Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January '12

The Dragon Knight (Dragon Knight #2)The Dragon Knight by Gordon R. Dickson

Ebook, 503 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I thought Jim had grown a pair by the end of the previous book, this book gives lie to that idea.

Jim is the wussiest over 6ft person imaginable[and he is not a stringbean]. He is athletic, smart and he HAS MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I still have to hear him be concerned because someone calls him Lord James instead of plain ol' Jim.

Fun story, just not as good as it could have been with a hero who had a backbone.

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Ebook, 321 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this, and was horrified at the same time.

Some of the things that happen just gave me the willies and made me think "I'd NEVER let my pre-teen read this stuff".

And I'm still no closer to figuring out what is going on.

Dune Messiah & Children Of DuneDune Messiah & Children Of Dune by Frank Herbert

Dtb, 592 Pages

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dune Messiah:

Paul Atreides' downfall. The Jihad has been conveniently all wrapped up and the bureaucracy is starting it's inevitable creep.

Paul has trapped himself by prescience and knowing the future destroys him.

He gives up, but I can't blame him.

Children of Dune:

Leto and Ghanima are the main characters. Alia takes the predetermined path of the preborn. Leto takes the path of vision instead of prescience and sets up humanity for the Golden Path, whatever that is.

Fantastic! Instead of a simple messianic action story like Dune, we get a full fledged galactic spanning empire intrigue underpinned by arguments of free will and what it means to be human.

There were lots of monologues and dialogues that Herbert threw in that bored me to tears, or went completely over my head, or appeared to delve into completely pointless ethereal world views,

BUT, it was great nonetheless! I feel like I can learn a lot of what is going on inside Herberts head, and I always like a psychological twist to my reads.

Cobra Gamble: Cobra War, Book IIICobra Gamble: Cobra War, Book III by Timothy Zahn

Dtb, 400 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The story snores to its inevitable ending. I was bored and glad for the end. The ending might wrap up this particular story line, but it seems more like a middle of a longer series. I'd say 5 or 6 books long.

The only good thing was seeing some of the characters exhibit real character. There were several instances where the character had to give their word and then a situation came up where it made sense to break their word, but they didn't.

I found that encouraging.

The Death Cure The Death Cure by James Dashner

Ebook, 305 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fight, run, repeat. All the way to the end.

It got repetitive and mind numbing. Ended ok, but every horrible thing that happened, felt like a waste.

Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time, #11)Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan

Ebook, 704 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, but it didn't get 5 stars because there just so much info not wrapping up that I couldn't truly immerse myself completely in the book.

Once I was done, I realized, this was the last book Jordan wrote by himself. And I tell you, if I had read up to this book then heard that Jordan had died, I would have been REALLY angry.

I am so glad I still have several books ahead of me.

The Dragon HeirThe Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Ebook, 528
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A nice wrap up to this series.

It seemed like there was a lot more teenage angstyness and crap like that.

A lot more action and fighting. Good stuff.

The BrokerThe Broker by John Grisham

Dtb, 368 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My only other Grisham was The Firm, so I don't much to compare to.
This book was bland, boring and filled with repeated, ad nauseum, references to drinking coffee and talking in Italian.

I'm never reading another John Grisham book. I'm 50/50, so I don't want to chance it getting worse...

The Hawk And His Boy (The Tormay Trilogy #1)The Hawk And His Boy by Christopher Bunn

Ebook, 225 Pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The more I read Young Adult books, the more I am liking them.
Clean, tight short story, bit less jaded views of good and evil.

I hope the rest of the series lives up to this book. This does suffer from first book syndrome and leaves you with a cliffhanger right at the end. Good thing we don't have to wait for the next book.

The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy, #3)The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro

Ebook, 318 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The weakest book in the Strain Trilogy.
Angels, some seriously blasphemous new age God re-interpretation, apocryphal scripture like stuff. It all came out of left field all of the sudden.
We have a story involving Vamps as virus vectors and how they plotted among themselves and suddenly we're all metaphysical and religious?
And very poorly thought out religion at that.

There was no tension. No suspense. Characters and situations felt like the authors had already used them up and now they were paper thin [no pun intended] and being over/misused.
It wasn't bad, it just didn't live up to the mysteriousness and high-tension created in the first book.

The Omen MachineThe Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind


I was around the 100 page mark when I realized that Terry GoodkindRichard was still harping about freewill and determinism.

Tell me a good story, not a Ayn Rand philosophy. Could not finish it.

1Q841Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Ebook, 1084 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a moody, emotionally driven book.

I felt completely in sync with the characters ups and downs. This was some seriously good writing.

When the author wrote about a character going grocery shopping, and described it in nigh excruciating detail, I still found it engrossing.

The mystery of the little people, the 2 moons, the tension about Sakigake[or however it is spelled], the unfolding of the romance across time between the 2 main characters, I found it all absorbing and enthralling.

Then there was the graphic sex. Again, again and again. It fit with the flow of the narrative, but it was not necessary. Murakami is a good enough author that he could have gotten his point across in the way he wanted without the graphicness. When I read a book, I do not want to read that kind of stuff.

And that is why I only gave it 2 stars. The writing and storyline really deserved closer to 5, but because of the sexual aspect I could not recommend this book to anyone.

Nor am I now willing to try the author's other works. It just is not worth it to me.

God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles, #4)God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Dtb, 404 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good stuff.

After having read Brian Herbert & Kevin Anderson's prequels and sequels, the little throw away references took on a much larger import.

The Golden Path is still not spelled out for the reader. We simply have to figure out stuff while the main story unrolls. That is one thing I really enjoy about the Dune Chronicles, they are not the "Transformers" of books, but a very thoughtful and insightful look at what it means to be human.

Herbert deftly weaves words and thoughts to reveal his idea of what humanity is and where he thinks it could go. In many ways, a psychological version of what Neal Asher graphically shows with his souped up science in his Polity universe.

Poor Leto. To see, to know, to sacrifice, all for a species that turns on him, reviles him, fears him, worships him and ultimately, just wishes he didn't exist.

Herbert also tries to posit the non-existance of any sort of God because he claims it is incompatible with free will; free will being the ability to DO anything one wants. which is why the argument fails, because free will is about the ability to make the CHOICE about doing something, even if it is between 2 horrible choices.

So anyway, lots to love about this book :)

CowlCowl by Neal Asher

Ebook, 336 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Confusing start and lots of scientific'y talk about time travel and chronal possibility, blah blah blah.

It comes down to lots of fighting and people killing things and each other.

I liked this more than Asher's The Departure., but not as much as the Polity Universe.

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Ebook, 265 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now this book was a LOT of fun to read. It was not one of Sanderson's 600+ page epic tomes, but a fun revisitation to the Mystworld.

This was really a western at heart. I remember reading Louis Lamour when a young teen and how it appealed to me. Thankfully, Sanderson doesn't write the same ultra-cliches that Lamour did, but that spirit was there.

The untamed gunslinger/magicuser comes back to supposed civilization and ends up having to clean up messes worse than he ever found out in the Wild, Wild West.

And it was a lot of fun to see allomancy used differently. Sanderson has given some good thought to the practical application and while I didn't really care about the particulars, it was good to know that the internal physics of the world hadn't been thrown jambalaya like into the plot pot.

Prospero LostProspero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Ebook, 352 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Somebody loves them that Shakespeare fella.

I read "The Tempest" back in highschool. I can't remember to much about it.
And this series is it's sequel. Daughter of Prospero is the main protaganist. And I have to admit, I didn't much like her.

This appears to be urban fantasy desperately NOT trying to be urban fantasy. And with some really out there religious ideas, this just didn't grab me.

I'll be reading the rest of the trilogy, but it is not high on my list.

False GodsFalse Gods by Graham McNeill

Ebook, 288 pages
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Yep, I am done with this series.

For beings with such "superior intellect" ad nauseum, some of these characters sure are stupid.

The style of writing made me want to barf.

NoviceNovice by Trudi Canavan

Ebook, 480 Pages.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My main issue with this book was how Sonea kept withdrawing from conflict instead of dealing with it.

I think that mainly due to my testosterone and the male ability to put EVERYTHING into terms of "fight or die".

Something about Akkaron just doesn't wring true. The final paragraphs made me feel much better about him and that shouldn't be the case with a main antagonist.

Dannyl and his issues did make it such that I would not be buying this series. Deviancy has no place in my home.

17 Novels
1 Unfinished novel
7464 Pages