So, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the centuries old soap opera that is the Book of Revelation in The Bible. It’s all very complicated, what with the doomsday hype and the uncertain timing and the allegorical interpretation. Which is precisely why we need the Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse, to shed some light on the logistics and how this comes into play in the world religious scene. And author Jason Boyett delivers.
Because Certain Doom is certainly coming…
The full title of the book is Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse the Official Field Manual for the End of the World. Published through Relevant Books, it reads essentially like the Cliffs Notes or one of those For Dummies series books for the Biblical Book of Revelation, but with a cheeky, somewhat sarcastic tone. You know, just my kind of read…
Chapters include Beginning of the End, an introduction to the theme; Apocalyptionary, a glossary of terms; The End Is Near, histories of doomsaying parts 1 and 2; Know Your Potential Antichrists; and Fun with Eschatology, the study of The End (of the world, time, human kind, etc.). Each chapter touches on the Apocalypse from its given topic in a concise and amusing manner, generally eschewing conclusions of who is and isn’t right regarding what beliefs of the End Times are held by dissecting most all of them appropriately. It even holds some of the more unusual and out-there interpretations up to the light to be considered in depth in all of their glory and awesomeness (in all true meanings of that word).
I think some of my favorite sections of Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse are the “Not To Be Confused With” and “Please Use It in a Sentence” sections in the Apocalyptionary and the “10 Requirements” checklists for potential Antichrists, all of which are really funny add-ons. The Armageddon Grab-Bag filled with all kinds of extras is also great. I guess I just love my semi-random additional content, especially the more snarky and humorous the tone, but this surprises no one I’m sure.
I give Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse 4.0 Cthulus.(4 / 5)
This book is informative, entertaining and a wee bit terrifying, especially when you truly think about the practical and impractical applications of Apocalyptic theory throughout world history. It offers a great starting point on understanding all kinds of Apocalypse lore and references through the centuries and how so many religious opinions on the topic have come into being, both from cult and mainstream perspectives. Because let’s face it, some of the biggest differences between the two really just come down to popularity and how widespread the narrative is.
My Personal Favorite Apocalypse Story
On a side note, my personal favorite Apocalypse story is Good Omens written by master storytellers Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I love the evolution of the two main characters, Angel Aziraphale and Demon Crowley, the exploration of their time spent on Earth, love for this world, and the unlikely partnership they develop over the centuries. It is a beautifully written tale of friendship through adversity and of going against the grain to try to save the world from certain doom. The humor is very British. The cast of characters, complexities of fate, and serendipitous happenstance is delightful. And there are scads of pop culture references from the late 1980s. The original book is fun. The audio book is fun. The new TV series on Amazon Prime Video is fun. There is even a new audio book featuring the cast of the TV series, though I haven’t listened to this one and I really liked Martin Jarvis as the Narrator so that’s the one I am recommending. So put your Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse to work and have some fun interpreting The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnus Nutter, Witch. You’ll be glad you did.
And while we’re on the topic of religious interpretation, feel free to check out some of my more religiously themed poetry examining how the Seven Deadly Sins and Holy Virtues relate, as seen earlier here on Haunted MTL.
Prepare for the End by buying the book…
You can purchase the Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse on Amazon from the link provided, just remember that, as always, if you do so we will get some $ back. The Dark Lord says shop away…
Brutality, Motherhood, and Art: Nightbitch Review
“In the distance, she heard her husband in the backyard call for her , but she was not that woman anymore, that mother and wife. She was Nightbitch, and she was fucking amazing. It seemed she had been waiting for this for a very, very long time.” -pg 89, Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
Nightbitch is the debut novel of Rachel Yoder about a stay-at-home mother coming to terms with the loneliness and brutality of motherhood. The main character, only referred to as The Mother, begins to undergo a frightening change as she sinks deeper into a depressive state. She transforms into Nightbitch, an animalistic creature full of anger, bloodlust, and freedom. The Mother must utilize the help of a strange book and a group of multi-level marketing mommies to harness her newfound strength before she loses herself or her family.
The novel is a stunning commentary on the everyday violence of motherhood centered within the context of werewolf and mystical woman mythos. The Mother spends much of the book contemplating her future and the abandonment of her dreams. Specifically, she grapples with the loss of her ability to create art, her longtime passion. On a larger scale, Nightbitch examines how many women are asked to stop being individuals after having children and only become mothers–existing only in the presence of their child. The message is clear, poignant, dark, and at times, hilarious. The prose and structure of the book are abnormal, however, it works with the overall messaging and plot.
As far as negatives go, Nightbitch was pretty ambiguous. This was by design, and created an aura of magical mysticism around many of the characters and events. The Mother is the definition of an unreliable narrator. However, towards the end of the book, I would have liked a little more clarity in what certain characters knew.
Nightbitch is a must read for any parent. As a non-parent, I highly recommend it for those interested in feminist horror or more avant-garde approaches to horror narratives. Those who don’t like books with heavy introspection or ambiguous storytelling may enjoy something else, however I still think it is an interesting read nonetheless.(4.4 / 5)
Gothic, Ghosts, and Tlachiqueros: The Hacienda Review
“Dread washed over me. Had she been sitting there, watching me sleep, the whole night? Her skin gleamed like candle wax in the light; then she grinned and whatever color her eyes had been before, now they turned red. In an instant, her skin transformed, dried and desiccated into leather, and her teeth grew long and needle sharp.” -pg 214, The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
The Hacienda is a gothic horror novel by Isabel Cañas set in the wake of Mexico’s War for Independence. The debut novel by Cañas, it delivers a classic haunted house tale with a twist of Mexican high society. Recently made homeless by the execution of her father, Beatriz marries Don Solórzano to escape her cruel treatment by her relatives. However, once she joins him on his estate, she finds that the promise of a new life holds dark secrets and darker spirits. She enlists the help of a priest, Andrés, to uncover both. Together, they find the home has more dangers than they bargained for. And more threats both supernatural and far too material await every corner.
I adored The Hacienda from start to finish. Cañas’s prose was accessible but full of deep imagery. While told from the perspective of both Beatriz and Andrés, neither outweighed the other. The perspectives were interesting and the transition between the two was well executed throughout the novel. I usually don’t seek out romantic books, but I loved the romantic and sexual tension between the two main characters. Specifically since the romantic tension developed within both perspectives, the relationship’s “will-they-won’t-they” felt both plausible and full of stakes. And of course, The Hacienda was spooky! I loved the way the spirits manifested and the impact that had on the characters.
My only minor criticisms would be the resolution was fairly quick and mostly offscreen. Though maybe I’m just saying that because I wanted to keep reading, even after the book ended! I also found myself slightly annoyed at the characters for not picking up on some of the more obvious clues to what had happened in the house.
A thoroughly enjoyable gothic (and dare I say, romantic) novel that kept me on the edge of my seat, I highly recommend The Hacienda. If you enjoy haunted house tales, you will enjoy this book.(4.8 / 5)
Preorder Isabel Cañas’s new book Vampires of El Norte now!
“The Family Game” Glimpses Into The 1%
Are their traditions innocent or are they darker than they seem?
Harry, short for Harriet, is a British writer gaining popularity after the publishing of her first novel. She meets Edward, a member of the widely known Holbeck family, and the two strike up a relationship. The Holbecks are high powered executives, running family businesses that bring in massive amounts of wealth. When Harry learns she is pregnant, the couple decide that it is finally time for her to meet the family.
During her first meeting with the family, Edward’s father, Robert gives Harry a vintage tape that he says holds a story that he’d like her to listen to. As Harry listens to the tape, she begins to believe that the Holbecks have done some very bad things.
As she continues visiting the family, their strange traditions are revealed to her. The games that they play traditionally involve darkness and fear. Can Harriet find out the truth about the mysterious Holbecks?
Catherine Steadman outdoes herself in The Family Game. She creates such a mysterious family in the Holbecks and their dynamics are intriguing. Readers will follow Harry as she tries to determine the truth about Robert’s misdoings. The cast of family characters are a wonder to watch. We’ve all always wondered what the extremely rich live like. Harry shows us their virtues and misdeeds.
The novel really remarks on the power of wealth and the wealthy’s ability to commit audacious crimes and pay for them to go away. Robert, as the patriarch of the family, is a prime example of such. As Harry begins to discover that Robert may be confessing to a series of murders on the cassette tape, she must decide how to proceed. She knows that the power that Robert holds cannot be taken lightly.
As Harry navigates potentially deadly Christmas traditions, she races for the truth, unable to forget once she finds it. Harry is such a compelling character – a developing mother willing to risk life and limb to protect her unborn baby. Harry is brave and unapologetic and is a true testament on how to write a female main character.
It was very difficult for me to decide between 4 and 5 Cthulus, so we will call it 4.5. This is a novel I highly recommend thriller lovers check out. (4.5 / 5)