Book Reviews: The Devils Whispers by Lucas Hault

I was very kindly sent this book by the publisher TCK Publishing.

Here is a link to their website and a link to purchase the book on Amazon

A famous Lawyer Gerard Woodward is requested to visit Lord Mathers to discuss his final affairs as he lays upon his deathbed.

This professional visit quickly becomes a nightmare when Gerard notices odd behaviours around the castle, he is locked in his room every night and is forbidden to explore without supervision.

After climbing across the castle walls from his window Gerard finds access into the castle and soon realises that he has been trapped amongst some of the most despicable and evil creatures he has ever come across.

These creatures are called Xana and originated from Asturian Mythology and often disguise themselves as a woman to lure in lonely young men.

This book is very heavily inspired by Dracula and has a lot of similarities it begins in a castle with the protagonist, a professional man trying to sort out legal affairs and in both books this protagonist soon realises the sinister activities that are at play.

In Dracula the vampire cannot stand garlic and in this book the Xana cannot stand onions, both stories also use diary entries to tell the story from the perspective of various people.

In light of the author this diary style is a lot harder to write than you would expect, it takes a lot more planning than a standard book due to the fact of having to focus on various writers you need to change styles in order to fit said person and their perspective of events. Also making sure that everything that is written makes sense while always ensuring that you can consistently switch narratives without getting mixed up or lost in your own explanations and story telling.

Lucas Hault actually writes these diary entries really well, it was actually quite nice to read another book in this style as I think a lot of authors are intimidated by it, personally I haven’t read a book like this since Dracula so I appreciated to go back to this style and to see it written so well.

The book has not had the best reviews, I did a bit of research and found that a lot of people were complaining that it was so similar to Dracula and while I do agree that it definitely needs to be looked at for a re-write in this aspect, I also think a lot people are not giving credit where it is due.

The book comes across like a fan re-write of the Bram Stoker classic but it is creative in a lot of areas, first of all the choice to use a folklore creature is a very unique idea and not what I expected, also when the story gets interesting it does get you hooked. The problem I have is that the beginning and ending of the book completely held my attention but the middle segment really seemed to drag and quickly became uninteresting, I found myself enjoying Gerard’s character and even though I enjoyed the writing when other character were telling their diary pages I just wanted to go back to Gerard’s again and see what he was doing.

So this leaves me at a bit of an awkward moment because I cant really say that I fully enjoyed this book, I read it twice just to make sure and my opinion still stands that Lucas Hault is a good writer, his writing style is fine he is a new author and will get a lot better over time. This book could have been something really unique if it had a little bit more originality the Xana being the creature is great but it definitely feels like Lucas Hault read Dracula and then decided to have a crack at it himself, he had a somewhat original story but its structure is too close to a much more better written and historically beloved book which The Devils Whisper does not in anyway come close to even competing with.

I will end this with a message to the Author, Lucas you have talent and clearly you are creative but if possible I recommend a re-write of this so that it can have a much clearer identity and wont be compared to what its inspired by. If you decide to write another horror I would recommend trying to do something different than is expected, try and write something which does compare to other stories and one day you very well could find yourself a very successful author.

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Thank You for all of your support.

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Not So Christmas 2 – Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Review

In 2017 I wrote a series of unique December reviews of non Christmas movies that I personally feel are staples to watch every year around the holidays, last time we chose Chicken Run, Bridget Jones Diary and About a boy, last year I even discussed growing up with the Lord of the Rings movies so there are few exceptions to my Not So Christmas movies and I wanted to start this year off with one of my favourite movies of all time, the gory and gothic musical adaptation of Sweeny Todd from director Tim Burton.

The sad tale of Sweeny Todd is that of Barber Benjamin Barker who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he managed to escape his prison in Australia and sneak back to London under the name Sweeny Todd.

It was the malicious Judge Turpin who sent Barker to prison in order to get close with his wife Lucy, after she denied his advances he sexually assaults her which causes her to attempt suicide by poison which she fails and ends up going insane instead. Judge Turpin adopts Benjamin Barkers daughter and raises her as his own with the sick plan to marry her when shes old enough. This is one of the reasons that Sweeny Todd comes back to London to seek revenge.

Sweeny Todd has revenge as its main theme and the movie does not shy away from how evil Judge Turpin is, so that that viewer is rooting for Todd even though he himself becomes a mass serial killer and villain throughout the movie.

Apart from Johnny Depp who plays Todd, we have a lot of big names in the movie, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Sasha Baron Cohen as Senior Pirelli and Helena Boham Carter as Mrs Lovett and many more.

Helena as Mrs Lovett stands out because she really shows the pure evil side to the character that I feel a lot of the stage productions don’t do so well. She is a selfish person who convinces Todd to murder so she can make pies from human meat but not only that she has no heart and only cares for herself.

She loves Todd but he never feels that way back but she is so self centered that she doesn’t even notice this, she even lies to him and says that his wife is dead when she knows she isn’t and the worst thing she does in the movie that shows this pure lack of empathy is when the young boy she is using as free labour tells her about his worries of Todd and calls her mum, her response is to lock him in the pie house and get Todd to go down there and slit his throat.

I have a theory about the colours and lighting of this movie and it will be interesting to see if you agree.

I genuinely believe that in order to make the “protagonists” of the movie stand out brighter choices for clothes and the environments these characters inhabit were used so that we as an audience would be able to see what is considered Good over Bad, Sweeny Todd is a bad person no matter how sad his back story is but it is hard not to root for him since he is the main character, I’ve always noticed that everyone in this film bar the main protagonists use darker and grey tones, Jonathan still uses these but his dress colours do stand out a little bit more than the likes of Todd or Judge Turpin, Johanna’s dress colours are very positive and bursting off the screen and even her room is the most colourful area in the entire film apart from the flash backs.

Any flashbacks or day dreaming segments also use very bright and positive colours I feel this is again so that these stand out over the current events of the film, this is only time we ever see Mrs Lovett and Sweeny Todd in bright colours, we did see Benjamin Barker in bright colours before his imprisonment as this was before he got corrupted and the same can be said about his wife, she uses bright colours until she goes mad and joins the rest of the darker toned characters.

The music for the film is the same as the stage production, originally these songs were written by Stephen Sondheim who sadly passed away this year.

His music for Sweeny Todd is easily some of the best that has ever hit Broadway, it has a lot comedy in it but still manages to remain dark and twisted, all of the actors in this film sing very well in the movie and there isn’t any songs I really dislike but my favourites are “The Worst Pies in London” Pirelli’s miracle elixir” and ” Epiphany” but all of the songs are great and this is easily one of my top 5 musical soundtracks.

I don’t know why this movie reminds me of Christmas but for whatever reason it just seems like a holiday flick perhaps its all the blood, I mean red is a big colour of Christmas right?

In all seriousness Sweeny Todd is just a fantastic film, it has a great cast, one of the best soundtracks in musical theatre and is just bleeding that Tim Burton charm and visual style which myself and a lot of others cannot get enough of !

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Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception (2011) Review

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Released in 2011 and Developed by Naughty Dog for the PlayStation 3, Drakes Deception is the third game in the Uncharted video game series.

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In a London bar Nathan Drake and his partner Victor Sullivan are meeting with a man named Talbot who wants to Purchase the ring that Nate carries around his neck due to it once belonging to Sir Francis Drake. After a quick fight we are introduced to the games man antagonist Katherine Marlowe, Marlowe wants Nate’s ring to help her discover the Atlantis of the Sands a long lost city filled with un-measurable wealth, after realising Marlowe’s plan, Nate, Sully, Chloe and their new friend Charlie try to find the city before Marlowe and her crooks.

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Very similar to its predecessor the best part of the game is exploring the various locations and the action based game-play, with a few tougher and more dangerous enemies thrown into the mix this time uncharted 3 is by far much more difficult but a lot more satisfying to finish.

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The puzzles are great here and are some of the best we have seen in the series so far, I really enjoyed the variety of puzzles available, all of them were very challenging and cleverly designed to have you scratching your head in frustration but still be fun. My favourite puzzle took place in a car garage and had players trying to discover a secret passageway.

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There was one chapter in this game that stood out compared to rest and that was because it was a flashback where we played as a much younger Nathan Drake, the chapter helped introduce us to the back story of the games plot and villain but also showed how Drake and Sully first met, it was really cool and I would love to see a game that covered more of Drakes past in a future release.

Greg Edmonson was brought back to compose the soundtrack of Uncharted 3 and this is definitely the best soundtrack out of the original PlayStation 3 trilogy. The first two games had outstanding music as well but something about the music here is really special it not only captured the atmosphere and story progression perfectly but it was genuinely more memorable and overall fantastic.

Even though this is an excellent game I would argue that it is the least interesting out of them all and while its graphics and visuals are stunning and its soundtrack phenomenal it lacks in a very compelling story and I feel it has far too many new characters who with the exception of Marlowe are not very interesting. Overall a very good game just not as great as its predecessors.

7.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of  Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception

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Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Dracula is one of the most famous novels ever written and the story from the book has been adapted into new stories, television, film and other media more than most other books.

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The famous story was written by Irish Author Bram Stoker and was first released to the public in 1897.

In the story Count Dracula wants to move from his castle in Transylvania to the city of London where he plans to bite unsuspecting victims and spread his vampire curse.

The book is not written as the author telling you a story but it instead written as diary entries of the main characters, letters between those characters and the occasional news paper article.

It took me a while to adapt to this style of writing as I am not used to it however after only a few chapters I was hooked, the writing style kept me engrossed in the events of the book as it was much more realistic than the usual format for a story.

I enjoyed all of the main characters as they each were likeable and as the reader I was rooting for their survival and at times the book had me worried for what may have happened to them as the book went on.

The book has a very creepy and Gothic vibe to it which I really liked, the best parts for me were when vampires were involved in some manner.

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I was surprised to how different the novel was to the excellent 1931 film adaptation starring Bela Lugosi. It almost felt like a completely different story which was fantastic as I never knew what to expect in regards to how the plot would unfold in the novel

Dracula is an excellent book which I would highly recommend horror fans to sink their teeth into for a creepy and memorable story that stands the test of time and with that I say Happy Halloween for 2019, I wish you all a safe and haunted holiday and I will update this website now in November.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Dracula by Bram Stoker

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was the first book in a long and beloved series of books written by one of the greatest authors of our generation JK Rowlingshot-a-014n

I cant imagine that anyone one on the planet doesn’t know the story of Harry Potter but just to be safe the first book is about an eleven year old boy who suffers tremendous abuse from both his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon who legally became his guardians after his parents Lily and James were killed by an evil Wizard known as Lord Voldermort, Voldermort tries to kill Harry as a baby but Harry survives hence why he is known as the boy who lived, while he grows up with the Dursleys who make him sleep under the stairs, praise their other son Dudley for hurting him and are genuinely terrible people, the only surviving memory Harry has of his parents is a lighting bolt shaped scar on his forehead that he was left with after the attack.

After receiving countless mysterious letters in the mail all of which are destroyed by his Uncle, Harry eventually finds out that he is a wizard and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry so that he can learn to become the legendary hero he was born to be, by now we have been introduced to one of the most important characters of the franchise Hagrid the grounds keeper and not too long after that we meet some of the other very important characters including Hermione Granger an intelligent but rather bossy young witch, Ronald Weasley who is very clumsy but has a good heart, Draco Malfoy the snobby school bully who thinks that his family is better than everyone else, Neville Longbottom who is the most important character in the franchise other than Harry but we will get to that another day, Severus Snape a potions master who really dislikes Harry, Albus Dumbledore the Head Master of the school and most importantly in this book is Professor Quirrell a seemingly nervous wreck of teacher who stutters every sentence and is constantly on edge.

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Hogwarts has four school houses Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor each student is placed in one these houses depending on their personalities the bravest and most courageous students are placed in Gryffindor, the most knowledgeable and witty students are placed in Ravenclaw, the most caring and loyal of students are placed in Hufflepuff and the most ambitious students are placed in Slytherin but a clever detail JK Rowling has hinted at in the series is that Gryffindor is the only house you can choose to join since you have to choose to be brave and if you have seen the movie or read the book then you know that this small detail plays a very important part in the Harry Potter story.

While on break after learning new spells and how to make potions Harry, Ron and Hermione accidentally enter a forbidden area on the fourth floor corridor and what they find behind the door is what leads them to start trying to unravel the mystery of the Philosophers Stone and who they believe may be trying to steal it.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is one of the most important books in existence, not only was it the start of Harry’s journey into becoming a wizard but more importantly it was the start of JK Rowlings journey of becoming one of the most influential writers of all time.

This is a fantastic book, its well written to point where JK Rowling doesn’t explain things in a lot of detail so the reader is able to use their imagination to create a vision of the magical world in their own minds instead of how the author sees it, the characters are perfect you will find Hermione annoying just like Ron does but you will learn to warm up to her through out the book, Draco Malfoy and Dursleys are all really unlikable and you will hate them which is great because you are supposed to dislike them and Albus Dumbledore really does seem like a very wise old wizard who has a unique perspective on life,however there are one or two plot holes in this first installment but obviously due to spoilers I won’t go into them, if you are unsure as to whether you want to check out the Harry Potter books this is a really good place to start because not only is it the first of the franchise but its also the shortest and in my personal opinion one of the very best.

Thank you for reading this review of Harry Potter and Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

and yes Christmas reviews are coming, I promise 🙂