Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer #2)

The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer) - Brent Weeks This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer.

Kip must survive becoming a Blackguard while Gaven must survive losing his ability to command all 7 colors. All this while the Color Prince is bent on raising up the old gods of Color and destroying the mono-theism of the Chromeria.

My Thoughts
It took me almost 6 months to read this book. Not because it wasn't good, but because I started this as my "gym" book, and well, my time at the gym has practically disappeared between one thing and another.

Once this series is done, I look forward to re-reading it in one gulp.

Kip is a fantastic character. He is the just the right amount of young hesitation, insecurity and doubt to make him feel real, but at the same time he has moments of genius, courage and heroics so that I can root for him and not feel like he's a whiny douchebag.

Gaven & Daven. For all the time given to the imprisoned Gaven, and his torturous escape from the prison, I was thinking he was a bit more of a better man than he turned out to be. So when Daven simply killed him, after Gaven's horrible revelation, it was a very weird feeling. I was glad he was dead, but then it felt like it was a buildup for no reason. And to be honest, Daven posing as Gaven still confused me at times with who did what as who, when, and why and... and I think you get the idea.

Weeks seems to be a very talented storyteller but the one thing that I pick is his use of "real world" profanity. I understand that people are going to curse, swear and generally profane the things that their world holds holy. So why do words like "shit" and "fuck" repeatedly occur? Those things would still be sworn by, but not those specific words. Kind of like in Battlestar Galactica, they use the word "phrack". I find that to a weakness of Weeks' [ha, get it?] and I'm  hoping that as he matures, he'll go the route that Zahn or Sanderson has gone, ie, very light on the profanity and with "in world" words when used.

In the Night Angel Trilogy, I found the violence a bit disturbing, as a lot of it was directed at women and children. Thankfully, not nearly the same amount of time is given to it in this book, but it is still there, reminding us of just how bad this Lightbringer world can be.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Author: Brent Weeks.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer.

All the unicorns but 1 have disappeared and she sets out on a journey to find out what happened to them. Along the way she meets up with various characters and has various adventures. And everything good is ripped away, her dreams crushed, her love destroyed, her hopes dashed.

My Thoughts
The ending tries to salve over the horribleness that is the book, but it didn't work for me. So while this technically has a happy ending, it is pretty obvious that Beagle is a product of his generation and is pretty much a sad sack of hopelessness and a person that I wouldn't mind giving a swift kick in the pants to.

While intended or not, while reading this book I felt like Beagle was trying to tear down every hope, dream and wish that makes up fantasy and replace it with his raped, dirty, rat infested vision of reality. I cannot abide those who write to tear down because they cannot have.

This was wonderfully written and almost magically lyrical and I suspect that most who read it will love it. But I am in the minority in that regards. I'll not be reading any more by this author.

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Author: Peter Beagle

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Knight (The Wizard Knight #1)

The Knight: Book One of The Wizard Knight - Gene Wolfe This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions.
Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com by express permission of this reviewer.

A young boy from our world is transported to fairyland, then to another world. Once there, he meets a fairy goddess who grows him up overnight. His various adventures while trying to be a knight and refind his fairy love.

My Thoughts
While I enjoyed the writing and story [having read Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun and thought it was pure trash, this was a delightful surprise], something just seemed off-putting about how the narrative jumped around.

I haven't read any other reviews, so I haven't been influenced that way, but to be honest, my first thought was that the main character was autistic. I still think so.
There was a lot of the "boyish" in the character, which is to be expected as he is supposed to be 12 or 16 or something until he's magically "adult'ed" and I found that rather charming. But the timelessness, the odd hesitancies, the complete and utter honesty, the vagaries, it was different enough that it made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

The whole world was engaging. From the various levels of reality, the monsters, the fairies, the side characters good and bad,the giant mystery dog, it all was interesting and well constructed.

I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The Wizard, very soon.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Author: Gene Wolfe

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Realms Thereunder (Ancient Earth #1) DNF

The Realms Thereunder (An Ancient Earth) - Ross Lawhead This author, Ross Lawhead, is Stephen Lawhead's son, so I had high hopes.

However, I am sick and tired of main characters who are whiny, broken people. I get enough of that in my own life and in real life. I DON'T want to read about it in a book.

And when they are kids and then older teens/young twenty somethings, it makes it worse for me.

The story follows two 12/13 year olds who accidentally awaken 2 of Arthur's knights and apparently they have an adventure and save the world. The story splits between that time and "now", 8 years later. The girl is psychologically broken by the experience and barely holding on. The boy is now a homeless vagrant. As youngsters the girl is bossy but afraid and the boy is rebellious and stupid.

None of those circumstances appeal to me in any shape, way or form.

So goodbye young Lawhead, you blew your chance with me.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Scorpion (Legend of the Five Rings: Clan War #1)

The Scorpion (Legend of the Five Rings:  Clan War, First Scroll) - Stephen D. Sullivan Synopsis
In a fantasy Japan ruled by an emperor who must balance the 7 Clans, the Scorpion Clan leader has a prophecy revealed to him that the current "Divine" line of Emperors will herald in doom for the entire world by allowing Feng Lu, THE demon, to be loosed.

My Thoughts
To be honest, this is filled with the most purplish of prose you'll ever come across. It is based on Japanese culture, but that would be like if a Japanese author read all of Louis L'amour's westerns and then wrote a book "about America" based solely on those.

I don't know anything about the Legend of the Five Rings except that there was a collectable card game based on it some time ago. So I'm sure I might be missing details.

The story. It reminded me of a Forgotten Realms book with its simplicity and man-handling of the plot. There was no attempt at subterfuge on the authors part at all, it was full on "get this story told" kind of thing. The Scorpions were supposed to be the intelligence of the kingdom, but man, do they screw things up royally. So instead of saving the kingdom, it looks like they set things up for the End of the World.

There are 7 books in this series and several authors participate. I hope some of the other authors do a better job. I like the idea, just not the execution of this book. I'll keep reading it until it forces me to stop.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Author: Stephen Sullivan

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Malady of Magicks (Ebenezium #1)

A Malady of Magicks - Craig Shaw Gardner Synopsis
A young apprentice to a powerful wizard must help the wizard get through all sorts of adventures while the wizard is under the weather of an allergy to magic.

My Thoughts
This book was trying to be funny. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. Sadly, in this case, it meandered from one to the other. Some of the mini-adventures were funny, some were kind of meh, and some were just downright stupid.

The constant jumping from one place/adventure to another without any warning was weird as well. However, the Apprentices constantly falling in love with whoever the lady of the adventure was was pretty funny.

The apprentice felt like he was the narrator and his character was tacked into the story. It might have worked better to have an omniscient narrator and have the apprentice be more of an actual character.

I'll be reading the next 2 in the series however.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Author: Craig Gardner

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Carol (Classic)

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens Synopsis
Scrooge, the meanest, most cold-hearted man in England, is visited by 3 spirits on Christmas, in an attempt to change his fate.

My Thoughts
This is a classic for a reason. For one thing, it is short. Short enough to tell a good story, short enough to read over a single week, short enough to keep even a child's interest.
And Dickens brings forth his skill as a wordsmith and weaves a magic tale that will keep you entranced.

I think just about everyone in Western Civilization knows the story, at the least the basics. Scrooge has become synonomous with greed, miserliness and general grumpiness at anything fun. The spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, we know them.

For goodness sake, the MUPPETS made a movie based on this. And I have to say, it was a good movie too!

The changes in Scrooge came fast and furious and at times I wondered how someone could go from one to the next and be real, but the whole point Dickens was trying to make was that people could change, And while Dickens only alludes to Christ, his point was that Christmas was a changing point for the whole of humanity.

Now that I've read this [I believe I had read it in highschool, but not since], I can see it easily becoming a yearly traditional read.

Author: Charles Dickens

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Green Brain

The Green Brain - Frank Herbert Synopsis
Socialists on earth are trying to remove every insect except for mutated/hybrid bees and bad things start to happen.

My Thoughts
I've read all the Dune books by Herbert and loved them. However, every other book I've read by him has not been very enjoyable. I am convinced that if it weren't for Dune Herbert would not be the name he is today.

Basically, bugs are taking over the world because the Communists in China and South America are trying to wipe them out and failing miserably about it and lying through their teeth.

This story is about 3 people trapped in the middle of Bug Country and how the evolving bug supermind is trying to communicate before everything is destroyed.

This felt like a mix of Greenpeace/PETA propaganda, with McCarthy like paranoidism and some very slow adventure story. Lots of introspection and "thought bubbles". I think David Lynch's movie version of Dune would be a perfect example of how much this was used in this book.

I think I'm done with Herbert. Cerebral can be good, but not when it excludes every other aspect of a story.

Author: Frank Herbert

Rating: 2.5 Stars of 5

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Friday, December 20, 2013

Think & Grow Rich (Non-fiction)

Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill Synopsis:
Mr. Hill takes us through the process of thinking like a champ and tells us it will work.

My Thoughts:
I suspect this book would be good for someone who actually wants to accomplish a large goal, or someone focused on attaining a large amount of money.

For me, I've accomplished the large goals in life I want [married, own our own place and work at a job I Iove] and money, while necessary, isn't something I want to be chasing after. I'm a Christian and the words Hill uses in describing how to attain riches are words I would only feel comfortable using about Jesus, not money.

However, there were some good tips about focusing, staying positive and other stuff. I am not a big non-fiction kind of guy. So if I read 2 non-fiction a year, I'm doing really good.

This was recommended to me by a really good friend who is a retired investment manager, so in all fairness, I actually finished this book more because of my respect of him than because of anything in this book.

Author: Napoleon Hill

Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snow in the Desert (Short Story) (Polity)

Snow in the Desert (Short Reads) - Neal Asher I started reading this and it sounded VERY familiar. And it turns out it was in a book of short stories by Asher, The Gabble: And Other Stories, and I wasn't going crazy.

So this short story is about a man who has regenerative powers and who Earth Central wants, along with unscrupulous bounty hunters who want his powers for themselves.
And a sexy cyborg.

Neal Asher just writes enjoyable stories.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Plan B (Liaden)

Plan B - Sharon Lee and Steve Miller Synopsis
Everyone comes together on one world to defeat an Ingxtray [or whatever the "bad' humanoids are called] invasion and the sinister Department of Something Something continues its plan to purify Liadens.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this. It had a fantastic blend of space battles, ground force battles, suspense, romance AND it still had a happy ending.
Sadly, the Turtles are barely in this story, but they ARE mentioned.

Name details are fuzzy for me. So while I know what they mean while I'm reading, as soon as I'm done, poof, they're gone from my head.

So far, this Liaden universe is enjoyable, light and just the right balance of fun and suspense. Thankfully there is nothing "epic' about this, but there are quite a few books to read.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Author: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Honor's Paradox (Kencyrath #6)

Honor's Paradox (Chronicles of the Kencyrath) - P. C. Hodgell Synopsis
I don't know where to begin. Another Equinox festival, another test at the college, more interfering by sundry and sorts.

My Thoughts
While this was the most non-cryptic book so far in the series [and it is the latest written to date], it also was the book where I figured out WHY I hate these books so much even as I like them.

The good guys are filled with nothing but indecision and fear and allow themselves to be pushed around without pushing back.
The bad guys are always breaking the unwritten rules without any consequences.

That type of disparity always pushes my buttons. I'm a small guy and I learned early on as a teenager that if someone bigger than me hits me, I hit them back twice as hard. 99% of the time, it rocked them and shut the situation down. That other 1% sucked, but hey, not everything is perfect, right? ;-)
So when I see people just giving in, giving ground, not fighting for what is right, it grates pretty bad on my psyche.

And the story isn't anywhere near finished. So I think I'm done with the Kencyrath world. At the rate the books are being written [started back in '86 I believe], they will never get done.

Author: P.C. Hodgell

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Monday, December 16, 2013

Valkyrie Burning (Hayden War Cycle #3)

Valkyrie Burning (Warrior's Wings Book Three) - Evan Currie Synopsis
Sgt. Aida comes back to Hayden to push out the remnant of the elite alien soldiers. At the same time, Space Fleet Valkyrie must deal with another space based alien invasion. Poor Hayden, it just can't catch a break.

My Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Aida is a kickass sergeant and man, with her implants, she does a lot of damage. In many ways it reminds me of Neal Asher's Polity universe, with it's integration of humanity and A.I.

The space battle was meh, as are most space battle that I read now. After reading Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet and his in-depth explanation of space maneuvers, time, timing, communications etc, I find these simpler battles kind of like kindergarten.

Now the fight between Aida and the alien soldier, that was good! And if you ever think of elevators as boring, with sleep inducing muzak, then you need to read this book, it'll change your view, REAL QUICK.

Overall, I'm really liking Currie's works. He could use a good editor to polish him up, but the mechanics are all good and the foundations are solid. Kind of like Dean's old muscle car from Supernatural.

Author: Evan Currie

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Earthman Jack vs The Ghost Planet DNF w/ Extreme Prejudice

Earthman Jack vs. The Ghost Planet (The Earthman Jack Space Saga) (Volume 1) - Matthew Kadish 0 stars, author is blah, blah, blah.

Books that I can't finish aren't worth the typical review, as I don't care about who the author is [except to maybe to avoid], what the synopsis is or even what I thought of the story.

Well, to be honest, I do like to write about why I couldn't/wouldn't finish this.

I have a real problem with those who have a problem with authority. And Jack is the quintessential rebellious teen who simply doesn't care. His mom works her ass off to keep him fed and sheltered, working double shifts to pay for things, and he doesn't care. His teachers push him to succeed and punish when needed, and he doesn't care.

In fact, as far as I could tell by the time I got to 14%, Jack didn't care about anything except his own selfish desires.

This was supposed to be a comedy, and from the very ripped off from Hitchhiker's Guide tone, I suspect it might have turned into one. But I was not going to waste my time getting there.

it is pretty obvious that Jack is going to save the earth and that he is supposed to be a typical kid. But while I like reading about underdogs becoming great, I don't like reading about selfish assholes who won't accept responsibility for their actions nor think about the consequences of said actions.

I definitely won't be reading any more by this author.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Friday, December 13, 2013

Kill Decision

Kill Decision - Daniel Suarez Author: Daniel Suarez

Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars

Somebody is using unmanned drones to attack targets in the United States and their ulterior motive remains unclear.

My Thoughts
First off, there is NO A.I.! That in itself knocked a star off for me. After Suarez's Daemon duology, I was hoping for more scary super brains. Instead, we get The Hidden Powers That Be [and feel free to say that in a super SPOOKY voice] trying to make autonomous unmanned aircraft the future of war.

Only one man, deep undercover and practically rogue, along with his heroic team and one sexy ant studying lady, stand in the way.

Yeah, really, that truly sums it up. And it doesn't get any better.

Near the beginning Suarez overwhelms us with technobabble that doesn't add anything to the story except confusion. And many aspects of the story felt very klug'ed together.

On the positive side, there are lots of gun battles, action out of the whazoo and near the end, a whole BOATLOAD of killer robots, err, drones.

I'll read whatever Suarez writes next, but that is the tipping point. This just wasn't good enough.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Panic In Philly (Executioner #15)

The Executioner #15: Panic in Philly - Don Pendleton Author: Don Pendleton

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Bolan goes to Philly to clean out another family nest of Mafia

My Thoughts
To be honest, this is getting kind of old. Mack boldly infiltrates a Mafia family by pretending to be a high ranking Mafia member and then either wipes them out from within, turns them upon each other or a combination of the both.

There is always a mention of some girl,but she is so throw-away that she barely registers.

There is a real lack of creativity happening.  I guess it is to be expected with such a serial series, but still, it started pretty good and now it just BLAM, BLAM, BLAM alongs, like an old jalloppi.

I've got through 19 in my Calibre library. At one time I was considering buying up through 50 or 60 and cutting and scanning them in and creating my own digital versions, since the early books don't seem to exist digitally. However, now I don't think that is worth the effort.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

League of Night and Fog (Brotherhood #3)

The League of Night and Fog: A Novel (Mortalis) - David Morrell Author: David Morrell

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Multiple men from the WWII era have disappeared inexplicably. At the same time, Saul and Erika (from Brotherhood of the Rose) are attacked while Erika's father disappears. Also, the man and woman from Fraternity of the Stone (I simply can't remember their names, they are so forgettable) are attacked. Everything ties together in one big mish-mash.

My Thoughts:
WWII, Nazis and Jews. And covert ops, black ops, invisible ops, you name it.

I enjoyed this more than the other 2 books mentioned [and they're necessary to understand this book], but it was kind of funny to be honest. Whenever someone uses Nazis* as  the badguys in modern times, I just have to roll my eyes.

There is a twist revealed partway through when you realize there are 2 groups of disappeared men instead of 1 and that throws everything for a loop. Suddenly, some of the people you were feeling sympathetic towards, you simply don't anymore.

So while this was supposed to be a thriller, I found it more comedic than the author probably intended.

*whenever I head "nazi's", all I can think about is the scene from the movie Ratrace where Jon Lovitz accidentally impersonates Hitler in front of a whole group of WWII vets. Here's the clip:
Ratrace Jon Lovitz is Hitler Clip

Crossposted on Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Midnight's Mask (Erevis Cale #3) (Forgotten Realms)

Midnight's Mask: The Erevis Cale Trilogy, Book III: v. 3 - Paul S. Kemp Author: Paul Kemp

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Erevis and Company must stop the Sojourner from fulfilling his evil plans of summoning the Crown of Flames, even though nobody except the Sojourner knows what it is.

My Thoughts
First off, Riven isn't the craven, two-faced hypocrite we were led to believe he is.

I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. There was fighting and magic galore. The Sojourner shows his true colors and while it was explained why, it still seemed like a cop out to me. A being of almost unimaginable power wants to walk on the surface of the world before he dies? It seems like there must have been easier ways. Oh well.

The whole "death isn't really the end" that is used a lot in Forgotten Realms is thought about and the implications of bringing people back from the dead are brought to the forefront.

I also came across the first mention of the Netherese, who I know play a big part in the Sundering books currently being written.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Friday, December 06, 2013

Undaunted (Kris Longknife #7)

Kris Longknife: Undaunted - Mike Shepherd Author: Mike Shepherd

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Princess Kris Longknife meets up with an Itechee envoy who has been sent to warn humanity of a potential threat to both their species.
The second plot is a localized plot on a planet to try to split the United Sentients federation.

My Thoughts
I didn't have the usual whiplash, "did I miss a book" feeling when I started this. Considering the problems between the U.S. and the Peterwalds and the internal problems of the U.S., I was kind of surprised that Shepherd decided to write about the Itechee, the big bad aliens who almost wiped out humanity 80'ish years ago.

And I was even more surprised that they were "friendly" and bringing warning of an even greater threat to us all. Ramped up the "Threat Matrix" and made sure that the series wasn't going to end in 2 books. Boo to that! I am getting sick of the "never ending" series I'm coming across lately. A long series is fine, but one that has no over arching plot, no "big" storyline, that just plods on from one plot to the next, well, it reminds me of Alan Dean Foster's Pip and Flinx series, that I gave up in disgust on.  I just hope this doesn't become something like that.

The little on planet battle was a brief, easy lull in the tension. There was no chance of it working and we the reader could see that a mile away. So we got to see Space Marines kick local redneck butt. Good stuff.

All along I thought this was going to deserve a 4star. Then Shepherd has Longknife start wondering sexually about the Itechee ambassador, to the point of spying on him while swimming. 7 foot tall aliens with no penises, well, WHY would a female be interested in that?
It grossed me out and smacked of filthy fan service.
Or maybe Shepherd is a sick perv and he can't admit it so it is sublimated into his stories?

Crossposted on Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer #1)

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) - Robin Hobb Author: Robin Hobb

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

A royal bastard is thrown into the royal court and trained to be an assassin.

My Thoughts
Having heard of Robin Hobb and specifically this trilogy, I went into this with some high hopes. Sadly, this was only a mediocre story.

Lots of grinding, whining, angst, blah, blah, blah. I found the main character to be thoroughly uninspiring. The kingdom as a whole was a backdrop that felt like it was kind of painted on and the threat of the Redships and the forging, well, it wasn't much of a threat since it didn't make the story change.

And I have to admit, I was expecting something a bit flashier from an assassin. I think Brent Weeks and his wetboys have ruined me for simple assassins.

I'll finish the trilogy, but I doubt I'll be reading any more of Hobbs, she has failed to impress.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Monday, December 02, 2013

Year of the Demon (Fated Blades #2)

Year of the Demon: A Novel of the Fated Blades - Author: Steve Bein

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Mariko is now in the NARC department, with a new partner. She crosses paths with a delusional psycho cult leader who is in possession of a magic mask that has an affinity for weapons and her blade specifically.

The 2 historical storylines are about the making of the mask and an encounter between Victory Unsought and the Mask later on.

My Thoughts
I have to admit, I read the first book, Daughter of the Sword, because the cover showed an incredibly cute asian woman with a sword. Well, the cover for this book is even better in my opinion.

I think this is classified as Urban Fantasy, but the fantasy part is so slight that you might miss it if you sneeze. Plus, 2 of the 3 storylines take place in Historical Japan, not modern day.

Mariko's storyline about the psycho cult leader was pretty good, but was more of a "plucky girl gets her mojo back" storyline than anything else. And there was no sword fighting. Also, the whole Sword and Mask thing didn't seem to be a big part of this line of the story.

Which brings us to the second storyline. About Daigoro and his continued fight for his and his house's survival. The Mask and Sword were focused on much more and there was lots of intrigue, fighting, politic'ing and moments of "ah ha!" that I enjoyed. We get to see how the Mask really affects its wearer.

And that leads us to the final storyline. The young girl Kaida who is a diver. Her little village sees a huge shipwreck and several days later some very scary men come to look for something specific in the wreck. One of the men makes the Mask and it is very evident that Arcane Powers are used and infused into the Mask.

All 3 storylines wrap up satisfactorily. Unfortunately, as I noted earlier, Mariko doesn't get any sword fighting time. I was hoping for another sword fight duel in Tokyo, much like in the first book. Oh well, maybe in the next book.

 Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Rose and the Thorn (Riyria Chronicles #2)

The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles) - Michael J. Sullivan Author: Michael Sullivan

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Hadrian and Royce must work together to save the girls of Medford House without becoming implicated in an attempt on the Royal family.

My Thoughts
With each book that expands the Riyria world, I hesitate before reading, afraid that maybe THIS is the book that Sullivan disappoints me with. For even Sanderson, he who needs no first name, has let me down.

Thankfully, that book wasn't this book.

I was just as impressed with this book as I was the previous Chronicles book. Royce and Hadrian are much more of a functioning team than just 2 individuals working for a common goal.

We get a good bit of the backstory of Melengar and Arista and Family that fleshes out what we know from the Revelations series. Some of the Church's motivations and schemes are revealed and more of the political landscape is in sight.

And finally, we get to see Royce do some slicing and dicing.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Murder is Easy

Murder Is Easy - Agatha ChristieAuthor: Agatha Christie

Rating: 2.5 Stars of 5


A little old lady runs across a retired policeman and tells him of her suspicions of mass murder in her little village. After she dies, the policeman visits the village to find out if the "little old lady from Pasadena" was a nutter or onto something truly horrible.

My Thoughts:

I enjoy Christie's standalone novels much more than her series based around a main character. Part of that is because each book is just as shallow and light as the previous and the continuation of a character with no growth irritates me. Whereas standalones aren't expected to be filled with character development and life growth.

This was a typical mystery, but unfortunately, Christie felt the need for the main character to go over every possibility of who and how. I think I skipped almost 10 pages when he started going over that info in his mind.

About 3/4's of the way through I realized who the killer was, because everyone else was too obvious or not obvious enough. So I got to watch the MC flail around.

There's a little bit of romance involved, but it felt formulaic at best.

Overall, not bad, but mediocre at best.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jupiter War (Owner #3) (Polity)

Jupiter War (The Owner) - Neal Asher Author: Neal Asher

4 of 5 Stars (1 extra star for ultra-awesome violence)

Saul must turn "his" space station into a spaceship capable of interstellar flight to escape the powers of earth. All the while fending off those same powers who desperately want him back on earth for vengeance and the data and tech he now owns.

My Thoughts
This was really a 3star book. We get Saul transforming the station into the ship, chipped humans on the ship rebelling, Saul debating the true meaning of freewill, responsibility and freedom, Galahad having her delusions of grandeur even while the whole structure on earth is falling to pieces, and finally, we get fighting. And that is why I gave it 4 stars.

Asher knows how to write a gritty, awesome, massively bloody fight, in space and with ground troops. That is the main thing I read his books for, awesome ideas about humanity/tech and violence. He does them both so well.

I didn't like Saul in the first book, and I still don't like him here in the third, as a person. As the Owner, however, he makes a kickbutt demi-god.

While it appears obvious that Asher has more to write in the Owner series, I really hope he returns to the main Polity Universe soon and gives us new stuff there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Black Arrow

The Black Arrow - Robert Louis Stevenson Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

2.5 of 5 Stars


We follow the adventures of Dick/Richard Shelton during the War of the Roses, the war between the Houses of York and Lancaster in Merry Old England.

My Thoughts
I first saw this children's classic on some list of "Classics to read". My only real connection to Stevenson is Treasure Island, but even that is more of the movies. I mean, who can forget Muppet Treasure Island? I still love that movie. And Treasure Planet was a good Disney movie too.

Sadly, this mess of a book does not do much for Stevenson's reputation with me. Shelton is a stupid young man who does one dumb thing after another and yet everything works out in the end.

You want to know how stupid he is? After being alone with someone all night, he still thinks they are a young boy. Instead of the girl he ends up marrying. He meets "her" as her for all of 5 minutes and suddenly she's the love of his life and sets him off on several escapades to rescue her, most of which end in disaster for those around Dick.

He is a typical upperclass dickhead. People die for him, around him and because of him, and it means nothing to him.

Part of all this is that this is really a children's book. So everything is simplified. But it is simplified to the point of destroying the potential of this story.

I plan on reading Treasure Island next year and I hope it fares better than this!

crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.com

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Iron Gray Sea (Destroyermen #7)

Iron Gray Sea (Destroyermen Series #7) - Taylor Anderson Author: Taylor Anderson

4 of 5 stars


The new British Empire is dealt a grievous blow, the Alliance is beginning to break into factions due to its size, the Grik are quickly becoming "civilized" while the rogue Japanese are growing in influence, the Dom Empire is barely mentioned and finally, we are introduced to the "new" Empire who appear to want to be part of the Alliance.

My Thoughts:

While I enjoyed this (obviously, as I gave it 4 stars), the growth of the scope of the war and the continued introduction of yet more "empires", with no resolutions to any of the already introduced problems, is beginning to wear on me.

I am still wrapping my head around the New British Empire and the Dom Empire and now I'm supposed to just accept another one? Tech is growing quickly and the Griks are changing so fast that I feel like they are also a completely new enemy.

Speaking of the Grik. They are changing as a species under the secret direction of the Japanese. It doesn't work for me. A whole species, while it can adapt to new circumstances and new equations to their way of life, simply cannot continue as a cohesive whole while changing how Anderson is changing them. It just smacks of Deus Ex Machina for badguyness.

The Alliance. So far everything has worked well because strong, charismatic leaders have put the idea of wiping out the Grik ahead of politics and self interest. Sadly, that is changing.

And that leads me to my final point. This series is starting to scare me. Book 8 is already out and on my TBR and I see absolutely no way that it will be the final book. Shades of Robert Jordan are beginning to rise before me and I am wondering if this Destroyermen series will be the series that never ends.

I've bought the first 2 books but I don't know if I can in good faith buy any more until I know that some resolution is in the works.

Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.wordpress.blogspot.com

Friday, November 22, 2013

M.Y.T.H. Inc in Action (Myth Adventures #9)

M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action - Robert Asprin Author: Robert Asprin

3.5 Stars of 5

Guido and Nunzio must somehow stop Possiltum's army from invading everybody. So they join the army to destroy it from within. And hijinks ensue.

My Thoughts

The whole book is written from Guido's point of view, along with his language. So instead of Skeeve blundering through the narration, we get Guido skillfully informing us of the events.

It was a refreshing change at first, but then started getting a little old after nothing was happening. You can only take so much 'mob talk' with loquacious asides for so long.  Thankfully, there was a bar fight between the soldiers, the town police, the bar patrons and the military police. I was crying I was laughing so hard. But ymmv.

Overall, I found this a refreshing change from Skeeve's fake it and make it approach to life, and the bickering between him and Ahzz, I didn't miss that either. A good addition to the Myth books.

crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.wordpress.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Perilous Shield (Lost Stars #2) (Lost Fleet)

The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield - Jack Campbell Author: Jack Campbell

4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed every page of this book.  The only caveat I have is that you really do need to have read the Lost Fleet series and Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier trilogy and obviously the first Lost Stars book.

You get more of the same. Iceni and Drakon continue their dance of mistrust and romance. More military maneuvers , more backstabbing by some mysterious source. Drakon's subordinate nutcase shows her true colors and you find out why she seduced him.

We also get a bit more of a look at the Syndic and Alliance security officers who fell in love with each other.

Overall, this was different enough from the "Black Jack saves the day" but still similar enough that I liked this [even though it is book 11 in the series] and am looking forward to the next book. And have no fear, there will be a next book. Too many questions are raised with no answers.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kenobi (Star Wars)

Kenobi: Star Wars - John Jackson Miller Author: John Miller

4 of 5 Stars

Excellent book! Miller does a great job of showing how Obi-wan, the famous general, jedi and do-gooder, starts down the path to being Ben Kenobi, the crazy old wizard in the desert.

Main story is about Kenobi trying to find a niche on Tatooine and his interactions with a local bar/store/whatever family called the Caldwells. In many ways, the Caldwells [or it might be the Callwells, not sure, don't care] are the main characters. There is the widowed Mom, the teen daughter and slightly younger teen son.  Ben's story is told through glimpses as he pops in and out of the Caldwell's story.

Tusken raiders are involved, a greedy/stupid/arrogant landowner, some of Jabba's minions and the general populace of the region.

In the last several years most of the Star Wars books that have come out have left me feeling very meh and wondering if I really wanted to keep reading in this universe. It is books like Kenobi that keep me coming back.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Night of Thunder (Bob Lee Swagger #5)

Night of Thunder (Bob Lee Swagger Series #5) - Stephen Hunter Author: Stephen Hunter

3 of 5 Stars

I guess it was inevitable, but I was hoping that Swagger wouldn't roll around in his hick roots.

A freaking bank truck robbery. With a HUGE gun and helicopters. Give me a break.

And the Pye in this story is just as evil as his relatives from previous stories.

No sniping. Speed drawing/shooting.

I wanted to read about sniping.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Terminator Salvation: Cold War (Terminator)

Terminator Salvation: Cold War - Greg Cox Author: Greg Cox

3 of 5 Stars

A prequel to Terminator Salvation, but not directly related, more tangentially.

Starts off with a Russian submarine taking part in Judgement Day, in 2003. Then the alternate story, about Resistance Fighters in Alaska in 2018, takes place.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Russian 2003 story. They're confused, horribly shaken up and then they find the machines, but they don't believe it themselves and nobody  believes them. This storyline wraps up with them joining Ashdown and the Resistance.

Then we get the Alaskan story. I didn't like it. Bunch of people survive and end up fighting Sky-Net any way they can. This was a story that was supposed to be dramatic and moving, but ended up coming across as petty and amateurish.

The 2 storylines mesh with an attack on a trainline supplying Skynet with uranium. I really wish Cox had focused exclusively on the Russians and their fight. Oh well.

crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.wordpress.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Shadow Lamp (Bright Empires #4)

The Shadow Lamp - Stephen R. Lawhead Author: Stephen Lawhead

3 of 5 Stars

Stephen Lawhead has been my hero since I read his Arthur trilogy when I was a young teen.
He did what I thought was impossible: he meshed fantasy with Christian theology, seamlessly and realistically. He didn't create a new world that broke the rules of ours, but meshed a fantasy one to ours that adhered to rules of our world and a supernatural one.

But this book Lawhead makes it quite clear that he is a theistic evolutionist and leaning much more towards the deistic side of things.  In most books, I can, and do, ignore the underlying theology of the author. But for Lawhead I can't do that, for my Hero's have no failings.

And unfortunately, that says as much about me as it does about Mr. Lawhead.

So on to this book. Sadly, it was pretty much on par with the previous 3. It just kind of plodded.  That is really the best I can say for this series. It doesn't disappoint, it just stolidly moves on. Kind of like a big dumb cow.

There is one more book to go, coming out in Fall/Winter '14, but after that, I think I might be done with Lawhead. A Hero fallen is one of the worst things ever. :-(

Monday, November 04, 2013

Kafka On the Shore

Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami Author: Haruki Murakami

3 of 5 Stars

First off, this has some graphic sex scenes that are incestuous in nature. So proceed at your own risk.

An interesting tale of 2 men, one old, one young, who both have to find something for their lives to be truly fulfilled.

After reading 1Q84, I was pretty ready for Murakami's style, so the almost dreamlike pace didn't unsettle me. The writing is fantastic and in many ways I did love the story. The pacing, the back and forth of scenes between the 2 protagonists, the surreal atmosphere, the funny little interjections, the ordinary just slightly turned 20degrees of kilter, it all made for a fantastic read.

But, incest? I felt so dirty after reading the scenes that I wish I could have taken them out of the story.  Other than that, this would have been a 5star. Now I am sad.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Valkyrie Rising (Hayden War Cycle #2)

Valkyrie Rising (Warrior's Wings Book Two) - Evan Currie Author: Evan Currie

3 of 5 Stars

In this story, we get to see Sorila upgraded, and along with some other Special Forces, take on some real alien soldiers, not the security guards of the previous books.

There is also a space battle, but honestly, it doesn't bear mentioning, as it was more of a "it happened" scenario than anything else.

What struck me is how episodic this felt. Sorila is barely included in the story and we get 1 ambush and 1 fight and 1 space fight. I don't know, it just felt very quick and unfulfilling.

Oh, and all the "women are just as good in the military as men" schtick got old. Felt like pandering to me. You want to make your women kickass, then do it. I had no problems with Sorila at all. Or the admiral in charge of Fleet Valkyrie. Until I kept getting hit in the face with how equal everybody was.

Finally, why was so much time wasted on describing Sorila at home? It didn't add anything to the depth of her character, or make you feel more connected to her. I think it, and the upgrade process, should have been cut and at least another action sequence of aliens versus special forces thrown in.

Maybe in the next book? I sure hope so!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Without Remorse

Without Remorse - Tom Clancy Author: Tom Clancy

4 of 5 Stars

I have had some hit and miss type reactions to Clancy's books. I LOVED Patriot Games, but Red Storm Rising didn't do much for me at all. I liked the movie Hunt for Red October, but found the book too technical and engineer'y.

So I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I started reading Without Remorse.  I am happy to report that I ended up really enjoying this.

The premise is right up my alley. SEAL commando, who is despondent over losing his wife, meets cute girl. Things end up badly and SEAL goes after those responsible because the Law can't.

Give me a highly trained vigilante with Justice on his side anytime.

The only downside was that this took place in the Vietnam era and I'd really like to read something a bit more modern, kind of like how Shooter [the movie] was updated to Afghanistan from Point of Impact in Vietnam.

So if any of you know of a good modern military thriller, feel free to leave a comment about it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blood & Ivory (Kencyrath) DNF

Blood And Ivory: A Tapestry - P. C. Hodgell Author: P.C. Hodgell


A bunch of short stories. They appear to be reveals that were a big deal at the time, but all the data was later expounded on in full novels.

So I was 30% through and it was all reruns. So I quit.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Carpe Diem (Liaden #3) Publication

Carpe Diem - 'Sharon Lee', 'Steve Miller' Author: Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
4 of 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this. Our hero's are trapped on a non-techy world and must survive until they are either assassinated or rescued.

We are re-introduced to both couples we've met in book 1 and 2.  Having both their histories helped me relate to this story a lot more. It would have been very disconcerting to read about the society of Liad without the previous history.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Steelheart (Epics #1)

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson Author: Brandon Sanderson

3 of 5 Stars

Awkward. That is how I felt almost the whole way through this book.

I've enjoyed almost all of Sanderson's adult books, and I really liked his Alcatraz books, which I think of as children's books.

But Steelheart? It really did seem like a teen book. It was awkward, stilted, not quite fitting any parameters, at times rational and adult and at others selfish and childish. I felt like I was wearing a set of clothes that just didn't quite fit.

Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this read. But what I read versus what I was expecting was very different. I'll be reading the next Epics book when it comes out, but with a much more realistic set of expectations and I'm hoping that will allow me to enjoy it more.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Crucible (Star Wars)

Crucible: Star Wars - Troy Denning Author: Troy Denning

3 of 5 Stars

If this isn't the end of Luke, Leia and Han as major characters, then I'll eat my hat.

I actually enjoyed the story and found it "slightly" above the average recent Star Wars novels. It was really weird seeing Luke and Leia go all "Anakin II". It was a good thing that Denning wasn't allowed to kill any of them.

I will say, I don't see much of a future in the Star Wars universe between this book and where the comic books start up with Ben's grandkid [or whoever Caid is]. Jaina, Jag and the other characters just aren't interesting enough, imo, to have their own storylines.

And that means that we'll probably get more of those awful Old Republic novels based on the video games. I've Kenobi on tap, but after that, I'm not really sure I want to keep on reading in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Leper of Saint Giles (Brother Cadfael #5)

Leper of Saint Giles (Brother Cadfael Mysteries) - Ellis Peters Author: Ellis Peters

3 of 5 Stars

In which Brother Cadfael solves a mystery of double murder, allows young love to come together and generally runs around sticking his nose everywhere.

And we like him for it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Freedom TM (Daemon #2)

Freedom (TM) (Daemon) - Daniel Suarez Author: Daniel Suarez

3 of 5 Stars

This was almost a 180 shift from the previous book. Everyone good was now bad and the Daemon and it's minions were now the good guys.

And the first 3rd of the book was more of a soapbox preaching about economic philosophies. It wasn't really interesting.

Then things got interesting, but it was more like a computer game. And Suarez seems to postulate that if only real life were more like a videogame then everything would be ok. The problem is that the system he puts in place could, and would, be abused, hacked and manipulated just like anything in life.

But the points he makes about our current socio-economic way of life simply doesn't ring with me, as I believe the path we are on is one that is a necessity for the End to come.

Really too bad that Daemon wasn't more of a standalone, because this really drags it down.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Warbound (Grimnoir Chronicles #3)

Warbound: Book Three of the Grimnoir Chronicles - Larry CorreiaAuthor: Larry Correia

4 of 5 Stars

A good wrap up to the Grimnoir Chronicle series.  I was satisfied with the ending and yet at the same time I felt like Correia rushed it to fit it into one book.

Faye especially. I liked Faye and yet her growth just didn't quite work for me.

Now Jake Sullivan, he was fully what I had come to expect and he lived up to my expectations. A smart thug. His battle scenes with Toru and others were pretty good.

I am finding it rather tough to write about this book. I enjoyed it and I guess that will have to suffice for this evening.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fated (Alex Verus #1) DNF

Fated (An Alex Verus Novel) - Benedict Jacka
Author: Benedict Jacka

1 of 5 Stars

For the record, Urban Fantasy doesn't really do it for me. But I keep trying it because it "seems" like such a good idea.
I read Dresden until book 8 or 9 and just had to admit that I wouldn't like it. I read the first 4 Iron Druid books and while I enjoyed parts, the overallness didn't make me want to read more.

But my cousin highly recommended the Alex Verus series. I went into it not realizing it was UF to be honest. My first clue was the tip to Butcher's Dresden, the wizard in the yellow pages under "W, for Wizard".

Then Verus's whole backstory. As far as I'm concerned, it was the exact same thing as Dresden. My mind started screaming Dresden Light-Now with NO calories!

So I wasn't enjoying the read. So I stopped. It wasn't badly written, or poorly edited, I simply didn't like the story. If you liked Dresden, or the Iron Druid, you might very well enjoy this YA version of Dresden.

(and yes, I used the word Dresden a lot on purpose)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Crown Tower (Riyria Chronicles #1)

The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles) - Michael J. Sullivan
Author: Michael Sullivan

4 of 5 Stars

I was in the middle of making dinner and sitting down to write this review when I received an alarm call and had to go. So if this a tad bit disjointed, that "might" explain it.

So, I LOVED Revelations. The whole series. It was a nice light, engaging fantasy without that "epic" weight dragging in the middle of my stomach. I liked Royce and Hadrian. Their characters, their interactions [with others and each other], their adventure.

But considering how Revelations ended, I didn't want "After the Story" stories. So when I heard there were going to be more stories, I was feeling very mixed. Then it was revealed that all stories would be prequels and suddenly, God's on His throne and All's Right with the World.

So I went into this book with pretty high expectations. And I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed.

It was quite the story, seeing how Royce and Hadrian came together. Not at all like how I was expecting or even thought of. In Revelations we don't really see just how messed up Royce was, or how hopeless Hadrian was. We see them together, as a team. This book shows them as the separate individuals that they used to be.

In essence, this is the raw material that Revelations was forged from.

Seeing more of Gwen was nice too. I felt like she was a barely there character in Revelations, so to see her here, fleshed out, made her much more "real".

After reading this book, now I'm looking forward to The Thorn and the Rose even more.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Fraternity of the Stone (Brotherhood #2)

Fraternity of the Stone - David Morrell
Author: David Morrell

2.5 Stars of 5

I found this to be a better story than Brotherhood of the Rose, but not nearly as engaging.

You have the same elements, 2 bestfriends/brothers, 1 girl, an older mentor, betrayal, paranoid assassins.

But it was draggy. Mr Killer/Assassin man feels bad, goes to be a monk and it isn't until almost 1/3 of the way through that his past catches up and the plot begins to move forward.

So while I'm all for secret societies, and assassins and religious overtones, this book just fell shy of being a good book. A plodding time filler.

I'm not so sure I want to read the 3rd Brotherhood book now.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Dawn of Night (Erevis Cale #2)

Dawn of Night: The Erevis Cale Trilogy, Book II: 2 - Paul S. KempAuthor: Paul Kemp

3.5 of 5 Stars

Well, my first lost review due to pressing the wrong button has happened. I had a NICE review, several paragraphs, expressing exactly how I liked this book. And now it is GONE, and honestly, I'm not even sure why.

So anyway, I liked this book. It dealt with the Underdark, which I find more appealing to read about than the surface. We also get a bit more about Mask, even though it is incidental and I like Mask as a "god" character. I enjoyed him in The War of the Spider Queen and The Lady Penitent series.

However, I am not liking what it is doing to Cale as a character. I thoroughly enjoyed him as a Butler with an Assassin hiding in his closet like in The Halls of Stormweather. I enjoyed seeing him pine after his Lord's daughter. But now that he is Mask's chosen, a minor godling [Shade is the term used, but godling is more apt], he moans for his supposed lost humanity. A butterfly might as well moan about no longer being a grub. It just seems like the changes made have made him a weaker character even while making him a more robust fighter. Angst and all that.

And as for the ending, who DIDN'T see that coming? I mean, second place is really just saying "you're not really good enough".

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Bound in Blood (Kencyrath #5)

Bound in Blood (Seeker) - P.C. HodgellAuthor: P.C. Hodgell

4 of 5 Stars

I have FINALLY gotten used to how Hodgell jumps around. I think I've gotten the hang of how they think, so the abrupt shifts are no longer catching me by surprise. Which makes for a much nicer read.
The main thing that continues to bother me is how both Jame and her twin refuse to own up to their responsibilities, as high lady/lord AND as Shanir.

 But I enjoyed the adventure and the continued revealing of the past. I see that I only have one more book in the series to go and a friend told me that Book 6 is NOT the end. I suspect this will be an unfinished series.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham - William Somerset Maugham
I started out feeling sympathy for the main character, as he's an orphan and a cripple.

But then,he turned into a completely selfish bastard. Every choice he made centered completely on him and his desires with no regard whatsoever to anyone else.

He chases happiness, as if it is a concrete thing he can reach and grasp with his filthy disgusting hands. So of course he fails, and then he rails against God, the universe, everything in fact. Which just makes him even more unbearable.

The ending was pretty good. But it was so out of character, so against everything that he had been, that it just threw me.


Monday, September 30, 2013

The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger #4)

The 47th Samurai (Bob Lee Swagger Novels) - Stephen Hunter   Author: Stephen Hunter

4 of 5 Stars

This really should have been called Swagger puts down his Gun, and picks up the Sword.
I really enjoyed the story. But considering that I'll take fantasy over military, anime over hollywood, that doesn't come as a big surprise.
The backstory, the blood, the plotting, the guts, the wicked intense fight/battle at the end, it was great. When Swagger took on the 4 or 6 yakuza to save the swordpoliser and to get the sword back, that was cool.

BUT. The whole time I read I was rolling my eyes. Swagger is an old man, lets face it. He might be a very fit old man, but he's an old man who is a sniper. He is NOT a samurai prodigy.
So when he became Insta-swordsman in a week and took out yakuza left and right and THEN took out the main swordsman, who has been practicing since he was 14'ish, I just threw up my hands and said "Fine, make Swagger be a swordsman. I like the story, I just don't care.".

This was an awesome story. But it wasn't a Bob Lee Swagger story, even though Hunter named the main character that.

So if you've liked the previous 3 books, I think you'll like this one. If you realize the inherent, internal inconsistencies and aren't bothered by them.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Child of the Ghosts (The Ghost Books #1)

Child of the Ghosts - Jonathan Moeller
Author: Jonathan Moeller

4 of 5 Stars

This was a straight-forward fantasy yarn about a young girl who loses it all and in the process of gaining her revenge becomes one of the Kingdom's top agents.This was a simple yet engaging read. A bit unpolished in places, with a year of training going by in about 2 paragraphs. But all the important parts, they were well fleshed out and written ok.

I think I waited a little too long before writing this post. More of the pertinent details have slipped my mind.

Had this book recommended to me by my cousin and I am glad he did.