“The Twelve” by Justin Cronin (Ballantine Books, 2012) [BOOKBANTER BOOK REVIEW #700]


It is finally here: the anxiously awaited sequel to the bestselling The Passage.  Justin Cronin does a great job of not just presenting a number of different situations of survival in his post-apocalyptic world, but also goes back to pre-apocalypse times with some pivotal characters, exploring the roles they will play in this story.

In the present day, there are three characters who will play an important position in this world’s future: Lila, a doctor who is pregnant and due soon, even as the world is falling apart around her; a man known as the “Last Stand in Denver” who has been blogging and reporting about what is really happening; and April, a teenager fighting to keep both herself and her brother alive.  Then we cut to the post-apocalyptic world of groups trying to survive against these horrific vampires; the night is now a terrifying time.  But one little girl, Amy, has the hopes of many, and the ability to forge forward and give this world a chance.

While The Twelve at times becomes somewhat predictable, like many other dystopian books, it still takes one to interesting and new places, with its unusual characters, keeping one hooked until the end.

Originally written on December 4, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Twelve from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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The Passage

“The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Books, 2012)

Emperor's Soul

In another release from bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Emperor’s Soul, he takes the concept of forgery to a whole new level, blending a world of magic and fantasy with something quite simple.

Shai was caught trying to replace the Moon Scepter with a forgery and now she’s a prisoner.  Her ability is she can forge just about anything, whether a work of art, a vase, or even a wall.  The key is to make the forging stamps as detailed and perfect as possible, then the forged object will look exactly as it is supposed to.  Her most prized possessions are her soul stones that when stamped upon her will change the person she is to a warrior, merchant, or whoever she wants to be.  But her prisoners have a job for her freedom: Emperor Ashravan was almost killed by an assassin and has been left without consciousness.  Shai must forge a soul for him so he will once again be the emperor.

The Emperor’s Soul is a great example of riveting story and enthralling fantasy, a perfect example of why Sanderson is one of our best fantasy writers writing today.

Originally written on December 4, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Emperor’s Soul from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

BOOK REPORT: Book News for the Week of December 23rd

Book Report

This is Why We Need Bookstores 
The picture says it all.

The Robert Jordan Story 
A fan-made video on the story of Robert Jordan.

Investigation Kindled by Amazon’s Chinese E-Store Launch 
Amazon is being investigated in China after their e-store launch was not done with a correct license to sell ebooks.

Top 10 Bestselling Books of 2012 
Amazon has released its top ten bestselling books of 2012.


“Penny Arcade Volume 8: Magical Kids in Danger” by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (Oni Press, 2012)

Penny Arcade 8

The dynamic duo that is Penny Arcade are back once again with the next collection of their both brilliant and hilarious web comic. Magical Kids in Danger collects all the strips from 2007, featuring an introduction by Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games, as well as Mike Krahulik’s development artwork for the cover.

As in previous volumes, writer Jerry Holkins adds commentary, thoughts and opinions to each strip, trying to work out the concept behind it, or what the thinking was, or in some cases is brutally honest and says he has no clue what they were planning at the time. Readers get to see some of the big happenings in the video gaming world through the lens of Penny Arcade, such as the sacred arrival of the Playstation 3, and more intelligent ridiculing of game companies who profess to know what video gamers are thinking and actually want. Some beloved characters of the comic strip also make their appearances, so readers will not be disappointed with this new volume that, after being read, needs to go on the shelf right next to volumes one through seven.

Originally written on December 4, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Penny Arcade 8: Magical Kids in Danger from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

Be Good Little Puppy  The Halls Below  The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade

“Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales” by Yoko Ogawa (Picador, 2013)


For Haruki Murakami fans who enjoy his unique blend of the dark and bizarre, Yoko Ogawa is definitely an author you’ll want to check out.  Revenge, a collection of eleven of her short stories, reveals that this is a genre of Japanese literature that will grab you with its claws and suck you in.

A young nurse in love with a brilliant surgeon threatens to kill him if he does not leave his wife.  A writer living in a strange apartment block learns that the landlady is a murderer.  In the most moving tale of the collection, a woman with the unique condition that her heart is on the outside of her body needs a special bag to contain and protect it; a unique bag tailor must create the perfect vessel for it and becomes obsessed with the project.

Each of the stories in this collection becomes linked with the next, whether through a minor detail, a character, or a related event, stringing the collection together into a beautiful and dark web.  While a short read, readers will nevertheless be spirited away with these creepy, unforgettable tales.

Originally written on December 4, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Revenge from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

BOOK NEWS: Book Report for the Week of December 17th

Book Report

Sacramento Book Review Best Books of 2012 
The reviewers voted on their top reads for 2012.

Hollywood’s Most Powerful Authors 
Find out where the top 25 authors rank in Hollywood.

Facebook’s Top Reads of the Year 
Find out what was read the most in 2012 according to Facebook.

EU Antitrust Probe 
An European Union Antitrust probe into Apple and four big publishers has reached a settlement.


“Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012)

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

For any fan of books and reading, it sounds like a dream come true: a twenty-four hour bookstore, where you can show up anytime and be willingly accepted to browse the stacks and be surrounded by thousands of books and breathe in the literary scents.  But then there are some weird things going on at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore during the early hours of the morning, as well as some very strange characters coming in.

Clay Jannon is unemployed and looking for anything that will bring in some money, after being dumped out of the web-design world with the tough recession; and it ain’t cheap living in San Francisco.  And then one day he sees the help wanted sign at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.  After having the interview and experimenting with going up the ladders that stretch high up the stacks of the three-story tall bookstore, he gets the job.  He works the nightshift from 10PM until 6AM, where Mr. Penumbra greets him in the early morning.  It seems like an easy job for okay pay, since there are hardly ever any customers.  At the front of the store is a small selection of regular selling books, but most of the store is taken up by unique and strange books all written in code.  Occasionally Clay gets customers coming into the story in the early hours of the morning, returning a book and borrowing a new one.  His job is to record the details and condition of these strange people in the great bookstore log.

As the story progresses, the curiosity grows and grows, for both Clay and the reader, wanting to know who these people are, what these coded books are all about, and what exactly it all means.  Clay wonders how a bookstore like this even stays in business.  And as he begins to dig deeper and deeper, he opens up the mystery and learns answers that lead to more questions and more curiosity.  The bookstore appears to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Robin Sloan’s debut novel plays well on the enjoyment of the reader, as well as slowly unraveling the mystery, in addition to taking the reader around San Francisco and into the heart of the Googleplex, and then across the country and back in time through a hidden history, all on the subject of books and their meaning.  Readers will be hooked with Sloan’s easy reading style and curious tale until the very end.

Originally written on November 10, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.