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Paranoid Magical Thinking (Unknown Kadath Estates Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Zachary Rawlins , Xi Lu
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Preston Tauschen is a liar. April Ersten is a severely troubled genius. Holly Diem is a morally-ambiguous witch. Sumire Iwakura is an invulnerable hero. Jenny Frost is a homeless psychotic. Professor Dawes is a scholar studying unreadable books. Joshua Fulton is an agoraphobic hacker.

Unless, of course, they are all something else entirely.

Welcome to The Kadath Estates, an apartment building in a city at the end of everything, an island of stability in a crumbling world. In the midst of a city full of desperate people and oppressive architecture, of half-remembered pasts and a future no one care to contemplate. A city where the moon is an object of fear, haunted by rumors of strange monsters and elder gods, and plagued by the seemingly random violence of a nameless cult.

Preston and April are just hoping for a place to hide from their enemies, somewhere to heal and rest before they return to their flight without a destination. What they find at The Kadath Estates is something far beyond that, something outside the realm of previous experience. In The Kadath Estates and their bizarre inhabitants, Preston and April find something like magic.

Unless, of course, it isn’t that at all.

The first in The Unknown Kadath Estates trilogy by Zachary Rawlins, author of The Central Series, featuring illustrations by artist Xi Lu, Paranoid Magical Thinking is a warped blend of the Cthulhu Mythos, urban fantasy, and black humor in the style of a Japanese light novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1494 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: ROUS Industries (December 17, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006NMSIM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,407 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just in case I wasn't paranoid enough. January 23, 2012
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Earth Mother's GraceThe first installment of Unknown Kadath Estates provokes interesting questions: How am I going to keep the people I love safe? Has the community around me lost its collective mind? These questions haunt me regularly, and this book explores them in a surreal, foreboding context.

The bedrock of the story is a relationship between Preston, the narrator, and April. Wonderfully convoluted bonds connect these two characters. Holly is another character that grows on the reader. She provides a needed break from the brooding menace that pervades much of the book.

An interesting refrain in the text is "Everything is permitted, and nothing is real." I find this to echo some of Buddhism's more esoteric teachings. Following the theme of a mutable reality, the whole story could be a rebellious dream in the mind of a dead god that is waiting far below black waves.

Xi Lu's drawings are appropriately stark and precise. I would like to have seen more of them. Next time she should illustrate an action scene or two.

Regarding criticisms, there are some distracting typos. I appreciate how hard it is to root these out. I've written my own e-book, and all the words begin to look the same after so many re-readings.

The sequence where Preston visits the underground world of the ghouls breaks the story's rhythm. I'd omit it. It feels unnecessary.

I would also make Jenny's depiction more disturbing. The girl is pure predator. I think a smile revealing her pointed teeth would be appropriate.

Overall, this is a well-illustrated, good read. Four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Trust only in steel, in your sword.

Rawlins has chosen the rapier, rather than his previous broadsword, for this story. There is no less action and excitement in this work than his previous, but there is a great deal more finesse and poetry. The creeping, subtle horror of the city at the end of the world was brought to life with Rawlins' writing.

I have little use for the Old Ones. Crom is my god, and he lives in the earth. However, my travels have given me some experience with the world of Cthulhu, though I'm sure I missed many references. No matter, for what truly interested me were the characters lost in the city, and the city itself.

Is Sumire really invincible? What is Holly's true motive and power? Are the Estates protected by virtue of being part of the original city under the sea? If this is the city at the end of the world, the last refuge of the hunted - how does anyone (including the hunters) ever return?

Perhaps counter to the author's intent, I was less interested in Preston's veracity and any ultimate true reality. I have traveled to many lands of magical realism, and I have learned that I prefer not to seek truth behind fantasy. If you wake me to tell me it's all an amazing dream, I'll just go back to sleep.

Rawlins' use of the light novel format is both unusual and welcome. Xi Lu's illustrations are evocative and beautiful. I would have loved to see more, perhaps an illustration for each of the major characters. Although I enjoyed Xi Lu's work, it is not essential to the story.

Ultimately, Rawlins weaves a tale that asks more questions than it answers (if it truly answers any), and this may bother some readers. I was drawn in by the clever characters and eerie setting, and I look forward to visiting the Unknown Kadath Estates again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Principals December 19, 2011
I read Rawlins' other ebook, The Academy, and loved it. Thought I would try this one and was not disappointed. Another great read. Again, his characters are unique and interesting. You like his hero, but it's not easy. You dislike his villains, but not completely. Rawlins has a knack at creating characters that you like, despite the things they occasionally do and say. This gives a new, fresh experience to the long-time sci-fi reader. Like he did in The Academy, the author does not quite stick to the sci-fi genre. He does for sci-fi what Grunge did for rock and roll. I recommend this one, if you are looking for something new.

By the way, Mr. Rawlins, how about giving us the second volume of The Academy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it a lot. July 23, 2013
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I liked that the author stayed close to the Lovecraft mythos, while writing a modern story. I will definitely read the next book in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Borrowing from Lovecraft... April 19, 2013
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An unusual and somewhat disjoint beginning to a new series, in an environment apparently borrowed from H. P. Lovecraft (The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath), Rather than immediately "setting the scene" at the book's beginning, it's uncovered within the entire book, sometimes by bringing together abstract thoughts and actions.

The reader is left with more questions than answers, leaving resolution to future books.
Well-written, and a recommended read...
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read April 17, 2013
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The story was intersting, and the premise was entertaining. I enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to other storys in this setting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Good! December 7, 2012
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Great story! If Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King had a baby...well, it probably wouldn't look like this, but, it would certainly write like this! It is a gripping, dark story with glimmers of hope. More "anti-hero" than traditional stories. I am definitely better off for reading it!
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