Monday, October 31, 2011

October '11

SandkingsSandkings by George R.R. Martin

Ebook, 80 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually only read the short story "Sandkings", not the entire book of short stories.

Anyway, what a deliciously gruesome story. It made me shiver with macabre delight :D



Daughter of WitchesDaughter of Witches by Patricia C. Wrede

Ebook, 304 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Way, way, way, way to slow. I felt like I was wading through molasses to get the story. It was there, but barely.





Shadow of the ScorpionShadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher

Ebook, 250 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoy Asher's Polity universe, this particular Agent Cormac prequel had enough graphic sexual content that I couldn't recommend it or truly enjoy it.

Lots of bloody action though.



Stealing LightStealing Light by Gary Gibson

Ebook, 441 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Didn't work for me at all. Came across as a mix of cyberpunk and wannabe Neal Asher, and failed.






The Path of Daggers (Wheel of Time, #8)The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

Ebook, 704 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Read September 2000

Re-read October 2011

Oct 2011 Review:

My initial remembrance of Path of Daggers is nothing happens and everyone is a bitch.

My reread confirms that, but with some very serious upgrades in like-ability. This was a setup book. Not a good book to read when first released, but when you've got the books after, you don't feel the pressure.

So many different storylines, lots of things happen but without resolving anything while introducing more questions. I had to make myself not immediately read the next book and wait until November.



An Emperor for the LegionAn Emperor for the Legion by Harry Turtledove

Ebook, 336 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am now convinced Turtledove is a closet homosexual and afraid to say so.

I mean, two guys with "magic swords" "cross blades" and they are transported to another world? And in this book, they are afraid to "fight near each other" because they don't know "what might happen if their blades cross again?". Yeah, you don't need to be a board certified Psychologist to figure that one out. Harry, just say you want some sweet manlove and be done with it.

Other than that, this series so far has bored me to death. Very little magic, domestic troubles, etc, etc. Why no just read Roman Homemakers Monthly?



GermlineGermline by T.C. McCarthy

Ebook, UNFINISHED
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I got through 38% of this book and then just gave up in despair. It never got better.

If you like a reject of a human who can't be a responsible adult OD'ing on drugs and describing in detail his vomiting/withdrawal sessions, then you have got to read this book.



A Room with a ViewA Room with a View by E.M. Forster

Ebook, 231 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good book showing the complete and utter hypocrisy of an age.

The way time shifted around took some getting used to, and I'd want to read this again, so as to figure out what went on in the "blank" spaces between chapters or breaks.

Glad that it went against the grain and turned out ok in the end.



Star DragonStar Dragon by Mike Brotherton

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I am SO sick of women hating, irresponsible men and women who are either complete bitches or rugs.


And we get them all in spades here. Plus tons of boring info dumps that do not advance the story but simply seem to be there so the author can wax eloquent on his pet hobby.


Time Traders II: The Defiant Agents & Key Out of TimeTime Traders II: The Defiant Agents & Key Out of Time by Andre Norton

Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First story bordered on the "ignorant rascism" for me, but maybe that is because I'm a product of the times and am overly sensitive [I suspect that is true].

Second story was more in the vein of the Time Traders I was used to. Enjoyed it very much.


The Hobbit or There and Back AgainThe Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dtb, 256 Pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Read June 2000

Re-read October 2011

Fan-frakking-tastic!

I grew up on the Hobbit. I read it on trips, wrote a lengthy [for a highschooler] paper on the Hobbit and Tolkien, had it read to our class by a college professor and just generally loved it.

So when I saw a goodreads friend doing his annual LotR read, I thought to myself, "Derrick, it has been over a decade and you need to read Tolkien again".

This was aimed at children, and the little authorial asides reflect that, but with such gentle wit and clever wording, that it didn't feel "little kid'ish", or even young adult. But those groups, and adults, could both fully get into the story and love it.

There was adventure, action, thrills, quiet reflective moments, moralizing and a happy ending. And it was well written. At no time did I have to reread a sentence or a paragraph to try to figure out what the author was saying. It was clear, concise and straight-forward.

Completely and highly recommended to anyone who likes fantasy.


Battlestar GalacticaBattlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver

Ebook, 269 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A blanket word for word, action for action novelization of the miniseries and first couple of episodes [I think...].
Don't bother reading this. Just go watch the series, it is better on the screen.


Conviction (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, #7)Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #7: Conviction by Aaron Allston

Ebook, 367 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was tempted to give this book 4 stars, but then I realized it was because the previous books [by Denning and Golden] were so mediocre.However, Allston does a good job of writing an action novel here. I enjoyed almost every chapter.

My only gripe was when Boba Fett rescues Daala. It just didn't seem to make sense. Mando's rescuing her, I could see. She had sent them a lot of work recently. But Fett personally rescuing her just smacked of Name Dropping

The idea of Abeloth hasn't gotten any more palatable. It is still a big made up boojum that is a dumb literary device employed by Lucas Books. I still think a WHOLE FRAKKING PLANET FULL of Sith is more than enough for a series of this length [but I've said that in earlier reviews, so I'll try to not say it anymore]


Magicians' GuildMagicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this. Not sure it actually deserves a 4 star rating, because everything was a bit simplistic as far as I was concerned and the 'badguy' wasn't so bad, at least until you realize he truly is small potatoes compared to the reveal at the end. Now that was cool!

Definitely going to be reading the whole trilogy...


Hexed (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #2)Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Ebook, 246 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know, while I enjoyed this overall, several things made me glad I'm not paying hardcover prices for these.

Kinky sex. Why is it everytime Atticus jumps in the sack with some goddess who can destroy him, that it is abnormal? Either the actual act [sex magic to fix his ear? anyone?] or it is just a ruse by one deity on another? And then the apprentice. Atticus has sex, lots and lots it seems, with immortal beings of unearthly appeal.
AND HE CAN'T EVEN LOOK AT HIS APPRENTICE? Geez, what exactly is in his tea, stupid?

Along with that, I understand that the author is trying to make him relevant by giving him 21st century lingo and attitude. But just like in the first book, it doesn't work for me because it is outside the normal parameters of the human psyche. People DO NOT CHANGE on demand. Just look at an older relative [or yourself as the case may be] to see how humans adjust to change. Some do better than others, given, but 2100 years of constant change will destroy a human unless they have an inner core identity [and most people don't have a strong enough core to stand up to 2100 years.]

Thirdly, pop culture references. Pop culture changes to fast and to often to make so many references. Some went over my head. In 5-10 years[barely an eyeblink in literary terms], the target audience of this book will have little to no clue to at least half of the references. They are amusing to you and me, but will be a killer for anyone down the road. I know these are not meant to be ageless tomes alongside of Dickens and Dostoyevsky, but still, show a little longterm pride.

Ok, now that I've written everything I didn't like, here's my like.

Vampires trying to swear/talk slang. I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

Overall, a good action story. Lose the sex and faked "will he or won't he" romance angle and you have an enjoyable man story.


JumperJumper by Steven Gould

Ebook, 345 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went into this expecting a simple ya scifi oriented story. This is so much more!

It is more of a coming of age than an adventure story. Davy goes from a young man scared for his life to a man dealing with love, hatred, fear, revenge and duty.

Very well done.


Gai-JinGai-Jin by James Clavell

Ebook, 1248 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a sprawling book. Not sure what to say.

I guess it will be interesting to see what the next book is like, since I couldn't see where the Noble House is going...


The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Ebook, 336 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The not knowing, the non-omniscience of the narrator, it all worked together to keep me interested.

I kept wanting to KNOW what was happening, what had happened and what was going to happen.


KillerKiller by David Drake

Ebook, 193 Pages
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Could really have been predator. But the main protagonist, the hunter, I wished he had died.

Shallow and boring.



FinityFinity by John Barnes

Dtb, 303 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Weird.






Monthly Summary
18 Novels
1 Short Story
1 Unfinished Novel
7029 Pages

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Hobbit



The Hobbit or There and Back AgainThe Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dtb, 256 Pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars




Read June 2000

Re-read October 2011

Fan-frakking-tastic!

I grew up on the Hobbit. I read it on trips, wrote a lengthy [for a highschooler] paper on the Hobbit and Tolkien, had it read to our class by a college professor and just generally loved it.

So when I saw a goodreads friend doing his annual LotR read, I thought to myself, "Derrick, it has been over a decade and you need to read Tolkien again".

This was aimed at children, and the little authorial asides reflect that, but with such gentle wit and clever wording, that it didn't feel "little kid'ish", or even young adult. But those groups, and adults, could both fully get into the story and love it.

There was adventure, action, thrills, quiet reflective moments, moralizing and a happy ending. And it was well written. At no time did I have to reread a sentence or a paragraph to try to figure out what the author was saying. It was clear, concise and straight-forward.

Completely and highly recommended to anyone who likes fantasy.