- File Size: 1039 KB
- Print Length: 267 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Crossroad Press; Macabre Ink First Digital edition (August 22, 2016)
- Publication Date: August 22, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01KUOM7SI
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,272 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Cthulhu Armageddon Kindle Edition
|Length: 267 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
To really have context for this novel, you need at least a cursory knowledge of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, whose popular stories include The Call of Cthulhu, The Dunwich Horror, and my personal favorite The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Lovecraft stories and mythos contain the idea that in the sea, underground, and in the far reaches of space are monstrous alien gods who will someday return to power and destroy humanity. Cthulhu Armageddon is a post-apocalyptic action novel based around the idea that in the future, Lovecraft’s gods and monsters (his specific gods and monsters, here with the same names and aspects that they have in Lovecraft’s works) have risen and wreaked havoc upon the earth. Their ravages have turned the world into a hellish place, where the surviving “civilized” humans fight for survival alongside rabid cultists, mutant monsters, and the terrible gods themselves.
Our protagonist, John Henry Booth, is one of the surviving humans in a group called the Remnant. He is a trained and tenacious soldier who struggles through shaky alliances and bitter enmities with monsters and humans in his quest for revenge against the mad wizard Doctor Alan Ward, a former scientist who believes the only way to survive with the gods is to become as monstrous as them. By his side throughout the story is his mutant friend Richard, cultist and former lover Katryn, his teammate Jessica, a professional torturer named Mercury, and a wide-eyed little girl named Jackie who’s seen entirely too much brutality for her age.
This isn’t the first brutish post-apocalyptic novel I’ve reviewed on this blog, but within that genre I think this is the best one. The premise may sound schlocky, a little too close to fan-fic perhaps (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it does have a poor reputation), but the quality of the writing here is impressive. For the most part it’s smooth, well-paced, and strikingly professional. Especially excellent were the book’s action scenes, of which there were many. These were simply incredible. Some of the characters were a little clichéd, a little stereotyped post-apocalyptic warrior, but the central characters had a lot of depth and wisdom to them, much more than you would expect in an action adventure like this.
There are a few places in the book where a sentence was confusingly structured or where the wrong word was used (‘grizzly’ when the author meant ‘grisly’, for example), but these were rare and the book’s strength far outweigh this small weakness. It is also worth noting that while this book takes ideas and personages from Lovecraft, it is not meant to be modeled on Lovecraft’s work. In Lovecraft, the atmosphere is full of dread and existential horror, carried forward and permeating the narrative through the terror, disgust, or madness of the characters. The characters in Cthulhu Armageddon do have terror and disgust and madness, but they also have humor and love and jealousy and anger. They crack wise while they crack skulls, and frequently they spit in the face of death as opposed to cowering like a Lovecraft character would. This isn’t a horror novel. It’s an action adventure fantasy novel, and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable one.
For potential readers, it is worth noting that the book has profanity and sex and (if this post hasn’t already made it clear) lots and lots of pulpy violence, so it’s not recommended to sensitive readers. I got a lot of fun out of it, and can definitely recommend it to fans of action, sci-fi, and especially the weird tales of H.P. Lovecraft.
If I had a single criticism of CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON, it's that it could have gone farther. Writing and plot are both more than sufficient for the concept, Phipps hits all the action beats and puts all the right tropes in the mix, but I would have liked the execution to either be a little more subtle and squalid or a little more over-the-top and bloody. The result is neither a cartoonish caricature of space marines in powered armor gunning down Cthulhu cultists or a desperate band of former military survivalists ekeing out a living in the shadow of earthbound alien gods, but somewhere in the middle. It's a solid middle, and an entertaining read, but the Mythos references are a little too blatant sometimes, the human interactions a little too pat, like the canned video segments of a video game, and striving for the worldbuilding middle ground of Warhammer 40k meets Fallout 4. The result is fun, but too corny to be serious, and not blatantly over-the-top enough to be properly B-movie material.
John Henry Booth, the male protagonist, leads a squadron of rangers in an alternate universe wherein Cthulhu and his minions have conquered the earth. He tells us that, ". . . it was on a world with conditions totally unlike our own." Which, unquestionably, is an understatement because C.T. Phipps' tabletop had been reduced to a desert planet inhabited by every hobgoblin of the Cthulhu Mythos you can imagine and others you never dreamed of encountering in your worst nightmares. For Booth, his dreamland is, "the collected mental diarrhea of the universe" because he loses his entire Gamma Squadron in a bloody massacre led by a band of half-deranged Cthulhu cultists and a horde of Extra-Biological Entities. E.B.E.s are either mutant or alien in origin that will stop at nothing to rip your heart out. "There were no tactics or strategy to their assault, only sheer numbers driven by mindless ferocity."
The loss of his comrades sets Booth on a quest for the man responsible for the slaughter. Thus, his mission, obsessed by revenge, leads us to faraway desert lands, R'lyehian weapons, a talisman of golden revolvers, the Necronomicon and a bevy of ladies that he is hard pressed to protect. In CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON, C.T. also gives us a new addition to the Cthulhu pedigree, "Zglaoth" a frightening creature you would never want to meet in a Lovecraft story, let alone on a desert plain.
Put away your talisman and dice, find a comfortable chair in front of the fire and go along for the ride. You’ll enjoy the view.