Thursday, May 31, 2012

May '12

Mutineer (Kris Longknife Series #1)Mutineer by Mike Shepherd
Ebook, 400 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Plucky tall girl, with some deep family connections, goes into the military to make a difference, and does, gasp.

I enjoyed this, it was just a bit cliched. So I expect to like the sequels as well.

Into the Looking Glass (Looking Glass, #1)Into the Looking Glass by John Ringo
Ebook, 288 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read 2008
Re-read 2012

[November 2008 Review]
Basically take Doom and parts of Starcraft, specifically the Zerg, add in some military hardware jargon and you've got this book. Some rogue physicist creates some kind of gate that throws out bosun particles, which allow gates to be opened to other planets. The dreen come through one and we go through another and meet some friendly aliens. The dreen take over planets and suck them dry of resources. The dreen are zerglike, growing creatures for specific needs.

Besides some profanity and some seriously over the top weapon specifications[it IS military scifi though], this was enjoyable. I plan on reading some more in this series 'cause this was a ton of fun.

[May 2012 Review]
Still gets 4 stars from me. Could have had a little more action and less eggheads discussing quantum mechanic theory.

But marines, aliens, guns and scientists. Plus Mimi and Tuffy. Just good stuff.

Ninja High SchoolNinja High School by Ben Dunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A light romp through American manga.

Jeremy Feeple has to deal with aliens, ninjas and girls who don't like him yet do.

Many, many little instances of anime peeking through made this a much richer experience. I laughed my head off at every instance of Robotech that came forth.

I read a poorly scanned copy on my tablet, so can't really judge the quality, but it is good enough to keep my attention.

Ninja High School Pocket Manga #2 (Ninja High School (Graphic Novels))Ninja High School Pocket Manga #2 (Ninja High School by Ben Dunn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Still funny and harem'ish.

I have to say, I was surprised at the amount of nudity, even if it was not graphic. Probably one more reason why Dunn went the small press route.

Anyway. This just had several small, stand alone stories. No one storyline. Just Feeple and co interacting. Almost a slice of life, but manga parody style :)

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1)Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
Ebook, 512 Pages
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read February 2010
Re-Read May 2012

[February 2010 Review]
A world where humans have carved for themselves an empire in a hostile world. Led by the First Lord, humans have the powers of 'furies' to enhance them.

This follows one young man from his beginnings as a humble shepherd in the outer stretches of the empire as he saves the region, makes an alliance with a hostile race and is given patronage by the First Lord to attend the Academy.[ as a humble shepherd in the outer stretches of the empire as he saves the region, makes an alliance with a hostile race and is given patronage by the First Lord to attend the Academy. (hide spoiler)]

Very well done. Good characterization, intriguing novel plot and an overarching plot.

[May 2012 Review]
Still a 5 Star book. I wondered, right before I began, if I was doing the right thing in re-reading it; maybe it wouldn't be so good upon reflection, maybe the unknown made it better [see my review of Hunters of Dune], maybe, maybe, maybe.

Thankfully, Butcher is a consumate writer and this shines through.
Humor entwined with the horror of humanity [rape, even non-graphic, just makes me want to throw-up. To me it symbolizes everything that is wrong with humanity], action based around and on characters who persevere.

My appreciation for wordsmithing goes up this time. I didn't have the "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, this is so awesome!" feeling that I did in my first reading, BUT I really enjoyed how Butcher gives us just enough about the world to clue us in without either overwhelming us with info dumps or leave us completely feeling lost in a maze of a world (That's a smackdown to YOU, Steven Erikson)

And I like fantasy better than urban fantasy, so this suits my tastes MUCH better

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Ebook, 289 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this originally back in the 90's and remember being blown away, especially by the "twist" at the end.

Reading it again, it almost hurt.

How Ender is treated, used, etc, is just brutal. It is rationalized by the characters, but you can tell that the author isn't saying it is ok. The fights, the killings, the loneliness, the complete lack of sympathy, his awful brother, it just made me want to take him into my arms and cry for him.

Excellently written. Humanity on the cusp of extinction, yet preparing to self-destroy themselves the moment that cusp is behind them.

The reason I didn't give this 5stars is because of the ending. The rise of the Speakers of the Dead, the narrative was different enough, the subject matter so different, that I felt rather jarred reading it. Even though it made sense. It just didn't seem to fit with what came before.

Batman: Nine LivesBatman: Nine Lives by Dean Motter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While I am a BIG fan of the Elseworlds stories, I am NOT a big of Noir Comics. They are dirty, brutal, un-inspiring and for me, the storylines never catch my interest.

So we get to follow Dick Grayson, P.I., as he tries to solve the murder of Selina Kyle [based on the Ertha Kitt version of Catwoman] and ends up finding out that Bruce Wayne is batman.


Batman: NosferatuBatman: Nosferatu by Jean-Marc Lofficier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another Elseworld story.

While I thought the art was atrocious [it was purposeful, but that doesn't mean I have to like it], the story was engaging.

Especially how it contrasted and compared Superman to Batman, one a son of light, the other a servant of the dark.

The Anderson TapesThe Anderson Tapes by Lawrence Sanders
Ebook, 300 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If this is the book that launched Sander's career, then I have nothing but disgust for his fans.

Anyway, this was a voyeur's heaven. Listening in on partial conversations, twisted sex, crime planning, etc.

Wasn't much of an interesting story to me. Your mileage may vary.

Luna Marine: Book Two Of The Heritage TrilogyLuna Marine: Book Two Of The Heritage Trilogy by Ian Douglas
Ebook, 416 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This author is phracked up.

Starts out with a scene of a 17 year old boy wanking off to his hacked A.I., which is why I gave this the sexually-graphic tag.

Then lots of swearing by marines at the beginning, which once again tapers off the more we go on.

Then lots of boringness. Seriously, do I need a whole page describing how the space marines are checking each other's suits? Or what a stupid space assault vehicle looks like, line by line?

Then the political/philosophical/religious chatter. Oh my goodness.

I wanted a good action story from this author and was lead to believe that was what I was going to get. Nope, not a chance. Instead, I get some pinhead's borked up attempt.

I will read the final book in the trilogy, but won't be reading more. Which I find sad, as I know there are at least 6 more books by this author, and regular scifi is hard to come by these days.

Orb Sceptre ThroneOrb Sceptre Throne by Ian C. Esslemont
Ebook, 605 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I thought they would be the untouchables. The perfect race of peoples untouched by the cloud of despair and shame that Erickson and Esslemont visited upon every other race.

I should have known better.

And yet another Tyrant rises. And we find it out WHY tyrants kept rising in Darujistahn. Which is good, because my first reaction to another tyrant was "great, a copy of the end of Gardens of the Moon".

And lots of other things going on. I do wish that Esslemont would stick to 2-3 plot threads. I prefer his writing that way. Let me get pissed off at Erikson for the big stuff...

Lords of the Middle Dark (Rings of the Master, #1)Lords of the Middle Dark by Jack L. Chalker
Ebook, 300 Pages
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have to wonder if Chalker just wants to see lots and lots of lesbian sex or something.
Not there was any graphic anything, but it seems like he [Chalker] is always turning his characters into females who are already with a female.

That or he has "boob envy".

Anyway. Think:
Skynet took over, but didn't wipe us out. It had to protect us, even from ourselves. But there is a master set of keys to turn off the Master System and release humanity back into its own control.

This book sets up the band of characters who will challenge Master Control [Tron reference for all you uninitiated].

Amerindian, Caribbean, Asian culture, with little to no European or African influence. Interesting.

Secrets (Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith, #8)Secrets by John Jackson Miller
Ebook, 32 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last of the Lost Tribe of the Sith short stories.

What happens when the Sith run out of things to conquer? They fall apart. This story shows that in spades, and that the Sith leaders are aware of this weakness.

Kind of a fizzle of an ending to this little series however.

Apocalypse (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, #9)Apocalypse by Troy Denning
Ebook, 496 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For such a drawn out series, with a whole planet of Sith and a being of almost immeasurable power, this just sizzled fizzled.

Abeloth never struck me as a good antagonist. It was over the top, silly and then completely beatable.

And then to find out it was all about wanting a family, a made up family? It was like someone took the worst Freudian example they could and stuck it in the Star Wars universe.

This series SHOULD have been about the Sith. And it wasn't. and it was disappointing.

I think that sums up my feelings for this whole Fate of the Jedi: Disappointing. I had strong hopes from the first book, but then it all just went downhill.

Her Majesty's Wizard (Wizard in Rhyme, #1)Her Majesty's Wizard by Christopher Stasheff
Ebook, 342 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This reminded me very much of Gordon R. Dickson and his dragon series.

Then you hit the theology/philosophy. If Stasheff isn't Catholic, then he's doing a fantastic job of pretending to be one.

And this book is a good example of why overt Spirituality in fiction doesn't appeal to everyone.

I believe in God, and this turned me off. Not in a bad way, but it just felt like Stasheff was preaching at me instead of telling a story. And I did not read this book to get preached at.

Doubt I'll read any more.

Night of the Soul Stealer (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #3)Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
Ebook, 189 Pages
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Considering that it hasn't even been a year, poor little Apprentice has had to put up with a lot!
And while he certainly makes some dumb mistakes, I don't get pissed off at him. He is 12/13, for goodness' sake. I blame Spook.  He never tells his apprentice anything fully, always shuts down his questions and then expects miracles out of him.

But everything turns out ok in the end. Which is very important, cause it seems like things are going to get real bad soon...

Mindstar Rising (Greg Mandel, #1)Mindstar Rising by Peter F. Hamilton
Ebook, 383 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had heard of Peter Hamilton and associated his books with huge tomes of Hard Science [fiction]. And some of the people who talked about him weren't the kind of people I really wanted to get book suggestions from, so I had put off reading him.

I am glad I chose this trilogy to start. I was really impressed with this book.

It was a good scifi action book that didn't overwhelm me. Greg Mandell came across as the worn out ex-specialist that he is. Him marrying, at the end, a busty redhead with a muscular body, who is almost half his age didn't hurt anything either.

Julia, billionaire heiress, was a good counter to Mandell's world weariness. Her youthful energy, drive and desire to overcome everything helped lighten the overall tone of the plot.

The overall plot, of the giving of a tech company over to Julia, while other consortia do their best to make her fail, and Mandell being all psychic [he has a gland that helps him to read other's surface thoughts] was thoroughly enjoyable.

While I gave this the cyberpunk tag, and I do think it deserves it, it is more along the lines of subdued England First cyberpunk. England is taking over the tech world, not the japanese. But all the other marks of CP are there: inflation, money, drugs, guns, computer hookups of all kinds; they just simply aren't as IN YOUR FACE as say Snow Crash. For which I am thankful.

A Quantum Murder (Greg Mandel, #2)A Quantum Murder by Peter F. Hamilton
Ebook, 384 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a classic "locked room" mystery. But on a much larger scale.

And it deals with implanting memories and is totally based on the premise that a mind can be recreated in another human and hence that human becomes the first person who's mind it was.
(Which is bogus, because we are more than our memories. But I digress.)

The Mandell's are farmers, enjoying the bucolic life, trying to forge a new life together. Then they get dragged into a murder mystery and wormholes, and FTL and psychic glands all get involved.

While sex was hinted at, not so subtly, in the first book, in this book we have a scene or two that stop just short of the explicitly graphic. Which doesn't bode well for Book 3.

StrataStrata by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dtb, 192 Pages
If you ever wondered how Discworld came into existence [I mean, was God having an off day or something?], this is the book for you.

It is a science fiction book, much along the same lines as The Dark Side of the Sun, especially in that Pratchett's humor is noticeably toned down, to almost non-existent.

This was not a "funny" book. There were instances of humor, but overall it wasn't one rollicky joke after another.

Interesting to read, and if you are Discworld crazy, or a complete'ist, you'll have to read this. Otherwise, put it on your TBR list near the bottom.

Lilith: A RomanceLilith: A Romance by George MacDonald

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ebook, 220 Pages
I was confused for just about the whole book. It didn't help that I apparently read a poorly laid out gutenburg edition, I could never tell when scenes switched until a paragraph or two into the scene.

But overall, I was just bloody confused. I know MacDonald is a wordy son of a gun, and a supposedly deep theologian, but I simply could not follow this book.

I suspect that it would take 2-3 more readings for me to be able to piece things together. And I don't know if I want to put that much effort into it. That and the hints of Universal Reconciliation put me off a bit.

15 Novels
1 Short Story
4 Graphic Novels/Manga
5347 Pages