Friday, April 14, 2017

Book review: Mason Dixon: Monster Hunter By Eric R. Asher

"Mason Dixon: Monster Hunter" is the latest addition to Eric R. Asher's body of work. This book is actually a novella written for young adults. It introduces us to Mason Dixon, host of a web series, called "Cryptid Hunter".  What his viewers fail to realize is there are no special effects on his show...unless you count the ones where the video is purposely fuzzy to obscure the fact that there are plenty of monsters alive and well in the rolling hills of Missouri.

This book should please any  urban fantasy fan. Mason hunts monsters to try to save them from being revealed to a society who is unaware that the things that go bump in the night are real. His goal is to save the monsters from extinction. In his quest, he is aided by Emma (his right hand), Himari ( a techie who is enthralled with cryptids), Noah, his handler, and Larry, the owner of a orchard which is really a cryptid preserve. Mason makes it clear to all that he does not kill a monster unless they are killers.

Eric fills this novella with a blend of action, humor and of course the things that go bump in the night that dwell in the rolling hills and hollers of the Ozarks. He introduced me to many new monsters. While I remember Momo (short for Missouri Monster), I had never heard of a gowrow, jimplicute, Ozark howler or a snawfus until this book.
His best character (other than Mason) is Sonny. I had to smile while I read about Mason meeting Sonny...a tech savvy Sasquatch. Mason and Sonny's bonding while drinking Larry's moonshine was a true laugh out loud moment for me.

The only thing that bothered me about the book was the way it opened during one of Mason's cryptid's hunts. I would have liked a little backstory filled in such as how did Mason become a monster hunter in the first place, how he was recruited by the church to be a hunter, how he met Noah, and most importantly...why did his parents name him Mason Dixon?

If you like the urban fantasy genre, I recommend "Mason Dixon: Monster Hunter".

Book Review: "Rattle the Bones" by Eric Asher

"Rattle the Bones" is Eric R. Asher's sixth book to feature the necromancer, Damian Vesik, and his cohorts. It is an action filled romp filled with heroic characters, necromancy, supernatural creatures and maybe...a chimichanga or two.
Rattle the Bones (Book 6)

Eric has the ability to captivate the reader with a compelling plot, a myriad of supernatural characters (both good and evil), and fantastic battle scenes filled with blood and gore. His characters are unique. I love it when Aeros or Happy make an appearance. Mix in his sometimes dark sometimes snarky sense of humor and the reader is left with a deep sense of satisfaction.

"Rattle the Bones" continues Vesik's battle against Gwynn Ap Nudd, the Fae king, and his dark-touched. Vesik and his allies face their biggest challenge to date in a thoroughly enjoyable read.

While I enjoyed, the book immensely, it is not without its flaws. Flaws might be too strong a term...Eric might have crossed the boundaries into a few of my pet peeves. Here they are:
  • It is a continuing saga. Each book in the Vesik series builds on each other. Just once I'd like the story line to end so a new one can begin. 
  • Since it's a continuing saga, I don't always remember what has gone on before. A synopsis or foreword to remind the reader of what has gone on before would be greatly appreciated.
  • Cast of thousands in each book. It seems like every character that has appeared in his previous books are always included. Sometimes the dead should stay buried...even though we are dealing with a powerful necromancer.
  • Sometimes it seems like authors like to use profanity for profanity's sake. I know the common trend/reason is it adds realism to a story. I read to escape the real world. I don't need profanity to bring me back into the real world. However, it doesn't bother me if it makes sense in the situation. It did bother me immensely when Vesik proclaims "I trained with Leviticus Aureus". I hate it when the F word becomes someone's middle name.
I admit I'm a dinosaur. A teacher once told a group of us when I was much younger that "Profanity is the language of the inarticulate." It has stuck in my mind all these many years...For what it's worth, I pass it on to my nephew...Eric R. Asher.
Despite, my pet peeves "Rattle the Bones" is a solid book. While it could be read as a standalone,  I would strongly suggest that the reader start with the earlier works. It would help to understand both the story line and help to establish the characters in your mind.