashing what we’d been told within the show itself. The book is marked as ‘1’, but as far as I can tell it’s a standalone graphic novel, whereas there’s another series that continues on from the show itself, which I’d still be interested in checking out.

The artwork is beautiful and Vanessa looks exactly like Eva Green. However, a large amount of the artwork is obscured by darkness. It gives the same effect as trying to watch dark scenes on TV with the curtains wide open.

You can probably tell by now how much I adore graphic novels. And I suspect a glance over my Goodreads will show I give a majority of them 4 or 5 stars. It’s rare where I read one and get frustrated, or start thinking about the next one on my comics TBR before I’ve even finished what I’m reading.

With this, I found myself increasingly bored. There were some good moments, and it was interesting to get a proper look at Harker, but most of the time it felt like it was dragging on – perhaps because of the previously mentioned problem where it was actually difficult to see what was happening in different panels.

I feel like there were much better directions this could have gone, and overall although I sort of enjoyed reading it, it was a little disappointing. Like I said though, it hasn’t put me off checking out the other Penny Dreadful series, though I hope the scenes in the other one are easier to see.

Devolution – Max Brooks [Books]

devolutionFirstly, thank you to Cornerstone for providing me a copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

After Mount Rainier erupts,  the assumption is the secluded community Greenloop will, like similar places, be self-sufficient enough to survive. But when rescuers do reach it, they discover the site of a massacre, and Kate Holland’s journal provides the clues as to what actually happened.

The journal also provides a first hand account of what the residents of Greenloop fought against in their final days, and could be the key to unlocking the biggest find of the century. Max Brooks uses his talent to provide Kate’s account, alongside interviews with her brother, and a ranger, one of the first people on site, with extracts containing more relevant information about the characters and mysterious half-ape half-men creatures they encountered.

Max Brooks gives us this first hand account of life in a ‘smart’ community, where groceries are delivered by drone and smart-van, and everything is controlled by an app on your phone. Through Katie’s account, we see how quick technology can let us down where we really need it. This could have been a horror tale without the Bigfoot creatures terrorising Greenloop, an isolated community cut off from the rest of the world by natural disaster, but the addition of the creatures really adds that extra punch.

Throughout the story, it’s not just the external horrors explored. Kate and her husband, Dan, are looking to reconcile their rocky relationship. Around them are an interesting cast of characters, some likable (Mostar was a particular favourite), some not so much, and even though the impressions we get are purely through Kate’s eyes, there’s enough room for the reader to really make up their own minds on the characters.

Brooks also touches upon mental health, particularly through Kate and Dan who both seem to be dealing with their own forms of depression, and are unable to help one another. It’s sad, really, because they clearly care deeply for each other, but there’s a gulf between them at the start, which they both make that little bit bigger.

Through the other characters, Brooks also explores trauma, focused especially on Mostar, who Kate doesn’t know what to think of at first. But it’s obvious to the reader there is more to her than Kate sees, and she becomes one of the most interesting characters in the novel.

Devolution shows what can happen when people become too reliant on technology for everything, when people venture into nature without actually respecting nature, and that’s without the introduction of the creatures. And the creatures really do leave a lasting impression, as Kate catches glimpses of them here and there before they are fully revealed.

I read World War Z a long time ago, and one thing that struck me was how much it read like a history book, how real and vivid it felt, as if the events portrayed had actually happened. I didn’t enjoy Devolution  as much as World War Z (due to personal preference for zombies, to be honest) but it had a similar feel, the complete and utter immersion in this world and the sense that these events are very much real.

The way this book unfolded was fascinating, with the human characters becoming that little bit more ‘feral’ as time went on, with the idea of civilisation shown to be frail, and reflecting how the people who seem the most put together might melt in a crisis, while those who seem most ‘frail’ can really shine. It’s a really solid book, completely engaging with characters you just don’t want to leave behind. Without a doubt, I highly recommend checking this out.

 

iZombie, Vol 1: Dead to the World [Books]

izombie

Once I’d finished reading this, I checked out the Netflix series. If you’ve only experienced either the series or the graphic novel, be aware – they are completely different. Even the names of the characters are changed – Gwen in the graphic novel, Olivia in the series. So far I’ve only seen two episodes of the show, and it is really good, but don’t go into it expecting an adaptation of the graphic novel, and don’t read the graphic novel expecting something similar to the show.

In the graphic novel, Gwen is a zombie. She needs to eat brains once per month to stop herself going full, mindless zombie. Luckily, she works as a gravedigger, giving her access to freshly buried bodies. But when she eats those brains, she gets flashes of the dead person’s life, often driving her to solve whatever unfinished business they had.

Assisting her, she has her best friend Ellie, a ghost, and the guy with a crush on her, a wereterrior called Scott/Spot. In this story, she discovers her latest dining experience died at a mysterious house, and she sets out to find out what happened.

I really liked this graphic novel. The art style matches wonderfully with the story, really capturing the ‘essence’, as such, of the characters, making Gwen look almost dead – but not so dead it’s obvious to others – and giving Ellie an almost ethereal feel, really giving the impression of a ghost.

The story, too, is intriguing, as we – and Gwen – try to piece together the dead man’s life and death, and how exactly the mysterious stranger is involved. It lays out the situation well, and does a fantastic job of presenting the relationships Gwen has with others.

And the friendships were something I really enjoyed. Gwen can’t really hang out with ‘living’ people, and she spends most of her time alone, but Ellie and Scott ensure she still has people she can turn to and trust, while both are still shown to have lives away from the main character.

By the end of volume one, we’re left with some elements tied up, and others remaining open, including a love interest for Gwen and the mystery surrounding the man who could be a possibly ally to her. It’s overall a really intriguing story, with great artwork, and I really hope I can read volume two sometime soon.

April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

April 2020 1JanuaryFebruaryMarch Part 1March Part 2

I am not doing great at getting these up in a timely way. Ah well. April was another month in which I finished a lot of books, which means this is going to be another two parter. April also saw me complete my 2020 Reading Goal, which was set at 50. I’ve now increased it to 75. And it seems May is a bit of a reading slump month for me. So far I’ve finished 5 books this month, which is still good for me but I doubt it’ll exceed the 18 I read in April.

Doctor Who, The Tenth Doctor Adventures, Volume 1

doctor who tenth doctor adventures

My Review

2020 is the year I started listening to audiobooks. After a rocky start with DisneyWar, I’ve found myself enjoying them a lot, especially full cast productions. The Tenth Doctor Adventures contains three stories starring my favourite doctor and Donna, who though not my favourite of the companions, is still one I really like. This audio production was absolutely great to listen to, and I look forward to checking out more in the future.

Dead Daughters – Tim Meyer

dead daughters

My Review

Poltergeist Press are an absolutely fantastic indie horror publisher, putting out great books. Dead Daughters was slightly more thriller than horror for me, but I still really enjoyed this one. It’s got an intriguing premise and interesting characters able to carry the reader through. Definitley worth checking out.

Cirque Des Freaks and Other Tales of Horror – Julián López

cirquwMy Review

I had really high hopes for this one, and unfortunately it didn’t match up. I go into more detail in my review, but these felt more like doomed love stories than actual horror. Not to mention the plot for one story is ripped straight out of the horror film Waxwork. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ horror anthologies, I recommend Black Rainbow instead.

The Devil’s City – Sara Tantlinger & Matt Corley

the devil's city

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

Talking to friends who have read this, The Devil’s City works much better as a companion to the game currently in production, rather than as a standalone novella. I didn’t really get on with it, but I can see the appeal for others. For me, it moved too fast and didn’t feel like it had enough space to breathe, but many horror lovers have throughly enjoyed it.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling

tales of beedleMy Review

I gave this a listen on Audible as it was a freebie. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it hadn’t been free anyway, but I was still glad I didn’t spend money/credits on it. The narration is great, with some fantastic actors involved, but parts of the book smack of self-righteousness. I read this originally at university, but returning to it now, I really wasn’t fussed.

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

vicious

My Review

I really liked this. Of course I did, it’s a Schwab novel, and I know I’m always getting interesting characters, intriguing plots and wonderful settings with Schwab’s books. Vicious asks what it really means to be a hero or a villain, and who actually decides who is who. If you’ve not checked this out, I cannot urge you enough to do so.

The Corpse Garden – S.H. Cooper

the corpse garden

My Review

I will shout this from the rooftops: S.H. Cooper is a bloody fantastic writer. Her short stories are excellent at combining heartbreak with horror, and reinforce an idea I will bang on and on about until someone tells me to shut up – horror is at its best when it is about love. If you haven’t checked out any of Cooper’s work, why not? For horror fans, there’s her two short story collections and the novella, The Festering Ones. If horror isn’t your thing or you also love YA Fantasy, go read The Knight’s Daughter.

Ghostland – Duncan Ralston

ghostland

My Review

Unfortunately I wasn’t really fussed on this one, and I absolutely love stories with multiple ghosts focused around an interesting setting. But this just read a bit superficial to me. There was no real character development, the book didn’t know if it wanted to be YA or Adult, and there wasn’t anything really new to it. It felt much like Jurassic Park with Ghosts. Which is an awesome premise, just not pulled off very well here.

Beauty – Sarah Pinborough

beauty

My Review

I already really miss this series. After reading all three, I can safely say this is a fantastic, interesting take on fairy tales, giving them modern twists while creating a new fantasy world around them. I really enjoyed all three books, but they definitely got better with each one. And I got through all three really quickly. This is a trilogy definitely worth checking out.

So there we have the first 9 books I read in April. Part Two coming as soon as possible!

Harrow Lake – Kat Ellis [WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour]

LJ-Rilhz

Goodreads Summary

Welcome to Harrow Lake.

Someone’s expecting you.

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and then there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her . . .

Review

Firstly, the characters. Well, the main character. I found Lola Nox to be interesting and engaging right from the start. A girl with a rich, famous father trying to keep her out of the spotlight, who seems to crave some sort of attention. She writes out her secrets, and hides them, something she was told to do by her mother.

Lola is clearly still suffering from her mother’s disappearance. Years before, her mother left her and her father, and since then, Nolan Nox has been very controlling over Lola’s life, which she puts down to his fear of losing her, too.  I cannot imagine how difficult it is for a character like Lola, who has to deal with her mother abandoning her as a child, then being sent to live with her grandmother – if temporarily – while her father is in hospital.

Lola’s conflicted feelings – about both her parents – come through really well. She wants to be with her dad, wants to be there to see he’s okay, but can’t even get through to him, and she’s dimly aware he’s done a lot to hold her back. She views her visit to Harrow Lake as an opportunity to get to know both her parents better, but she resists wearing her mother’s old clothes, instead picking out the costumes of the character she played in Nolan’s most popular film, filmed at Harrow Lake.

But as Lola explores the town, she starts to uncover something else, something dark and dangerous. From a new friend she learns the story of ‘Mr Jitters’, an entity believed to be haunting the town. She explores the old fairground, where she discovers a mural from the film, her mother’s image destroyed.  Lola is determined to find out exactly what is going on, driving her to some places she perhaps shouldn’t go.

Harrow Lake is YA Horror at its finest. There are trappings of YA – growing friendships, a possible love interest, a young woman trying to really find her place in the world – executed really well, alongside some wonderfully creepy horror moments. Mr Jitters is a terrifying entity. Lola’s discoveries deepen the town’s mysteries, and everything about Harrow Lake, including the people, is designed to put – and keep – the reader on edge.

As the mystery deepens, the number of unanswered questions increases, and Ellis really keeps the reader engaged without giving too much away, or making it feel like there is too much going on. It’s easy to see the town through Lola’s eyes, easy to follow her around and really picture the locations Ellis delves into. And it’s easy to connect with Lola, to really identify with her and want to see her emerge from this.

Throughout, Lola is confused and uncertain, trying to make sense of what different people want from her. and what she wants from life. Does her father want her home, or in Harrow Lake? Does her grandmother want her to replace her own missing daughter, and does the cute boy actually want to help Lola, or does he have other motivations?

Basically, I really enjoyed this book. It had some great, creepy horror moments, a fantastic cast of characters, and a thrilling, engaging plot that’ll definitely keep readers on their toes. It’s fast-paced without getting confusing, and I can easily imagine this being a really good gateway book to get teenager readers into horror.

harrow lake

The Author

Kat Ellis lives in North Wales with her husband and their two cats. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time watching every horror movie under the sun and exploring the picturesque views and creepy ruins of the Welsh countryside.

 

Ghostland – Duncan Ralston [Books]

ghostlandAfter a near-death experience, Ben is forced to readjust his life. Homeschooled, unable to do anything that could risk another heart attack, he has lost touch with his former best friend, Lillian. In turn, Lillian actively avoids anything that could risk her own life, scared so deeply from what happened to Ben. When the park Ghostland opens, Ben asks her to join him on opening day. Lillian does so, with her therapist as chaperone, and the three head for the attraction, but things take a deadly turn when the ghosts break free and wreck havoc.

It sounds like Jurassic Park with ghosts, and it essentially is. The author even admits as much at the end of the book. Although the core idea is intriguing, the execution falls a little flat. For the most part, the book feels convoluted, with too many different ideas vying for space. This is a world where science has discovered ghosts are real. Some people still question their existence, but it’s not made clear how widely this is accepted. The idea is also jammed in a little forcefully as the characters make their way to Ghostland, as if it was suddenly remembered that the reader needed to be aware of this before their arrival.

So ghosts are real…or are they? No one seems to question the technology used in Ghostland, considering they’re encouraged to wear AR headsets all day and can only see the ghosts using them. There were some interesting ideas here and it felt like a missed opportunity not to explore them a little more.

The book itself felt long, and to me it really started to drag. It read like a game, in that the characters were travelling along a set route, engaging with different enemies each escalating in difficultly, and the settings themselves added to that. I felt like I was reading Batman: Arkham Asylum, travelling through the different sections of the game to get to the big boss. The constant reference to the character’s gaming activities did nothing to help that comparison.

The characters…Ben and Lillian are verging on adulthood, and this event will likely push them into that realm quicker than they anticipate. Ben wants to be more involved with life, Lillian less, which should make for an interesting dynamic. Thing was, throughout the book neither of them seem to use the abilities the other praises them for, and every advancement they make it because of other people, rather than their own skills. Which is fine! If we weren’t constantly told how amazing they are, while seeing no evidence.

There’s also the matter of the AR goggles used – there were points when it seemed like they had been dropped or broken,  only for it to be mentioned a few chapters later that the characters had them and were wearing them. It got a bit frustrating.

Mainly, I enjoyed certain aspects of the book, but there were a lot of moments where I just kept wishing it would end – it stretched on for too long, read like a guide book for a video game without the enjoyment of actually playing one, and left unexplored the most interesting aspects of this world.

Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Work Publishing for providing an e-book in exchange for an honest review.

March 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

March 2020 1

January Wrap UpFebruary Wrap Up

I read 16 books in March. It was a very strange month – GP advised me to remain isolated for 2 weeks, which meant I missed the last two weeks of my workplace being open. There was then a gap where they didn’t know if we’d be able to work from home or not, and they decided from April 1st we would. So my reading time from March has disappeared. I doubt April’s wrap up will be a two-parter, but this one will have to be.

A Touch of Death – Rebecca Crunden

a touch of death

My Review

Crunden’s novel is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale set in a world ravaged by disease, where the rich are protected and the poor are stepped on, where one wrong step can result in someone being tortured or put to death. When the two main characters pick up a strange disease, the fear of infection ensures those in power won’t just let them escape. They run, searching for safety and, if possible, a cure. A fantastic story, I really enjoyed reading this one, though I am a little glad I finished it at the start of March instead of a bit later.

Generation X – Scott Lobdell

generation xMy Review

Generation X is essentially a X-Men graphic novel, but focusing on a new generation of heroes. It was an enjoyable, fun read, and I really enjoyed it, despite having very little knowledge of most of these characters. But it’s well worth a look.

Into the Drowning Deep – Mira Grant (Narrated by Christine Lakin)

into the drowning deepMy Review

I’m relatively new to audiobooks, but I’m a longtime listener of podcasts, so it wasn’t that hard to start listening to these. That said, the other audiobook I finished in March I didn’t find to be that great. Into the Drowning Deep, on the other hand, is a brilliant sea-based horror, and the narration for this was fantastic. It proved to be completely and utterly engaging. Definitely worth checking out.

The Corruption of Alston House – John Quick

alston houseMy Review

If you’re interested in horror, you definitely need to be paying attention to Silver Shamrock. These publishers are consistently putting out fantastic horror novels, ranging from haunted house tales like Alston House, to more thriller based stories, to tales about creepy cults. Alston House is a really good story about a woman who moves into the place after a divorce. She’s looking to start a new life, and like many haunted house stories, she finds she gets more than she bargained for. Quick really created an intriguing, gripping tale here, and it’s well worth a read.

The Fourth Whore – E.V. Knight

the fourth whoreMy Review

With a title like The Fourth Whore, you know this book has something to say. And damn, it did not disappoint. This is E.V. Knight’s debut novel, and it is powerful. It’s a gory, violent, feminist tale, tackling the story of Lilith through the eyes of a young woman struggling to make something of her life. We’re currently only in April, and I can already see this as one of my top books of 2020.

Poison – Sarah Pinborough

poisonMy Review

Poison is a retelling of the story of Snow White, and Pinborough masterfully takes the original story, sprinkles elements from other fairy tales, and creates something that feels new and fresh. I’m currently on the third book of the series, and honestly, these books get better with every installment. I’m going to be sad when I finish Beauty, the third and final book.

Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties – Tony Knighton

happy houtMy Review

This was a collection of crime/noir stories I wasn’t really fussed on, but it would be impossible to love every book I read. There was one standout from this book I really liked, a story with more of a sci-fi bent.

Shallow Waters, Volume 1 – Edited by Joe Mynhardt

shallow waters vol 1My Review

Shallow Waters is a series of flash fiction anthologies from Crystal Lake Publishing, and the books contain some brilliant stories. Volume 1 was a great, interesting read, and if you like horror flash fiction, I definitely recommend picking this one up.

So there we have the 8 books for Part 1! Have you read any of these? Any books you read in March you really enjoyed? Look out for part 2, coming soon.

Into the Drowning Deep – Mira Grant [Books]

into the drowning deepI’m still relatively new to audiobooks. During February, I tried to only start books written by women. I picked up Into the Drowning Deep as I was looking specifically for horror titles, and this seemed a good choice on Audible.

I was not wrong.

Into the Drowning Deep tells the story of a group of scientists, searching for mermaids. Prior to the events of this book, another ship had searched for the same, mysterious creatures, only for the ship to disappear along with everyone on board. All that remains is footage of what looks like a mermaid, attacking those involved.

Victoria Stewart’s sister was on board the ship, and she searches for some way to make sense of what happened. When she’s approached and offered a chance to join the new voyage, she takes the chance.

Christine Lakin, the narrator for this, did an absolutely fantastic job. Audiobooks are not something I’m used to, but Lakin really did well to bring every character to life in the dialogue.

The atmosphere builds up really well, and it becomes easy to imagine the main setting of the novel, the huge cruise ship full of scientists and models-dressed-as-security. The real nature of the company behind both ventures is clear, but the individual characters all have their own motives and desires, threaded throughout the story and driving them forward.

Whether it’s searching for answers, validating their life’s work, or just being part of something amazing, each character is fully realised, drawing the reader in and allowing them to understand even the most minor characters.

The book really shines in the second half. Like most good horror, after we’ve met the characters and formed a relationship with them, the fun really begins, and Grant doesn’t hold back, teasing us with her use of tension and buildup of suspense.

I’m really glad I listened to the audiobook for this one, as Lakin really adds that extra punch to the story, and was easy to get absolutely lost in the story. If you’re looking for creepy, sea-based horror – with an interesting, diverse cast of characters – this is definitely one to check out.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume Two – Alan Moore [Books]

league vol 2It took me a long time to get around to reading The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and now I’m two volumes in I feel deeply invested in this mash of classic genre characters. For those who aren’t aware, the first volume introduces us to the core group of characters, pulled from works like Dracula, The Invisible Man, and Jekyll & Hyde.

If you’ve seen the 2003 film, you might have some idea of the characters encountered, but honestly from what I can remember of that film, it’s really not a great adaptation. If you want something a touch closer to the tone, style, and characterisation found within the graphic novel, Penny Dreadful is a much better choice.

The group is made up of Mina Murray, Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Hawley Griffin, and Henry Jekyll. Other characters from classic genre fiction are pulled in to serve various purposes, and the second volume follows the core characters as they battle against an invasion force from Mars.

This volume feels a bit darker than the first. From the moment we meet Griffin in the first volume, we know he’s a POS, a fact which is emphasised and really comes to play in this volume. From what I can remember of the first, the plot mainly revolves around gathering the League, and a plot against London. In this volume, the threat feels larger.

Not only that, but we get to see more of the characters, good and bad sides, as they are separated in order to find a way to end the war. Mina isn’t perhaps as formidable and powerful as she feels in the first volume, but the events that transpire almost push her to breaking point – and, fair warning, there are some graphic scenes regarding this. Not to mention each character feels as if their death is waiting, very close with the Martians seemingly unstoppable attacks.

This feels like a fitting sequel to the first volume, and pushes the events along nicely, leaving the reader with the sense of time passing as the century comes to a close.

There was one element I wasn’t too fussed on. At the end of the first volume is a story, giving the reader an idea of what Quartermain had been up to, prior to the events of the graphic novel. It was entertaining and interesting. At the back of this volume is a sort of traveller’s guide to interesting places around the world, mixed in with some glimpses as to what the League members might have got up to, both before and after the events in both volume one and volume two.

And it dragged. There are some interesting nods there to other classical works – such as a group going down a rabbit hole after a young girl disappeared, only to reappear sprouting nonsense about a strange land. The guide is worldwide, but it felt like it was too much information relayed in a really dry way.

The best parts of the guide were, without a doubt, the moments we dropped back in with Murray and Quartermain. Where we got to witness what happened to them after leaving London, and I suspect these were designed to plant the seed for the next volume in the series.

Overall, I think if you’re already read and enjoyed Volume One, Volume Two is worth picking up. It adds to the characters, and it has some brilliant references to other works that’ll make readers smile, as well as the interesting take on War of the Worlds.