Tag Archives: anti-hero

ROGERS PARK – Reluctant Anti-hero Saves Himself

rp_rogers-park-cover-201x300.jpgAn absent father. A murder. A witness. A romance. These are the events that define AP English teacher Brian Casey’s life. After having a bag of trash dropped on his head in a Rogers Park alley, Brian meets Rachel and her grandmother. Brian and Rachel strike up a romance and all seems well, but Brian is battling a pill addiction. When he wonders, high, onto the pier and witnesses a murder, Brian’s life is turned upside down.

Mark Pople‘s Rogers Park had me from the first page. The story is quick-paced with plenty of twists that kept me questioning the connections until the very end. Pople’s characters are complex and believable, as is his dialogue, which keeps the reader turning pages. Brian Casey, Pople’s antagonist, starts out a mild-mannered school teacher and transforms into a reluctant anti-hero, saving the lives of those around him out of necessity, rather than out of a sense of nobility. In a world of millennials and Gen Xers fraught with self-absorption, Casey is forced from his comfort zone through circumstance of events. Is it wrong to say that part of the enjoyment while reading was watching him squirm in discomfort at his situation?

Rogers Park is one of the best books I’ve read this year. With a tone leaning toward the literary, realistic characters, and a fast-moving plot, Pople has constructed a contemporary story about overcoming regret and loss in modern-day Chicago, that won’t disappoint.

Mamabear gives this book:

five-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dexter Meets Game of Thrones

blade of destroyer coverIn Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I (Volume 1) by Andy Peloquin, the Hunter is an nameless hunter of many faces with one directive – to hunt and kill his prey. His one faithful companion is Soulhunger, a dagger with supernatural powers, urging him to kill. The Hunter is an immortal with no memory, no match, no family ties; the perfect assassin. But when he becomes entangled with The Bloody Hand and the Dark Heresy, he may have met his match. Before he knows it, the Hunter has become the hunted, and long lost memories roil to the surface. Will the Hunter live to kill another day?

I have to admit fantasy’s not usually my favourite genre, but Peloquin’s nudged me one step more toward it. Blade of the Destroyer had me hooked from the first pages, probably because I like the idea of telling the story from the point of view of an anti-hero, hence the comparison to Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter. As an author, I found creative satisfaction in the notion of alchemical masks, made of a clay that molds to one’s face and which cannot be identified as false face.  Just when you think the narrator must be the most heinous person on earth, Peloquin introduces some even more villainous than the villain, and the reader begins to wonder if the Hunter is strong enough to survive, not just one, but five foes that make up the order of The Bloody Hand.

In Blade of the Destroyer, Peloquin sets up a flawless, medieval world (hence the comparison to Game of Thrones), centring on the city of Voramis and stretching beyond.  The Hunter is more than a mindless killing machine. Rather, he is a living, breathing person to be pitied, for he is all alone in this world. If not done with care, writing the mind of a killer could be off-putting. Instead, Peloquin has created a creature that, in spite of his career choice (which may be more ordained than chosen), evokes pathos in the reader. Congratulations to Peloquin for his creation.

Mamabear gives this book

five-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Dexter’s Final Cut

DextersfinalcutMy love for the Dexter television series is eclipsed only by my love for the Dexter series of books by Jeff Lindsay, on which the tv series is based. I’m sure most people will agree that (unlike the finale of Breaking Bad) there was something unsatisfying about Dexter tv’s finale. This novel has the same impact.

Dexter’s Final Cut sees anti-hero Dexter Morgan and sister Deborah Morgan consulting with television stars on a CSI-type television show. Though Dexter is saddled with watching the male star, Robert, he is drawn to female star, Jackie, like he’s never been drawn to anyone before, including wife, Rita. When a series of brutal murders are linked to Jackie’s stalker, Dexter does double-duty as Jackie’s body guard. It is there he becomes intoxicated by the Hollywood lifestyle Jackie has to offer.

Much of what drew me into Lindsay’s previous six novels was the cat and mouse play of Dexter and his prey, and his constant struggle keeping a leash on his “dark passenger”, both of which there is little of here. Most of the story focusses on the Dexter-Jackie connection, which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Dexter’s married. When you read Dexter, you know what you sign on for–a murder mystery narrated by murderer, anti-hero Dexter. This is not that. Dexter kills once, quickly, not according to his modus operandi, which is unsatisfying, to say the least. While there is killing near the climax, none of it is by Dexter’s hand, which is equally unfulfilling. Lindsay’s narrative is on the money most of the time, keeping the ball and some of the suspense rolling, though while the ups are high, the lows are so low they border on the boring. I won’t say this episode of Dexter is enough to turn me off of Lindsay’s series; I just hope that–if there are more instalments–he will return to his original mode of story-telling, that of cat Dexter, playing with his mouse-bad-guy prey, expending any remaining energy on keeping Dexter’s dastardly deeds secret.

Mamabear gives this book

four-bears