Book Review: Exiled by M.R. Merrick

ExiledTitle:  Exiled, Protector Series #1

Author:  M.R. Merrick

Rating:  3.75 Stars

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Synopsis:  Chase Williams was raised as part of the Circle, a group of supernaturally gifted demon hunters. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase entered the ceremony to claim his elemental power and join his father in protecting the innocent from demons, but his power never came.

Disgracing the Circle and his father, Chase is exiled to live among the mortals, where demons continually attack him and his hunter affiliation. After a run-in with an ex-hunter working with a witch and a terrified demon being ruthlessly attacked by hunters, Chase begins to question his former home and their intentions.

Once Chase learns about a plan to unlock a portal and bring stronger demons to the human world, he must put aside his prejudices and work with the demons he was raised to hate in order to save the innocent people of Earth.

My Thoughts:  This is one of those books I didn’t want to put down. On the first page we find Chase in mid-battle with a demon. And our protagonist finds himself in fight after fight. The action is definitely the strength of Exiled.

I highly enjoyed the different creatures as well. Merrick gives us some traditional monsters, ones that feel almost forgotten from old lore, those with a slight twist, and completely new creatures (at least, ones I’ve never heard of).

Exiled does have its rough spots though. Much of the early dialogue feels forced and a little awkward. Description is also a little on the sparse side in the early pages. But as the novel progresses, the descriptions get better and the dialogue seems to flow a bit more naturally—though, not completely yet. With the improvement visible in the novel, I have no doubt that the sequel, Shift,  will show even more improvements in these areas.

I was also able to figure out what the Circle was after fairly early in the novel, and couldn’t figure out why the other characters couldn’t see it—especially since much of the clues were done in dialogue. One character has suspicions, but again, why not act on them in some way?

MRMerrickOverall, I had a blast reading Exiled. It was an action-filled fantasy that I devoured in about a day. If action and demon fighting sounds interesting to, go check it out!

Find M.R. Merrick online:
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What are your thoughts on Exiled? Tell me in the comments below!

Book Review: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Title:  The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Author:  Tim Burton

Rating:  4 Stars

Genre:  Illustrated poetry

Synopsis:
From Amazon:

From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance — witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children — misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and the tragedy of these dark yet simple beings — hopeful, hapless heroes who appeal to the ugly outsider in all of us, and let us laugh at a world we have long left behind (mostly anyway).

My Thoughts:  I love Tim Burton’s distinctive style. And this has been the case for . . . always. I grew up with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. He was definitely one of my introductions to the odd. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories (MDOB+) sits squarely in the odd and stylized world of his creation. One look at an illustration and you know it’s by Tim Burton. There are very few modern artists I can pick out that easily.

The illustrated stories (Or poems? They’re kind of both.) are very reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas–not in content, but in the simplistic rhyming and unique turn of phrase. The cast of children in MDOB+ often suffer because of a small twist. For example, Staring Girl needs to rest her eyes. That’s not done by napping, but by them jumping out of her skull and lounging by a pool. In these instances I kept returning to the “Town Meeting Song,” where sleigh becomes slay, and Santa Claus becomes Sandy Claws, a “big red lobster man. “ These ‘misunderstandings’ are fun and interesting, especially since they seem like such logical mistakes. It makes me wonder what similar misunderstandings I made as a child not yet fully versed in the language.

Character Toys

Tragic characters in all their plastic glory

The images are what make this book so great. Without them, the poems lose a lot of their charm. If the poems were as wonderful as the drawings, MDOB+ could have easily captured all 5 stars in a review. But with some feeling too short, or a little incomplete, I must give it 4 stars.

Tim Burton

Photograph: Patrick Rideaux/Rex Features

 

Find Tim Burton online:
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Do you like Tim Burton’s visual perspective? What’s your favorite Tim Burton work? Let me know in the comments below!