Review: The Demonologist ~ Andrew Pyper

DemonologistProfessor David Ullman’s expertise in the literature of the demonic—notably Milton’s Paradise Lost—has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.

One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.

What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed—a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.

3 Thumbs-UpThis is a strange book, not because of content, but because of the way in which the Author chose to write both the storyline and develop the character of the main protagonist.  The story is told through the words of the main character, and the settings in which the storyline takes places are experienced by the reader through the eyes of this character.  One trait the reader learns early on in the novel this character possesses is that of melancholy, and it is this trait that saturates every word, action and observation the main lead takes. This trait has a habit of making the book move at a much slower pace than I would have expected from a topic such as this, but it also serves the purpose of making the reader take time as they progress through the pages to ensure they don’t miss the meanings of anything covered.

The European location is very well written, and after having spent some time here as I could picture the twists and turns that were taken in this city.  The Author obviously thought long and hard when writing his book as to which location would serve as the best setting for this portion of their work; by choosing this one I felt they had done an outstanding job, as it lends itself perfectly to this type of storyline.  It is apparent from some sections of the book too, that the Author did a great deal of research in Milton’s Paradise Lost, and comes up with some very well-educated explanations for some of the verses which really added another dimension to this book.

Although I did enjoy this book, I found after a while the way in which it was written was becoming depressing and, although this may not detract from some readers enjoyment of this novel, I felt like it kept me from liking this read more than I did.  I applaud the way in which the Author tackled the topics covered in this novel, but I don’t think I will be reading anymore of their work as their writing style really isn’t for me.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoyed The Historian and also lovers of the Supernatural/Paranormal genre.

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Review: Halls of Ivy: Pathfinder (Halls of Ivy, #2) ~ Roland Nuñez

Halls of IvyFollowing last year’s suicide scandals, Sun Valley University is finally taking its first steps to recovery.

Cheyenne Winters, now suspicious of the university administration, returns to Sun Valley to find out what other secrets it hides. She gets involved in a budget war between the university’s faculty and staff that surfaces a larger conspiracy involving everyone on campus.

Enlisting the help of science professor Steven Garcia, Cheyenne endeavors to put an end to the lies once and for all. That is, unless Steven’s own secrets get in the way.

Told through intertwining stories of Cheyenne and her students, Pathfinder continues the university thriller series chronicling Sun Valley University’s downfall.

4 Thumbs-Up

This book is the second book in a series of four, Halls of Ivy, and continues following the students and faculty the reader was introduced to in the first novel, Halls of Ivy.  This book does not have to be read as part of the series, as the Author thoughtfully included the biographies of all the characters from the first book, making it a good stand-alone read.  However, to truly grasp all the nuances it would be advised to read book one first.

In this novel the reader follows the students they met in book one as they advance into their second year of university and, as there are two more novels to come we can be sure that we will be seeing them again as the reader follows them through to the end of their studies.   Also the Author has included several sub plots that provide enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes, and also give us an insight into the fact that academia may not be the peaceful vocation some imagine it to be.  This serves to make the book more readable, as opposed to the dissertation style writing that was encountered in the first novel.

As in the first book, the Author has continued telling the events taking place through the use of biographies and transcripts of interviews that the main female lead conducts with numerous college students this provides a good continuation from the first novel and makes the reader feel at ease and familiar with the characters, although to add a nice twist and some extra depth to these characters there are a few revelations that appear regarding them.  Again there is not any really deep character developments, but  the foundations of the back story and interesting character traits for the female lead, that were laid in book one are continued in this installment of the series.

I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I did the first in the series, and was pleased to see that the Author’s writing style had developed considerably; I would recommend this book to lovers of the mystery genre, and those looking for a good but thoughtfully written read.

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Review: Halls of Ivy (Halls of Ivy, #1) ~ Roland Nuñez

HallsIt began with the suicides. They’re calling it the crisis of Sun Valley University, and all the blame lies on one doctoral student.

Cheyenne Winters went too far. She was only there to conduct research for her dissertation, but three student suicides that occurred shortly before she arrived piqued her interest. Her interviews with twenty-one freshmen revealed that the suicides were not only related, but the university administration had been covering them up.

Now Cheyenne is involved in a major conspiracy threatening her own future and the lives of the students she came to study.

3 Thumbs-Up

This book is the first in a series, Halls of Ivy, and centres around campus life.

I’ve never read a fiction book written quite like this one.  Opening with a prologue the Author compels the reader to continue reading to discover how we came to this point, and in that respect it is well written and, at the same time, very deceptive as it promises more than it actually delivers.

It is composed of, what can only be described as biographies and transcripts of interviews the main female lead conducts with numerous college students; a third person narrative from the lead character and various students, all combining to make it seem more like reading a dissertation with a plot woven in, rather than an actual novel.  Because of the way it is written, it did not have any deep character development, although the Author took steps to start placing the foundations of a back story and interesting character traits for the female lead, in preparation for future books in this series that she might appear in.  One flaw the reader soon discovers about the lead is their way of narrating events, she does it in a very disconnected, concise and clinical way, almost as if she is continually giving evidence throughout this books pages.  As to the rest of the characters, there are lots of them as can be expected in a campus life book, they all have generally small parts in the telling of the story and this leads to the reader not being able to really connect with any of them although, as in real life, there are some we like and some we just can’t warm to.

Location descriptions for Florida are very good, even down to the general complaint about the weather, but apart from that there was nothing in this book that really made it stand out in my mind and made me feel as if I were there observing the storyline unfold.

The idea behind this novel is very good, and taking place as it does on campus, it provides the Author with plenty of material for upcoming books in this series.  This is a great little mystery book and fits very comfortably in that genre, so I am recommending it to those who are lovers of a good mystery and like to figure things out.

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